Today we visit Bells Run Baptist Church, in the small area of the same name. Bells Run is located in the north-western section of the Ohio County, at the intersections of Hwys 764 and 762. This is a beautiful cemetery, alongside a handsome church. Our focus will be on the McKinley family.
My interest in this family began with Isaac N. McKinley and Lou T. McKinley. A quick census search found them in Ohio County in 1900, both aged 32. They had been married ten years, had four children, three living – Ernest, 5; Armit, 4; and Mamie, 2. By 1910 the youngest child had died; two new babies were born – Mary, 10; and Augusta, 4. According to the 1905 Owensboro Directory, Davis County, the family had moved from their Ohio County home. Owensboro is just 15 miles from Bells Run, it isn’t as far away as it might sound. Lou died in 1924, and Isaac married Martha J. Quick.
Thursday, February 28, 1924
Sunday, June 16, 1946
Buried next to Isaac and Lou were his brother Benjamin Proctor McKinley and his wife, Sarah Alice Stinnett. They were married in 1890.
Wednesday, February 22, 1939
Sunday, July 31, 1949
Close by another brother and his wife are buried – Rousseau S. McKinley and Ida Taylor McKinley. Notice the early death of Ruse – barely twenty years. One son, Charles Rousseau, was born September 29, 1894. Ruse did not live to see his son’s first birthday. There was no obituary for him. Remarkably, even though widowed at a very young age, Ida raised her son, saw grandchildren born and her son die before she passed away November 10, 1967, at the advanced age of 91.
Monday, December 11, 1967
Ruse and Ida’s son Charles married Ina B.Patton.
Thursday, September 12, 1963
Isaac, Ben and Ruse were sons of Joseph McKinley and Cynthia Sharp. The couple’s marriage bond was dated May 9, 1864. By 1870 they were 27 and 23, respectively, with children Samuel F, 5; Ben, 3; and Isaac N., 10/12. Ten years later three more children were added to the family list – Ira P., 7; Ruse, 4; and Della, 2. Cynthia died in 1890, and Joseph married Susan Chapman the next year.
Could we possibly go back further? Joseph McKinley died in 1918, when death certificates were required. His parents are listed as Benjamin McKinley and ? Bozarth. Let’s check an earlier census record.
In the 1850 census for Ohio County Benjamin McKinley, 45, born in Virginia, was listed with wife Charlotte, 30, and children Joseph, 6; Alexander, 5; Margaret E., 3; Rachel C., 1; and his mother, Henrietta McKinley, 85, born in Virginia. Two more generations. And his mother was born about 1765! Benjamin McKinley married Charlotte Bozarth April 20, 1842.
By 1860 the family is fractured. Benjamin McKinley is not listed in the census; neither is Charlotte. I found Joseph, 16, and brother Alexander, 15, living as ‘boarder and farmer’ with Moses Spencer. Daughter Rachel C. McKinley, now 11, is living with William T. Sharp and family. William is 51, with wife Susan, 35, (second wife, not the mother of the children), Cynthia M. 14 (recognize this name from above? Another generation!); Thomas, 12; Joshua, 6; step-children John Simmons, 15; Jesse, 13; and Hiram, 11; Rachel C. McKinley, 11, a boarder; and Isaac Sharp, laborer. Rachel McKinley boards with the family that her brother Joseph later marries into.
And Moses Spencer? After the death of Benjamin McKinley, wife Charlotte marries Moses Spencer May 3, 1855.
Research for this family was exciting – starting with five gravestones we found census records, death certificates, marriage certificates, obituaries – all original, public records to find our families and make our connections.
Categories: Family Stories