Sunday, December 14, 2008

Double Ironies: Orlando Sons-In-Law Tragic Traffic Victims

Ethel Daisy Posey, born on Posey Run in 1884, was the daughter of George Jackson and Minerva (Hopkins) Posey and the granddaughter of Oil Creek pioneer son Alfred Posey and his wife Christina Murphy.

When Ethel was ten years old she wrote a letter about the two weeks she spent with her a couple weeks with her grandparents, Andrew J. and Sarah (Dennison) Hopkins in Gilmer County. The letter, which was printed in a church magazine, is in the Apr '07 entry Ethel Posey's Adventure In the comments which follow this entry is a letter she wrote as a young wife and mother.
Right: Ethel (Posey) Bennett

by David Parmer
Ethel Posey Bennett was a gracious, elegant lady, most often seen by this writer during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s in dark silky-looking dresses with “old-lady” lace-up shoes. To the writer’s young eyes, the gray hair, dark pocket book carried over the shoulder, and spectacles, justified the belief that Ethel was a senior citizen, although at the time Ethel was younger than this writer is now. The Order of the Eastern Star and the Rebekahs were popular and well-attended women’s clubs in Burnsville and Ethel was a faithful member of both. Ethel had many friends in Burnsville and she visited the town frequently from her home on Posey Run to see friends and attend club meetings.
Left: logos for the Order of the Eastern Star and the Daughters of Rebekah.
Ethel, born on Posey Run in 1884, was the daughter of George Jackson Posey and Minerva (Hopkins) Posey. She was a life-long member of the Mt. Zion Methodist Church of Orlando, which her pioneering Methodist father helped to form shortly after the Civil War. Ethel was also a key member in the Posey Family Reunion which brought many descendants of Edward and Catherine Scott Skinner Posey to Orlando from far and wide for an annual gathering.
Ethel was married for a short time to Grover Van Horn and they had a son they named George Marion Van Horn. In 1910, at her Posey Run home, Ethel married the Reverend Porter Bennett, a widower, from Tanner, Gilmer County, who was thirteen years her senior. During the course of their marriage Ethel and Porter became the parents of six children: three sons, Porter, Rolfe and Noble; and three daughters, Virginia, Maxine and Sarah.

Maxine and Sarah Become Brides
In 1937, Porter and Ethel Bennett and their family were living in Buckhannon. It was there that daughter Maxine met her future husband, Noble Tallman, and daughter Sarah met her future husband, Paul Eskew. Both sons-in-law of Ethel Bennett were employed in the coal mining industry.

A Visit to Posey Run
The newly wedded Noble Tallman and Paul Eskew and their wives enjoyed spending time at the Posey Run home of George Jackson Posey, who was the grandfather of Maxine and Sarah. During the last week of August 1937, the two couples and Ethel Bennett vacationed at the Posey home. On Sunday, August 29th the last day of their vacation, they made an excursion to the popular Falls Mill for swimming and a picnic before returning to their Buckhannon homes.

Kiser Tenney
Two of Ethel and Porter's girls, Sarah and Maxine, married men who worked in the coal mining industry: Paul Eskew and Noble Tallman. Kiser Tenney was Paul Eskew's cousin. (Kiser's dad Albert and Paul's mother Florence were siblings.) Like his two friends, Noble and Paul, Kiser was also employed in coal mining.
The First Tragedy
One month after enjoying his vacation on Posey Run and the excursion to Falls Mill for swimming and a picnic, Noble Tallman was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Kiser Tenney when the vehicle left the road near Hodgesville in Upshur County. In 1937, there were no safety features such as seat belts in automobiles and passengers were at substantial risk even in the slightest of accidents. Unfortunately, the fates were unkind to twenty year old Noble Tallman who died in an Elkins hospital of the injuries received in the accident. Noble’s widow, Maxine, was expecting her first child at the time of the accident.
The Second Tragedy
On November 17, 1940, a little over three years after the accident in Upshur County which took the life of Noble Tallman, Kiser Tenney and his cousin Paul Eskew were working the second shift for the Koppers Coal Company in Northfork, McDowell County. After their shift was over, Kiser and Paul were on their way home in Kiser’s automobile. As Kiser was driving along the Bluefield-Bramwell road near the Woodlawn cemetery, an out-of-state vehicle passed Kiser’s vehicle on the windy road and cut back in sharply to avoid an approaching vehicle. This reckless maneuver resulted in Kiser’s front bumper being hooked by the passing vehicle which swerved the Tenney vehicle off the road and over an embankment. Although Tenney was uninjured, again the fates dealt cruelly with the husband of Sarah and son-in-law of Ethel Bennett. Paul Eskew died nine days later of his injuries. He was twenty eight years of age. Besides his widow Sarah, he was survived by a son, Robert Paul.
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comment by Donna Gloff
Ethel's mother Minerva (Hopkins) Posey kept many of her children's letters in her scrapbook. Following is the letter she wrote to Minerva in 1912, after she and Porter and their young family had moved to the town of Taveres, located in central Florida. We know she was about six months pregnant at the time, as her son Noble was born the following March. Oddly, the letter to her mother doesn't speak of how or what her husband is doing or of her children or her health. A letter she wrote to the editorof the [Braxton?] Democrat in March, 1913, tells of their trip home by ocean steamer.
Dear Mamma:
We are located here in Tavares; arrived yesterday; have rented a two room house, plastered and newly painted. Pay $5 per month furnished with chairs, oil stove, bed, lamps, washstand, dining table and small wood heating stove, in case we should need it. We had a nice trip, saw lots of nice level country. We have been in seven states since we left West Virginia.
Virginia is a nice level country, has nice towns and good country buildings.
We saw lots of cotton; saw them picking it; saw plenty of peanuts. They stack them and thrash them.We crossed the Potomac river and traveled quite a distance along the river. We passed within a few miles of Nokesville, where Uncle N. W. Hopkins lives. We crossed the state of Virginia by way of Richmond. There is quite a lot of pine timber through the state. The trees are very tall and slim. In North and South Carolina is lots of pine timber. They are not so wealthy as Virginia. The buildings are not good.
Georgia is level -- lots of cotton and terpentine. We would pass for miles and miles where the trees were tapped and saw them gathering the terpentine. We passed through lots of cypress swamps. Savanah Ga., is a nice place. We passed through most all the capitols of the states we traveled through. We crossed several large rivers. The St. John is a very wide river. It is about ten miles wide at Sanford, Fla. We have not seen any hills since we left West Virginia. Florida is nice and level. We get beefsteak at 8 cents a pound. Butter, milk, and eggs are high. We have seen but few cattle since we left West Virginia. The cows here are small and don't look like the West Virginia stock. We have seen but few hogs in Florida. They are small too.
The fishing is good here on the lake. One can fish from the wharf or from boats.
We have plenty of oranges here. There are three trees in our yard, and they have about 25 bushels of oranges on them. At the orange dump just a little way from our house, we can get all we want just for the picking. They pack here. Men and boys get from $5 to $7 per day for packing them. They bring them in by wagon. Grape fruit is fine here. I saw some yesterday at the packinghouse as large as a child's head. We get fine ones at the orange dumps.Carpenters get good wages. Bricklayers $7 per day. It is nice and warm here; rained today. We have not needed any fire, except to cook with, since we arrived.
Your Daughter,
December 15, 1912
Thanks to Ron Skinner for including Ethel Posey's letters in his family tree.

1 comment:

  1. Does anyone know where Ethel P Bennett's letters are at this time??? Do any of her letter's shed any light on which church Reverend Porter Bennett was affiliated with? Is it possible to obtain copies of my grandma's letters?