Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Profitt Family

I've been having fun lately doing some deeper research into my family. Four years ago I drove a few hundred miles to Foosland, Illinois and visited the grave of Henry Profitt Cornelius, my third great grandfather (Henry Profitt Cornelius > Jesse Profitt Cornelius > William Seborn Cornelius > Floyd Cornelius, Sr. > Floyde Cornelius, Jr.). Since then, I discovered the grave of Henry's father, John Cornelius (1776 - 1857), who is buried in the Cornelius Family Cemetery in Christian County, Kentucky.

John's wife (our fourth great grandmother) is Martha "Patcey" Profitt Cornelius (1790 - 1876) and is the obvious origin for Henry and Jesse's middle names. Using Google, I found an interesting website for the Profitt family which traces their origins farther back.

Warning, you might want to take an Advil right now!

Martha “Patcey” Profitt was born in Goochland County, Virginia and was apparently the only child of Jesse S. Profitt (1766 - 1839) and his first wife, Mary Mollie Moseley (1768 - 1857). Jesse and Mary apparently divorced or otherwise split as he married another Mary (Mary Jane Bryant) in 1807!

Jesse Profitt was the third child of William Profitt (1738 - 1812) and his wife, Sarah Thurston (1743 - 1780). Like Martha, Jesse was born in Goochland County, Virginia.

Going even farther back, William was born in St. James, Northam Parish, Goochland County, Virginia. He was the son of Silvester Profitt/Prophet (1698 - 1767) and Alice Pleasants (1698 – 1771).

Silvester, my seventh great grandfather, is apparently the patriarch of the American Profitt (or Prophet) family as he was born in Eassie, County Angus, Scotland and was the son of James or John Prophet. Silvester arrived in America in 1716.

Note: The surname is spelled three different ways – Proffitt, Profitt and Prophet. I am not sure which is the “correct” spelling. For consistency purposes, I am using “Profitt”.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

A little cross-promotion!

Please forgive me this opportunity to conduct a little cross-promotion.

About two years ago, I created a blog consisting of recipes that my mother had been sharing with her friends and family. She first created a holiday card containing selected recipes and then we thought it would be fun to create a recipe blog for her to continue sharing these recipes. Here we are two years later and the recipe blog still survives. If you are interested, her blog can be found at:

If you are on Facebook, I created a “fan” page that contains these recipes as well as recipes from other blogs, such as Cousin Sarah Johnson’s recipe blog. The page is located at: Be sure to “Like” her page so you can keep up to date with her latest concoctions!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The American Civil War

One hundred and fifty years ago this morning, April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began with the shelling of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. By the time the war ended in April 1865, approximately 620,000 Americans were dead.

In many cases, the war pitted families against each other and brother against brother.

My family was no exception.

The earliest recorded Cornelius immigrant in America was Aaron Cornelius, captain of the English privateer ship, Canary Bird, in the service of the English Crown  in 1639. His place of residence was Flushing, Long Island, which was chartered to the English settlers in 1645 by the Dutch West India Company. Aaron was married and had at least five children. He died in Flushing on February 28, 1695 and his will is on record there.Although his oldest son John returned to England with his family, the others remained in the area and many descendants of this Cornelius line live in America today.

The next earliest record found of a Cornelius arrival in America was John Cornelius who arrived from Holland and settled in Maryland sometime prior to 1651. John and his wife Mary moved to Virginia where a will dated April 14, 1656 bequeathed all of his property to his wife. They had no known children and it is impossible to follow this line.

My immigrant ancestor, Rowland Cornelius, arrived from Holland in 1665 and settled first in Virginia and then moved to Maryland. He returned to Virginia around 1690 and purchased 50 acres of land at the head of Nantepolsen Creek in Lancaster County in August 1697. He purchased the land for the sum of three thousand pounds of tobacco! Rowland lived there until his death in 1727. Although Rowland did not leave a will (thus listing his children), there is documentary evidence that he had five sons (the oldest also named Rowland who is referred to in family documentation as "Rowland #2") who remained in Virginia. He married a woman named Rebecca and they had nine children. Rowland #2 passed away sometime in 1765.

Rowland #2's sixth child was William Cornelius was born in Spotsylvania County in 1732 and passed away in 1801 . William moved around a great deal and eventually located in the Carolinas. He had nine children with three children born in South Carolina. His seventh child, John Cornelius, was born May 20, 1776 in South Carolina and died April 18, 1857. John is my 4th great grandfather. John eventually settled in Christian County, Kentucky and married Patcey Profitt and they had eight children. John and Patcey are buried in Kentucky.

John's oldest child was Henry Profitt Cornelius who was born in 1806 and died in 1895. Henry was married twice -- first to Mary Ann Quisenberry who passed away in 1845 -- and he then married her cousin Catherine Quisenberry. In total, Henry fathered 18 children! Henry moved to Champaign County, Illinois and is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Foosland, Illinois.

Henry’s eight child (with Mary Ann) was Jesse Profitt Cornelius who was born in 1840 and died in 1885. In 1879, he and his wife Mary Ann Spencer, moved to Kansas. Jesse’s oldest child was my great grandfather William Seborn Cornelius.

As the families moved from Virginia and the Carolinas and headed west, a number of family members moved north. By the time the Civil War broke out in 1861, members of the Cornelius family lived in the North and in the South and in the border state of Kentucky. There is documentary (and anecdotal) evidence that family members fought on both sides.

My Kentucky ancestors apparently leaned to the South. A tombstone of a family member named John Wilkes Cornelius appears in the Christian County Cemetery.

The war separated the country and the effects are still felt 150 years later.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sergeant York

Last night, on Turner Classic Movies, I watch the 1941 movie Sergeant York starring Gary Cooper. Sergeant Alvin C. York was a hero of World War I and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

He was awarded the MOH for his actions on October 8, 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive (also known as the Battle of the Argonne Forest. Sgt. York killed several German soldiers and, along with seven of his fellow infantrymen, took 132 German prisoners.

My grandfather, Edward Kostal, was in the same battle, but was wounded before Sgt. York’s heroics, on September 30, 1918.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grandpa’s sidearm

My grandfather, Edward Kostal, was a doughboy in World War I and was wounded in France a few weeks before the Armistice was signed. He was a machine-gunner, but I’m certain he carried a Colt 1911 as his personal sidearm.

Because he was wounded and carried from the Argonne Forest battlefield, his sidearm was lost to him … and to his family.

For sentimental purposes, I wish we had his pistol, but we do not.

Turnbull Manufacturing Company has been manufacturing handguns and is famous for restoring antique firearms. Here’s an example of what a restored 1911 Colt looks like from approximately the same manufacturing year.

If I had my grandfather’s pistol, I would take it to Turnbull for restoration and would never, never, never sell it!!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Emma Kostal Psota wedding day

While looking up some recipes form my mother’s recipe blog, I found a photo of my great aunt, Emma Kostal Psota, taken on her wedding day. Emma is seated holding the flowers. Her new husband, Fred Psota, is to her right.

Emma was the younger sister of my maternal grandfather, Edward Kostal. She was born March 20,1896 and was three years younger than my grandfather. On June 29, 1914, she married Fred Psota. Three years later, their daughter Jeannette was born.

My grandfather entered the service in 1917 and left for boot camp and then overseas to France. He never saw Emma again. She became ill during the Great Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 and passed away on April 2, 1919. Two years later, Fred married another Emma Kostal (no known relation) and remained married until Fred’s death in 1969.

This picture was included in The Psota Collection which is a compilation of recipes and genealogy about the Psota family. The Psotas are an allied family with the Kostal family. In addition to Emma marrying into the Psota family, her younger sister, Albie Kostal Psota, married Fred’s brother, Rudolf.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I’m a [honorary] Kentucky Colonel!

Thanks to my cousin, Louis Cornelius, I’m an honorary Kentucky Colonel with business cards to prove it!

A couple of months ago, he and I were exchanging messages on Facebook and he asked me if I would be interested. I said I would be interested and thought nothing more of it. A few weeks later I received an 11 x 14 certificate from the governor and a couple of weeks ago received an ID card and business cards!

According to their website, “…being a Kentucky Colonel is much more than having an impressive certificate to hang on the wall. The Governor's order creating the commission states that the commission carries with it a responsibility to be ‘Kentucky's ambassador of good will and fellowship around the world.’"

Part of the reason for joining the organization is social in nature (the Kentucky Derby, for example) , but a large part is generosity and doing good works. Hopefully I can be worthy of this honorary title.

There’s an event scheduled at Churchill Downs on November 13th. I would like to be there if I can.

I’m proud to join this group and to be (in a small way) associated with these famous colonels – past and present:

  • Ann Margret
  • Ashley Judd
  • Barry Manilow
  • Betty White
  • Bill Clinton
  • Billy Ray Cyrus
  • Bing Crosby
  • Bob Barker
  • Bob Hope
  • Carol Channing
  • Crystal Gayle
  • Dale Evans
  • Danny Sullivan
  • Dick Smothers
  • Dwight Yoakam
  • Edgar G. Robinson
  • Elvis Presley
  • Foster Brooks
  • George Bush
  • Glenn Frey
  • Harlan Sanders
  • Hugh O’Brien
  • Jeff Foxworthy
  • Jeff Gordon
  • Jimmy Durante
  • Johnny Depp
  • Jose Ferrer
  • Lloyd Bridges
  • Louise Mandrell
  • Mae West
  • Marie Osmond
  • Mario Andretti
  • Mel Tillis
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Naomi Judd
  • Norm Crosby
  • Norman Schwarzkopf
  • Omar Bradley
  • Pat Day
  • Peter Graves
  • Phyllis Diller
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Richard Petty
  • Richard Thomas
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Rosemary Clooney
  • Roy Rogers
  • Shirley Temple Black
  • Tiger Woods
  • Tom Smothers
  • Tom T. Hall
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Wayne Newton
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Winston Churchill
  • Wynonna Judd

Thanks once again to Cousin Louis for making this all work!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Blogger themes

I have used Blogger since 2004. Hard to believe it has been that long since I set up this family weblog! I chose the Blogger platform initially because of its ease-of-us and the fact that it supported custom themes. In fact, it was the themes that first drew me to Blogger.

Since then, theme support has been non-existent and other blogging platforms (most notably WordPress) have added to the variety of themes offered.

Today, I logged into Blogger and discovered and wide variety of new themes that were offered. I was hesitant at first to change my theme, but I changed it to this theme and the change was very, very easy. As easy, in fact, as Posterous is to change their themes.

Ironically, my original blog had a black background and I’m glad to return it to its original color. I like the change and think it has reinvigorated my blog!

Friday, February 26, 2010

William C. Cornelius

William C. Cornelius is my 5th great grandfather. He was born circa 1732 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. William and his wife (it’s not clear about her identity) had nine children although there is a possibility that he may have had additional children. William’s 7th known child was my 4th great grandfather, John Cornelius. William died in 1801 in Lincoln County, North Carolina.

In re-reading a portion of my Uncle Jay’s Cornelius Roots and Shoots book, I found some disturbing information about William’s final resting place:

It is known that there was a small, old Cornelius family cemetery located near the old home place along the Catawba River. When a dam was being constructed to form Lake Norman on the Catawba, it became necessary that this old cemetery be moved to higher ground. It is reported that the remains of only those that were located and identified by headstones were disinterred and moved to the Rehobeth Methodist Church Cemetery in Catawba County, a few miles away. The others, unknown and unmarked, were left and soon covered by the waters of Lake Norman. William and his wife and perhaps others were apparently in unmarked graves at the time and so it must be assumed they are still there under about 100 feet of water.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Japanese General Masaharu Homma

Picture that my dad apparently took of Japanese General Masaharu Homma. The back of the picture says: “Jap General Homma and aides taken Naha Air Field.” Another similar photo continues with: “...on way to Manila to be tried for war crimes.”

According to Wikipedia, Gen. Homma was military commander of the Philippines. During the Japanese occupation, the Bataan Death March occurred and civilians were brutalized. The Japanese military, however, thought he was too cautious and too lenient with Philippine civilians and forced him into retirement in August 1943.

After the war ended, he was captured and transferred to Manila to stand trial for war crimes. He was convicted and executed on April 3, 1946.

This photo was apparently taken during a layover in Okinawa on the way to Manila. Since he was retired, that would explain why he is not wearing a military uniform.

Also according to Wikipedia, there is a film adaption in the works about the general called Beast of Bataan. Actor Hayden Christensen is attached to the project.