Sunday, April 12, 2015

52 Ancestors #15: A Farmer's Wife

Ancestor Name: Alfaretta Pocahontis (BRADLEY) Ramey (1875-1931)

I just love saying some of the names in my family tree like that of my great great grandfather, Powhatan Perrow Jennings or that of the aunt of my by-marriage aunt, Alfaretta Pocahontis Bradley. It may even be hard to spell since her middle name is an unusual variation of the famous Indian wife of John Rolfe, a Jamestown settler.

Pocahontis, as she was called throughout her life, was born on 2 October 1875 in Scott county, Virginia. The county borders North Carolina in the extreme southwestern area of the state and is quite mountainous. Her father was a farmer and her older brothers worked on the family farm.

She married Samuel Patton Ramey on Christmas Day 1896. Samuel was also born and raised in Scott County and grew up near Fulkerson, a small unincorporated area of the county. He was described as tall and slender with blue eyes and light brown hair when he was in his mid 40s. The couple had two sons, William VanBuren and Lewis Clinton, in Virginia before moving west to Delaware, Ohio, where they rented a farm. This move occurred in 1899 or early 1900. The family likely took a train to central Ohio. Delaware township is about 35 miles north of Columbus. The township sits between the Scioto and Olentangy rivers.

The "Big Four" passenger train station in Delaware, Ohio, c1910;
photograph courtesy of the David P. Oroszi collection

By 1910 Samuel and Pocahontis owned their own farm and paid a mortgage.  They now had five living children, Virgie Maybelle, Theodore Leroy, Lila Grace, and Lillian Eliza had been born since 1900. Two children had died by 1910, Lewis Clinton, and Darline Elizabeth, a twin of Lillian Eliza.

Samuel also worked off the farm as a laborer for a Delaware Clay Co., a manufacturing concern managed by L. L. Dennison, who went to Washington that same year to plead for coal to run his plant so it could fulfill its priority war orders.

Paragraph from the Brick and Clay Record published in 1918

In 1920 the family still paid a mortgage on their farm land, which was described as being on Pershing Road. Samuel continued work as a laborer at the clay works and their oldest son, William, who was now 22, worked at a rubber company. Their daughter, Virgie, had completed her schooling but was not employed outside their home. Their younger children were still in school. Pocahantis had two more children, but only one, Dorothy, was still living.  She was 8 years old when the 1920 census was enumerated.

The Ohio Valley Clay Company, about 150 miles east of Delaware in
Steubenville, Ohio; image courtesy of Wikipedia

As one would expect, most of the older children had left home by 1930. Their, youngest daughter, Dorothy, was 18 and still attending school. Grace was also living at home and teaching in the Delaware county public schools. Lillian had married Clyde Mead and she and her husband were living with her parents. Samuel was still a laborer at the clay and tile factory.

Alfaretta Pocahontis (Bradley) Ramey died the next year on 6 October 1931. She was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Delaware. Her husband died in 1944 and was buried beside his wife of 35 years. Most of their children and spouses are buried in the same cemetery. Only Virgie Maybelle (Ramey) Fleenor is buried in a different location.

My relationship to Alfaretta Pocahontis (Bradley) Ramey

Pocahontis' niece, was my by-marriage aunt's mother. I often wonder how well they knew each other. About ten years after young Pocahontis and her husband moved to Delaware, Ohio, her niece, Lily Manson (Bradley) Bailey, and her husband moved away from the area to Michigan. Pocahontis stayed on the family farm and raised her children while her husband Samuel held a steady job. Her niece's husband became a missionary and moved the family to what was then British East Africa for nine years. How different their lives were!

The children of Samuel Patton and Alfretta Pocahontis (Bradley) Ramey:
  • William VanBuren Ramey, born 25 October 1897, died 3 March 1971, married Geraldine Zenhender
  • Lewis Clinton Ramey (or Clinton Lewis), born 3 November 1899, died 7 June 1900
  • Virgie Maybelle Ramey, born 25 June 1901, died 3 May 1991, married Henry Clarence Fleenor
  • Theodore Leroy Ramey, born 3 March 1903, died 10 August 1975, married Fawn Alberta Cavin
  • Grace Lila Ramey, born 9 Oct 1904, died 1 May 1937, married Worley W. Dooley
  • Darlene Elizabeth Ramey (twin), born 5 November 1907, died 21 November 1909
  • Lillian Eliza Ramey (twin), born 5 November 1907, died 12 August 1995, married Clyde B. Mead
  • Helen S Ramey, born 31 Oct 1910, died 14 November 1910
  • Dorothy Blanche Ramey, born 21 November 1911, died 7 August 1988, married Raymond Coonfare Hagaman
This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge optional theme How Do You Spell That? The perfect person to have written about this week would have been my husband's paternal grandmother and the dozen or so different variations I have of her maiden name, but I've already written that post. When the Pennsylvania birth records became available on Ancestry, I found yet another!

12 Feb 2016 Update: The story of Alfaretta Pocahontis (Bradley) Ramey has a sad ending. I recently found her death certificate and while she died of acute cardiac debilitation, it was brought on by the melancholia from which she had suffered since 1929. During this time she voluntarily starved herself.

"Pocahontas Alias Metoaka and Her Descendants" and Its Author
Out of Africa series


  1. Interesting post. I found it while searching for a photo of the old train station in Delaware, Ohio where I grew up. What makes it more interesting is that we share direct line ancestors in the Bradly/Holman lines of Virginia and George Abbott/Sarah Farnum of Andover. - Best, Ed Jenkins

    1. Ed, it's good to hear from you. I am actually not related to the Bradley line. My aunt, Joan Evelyn (Bailey) Lange, married my Mom's brother. Aunt Joan's mother was a Bradley. Her parents were missionaries and my aunt was born in what is not Kenya but was then British East Africa. Two of her brothers left unpublished memoirs which were fascinating to read.