Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tragedy Strikes Daughters of Sara Woodfin

Sara Ellen (or Ella) Woodfin was born on 29 August 1902 in Chesterfield County, Virginia, to George Allen Woodfin and Nancy "Nannie" Waddell Dillon. Her father worked in the mechanical shops for a railroad. She married Carlos Scott Blankenship on 25 November 1919 in Chester, Virginia. He was a carpenter who had been born in Christian, West Virginia. During the course of their marriage, they had nine known children.

On 30 May 1940 Carlos abandoned his family and on 29 March 1943 the Chesterfield Circuit Court granted Sara an absolute divorce. Sara married again on 30 September of that same year and died on 14 November 1994 in Chesterfield County.

Two of her daughters experienced great tragedy in their lives.

Virginia Fay Blankenship was the eldest child of Carlos and Sara. She was born on 4 November 1921 in Chesterfield County. She married Ralph Vincent (or Vinson) Lewis in 1940. They were married about a year when Ralph and his brother, Ed, Ed's wife, and Ralph and Ed's mother were traveling in their car when it was struck by a speeding vehicle. Ralph was taken to Petersburg Hospital where he clung to life for five or six hours before succumbing to his injuries. Virginia and Ralph had a daughter and Virginia was pregnant with their second child when Ralph was killed.

On 10 June 1944 Virginia married Ernest Frank Mackey, a sailor in the U.S. Navy. If possible, this marriage was shorter than Virginia's first. On 27 June 1946 Virginia was granted an absolute divorce because Ernest had deserted the marriage the day after the wedding ceremony!

Ernest Frank Mackey and Virginia Fay Blankenship divorce decree; courtesy
of Ancestry.com

A younger sister of Virginia's married Maxie Chaltain Martin on 2 January 1949 in Chesterfield County. They were married 10 years when Maxie went duck hunting with three other men on 25 November 1959. Their boat disappeared and Maxie's body was discovered the next day.

Death certificate of Maxie Chaltain Martin; courtesy of Ancestry.com

I am frequently struck how often one family group will experience a cluster of tragedies.

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