Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bettie (Lander) & Meredith "Shell" Shellcross Hopson

Bettie & Meredith "Shell" Hopson

married: December 24, 1878 (Met Shell at a barn dance)
Guy Ethelebert Hopson, b: September 7, 1884
Mary Salone Hopson (McCollum), b: March 9, 1890
Bess Lander Hopson (Wolfe), b: February 28, 1892
Shell & Bettie were "Pap" and "Mama" to the children.
Dorothy Elizabeth Wolfe (Southard),
Zela Hopson (Thompson) and Willard Hopson

Their grandchildren called them "Granny" and "Pap"
great grandchildren:
John B. Southard Jr, Elizabeth "Betty"Ann Southard (Stokes) and
Linda, Donna & Fay Thompson
2nd great grandchildren: Leslie & Amy Stokes and Will, Rob & Joe Southard

family transportation: The family always had two horses, a buggy plus a surrey. The buggy had fringe around the top. Shell used the family buggy to deliver Bettie's butter and treats to the Mrs. Hill's Boarding House (a type of bed & breakfast). The surrey was for going to church or taking the family to town.

Meredith "Shell" Shellcross Hopson
Pap taught himself how to play the fiddle. He was always busy with wood working projects. On the Gracey Farm, he built three barns, a smoke house, and the farmhouse. The roof of each building was made of handmade wooden shingles. He made wooden plank walks for the yard & vegetable garden and planted a fruit orchard and built chest drawers & wooden toys. He was also very handy around the house. He put brass tacks in the floor of the front porch to make his own sun dial. Neighborhood children would bring their geometry homework to him. Pap never studied geometry, but he would read the problem and be able to tell them how to derive the answer. The children kept coming back for help because he was always right. Shell served as a trustee on the local School Board for the Gracey community. He had a happy quiet nature. Loved his family.
Shell's birthday: May 5, 1852
one brother: Henry Hopson was 2 years younger than Pap, born May 5, 1854
lost years: We don't know where Pap lived or how between the end of the Civil War 1865 and marrying Granny in 1878. He never talked about those years and no one thought to ask. (found 1870 census: Pap was a farmer laborer for Jno. A. Hopson in Princeton, Kentucky/most likely an uncle or cousin. Pap would have been 18 years old in 1870).
music: Pap owned a Victrola. He especially enjoyed listening to classical music. He taught himself to play the fiddle and played at local barn dances.
exercise: Pap walked miles most every day after moving to town. He usually went to the courthouse to sit in on trials and catch up on the local news of the day. Mondays were trading day. The men would bring items to swap.
law: Without formal law training, Shell sometimes represented folks in the community and usually won his cases. In one such case he got a neighbor boy off. Charges: stealing a pigborn: May 5, 1852
passing: When Pap died, his body was embalmed and stayed at the house till time for the funeral. Family and friends took turns sitting with the body around the clock.
sibling: Henry Fountain Hopson (1854 -1845)
David G. Hopson (1829-1862) and
Caroline Gibson(Hopson) (died about 1860)
P: John Hopson (1780 - ?) & Agnes Goode (? - ?)

M: Meredith Gibson (1788, Virginia - 1855, Kentucky) & Hannah Moore (1792 - 1861)
Bison: In 1850, two years before Shell was born, there were 20 million buffalo in the United States. By 1889, a year before their second child was born, only 551 bison could be found in the United States. The U.S. Calvary was still at war with the Indians. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer died at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876.

Civil War:
Pap's father, David Hopson, enlisted in the Confederate Army on October 15, 1861 at Calhoon, KY. He served as a Sergeant in Company E, Kentucky's 25th Infantry Regiment. David G. Hopson "mustered out" on February 15, 1862 when General Grants troops seized Fort Donelson in Tennessee. Pap & his younger brother, Henry, went to their mother's, Caroline Gibson (Hopson), family. The boys' Gibson grandparents were Union sympathizers. They would not allow David Hopson on their farm once the war started. When David was able to get leave, he had to stand at the end of the Gibson driveway. The boys would walk out to visit.

David Hopson was killed on Feb 15, 1862 & buried in a common soldier's grave at Fort Donelson, Tennessee (General Grant's forces attacked and took the fort). After their father's death, Pap (age 10) ran away & enlisted as a drummer boy for a Confederate troop. He enlisted under an assumed name & age. Little brother Henry also ran away & signed up to be an indentured servant. Family mystery: We do not know where Shell went immediately at the close of the Civil War (a 13 year old boy) and his courtship of Bettie Ann Lander. I did find an 1870 Census that put him in Princeton, Kentucky working as a farm laborer on Jno. A. Hopson's farm.

Alexander Graham Bell's invention changed lives!
The ringing of a telephone or cell phone is a very familiar sound today. Our phones can be used for many different reasons: call friends and relatives, connect with other technology, or reach help in emergencies. Before the 20th century, before Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, Bettie & Shell Hopson could not communicate with others in far-off places. What seems like a minor inconvenience to us, might be life or death in the 1800s. Bell's phone invention is dated 1892,

Jamestown connection: When you go to our Jamestown page you will learn that Shell is descended from Captain Christopher Newport. Captain Newport fought along side Sir Frances Drake at Cadiz, England to defeat the Spanish Armada. Shell was born in Cadiz, KY. Gracey, Kentucky & Cadiz, Kentucky border each other.

career: farmer
residence: farm in Gracey, Kentucky
retirement: Shell retired from farm life in 1911. He built 303 Bryan Street for $4,500 and depended on Guy to operate the farm.
Shell "Pap" died: May 22, 1937 of uremic poisoning (kidney failure)

Elizabeth "Bettie" Ann Lander (Hopson)
Bettie was always sewing and very happy doing so. She was such an excellence seamstress that women in the area paid her to make needed garments for their family members. She also sold baked treats and pressed home churned butter for a boarding house in Hopkinsville.born: May 1, 1860
Bettie had a slight cleft palate from birth. At about age seven, after a bad cold, one leg was shorter causing her to walk with a limp. It's very possible that the cold was really a mild case of polio.
parents:John William Strode Lander (1830-1869) and
Mary Jane Blakeley (Lander) (1824-1870)
Bettie's father: John W. S. Lander was a wealthy man. He owned numerous wagons and held all rights to haul goods shipped up from New Orleans on the Ohio to Cumberland River. Goods were then transferred to boats headed east on the Green River & Cumberland River. John W. S. Lander was paid by local merchants to deliver their orders from the nearest ports off the Ohio River.
John Strode Lander (1792-1846) & Elizabeth Haggard (Lander) (1791-1835)
Josiah "Joel" Blakeley (1800-1870) & Elizabeth Goodwin Blakeley (1801-1895)
siblings: Alice (half-sister), William Newton, John Robert, Charles Taylor, Wallace (died in infancy), and Laura Cornelia

Women's Suffrage: Twelve years before Bettie was born, in the state of New York, an Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust launched the women's equality and voting rights movement at an 1858 convention. Her work resulted in the most extensive bestowal of democratic freedom in the history of our nation. http://www.elizabethcadystanton.org/

Stagecoach: If you scroll further down in this blog, you will find a Slaughter & Co. stagecoach ticket for the Nashville-Hopkinsville line (dated 1860, the year Bettie was born).

Civil War: Bettie was a young child during the war. Her father owned a few slaves and was a Confederate supporter. Bettie remembered that the field hands were to watch for Union soldiers. They had a number of rings on the field bell for a signal. When the children heard the signal, they were each assigned something from the house to take & hide in the woods. On one such alarm, the family was in the mist of dinner. They all ran and hid anywhere possible. When they returned to the house, all the food and family silver were gone. Bettie's father, John W. S. Lander, ran rifles for the Confederate army in wagons with false bottoms.

Gracey farm: Bettie got the Gracey farm at her father's passing in 1869. John W.S. Lander had acquired so many farms by the age of 39 that each of his children inherited one. The executor of his will put all the farm deeds in a hat. He had each child draw a deed. Bettie Lander Hopson drew the deed for a farm that her father bought from a Campbell family. This is the farm our family has always called the Gracey Farm because it is near Gracey, KY.
career: housewife and seamstress + sold butter & treats to a bed & breakfast in Hopkinsville
Bettie died: October 2, 1948 of cholrea marblous

Migration to Christian County, Kentucky: The Landers, Hopsons, and Nevilles came to the southern part of the county around 1770 - 1776. They began farming and trade businesses with the help of slave labor.

Trips to town: Bess Hopson Wolfe told of getting to go into Hopkinsville each summer to restock needed supplies. This was an all day trip and greatly anticipated. The night before her mama, Bettie Lander Hopson, would braid both her hair & Auntie's. The braid would be so tight the girls felt like they couldn't shut their eyes. Transportation was the family surrey pulled by two horses. The outting took an entire day.

BESS' MEMORIES: "We lived on a dirt road. There was very little traveling in the winter. We had to wait until the road sorta dried out. Our parents brought us to town in the surrey two or three times each summer. We always went when the circus was in town. Travel days to see the circus began much earlier than others. The circus traveled by train and we wanted to be there in time to see the animals unloaded. What a sight to see all those animals as they came into sight. The wild animals were in caged wagons which were used to help form a parade through Main Street. Everything was painted in bright colors including wagons and the caliope. The costumes were covered in some sort of glitter, very fancy. Beautiful circus women rode beautiful horses. Even the horses were in costume and feathers. There was a colorful band and clowns. I feel sorry for any child that's never seen a circus parade. One of our horses, "Old Henry" could smell an elephant as soon as we approached town. He would snort and prouce, almost run away. We had to approach town by a particular path to stable "Old Henry", then continue on to the parade route. Circus Day was always a wonderful day."
burial: Meredith Shellcross & Bettie Hopson rest together in Riverside Cemetery, Hopkinsville, KY

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