Thursday, April 7, 2011

Another Possible Marriage for both John and John R. Petty

Yes, it's another post about the Petty family but it will probably be the last for a while. 

When last we saw the older John Petty, he was living with his daughters, Martha Martin and Angeline Long, in Whitfield County, Georgia in 1880. John was listed as age 72 and widowed. His potential son (and my 2nd great-grandfather), John R. Petty, hasn't been located in the 1880 census but he was apparently living in Hopkins County, Kentucky in 1876 when his wife and newborn son died.

There is a marriage record in Whitfield County, Georgia for a John R. Petty in 1878 and another one for a John Petty in 1881. I think the 1878 record is my John R. and the 1881 record is older John. Here is why.

The first marriage record is for John R. Petty and M. C. Bohanan on 26 Apr 1878. In the 1880 census there is a Mary Petty living with Thomas and Lucinda Bohannan. Mary Petty was listed as 31 years old and widowed. She had two sons, Charley (6) and Benjamin (1) Petty. Since Mary married John R. Petty in 1878, it's likely that six-year-old Charley wasn't his son and Petty wasn't really his name. Regardless, this appears to be the M. C. Bohanan who married John R. Petty two years earlier and it appears that John R. has died. If he is my John R. that would explain why he hasn't been found in the 1880 census anywhere.

On 12 Dec 1886, Mary V. Petty married William Hall in Whitfield County. Even though the middle initial is V. instead of C. this surely has to be Mary Bohannan Petty. There were only four Pettys listed in Whitfield County in the 1880 census - old John, Mary Bohannan Petty and her sons, Charley and Benjamin. Thomas Bohannan's daughter was listed as Polly V. in 1860 and Mary in 1870. There is little doubt that Mary Petty living with Thomas Bohannan in 1880 is Mary V. "Polly" Bohannan.

The second marriage record is for John Petty and Elizabeth Innman on 15 Feb 1881. Census records show William and Elizabeth Innman living in Whitfield County in 1870. Elizabeth was also in Whitfield County in 1880 listed as a widow, age 65. John R. Petty was born about 1836 so he would have been almost 20 years younger than Elizabeth. That seems to leave the older John to be the one who married Elizabeth Innman (plus John R. apparently died before 1880).

There is currently nothing to absolutely prove that the John R. Petty who married Mary Bohannan in 1878 and then apparently died before 1880 was my John R. But let's say that old John was my John R.'s father and Martha Martin, Angeline Long and Mary Cooper were his sisters - wouldn't it make sense that he returned to Whitfield County, Georgia where they were all living after the death of his wife?

So what have I accomplished with all of this research into old John Petty and his family? Well, I know a lot more about old John and his definite children but I'm still missing anything more than circumstantial evidence that my John R. belongs to this family. Granted it is a lot of circumstantial evidence but it just still feels incomplete to me.

I think my brain needs a rest from the Petty family for a while.

Other recent posts related to Petty research:


  1. I read a post this week comparing research to jigsaw puzzles. He commented that you can begin to see the outlines of the pieces you are missing and see the picture - even with a few pieces missing.