Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bentley Reunion Friday

We had a cookout last night at the Bentley reunion in Letcher County at the homeplace of Otho and Nancy Hall Bentley.  Bob and Charlotte Bentley (Aunt Laura & Sherman Bentley's line) from Greenup and Terry & Linda Bentley (Aunt Lettie's son) are camped in their RV's.  Kris is here from Texas.  Donna, Gary, Gary Jr and Peter Dursch are in from Germantown, Ohio.  The locals, D. V, Mary, Joe, Doris, Eddie, Pat, Eddie Jr, Sarah, Gage, Jerry, and Rose Bentley were all there.  Jimmy Caudil, Jack Stallard, Ronnie & Michelle Morgan and their familiy attended.  Jerry's daughter, Kelly and her family are in from Louisville.

I had a ball talking to Bob about family history.  He is a wealth of infomation.

Oh I did get an email saying Lisa and Nancy Ellen Bentley from Cleveland were on their way after work yesterday and probably got in around 2 am this morning. 

We did have a huge thunderstorm while we were sitting under Uncle DV's covered porch. It knocked out the electric up at the home place.  Terry and Linda were away visiting Aunt Lettie at the nursing home in Pikeville, but Charlotte weathered the storm in the RV.  As hard as it rained I am suprised that their awning withstood it, but everything was fine when we went up there after the storm.  Hopefully the electric is back on this morning or even better that it came on last night.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tiny Johnson 1904 - 1932

Tiny Johnson is related to us several times thru our Johnson line. Our first direct Johnson relative is Anna/Amy Johnson who was married to Elder William "Preacher Billy" Tackett. Their daughter, Sarah, married Richard Hall. Their son Enoch Mahlon married Nancy Hampton. Their son, Joseph, married Lettie Craft. Their daughter, Nancy Alice, married Otho Bentley.

James "Jim" Johnson is also related to us going back to Thomas Johnson (Anna/Amy Johnson's father) his line coming down through Amy's brother, William Payne "Mander" Johnson and Lucy Akers. Next his line is through their son William Varner Johnson and Matilda Mullins, the daughter of Moneymakin' Sol. Finally, their son Harvery Johnson and Clarissa Rucker whose son William married Charity "Chat" Bentley.

Tina is my second cousin 3 times removed. Jim is my fourth cousin once removed.

Jim was born February 13, 1893 in Pike county Kentucky to Chat Bentley Johnson. On September 13, 1923 Jim married Tina Mae Johnson, who was known as Tiny. She was born on April 3, 1904.

On June 26, 1925 Tiny had a son who was named Arlen Johnson.

Usually the story goes on with more children and they lived happily ever after.

Instead one of Tiny's brothers shot and killed Jim. It was a pistol shot to the heart. I don't know the details of what caused this action. Tiny was left a widow on January 27, 1926.

That in itself is a terrible story, but I found the rest of the story of Tiny not in the census records, but from newspaper records.

In 1927 Tiny married again to John Smith. It was her second marriage and said to be his fourth.

Here are the articles I found from the Floyd County Times which tell what happened to Tiny after her marriage to Mr. Smith.

The first is from January 30, 1931.


  • Mrs Tiny Smith, 34 yrs old , shot and instantly killed her husband, John Smith, 35, late Sunday night at their home on Abner Fork, this county, when , she alleged, he attempted to hang her According to Mrs Smith's story, as related here by persons acquainted with the killing, her husband was drunk and attempted to hang her by looping his belt around her neck. Throwing him upon the bed she seized a .30 caliber Luger pistol and shot him through the heart . The couple was alone in the home, it is said . Mrs Smith was arrested following the shooting, but had not been brought here Thursday. Mr and Mrs Smith had been married about five years, it is said and are portrayed as never having had previous trouble. The wife is the daughter of Daniel R. Johnson. The victims ancestors are not known.

  • 5-6-1932, Floyd Co Times

  • Two days before she was to have been taken to the state reformatory at Frankfort to begin serving a five year sentence for the slaying of her husband , John Smith , . Mrs Tina Johnson Smith, 30 yrs old, was shot and killed by her father , Daniel R. Johnson, aged Floyd Co man, at the Johnson home on Abner Fork of Left Beaver Thursday morning of last week. Her aged father shot Mrs. Smith three times, It is claimed , while he lay in bed unable to move as a result of injuries sustained at her hands a few days earlier , and as she advanced upon him throwing stones threatening him with an ax, . He had suffered three broken ribs at his daughter's hands and was unable to be moved here immediately after the shooting it is claimed. It was held probable this week that the grand jury would not make an indictment in the case. Mrs. Smith killed her husband in January, 1931, and pleaded self-defense in circuit court here, claiming that he was trying to hang her, using his belt as a noose when she shot him. She was given a five-year prison term but had taken the case to the court of appeals which affirmed the verdict recently.

  • 6-10-1932 , Floyd Co Times


  • The unusual spectacle of a father, charged with the murder of his daughter, fighting for his freedom ,while his sons arrayed themselves with the prosecution in an effort to send him to the penitentiary , presented itself in the Floyd Circuit Court last Friday. Daniel R. Johnson, 63 yr old Abner Fork Citizen , testified that he shot and killed his daughter , Mrs Tina Smith, to save his own life. His two sons, Eli and Charles, testified against him, alleging that he shot his daughter three time as she entered his room without offering any threat to his safety .

  • Receiving the case at 3 o'clock Friday afternoon, the jury deliberated till 11 o'clock Saturday morning and returned a verdict sentencing the aged man to five years in the pen. The defendant testified that Mrs Smith had thrown a rock into the room and that she was advancing upon him , brandishing a hatchet , when he fired . His step-daughter , Mrs Owens, appearing in his behalf, stated that both Mrs Smith and her brother , Eli Johnson, were drunk when they came to their fathers home and that she attempted to dissuade them from going inside. While she was gone after an officer, the killing took place .

  • Stating that his sister was shot for no valid reason , Eli Johnson admitted that he threw a stone at his step -mother and ran. The shooting followed soon thereafter . Mrs . Smith was killed within two days of the date she was to have been taken to the penitentiary for the killing of her husband , John Smith.

  • 2-23-1934 FLOYD COUNTY TIMES / Friday, February 23, 1934


  • Daniel R. Johnson, 65 year old Left Beaver man, who was convicted in June, 1932 of the slaying of his daughter, Mrs. Tina Smith, at the Johnson home on Abner Fork a few months earlier, was granted executive clemency Saturday by Governor Laffoon, who comutted his sentence from five to one and one-half years, thus rendering him eligible for immediate release.

  • Seven of the juriors who convicted Johnson, former Circuit Judge C.B. Wheeler, who presided at the trial, and Commonwealth's Attorney C.P. Stephens, who proscuted Johnson, recommended commutation of the sentence, stating that the prisoner is an old man and his further confinement would serve no good purpose.

  • Johnson shot and killed his daughter on the night before she was to have been taken to the penitentiary to begin serving a sentence given her in court here for the slaying of her husband.

The child, Arlen, was taken in and raised by by K-boy and Josephine Johnson.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mary Bentley 1881 - 1917

When my cousin Yvonne died at age 14, talk about my aunt Opal having died around the same age and a relative in each generation before dying around the same age came up. The other person I remember being talked about during that time was Poppy's (Otho Bentley) sister, Mary. I thought she died young and was never married and certainly had no children.

Since I have been working on Otho's siblings this week, I thought I would just go ahead and write up something quickly on her. Going into my records I found that those memories of her being a child who died early did not match what I had written down. I had her birth year as after the 1880 census. I had down her husband was named Ben or Jeff. So I decided to start over on her today and go into census records, death records and anything I could find which would tell me who Mary was and why I might have written down Ben or Jeff as husbands.

Mary Bentley was born July 7, 1881 in Pike County, Kentucky to John Martin Bentley and Malinda Addington. She wasn't in the census records with John and Malinda in 1900 which is why I think I first bought into the story about her dying young.

Some researchers say that she died in 1901 in childbirth. Others had her death in 1917. I went looking for her as a married woman in 1900. I didn't find her, but I haven't searched under the alternate spellings.

What I did find was her death certificate. She died on September 1, 1917. The death certificate lists her parents as Martin Bentley and Malinda Edington. I found out a lot of things from that death certificate.

It said she was married when she died. It said her normal residence was in Knott County, Kentucky. I went searching for Jeff, Ben or Mary Bentley in the 1910 Knott County census since I had already struck out in 1900 and Knott would have been her most current address to that date. I found Jeff & Marry Bentley on the first try. They were listed as:

Bentley, Jeff, head, 30 married 11 years

Marry, wife, 26

Polly Ann, daughter, 10

William, son, 7

Ethel, daughter, 4

Bessie, daughter, 1

Cora, daughter, 2 months

All were KY KY KY (birthplace of self, father, mother) except Mary who was KY KY VA. Malinda was born in Virginia.

Here was Mary with five children.

Now who was Jeff? Next door to them was a W. F. Bentley and Eda both 58 (a reasonable age for being the parents of Jeff). Also listed with W. F. and Eda was a boarder named, Bitha Bentley. There was also something familiar about W. F. and Eda. I did a search in my database and came up with William Finley Bentley and Eda/Edy Fleming who lived next door to Chunk and Polly Ann in the 1880 census. They had a son named Jeff. Eda was the sister of my g-g grandmother Elizabeth Betsy Fleming who married Thaney Houston. They were the daughters of Fighting Fred Fleming and Nancy Ann Wright. Nancy Ann was the daughter of Joel and Susannah Wright. And by the way that boarder, Bitha was William Finley's mother Tabitha Baker Bentley.

I next found Jeff's death certificate. He died of a heart attack on June 8, 1949. He died at the Fleming Hospital so at some point he had moved back to Letcher County. The informant for the certificate was "Mrs. Jeff Bentley" so he had remarried at some point. His parents were listed as Finley Bentley and Eda Fleming.

I went searching for Jeff in the 1920 census. I found him in Knott County married to "Patsy". This was Patsy's second marriage, too. Her first husband was a Fugate. This is their census:

Bentley, Jeff, head 40, farmer, general farm.

Patsy, wife 40

William son 17

Bessie, daughter 11

Cora, daughter, 9

Fred, son 1

Fugate, Earnest W. wife's son, 17

Willie, wife's son 14

Louise, wife's daughter 7


In 1930 the couple was in Letcher County. They were listed on Bentley Street in Whitesburg.

Bentley, Jeff 53, married at 40, farmer, farm

Patty, 51, married at 18

Fugate, Louise, 8

Bentley, Fred 10

Claudie, daughter, 7


The question about marriage was what age were you when you first married. I think Jeff was answering as to the age he was when he married Patsy and she was answering it correctly, probably when she married at 18 to possibly Mr. Fugate. The age for Louise is probably an error since she should have been about 18. Usually the children were listed in age order. I think the census taker just made an error. (Imagine that!!)

I followed Mary and Jeff's children down quite a few generations.

Now let me tell you what else I found on Mary's death certificate. She died at Eastern State Hospital in Lexington of cerebral congestion with a contributing factor that I could not quite make out. It looked like "pellagram" to me, but my searches came up empty. Then when I went back to look at the writing again I noticed in the upper left hand corner it said that it was in Fayette county and "asylum" listed by that.

I did a search for Eastern State Hospital and found its history. From 1792 until 1824 the mentally disturbed residents of Kentucky were boarded out with individuals or a few were sent to Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The first Addington to immigrate to America was Malinda's great grandfather William L. Addington. He was from a wealthy family in London and was very well educated. His family outfitted him well when he came to America. He traveled the eastern seaboard. He fought in the Revolutionary war serving under George Washington. He was present at the surrender of Yorktown. After the war he married Margaret Cromwell who was from a prominent English family. They moved from Virginia to North Carolina. Later, he and twelve other families moved to southwest Virginia. By 1785 they were in Russell County (now Wise county) near Margaret's brother, Charles. Possibly this was because she needed help.

William was ill. Margaret sold most of their possessions and moved to Williamsburg where on July 12, 1802 William was admitted to the Lunatic hospital there. He lived there as a patient for 15 years. He was treated for melancholy. Margaret had to be at the hospital daily to feed and help take care of him. She may even have stayed with him. When he died on February 9, 1805 the hospital had two carpenters construct a coffin for him. He was buried on the grounds for the hospital. Margaret left the area and went to Tennessee and then back to Virginia. As far as I know she did not remarry though she lived for 25 years after William's death.

In 1816 the citizens of Fayette County, Kentucky established a hospital which made the second asylum in the United States. It went thru several name changes and was finally the Eastern State Hospital.

Now I searched "pellagram" and added mental illness. What I got was pellagra. I found it was a disease primarily in the south that was caused by eating corn which was bad. It was like having ptomaine poisoning over and over. The overall diet of the person was bad mainly with a niacin deficiency. It would eventually lead to lesions, the inabilty to eat, melancholy and depression.In one hospital they found that many of the patients started to exhibit the symptoms of this disease. One doctor studying it found that none of the nurses ever had the disease. The nurses ate a well balanced diet. The patients were fed a corn based diet. One of the final stages of this disease was cerebral congestion.

Perhaps William had the same illness. I do know that others in the family have suffered from clinical depression.

Mary lived in the asylum for four years, seven months and six days before her death. She was buried at Fullerton, Greenup county, Kentucky.

There was a little more to Mary's story than I thought.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Update on Florence Belle Wright

I wrote earlier about Florence Belle Wright. I told you I had seen her listed over and over as the child of William Jesse Wright and Elizabeth Moore. She was born in 1878. In the 1880 census she was not with Jesse and his second wife, Mary Brummett, nor was she with Elizabeth who was back living with her parents and a son who carried the Wright name, but was not Jesse's child. I found Florence in every census except 1880.

I found her death certificate and it said her parents were William Wright and Elizabeth Wright. Most of the time a death certificate lists the maiden name of the mother, but not always, depending on who the informant was. In searching more and discussing this with cousin Lois, I found that Florence Belle was the daughter of William A. Wright and Elizabeth "Blackhawk" Wright.

William was the grandson of Joel Martin and Susannah Wright. His parents were Samuel & Elizabeth "Betsy" Adams Wright. William married at least three times and may have had relationships with several other women. His first wife was Arta M. Potter. She was the daughter of John Boone Potter and Susannah "Sookie" Sanders. William was seeing Elizabeth while he was married to Arty. She was pregnant before William and Arta divorced. The child was said to be "base born" meaning she was illegitimate. Arta only had one daughter with William, a Mary F. Wright. She remarried to George Howell after the divorce and in the 1880 Census she had had a second child with George named Martha.

William was with Elizabeth in the 1880 census. There is a two year old in the family, but she is listed as Mary. I don't know if this is Florence or if she really had an earlier birth date. The reason I wonder about her date is the base born information. The marriage date I have for William and Elizabeth is 1875. If she were born in 1878 she would not have been considered base born. The stories I heard about Florence were that she was conceived while "Blackhawk was stealing William from Arty."

Florence and Cordelia, another daughter of William and Elizabeth, were very close. Relatives that Lois knew told her the base born story and that Cordelia was Florence's sister. It does make the death certificate correct. It's still that 1880 census which doesn't have her anywhere as Florence. But having discussed this in depth with Lois, I feel sure that the research she did on this family places Florence as William A. and Elizabeth "Blackhawk" Wright's daughter.

Florence married our Joseph Leonard Hall's brother George Washington Hall. Another mystery solved.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How Families Crossed Paths

It still amazes me when I find the connections between my mother's and my father's families years before they met. I was working on an 1850 census today, about 100 years before my parents married. I grew up thinking Mom's family was on Millstone and Dad's was at Goosecreek and the two areas were not close. I did not know where the roads were at that time period so I always thought of travel the way the roads are today. It was actually fairly easy to go between the two locations.

The census records go down thru an area taking the information on the families in one dwelling, then the next and so on. It helps to know who the neighbors are sometimes, because of the errors in spelling that make some ancestors seemingly disappear (like my Hayes who went down as Hays, Hase and Haze or the Bentleys as Bently and the Wrights as Rights).

Let me tell you who was on page 22 of the 1850 census for Letcher County, District 2:

Family 152 William & Nancy Quillen with Louisa, Hanor & Elizabeth. Nancy was Nancy Susan Yonts, the daughter of William and Levisa Yonts. William's first wife was Margaret Bentley, the daughter of Thomas & Hannah Bentley, the sister of Daniel Bentley.

Family 153 is Allen and Hanor (Hannah) Hall with Solomon and Mary. Allen is a descendant of Reuben Hall who is the brother of our Masias Hall. Hannah is Hannah Yonts the granddaughter of William and Margaret Bentley Yonts (great granddaughter of Thomas & Hannah Bentley).

Family 154 John Bentley, a widower, with his children, Squire, John Q., Benjamin and Patty. John was John Queller Bentley, the son of Daniel Bentley and brother of our Benjamin Bentley.

Household 155 is Andrew and Harriet Adams Wright with their children William and Freelove. Andrew was the son of Joel and Susannah Wright. Harriett was the daughter of William Adams and Christina Crace. Christina was the sister of Elizabeth Crace who was married to Benjamin Bentley.

Dwelling 156 is Daniel & Marinda Ramey Bentley with Tabitha, Didema and John. Daniel is the son of John Bentley from Dwelling 154.

Dwelling 157 is Lewis & Nancy Bentley with William, Sally, Nancy and Dicy. Lewis is the son of Daniel Bentley and Nancy Jane Lewis. Nancy is Nancy Hammons, the sister of Druscilla Hammons who was our great grandmother who was married to James Craft, the grandparents of Chunk Craft.

Dwelling 158 is Joseph & Anna Bentley with John, Matilda, Elizabeth and Lewis. Joseph is the son of Lewis and Nancy in dwelling 157.

Family 159 is Sarah Bates, widow of John Wallis Bates, living with Robin, Saryann, Henderson and Martin Van Buren Bates (the Kentucky giant). Sarah is the mother of Eliza Agnes Bates who married Joel Ellis Wright. They were the parents of Jesse Wright.

It just shows how entwined our families were a hundred years before my parents married.

It is one of the reasons that I love looking at census records.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Can, Jimmy, Otho Jr & Anna Sue

First, a correction to an earlier blog. It took me a while to get it straight what I had done, but I have gone back to the blog from June 7th on Grandpa Joshua Mullins and corrected the paragraph on Joshua's sister, Sarah. She first married a man named Short. Then I don't know if he died or they divorced, but she married Samuel Pee Collier, the son of William Dee Collier and Rebecca Meade. I went on to say that Willis Kirk Collier was the brother of Willam Dee. What I knew better was that Willis Kirk was the brother of Samuel P. Willis Kirk was Sadie Collier's father. I thank cousin Janice Bentley Norman for catching this error so I could correct the blog.

This is Can, Jimmy, Otho Jr and Anna Sue in the yard at the house on the right fork. The house is owned by Paul Hampton now (a distant relative). Here is how it looks now.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cora Lee Bentley Boggs 1892 1961

Cora Lee Bentley was the 10th of 11 children of John Martin Bentley and Malinda Addington. She was born in Millstone.

In the 1900 Census for Millstone the family was listed as follows:

Family 134
Bentley, John, 46, Nov 1853, married 28 years
Malinda 43, Dec 1856, had 11 children, 11 alive
Otho, son 15, Nov 1884
Florence C. 13, Jan 1887
Surilda J. 10, Oct 1889
Cora 8, May 1892
Laura Belle 3, Aug 1896
Wright, Mary A., lodger, 81, Sep 1818

Mary, the "lodger" in this family was Mary Anna "Annie" Bentley, John Martin's aunt. She was the sister of John Martin's father, John Vint Bentley. She was married to John Wright, the son of Joel Martin Susannah Wright. I found this interestng because in the 1880 census I copied for you when I talked about my great grandfather William Jesse Wright, this was the Mary Wright who lived with him and his wife at that time, Mary Brummett. I thought at first that Mary was a widow until I did some more searching on the Wrights and found that her husband, John was livng with their son, Hiram in 1880, so they had separated for some reason at that time. I will have to ask our cousin Lois about this because she knows a lot about "Aunt Annie". What struck me as odd the first time I ran across her was that she was living with her nephew, William Jesse, and not some of her blood relatives. Now I have found her again in 1900.

In 1910 John Martin Bentley's family is listed as:

Bentley, Martin, 56, first marriage, married 37 years
Malinda, 51, had 11 children, all living
Cora 16
Laura 12.

In 1912 Cora married Elmer Boggs on May 29th in Greenup County, Kentucky. Elmer was the son of Dock and Margaret A. Boggs. He had six whole sisters and brothers: Rosa E, William Albert, Virgie E., James H., and Sarah M. Dock married a second time giving Elmer 5 half sisters and brothers: Jesse, Arthur, Eskel, Alvy and Frank.

On March 10, 1913 Cora had her first child, a daughter who she named Laura Belle after her sister Laura Belle. Little Laura died on March 10 of pneumonia.

In 1916 Elmer and Cora had a second child Lola.

On June 5, 1917 Elmer Boggs registered for the draft for World War I. He claimed an exemption from service because he was crippled and had a wife and child. The description on the card said he was tall, stout with brown hair and brown eyes. It said he had a crippled foot. He worked reparing cars in a car shop.

In the 1920 cenus John Martin and Malinda are living in the Boggs household:

Boggs, Elmer 28, Car repair, Car shop
Cora 27,
Lola 4
Bentley J. M. 67
Malinda 65

In 1930 the Boggs are listed as family 212 living on Third Avenue in Fullerton, Greenup County, Kentucky:

Boggs, Elmer 28, married at 21, Car repair, Car shop
Cora 27, married at 20
Lola 15

Cora died on September 27, 1961 in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Glenn Murphy, Jr. standing by the row of motorcycles.

This is J. D. Mullins and Cora Bentley with thier first child, Linda Kay Mullins.

Here is Dad and Kay when she is a little older.

Jesse & Nina Pratt Mullins with Myrna.

Anna May, the adopted child of James & Cora Wright Bentley, with Myrna Mullins.

J. D. Mullins with his brother, Jesse Mullins

And, just so you don't think Dad was the first in the family to ride a motorcycle, this is James and Cora Wright Mullins with James' motorcycle.

James Mullins in his uniform as a deputy sheriff for Letcher county.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Josephine Bentley

Bentley Boys

Going straight across it is front row: Otho Jr., Freddy and Jerry and back row: Jimmy, John Vint and Can. This was taken about 1955.

Sitting on the couch: Freddy, Jimmy, Otho, Can and Jerry. Standing behind are Willie, DV, John Vint and Otho Jr.

This was in front of Uncle Willie's house: Jerry & Freddy in front, Willie, D. V., John Vint, Poppy (Otho), Otho Jr., Jimmy and Can. From the clothes I would say both of the last two pictures were taken on the same day.

We used to do a lot of picture taking of the family. Sometimes at reunions it's hard to get folks to stand together for a moment and I don't think we have had a big group shot since about 1983. We have lost Aunt Edna and Aunt Lake this year. Aunt Lettie is in very frail health. Aunt Anna Sue looked great physically when I saw her last week, but she is in a nursing home, too.

I love looking at the old pictures and hearing the stories -- good and bad-- about our family. I wish we had more preserved.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bentley Mystery Pictures - 1 Identified

First, I have done a correction to the blog I wrote on Susan Wright Venters. She was the daughter of Joel Ellis and Eliza Agnes Bates. At the very last line I wrote that she was the daughter of Joel & Susannah, which was a mistake that cousin Lois caught for me.

Our cousin who was on the Alaskan cruise got home and sent me two pictures that he is trying to identify. I am hoping someone has seen these before or that I can get some help in identifying them at the reunion. Let me know if you can identify anyone.

Lois, our cousin in Delaware, has identified the group picture as one that was taken in Spreight, Kentucky after a church of Christ gathering. In the front row on the right there is a tall man standing by a woman in a sweater. The man is Winfield Scott "Scott" Johnson and his wife, Lovena "Viney" Fleming Johnson. Viney is my g-g aunt, the sister of Elizabeth "Betsy" Fleming who married Nataniel "Thaney" Houston. I love finding these pictures of family. Lois will be able to identify more of the folks as she goes through her notes. I look forward to knowing who others are in the picture.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I learned a new word today.

I came down to Kentucky to attend a Wright reunion. My father, sister, and granddaughter came, too. My granddaughter, Lana, is four years old. She will be five on Sunday. She has traveled with me to Cleveland and met my great aunt Hazel, half-sister, to my grandmother, Nancy Alice Hall Bentley, my Uncle John Vint and his children, and my cousins, Otho and Pat Holcomb. She fell in love with them all and at each home wanted to stay on. She went home and told her parents that she wanted to move in with me and just spend time traveling around and meeting "her people".

She got to go on this trip because she is getting a new swingset for her birthday and it was being set up by her dad and Uncle Gary. In preparing for this trip I told her that I didn't know this branch of the family very well and that I didn't know if there would be any or many children. She said, that was ok, if there were old folks I could meet them and she would meet the young ones. It turned out to be a nice gathering even in 96+ degree weather. We were at the shelter at the dam at Fish Pond in Letcher County, Kentucky. There were enough trees and a breeze to make it very comfortable most of the time.

The group was made up of the children of Joshua and Ida Mullins Wright. I got reacquainted with their children, Jay, Rosie and Jack Wright. I had been to this reunion back in 1991 and had met their brother, Doug, who started me on the research for the Wright family. Doug passed away in 2002. The family had a very nice gathering. They had pictures of the family members who had passed away since the last reunion. They gave away gifts for the oldest, youngest, longest married and newest married couple. They gave away many other door prizes for other such categories and for names drawn by chance. Afterwards they had an auction of things donated by family members. My granddaughter got a new stuffed animal and enjoyed bidding on it so much I thought she was going to bid on several other items. She was not happy when I clamped my hand over her mouth as several items were being offered. I did buy one mystery gift which was in a brown paper bag. I got it for $5. Many others asked to see what was in the bag but I said, I would only let them look for $1. I did have a taker on that. I thought I might put this item in a box and let it be auctioned off again next year.

The food was great. The children had a place to swing and there were baseballs being tossed about by several adults to any of the children who wanted to play. It was a very nice reunion.

Later, I visited my Aunt Anna in the nursing home in Whitesburg. Lana was glad to meet her and took pictures of her. The next day we went to Pikeville and visited with my Aunt Lettie, who is also in a nursing home. We went to the dining room and had a nice chat. They had a group come in who sang some songs and did some preaching. Lana enjoyed it. When the minister said there would be more singing after the preaching she wanted to stay through til she had heard it all. We ended up slipping out and going back to Millstone before it ended.

When we got back to Millstone I was just getting out of the car when Uncle Jerry pulled up and said that Aunt Lake had passed away at about 3 pm. We were due to go home the next day. Her viewing was this evening and the funeral is at 1 pm tomorrow. My sister Donna and I had not brought dresses or even dressy slacks for such an occasion, but we decided to stay on rather than go home and turn around and come back straight away. We went shopping on Monday to get something suitable to wear. Lana could have gotten by with her clothing, but I decided I wanted her in a dress for the funeral.

We told her that Aunt Lake had passed away, but only answered her simple questions with simple answers. We said we would be going to a visitation and a funeral. She asked about it and considered it another reunion and referred to it as such. At the visitation I saw folks I hadn't seen since my own mother's funeral. Lana glanced at the casket in front and said, "Oh no, something is wrong." Becky had told her grandchildren that their grandmother had gotten really tired and had gone on to heaven to live. Lana listened to this explanation. Lana found that Becky and Bobby's children had children that were her age. She finally met Bobby's grandchildren through his daughter, Misty. She and Becky's grandchildren, Keegan, Shane's son, and Kaitland and Lake, twins of Brandon got acquainted not all that quietly in the back corner and kitchen of the funeral home. When the twins went to look at their grandmother, Lana stood beside them and listened to them talk quietly about their grandmother being asleep and in heaven now.

Lana and I sat out on the porch at the funeral home in their glider. She asked more questions about Aunt Lake and I explained about being quiet and saying goodbye to a loved one. Lana said she thought she would miss her Aunt Lake. I said that she didn't know her. Lana said, "But I got to know her at the refuneral. My cousins told me about her."

So in her mind she knew we were calling it a funeral, but she she had felt the spirit of a reunion in meeting again with Bobby Joe and Madonna and the cousins who were new to her. Maybe she has something there.

Rosie Adams Fulton Mullins 1872 - 1951

Rosa B. Adams was born on the 28th of Janurary in 1872. Her parents were Jesse B. Adams and Margaret "Peggy" Jenkins. She was my second cousin four times removed through the Adams line on Granny's (Nancy Alice Hall Bentley) side of the family going back to our common ancestor John Hobbs Adams and Lydia "Lettie" Simpson.

The 1880 Letcher County Census lists Jesse 59, Margaret 54, Israel 14 and Mary 8. She is always listed as Rosa B, but she could have been Mary Rose, for this is the right age for her to be as the Mary 8.

Of course, there is no 1890 census.

Her mother, Margaret "Peggy" Jenkins Adams died on October 9, 1882.

In 1883 when Rosie is 11 years old and Joshua Mullins is 14, Jesse Adams, widower, married Rebecca Hays Mullins, widow.

Rosie married John Fulton November 2, 1888. Joshua married Annie Houston on June 8, 1892.

On June 9, 1910 when the Letcher County Census was taken John Fulton is 31, says they have been married 11 years and he is renting the farm they live on. Rosie is 28 and reports she has had five children and all are living: Oty 10, Izy 7, Conrad 5, John 3 and Jesse 1.

This is a picture I received from my cousin, Lois, in Delaware. It is the young couple John Fulton and his wife, Rosie.

These are other pictures of the Fulton family that I came across on the web, but I don't have the ID's on everyone because I lost them when my computer crashed last October. I have been trying to find them again to get the ID's, but figured this was the time to share them anyway.

John is farming, but he also worked in the coal mines. He took a job over in Virginia and was away from home for many hours. He got involved with a woman there and he and Rosie divorced.

In 1910 John Fulton is living in the Elkhorn district of Letcher County. The family is listed as John 41, Laura 33, Johnie J. 14, Conard 12, Jesse 9 and Willard 6.

Rosie is still in Millstone as the head of her household. They are listed as Rosa 38, Connard 15, Johnnie 13, Jesse B. 11, Rebecca 8 and Willard 6. Also living with them is an orpahn girl, Martha Profitt age 7.

I think I found John's census information first, so I thought poor Rosie. He goes off and has an affair and takes the children leaving her alone. Much later I found Rosie. Could this be an early shared parenting arrangement? (just joking) They may have been amicable enough that the children did spend time in both households. I do know Conard was in Millstone. Lucky Fulton told me about him. Conard was the one who found Joshua Mullins on the road when he had died while out walking. Conard was also the one who drove my aunt Opal Bentley to stay at Neon when she was ill and needed to be nearer the doctors.
In 1912 Joshua, a widower again, married Rosie Adams Fulton.

They have two children of their own, Ada born in 1912 and Ida born in 1914. Apparently, now things are better in this household for his children from Annie Houston are back in the hone,

In the 1920 census it shows them as Joshua 49, Rosa 47, Marion 17, Betsey 15, Ada 7 and Ida 5. Rebecca Fulton age 18 is also living with them. Lucky Fulton told me that he never knew until we met and talked in November 2007 that the children were not Rosie's by birth. He said he never saw any difference in the treatment and thought they were all whole brothers and sisters.

I don't know the lady on the left in this picture, but she looks the most at ease in this picture to me. In the center is Cora Wright Mullins who married James Mullins. Next to her is her mother-in-law (well technically, step mother-in-law) Rosie Adams Fulton Mullins. In our family she is always referred to as Grandma Rosie.

In 1930 the household is Joshua 60, Rosa 58, Ada 17 and Ida 15.

Joshua and Rosie are together for another sixteen years. Joshua out walking has a heart attck and falls alongside the road. He is found by his step-son, Conard Fulton. He is buried on the mountain on November 20, 1946.

Rosie lives until October 20, 1951 when she has a stroke. She is buried on the mountain beside Joshua.

Grandma Rosie Mullins.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Who was Susan Venters?

Susan Venters was the second wife of Joshua Mullins. She is always referred to as Susan Venters instead of the name she was born with. Susan Venters was born in 1851. She was the daughter of Joel Ellis and Eliza Agnes Bates Wright. She was the sister of William Jesse Wright. Joshua's son, James, eventually married Cora Wright, the daughter of Jesse Wright.

In the 1860 Letcher County Census, Joel Ellis Wright is 43 and Eliza 41. Their children are Solomon 19, John 16, Sarah 13, Susan is 9, William (Jesse) is 6 and Joel is 3.

Susan's brother Solomon was killed in 1862 during the Civil War.

In 1870 Joel is 52 and Elizabeth 50. William (Jesse) is 17, Martin 13 and Samuel 11.

Her brother Bad John Wright is in his own household.

Her sister, Sarah, has married Abraham Potter, the son of Isaac & Mary "Polly" Houston.

Susan is working as a domestic servant and living with a family named Schmedth who live in Richmond, Kentucky. Mr. Schmedth is a carriage maker.

In the same year as this census Susan has a child with Alexander Venters. He was the son of George Martin & Susan Clevenger Venters. The child is Louisa J. Venters, .

In the 1880 Letcher County census they are listed as

  • Elexander Venters, 28 head

  • Susana, 27, wife

  • Louisa 10

I found a marriage record that said Alexander Venters and Susan Wright married on July 21, 1883 in Letcher county.

Again, no 1890 census, so twenty years pass.

In 1900 Susan is in Millstone as 48, the head of her household living with her granddaughter, Susan J. age 9 and her niece Louisa J, who is 15. She also has a 30 year old boarder named Standerfer Wright.

I can't find Alexander or George Venters in the 1900 census.

Alexander married a Mary Miles in Nexperce, Lewis County, Idaho on April 10, 1907. It is the second marriage for them both. In the 1910 census Alex Venters is 62, Mary M. is 27 and her son, Miles, age 8 is living with them.

In 1909 Joshua and Susan Venters marry in Letcher County, Kentucky. In the 1910 Census they are listed as Joshua 41 and Susan 61. She is listed as having had one child who is living.

In 1912 Susan Wright Venters Mullins dies.

In 1913 Alexander & Mary Venters have a son, James in Idaho.

Alexander and Mary move back to Kentucky. In 1915 they have a son, William F. Venters in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Alexander's parents are back in Kentucky, also. In 1920 Alexander is 72, his wife Mary, 38, James C is 6, William F. is 4 and Miles Moore, the step-son is 17.

Alexander is back at least for a visit to Idao, for he dies there on January 3, 1923 at Granite, Bonner County, Idaho.

So, yes there was a Susan Venters, but that was her married name. She was Susan Wright, daughter of Joel Martin and Eliza Agnes Bates Wright.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lake Erie Bentley Pass 1919 - 2008

Lake Erie Pass died today at the nursing home where she lived in Cadiz, Kentucky the past few years. Lake was the daughter of Otho & Nancy Alice Hall Bentley. She was preceded in death by her husband, Berry Pass and one of her sons, Jimmy Pass. Her surviving children are Judy Robinson, Bobby Pass and Rebecca Hughes.

Lake will be buried by her husband at Powell Valley Cemetery. There will be a viewing on Tuesday at Everage Funeral Home in Whitesburg. The funeral will be on Wednesday at Everage. The time of the services has not been set.

Updates will follow.

Annie Houston Mullins 1874 - 1906

For those of you who have heard the old tale about having a grandmother who was a full-blooded Indian it may be this line. None of the other lines have even come close for me in my studies on the family. I remember Dad talking about his father's grandmother being an Indian. I sure couldn't find evidence of it, but I was thinking only of the Mullins or Wright lines. When I went further and got into all the census records, I realized that James lived with his grandparents for a while after his mother's death. He even continued to live with or next door to them after he was grown, but they were HOUSTONS, not Mullins or Wrights.

As sketchy as the Houstons are, I have found references to Nathaniel Houston's wife thought to be an Indian. So before I get into what I know about Annie, I thought I bring up that this could be the line that ends up with the real Indian grandmother.

My oldest known Houston relative is James Houston who was married to Lucinda Ryan. Their son, Nathaniel Houston is the one who was thought to have married an Indian woman. I do not know her name yet.

Nathaniel's daughter was Hannah Houston. She was born April 20, 1830 in Pike County, Kentucky. Hannah had a son by an Abraham Potter. They were not married. She named her son for her father. He was called Nathaniel "Thaney" Houston. He was born on August 1, 1846.

On September 10, 1852 when Thaney was six, Hannah married Charles Yonts. She had five children with Charles.

In 1860 the Yonts family was in Letcher County, Kentucky. Charles 27, Hannah 30, Nathaniel 12, Mary 7, Levisa 4, Solomon 2 and Elizabeth 2 months.

On January 22, 1868 Thaney married Elizabeth "Betsy" Fleming, daughter of Frederick Nelson "Fighting Fred" Fleming and Nancy Ann "Annie" Wright. Nancy is the daughter of Joel Martin and Susannah Wright. We have a double dose of Wright genes being descended from two of Joel and Susannah's children (the other being Joel Ellis Wright & his wife Eliza Agnes Bates.)

This picture came from Ma's (Cora Wright Mullins) trunk which Aunt Ival had. It said it was the wedding day picture of Joshua Mullins and Annie Houston. I have seen it in the Letcher County Picture books listed with another couple's name. I am going by what my grandmother had written on the picture and finding it in her trunk.

In 1870 Charles Yonts is 38, Hannah 42, Polly (Mary) 17, Lavica 14, Solomon 12, Elizabeth 10 and Henry 4.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Fleming is married to or has a baby by Robert "John" Frazure. Nancy Jane Frazure was born April 12, 1861.

On January 22, 1868 when Thaney is 21 and Betsy, 27, they marry. In the 1870 census they are listed as Nath 23, Betsey 32, Nancy 10, Mary 2 and Preston 3 months.

Fighting Fred passes away in 1878. Anna Wright Houston is the head of her household in 1880 census with Jefferson 24, twins Solomon and Clarinda 19 and Elijah 18 in her home.

In Nathaniel & Betsey's household Nathaniel is 30 and Elizabeth 29. Betsy's daughter, Nancy has married William Teague Quillen. Mary is now 12. Preston has died. The children born since the last census are Hannah 9, Annie, 7, Lina 5, Rinda 3 and baby Aulden 11 months.

Again, we have a twenty year gap in census records. Mother Annie Wright Houston is now 78 and living with her son, Elijah. She reports that she has had 12 children and 10 of them are living in 1900.

Nathaniel and Betsy have had one additonal child, Oliver Denton Houston in their family. The census shows that they have been married for 28 years. In the household is Nathaniel 53, Elizabeth 59, Olvin G and Oliver D. Betsy reports that she has had 9 children and 8 of them are living in 1900.

Next door to Nathaniel and Betsy live their daughter, Annie and her husband Joshua Mullins. They married on June 8, 1892. In 1900 they report that they have been married for seven years. Anna says she has had four children and all are living. The family is Joshua 31, Anna 25, James 6, Nan V. 5, Coettie 2 and William A. is two months old.

There are four more children born after 1900: Marion, Melvina, Elizabeth Varley "Betsy" and Ellis.

On October 31, 1906 Annie dies while trying to give birth. The child dies, too. This picture of Annie and the baby were sent to me by our cousin Lois in Delaware. I do not know where Annie and the baby were buried.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Joshua Mullins 1869 - 1946

Joshua Mullins was the fourth child of James "Jim" Mullins and Rebecca Hayes. He was born on January 22, 1869 in Pound, Wise County, Virginia. The family was in the 1870 Wise County census. James was 88, Rebecca 30, John 9, Booker 6, Sarah 3 and Joshua was seven months old. They were living next door to Rebecca's parents, John and Athaleia Hayes (or Hase as they spelled it in this census). John was 51, Atha 49 and Joshua's uncle, also named Joshua, was 16.

Both families moved to Letcher County.

About 1875 when Joshua was about six years old, his father, Jim, died.

His grandmother, Athaliea Hayes (again Hase on her death certificate) died September 28, 1877 in Letcher County. Her death certificate says her cause of death was "knot known".

His grandfather, John Hayes, married again to a Nancy who is about Rebecca's age.

His brother John married Sarah Powers before 1880. John was 21 and Sarah 16 with no children in the 1880 census. They were living in Wise County. Over the years this couple lived in Wise and Letcher Counties.

His sister, Sarah, also married her first husband, James Short, and was also living in Walker, Wise County with her new in-laws.

In the 1880 Letcher County Census Rebecca,widowed, now lives with her father and his new wife. John is 63, Nancy is 43. Rebecca is 41, Booker 16 and Joshua is 10 years old.

In 1883 Rebecca marries again. Joshua is about thirteen. Rebecca married Jesse B. Adams, a widower who lost his wife, Margaret "Peggy" Jenkins in 1882. Jesse is the father of Rosa B. Adams who Joshua will eventually marry.

There is no 1890 census.

On June 8 of 1892 Joshua, age 23, married Annie Houston age 18. Their first son, James, is born June 22, 1893. Nan Vina is born on February 3, 1895 (my birthday buddy). Rebecca is born in 1897 and Willliam Arthur is born in April 1900.

His brother, Booker, marries in 1887 to Sarah Ann Adams. They have eight children but by 1900 only four of them are alive.

In June 1900 the Letcher County Census says Joshua is 31, Anna 25, James 6, Nan V. 5, Coettie 2 and William A. 2 months. They are living next to Annie's parents, Nathaniel "Thaney" Houston and Elizabeth "Betsy" Houston.

His brother John is living in Letcher County now. Six of his seven children are living.

Sarah is no longer with James Short, but I don't know if he died or they divorced. She married a second time to Samuel P. Collier, the son of William Dee Collier and Rebecca Meade. Samuel is the brother of Willis Kirk Collier who is the father of Sadie Collier, Otho Bentley's first wife.

I cannot find a death certificate for Rebecca, but most other sources I have seen say she died about 1903. However, most of those sources don't say that she married again. I cannot find her in the 1910 census. I don't find Jesse Adams either, but he did not die until 1927 and he was 20 years her senior.

Joshua's grandfather, John Hayes and his wife, Nancy, are no longer in Letcher County. I have found a John and Nancy in Wisconsin, but I haven't investigated this couple enough to say for sure if this is where John is in 1900. He dies about 1905.

Joshua and Annie have more children: Marion, Melvina, Betsy and Ellis. In 1906 Anniie dies while delivering a baby who dies, also.

In 1909 he marries "Susan Venters". They are listed in the 1910 census as him being 41 to her age 61. She says she has had one child who is living.

Joshua and Annie's children, James, Melvina, Coetta, Marion and Betsy are living with Annie's parents, Thaney & Betsy Houston.

In 1912 Joshua's wife, Susan, dies. That same year, he and Rosa Adams Fulton, now divorced from John Fulton, marry.

In 1912 Ada Mullins is born and in 1914 Ida. Joshua's children, Mary 17 and Betsy 15, are living with him in 1920. His other children have thier own households or have died. His son, James, who has been to War in France and back, is living next door to his Houston grandparents.

Joshua and Annie lived up the right hand fork of Millstone across from Lucky Fulton's home. He would go out and walk. He was found laying along side the road. His death certificate says he died of acute cardiac failure. He is buried high upon the mountain in Millstone.

Joshua reading the paper on his front porch with Donnie Meade, his grandson. Donnie was the son of Ada Mullins & Grant Meade.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I asked Hazel Hall Hughes if she saw her father much after he and her mother, Martha Tackett, divorced. She said, yes, she saw him often. She said they used to hear news of the family when they would do work together like hoeing the gardens. Then she told me this story:

We used to help each other. We would do the hoeing with our neighbors and family. One day we were at Mayo Hampton’s hoeing. Mayo had a daughter Merky. Her name was America, but we called her Merky. She didn’t have much hair, but there was a wisp at the back of her head. She wore dust caps to hide the baldness. I said to my cousin, why don’t you just cut that wisp of hair off. So I cut her hair. My hair was long, and I wore it parted in the middle and in pigtails. Merky cut one of my pigtails off. The boys started picking up all the branches and sticks in the yard and throwing them over the fence so Mommy couldn’t use them to whip me. Mommy didn’t believe in bobbed hair. When she sat down her hair was to the floor. When they came back from the field she whipped me. I thought she was going to kill me. They say she would have if grandpa hadn’t pulled her off of me. She made me keep the one braid and I had to wait till my hair grew back. It took a long time for my hair to grow back. Every time Mommy would comb my hair after that she would slap my head.

Later, Uncle Alvin's daughter, Opal Hall Holbrook, gave me this picture. I think it must have been taken shortly before this story happened. I took copies up to Hazel and she was thrilled with it.

Hazel, Letty and Martha Tackett Hall

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mother Houston

I told you that that the first wife of James "Big Jim" Wright died in 1903 three months before he married again. I told you that was what I found from some researchers. I don't believe it. I think that Jim Wright married his cousin, Susan Wright, the daughter of Jesse Wright and Mary Brummett.

I had read Susan's obituary naming her parents as Jesse Wright and Mary Venters which caused me to do a search on what happened to Mary after she and Jesse parted. She was Mary Brummet.

I found Susan on every census record except 1900. Jesse was married to Nickotie. Mary was married to John Venters and she was in neither household. Looking closer at the census record for Susan in 1910 it showed she had been married for 10 years, but it was her second marriage. It also said she had had six children and four of them were living.

In the 1900 Census Big Jim and Susan were listed with a daughter, Leda. She reports she has had two children and lost one. In the 1910 census Susan is listed with Aulden G. "Olvin" Houston and children Hargis, Charlie and Anna. She reports that she has had six children, four of whom are living. I believe that the fourth child is Lydia (Leda from 1900) who is living with her father.

Olvin Houston was the son of Nathaniel "Thaney" Houstona and Elizabeth "Betsy" Fleming. He was the brother of Annie Houston who married Joshua Mullins.

Susan and Olvin went on to have Velva, Alvin, Cora, Olvin and James Denton Houston.

This is a picture of Olvin's mother, Elizabeth "Betsy" Fleming Houston, and three of Susan and Olvin's Children: Charley, Velva and Hargis.

Olvin died before 1920. Susan supported the children by running a boarding house.
She married again in 1945 to Noah Burcham.
Susan died August 21, 1978 at the hospital in Hazard.