- Expanded the paragraphs regarding John and Danner’s deaths
- Added a photograph of their grave marker
- Corrected the spelling of “Delois”
- Expanded the section on name variations
- Made some grammatical corrections
- Added photograph credits and both obituaries to the list of Sources.
Tag Archives: Find A Grave
The following is the obituary for my uncle Vernon Leroy Graham. I do not know in which newspapers it was published. I found it posted on his memorial at Find A Grave.
Vernon Leroy Graham1, 60, of Marshall, died August 2 in Harrison.
He was born October 4, 1932 at Watts. He was in the Dry Wall business and a Baptist.
Survivors2 include his wife, Martha3 of the home; two daughters, Connie Graham and Patricia Harrington, both of Marshall; two brothers, William of Harvey, Illinois and Jimmy Dale of East Prairie, Missouri; one sister, Janice Booker of Halls, Tennessee and seven grandchildren.
Services will be Thursday, August 5 at 2 p.m. at Roller Coffman Chapel with Rev. Jim Askew officiating.
Burial will be in Marshall Memorial Gardens by Roller Coffman Funeral Home.
Pallbearers are Johnny Graham, Benny Graham, Gene Graham, Eddie Cypert, Bennie House and Doyle Graham.
- Funny thing, I didn’t know his first name was Vernon until he died. Everybody called him Leroy.
- Omitted was that Leroy’s only son Robert Daniel Graham preceded him in death in 1988.
- Martha? Everybody called her Lorice, her middle name.
Scan of original obituary found online at Find A Grave, “Vernon Leroy Graham”. Newspaper of publication unknown, date of publication circa August 1993.
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.
Today, I made my first online memorial at Find A Grave. It was for my first cousin Robert Daniel Graham, or Danny as we all knew him. He was Uncle Leroy’s only son, and died in 1988.
Danny was buried at Beverly Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois, which is only about four miles from where I live. My family and I went out to Beverly Cemetery a couple of weeks ago to try to find his grave, but we left defeated. The cemetery is huge, I had no idea where he was buried, and the cemetery office was closed (we’d gone out on a Saturday afternoon). When I got back home, I sent an e-mail to the cemetery asking for information. Today, I finally received a response with the exact location of Danny’s grave. I intend to go back out to Beverly Cemetery soon to snap a picture of his grave marker.
Something recently happened at Ancestry.com that bothers me.
Ancestry has this feature called Member Connect that lets researchers connect their family trees and any supporting documents to other members’ family trees. Once connected, Ancestry notifies members when any other members link to their trees or documents. That’s actually a very handy feature.
Here’s the part that bothers me. I received notification through Member Connect that another researcher had linked to the entry for William Thomas Graham in the Arkansas Death Index. At first I got excited because I thought, “Oh boy, another distant cousin that I can press for information!” Then I looked at this other member’s tree and saw immediately that she had attached the document to the wrong William Thomas Graham!
I’ve done a lot of research on our William Thomas Graham, as chronicled here, here and here. I’ve been in touch with our William’s grandson and great grandson. I’m extremely certain that I’ve got it right, and that the entry in the Arkansas Death Index refers to our William.
Nobody wants erroneous information to be spread around. I sent a message to the other member, but she has yet to make a correction. What if she refuses to accept that she made an error? What if she thinks that I’m in error?
In the original version of my article on Nona Elizabeth Graham, I reported that Find A Grave listed her middle name as Irene, which completely contradicts every other source I have on Nona. I’ve recently been in touch with Nona’s son DJ and he informed me that after Nona’s passing, Franklin Lathum married a woman named Irene Jordan. Whomever made the Find A Grave entry clearly confused the two women.
And the wrong information gets spread around the Internet.
The ninth child and sixth daughter of John and Matilda Graham was born on 7 December 1907 in Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, and she was named Nona Elizabeth Graham.
Nona was first recorded on the 1910 census at the age of three, living with both parents and her seven siblings on the Graham family farm in Red River Township.
Meanwhile, over in Mount Vernon Township, lived Nona’s oldest sister Evisa, her husband Posey Collins and their children. Two farms away from the Collins family was the Lathum family, whose 15 years old son Franklin would sometime begin to woo Nona, perhaps when she stopped by Evisa’s to see her nieces and nephew.
On the 1930 census, Nona, 23, and her brother Daniel, 20, were the last two children living at the farm in Red River with parents John and Tildy, but that would soon change.
On 19 December 1930, Franklin Lathum paid a $100 bond for a license to marry Nona Graham. Franklin’s cousin Everett Ace Watts signed as security on the bond. Franklin’s residence was listed on the license as Imo, an unincorporated populated place in Mount Vernon Township, Searcy County. Nona’s residence was listed as Kay, an unincorporated populated place in Red River Township, Searcy County. On 21 December 1930, Justice of the Peace A. Z. Taylor performed the marriage ceremony. On the certificate of marriage, Justice Taylor wrote “ursey” above the word “Searcy” printed on the form, as if to correct its spelling.
Frankie and Nona’s only child was born, a son named DJ Lathum.
The 1940 census recorded Frankie and Nona renting a farm in Sulphur Springs Township for the rate of $2 per month. Frankie’s highest grade of school completed was fifth, while Nona’s was eighth. Frankie was self-employed as a farmer for 40 hours per week, while Nona was “engaged in home housework.” In the previous year, Frankie had earned $200 from farming. Their infant son DJ had his age recorded as 4/12.
Living with the Lathums in 1940 was a boarder named John W. Heller, age 79 and single. Mister Heller had no employment recorded, but had received wages of $700 in the previous year. It’s pure speculation on my part, but Frankie may have been renting the farm from the elderly Mister Heller.
On Thursday, 21 September 1944, Nona’s mother Mary Matilda Graham died in the Lathum home. Matilda’s obituary stated the Lathum home was in Watts, which was not in Sulphur Springs Township, so Nona and Frankie must have moved back to Red River. Frankie served as a pallbearer at Matilda’s funeral.
On 15 June 1947, Nona attended the wedding of her nephew Alvin J. Graham to Dora McClung and was recorded on the marriage certificate as a witness.
On 23 March 1951, Nona Elizabeth Lathum, née Graham died at the age of 43. She was interred at Chinquapin Cemetery in Searcy County.
Circa 1954, Franklin married his second wife, the widow Irene Jordan, née Polk. While Frankie and Irene did not have any children together, Irene had four children from a previous marriage.
On 24 December 1966, Franklin Lathum died at the age of 60. He was interred at Chinquapin Cemetery.
Nona was enumerated as “Nona” on the 1910 census, “Nonie L” in 1920, “Nona E” in 1930, and “Nonie” in 1940. She was “Nona Graham” on her marriage documents. On the John Henry Graham Family Group Sheet, she was “Nona Elizabeth Graham.” In other member family trees at Ancestry.com she was recorded as “Nona Elie”, and I suspect that middle name variation originated from the L and the E on the census documents, but it could also be a shortened form of Elizabeth. At Find A Grave she was recorded as “Nona Elizabeth Graham Lathum”, but the headstone pictured there reads only “Nona, wife of Frankie Lathum”.
Franklin was “Frank” on the marriage documents, but his signature reads as “Frankie”. He was recorded at Find A Grave as “Franklin Lathum”, and his first name appears as “Frankie” on his own headstone and on Nona’s headstone. His name was spelled “Franky” in Matilda Graham’s obituary.
DJ told me “D.J.” isn’t an abbreviation – that’s simply his name. That’s why I rendered it without periods in this article.
Ancestry.com: United States Federal Census of 1910, 1920, and 1930; Grimes Family Tree.
FamilySearch.org: Arkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957. Film Number 2048297, Digital Folder Number 4326335, Image Number 00679, Page Number 477. Record for Frank Lathum and Nona Graham.
John Henry Graham Family Group Sheet, transcribed by Nellie Collins Allen from the Graham Family Bible, 1973.
Marshall Republican: Obituary for Mrs. Mary Bohannon, published September 1944.
National Archives: Sixteenth Census of the United States: 1940, for Sulphur Springs Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, Enumeration District 65-20, Sheet 1 B, enumerated on 6-7 May 1940 by Floyd Gibson. Retrieved from 1940census.archives.gov on 24 April 2012.
Sikeston Standard Democrat: Obituary for Irene Bruner, published 27 February 2003. Retrieved on 29 March 2012.
Correspondence with Betty Johnson, sister-in-law of DJ Lathum, February 2011. (See comments on this article.)
Correspondence with DJ Lathum, son of Frankie and Nona, March 2011.