My name is Karen McWhorter Wilhelm. Some time in the 1960s, my father's uncle,
William Edwin McWhorter, sent him a diagram of the McWhorter family tree going back
to John McWhorter, Revolutionary War soldier. Duplicates of the diagram went to
my grandfather, John Robert McWhorter, and to other family members. This gave me
a mild interest in the family history and a certain amount of pride to have been
descended from a Revolutionary War veteran.
I remembered a photograph showing my
great-great grandmother standing next to the headstone of the grave she would
later share with my great-great grandfather. I thought it had some inscription
relating to his service in the army. I dug out the picture. On the stone, it said,
Many years later, my mother asked me to take several boxes of my grandfather's papers
out of her attic. The box contained many attempts by my
grandfather to write his biography, including reminiscences of his grandparents
and their home in Yosemite, Casey County, Kentucky. In a letter he referred to
this effort, saying he "had plenty of hay, but just couldn't get it baled up to take it
He was a prolific and quirky letter-writer who typed his letters and kept carbon copies
of all of them. The copies were usually on discarded stationery he scavenged from trash cans.
He struck up a correspondence with Allan Trout, a columnist at the Louisville Courier Journal.
In the voice of his backwoods alter ego, Fee Simple, he told stories of the old days
in Casey County, which Trout included in many of his columns.
The box also contained snapshots, and all of his cancelled checks and tax returns for most of his life.
All this material sat in my bedroom closet until the Ken Burns Civil War series
was broadcast on public television.
Feb 26, 1838
Aug 14, 1916
Co K 19th Ky Inf
I didn't even know if this was on the Union or Confederate side, and had
never heard anything about having a Civil War ancestor. Anyone who has taken
up genealogy or family history knows the rest of the story. Visits to libraries, archives,
the Family History Centers of the LDS church, and now, constant use of the Internet. The
work has provided numerous destinations for vacations and my grandfather's writing
provided many clues for the pursuit.
I try to find documentation of family links, homes and life events. In this web site,
I am happy to offer transcripts of important records, but I encourage any McWhorter
researcher to look at the originals wherever possible.
Besides the McWhorters, my paternal family lines include Elliott, All and Gadberry. On my mother's
side, the genealogical pursuit was started by my great-aunt Cecelia Miksch and is being
carried on by my cousin. The family names of interest are Hytrek and Miksch.
My husband and I live in suburban Detroit. He deserves recognition as my research partner
and chauffer. We have a married son living in Chicago.
My e-mail address is [email protected]