Notes from Lee Rector 7/24/2001:


This document was written by Ruth Y. Rector before the death of my grandfather Joe Lee Rector Sr., so it would be prior to 1976. It is the first in a long series (hopefully) of documents I am posting on this site. They have to be keyed because they were created back in the old “typewriter” days – for those of us who remember such beasts.  (This even preceded her getting a ‘self-correcting’ typewriter). There are several places in this document where she refers material that she has ordered and/or areas where further research will be required. In the course of time between 1976 and when she became unable to further work on her projects about 1990 when she became disabled with Alzheimer’s disease, she filled in most of the blanks of this early report. I’m starting with the earlier documents. As I move forward these blanks will be filled. Note: I added to my mother’s document my children and have boldfaced the line of dependence of our branch of the family down through my children.


Among my mother’s documents (including miles and miles of microfilm) are birth certificates, deeds, census records, letters, wills, death certificates, marriage licenses, and much, much more.  As time allows I will be scanning these documents and putting them up on this website in their original form in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. I will index these documents, but will not attempt to type and/or key them.


I am hoping this research material will be of use to someone.  As this site gets indexed, I hope to collect other documents and more material to further this work. Anyone who would like to contribute documents and or research materials is encouraged to contact me. You may email me at the following address:


The Germanna Colony referred to below has made great strides since my mother wrote this document on or about 1974. They have a website. The address on the Internet is and the telephone contact for the visitor center is:  (540) 423-1700. Further information about their work, may be obtained if you google the Marc Wheat database ( or by emailing Mark Wheat at the following address:


Below is edited text from a letter sent to me on April 26, 1973 related to the document below:


“Dear Lee,


Here is the Rector genealogy, in concentrated form, stacks up so far. It gets more interesting as it goes along. Now you can see why I haven’t had much time to write to you, this along with three trips in a row.


I found an excellent library right there in Nashville. I found another one in Bowling Green, Ky. I will just have to come back down in the early summer and do some more work. I have also learned in the meantime that a good portion of the information on Wayne County, Ky, is contained in the library in Nashville, because the Cumberland River was their highway. I have a very good book which I am reading that was written by a Wayne County woman, writer of note, whose maiden name was Simpson, incidentally. If you are interested it is called Seedtime on the Cumberland by Hariette S. Arrow. It tells a great deal about the early history of the Cumberland River from Wayne County through Nashville and back into Kentucky again. She did a great deal of research and writes with authority on the subject, and yet tells a great deal about old ways and methods of doing things.


…When we drove into Wayne County from the South over the mountain back roads, I noticed a small sign pointing down a country road which read, “Rector’s Flat Baptist Church 2 ½ miles.” We turned off down that road and saw the church and found a little graveyard which was in very good condition just a short way from the church. I picked out a very old gravestone and walked over and read it. It was Samuel Rector!!! He was the very person I was trying to find information about. It turned out that all the family and most of their children are buried in that cemetery and most of the graves are well marked. Now I am very interested in the history of that church. In talking to people who live near it, I found that the present one (1909) replaces an older church on this site. All the historical records of the Baptist Church are in Nashville. I read in some book that a number of people who came into Wayne County were Baptists who were being persecuted by the Church of England which was the ruling church in Virginia at the time. There should be something written about it in their historical records. Specifically, I would like to know anything about Rector’s Flat Church. They had some sort of a celebration there a couple of years ago and one of the Rector Descendants gave a history of the Church…”




Line of Decent

By Ruth Y. Rector

Circa 1973


The following information is furnished by the Memorial Foundation of Germanna Colonies in Virginia, Inc. This foundation was organized by the American descendants, chartered March 14, 1956 for the purpose of purchasing the original site of Germanna in what is now Orange County, Virginia, and to research the history of the families of the Germanna colony both in the U.S. and Germany. This was done before the great memorial celebration which was held in Virginia in 1964 to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the settlement of the first German colony in Virginia with 42 persons, 13 heads of family, John Jacob Richter being one of the thirteen. The research on the family in Virginia was done, for the most part, by B.C. Holtzclaw, a descendant himself, and a professor at the University of Virginia at Richmond. The search was done in Siegen and nearby towns by Mr. Emil Flender of Unna, Westphalia, Germany. His findings follow:


Hans Richter was the earliest ancestor (discovered) of the Virginia Rector family. He was probably born about the year 1550 in Saxony, and the Siegen city records show that he paid the fee for Siegen citizenship in 1585, being ‘from the country near Miessen”, from the city of Freiburg. His was probably –


Jacob Richter of Siegen, born about 1575, who is named in 1609 as owner of a house in Doehrstrasse in Siegen. He is married twice, first wife’s name unknown, mother of two sons, one being Johannes Richter, ancestor of the American branch. Other son, Tillman, possibly a third son.


Johannes Richter of Siegen, born about 1605-1610 in Siegen, Germany. Married Anna – (?) about 1632-3. He lived in Siegen in 1638-9 and was admitted that year to the Guild of Hammersmiths and Smelters as a Reidtmeister (middleman. They had 11 children (all listed), the sixth one being Christophel Richter.


Christopher (Christoffel, Stoffel) Richter of Trupbach, born about 1645 and died at Trupbach sometime after the 1713 death of his wife. He married Anna Catharine, daughter of Herman Becker of Trupbach and his first wife Ottilia, (whom he married in 1637), according to records of a tax on a small wedding feast of two tables of guests.) Christopher Richter was a clockmaker, and is shown as a member of the Guild of Steelsmiths and Toolmakers of the Frudenberg District in 1698-99. After 1699 his name is crossed out, and the roll on Jan 2, 1705 shows in his stead Johannes Richter of Trupbach, admitted as a clockmaker. Christopher had eight children listed, the fifth one being Hans Jacob Richter, the immigrant.


Hans Jacob Richter, the 1714 immigrant, was christened in German Protestant Chrich the 19th Sunday after Trinity, 1674 with Hans Jacob Zimmerman acting as godfather. Married at Trupbach Jan 17, 1711 to Elizabeth, daughter of Philipp Fishenbach, had a son Johannes born there Dec. 1, 1711. He was admitted to the Guild of Steelsmiths and Toolmakers of the Freudenberg District as a toolmaker Jan. 7, 1712 and as “Hans Jacob Fishbach” sold his house at Trupbach in 1713 to his brother, Johannes Richter of Weidenau. More information is available on him. The house sale must have been in preparation for his leaving Germany. They first went to Maidstone England and then in 1714 came to Virginia. They had four sons of record.


Hans Jacob Richter (later John Jacob Rector), immigrated into Virginia in 1714 into the Germanna Colony, in what now is Orange county, Virgina. Governor Alexander Spottswood of the Virginia colony conceived the idea of having an iron-producing colony brought to Virginia. They were assembled in the Nassau-Siegen area of Germany and sent out to the new country by Baron de Graffenreid. They were the first German colony in Virginia, German protestants, and they settled in a five-sided walled and fortified town which they cut out and built in a loop of the Rapidan River 12 miles upstream from its conflurence with the Rappahannock. After a number of years the families who had turned to farming, moved to other locations nearby in Virginia. John Jacob Rector acquired considerable land and chattels as well as a small number of slaves. After his death, Elizabeth, his wife, married John Marr. She and John Jacob had four sons, as proven by her will leaving her estate to her four sons:


John, born Dec. l, 1711 in Germany.

Harman, born about 1715-1720 in Virginia.

Henry, born about 1715-1720 in Virginia.

Jacob, born about 1720-25 in Virginia.


Jacob Rector, born about 1720-25 in Virginia. He married Mary Hitt, daughter of Peter Hitt and his wife Mary Elizabeth, who were also 1714 immigrants. Documentation and proof is given by means of old Virginia deeds and wills. Jacob died 1810-11. He had six children:


Peter Rector, born Nov. 1, 1749

Nancy Rector, born May 23, 1752

James Rector, born Aug 22, 1754

Jesse Rector, born Dec. 22, 1759

Bennett Rector, born March 10, 1769

Elizabeth Rector, born Nov. 5, 1769


These dates are in an old family book owned by Jesse Rector.


Jesse Rector, born Dec. 22, 1759 in Fauquier Co., Va., died Jan. 22, 1843 in Lawrence County, Indiana. Dr. Levi Salmans wrote a lengthy book concerning this branch of the family. It is in the Library of Congress and I am waiting for them to fill an order to copy about 14 pages of the book for me. However, I do know that they moved from Fauquier County about 1786 to Rowan County in North Carolina, along with the father, Jacob, and a brother, Bennett and their families. I have a microfilm of Rowan Co. records coming in soon, should know more. Jessey (as it was spelled) was listed in the first census (1790) of Rowan Co., N.C. Before this time, Jessee fought in the War of the Revolution with the Virginia Militia, as a foot soldier, at the battle of Little York (Yorktown) and stood with soldiers on the surrendered field when Cornwallis capitulated to George Washington on the 19th day of October, 1771. He was refused a pension because he served only three and one-half months before the war was over, and six months of service was necessary to qualify for a pension. All the above information comes from his file in the war department, given him in his old age in his application for pension. From Rowan County, N.C. he moved his family to Grayson County, Virginia just above the North Carolina line. This was after a few years in Rowan County. He remained in Grayson County for a number of years, is shown in the census for 1820, which is the first one for that county, and moved in 1821. In that year he sold out his land and his youngest son Jospeh moved their families to Lawrence County, Indiana. (Youngest son, by his first wife.) He married a second time, Margaret Winford on Feb. 2, 1802. He had eight children by his first wife and seven by his second.


Jesse Rector’s Children


From First Marriage:

Samuel Rector, born Aug. 10, 1780

Jane Rector

Mary Rector

Leona Rector

Susannah Rector

Elizabeth Rector

Margaret Rector

Joseph Rector


From Second Marriage.

Levi Rector, born Dec. 2, 1803

Rhoda Rector, born 1806

Alexander Rector, born 1808

Rebecca Rector, born 1811

Isaac Rector, born April 23, 1816

Chloe Rector, born 1818

Johnathan Rector, born 1821


The pages from Dr. Salman’s book will give more information on the Indiana group. Samuel Rector did not go to Lawrence Co., Indiana. He left before the rest of the family and went from Grayson Co., Virginia as a young man to Wayne County, Kentucky. The date of his birth was not given on his gravestone which in found in a family cemetery near Monticello, Kentucky.


Samuel Rector, born in Fauquier Co., Va., Aug. 10, 1780 and died March 21, 1862 in Wayne County, Kentucky. He moved to Rowan County with his father when a small boy. Then moved with family to Grayson County and left Grayson County between 1804 and 1807.  Dr. Salmans shows Samuel in Grayson County with one “tithable” in 1804. Don’t know what this means. The records of Wayne County, Kentucky shows that on Feb. 14, 1807 Samuel Rector posted a 50L bond for the marriage of himself and Ruth Simpson. Permission for the marriage was signed by her father Reuben Simpson. So he married shortly after the above-posted date Ruth Simpson, born Jan. 8. 1790 in South Carolina. They lived out the rest of their lives in a high rolling valley in Kentucky surrounded by low hills of the Cumberland Mountains. They both lived to ripe old age. He died at 82. She died years later at age 88. According to census records, they had nine children.


Polly Rector

Jesse Rector

Sarah Rector

Elizabeth Rector

Rueben Simpson Rector

James Rector

Joseph William Rector, born Dec. 3, 1826

Isaac D. Rector


There is a possibility of another girl, however I do not have her placed yet by the records. Girls are harder to find, for they marry and change their names. All of the above are buried in the little cemetery near the Rector’s Flatt Baptist Church south of Monticello, Kentucky with the exceptions of Reuben Simpson who is buried with his wife in Tranquilla in the Bethesda cemetery and Joseph William who migrated to Arkansas, then Texas. I have the birth and death dates of most of them. The cemetery is in very good conditions, some new gravestone having been made to replace old ones that were gone.




Joseph William Rector, born Dec. 3, 1826 (date from Nobia Rector) in Wayne County, Kentucky. He died Feb. 17, 1912 in Gordon, Palo Pinto, Texas. He married Ann Etta Cooper in Wayne County, Kentucky sometime before the 1850 census of that county which shows them as a young childless couple. He was age 23 and she was 19. I have not found their marriage records yet. They do not appear in the 1860 census of Wayne County, so sometime in between they migrated to Arkansas. I have microfilm which I will study to find the place of birth of all their children. Nobia (Rector) advises me that they were all born in Arkansas. They will be many records of this family in Arkansas after the Civil War, also records of who served in the war, if any. His children would have been too young for service. Most of the information will be in Independence and Izard County records in Arkansas. Will work on this later. There were many Cooper families in Wayne County, a small post office and a creek, were named after them. The old patriarch of the family was Frederick Cooper. He was born in York County, Pennsylvania, served in the Revolutionary war with a Pennsylvania company where he drove a service wagon taking supplies to George Washington’s army. Then he left that service after those first battles and moved to Rowan County, North Carolina in 1880, where records of the county show he enlisted as a corporal in a Capt. Enoch’s company. Later, under General Gates, he was captured by the British but managed to escape in a few days. He served under General Morgen at Cowpens and at Eutaw Springs. After the close of the war, he married Dorothy Brown and moved to Wayne County, Kentucky in 1799. He was the grandfather (I think, or the great-grandfather) of Ann Etta Cooper who married Joseph William Rector. I have sent to Washington for his war records given in an application for a pension. After settling in Izard County Arkansas, Joseph and Ann E. Rector had children as follows:


(I don’t know if the order is correct)

Marshall Rector

Kansas William Rector

Etta Rector

Simpson Rector

Elisabeth Rector

Joseph Rector


I will research the whereabouts of these people later. Some went to Texas, some to Oklahoma, etc. The tendency was for the younger ones in the family to migrate as the homestead land near their parents was filled up. And as is proving the case with the Rectors, sometimes the older members of the family migrated with the younger children (Jesse, Joseph W.). I believe it was Joseph who went to Texas and took his parents with him.


Kansas William Rector, born May 22, 1858 in Melbourne, Izard County, Arkansas. Died Sep. 18, 1932 in the same place. Married Martha Caroline Bigham (sometimes spelled Bingham) Sept. 25, 1879.



Margaret Ellen, born Sept. 12, 1880

Samuel Bigham, born Sept. 15, 1882

Ether Jane, born Aug. 3, 1884

Joseph Lee, born Mar. 3, 1886

Rufus Simpson, born May 9, 1888

Ursula Etta, born Mar. 26, 1891

William Earl, born Aug. 19, 1897

 James Ursel, bor Dec. 11, 1899

Nobia, born Aug 17, 1902


Thanks to the Rector habit of naming the children after their ancestors, I have been able to trace the family back pretty well. I intend to do a lot of work on the Rectors in Arkansas. The Rectors in Little Rock and Hot Springs spring from the same immigrant, however their lines separated with the first American born generation. They are decended from John the first son of John Jacob who was born in Germany before the family came over.


Joseph Lee Rector, born Mar. 3, 1886, Melbourne, Izard County Arkansas. Married Ethel M. Clark, born Sept. 2, 1888, Melbourne, Izard County Arkansas.



Joe Lee Rector Jr.


Joe Lee Rector, Jr., born Jan 20, 1919, Conway, Faulkner County, Arkansas. Married Ruth Yingling, born July 5, 1921, White County, Arkansas.



Patricia Carol Rector

Joe Lee Rector III


Patricia Rector, born Feb. 28, 1944, Searcy, White County Arkansas. Married Ronnie Lee McConnell. Divorced.



Kent Edward McConnell


In 1973, Patricia remarried to John Robert Gilbert, born ? St. Louis, Mo. Gilbert adopted Kent Edward, and his name was changed to Kent Edward Gilbert.


Joe Lee Rector III, born Nov. 12, 1947, Searcy, White Co., Arkansas. He married Mary Elizabeth Vuylsteke, born Dec. 9, 1960, St. Louis, Mo. in 1984. They divorced in 1994.



Jole Ana Rector, born June 13, 1986, Los Angeles, California.

Faith Marie Rector, born July 17, 1988, Brandon, Florida.

Shelby Matteson Rector (girl), born October 18, 1990, Tampa, Florida.



This makes Kent, Jole, Faith and Shelby 10th generation Americans.





Clara Barnes Smart of Virginia wrote a book entitled The Rectors of Wayne County Kentucky, that was published by Wayside Press of Charlottesville, VA in 1975.  I  (Lee Rector) don’t know if copies of this book are still available, and would like information from anyone if they know anything about this.


Perhaps we could get permission to “scan” the book and put it up on this website from Clara Barnes Smart’s heirs.


A letter from my mother was published in the book. The text of this letter is as follows:



“Several years ago, I asked “Gramp” (Joe Lee Rector, Searcy, Arkansas) what he knew about his great-grandfather. He only knew that his name was Samuel Rector and that he lived in Kentucky. His grandfather, Joseph William Rector was born in Kentucky and lived there until shortly after his marriage. Gramp also thought the family was related to the Rector families who figured prominently in early Arkansas political history. I was already familiar with the family history of that branch.


My curiosity aroused, I visited the genealogical room of the Kansas City Public Library. In Jillison’s Old Kentucky Giants, I found only one Samuel Rector listed as an early settler of Kentucky. He was in Wayne County. Then I looked in the 1850 U.S. Census for Wayne County and there was Joseph William living with his new bride in the house next to Samuel. The librarian pointed out the Rector book in the Germanna Records. Bonanza! There in one day I had found all the family connections right back to Germany.


“You should call Dad in Arkansas,” my husband said, but I waited for one more library trip. A few days later, Gramp sat down in his easy chair, dropped his head and died. I missed my chance to tell him of my findings. But, more important, I missed the chance to listen, with interest, to his telling me about those he could remember.


However, the genealogical “bug” had bitten me. Several months later a friend was traveling with me through Tennessee. We drove over a beautiful little pass in Pickett County near the Kentucky border and we entered Wayne County by the back door. AS we were driving toward Monticello, we noticed a small sign. Rector’s Flat Baptist Church, pointing off the highway. We turned onto the country road and drive about two miles. Near a bend in the road was a small cemetery. I parked and walked over to the oldest-appearing gravestones. There was Samuel Rector and his wife, Ruth. I felt as though a heavenly hand guided me to the spot.


In Monticello, we made stops at the County Courthouse and at the library. Among other tings, the librarian handed me a book of the Huffaker Family. It contained a letter concerning the Rectors of Wayne County from Mrs. John A. Smart, who “lived on the side of Carter Mountain, overlooking Charlottesville (Va.), one mile from the city limits.” After returning home, I sent a letter to Mrs. Smart addressed exactly according to the description. Three days later, I answered the phone to hear “This is Clara Smart. Where and the world have you all been. We knew you were out there somewhere, but we had lost you.” And this was the beginning of a great exchange of correspondence.


Last summer during a two-week genealogical trip, I had the pleasure of a visit with the John A. Smart family. They truly live on a farm on the side of Carter’s Mountain. Theirs is a friendly home they built themselves. It is tucked on the side of Thomas Jefferson’s beloved mountain which, on the other end, has his home Monticello, a treasure restored.


The Smart house seems to grow from the soil, for they spent many of their younger years building it from the stones on the mountainsides. The interior walls are the beautiful warm color of Beachwood cut by their father’s mill in Kentucky, and hauled from the western edge over the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the eastern edge of that mountain range. They have prized antique furnishings, many by home craftsmen, which they have collected from within their families as well as friends. Hand-woven items all over the house recall the days when a weaving school was taught there in an effort to preserve a dying art.


All the wild flowers grow on the mountains above their house. It provides a home for an unbelievable number of birds and animals which report to the patio every morning, with clockwork precision and a great chatter, to receive their daily ration of food.


Both Smarts are retired, but they are vigorous and quite interested in their county. Mr. Smart still has an active interest in the farm development and soil conservation projects of Albermarle County. Clara Smart has a love of family that borders on reverence. She greeted me like a long lost cousin. We spent two days of non-stop talking and sharing of stories and statistics.


On the morning I left, there were getting ready to have a luncheon for the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. As I drove down through the pasture, a deer trotted across my path. She seemed to feel quite at home on the Smart’s farm. Clara had taken the time that morning to feed the birds. She thinks they are important and wants to preserve their kind.


With the help of many people in the Rector family, Clara has taken the time to gather the facts of this book. She thinks these people and their stories are important and she wants to preserve them for you.


You should be glad.


Ruth Rector

Shawnee Mission, Ks 


Last Update: 8/14/2001 1:02 PM






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