It was late January 1903, and Patrick Bohannon had just buried his second wife Mary Frances Wilbanks, whom he called “Fannie” with affection. Patrick soon found solace with Mrs Mary Frances King, née Graham, a young widow who had lost her husband and two sons in the Indian Territory a couple of years earlier. The fact that Mary King shared the same first and middle names as Patrick’s second wife may have helped blossom this relationship. She even had a similar nickname, “Mollie”.
On 2 September 1903, seven months after Fannie’s death, Patrick paid a $100 bond for a marriage license, with A. Bohannon signed as surety. On the marriage license, Patrick was listed as “P. L. Bohanon” of Bear Creek, age 35, and Mollie was “Mrs Mary F King” of Watts, age 23. Justice of the Peace F. M. Hardin conducted the marriage ceremony on 3 September 1903, and the documents were filed by county clerk J. W. Smith.
The census of 1910 was the first to show the family of Patrick and Mollie. There is a wealth of information contained on the census form that confirms the data in this article, but there are also some things that aren’t there. I will explain both, with pictures!
Patrick and Mollie were apparently living on the farm of Mollie’s parents Jesse and Sarah Graham in Red River Township. By 1910, Jesse had passed away and all of Mollie’s siblings had moved on to start families of their own or had themselves died. Only Mollie and her mother Sarah remained on the farm, and then Patrick and his family moved in when he married Mollie, I speculate.
Look at the far right of the line for Patrick. The M3 indicated that this was his third marriage – his previous marriages had been to Rixey Watson and Fannie Wilbanks. The 7 indicated that this marriage to Mollie had lasted for seven years by this point, which is consistent with their 1903 marriage license.
Similarly, the M2 on Mollie’s line indicated that this was her second marriage, her first having been to Otha Allen King. The 7 refers to the span of her current marriage to Patrick. The next block is “Mother of how many children.” The 5 was the total number of children born to Mollie, and the 3 was the number still living in 1910. The two children that died were her sons with Otha, Jessie King and Edgar King. The other three children were the result of her marriage to Patrick.
Patrick had three children with his first wife, Rixey. One of those, Sarah M Bohannon, is not listed with this family on this census. She would’ve been 23 in 1910, so she may have married. But I have yet to learn where she was this year.
Patrick and Rixey’s other two children were present: Sylvannia and John Alexander (here listed as Alek).
Patrick and his second wife Fannie had two children together, Loye and Pearl, and both were present.
The other three children listed are the offspring of Patrick and Mollie. We know this because the number of children still living recorded on Mollie’s line was three, but also, because all of their ages were less than the span of this marriage, seven years. Patrick and Mollie’s children all had names that rhymed – Hester, Chester and Lester – a touch of whimsy in lives that had seen so much tragedy.
Finally, Mollie’s widowed mother Sarah Graham was living with the family. (Or was she staying with Mollie’s sister Minnie? See The Tale of Two Sarahs.)
Patrick and the boys, Alek and Loy, had their occupation listed as farmers. The two ladies and the rest of the children had “none” for their occupations.
About nine months after the 1910 census, Mollie gave birth to another son, Virgil Cornelius Bohannon, on 5 February 1911. They didn’t rhyme his name to the others.
On 22 September 1912, Sylvannia Bohannon married James Madison Watts, the son of Siler and Eliza Ann Watts. Eliza was Mollie’s sister, which made James her nephew. Since Sylvannia was Patrick’s daughter from his first wife, there was no direct blood tie between Sylvannia and James. (He was her “first-cousin-in-law.”)
The 1920 census showed only Patrick, Mollie and their four children living on the farm in Red River. All of Patrick’s children from his previous two marriages had moved on, and Mollie’s mother Sarah Graham was by then living with Eliza Ann Watts.
The 1930 census also showed Patrick, Mollie and the four children, all single, still on the farm in Red River. Mollie’s sister Minnie, the widow of Ezekiel Henry Melton, was also living with them.
Patrick Bohannon died on 11 July 1936 at the age of 69. He was interred at Bear Creek Cemetery in Searcy County, Arkansas, where his first two wives were buried.
The 1940 census for Red River Township recorded the widow Mollie Bohannon as the head of the household, with her son “Neal” Bohannon and daughter Hester. Mollie’s age was given as 61, which is consistent with her recorded birth year of 1879. Neal’s age was given as 30, which is off by a year from his birth in 1911. Hester’s age was given as 26. Note her age on the 1930 image above was 25 – apparently she aged only one year between 1930 and 1940!
The value of the farm was recorded at $600. The highest grade of school completed for both Mollie and Hester was fourth, while Neal had completed up to grade six. Mollie and Hester had no occupation listed, while Neal’s was given as “farmer.” Both children were single.
Mary “Mollie” Frances Bohannon, née Graham died on 27 July 1944 at the age of 65. She was interred at Shady Grove Cemetery in Searcy County, Arkansas. Note that she was not interred at Bear Creek Cemetery with Patrick, but at Shady Grove where most of her Graham relations were buried.
Patrick was “P. L. Bohanon” on the marriage documents; “Bohannon, Patrick” on the 1910 census; “Bohannon, Patrick L.” on the 1920; “Bohanon, Patrick L.” on the 1930; and “Patrick L. Bohannon” on his grave marker. Since “Bohannon” appears to be the most common spelling of his surname, that is how I have spelled it in my family tree.
Mollie was “Mrs Mary F King” on the marriage documents; “Bohannon, Mollie” on the 1910 census; “Bohannon, Mary F.” on the 1920; “Bohanon, Mary F.” on the 1930; “Bohannon, Mollie” on the 1940; and “Mollie (Graham) Bohannon” on her grave marker.
Who was the A. Bohannon who signed as surety on Patrick and Mollie’s marriage bond?
Where was Sarah M Bohannon in 1910?
Ancestry.com: United States Federal Census for 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930; John Oliver Sr and Descendants by dbwilliamson; Haynes Family by GaryHaynes777; Rea Mays Family Tree by Kim Mays; OneWorldTree; Arkansas Death Index, 1914 – 1950.
FamilySearch.org: Arkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957.
National Archives: Sixteenth Census of the United States: 1940, for Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, Enumeration District 65-13, Sheet 1 B, enumerated on 13-14 May 1940 by Ella Parks. Retrieved from 1940census.archives.gov on 3 April 2012.
RootsWeb: Leming by WMunroe Munroe; James G. and Jesse King of NC & TN and Allied Families by Susan E. Young.
Grave marker of Mollie (Graham) Bohannon photographed by Ashli B. Graham on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas. Photograph © Ashli B. Graham.