Sunday, March 7, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2021 (Week 9): Multiples

 Amy Johnson Crow from Generations Cafe is again hosting the blog writing prompt this year called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2021.  I'm going to try to participate more fully this year.  I like that she gives us "permission" to interpret the prompt however we wish and share it however we wish.  It doesn't have to be a blog post; it could be a family video, a letter to a child or grandchild, an e-mail, etc.  

The Theme for Week 9 (Mar 1-7) is Multiples.

This topic stumped me.  I have already written about the multiple men named Hosea in my Tapley tree.  We don't have twins in the family much.  We have no triplets that I know of.  I had finally thought of something... not a great something... but maybe I could have made it work.  Then I re-read what Amy had said about this topic... multiple marriages... wait.  This led to me to my Great Uncle Kenneth.

Kenneth Carter Ranney (1909-1989) was the only surviving son of Luther Boardman Ranney (1870-1943) and Bessie Alice Carter (1883-1960).  He was my grandmother Ethel Irene Ranney Tapley's brother.  

As far as we can tell, Kenneth was "different."  He was a wanderer, never stayed in one place very long.  He was uncommunicative; kept to himself.  He didn't keep in touch with his family.  Never had any children.  However, he was married five times.  

I have researched the records many times for information on Kenneth's wives, but what I have is still sketchy.

His first wife was Alice Wright, birth and death dates unknown.  Kenneth was 24 years old when he married Alice in Yuma County, Arizona on September 4, 1933.  At the time, Kenneth was living in Calexico, California and working for the U.S. Postal Service.  He must have met Alice there because their marriage license states she lived in Calexico also.

My grandmother wrote about this in her 1933 diary:

Sunday, September 3 [1933]: "...Kenneth came up about 4 am. He has a Ford V8. 1932."

Monday, September 4: "Kenneth went home about 2 am. Kenneth got married in Yuma."

 I stated then "This last sentence "Kenneth got married in Yuma." was written in a different it was added later. Probably the family did not know Kenneth was getting married or that he had gotten married until later."  He pretty much just showed up at his parents' house randomly and at odd hours.  

At this time, my great-grandparents and their daughters were living San Bernardino County, California.  Calexico was way down south on the Mexican border, 161 miles away.  Today it's a 2 and a half hour drive.  Back then, it was probably closer to 3 or more.  

Kenneth and Alice separated a short four months later on January 1, 1934.  My grandmother also mentioned this in her diary for that date:  "Kenneth & Alice split up."

At some point, Kenneth and Alice had moved to Mentone in San Bernardino County.  On October 16, 1934, a notice appeared on page 5 of The San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, California):

(Yes that's Reno, Nevada.)

Kenneth's mother, my great-grandmother, supposedly said that she had never seen so much emotion expressed by Kenneth as the day he received his finalized divorce decree.  He actually jumped for joy.  

Kenneth's second wife was named Muriel "Mona" Espy.  She was born abt 1905, so she was about 4 years older than Kenneth.  She was born in Oregon. They married some time between 1935-1938 and lived in Los Angeles.


Here are Mona and Kenneth at my grandparents' wedding, December 1939.

Here are Mona and Kenneth in a family photo, circa 1940-42.

Mona and Kenneth divorced sometime before 1948.

Kenneth remarried between 1948-1950 to Laura Mae Byrd (1907-1980).  She was born in Charlton County, Georgia.  They were divorced by November 25, 1957 because that is the date...

Kenneth married his 4th wife, Beulah Lucille Smith (1906-1963).  Beulah was born in Illinois.  Their divorce was filed in 1960.  The following is from The San Bernardino Sun (San Bernardino, California), on May 5, 1960, Page 22:

Kenneth's 5th and final wife was Eva Arnell Byrd (1909-2003).  They were married December 8, 1961 in Bristow, Oklahoma.  Eva was the sister of Kenneth's 3rd wife, Laura May Byrd and was also born in Charlton County, Georgia.  I don't know how they met, but they were living in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the early 1970's.  Eva visited us in Swainsboro once (yes, by herself).  Soon after, they moved to Fort Worth, Texas.  

Either he was just getting too old and tired of marrying and divorcing or Eva was the one for him, as they were married until his death in 1989.  

Eva Arnell Byrd Ranney

It seemed that Uncle Kenneth was searching for something amongst his multiple wives.  I hope he found it at last with Eva.  

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