Thursday, February 10, 2011

Searching for John R. Petty's Parents - Part 4

Continued from Part 3.

To recap: John R. Petty and the family of the older John Petty were the only Petty families living in Bradley and McMinn County, Tennessee and Whitfield County, Georgia. John R.'s age was a good fit to be the older John's son. John R. seems to have joined the same Confederate army unit that the three Petty brothers joined. One of the older John's sons appears to have moved to Kentucky along with John R. The older John had a daughter named Angeline and John R. named a daughter Samantha Angeline. 

I spent three days in Bradley and McMinn Counties last fall and the only records I found for John Petty's family were the marriage records for two of his sons (and the sad thing is I already had them from Ancestry). James married Sarah Longwith on 11 Sep 1865 in Bradley County and Rash married Sarah Ann Foster on 20 Oct 1865. That's it. There was nothing else, no deeds, no mention in indexes of court records, no mention in cemetery books, no mention in county histories, not even a researcher submitted report in the family folders. Nothing. Maybe the most disappointing thing was there were no marriage records for any Petty women - not the three known daughters from 1860 or the potential older three daughters from 1840. 

James moved to Washington County, Arkansas, Rash settled in Blount County, Tennessee and it looks like Joseph went to Kentucky but there is no way to track the daughters without a clue to their married names. Their father was still in Bradley County in 1870 and seemed to have re-married. Of course, I didn't find a marriage record for him either but 57 year old Tabitha Petty was living with him. Since John was still in Bradley County you would think at least some of the daughters would have been married there. 

John R. and Margaret moved from Logan County, Kentucky to nearby Hopkins County. Margaret died in 1876 from complications related to the birth of their 10th child who also died and John R. seems to have disappeared (although there is a Whitfield County marriage record for a John R. Petty marrying M. C. Bohanan in 1878 so it's possible he returned to that area). In 1880, five of their younger children were living with Margaret's sister, Mary Echols (and her husband, James), in Forsyth County, Georgia. Samantha and Henry were both still living in Hopkins County. Samantha had married Lee Hankins there in 1879. It is unknown where their oldest daughter Melissa was living or even if she was living. Their son, Oliver Perry, was not living with his Aunt Mary but he was in Forsyth County living with a James and Angeline Tribble who have no known relationship to the family. 

Could she be Angeline Petty? That would certainly be the piece to really tie John R. to the Bradley County Petty family. Oliver's relationship is listed as adopted son, not nephew so that's no help. It's unclear if there was really an adoption or not but Oliver used the surname Petty throughout his life. He did apparently maintain a connection to the Tribbles because in 1900 one of his children (listed as a boarder) was living with them. Angeline Tribble was listed as 24 years old and born in Georgia in the 1880 census. In 1900 she was listed as 44, born Feb 1856 in Georgia. Angeline Petty was born in Tennessee about 1848 (according to the 1860 census) so the age is definitely off but the name sure is a big coincidence and it's worth some further research.

To Do List:

  1. Determine Angeline Tribble's maiden name. 
  2. Determine if the John R. Petty who was married in 1878 in Whitfield County, Georgia was this John R. Petty.
  3. Search the 1850 Census at Heritage Quest (just in case they might have page that Ancestry and FamilySearch are missing).
  4. Search marriage records in neighboring counties in Tennessee and Georgia for the daughters and for the marriage of John and Tabitha. 
  5. Contact the owners of two Ancestry trees that have James Petty and his family. One doesn't list any siblings for James and one lists Martha, Angeline and Mary but no brothers.

If you know anything about these Petty families or the Tribbles, please e-mail me. Oh, and research suggestions are also welcome.


  1. You've certainly got a project on your hands. No suggestions (other than seeing how many Angelines b. 1848 in TN there were in the 1850 census) but applause for the thoroughness of your approach. I'd love you to make a breakthrough - it'd give me hope on some of my TN brickwalls.

  2. Whoops - make that Angelines b. 1856 in GA appear in the 1850 census. Not enough coffee before reading this morning.