Friday, March 27, 2009

Nina Pratt Mullins - a beautiful family

I started to title this "I met a new cousin -- sort of..." but it was so close to another title that I did which got me several angry emails that I changed my mind so that I wouldn't jinx this story.

The person I met isnt' exactly my cousin, but he is a cousin of my cousins and he likes doing his family tree. He has shared some of his history with me.

My dad had two brothers and one sister. They were Lonnie, Jesse, Vera and James (my dad). My uncle Jesse was one of my favorite uncles. I loved going over to stay all night with them. I used to love to sit and listen to him lead the songs at church. When you are a kid you don't know who made you related to an aunt or uncle -- they just are your aunts or uncles, so I never felt like this was my uncle and that was his wife. I usually loved them both regardless who was the blood relative.
Jesse, J.D., Lonnie & Vera

So, I love my Aunt Nina, too. I remember staying with them for a week when I was probably 5. I didn't know how to ride a bicycle when I went, but I was flying around on one when I went home. I remember Aunt Nina made hot chocolate from the recipe on the Hershey can. My mom was a great cook, but I think we used Nestle chocolate that you stirred into white milk and maybe we heated it up. I just don't have a memory of mom making us hot chocolate. I never see a Hershey's can of cocoa that I don't think of that hot chocolate that Aunt Nina made. I remember that week that I stayed that Aunt Nina made us Kool-aid to drink. It was grape and she put real lemonade in it so there were bits of lemon in it. We had orange Kool-aid on Saturdays with popcorn as we watched the old Tarzan Johnny Weismueller movies, but even Kool-aid was special at Aunt Nina's.

Uncle Jesse & Aunt Nina at our Mullins reunion.

I love to hear Aunt Nina tell a story. I love her laugh. I don't see her much now that she and her family have moved from Ohio to Colorado, but I still think of her often.

I got an email this week asking for some information on a Basil Sisk. I first thought, boy does that person have the wrong woman -- surely Basil must be someone I just have as a married in person who is 7 generations from me. But when I looked it was from Aunt Nina's family.

Aunt Nina had a sister named Madeline. She was married to Leonard Salyers. Now I knew they weren't my "blood" relatives, but we called them Aunt Madeline and Uncle Leonard just the same, and they felt like family. I saw Aunt Madeline last year at Aunt Lake's funeral in Whitesburg. She was pretty as a picture. I believe she someone has found that "Honey, I shrunk the aunt" ray to use on her because she is tiny, tiny, tiny.

I have tried to search out each of my cousin's families so that if they want their family history, it won't be so one-sided from me.

Nina Margaret Pratt was born on December 8, 1917 in Letcher County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Canary Madelyn Sisk and Talmadge Pratt.

Talmadge Pratt was born on December 15, 1894 in Piney Creek, Allegheny County, North Carolina. In 1900 he was six years old living with his father, George, his brother Harley and his Aunt Mary Pratt. In 1910 Harley and Talmadge were still in Piney Creek with their father, George. George was 70 years old.

Some time before 1920 Talmadge had made his way to Letcher County where he had married Canary Madelyn Sisk who was from Virginia.

Canary was the daughter of James Anderson Sisk and Sarah Bythinia "Sally" Lyons. James was an engineer for the railroad. He and Sally had nine children: Wiley, Canary, Gertrude, Nelly, Verner, Golden, Roland, Basil and Hazel. By 1920 James was working in the coal mines. Wiley was married, but listed with his parents at Robinson, Wise County, Virginia. Gertrude was married and living with her parents. Golden, Roland, Basil, and Hazel were still single. Velma, Wiley's bride, and Ballard Beamer, Golden's husband, were in the household, also.

Canary and Talmadge were in their own home at 184 Hemphill Road. Talmadge was listed as 23, Canara as 21. Nina was 2 and baby Madolin was 9 months old. Also in their household was Verna Sisk, Canary's sister, and a boarder by the name of Elizabeth Yonts, who was a 19 year old widow.

In 1921 Talmadge Frankin Pratt was born followed by Charles Lloyd Pratt on January 12, 1923.

On January 17, 1923 Canary Madelyn Sisk died from bronchial pneumonia. Nina was six years old with three little siblings.

Talmadge married a second time to Nora Quillen. I really haven't worked out who her parents were yet. They had a daughter, June.

When I think of Nina separately as a woman, I think of her as a threesome with Nina, Madeline and June.

What I had never seen was pictures of Aunt Nina as a child or any of her family. My request for information on Basil Sisk led me to treasures from Richard, a cousin of Aunt Nina's through Canary's sister, Nelly. Let me show you what beautiful pictures that he sent to me:

Sarah Sisk family portrait taken about 1903 – James was apparently at work
Back row: Canary, Sarah (sitting), Verna, Wiley
Front row: Nellie, Golden, Gertrude

James and Sarah Sisk family portrait taken about 1911 – oldest child Wiley had been drafted for World War I
Standing in back: Verna, Canary, Gertrude, Nellie, Golden
Front row: Basil, James, Roland, Sarah, Hazel

Canary Madelyn Sisk Pratt and her daughter, Nina Margaret Pratt Mullins.

Madeline Pratt Saylers and her sister, Nina Margaret Pratt Mullins.

I cannot thank Richard enough for sharing these beautiful pictures.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oggie Jane Fulton Baker

Oggie Jane Fulton was the daughter of John Fulton and Rosa B. "Rosie" Adams. Rosie would ride sidesaddle over the mountain to sell milk, eggs and farm produce.

This is Rosie on her horse.

Oggie married James Walter Baker. She continued this work as is shown by her picture.

Here is an article that was written by Mabel Kiser and printed in the Mountain Eagle about Oggie and her life and work:

Mrs. Baker is a good old-fashioned mother

This is Odgie Fulton Baker, in a photo made around 35 or 40 years ago, in
front of her home on the Right Fork of Millstone Creek. Mrs. Baker, widow Jime (
sic) Baker, rode this horse on side saddle across the hill and down Goose Creek to
Neon where she sold milk and butter and eggs. Sweet milk was 25 cents a gallon
and butter milk was 20 cents per gallon. Eggs she sold for 30 cents per

She and Jim had 12 children. Still living are Opal of Charleston, W. Va.;
Tilda Craft and Ottie Reynolds, both of Millstone, Nettie Coleman of Pikeville,
Jesse Baker of Deane, Bill Baker of Knoxville, Bradley Baker of Irvine, Henry
Baker of McRoberts. Elijah Baker, Herbert Baker and Maybelle Meade and an infant are dead.

The horse, Old Dock, belonged to son, Bill, who was in the Army when this
picture was made. It was later sold to Dr. Skaggs (the old doctor) of Fleming
and taken to Florida. Mrs. Baker was always a jolly and active lady and we all
loved her.

Mrs. Baker is still jolly and tried to work like our mothers always had a
way of doing, but time has slowed somewhat her footsteps. But she is still a
beautiful lady and young at heart. She had a heart condition and has been in the
hospital for several days now. Get well wishes go to this grand lady. She is a
roommate of my mother in the Whitesburg Hospital this week.

Mrs. Baker is one of our good old fashioned mothers, who believed in keeping the home fires burning, stayed home with her children, until they were all grown and gone into homes of their own. She still keeps the home fires burning in the old home place. Her husband, Jim, has been gone a long time; she has had many storms in her life, but has weathered them well. Her children still adhere to the
teachings of thier father and mother, and all are honest, upright men and women,
children she can be proud of, and she is. this family is a close-knit family,
the grandchildren all are close to their grandmother and to each other. Solomon
of old described mothers like Mrs Baker in Proverbs 31 verses 10 thru 20
"Strength and honor are her clothing: and she shall rejoice in time to

Friday, March 13, 2009

DNA Results

I knew that my g-g grandfather, James Mullins (or Booker James Mullins as he is referred to in one court document of 1837) had married Rebecca Hays on September 29, 1859 when he was 72 and she was 18. They were married for 16 years and had four children, the youngest of which was my great grandfather, Joshua Mullins.

I did not know that anyone questioned that James was the father of Rebecca's children until I ran into other Mullins researchers from other lines than James who held the opinion that because of James' advanced age, he could not have fathered Rebecca's children. They referred to them as "the supposed children". I had never heard that Rebecca had been unfaithful to James, and the only reason for their opinions were the age thing.

I was glad to have run into a cousin who headed up a group collecting the DNA on the Mullins family. The findings were good and bad. James' father was Booker Mullins. His father was supposed to have been William M. Mullins who was married to Katherine Elizabeth Varner. Only when they did DNA tests of some of Booker's descendants and some of his brother's descendants the two brothers DNA matched, but Booker's did not. Booker's matched an Adkins family line. Booker was brought up as a son of William and Katherine, but it means that either Katherine had a child by an Adkins or one of her daughters had one which they raised as their son or something of that ilk (a niece, a neighbor) happened.

The DNA tests only males in a direct line from their ancestor. So, for example, we go Booker, to James (g-g gpa) to Joshua (g-gpa), to James (gpa), to James (father), to James or David (brothers) -- with those relationships in parentheses being how the person relates to me. Now my Uncle Jesse had no sons and his grandsons were fathered by Murphys, so they were not eligible to be tested for the Mullins line.

I didn't like this automatic assumption that James was not the father of Rebecca's children nor that Rebecca was an unfaithful wife. Things get carried down the line and when there is another person involved, someone usually hears something about it. This was just opinion.

I believe that there is a letter from one of Sherwood's grandchildren which in effect said 'well if our one grandpa had married our grandma, we would be be Adkins instead of Mullins' which would mean it wasn't too far of a stretch when the DNA came out saying Booker's genes matched the Adkins group and not the Mullins group. The person thought to be Booker's father is a Sherwood Adkins.

Anyway, back in December or January, I had Dad do a DNA test. I wanted to prove the connection of Joshua to James. I did have a cousin throw in a monkey wrench when he told a story about another person who he thought was my dad's father. I didn't buy the story, but I didn't discount it since anything is possible. Another cousin told me that story was ridiculous that it was my grandmother's sister who had been with the person my cousin thought was my dad's father. I just hoped that it wouldn't interfere with the test results for Joshua because there were few descendants from James and Rebecca who could be tested and the other known potential person had decided not to be tested.

At first the tests seemed inconclusive. On March 11th they finished a second set of tests and Dad matched totally back to Booker which means he is the son of James who married Cora Wright, who is the son of Joshua who married Annie Houston, who is the son of James who married Rebecca Hays, who is the son of Booker only known to have been married to a Sarah. Booker's DNA matches the Adkins family.

If James, the son of Booker was born in 1787 as is most often reported, he was 81 years old when he fathered Joshua. Rebecca, born in 1841 was 28 when she conceived.

James died in 1875 when Joshua was six years old.

And they thought Tony Randall was old when he had his children.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rachel Bentley Justice 4

Update: I talked with Otho Holcomb on March 11th. He said that Rachel had died sometime in the latter part of last year, maybe October. He said he had been trying to get her on the phone and got no answer. He called her niece's home and she was out of town. The neice's husband said that Rachel had passed away some time back. I still have not found an obituary.

Viola "Red", Ellis, Callie and Rachel
Red and Rachel

Rachel with Tishie's son, Jack.

Rachel with Percie's son, Harry Lee.

Rachel, Red and Malinda.

Rachel and Red quilting at Rachel's home in Florida.

Red and Rachel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rhoda Bentley

Rhodica "Rhoda" Bentley was the daughter of John Vent and Annie Potter Bentley. She was born March 10, 1862 in Pike County, Kentucky. She was a sister to John Martin Bentley who was Otho Bentley's father.

About 1880 Rhoda married David A. J. Mullins (probably for Andrew Jackson) since David was the son of Andrew Jackson "Brandy Jack" Mullins and Mary Lucy "Polly Ann" Mullins. Brandy Jack was the grandson of Old Booker Mullins. His parents were Sherwood "Sherd" Mullins and Mary "Polly" Roberts. Sherd was the brother of James Mullins, my g-g-g grandfather.

Rhoda married David sometime after June 2, 1880 when David was listed as single and head of household living with his 16 year old sister, Louisa, and his 14 year old brother, George. Together they had nine children: Rose Belle, Eliza Jane, Alvin, John Harrison, Laura Beatrice, James Russell, Lakey, Melvin W. and Clinton Mullins. They lived in Dickenson County.

David died in 1905. Rhoda married again on November 28, 1907 to Hiram Wright, but was a widow in the 1910 Dickenson County census. She reported that she had had 9 children, but only 8 of them were living. Little Lakey who had been born on April 11 1897 died on November 11 1899.

Rosa Belle had married on Aprl 8, 1898 to James Clinton Slemp and was in her own household.

Eliza Jane married on September 2, 1899 to Nelson Sanders.


Rachel Bentley Justice 3

These are more of Rachel's pictures -- mostly of her and her siblings.

Her parents were Poppy's brother Elbert Bentley and Sabrina Craft, daughter of Chunk and Polly Ann Caudill. Their children were: Martin, Benjamin, Letitia "Tishie", Polly Ann, Caldonia "Callie", Malinda, Enoch Otho, Rachel Virginia, Percie, Laben, Joseph, Ellis, A. J. and Viola "Red" Bentley.

Rachel and Red at Niagara Falls.

Percie and her husband, Henry Lee Phillips and their granddaughter, Sandra.

Percie and Howard (Rachel's husband) grilling in the rain.

Malinda, Percie, Aunt Wilma, and Red. Rachel took this picture.

Mary Evelyn McElroy Bentley (Uncle D. V's wife) and Rachel on holiday.

Ellis and Red.

Ellis and Nancy June Cole (Aunt Wilma's daughter).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rachel Bentley Justice 2

These are more pictures of Rachel, her twin sons and her husband Howard Justice.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rachel Bentley Justice

I talked with Aunt Mary Evelyn today. She said that cousin Rachel Justice had passed away. She was living in southern Ohio near her niece Sabrina's home. They took her to Florida to be buried by her husband, Avery Howard Justice.
I met Rachel about thirteen or fourteen months ago -- sharp as a tack. I am sorry not to have known about it. I would like to have gone to her memorial service.

Rachel was born April 26, 1915. She was the eighth child of fourteen of Elbert Bentley and Sabrina Craft. Elbert was the brother of Otho Bentley. Sabrina was the sister of Lettie Craft, Nancy Alice Hall's mother.

Rachel at 6 months of age.

Update: 3/11/2009 Otho Holcomb said that Rachel had died sometime in the last part of 2008, maybe in October. He had called and couldn't get hold of Rachel. He called to talk to her niece. She was out of town and her husband told him Rachel had passed away.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Edna & Willie

These are pictures of Uncle Willie and Aunt Edna from Can and Ernestene's pictures.

I know the one isn't very good, but I like the view of the house.