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Family-tree birthdays for the week of May 4

Birthdays from my family tree for the week of May 4:

May 4

Joseph Brinson (my wife's 2G uncle on her father's side), b. 1893 in South Carolina; d. Nov. 24, 1943, in South Carolina. The son and one of six children of John James Brinson and Isabella Thornley Brinson, he was born in Berkeley County and lived most of his life in adjacent Charleston County, according to census records. Isabella was John's first wife. She died in 1895 at age 32, and John James married Elizabeth Rachel Mitchum later that year. They had nine children together. "Lizzie" died in 1904, and again, Joseph was married the same year, this time to Clinnie Anderson. She was 21 years his junior, and younger than his first child by Lizzie. John James and Clinnie had two more children. In all, Joseph had 16 siblings or half siblings, though I'm not sure how many of them survived into adulthood.

Bethel Rose Wilson (my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1894 in Kentucky; details of death unknown. Bethel was the child of Michael Clay Wilson and Mattie Keith Wilson. Michael was the brother of my 2G grandfather, Abijah Wilson.

Ora O'Neal Brown (my first cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1894 in Rowan County, Ky.; d. Aug. 11, 1965, in Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio. He is pictured here at right, with Amberous Williams, his uncle, who grew up nearby and was close to his age

Ora was born in Elliotsville, Ky., a town also known as Hogtown or Hoggtown. He spent the first 17 years of his life in this community, attending school in a one-room school house and finished fourth grade. But when his father, Rufus Humphrey Brown, became ill, he was forced to quit school to help his mother, Amanda Mevlina Williams, at home. Amanda was the daughter of William Washington Williams, my 2G grandfather, whose brood lived on a plot of land near Elliottville that became known as Williams Branch.

At the age of 16, Ora began carrying the mail from Elliotsville to Sandy Hook on horseback. At 17, he moved several hundred miles to Portsmouth, Ohio, and worked for the Selby Shoe Co. In subsequent years, he worked several places, including in a grocery store and as a railroad fireman.

He married Julia Lee Fields in 1914. She became a teacher, and he purchased a grocery store in Portsmouth. However, World War I food rationing made it difficult for him to keep his store stocked, so he went out of buisness and started working as a street car conductor.

Later, he went to Akron and worked for B.F. Goodrich Rubber Co., but work was slow and he returned to Portsmouth to work for Excelsior Shoe Co. Then, it was on to the Detroit Steel Mill in New Boston, Ohio, where he worked as a burner and welder. He moved back to Elliotsville and worked in the clay mines for a short while, but in 1930, he returned to Portsmouth and operated a pair of grocery stories. After a flood in 1937, he sold out to his partner and bought a grocery on Shela in Sciotodale. He later went to work for a milk company, then a furnace company in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1950, he bought yet another grocery in Portsmouth but retired in 1960 because of poor health.

He and Julia raised nine children during the depression and never asked for a penny of relief in his life, according to his obit. He was never unemployed but a few weeks at a time. He was well known for his honesty and hard work ethic. He was loved by all who knew him.

Bertha Hall (my first cousin-in-law three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1895 in Morgan County, Ky.; d. Jan. 15, 1979, in Morehead, Rowan County, Ky. Bertha was married to Howard Vinton Hall. I do not know her maiden name. Howard was the cousin of my great grandmother Mahala Susan Hall Wilson.

Kathleen Cox Harper (my cousin-in-law on my mother's side), b. 1973. Happy birthday, Kathleen. Hope you have a great one.

May 5

Margaret Wilson (my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1835 in Somerford, Madison County, Ohio; d. June 3, 1835, in Madison County, Ohio. Margaret was the daughter — and one of nine children — of Valentine Wilson and Nancy Donnels Wilson. Valentine and his male descendants were large landowners in Madison County.

Lena Blaine Carey (my cousin-in-law three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1885; d. 1961. Lena married Homer Lee Wilson, DDS. She came from a prominent Morehead, Ky., family. Her parents were James Madison Carey and Mary Medlin Dingus Carey, a deput clerk of court and postmaster in Rowan County. He also was a successful merchant, and one of the investors and founders of the Morehead Light Company, which brought electrification to the town.

Lena's grandfather, James Carey, was stabbed at Licking Crossings by Jesse Underwood, a horse thief who later reformed. That incident was part of a great blood feud between the Underwood and Martin families, and loyalties in that conflict carried over to the Martin-Tolliver feud, which became known as the Rowan County War. James also ran the Gault House, a hotel and saloon in Morehead, where Homer Lee's father, Dr. Jeremiah Wilson, once had a medical office.

Lena was remarkable in her own right. In 1902, she was a member of the first graduating class of Morehead Normal School, which later became Morehead State. The class is show in the photo above, and Lena is in the back row, fourth from the left.

Blanche Inez Wyndham (my wife Deborah's 2G aunt-in-law on her father's side), b. 1908 in Berkeley County, S.C.; d. Dec. 14, 1991, in Bonneau, Berkeley County, S.C. Blanche married Thomas Marion Brinson in 1926, and they were married 37 years, until Thomas' death in 1963. Thomas' brother, James Ernest Brinson, was my wife's great-grandfather.

May 6

Edith Blanche Williams (my first cousin twice removed on my mother' side), b. 1914 in Morgan County, Ky.; d. Feb. 2, 1976, in Kentucky. Blanche was the niece of my great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Williams.

May 7

Elanor Caskey (my 4G grandmother on my mother's side), b. 1806 in Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Ky.; d. Nov. 2, 1884, in Morgan County, Ky. Elanor married Francis Hopkins Lewis, great-grandfather of my great-grandmother, Nora Ellen Kendall Williams. It's possible — but only conjecture on my part — that my great-grandmother's name was a derivation of Elanor's.

Hiram W. Richmond (my first cousin-in-law three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1824 in New Jersey; d. Oct. 14, 1888, in London, Madison County, Ohio. Hiram married Emeline Wilson, who was the daughter of Valentine and Nancy Donnels Wilson, and the sister of Margaret Wilson, whose birthday was May 5.

Reese Wells (my second cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1890 in Kentucky; d. November 1970 in Ashland, Boyd County, Ky. Reese was the grandson of Abijiah Wilson and Catherine C. Wilson Wilson. There are two Abijiahs in my family tree — my 2G grandfather and this Abijiah, my 4G uncle. Catherine C. was also a Wilson and Abijiah's distant cousin, and also the daughter of Isaac Wilson and Theodocia Lee Wilson. Theodoica is from the Lee family of Virginia that includes Robert E. Lee, although they are not direct relatives. Catherine C. Wilson is the sister of Sarah Jane Wilson ... who also married a Wilson, Isiah Wilson.

Of course, none of this tells you much about Reese Wells, but that's because I don't know much else about Reese Wells. Just his date of birth and death. And his parents — James Monoe Wells and Leonora Sanders Wilson, daughter of Catherine C. and Abijiah.

Dorothy May Grayson (my wife Deborah great-aunt-in-law on her father's side), b. May 7, 1919, in Charleston County, S.C.; d. July 14, 1993, in Charleston, Charleston County, S.C. Dorothy married Emile Roscoe Brinson. She was widowed in 1959 when Emile died at age 42. They had six daughters.

Joseph Sherman Jennings (brother of Jessie Jennings, my great-uncle-in-law on my mother's side ), b. May 7, 1924, in Rowan County, Ky.; d. July 9, 1981, in Lincolnville, Wabash County, Ind. The Jennings family were neighbors of my maternal grandparents and great grandparents and related through blood or marriage on both sides of my families, through Hall, Slusher and Kidd lines. Joseph Sherman was the brother of Jessie Jennings, who married Vada Mae Wilson, my grandfather's sister. Jessie and Sherman were among 10 siblings, although three — tiplets Ada, Sada and Vada — died before their first birthdays.

I don't know a lot about Joseph. I've seen his named presented in other family trees as "Sherman Joseph Jennings," but I recorded it at Joseph Sherman because that's how it's carved on his tombstone. I know for certain he was married to Sarah Ellen Harris in 1942, and I've seen references to a second wife, Geneva Garrad. He is buried next to Sarah, but it's possible he remarried — Sarah died in 1977, when Joseph was just 53.

Sarah was born on May 9, 1924, just two days after her future husband.

Lewis Maddix Ray (my wife Deborah's great uncle), b. 1924 in Camden, Kershaw County, S.C.; d. September 1981. Lewis was the son of James Huey Ray and Jessie Elizibeth Boone Ray. His brother, Clarence, was my wife's grandfather.

May 8

Hariet Caywood (my first cousin-in-law three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1875; d. June 1, 1906. Hariet married Bunyan Spratt Wilson, the first mayor of Morehead, Ky., and later a prominent attorney in Ashland, Ky. Bunyan's sister was Cora Wilson Stewart, a renowned adult-literacy advocate, and his father was one of the few country doctors in Rowan County, Ky., around the turn of the century. Hariet was Bunyan's first wife. She died in 1906 at age 31, apparently before they had children. Bunyan remarried and had a son, Bunyan Spratt Jr., by Mary C. Coffey.

Edith J. Wilcox Brooks (my half-uncle Ronnie Jackson Brooks' aunt-in-law), b. 1914 in Fulton County, Ohio; d. Oct. 8, 2002, in South Charleston, Clark County, Ohio. Edith married Lincoln "Shorty" Brooks, my uncle's uncle, in October 1948, less than seven months after Shorty's first wife, Rosie Dean, died at age 38. Edith is buried next to Shorty.

May 9

Eunice Mabel Harris Williams (my 2G aunt-in-law on my mother's side), b. 1898 in Kentucky; d. June 2, 1972, in Wayne, Mich. Eunice married Leonard Clarence Williams, brother of my great-grandfather Andrew Jackson Williams. She and Leonard had one child, a daughter, Edith Blanche Williams (1914-1976).

Marjorie Wilson Williams (my first cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1899 in Sault Ste. Marie, Chippewa County, Mich.; d. April 23, 1974, in Lexington, Fayette County, Ky. Marjorie was the daughter of Dudley Boone Wilson and Gillie Anne Peyton Wilson. Dudley was an engineer of some renown, having a hand in the construction of a Saul St. Marie bridge to Canada, the Chicago drainage canal, railroad tunnels in the East, and railroad beds in the West. Marjorie was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Chippewa County, Mich., while her father was involved in building the bridge to Canada.

She married Earl Williams and had four children.

Delmer Glennis Kidd (my first cousin once removed on my father's side), b. 1934 in Rowan County, Ky.; d. April 20, 2010, in Huntington, WVa. Delmer was the son of Allie Kidd and Myrtle C. Wagoner Kidd. Allie was the brother of my paternal grandfather, Elmer Kidd.

May 10

Robert Barkley Elliott (my second cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1912 in Scott County, Ky.; d. Oct. 22, 1939, in Harrison, Ky. Robert was the son of William Elliott Henry and Matilda Mildred Hall Elliott. He died at age 27. I've not been able to discover the cause.

Rebecca Sue Cornett (my second cousin on my mother's side), b. 1965. Happy birthday, Rebecca Sue.

Kelly Marie Bubp (my first cousin once removed), b. 1978. Happy birthday, Kelly. Kelly is the daughter of my cousin, Joyce. Incidentally, on my mother's side of the family, my Aunt Vada had a daughter, Kelli Marie, who was born three days after Kelly Marie.

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