BERTRAM HISTORY - WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1939 BY MYRTLE DALTON
Submitted by: Anna Bertram
The following is the note Myrtle Dalton wrote on a Big Chief tablet and sent to my husband, Fount Bertram, along with her essay on the Bertram family of Sunnybrook, Wayne Co., Kentucky. Fount had asked her for family history for an elementary school project.
“Fount, this probably isn’t what you asked for, but it is all I have. I only have these few things which I wrote down one Sunday while visiting Grandpa. Nevertheless I hope it will be of some benefit to you. I tho’t my grandchildren might like this to read sometime so I am sending you a copy of it or the first part down to my immediate family.
I have always aimed to type it and make it into a little book form but I keep putting it off. You can keep this copy. Myrtle Dalton”
“My Great Great Grandfather William Bertram came from the State of North Carolina, and came to Wayne County. (1) First living in Pisgah, Ky., He was married to Nancy Stinson. They were the parents of 12 children, namely Joel, Elijah, Jacob, William, Calvin, Jonathan, Martin, Ahial, Ephriham, Nancy, Sallie and Polly.
Great Great Grandfather William Bertram was born June 17, 1783. Died Oct. 28, 1865. Great Great Grandmother Nancy (Stinson) Bertram was born April 11, 1789. Died Sept. 22, 1855. He was a Baptist minister and they were both in the organization of Pleasant Hill United Baptist Church June 12, 1841. All the children were united with the church except Calvin. (2)
Calvin was the father of Andy and Ahial (whom we all called “Aunt Sallie’s Ahial”). Also Calvin was the father of the Doctors William and Joel Bertram of Tennessee and Grandfather of Dr. Claud Bertram of Tennessee. (3)
Elijah, Jacob, and my Great Grandfather Jonathan were Baptist ministers.
Sallie and Polly were mothers of 17 children each. Sallie married James Hurt. Polly married William Lester, my Great Grandfather on my mother’s side. Nancy married Mart Coyle.
Martin was killed during the Civil War. He was knocked in the head with a rock by Bill Milligan of Aleck Evans Company, at Rock Creek. (4)
My Great Grandfather Jonathan Bertram was married April 27, 1840 to Pharba Adkins. (Little Grandma) She was the daughter of Morris and Rebecca Young Adkins. Morris owned and lived on what is known as the D. Dalton farm. This farm joins the farm of Great Great Grandfather William Bertram. And here the families of the Bertrams and Adkins lived at the time of the marriage of Jonathan and Pharba, Grandmother Rebecca died and was buried on the farm in the Dalton Cemetery. Then Grandfather Adkins moved to the State of Georgia. (5)
Grandfather Jonathan and Grandmother Pharba were the parents of nine children.
Rebecca born Dec. 26, 1843 married Bill Rule
Alvin born Aug. 22, 1846 married Rosa Young
Jane born May 16, 1848 married Elijah Brown
Elza born April 22, 1850 married Jane Manning
Katherine May 7, 1852 married Charlie Asberry
Nancy born May 11, 1854 married Jackson Rigney
Mary born Jan. 24, 1857 died at age of 3 years
Esther born June 20, 1859 Married John Long
Emerine born March 25, 1863 married Jacob Catron
They raised sheep, cotton, and flax from which many things were made, such as clothing, quilts, blankets, sheets, spreads, toweling, carpets, and rope. Their shoes were made from leather from the tan yard at Gapcreek, Ky. (6) All work was done by hand power. Among things used in the making of those articles were the cotton gin, shearer, cards, spinning wheel, loom, warping bars, reel, flaxbreak, hackle, knitting needles, and different dyes.
Fruits were dried and stored in barrels. Sugar was made from the sugar maple. The closest place that salt was obtainable was Lebanon, Kentucky. (7)
During the Civil War it was a struggle to live. So it was with the family of Jonathan Bertram. Tho none was in the service, the soldiers arrested Jonathan and worked him in a blacksmith shop a month. Alvin was about the age of 15 and worked away from home most all the time, so there were many tasks that fell to the hands of the younger son Elza.
The family lived in a house built by Jonathan about the year 1854, which is located one fourth mile north east of the Pinnacle and is still standing today. (8)
During the Civil War they hid their provisions in a cave above the spring to keep the soldiers from taking all they had. It was almost impossible to get grain ground for bread and once they were without bread for four weeks. Once Elza was sent to a mill at Gap Creek with two and one half bushels of corn to be ground. He was sent by way of Slick Ford so as not to come in contact with soldiers, but on his way back home a company of soldiers were camped up the creek from the Dalton farm and took all his meal except one half bushel.
Jonathan owned a nice horse and a sorry little mule. They kept the horse hid in what is known as “The left hand hollow.” Once the soldiers were passing and stopped at the barn to see if they might exchange a worn out horse for a good one. But the fellow that looked in the barn turned and said, “Boys there is nothing but a lousy little mule”. Then they went their way.
It was told that the soldiers aimed to give Elza a good beating. He was afraid and stayed hid in a rock house by the Pinnacle for eighteen months, sleeping only one night at home. He had no fire for fear that the smoke would attract the soldiers attention and he would be found. His meals were carried daily by one of his family to a big rock down in the field below the Pinnacle a short distance. He would slip out and get his meals sometimes in snow knee deep. He was eleven or twelve years old and was always afraid of caves and rock houses. He sat atop the Pinnacle and watched the soldiers march to Mill Springs. (9)
Once Jonathan helped take a drove of hogs down south to the Florida line. The trip was made on foot and required forty two days for the trip.
Jonathan, Pharba, Esther and Emerine (daughters), made a trip to Georgia to visit the Morris Adkins family. The trip was made in a covered wagon. As they traveled they passed a young man sitting on a fence and Esther said, “That is my man”, and sure enough, she married the man whose name was John Long. So Esther was left in her new home in Georgia while the others returned home. (9.5)
Jonathan and Pharba were in the organization of Pleasant Hill United Baptist Church, June 12, 1841. He was excluded from the Church, by his own request, for rioting and drinking. On the third Saturday in July 1850. He was restored 3rd Saturday in Sept. 1868, and was licensed to preach March 1871. He was a great preacher, his voice was course and loud.
His last address was to the Taylor’s Grove United Baptist Church. (10) His subject was St. John 3:14. He became ill while delivering the sermon and stopped speaking, promising to come again and finish when he was able. He became very sick and died Oct. 14, 1894 at the age of 71 years, 1 month, 29 days.
For 9 years after Great Grandfather’s death, Great Grandmother lived in the old home. Then she came to live at Grandfather Elza’s. She lived there for nearly six years. She died Nov. 14, 1909, age 85 years, 7 days.
Grandfather’s sister Rebecca married Bill Rule, Aug. 1862. Two months later, Bill went to Overton County, Tennessee on a visit to his uncle, Jacob Bertram. He was killed Oct. 11, 1862, by guerillas of the Company of Tinker Dave Beaty. (11) Seven of the guerillas were killed by Jim Hawey, a cousin of the Bertrams. The night Bill was killed, Rebecca was at home with her mother. She tho’t she heard Bill’s voice calling her the third time. So positive was she that she had heard him calling her that she got out of bed and went out in the yard and around the house three times, believing he was there somewheres.
Grandfather Elza was married to Jane Manning, daughter of John Manning and Mariah Matthews Manning, Oct. 26, 1870. (12) They were the parents of 11 children, Namely, Samuel, Tennessee, Alvin, Belle, Rosa, Porter, Esther, Winfrey, Ruebin, Chololus and an infant that died at birth. Grandmother died Oct. 12, 1903. Grandfather lived out his days in his old home. There were many things in his life worthy of praise. The most outstanding was his steadfastness in “The Faith”. He was a Christian since a school boy.
One day on his way home from school he came to what is known as “The Old Lane”, which is ¼ mile from his home. At the foot of this old lane is where he realized the change from a sinner to a steadfast Christian, came to him. He joined the Pleasant Hill Church Oct. 27, 1874. Many were the people, especially, preachers who came to Grandfather’s home to receive of him a deeper knowledge and clearer understanding of the Bible.
He had a great love for children, and was loved by his grandchildren which numbered 36 at the time of his death. He enjoyed watching our games when we would all gather at his home. He would walk the long porch and cheer and laugh until the tears ran down his cheeks.
While I was yet a tiny baby he would come to our home and, while mother would be busy with her work, he would steal me from my cradle and slip away taking me to his home. Grandfather died July 11, 1934.”
Foot Notes: Written by Anna L. Bertram, wife of Fount W. Bertram, November 24, 2005
(1) Wayne County, Kentucky
(2) Calvin, however, is buried next to his mother in the church yard of Pleasant Hill United Baptist Church, Sunnybrook, Wayne Co., Kentucky. His wife, Sarah “Sallie” Bertram is on his other side. His marker gives his name as J.C. Bertram, the initials standing for John Calvin Bertram, and the dates as 3 Mar 1825 – 25 May 1880. It is noted that 8 of the 12 children of Nancy (Stinson) and William Bertram are buried in this cemetery. Besides John Calvin, the children buried At Pleasant Hill are: Joel, Mary “Polley” Lester, Sarah Hurt, Jacob, Ahial, William J., and Jonathan.
(3) The brothers, William Stenson Bertram, M.D. and Joel Fox Bertram, M.D., both practiced medicine in Fentress Co., Tennessee. Later, John Claude Bertram, M.D., son of William Stenson Bertram, M.D., also practiced there. He is the one Myrtle Dalton referred to as Dr. Claud Bertram.
(4) She is referring now to Martin Luther Bertram, son of Nancy (Stinson) and William Bertram, not to Martin “Mart” Coyle. The Rock Creek where he was killed was not the one in Grayson Co., Kentucky, but much closer to home. This Rock Creek was mostly in the part of Wayne Co., Kentucky that became McCreary Co., Kentucky in 1912, although a portion of the creek was also located in the part of Fentress Co., Tennessee that became Pickett Co., Tennessee in 1879. Martin Luther Bertram was a civilian, not a soldier, when he was apparently killed by a Confederate guerrilla in an irregular manner sometime between 1861– 1865, the years of the Civil War. No marked grave has been found for him in Wayne Co., Kentucky. All that I know of the Alek Evans gang came from the pension file of John Burk in the form of an affidavit of John E.H. Lowe in 1875. In the affidavit Mr. Lowe stated that “in the later part of March or early April of 1863, John Burk, John Robinson and his son Samuel, Samuel Frost and ____? Williams and the Jones boys went one night from Wayne into Clinton County, Kentucky and got with some other men and organized a gang of rebel guerrillas under the lead of Alick Evans.”
(5) Family records give 1835 as the year of death of Rebecca (Young) Adkins, five years before her daughter, Pharaba, married Jonathan Bertram. Rebecca’s widower, Morris Adkins, married 2nd Martha “Patsy” Lawrence about 1839. Their marriage record has been lost. They migrated to Georgia and then Alabama. Morris Adkins died January 6, 1885 in DeKalb Co., Alabama.
(6) Gapcreek or Gap Creek was a community in Wayne Co., Kentucky.
(7) The Lebanon, Kentucky in this essay was probably in Marion County, although quite a distance to go for salt. It is located north west of Wayne Co., Kentucky.
(8) The house has since been moved. The Pinnacle is the same as the Bald Rock, which is located in the south western corner of Wayne Co., Kentucky next to the Clinton County, Kentucky line and the Pickett Co., Tennessee line. It is so close to these two counties that there is often much confusion even among the residents as to which county is the actual location of the natural formation called the Bald Rock.
(9) A “rock house” in this story is a natural formation where a cliff overhang forms a shallow cave.
(9.5) John Alexander Long and Esther C. Bertram were married 20 Oct 1874 in Dade Co., Georgia.
(10) This church was located at Mill Springs, Wayne Co., Kentucky.
(11) Tinker Dave Beaty was the leader of a guerrilla band on the Union side. Thus, the Bertram family was typical of others in the area who were caught between both sides in the war. The guerillas referred to by Mrs. Dalton were more commonly known as “bush whackers”, and while they claimed allegiance to a cause they were nothing more than outlaws. They robbed, stole, and killed regardless of the sympathies of the persons they were exploiting. In the area covered in this history there were two major bands of guerillas. The Union band was led by “Tinker” Dave Beaty and the Confederate band by Champ Ferguson. There were also several smaller groups that imitated them without being under their direct command.
(12) Myrtle’s Grandpa Elza was Elza S.L. Bertram. His wife’s full name was Mary Jane Manning before they married. Her grave marker gives her name as Mary J., but she apparently was called Jane by the Bertram family. Her father was John Howard Manning (Sr.), who was killed by soldiers near his home in the Sunnybrook community. The story goes that he went across the road to visit a neighbor. They were standing in the front yard when the soldiers rode up and captured him. They took him up on Piercey Mountain and shot him. His widow, with the help of a neighbor’s negro slaves, buried him where he fell, then built a fence around his grave to keep the hogs from it. Piercey Mountain is located next to or across the road from Pleasant Hill United Baptist Church and cemetery. The story is told that they killed him for not mustering into military service although he had enlisted under some duress. Some time after John Howard Manning was killed his widow, Mariah (Matthews) Manning, married Jesse Bertram and had more children. Jesse Bertram was a first cousin of the Elza S.L. Bertram who married Mary Jane Manning, daughter of Mariah.
A Note About the Author: Myrtle Tennessee BERTRAM was born January 12, 1900 in Sunnybrook, Wayne Co., Kentucky to Clerinda Clemetine (HANCOCK) and Alvin BERTRAM. On May 2, 1895 she married Otha M. DALTON, son of Nancy (MARSH) and Samuel A. DALTON. Myrtle died January 26, 1981 and is buried next to her husband in the church yard of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Sunnybrook.
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