Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bertha Heath Stephens

Bertha was the first wife to Leamon untill she died. Family's word of mouth says that he loved her very deeply.

Bertha Elizabeth Heath was born to Joe & Rosie (Farmer)Heath on 27, June, 1905.

Bertha was the 3rd child out of 5. She was born in Pulaski County Ky, and Died in Whitley City, McCreary county Ky. It is said that her ggf was a Cherokee Indian. If you ever saw her youngest child Rose Mae, there would never be any doubt that this family line does flow with that proud nation's blood.

How or where Bertha met Leamon I am afraid went to the grave with them. Family members say they were married, and Bertha is listed on the 1930's Census with Leamon's last name. However, I have not found the first paper trail to prove that they were, and when it comes to this family, I don't take anything for granted anymore.

Bertha and Leamon had 5 childern.
Mary L
Rose Mae
Leamon J.R.

Family lure goes that both the boys died the day they were born. Where they fell in the placement of when they were born no one knew for sure. Lastnight, I found Robert's death record.

From the date I now know he was born the year before Rose. As for Leamon J.R. I have found nothing so far, however, I do assume that he was the first born male child & born before Robert since he was named after his father.

Again family lore, (that is passed down from Rose to her own children.) that Edith was not Leamon's Child. Again, there is no paper trail to prove or disprove this. Yet the grandchildren do a have a name for the man that is soupose to be her real father.

What I do have is, 1930 census, that puts Leamon, Bertha, Edith (4 yrs of age) and Mary L (1 8/12 yrs of age). Edith is not listed as a step child as I have seen on some other census's.

Mary L is souppose to be Leamon's child. Again though, if you go back to the 1930's Census it has Bertha only being married for a year. This would mean that her youngest child at the time, Mary L was already 8 months old when they married. So is Mary L, Leamon's or not? I don't have any proof of yet that she was or wasn't.
We know in the next 5 years that she had atleast 2 more children. Robert and Rose Mae. Robert was born and died in 1934. A year later Rose Mae was born in 1935.
Not even 3 years after her last child was born, this young family was to lose Bertha to urterus cancer. She died at 6 am on the 8, January, 1938.

I am not sure if Bertha died at home or in a hospital. It has her placed on her death certificate in Whitley City. Whitley City does not have a hospital. I need to find more paper trails. Another thing that I found of interest on it was that it said no furneal home on it. I know in this area of Kentucky they were still laying family members out in their living rooms up into the mid 1970's. It makes me wonder if she was even emblamed.
Bertha's story does not end here. Her grandchildren though Rose are a living testament to that. However, like her stubborn husband she has taken some mysteries to the grave with her. I plan to unravel them. One source at a time.

The stone closet to you is Bertha's head stone. The next two are her boys, the last is one of her grandchildren.

All the headstones were handmade by Leamon himself from cement. This is all that is left of them. Mother Nature is not kind to home made stones.

Leamon was a miner and back then miners didn't make a lot of money. If you didn't die in debt to the company store, well, you were one of the lucky ones. How his heart must have broke 2 folds each time he had to make one of these.