Today, I added to my collection the draft registration card of John Alexander Bohannon, the only son of Patrick Bohannon and Rixey Watson. I’d previously written about Alex’s parents in The Many Wives of Patrick, Part One.
Block 1 gave his name as Alex Bohannon. This is consistent with previous records: the 1900 census recorded his name as “Bohanon, John A.”; the 1910 census recorded “Bohannon, Alek.” He apparently preferred to go by his middle name as he got older.
Block 2 gave his home address as Watts, Arkansas. This is consistent with the 1910 census which recorded Alex living in Red River Township, where Watts is located.
Block 3 recorded 10 March 1895 as Alex’s birthdate, matching the 1900 census.
Block 5 gave Alex’s place of birth as Marshall, Arkansas. I’m not certain if this is accurate. The Bohannons were rural farmers and according to the census did not reside in the city of Marshall. The 1900 census noted their farm in Sulphur Springs, a former township that is now part of the modern Mount Pleasant Township, southwest of Marshall. Marshall itself is located in the modern Spring Township, but historically was in Bear Creek Township. Births were typically handled by midwives in Searcy County in the late 19th Century, so Alex was likely born on the Bohannon farm in Sulphur Springs Township. I suspect Marshall was given as Alex’s place of birth due to it being the county seat.
Blocks 7 and 8 recorded that Alex was employed as a farmer by “Jno Harrel.” That was probably John Harrell, the son of Elisha Harrell and Nancy Minerva Bohannan. Nancy was an older sister of Patrick Bohannon, thus Alex’s aunt, making John Harrell a first cousin to Alex.
The signature appears as “Alex Bohanan,” a different spelling than what was entered in Block 1. The “X” and the phrase “his mark” written around the signature block suggests that the registration card was filled out by the draft registrar, the Reverend Lewis Caddie Tilley, and not by Alex himself. It was a common practice for officials to complete forms for the illiterate and have them sign with an “X.” The 1910 census recorded that Alex, then 15, could not read or write and had not attended school.
The back of the card recorded a brief physical description of Alex: short, stout, blue eyes, black hair and balding (at age 22). It also included the registrar’s signature and the date 5 June 1917.
Alex was the stepson of Mary Frances “Mollie” Graham, Patrick Bohannon’s third wife.
Ancestry.com. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Name: Alex Bohannon; Registration State: Arkansas; Registration County: Searcy; Roll: 1530578. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Sulphur Springs, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: 76; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0123; FHL microfilm: 1240076. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Red River, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: T624_64; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0111; FHL microfilm: 1374077. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
Find A Grave. Nancy Minerva Ann Bohannan Harrell; Memorial No. 37316818. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
Find A Grave. John Alexander Harrell; Memorial No. 41489940. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
Find A Grave. Rev Lewis Caddie Tilley; Memorial No. 70789852. Retrieved 13 July 2013.