Travels brought Baughman family to Kentucky

August 31, 2003|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

J. Ross Baughman came to Central Kentucky in search of the Baughman side of his family, who settled in the wilderness of Kentucky soon after the Revolutionary War. On the recent visit, he found Baughmans in Boyle, Lincoln and Mercer counties who could be relations.

Baughman lives in Washington, D.C., where he is director of photography at The Washington Times.

The Michigan native is accustomed to traveling the globe. He moved 18 times before he was 18 years old because his father worked for The Ford Co. in the United States and abroad.

As a memento of his travels, Baughman picked up rocks in all the places he lived. The stones will be placed in a wall around a restored family cemetery in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The stone wall will have pieces of rock from Oklahoma, Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as Switzerland and Germany, where the Baughmans originated. Bachman is the original name for Baughman, according to research.


Baughman descendants plan to open a museum in the Shenandoah Valley to house information about the Chrisman, Baughman and Dellinger families. The museum will be housed in a historic building that has been there since the French and Indian wars.

Baughman said his pioneer family was restless and wanted to live on the frontier. They tried to avoid trouble, but always stepped in the middle of it. The Baughmans tried to be conscientious objectors, and many of them lost their lives in early wars. They refused to fight in the Revolutionary War at Coopersburg, Va. They were Mennonites, then became Baptists after coming to America.

Not wanting to be like the early Baughmans, Ross' father, who was born in Cedar Creek, Mo., changed the pronunciation of the name from "Bofman" to "Bowman." He went from a life on the farm to work for Ford Motor Co., and before he retired, he had worked his way up to a vice president of the London, England, office.

"He (the elder Baughman) took every chance he got for a promotion," said J. Ross Baughman. "We lived in Argentina and all over Europe and the United States."

That's the reason the younger Baughman got into journalism. Restlessness was in his blood like his ancestors. He worked for The Associated Press for a few years, taught journalism at the graduate and undergraduate levels in New York and Missouri, and ran his own business.

In 1978, he won a Pulitzer Prize for a portfolio of war photographs taken in Rhodesia, and became the youngest professional to ever receive the award. He had been nominated for three Pulitzer Prizes that year.

He started as photo editor of The Washington Times in October 1999. Prior to that he served as founding partner and president of the Visions photo agency in New York.

Baughman has written more than 1,000 pages in four volumes of Baughman history. He currently is working on another book, "The Chain Rejoined," which will include the latest DNA project results on the Baughman family.

"In each book, I try to give useful materials for research," said Baughman.

Baughman's first books are on folklore, science, history and war stories that tell the Baughmans follow a familiar pattern. They were winemakers, preachers and blacksmiths in Switzerland.

In his travels, Baughman has seen many interesting things. He has found stones standing on end in New England and Canada that are similar to the ones at Stonehenge in England. In his genealogy research, the lover of stones found one that was used as a surveyor marker on the Baughman family property in the Shenandoah Valley.

The family tree has been traced back to Hans Bachman in Richtersville near Zurich, Switzerland. Hans preceded Martin Luther in 1521 and the birth of the Protestant movement.

Those interested in Baughman family history may contact J. Ross Baughman at

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