Tag Archives: Georgia

The Many Wives of Patrick, Part 2: Mary Frances Wilbanks

Two years and three-quarters after the death of his first wife Rixey Ann, Patrick L. Bohannon would marry again.  His bride-to-be was Mary Frances “Fannie” Wilbanks, born circa April 1880 in Tennessee to parents Edgar D. Wilbanks and Nancy Jane White.


Patrick Bohannan Second Marriage DetailOn 29 July 1898, Patrick paid a $100 bond for a marriage license, with J. A. Wilbanks (probably Fannie’s younger brother James) signing as security.  Patrick’s residence was listed as Bear Creek, his age 31. Fannie’s residence was also Bear Creek, her age 18. On 30 July 1898, Justice of the Peace F. H. Baskin did solemnize the rite and publish the Banns of Matrimony.

On 6 April 1899, Patrick and Fannie rejoiced in the birth of their son Loye H. Bohannon.


The 1900 census is a critical document for this marriage.  For those that read the data on the original document, it will clarify birth dates and the parentage of all of the children listed.  Alas, I have seen so many family trees on the Internet that have wrongly recorded this family that I am going to take this step by step.  With pictures.

Patrick and Fannie were living on a farm in Sulphur Springs Township, Searcy County, Arkansas with Patrick’s three children from his previous marriage and his one year old son Loye from Fannie.

Patrick 1900 Census Detail

Patrick 1900 Marriage CountThe census recorded that Patrick and Fannie had been married for two years. This is consistent with the marriage record above. But it looks like the enumerator was confused over how long Patrick had been married.  On Patrick’s line, 1, 3 and 4 were all entered in the field for “Number of Years Married” before being stricken out and the correct 2 written. (It had been about four years since the death of his first wife, which may have attributed to the 4 being entered.)

Sarah, Sylvannia, and John were all the children of Patrick’s first wife, Rixey Ann. How do we know this with certainty? Look at the children’s ages – they were all older than the span of time that Patrick and Fannie had been married.

Fannie 1900 Number of BirthsNow look at the far right of Fannie’s line. Those last two boxes containing the numbers one indicate “Mother of how many children” and “Number of these children living.”  Fannie’s one child in 1900 was Loye.  The other three are her step-children.

Bohannon Children 1900 Parent's BirthplaceAdditionally, the birth place for Sarah, Sylvannia and John’s mother was listed as Georgia.  Though the 1870 census indicated that Rixey was born in Tennessee, her family was from Georgia.  Loye’s mother’s birthplace is listed as Alabama, where Fannie’s family was from.  The left column containing “Ark” is Patrick’s birthplace.

The census further indicated that Sarah and Sylvannia had attended school for three months, could neither read nor write, but could speak English. Curiously, Sarah’s occupation was recorded as “servant”.

Sarah Bohannon 1900 Servant

Pearl Bohannon, a daughter and the second child of Patrick and Fannie, was born on 25 January 1901.

Mary Frances “Fannie” Bohannon, née Wilbanks, died on 20 January 1903 at the age of 24.  She was interred at Bear Creek Cemetery in Searcy County, Arkansas.  Her grave marker says “Mother of Pearl & Loye”, her only biological children.

Patrick would eventually remarry… again.


The family name was spelled “Bohanon” on the 1900 census.  Patrick was “P. L. Bohanan” on the marriage document, and Fannie was “M. F. Wilbanks”.

There is a discrepancy with Fannie’s birthdate. The 1880 census for Wayne County, Tennessee, enumerated on 1 June 1880, recorded her age at two months old, which would put her birth around March/April 1880. The 1900 census gave her birthdate as November 1878. Her marriage record indicated that Fannie was 18 at the time of her marriage on 30 July 1898, which is consistent with the 1880 birthdate. Also, her two grave markers pictured at Find A Grave reflect an 1880 birth year.

Loye H. Bohannon’s birth date was given as April 1899 on the 1900 census.  His grave marker fixed it as 6 April 1900.  The grave marker must be wrong, because the census, enumerated on 18 June 1900, gives Loye’s age as one.  If he were born in April 1900, he would’ve been only two months old at the time of the census.  Thus, he must have been born in April 1899.  Furthermore, the Social Security Death Index listed 6 April 1899 as his birth date.

Loye 1900 Enumeration Date


To get to Patrick’s connection to the Grahams, we must first make a detour to discuss a King and his ladies.


Ancestry.com, 1880 United States Federal Census, Database online. Year: 1880; Census Place: District 9, Wayne, Tennessee; Roll: 1284; Family History Film: 1255284; Page: 82A; Enumeration District: 169.

Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census, Database online. Year: 1900; Census Place: Sulphur Springs, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: T623_76; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 123.

Ancestry.com, Social Security Death Index, Database online. Name: Loye H. Bohannon; Issue State: Arkansas; Issue Date: Before 1951.

"Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N99B-FN5 : accessed 10 June 2012), P L Bohanon, 1898.

Find A Grave, "Mary Francis ‘Fannie’ Wilbanks Bohannon". Memorial: 14316732; Created by: OkieBran.

Find A Grave, "Loye H Bohannon". Memorial: 44999553; Created By: Kim Mays.

Find A Grave, "Leona Pearl Bohannon Jones". Memorial: 25941138; Created By: Nancy Weaver.


The Many Wives of Patrick, Part 1: Rixey Ann Watson

On 8 June 1861, voters in Tennessee approved a referendum to secede from the United States of America to join the Confederacy, the last state to do so.

Upon the end of the Civil War, Tennessee was the first of the seceding states to have its elected members re-admitted to the United States Congress, on 24 July 1866.

In the Reconstruction Era that followed, John and Sarah Watson moved their family from Georgia to Polk County, Tennessee.

The 1870 census recorded that John and Sarah lived on a farm in the Fifth Civil District of Polk County.  They had seven children on the farm with them, as follows:

  • Arbizensy Watson, female, born circa 1854 in Georgia
  • Lucious Watson, male, born circa 1857 in Georgia
  • William H Watson, male, born circa 1859 in Georgia
  • Laura J Watson, female, born circa 1861 in Georgia
  • Elizabeth Watson, female, born circa 1863 in Georgia
  • Minerva (“Manurvy” on the census) Watson, female, born circa 1866 in Georgia
  • Rixey Ann Watson, female, born 7 March 1869 in Tennessee.

Lucious and William worked the farm with their father. Arbizensy had her occupation listed as “at home”, while the rest of the girls had none recorded. Arbizensy, Lucious and William had all attended school within the previous year, but none of the children could read or write.

By 1872, the family had moved to Arkansas, where son John Watson was born that year.

Another daughter, Florance Watson, was born circa 1877 in Arkansas.

The 1880 census recorded the family living on a farm in Archey Valley Township, Van Buren County, Arkansas.  Arbizensy had moved out, but John and Sarah still had the rest of the children with them.  It was recorded that Sarah and the children could neither read nor write, but that Laura and Rixey had attended school within the census year.

Patrick Bohannan First Marriage DetailBy 1886, sixteen years old Rixey Watson was involved with a nineteen years old man named Patrick Lyons Bohannon of Bear Creek Township in Searcy County, which bordered Van Buren to the north.  On 12 “Febry” 1886, Patrick paid a one hundred dollar bond for a marriage license, with C. B. Cotton signing as security.  Since C. B. Cotton was also a Justice of the Peace, he performed the marriage ceremony for Patrick and Rixey on 18 February 1886.  The marriage record was filed by M. Dampf, county clerk.

Circa 1887, Patrick and Rixey had their first child, a daughter named Sarah M Bohannon.

Unfortunately, there is no data from the 1890 census as it was destroyed in a fire in 1921.

On 31 December 1893, their daughter Sylvannia Bohannon was born.

Circa 1895, their son John Alexander Bohannon was born.

Rixey Ann Bohannon, née Watson, died on 17 October 1895 at the age of 26.  She was interred at Bear Creek Cemetery in Searcy County, Arkansas.

Patrick would eventually remarry.

Name Variations

Rixey’s name variations include:  “Rixey Watson” on the 1870 census;  “Rixy A Watson” on the 1880 census; “Rixey A Watson” on the marriage documents;  “Roxann Rixey Watson Bohannon” at Find A Grave.  Member trees on Ancestry have her listed variously as “Rixey Ann Watson”, “Roxanne Watson”, and “Roxy Watson”.  Since her middle initial was given as “A” on at least two sources, I suspect that the “Roxann” on her grave marker may be a conflation of “Rixey Ann”, so I have recorded her as Rixey Ann Watson in my own family tree.

Patrick was listed as “P.L. Bohannan” on the marriage documents. I took the middle name “Lyons” from various member trees on Ancestry, but I admit that I do not have a hard source for it.


I thought this was Graham Ancestry! What has this got to do with the Grahams?

Well, there is an indirect connection here.  Patrick and Rixey’s daughter Sylvannia Bohannon would marry James Madison Watts in 1912.  James was the son of James Newton Siler Watts and Eliza Ann Graham.

But there is a direct connection you’ll have to wait to see.


Ancestry.com:  United States Federal Census of 1870, 1880, and 1910;  California Death Index, 1940 – 1997 (for Sylvannia);  Social Security Death Index (for Sylvannia).

FamilySearch.org:  Arkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957.

Find A Grave:  Memorial for Roxann Rixey (Watson) Bohannon.

Wikipedia: Tennessee.

The Tale of Two Sarahs

I was doing some research on Mollie Graham in the 1910 census when I saw that her mother Sarah was living with Mollie and her second husband Patrick Bohannon.  “Ooh, nice find,” I thought.  “I need to add that to my previous blog entry for Jesse and Sarah Graham.”  So I pulled up that entry and discovered that I had already accounted for Sarah Graham’s residence in 1910, and it wasn’t with Mollie, but with another daughter.

I looked more closely at the two pages from the 1910 census. The first page was for Red River Township, enumerated on 2 May 1910.  It listed Patrick Bohannon as the head of the household, married to Mollie (Graham), and residing with them was Sarah Graham, mother-in-law, age 65, widowed, eight births with four living, born in Alabama, with both of her parents born in Georgia.

The other page was for Wiley’s Cove Township, enumerated on 4 May 1910.  It listed Ezekial H Melton as the head of the household, married to Minnie (Graham), and residing with them was Sarah Graham, mother-in-law, age 66, widowed, eight births with four living, born in Alabama, with both of her parents born in North Carolina.

Both Sarah Grahams had nearly identical details on both census pages.  Even the number of children born and those still living was identical.  That was uncanny.  The only differences were in age (a variance of one year) and in the birth places of the parents – Georgia for one, North Carolina for the other.

Could both census pages refer to the same Sarah?  It’s possible, I suppose.  She could have been at Mollie’s farm on 2 May when the Red River enumerator visited, and then two days later she had made her way to Minnie’s farm just in time for the Wiley’s Cove enumerator.  The one year difference in age could’ve been a slip of the memory, but how can we account for the differences in the birth place of her parents?

It got weirder.

I figured that I might have mixed up two different Sarah Grahams, so I went back to the other census documents that I had referenced.

1880, Bear Creek Township.  This was the only document I had that showed Sarah and Jesse together.  Of the four children living with them, one was Eliza, age 13.  Sarah’s parents were both recorded as being born in Alabama.  A third state!  A third Sarah?

1900, Red River Township.  Sarah F Graham, age 55 (56 first, then struck out), widowed, eight births with four living, born in Alabama, with both of her parents born in Georgia.  Living with her was one child, Minnie Graham, age 17.  But the parents of the Sarah Graham living with Minnie in Wiley’s Cove in 1910 were born in North Carolina.  Were there two Minnies to the two Sarahs?

1920, Shady Grove Township.  Sarah F Graham, age 76, widowed, number of children not recorded, born in Alabama, parents born in North Carolina.    Now the Sarahs even have the same middle initial!  She is living with her daughter Eliza, like the 1880 Sarah, but the 1880 Sarah had her parents recorded as born in Alabama. Did each Sarah have her own Eliza, too?  (Maybe, for in my entry on Eliza Ann Graham I noted a discrepancy in her age on this census!)

What is the likelihood of there having been two Sarahs that were both born in Alabama at roughly the same time, both marrying Graham men, then both moving to Searcy County, Arkansas and both having daughters with the same names, and a total of eight children with six living during the same time period, with the only difference in the birth place of their parents?  Highly unlikely, I imagine.

What is the explanation, then?  Transcription errors?

For the nonce I shall assume there to have been one Sarah F Graham until I can verify otherwise.  But I’ll place an asterisk by her name in my tree and a link to this post.

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