The Reappearance of the Belts: Eleanor Nesbitt Belt and the Lyons Siblings (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks)
Remeber Hester Ann Lavender? I wrote about her in “Girls Gone Wild – 1800’s Style”. She took for her 2nd husband Jonathan Belt, and was the mother of Phoebe Ellen Deweese who married George Washington Barnard. Well, George Washington Barnard was also related to the Belt family. His maternal grandmother, Sophia Lyons Hess, was the aunt of Eleanor Nesbitt, the wife of one of Hester’s husband’s brothers, Hiram Belt, Jr. Eleanor’s mother was Jemima Lyons. Jemima and Sophia’s brother, John Lyons, also married a Belt; sister of Hiram and Jonathan Belt, Nancy Belt. I have not one ancestor mixed up with the bloody Belt Clan, but three.
Hiram Belt, Sr. had 10 children by wife Averilla Medford between 1818, when they married, and 1846. After Averilla died in 1853, Hiram remarried and had 6 more children. In order of appearance the three Belts related to my DeWeese/Hess/Barnard lines were Jonathan, oldest son of Hiram Sr. and Averilla, Hiram Jr., and Nancy. Jonathan married George W. Barnard’s mother-in-law, Hester Ann Lavender DeWeese, Hiram Jr. married his cousin, Eleanor Nesbitt, and Nancy married his aunt. Sophia Lyons Hess was the mother of Elisabeth E Hess, who married Christopher William Barnard, George Washington Barnard’s father.
Are you confused yet? I am, and I have the cast of characters written down. I’ve been switching back and forth between three open tabs with ancestry.com open in them, trying to keep everything straight. Documentation of all of this is hard to find as the Belts are said to have burned the Hardin County Courthouse to the ground twice. Luckily for me, the Belts were notorious and infamous and had quite a bit written about them in the newspapers of the times, and even had at least one book written documenting their exploits. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and give them all a good spanking and send them to bed without supper as many times as it would take to keep them from causing such pain and heartache in the future.
Hiram J. Belt, Jr., the husband of Eleanor “Ellen” Nesbitt, was said to have been the mildest of the Belt Gang. This gives me little comfort. To have been the mildest of that bunch of liars, thieves and murderers isn’t saying much.