Saturday, September 27, 2008

Edna Bentley 1908 2008 A Century of Living

Edna Mae Bentley was born September 27, 1908 in Millstone, Kentucky.  Her parents were Sherman and Ada Sergent Bentley. 

Sherman and Ada Sergent Bentley with baby John

In the 1910 Census the family was at the left hand fork of Millstone.  Sherman and Ada had been married for 18 years.  He was a farmer.  They had had six children at this point, but only five of them were living.:  Maggie 16, Bertha 12, Ollie 8, Cinda 4, and Edna 2.  Their little brother Vince who was born in 1899 had died before this census.

Maggie, Bertha, Ollie, Cindy and Edna

On September 12 1918 Sherman registered for the draft for World War I.  He was described as medium height, stout build with brown eyes and gray hair. 


In  1920 the new census found Sherman 45, Ada 47, Sindy 13, and Edna 11.  There were two new members of the family since the last census: John 8 who was called Buster, and Arthur 1 who was known as Sonny.  Living with them was Archie Kates, age 44. 

Maggie had married John Mason and was living in her own household.  Bertha married Williard Hall.  Ollie had married Samuel Wright, son of Andrew J. and Nancy Bates Wright.

Sherman died on February 12, 1920 of lobor pneumonia.  Ada died in 1921.  The children were taken in and raised by Patrick and Amanda Bentley Bates.  Amanda was Sherman's sister.  Patrick was the grandson of John Wallis and Sarah Waltrip Bates.

Edna married Willie D. Bentley on October 21, 1925.  Together they had 9 children:  Leonard, Atha Delores, Lora Lou, Willie Mae, Sadie, Teddy, Janice, Walter Darrel, and Sharon.

Willie was the son of Otho and Sadie Collier Bentley.  He farmed.  He mined coal.  Together they ran a store and raised their family.

                  Sadie, Edna, Willie Mae, Lora, Delores and in the back Leonard
 Edna and Teddy in the snow.
                                           Atha Bentley Caudill (Willie's sister), Teddy and Edna   
Leonard, Edna and Willie          
Edna and Leonard
 Leonard, Edna & Willie
 Edna, Leonard and Sadie Stallard (Aunt Laura's daughter)
 Edna and Sharon
Willie in the straight backed chair leaning against the tree holding one of the children.  Edna standing by him.
1975 -- 50th Wedding Anniversary


In 1977 after 52 years of marriage, Edna lost her husband, Willie.

Willie and Edna's Children:

Sharon (insert) Leonard, Willie Mae, Sadie, Lora Lou, Delores, Janice and Teddy

Edna lived in an apartment in Indianapolis for many years.  Later she moved to the Masonic Home near Louisville, Kentucky.  If you are thinking she sat in a rocker and grew old, you would be very wrong. 
Edna had a very full life.  She had a great circle of friends. 

She took up pool and became quite a shark.

Edna also has a movie credit.  A movie on Assisted Living was made.  She had a bit part which was upped to a speaking part.  You can still order this movie on under the title "Assisted Livng".

When she was 97 she took a balloon ride.  What she said afterward was a piece of advice:  "Don't wear a skirt to take a balloon ride."

I was visiting Otho and Pat Holcomb last November.  The last time I had visited with  her she was living in her apartment in Indianapolis.  We were talking about her and the family. Otho picked up the phone and called her.  He handed it over.  I have called other members of the family after a long time and eventually they figure out who you are, but all I said was I was Karen, Cora's daughter, and she knew who I was and even talked about the last time I had visited.

When we were little and Edna's  family lived in the big stone house many times they would be sitting on the back porch snapping beans or doing some work.  A lot of times I would be walking with Kris.  We would always call out a hello.  Edna would raise her arm and say "Howdy".  Kris called her Howdy.  I didn't, I always called her Aunt Edna, but she laughed about that to me, too.

 Edna and Lora

Edna Bentley was a loving wife, a wonderful mother and led a Christian life.  She died on March 3 of this year.  She would have been 100 if she had lived to this date.  This is the last picture taken of Edna.


  1. Karen,
    You have outdone yourself again! This is a wonderful story.
    Thank You,
    Your Cuz,

  2. Karen~
    Thanks so much for writing such a loving story! I found it a little late, but love ready all your posts.

    Thanks again~
    Jennifer Norman Corzine
    Janice's daughter

  3. Thank you for this wonderful story. This is the first time I've see this blog, but not the last.
    A quick story I like to tell about Mamaw; When she lived in Indianapolis, I delivered newspapers in her neighborhood, every Saturday morning she would make me an amazing country breakfast. I looked forward to it every week, and I know she did too.
    (William) Dirk Bentley, Ted's son.

  4. Karen,

    In the midst of all the discussion about the swine flu, thoughts of Mamaw popped into my head once again ~ you know, thoughts of her being orphaned at such a young age. Anyway, I started searching for the years that Mamaw's parents passed. Suddenly, it dawned on me that Aunt Janice had passed on your address here and I started searching when I came across this loving tribute to my grandmother.

    I'm sitting in my office (past working hours) with tears running down my cheeks. I missed my grandmother's funeral ~ my husband was having surgery to remove a cancerous kidney that day. If you knew my grandmother, you know exactly where she would have told me my place was ~ right next to my husband and not at her funeral. So I stayed in Indianapolis.

    I've always felt a little part of me didn't have that final chance for good-bye, although I know we said every time I saw here the last few weeks of her life. I've even thought that I wasn't ready to say that final good-bye. Karen, thank you so much for honoring her and giving me, a year later, a chance to say goodbye. These are healthy, healing tears that have needed to come out for quite a while.

    Mamaw was the most loving and God-fearing women I have ever known. I once asked her about the marks on the inside cover of her Bible and she told me she had marked a line each time she read the Bible through ~ and this was the big print Bible that she didn't get until much later in her life.

    It was Aunt Janice who went to Louisville to tell Mamaw that my dad, Gail Williams, passed away in 1998 and bring her to Indianapolis. When Mamaw arrived I ran straight long into her arms, she provided the kind of comfort that only a mamaw could provide. She told me about hope ~ in a way that I've never heard a minister or preacher speak ~ it's like God was speaking right through her and to be honest, I often think He did.

    Thank you for the stories about snapping beans on the back porch and stories about the big stone house (that house was a child's dream ~ except for that red water!).

    Sharon Gail Willams Reeves
    daughter of Sadie Bentley & Gail Williams