Saturday, August 9, 2008

Opal Bentley 1921-1936

Opal Bentley was the daughter of Otho and Nancy Alice Hall Bentley.  She was Otho's 10th child and Nancy's fourth child. 

She was a normal teenager.  At about fourteen she began to learn to play the guitar.  Her first cousin Benny Johnson, the son of Nancy's half-sister, Minnie Hall who married Lee Johnson was her teaching her to play.  She took to it, and Benny said she was a very good student.

Letters from a friend of hers say she had a nickname like "Muggles" which made me think of Harry Potter when I read them.  I thought I would have copied the letters before now  and could share the letters with you, but that hasn't happened so I am telling you from memory what I read the one time I saw the letters.

Apparently Opal had found herself a boyfriend.  Her friend wrote and asked if her "blue-eyed handsome man" had a brother for her.  There were other little notes typical of young teenage girls.  I wish I could recall them all.  I felt like I was seeing Opal live through those two letters.

From several family members I have pieced together the following:

One day Opal and one of her Collier cousins were horsing around playing a sort of leap frog and jumping on each others backs.  At one point they fell over into a barbed wire fence.  Opal was cut by the barbs.

Later, in one account a matter of weeks, in another months, she complained of a pain in her left leg at the knee. Dr. D. V. rode a horse from Neon to Millstone to see her. She didn't get better and the family thought it would be better to take her to Atha's house so she would be closer to the doctor.  Otho  hired Conard Fulton, Grandma Rosie's son, to drive her to Atha's house.  Still she did not get better.

It was decided to take her to Lexington to the hospital there.  Uncle D. V. remembered Granny trying to get ready to go.  He was standing on a chair turned backwards to the dining room table. He  thought she should have been paying more attention to him.  They took her things to Atha's. Dr. Skaggs took her on the train to Lexington to the hospital from there.  She was admitted to the hospital on August 7th.  She died at 3 pm on the 9th.    There was no autopsy done, but it was thought that it was some kind of blood poisoning due to the barbed wire.

They brought her back and buried her in the Chunk Craft Cemetery at Millstone. Her death certificate says she was buried on August 9th also, but we know that wasn't true.  The certificate was filled out on August 14th.  The informant was W. D. Bentley who reported that the family lived in Holbrook, Kentucky in Letcher County and that she was being buried in Fleming.  I assume that was Uncle Willie.

Weep not father and mother for me
For I am waiting in glory for thee

1 comment:

  1. Karen,
    I so enjoyed this info!I think about Opal often. What a short life. She and my Mother looked so much alike.
    Keep up the good work! Miss you when you go away.
    Your Cuz,