Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Many Wives of Patrick, Part 3: Mary Frances Graham

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”.

Patrick Mollie Marriage DetailOn 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.

1910 Patrick Bohannon Census Detail

Patrick M3Look 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.

Mollie M2Similarly, 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).

Rixey's Children

Patrick and his second wife Fannie had two children together, Loye and Pearl, and both were present.

Fannie's Children

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.

Mollie's Children

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.)

Mollie's Mama

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.

Patrick Mollie 1920


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 Mollie 1930

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!

1940 Mollie Bohannon

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.

DSCN2324Mary “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.comUnited 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.orgArkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957.

Find A GraveMemorial for Mollie Graham Bohannon; Memorial for Patrick L Bohannon.

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 on 3 April 2012.

RootsWebLeming 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.

Oh, A King and His Ladies, Part 2: Mary Frances Graham

Mary Frances “Mollie” Graham was born circa June 1879 in Bear Creek Township, Searcy County, Arkansas to parents Jesse and Sarah Graham.

The 1880 census recorded Mary, age 1, living on a farm in Bear Creek with her parents and siblings William Graham, Eliza Ann Graham, and John Henry Graham.

No data is available for the 1890 census.

By 1896, Mary was involved with the young widower Otha Allen King, whose wife Mary Leming had died some time between 1894 and 1896.

King Mollie Graham Marriage DetailOn 28 August 1896, nineteen years old Otha paid for a bond of marriage, which Jack Henley signed as surety, to marry seventeen years old “Mollie” Graham, as her name was recorded by county clerk John R. Aday.  Both Otha and Mary’s residences were given as Watts, Arkansas.  Two days later, on 30 August 1896, Justice of the Peace J. W. Martin presided over the marriage.

In May 1897, Otha and Mary welcomed into the world their son Jessie King, who was apparently named after Mary’s father.

By 1899, the King family had moved to the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory.  Their second son, Edgar King, was born there in November 1899.

The 1900 census recorded the Kings living in Township 8, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory.  “Oather” King was 23, Mary was 21, Jessie was 3, and little Edgar was only six months old.

Otha King 1900 Census Detail

The evidence I have found suggests that shortly after the 1900 census a terrible tragedy befell the King family.  All three male members would die.  According to a source on RootsWeb, Otha and little Edgar were buried together in an unmarked grave, with Jessie buried in an unmarked grave beside them.  Could Indians have attacked?  Had there been an outbreak of some disease?

By 1903, the heartbroken Mary had returned alone to Arkansas.

On 16 November 1907, the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory were combined to form the State of Oklahoma, the 46th state to enter the Union. Otha Allen King and his two sons are buried in what is now Palestine Cemetery in unincorporated Russellville, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.  At some point a grave marker was erected, but it shows only Otha’s name.


How exactly did Otha and the boys die? In 1900, where was Otha’s daughter Paralee from his first marriage?

Bad Lemons

Due to the similarity in the names of Otha’s two wives, Mary Leming and Mary Graham are often confused in family trees I’ve seen on the Internet, sometimes even conflated into the same person under the name “Mary Lemons”, as that’s how Mary Leming was recorded on her marriage record. This series on Otha’s two wives proves that these were two separate women with similar names.

Sources  United States Federal Census of 1880 and 1900.

Find A Grave:  Memorial for Otha A King

RootsWeb:  Leming by WMunroe Munroe;  James G. and Jesse King of NC & TN and Allied Families by Susan E. Young.

WikiPedia:  Oklahoma

Oh, A King and His Ladies, Part 1: Mary Elizabeth Leming

Once upon a time there lived a King.  The King was named Otha Allen and was born in Watts, Arkansas circa October 1876 to parents William M. King and Octavia Elizabeth King, née Oliver.

Mary Elizabeth Leming, a fair maiden born on 30 December 1874 to parents John Samuel Leming and Paralee Leming, née Cotton, soon captured the affection of Otha Allen King.

KingLemingMarriageDetailOn 22 November 1893, seventeen years old Otha paid for a bond of marriage, which John Henry Graham signed as surety, to marry eighteen years old Mary “Lemons”, as her name was recorded by county clerk M. A. Sanders.  The next day, the 23rd, Justice of the Peace G. A. Cassell, presided over the marriage.

Some family trees on Ancestry record that Otha and Mary had as many as four children together, and some as little as one.  My research suggests that some of the children were from Otha’s second marriage.  For this first marriage, I have only Paralee Octavia Elizabeth King, a daughter born 31 October 1894, apparently named for both of her grandmothers.

Between 1894 and 1896 Mary Elizabeth King, née Leming, died. I do not presently know where she is buried.

Otha would eventually remarry.


I need a lot of help on this one. The only document that I have is the marriage record.  Since Otha and Mary’s marriage was in 1893, and Mary’s death circa 1896, this family never showed up during a census year.  How many children did they really have? What were their names? Birthdates? How did Mary die? Where is Mary buried?

Bad Lemons

The Find A Grave entry for Patrick Bohannon lists his third wife as “Mary L. Lemons”, an apparent reference to Mary Elizabeth Leming. It is true that Patrick wed the widow of Otha Allen King, but it was not Mary.  Not this Mary, anyway, as I will illustrate in Oh, A King and His Ladies, Part 2 and in The Many Wives of Patrick, Part 3.

Sources  OneWorldTree; John Oliver Sr and Descendants by dbwilliamson; Haynes Family by GaryHaynes777.  Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957

Find A Grave:  Memorial for Patrick L. Bohannon.

Rootsweb:  Leming by WMunroe Munroe.

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.

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

Sources  United States Federal Census of 1870, 1880, and 1910;  California Death Index, 1940 – 1997 (for Sylvannia);  Social Security Death Index (for Sylvannia).  Arkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957.

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

Wikipedia: Tennessee.

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