Monday, July 26, 2010

Is This John & Martha Bennett's Robert?

John Bennett and Martha Gamble had at least 9 children - Nancy Jane, Justian, Thomas, Sarah Ann, Teresa, Mary, Martha, John and Robert. Most of the children haven't been located (at least not by me) after they disappear from their parents household in census records. So far, my great-grandmother, Nancy Jane, and her twin sisters, Mary and Martha, are the only ones I've found after the 1880 census. I might have found Robert but I just can't be sure yet. See what you think.

In the 1870 census John and Martha were living in Rock Mills, Randolph County, Alabama. All nine children were listed with them although Nancy Jane probably did not actually live with them. (She was already married and was also listed in Chambers County with her husband and infant daughter.) Robert was listed as 6 months old and born in Alabama.

In the 1880 census John and Martha were still in Randolph County (but in the Burson district) with six of their children. Robert was listed as 10 years old and born in Georgia.

By 1900 Martha has died and John was living in neighboring Chambers County, Alabama. Daughter, Mary, and her children (Lem, Jettie and Warren Hester) were living with him. Back in Randolph County, in the Burson district where John and Martha had been in 1880, there was a Robert L. Bennett with wife, Ida and 4 children. This Robert was listed as 30 years old, born Dec 1869 in Georgia so he's the right age to be John and Martha's Robert.

In 1910 Robert and Ida Bennett were living in Balleyton, Cullman County, Alabama with 8 children. Cullman County is in central Alabama, north of Birmingham. John Bennett had also moved to this area and was living in Ryan Crossroads in Morgan County along with twin daughters, Mary and Martha, and Mary's children. Morgan County joins Cullman on it's north border and Balleyton is 6.6 miles from Ryan Crossroads by today's roads.

In 1920 Robert and Ida were living in Eva, Morgan County, Alabama with 7 children. John Bennett had died by this time but Mary and Martha were still living in Ryan Crossroads in Morgan County.

In 1930 Robert and Ida and the Bennett twins were all still living in Morgan County.

It should be noted that none of the 10 children listed with Robert and Ida in various census records have names found in John and Martha Bennett's family. That seems a little odd but maybe they just didn't like naming children after family members. They didn't even name one of their five sons Robert.

Robert Lee Bennett died in Falkville, Morgan County on 13 Nov 1949. According to his death certificate, he was born in Randolph County, Alabama on 19 Dec 1870 [close but the year should be 1869 if he's John and Martha's son] and was buried in Etha Cemetery, Cullman County, Alabama. His father was listed as Alley Bennett and his mother's name was unknown by the informant, A. C. Bennett (probably his son, Abbie C.).

Alley Bennett? This would be so easy if it just said John. There is only one Alley Bennett in the 1870 census (in the whole country) and she was just 5 years older than Robert so definitely not his father. The only Robert Bennett in 1870 and 1880 in Randolph County is John and Martha's Robert. And one last clue — Mary Bennett Hester's great-grandson remembers as a child meeting someone named Bob once or twice. Bob lived in the area and was related to his great-grandmother. He believes Bob was her brother although he can't be sure.

So, even though there are a few confusing twists, I really think this Robert L. Bennett is the son of John and Martha Bennett. I'm just missing that one bit of solid proof.



  1. Linda,
    I just love it when it appears so clearly to be but then that one little piece you need to prove it just isn't to be found. Did you have any luck with his obituary? The small difference in the birth year doesn't bother me at all. How about the obits of his siblings - do they name him as living in that area? How does that pan out?
    Good luck with this, I have a couple of these and they sure can mess with your mind! IF you resolve it please post the outcome, I'd love to see what you come up with.
    Happy Monday!

  2. Karen, I haven't found an obit yet for him or the twin sisters but that's on my to do list. Nancy Jane's obit was very disappointing - it only lists one of her children (5 or 6 were alive at the time) and nothing abt. siblings.