Revised 4 November 2019 by author Lawrence Eugene Vaughn Jr

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Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn and Rebecca Ann Snider Vaughn – Date 1948 – Kahoka, Missouri

Vaughn Ancestry

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Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn

My grandfather, William Thomas Vaughn’s, father was Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn, a circuit preacher in Tunnel Hill Township of Johnson County, Illinois, preaching one weekend at New Salem Baptist church, and the next at the nearby Taylor Methodist church.

Family tradition is that some from each of his congregations followed him from one church to the other. Later, for a period of time, he pastored a church in Bloomfield, Johnson County, Illinois. The census shows that they he and Becky were renting a home in Bloomfield at the time.  

He had a parsonage and an adjacent plot of farmland also at his disposal, courtesy of New Salem Missionary Baptist church. The circumstances of whether these overlapped, or some other arrangement was made, has been lost to history, although when visiting the site of the church, it is apparent that the acreage that lies adjacent to the church, adjoins the graveyard, and could easily be used for expansion of that purpose .

Larry and Marjorie Vaughn at New Salem Church Cemetery, Tunnel Hill IL – 2009

Lemuel’s Ancestry

When Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn was born in District 2, Johnson County, Illinois on January 27, 1868, in Johnson, Illinois, his father, Elihu, a farmer, was 30, and his mother, Malinda, was 34. Elihu’s father was Lemuel S(amuel?) Vaughn.

Looking back another generation; in the 1850 census Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn’s grandfather, Lemuel S(amuel?) Vaughn, 41,  was born 1809 in Virginia; his grandmother, Narcissa Bridges Vaughn, 38, was born in Kentucky.

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Their children were:

  • Emeline, 19, born 1831 in Kentucky
  • Rollin, 18, born 1833 in Tennessee
  • Alexander, 17, born 1834 Tennessee
  • Catherine,15, born 1835 in Kentucky
  • David, 14, was born 1836 in Tennessee
  • Elihu,12, was born 1838 in Kentucky
  • Mary Jane, 10, born 1840 in Kentucky
  • Martha, 8, born 1842 in Kentucky
  • James G, 7, born 1843 in Illinois
  • Samuel, 5, born 1845 in Illinois
  • Esther Lorina, 3, born 1847 in Illinois
  • Nancy, age 11, born 1859, born in Illinois
  • Margaret Meridian, age 1, born 1850  in Illinois
  • Simon, born 1857 in Illinois

Elihu had seven sisters and six brothers. Their mother, Narcissa, passed away in August 1860, at age 42, when her youngest child was only three years old.

1860 Census

In the 1860 census, Elihu’s home was Township 11 South Range 3 East in Johnson County, Illinois. The closest post office was in Vienna (pronounced locally “VYE-anna”). In the home were head of household, Lemuel (incorrectly listed in 1850 as “Samuel”) age 50, Narcissus, 46, David, 22, Elihu, 21, Mary J, 18, Marthe A , 17, James, 16, Sammie, 14, Esther, 11, Margaret, 10, Simon, 3,

David, age 88, was listed an invalid, and insdicates his place of birth as Virginia. This David  is presumed to be Lemuel’s father, and perhaps the first of this line to settle in Johnson County, Illinois. The listing of Virginia as his birthplace is inconsistent with research published by Dr, Lawrence, and remains a point of confusion.

Vaughn Lineage

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Other Lemuel Vaughns

There was another Lemuel Vaughn in the Johnson County area, and his records are often confused with our Lemuel Lafayette’s. This other Lemuel was a farmer in New Burnside, a township nearby in District 37. He was born in September 1855 in Illinois. His mother and father were born in Tennessee.

His wife was Harriet Emery, born January 1855 in Tennessee. Her parents were both born in Tennessee as well. In the 1900 U.S. Census, they had been married 26 years.

They had seven living children, Susan, born Sept 1874, Willie, Mar 1882, Oda, Apr 1885, John, Jan 1890, and Charley, Sept 1892. The names of the oldest children are unknown, as they don’t show up in earlier census records. Lemuel and Harriet are buried in New Salem Church Cemetery.

Nephew Lemuel

There was yet an additional Lemuel Vaughn, the son of nearby farmer Colbert Vaughn, who had a family farm in Township 11, Range 3, Johnson County, Illinois. This Lemuel was age fifteen in the 1870 census.

Colbert, age 56, born about 1814 in Virginia, was a brother to Lemuel, born 1809, was also a farmer, and listed just one farm away from our Lemuel’s farm. He was married to Rachel, age 45, born about 1825 in Illinois. They had children; Martha, age 16, born 1854, Lemuel, born 1855, Nancy, 11, born 1849, and Colbert, age 6, born 1864.

1870 Census

In that 1870 census, Lemuel Lafayette was listed as two years old, in the household of Elihu and Malinda Vaughn, on Township 11, Range 3, Johnson County, Illinois. At that time they retrieved their mail at Reynoldsburg. Others in the household were Nancy Vaughn, age 6, and Martha Vaughn, age 5 months.

1880 Census Profile Elihu Vaughn.jpg

The 1880 U.S. Census shows Lafayette to be 12 years old, and living in Tunnel Hill Township in Johnson County, Illinois. It lists his father as Elihu, age 37, farmer, born in Tennessee, and mother, Malinda, age 48, born in Tennessee. It makes clear that Elihu’s parents were both born in Tennessee. Others in the home were Martha Vaughn, age 7, and Ezekiel Vaughn, age 5.

In the 1900 U.S. Census, Elihu T. Vaughn, age 64, reported that he was born in 1836, in Tennessee, that his father was born in Alabama, and his mother born in Tennessee, April, 1834. He didn’t know in what month he was born.

He and Malinda had married in 1861 and had been married 39 years. He was still farming, and had their grandson, Claude living with them. Claude was 8 years old, born Dec 1891. No 1900 census results for Lemuel Lafayette have been located as of this writing.  

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1910 Census

In the 1910 U.S. Census, Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn was head of household, age 42, had been married 17 years. He was born in Illinois, both his mother and father were born in Tennessee. His wife, Rebecca, age 43, was born in Illinois, and her parents were born in Kentucky.

The census states that she had birthed 8 children, five of whom were still living. Four of whom were listed as still at home; William T., who was 15, John L, age 13, Ollie M (female), age 11, Nellie, age 7. Also in the household was Malinda Vaughn, his widowed mother, age 77. She stated that she had given birth to 8 children, 3 of whom were still living.

Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn married Arista M Emery on 2 Aug 1889, in Johnson County, Illinois. She was born 12 May 1872 in Johnson County, Illinois. Their son, Claude Columbus Vaughn, was born 2 December 1889. Arista died a year later on 11 Dec 1890.

Lemuel then married Rebecca Ann Snider 30 Mar 1892, when Claude was just over two years old. They had four children together, my grandfather, William Thomas Vaughn, 1894–1953, John L Vaughn 1897–, Olive M Vaughn, 1899–1968, and Nellie Melvina Vaughn 1902–1968.

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In 1920, according to the U.S. Census, Lemuel was living in Bloomfield, Johnson County, Illinois, and listed his occupation as “pastor,” and industry as Minister of the Gospel.

1920 Census Profile Lemuel and Rebecca Snider Vaughn.jpg

In 1930 they were back on the farm in Johnson County. This census doesn’t list any additional income, so it is unknown whether he was still ministering at the age of 62.

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The 1940 Census shows that Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn, age 72, was still head of household, on his farm in Tunnel Hill in rural Johnson County, that we was a resident on that farm in 1935, and still listed his occupation as “Farmer.”

He owned the house, which was valued at $200. He had completed elementary school, through the 8th grade, that he had worked 52 weeks out of the previous year, and that he had additional income, but doesn’t indicate from where.

Also listed in the home was his spouse, Rebecca Ann. Lemuel died on June 26,1948, in Tunnel Hill, Illinois, at the age of 80. He is buried at the New Salem Baptist Church cemetery with his wives. Rebecca died February 21, 1959.

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Lafayette Vaughn family plot at Old Salem Baptist Church Cemetery, Tunnel Hill, Johnson County, Illinois, 2009

The large marker to the rear simply reads “Vaughn.” There are three markers in the foreground; on the left is Rebecca Ann, middle is Lemuel Lafayette, and to the right is Arista. The church itself was to our backs as this picture was taken.

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Individual headstones for Rebecca, Lemuel and Arista Vaughn

Lemuel Vaughn Death Certificate

  • Death Certificate reads: Lemuel L Vaughn, Male, White, Married, Spouse: Rebecca Vaughn, age 82.
  • Birthdate of deceased: Jan 27, 1868. Age: 80 years, 4 months, 29 days; Born: Illinois
  • Occupation: Methodist Minister. Father: Elihu Vaughn Mother: Rebecca Whitenburg
  • Informant: Rebecca Vaughn, Tunnel Hill, Ill.
  • Place of Burial: New Salem Date: June 28, 1948
  • Funeral Director: (Unintelligible)
  • Column Two: Medical Certificate:
  • Date of Death: June 26, 1948 3:30 a.m.
  • Physician attended Deceased from June 25-June 26, 1948 Cause of Death: Paralytic Stroke (3rd one), Due to Hypertension.
  • Attending Physician was G.R. Brewer(?) of Stonefort, Illinois.

L.E. Vaughn’s Tunnel Hill Memories

As a child, my father, Lawrence Eugene Vaughn (Sr), attended services at the Old Salem Baptist Church, which he recalled was in those days was a Missionary Baptist Church, and that his grandfather, Reverend Lemuel Lafayette Vaughn was commonly called “Uncle Fate” throughout the community.  

Dad told a story about when he was about six years old he was visiting on the nearby farm of his maternal Uncle Arley Phillips, when he was kicked in the head by a skittish horse, and could not be revived.

The family was holding his formal wake in their home in Marion, Illinois three days later, when he suddenly woke up and declared that he was hungry! There was much joy, singing and praising God, that turned a wake into a celebration.

Hannibal, Missouri

Tony and Nona White on the front porch of 1505 Vermont, Hannibal MO

1505 Vermont

Hannibal is where I was born and raised through my junior year of high school. My first memories of a house we lived in are the home we had at 1505 Vermont. It was a large two-story house with covered porches on three sides, situated on a double lot. The front door faced Vermont Street on the east, while a side door opened onto Clark Street on the north, and a third, off the kitchen porch, opened into the lawn and garden area on the west.

There were two bedrooms on the ground level that opened onto a foyer with the front door and steps to the upstairs. A door on the south side of the foyer opened into a living room, and through that to a dining room with the door to the porch on Clark Street, kitchen, bathroom, and the back porch on the south side. The upstairs had five bedrooms, one of which had been converted to a kitchenette.

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The side and back lawns were a great place to play! There was a mature grape arbor which in season was covered with tasty Concord grapes, top, bottom, sides, and everywhere you looked. The arbor was tunnel-like, about eight feet tall, arched at the top, and about six feet wide.

In the summer, during sunny afternoons, we would sit inside the arbor in lawn chairs with grapes hanging overhead and on both sides. We learned early on that you can’t rush grapes. They are quite bitter until the day they ripen. But, the cool shade was always a great respite from the summer heat.

Below, Viola White Watkins and her mother, Nona Mae Turner White (“Mom”) in side yard facing the grape arbor and back porch of the house. Notice the large herb and vegetable garden in the side yard behind them.

Viola and Nona White at 1505 Vermont St Hannibal 1966.jpg
. . . and THEN what happened?

White Great-Grandparents

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Tony Matthew White, left, Nona Mae Turner White, Mabel White Flick, Wallace Benjamin White, Behind the couch: Katherine White Conn, left, Viola “Peachy” White Watkins,, April 15, 1953.

In the early 1930s into the mid-forties, during World War II, my Grandma and Grandpa Wallace and Nellie (Teall) White lived in the 2400 block of Market Street, with great-grandma, “Mom,” (Nona) and great-grandpa, “Pop,” (Tony Matthew) White.

All four of them walked together along the old side-by-side Wabash and CB&Q railroad tracks to their jobs at factories on Collier Street. They walked rain or shine, summer or winter. The tracks ran along the edge of “Pop’s” back yard, past North Missouri lumber yard, crossed Lindell Avenue, and on toward the industrial area.

They did what was called “piece work,” meaning that their earnings were based on the number of units, or “pieces,” they completed during the pay period. I recall my grandpa saying that he ran a stamping press, which created the sheet metal parts, but I don’t recall ever knowing what jobs my grandma or great-grandpa did.

Dura Steel Products, in Hannibal, where my grandparents and great-grandpa, “Pop,” worked, had a wartime contract to produce large quantities of metal canteens weekly for the U.S. Army. Dura Steel had retooled in early 1940 to produce lawn furniture, but in 1942 began filling an order for more than 100,000 M47A1 chemical bombs.

My great-grandma “Mom” White worked as a piecework laborer in the nearby Bluff City Shoe Factory on Ledford Street, a couple of blocks down the tracks from Dura Steel. My father worked, for a time, at the Hannibal Rubber Plant, in that same general area along the railroad, co-located with the International Shoe Factory. I had other relatives that worked at Wendt-Sonis, another factory where welded metalwork products were produced.

Bluff City Shoe Factory, Hannibal MO

“Mom” White

“Mom” White

“Mom White” was Nona Mae Turner White, who had the sweet personality of a tender, loving, grandmother to every one of us children. We admired her greatly. She cooked up meals that were just extraordinary! She grew greens like Mustard, Burdock, Creeping Charlie, Dandelions and Sheep’s Sorrel in the corners of her lawn, and as borders around the base of the grape arbor and huge lilac bush. She grew wild garlic and other herbs in the borders of her expansive herb and vegetable gardens.

By the time I was a boy, the family had stopped gathering greens from along roads and railroad tracks because the wild greens were being sprayed with pesticides. So, the weeds became cultured, colorful, borders arranged around lilac bushes, the grape arbor, and anywhere she could grow a patch that we children wouldn’t trample.

Often she would venture out into the yard and garden in her housedress and apron with a peck-size wicker basket and a pair of scissors. She would move from here to there clipping, picking and cutting items that were then placed in her basket.

I well remember her big porcelain kitchen sink full of colorful leaves and clippings being soaked and rinsed in cold water as though in a mysterious process before they were cooked up, and how the house would fill with the aromas as they blended together.

Canned food

She was a marvel at canning foods, and we often got to help in the process. The kitchen table would be full of freshly sterilized glass jars with stacks of caps and lids nearby. I remember the joy of hearing the pressure cooker “pop off” as it reached temperature. However, we were not allowed to be near it as it cooked, which was no problem, because it was really scary, with a top that rattled angrily as it cooked.

But, when we heard it pop off, and the loud hiss of escaping steam, we knew good things were forthcoming . . . jams and jellies, fruits and vegetables, and sometimes, chicken. We didn’t get to help with canning the chicken, but got to wash and rinse fruits and veggies, learned to pare with an old knife, and do all the running back and forth to fetch and shelve.

Pop White

“Pop White,” my maternal great-grandfather, was active in his church, and was one of the carpenters who built the first cabins at Gospel Of The Kingdom Campground near Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

He, and his son (my grandfather, Wallace) and their wives, made two annual week-long trips to the campground. One week early in the spring was to serve as carpenters, erecting single family cabins to convert the campground from a “tent city” during the fall Camp Meeting.

During camp meeting week, they would serve as musicians in the band. The campground meetings were open to all God’s children, regardless of denomination, and has continued to grow from those 1930s beginnings.

more on the campground: https://www.gospelkingdomcampground.org/

Life Lesson in the Garden

Pop made a huge impact in my life, when one summer’s day he took me out into his vast backyard garden, situated on the double lot behind the stable, and asked me if I had ever thought about the wonder of the food God provided for us. I didn’t really understand what he meant, and he began to explain to me how carefully God had planned for our provision.

He pulled a green bean off one of the plants we were standing near, opened it up along the seam, revealing three beans inside. He explained how the seeds inside were the next generation of beans if they were cared for and stored properly. The beans that weren’t needed for next year’s planting were this year’s bounty.

Then, he ate one of the beans, shared one with me, and placed the third one in his pocket. He placed the empty shell back in the ground near the base of the plant, covered it up, and said that it would decompose and become food for the plant. The message of the three beans and the pod sank in.

He repeated this discussion and demonstration as we worked through his garden, sampling pole beans, peas, sweet corn, radishes, new potatoes, cucumbers, and other vegetables that he used to explain the magic of harvesting and replanting. This time with him in the garden became a lasting memory for me, a treasured experience, and helped me enjoy many years of gardening in my adult years.

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Tony and Nona Turner White are buried in Grandview Cemetery, Hannibal, Missouri near the graves of Wallace (Sr) and Nellie Teall White, William Thomas and Beulah Phillips Vaughn, Lawrence Eugene Vaughn, and many members of the Tate family.

Tony Matthew White (Mom did the “Tona” to match “Nona.” 🙂

Next chapter: White Aunts, Uncles and Cousins


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