ATWELL, William Rush, of Metcalfe Co KY

William Rush Atwell was born Metcalfe Co KY, 15 Apr 1854,[1] the tenth child and fifth son of Benjamin and Susan (Erwin) Atwell. He died 23 Oct 1943 in Horse Cave, Hart Co KY,[2] and was buried between the graves of his two wives in Rock Cemetery, Horse Cave.[3]

On 15 Dec 1876 in Metcalfe Co KY, William married, as his first wife, Susan M Nunn.[4] Susan, or Sudy, as she was called was born in 1858, the daughter of William H and Katheryn (Shofner) Nunn,[5] and died ca 1882.[6]

On 24 Dec 1882 in Metcalfe Co KY, he married as his second wife, Jane C Huff.[7] Jane, or Jinny, was born in 1866 and died between 1891 and 1893.[8] She was a daughter of Lorenzo Dow and Laura Frances (Gentry) Huff.[9]

A photo of William Rush Atwell’s very humble home in Kentucky states that he was a bee man. After the death of his second wife, his children were placed with other families. In 1900, he was living alone in Kentucky, and in 1910 he was in Missouri.[10] By 1920 he was living with his son Henry. I have some very dry flowers that his daughter Mary sent to Lucy Pedigo from his funeral. His children were all long-lived,[11] but their mothers both died very young.

His writer has a complete census record for William Rush Atwell with the exception of the 1910 entry, which she has been unable to locate. He was always in the same county in Kentucky, until he resided with a son in 1930, as follows:

1860 Metcalfe Co KY, E Fork PO, p 867.[12]

1870 Metcalfe Co KY, Lafayette Precinct, Center PO, p 72, 189-183.[13]

1880 Metcalfe Co KY, Lafayette District, ed 193, p 26, 232-233.[14]

1900 Metcalfe Co KY, Magisterial Dist No 2, ed 56, sheet 17.[15]

1920 Metcalfe Co KY, ed 78, sh 7B, 158-167.[16]

1930 Hart Co KY, Hardy Twp, with James B Finney, ed 10, p 8A.


The children of William Rush Atwell and his first wife, Susan M Nunn, were:

2. John Wesley ATWELL. Born on 24 Sep 1880 in Hart Co KY. John died on 4 Apr 1968; he was 87. Buried in Rock Cemetery, Horse Cave KY. John married Cloa Ethel NUNN, daughter of Reuben Henry NUNN & Ruth Frances DAVENPORT. Born on 1 Feb 1887 in KY, IL or MO. She died in Hart Co KY, on 15 Apr 1920; she was 33. They had the following children:

i.            Leon (1911-1970)

ii.            Mary F (Died as Child) (1914-<1920)

iii.            Raymond (1918-2000)


3. William Benjamin ATWELL. Born on 19 Oct 1882 in Hart Co KY. William Benjamin died on 17 Dec 1975; he was 93. Buried in Hart Co KY. William first married Eva Lee TROWBRIDGE. Born on 27 Jun 1886 in KY. Eva Lee died in Metcalfe Co KY, on 22 Nov 1936; she was 50. They had the following children:

i.            Lester (1904-1973)

ii.            Damon (1910-1972)

iii.            Hubert G (1919-)


After 1936 William second married Orvatus SHAW in prob Hart Co KY. Born on 22 Oct 1912. Orvatus died in Horse Cave, Hart Co KY, in Jul 1983.


The children of William Rush Atwell and his second wife, Jane C Huff, were:

4. Mary Frances ATWELL. Born on 6 Dec 1884 in Hart Co KY. Mary Frances died in West Plains, Howell Co MO, on 11 Apr 1980; she was 95. Occupation: Nurse. Religion: Methodist. Aunt Mary nursed my uncle, Russell, a blue baby. I heard a lot about her, but never met her. When some of my dad’s family moved to West Plains MO in the 1930s, she went to them, introduced herself and said she had a niece named Mary Alvis in Oklahoma; that was, of course, my grandmother.


5. Wood ATWELL. Born on 5 Aug 1886 in Hart Co KY. Wood died on 19 Dec 1977; he was 91.[17]


6. Lucy Birdie ATWELL. Born on 17 Oct 1887 in Three Springs, Hart Co KY. Lucy Birdie died in Geary, Blaine Co OK, on 8 Dec 1985; she was 98. Buried on 11 Dec 1985 in Geary, Blaine Co OK. On 4 Feb 1903 when Lucy Birdie was 15,[18] she married Joshua Abraham Lincoln PEDIGO, son of Berry Rowlett PEDIGO & Martha Jane GOSSETT, in Glasgow, KY. Born on 13 Jun 1878/80 in Greensburg, Green Co KY. Joshua Abraham Lincoln died in Geary, Blaine Co OK, on 23 Feb 1959; he was 80. They had the following children:

i.            Ruby Jane (1904-1986)

ii.            Mary Wood (1905-1982)

iii.            Ellis Bradley (1907-1978)

iv.            Edwin Eugene (1908-1997)

v.            Henry Norman (1910-1953)

vi.            Ada Lou (1912-1985)

vii.            William Leslie Picket (1914-1983)

viii.            Gracie Margaret (1918-1975)

ix.            Lola Ethel (1923-1998)

x.            Joe Orville (1926-2001)

xi.            J[oshua] L[incoln] (1932-1932)


7. Henry M ATWELL. Born on 29 Jan 1891 in Hart Co KY. Henry M died in Metcalfe Co KY, on 17 May 1975; he was 84. Henry M married Cora WILCOXSON, daughter of Albert Green WILCOXSON & Eliza Jane WARF. Born in Oct 1891 in Green Co KY. They had one child:

i.            Deluth Garon (1914-1988)



© 2009, Kathy Alvis Patterson Sr

[1] Originally identified for me by his daughter, Lucy Birdie (Atwell) Pedigo, my great-grandmother in 1966. Also, a letter from Hubert Atwell (PO Box Hardyville, RFD 2, Pascal KY) to Kathy Alvis, 26 Apr 1967, with copies of cemetery data. The exact date and place of his birth are from his death certificate.

[2] Death certificate no. 44-06800 (1943), Kentucky Bureau of Vital Statistics.

[3] Letter from John Paul Grady (4218 Oxhill Rd, Spring TX 77388) to Kathy Patterson, 6 Feb 1989. This letter contains Atwell burials in the Rock Cemetery, near Shady Grove KY.  On KY Highway 218, travel 0.6 miles northwest of Shady Grove. Turn right and go 0.2 miles. Photos sent by Hubert Atwell, 1967.

[4] Metcalfe Co Marriages. CNIDR Isearch-cgi 1.20.06 (File: marriags.txt). <http:// l/data/ky+index+453753211379+F>. This marriage record was located for me in a letter from Irene McGlasson (911 E Main, Horse Cave KY 42749-1958), 22 Sep 1999, to Kathy Patterson. Also 10 Oct 1999, with an extract of the marriage bond. Metcalfe Co KY Marriage records. Page 108, no. 589: Date of license, Nov 28 1876, Wm R Atwell and Susan Nunn, authority Wm H Nunn, married Nov 30 1876 in presents [sic] of Wm Lunt and George H Goodner, by M P Goodner. [No page on my copy].

[5] Marriage record, plus the 1860 census of her parents.

[6] Cemetery records. Her grave stone, which was placed long after her death mistakenly shows dates 1858-1883.

[7] Metcalfe Co KY Marriage records. No. 1011: License Dec. 22, W R Atwell and Jiney C. Hufft, authority L.D. Hufft, married Dec 24th 1882, in presence of Frank Grinstead and W H Goodner, by W T Payton, M.B.

[8] Cemetery records. Her grave stone, which was placed long after her death mistakenly shows dates 1866-1891.

[9] Her father signed her marriage bond, Jane is listed in the 1870 and 1880 censuses with her parents, and my great-grandmother knew her own grandparents’ names.

[10] 1910 Macon Co MO, Drake Township, William R Atwell, 56 widowed, KY KY TN, employee, farm hand, unable to read or write.

[11] They died at 84, 87, 91, 93, 95, and 98.

[12] Benjamin Atwell 51 farmer $1300 $260 NC, Susan 45 KY cannot read & write, Sally Ann 24 KY cannot read & write, John T 20 farming KY cannot read & write, Margaret J 18 KY, Joel B 16 farming KY, Willis G 12 KY, James 10 KY, Lucretia 8 KY, Susan 6 KY, William Rush 4 KY, Job 2 KY.

[13] Atwell, Benjamin 62 male white farmer $800 0 NC eligible to vote, Susan 56 female white keeping house KY can’t write, Mary Lucretia 19 female white KY can’t write, Susan 17 female white KY can’t write, Wm Rush 16 male white farm laborer KY school in year, can’t read or write, James W 24 male white farmer $0 465 KY eligible to vote, Richard J 14 male white works on farm KY school in year can’t read or write.

[14] William R Atwell 26 married farmer cannot write KY NC KY, Sousan N 26 wife married keeping house cannot write KY NC KY, John W 8/12 Sep son single KY KY KY. Same page, James W Atwell 34 married farmer KY NC KY, Margaret S 19 wife married keeping house cannot write KY KY KY, plus 1 son & 1 nephew and Benjamin Atwell 73 father married without occupation disabled NC MD MD, Susan Atwell 65 mother married helps to keep house KY KY KY.

[15] Rush Atwell boarder May 54 46 wid KY KY KY farm laborer employed cannot read & write, can speak English, w/Jeff Grady.

[16] Atwell, Henry M, head, wm 28 married, can read & write KY KY KY, farmer manual laborer, English; Cora, wife, wf 27 married, can read & write KY KY KY, English; Duluth G, son wm 5 single, not in school, KY KY KY, English; William R, father, male white 55 widowed KY KY KY farm, manual laborer cannot read & write, English.

[17] Affidavit signed in Circuit Court, Logan Co IL, by Mrs William Benjamin Atwell, Jun 1979, Estate of Wood Atwell, Hart Co KY, Probate No. 78-P-10.

[18] Barren County Marriage Book 34: 542-543, County Clerk’s Office, Glasgow KY. The signature on the marriage application may be Lucy’s, not Rush’s, since the census showed he could not read or write. It reads “This stifkit…”


Published on June 21, 2009 at 1:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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