PIKE COUNTY, OHIO
My First Genealogical Experience by Yolanda Campbell Lifter
It was the summer of 1969, July or August. This was the summer that my father, Allen Henry Campbell, died, and I was only 9 years of age. My sister Kelley and I were attending an Allen family reunion in Jackson Township, Pike County, at the home of my great-uncle George Washington Allen and his wife Bertha (Cruze).
We must have ridden down from Springfield with my aunt and uncle, Juanita (Campbell) and Floyd Pratt, along with my paternal grandmother, Leona (Allen) Campbell and another aunt, Darlene Campbell. I do not remember if my other aunt and uncle, Evelyn (Campbell) and Robert Stevens were there.
Sometime in the late afternoon, we drove the short distance to the Allen Chapel Cemetery. It was there that my Aunt Juanita (known as Aunt Nee by my sisters and me) told me about some of our Allen relatives buried in the cemetery.
I heard the story about the young man who was sitting in church and was struck by lightening and died. I was told of two brothers who fought in the Civil War. I'm sure there were more stories, but those two were engraved in my memory.
A little over twenty-years later I was bitten by the genealogy bug. I was curious about those two stories. Did I remember them correctly? Were they true?
My sister Holly accompanied me on my first research trip to Ohio in September 1995. We visited the oldest surviving cousin of my father's who lived in Columbus. Mildred Irvin, daughter of Bertha (Allen) and John Irvin, was in her early 80's at the time. I asked her about the lightening story. She told me she was there. It was Sunday, 30 May 1926, and there was a Memorial Day program at the church. Mildred was reading a poem when the incident occurred. A bolt of lightening hit the stovepipe, traveled down it, entered the church, and continued through the body of Ulysess Cirkus Allen (known as Kirk), the son of James C. and Nora (McLaughlin) Allen. He was 1 week away from turning 24 years of age.
I have found a newspaper account of his death so that was one story that turned out to be correct.
Mildred provided me with some more family information (some not so true!) as well as some wonderful old photographs, including an Allen family reunion photo taken in Washington Court House. For the first time in my life, I saw a picture of my grandfather, Henry Clinton Campbell, who died in 1939 (when my father was nine years of age).
As for the 2 brothers in the Civil War, I am still working on the confirmation of that story. My 2nd great-grandfather, Isaac C. Allen, is buried in the cemetery. Not too far from him is a Civil War stone for a William Allen so this may be the brother.
I'm sure Aunt Nee had many more stories of our ancestors and I wish I had asked her about them before she died in 1974.
Pike County, Ohio
Yolanda Campbell Lifter, Pike County Coordinator
Copyright © 2006 Yolanda Campbell Lifter
This site may be freely linked to but not duplicated in any fashion without my consent.