This week's birthday tales include the strange death of Lee Wilson, tangled branches of family tree

May 30, 2015

Birthdays from my family tree for the week of June 1:

 

June 1

Andrew J. Winkleman (father-in-law of Saul Kidd, my first cousin once removed and my first cousin twice removed on my father's side), b. 1855 in Lawrence, Ohio; d. Feb. 6, 1941, in Elliott County, Ky. Andrew's daughter, Allie Fair Winkleman, married Saul Kidd. Saul was the son of Peter Fannin-Kidd and Sarah Ann Wilson and the cousin of my grandfather, Elmer Kidd.

 

Anna Elizabeth Williams (my 2G aunt on my mother's side), b. 1892 in Hoggtown, Rowan County, Ky.; d. Jan. 20, 1927. Anna was the sister of Andrew Jackson Williams, my great-grandfather. She died before her 35th birthday of "carcinoma of the womb," according to her death certificate.

 

June 2

Jefferson David Bower (father-in-law of Lola Maxine Wilson Bower, my first cousin twice removed on my mother's side), b. 1890 in Wyoming County, WVa.; d. April 28, 1959, in Boone, WVa. Lola married Jefferson's son, David Fitzhugh Bower, in 1946 when the couple was living in West Virginia. Lola was the daughter of my 2G uncle Alvin Lee Wilson and Mary Merida Stidham Wilson.  

 

Thornwell K. Baker (great uncle-in-law of my wife, Deborah Renee Ray Kidd), b. 1925 in Lee County, S.C.; d. Feb. 21, 2004, in Camden, Kershaw County, S.C. Thornwell married Gladys Ray, sister of my wife's paternal grandfather, Clarence Richard Ray. 

 

Karen Lee Kidd (my cousin on my father's side), b. 1963; d. June 2, 1963. Karen Lee was the daughter of my Uncle Atlee "Pat" Kidd and Evelyn Wright Kidd. She was stillborn. Pat and Evelyn had children by previous relationships, but Karen was the only child they had together.

 

June 3

Henry Franklin Caudill (my 3G uncle on my mother's side), b. 1867 in Elliott County, Ky.; d. May 3, 1930. Henry was one of 14 siblings of my 2G grandmother, Rebecca Caudill Williams. 

 

Grover Scott Brinson (second cousin of Deborah Renee Ray Kidd, my wife), b. 1978. Happy birthday, Grover.

 

June 4

Mamie Zenith Wilson Tarter (my second cousin three times removed on my mother's side), b. 1907 in Owingsville, Bath County, Ky.; d. Aug. 21, 1979, in Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, N.M. Mamie is the great-granddaughter of Jeremiah Wilson and Elizabeth Davis Wilson, who are my 4G uncle and aunt. 

 

I have never seen a photo of my great-great-uncle Alvin Lee Wilson. The only images I have representing him are a deed to the property where my mother grew up, which he signed over to his brother, Burl, and this digital version of death certificate.

 

June 5

Alvin Lee Wilson (my 2G uncle on my mother's side), b. 1885 in Elliottville, Rowan County, Ky.; d. April 12, 1936, in Wyoming, WVa. Lee Wilson was a younger brother of my great-grandfather, Burl Wilson. He played an interesting role in the history of the farm where my mother grew up.

Property records indicate that in the early 1920s, Lee purchased adjoining tracts of land on a ridge in Rowan County, Ky. One, he purchased from his father-in-law, J.B. Stidham; the other, he bought from George Washington Hall, Burl's father in law. According to Burl's grandson Kenny Wilson, Lee used railroad cross ties — likely from timber-company rail lines that once ran on or near the property — to build a modest house on the property. He also added an outbuilding. 

A few years later, he sold the property to Burl and his wife, Mahala Susan Hall Wilson. (The deed is pictured below.) Over time, they added small parcels to the property, including land Mahala inherited. They also expanded the original house several times through the years and added other outbuildings. But those structures first put there by Lee remain to this day. Four generations of Wilsons lived on that property until it was sold in the late 1980s.

Sometime after selling the property to Burl — I'm not sure when — Lee and his wife, Mary Merida Stidham Wilson, moved to West Virginia. The couple had married in 1909, and if other records I have seen are accurate, Lee would have been nearly 24 and Mary just 14.

Lee died mysteriously, according to family lore. His death certificate indicates that in 1936, just before his 51st birthday, he bled to death after he was run over by a train, amputating his legs. There are a few other details on the death certificate, which lists his occupation as a boiler foreman — perhaps for a railroad company, perhaps for a timber or coal company.

It's not clear how Lee would have come to be struck by a train, but there were rumors he was murdered and his body placed on the tracks, propped up by two-by-fours. I've never been able to substantiate that story, but I discovered that the manner of his official cause of death was just as described to me by Kenny, who is my uncle.

 

 

Ronnie Joe Brooks (my half cousin on my mother's side), b. 1964 in Boyd County, Ky. Happy birthday, Ronnie Joe.

 

June 6

Sarah Elizabeth Jennings Kidd Slusher (mother-in-law of Dora Kidd, my great aunt on my father's side), b. 1863 in Kentucky; d. Oct. 25, 1976, in Rowan County, Ky. Sarah is a double in-law, and her relations are complicated.

Her first husband was Andrew Kidd. I've not been able to estabish a direct blood line between Andrew and the Kidd's I'm related to, but the only son of Andrew and Sarah, John William Kidd, married someone with the same surname who is related to me — Dora Kidd, sister of my grandfather Elmer Kidd. 

OK, in one paragraph, I've thrown five relatives at you. ... And we're just getting started.

Andrew died at about age 24. Sarah remarried at least once, possibly twice. I've found no record of children born to a man with the last name "Blair," but Sarah definitely married Joseph Slusher Jr. in 1895, about six years after John William Kidd's passing. She and Joseph had eight children together. They include a daughter Sarah Elizabeth Slusher, who married John Milt Jennings in 1904. (John Milt and Sarah Elizabeth Jennings Kidd Slusher were first cousins.) One of their children, Jesse Franklin Jennings, married Vada Wilson, my grandfather's sister — again making Sarah Elizabeth an in-law, this time on my mother's side.

If you're brain is not already aching trying to keep all of this straight, maybe this will send you to the asprin bottle. Another of Sarah and Joseph's children, Willie Lee Slusher (1889-1973), married Laura Belle Kidd (1896-1984), who was a distant half-in-law.

I'm also related to Slushers through my mother's maternal line — my 3G grandmother was Mahala Slusher Quesenberry. I've not yet connected those Slushers to Sarah Elizabeth's but I would be more surprised to find they're not related.

 

June 7

Martha Ann Alfrey (my first cousin four times removed on my mother's side), b. 1864 in Rowan County, Ky.; d. Dec. 19, 1940, in Rowan County, Ky. Martha Ann is the child of Franklin L. Alfrey and Jane Elly Hall Alfrey and the niece of George Martin Hall, my 3G grandfather on my mother's side.

 

Rosie Dean Brooks (aunt-in-law of Ronnie Jackson Brooks, my half uncle on my mother's side), b. 1908; d. March 13, 1948, in Clark County, Ohio. Rosie was the first wife of Lincoln Brooks — the brother of Jack's father, Otis Brooks, my maternal grandmother's first husband. After Rosie died in 1948 at age 39, Lincoln married Edith J. Wilcox.

 

 

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