African American Genealogy and Spirituality in the U.S.


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Posted by geneaus on January 27, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dead On The Side Of The Road

What a horrific way to die! According to the death certificate of Sarah (or Sara) Bethea - she was found dead on the side in the road - "probably due to intoxication and exposure in cold wet weather". Probably. Probably?


The year was 1915, the place - South Carolina. Sarah was 25 years old. She was married and she had a son at the time of her death.


I'm sorry but I can't help but wonder if this was not a case of murder! Maybe violently, maybe a hit and run, just maybe Sara could have been a drunk walking home from a bootlegger house...sorry, I'm having a harder time believing the latter, after all Sarah was married, would she be out at a bootlegger drunk and walking home alone?


Did Sarah die of intoxication (in other words - alcohol poisoning), did she die of hypothermia, or did Sarah die in 1915 South Carolina because not too many people cared about a ...?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Don't you hate it when you get into your research and you find these records which get you all excited and you think to yourself, "this has got to be her!". There are so many coincidences that you think, there's no way this can't be connected somehow...only to find out, it's not! Just when you thought you had the only (insert odd name here), you find that out there, someone else named their child the same. Then on top of that, you find that not only does the first name match, but the last name has a connection too! So was the case with me researching the Johnsons.


Thomas Johnson as a daughter in 1921 by the name of Mildred Woodard; Thomas and Mildred were from North Carolina. I came across a Mary ARLETHA Woodard. What's weird about this? My mother's name is Arletha...I mean come on! how many Arletha's are out there? Ok, so there may be a few Arletha's, but how many Arletha's have a half sister whose last name is Woodard? But wait! Mildred Arletha Woodard is also from North Carolina! So, now I'm is a Arletha (could my mom have been named after her?); here is a Woodard (could she be kin to Mildred?); or could she be another daughter of Thomas' no one knew about? So now, Mary - Thomas' mother's name was Mary (could she have been named after Thomas' mother?). Now my brain is spinning...I look at Mary Arletha Woodard's North Carolina Death Record summary and they have an alternative name for her Mary Arletha JOHNSON! I don't need to spell this out to you now do I? OK...breathe...they have listed as her father's surname - Johnson. Could this be THOMAS JOHNSON?!?


I get on the phone to the Fayetteville Observer to see if I could find the obituary and find out if they list he father's full name and the mother's name and the siblings. The kind woman in the library told me the names on the obituary of the brother's and sisters, but no mention of the father. What it did list was that Mary Arletha Woodard's husband name was Edward Woodard...scccccrrrrrreeeeeettttccchhhh. Here is where I come to a dead-end and I realize these coincidences are something else! If Mary Arletha Woodard's husband was a Woodard, that means her maiden name was Johnson, which means that this is probably not Thomas' daughter, nor Mildred's sister - unless some coincidence would have it that Mary Arletha is Thomas' daughter and hooked up with Mildred's brother...what are the odds of that??? and wouldn't that be almost incest?


*sigh* back to the drawing board...

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