Family Stories

James Robert Lane and Fannie Lou Emma “Lula” Roberts – McCracken County

I decided to go to Paducah in McCracken County, Kentucky, today.  Even though I sit at my desk in Rudyard Township in Michigan, with the cemetery photographs we have taken over the years, Ancestry and other online resources, and my genealogy books, I can whisk myself away to places I’ve visited before.  And it always brings back lovely memories.  And thus, I share with you today my research into the lives of James Robert Lane and Fannie Lou Emma ‘Lula’ Roberts.

J. R. was born in Christian County, October 19, 1867, to James Phillip Lane and Mary Ann Ware.  In the 1850 census of Christian County James P. Lane, 27, is an overseer, living with James W. Moore and family.  He is listed as born in Virginia.  The couple were married January 17, 1856, in Todd County, Kentucky

The Clerk of Todd County is at liberty to issue a license to marry my daughter, Mary Ann Ware, and Mr. P. Lane

December 28, 1855,  Robert P. Ware

Know All Men By These Presents:

That we, James P. Lane and W. G. Massie, are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the penal sum of $100 for the true payment whereof we bind ourselves, our heirs, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents; sealed with our seals and dated this 28 day of December 1855.  The condition of the above obligation is such, that if there should be no legal cause to obstruct a marriage, shortly intended to be solemnized between the said James P. Lane and Mary A. Ware for which a license is about to issue, then this obligation to be void, else to remain in full force and virtue.

Philip Lane, William G. Massie

Teste.  Ben S. Perkins, Clerk

(Notice that James P. writes his name as Philip Lane.  It is sometimes seen this way in the census records.)

This is to certify that on the 17 day of January 1856, at the house of R. P. Ware in Todd County, in the presence of Richard Finch and Thomas Tandy, I joined in marriage Mary A. Ware and James P. Lane, by virtue of a license from the Clerk of Todd County Court, William Conway.

I found three separate pieces of marriage records for Philip Lane and Mary Ware – but none for their son, J. R.

In 1860 in Christian County James P. is 38, a farmer, born in Virginia.  Mary Ann is 25, born in Kentucky.  They have one daughter, Anna, 1.  William Chapman, a farmer born in Tennessee, also lives with the young family.  I could not find the family in the 1870 census.  If they were on the move from Christian County to Ballard, and it was in 1870, they may have missed the census takers completely.  Mary Ann Ware Lane died in Ballard County about 1875 – just about the time the youngest child, Mack, was born.  Perhaps there were complications during or after childbirth.  In 1880 James P. Lane is living in Ballard County, aged 55, born Virginia, with children Robert, 19; Thomas, 19; Sanders, 11; Elbert, 8; and Mack, 5.

Mary Ann Ware’s parents were Robert Payne Ware and Martha Shelton ‘Patsy’ Saunders.  Robert was born in Virginia about 1801.  Martha was born in North Carolina about 1812.  According to the 1850 Todd County census they had the following children – Mary, 16; William 15; Thomas, 11; Susan, 9; Elizabeth, 7; John, 5; and Ellen, 3.

J. R. Lane and Emma Lula Roberts were married June 29, 1887, in McCracken County.

In the 1900 census of Jefferson County, we find J. R. Lane, 38, married 13 years, born in Kentucky, parents born in Virginia.  Lula is 31, has had three children, one living.  She was born in Kentucky, her father in Tennessee and mother in Kentucky.  Daughter Bessie is 9.  Lula’s sister, Amanda Roberts, 28, lived with the family.

The family enjoyed their life in Paducah, daughter Bessie enjoying parties and other activities.  The following is a notice about a Skiddoo Party. 

The Paducah Sun, McCracken County, Kentucky

Saturday, September 29, 1906

Skiddoo Party

Mr. Mel Byrd, Jr., of West Trimble Street, entertained twenty-three of his friends Wednesday evening on his twenty-third birthday in honor of Miss Mable Gough, of Henderson, Kentucky, a visitor in the city.  The color scheme of yellow and white was prettily carried out.  Dainty refreshments of ices and punch were served during the evening.  In a contest Miss Bessie Lane won the young ladies’ prize and Mr. George Holliday the gentleman’s.  The guest list included:  Misses Mable Gough, of Henderson, Kentucky, Cora Richardson, Claire St. John, Caroline Ham, Mary Barry, Irene Curd, Floyd Swift, Edna Eades, Nell Barry, Maybelle Beyer, Bessie Lane, Mary Byrd and Messrs. Dudward Sutton, Watson Bockmon, Edward Curd, Oswald Cheek, James Davis, Allen Wolff, George Holliday, Marshal Puryear, Russell McLean and Howard Shelton.

I did a google search but could not find anything about a Skiddoo party.  The only thing found was about Ski Doo snowmobiles – not something you would find in Kentucky, but especially not in September!

Another interesting article about Bessie Lane was at a skating competition.

News Democrat, Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Friday, November 6, 1908

Miss Lane Wins

At the contest at the Auditorium skating rink to decide who was the most graceful lady skater the prize, a gold bracelet, was awarded to Miss Bessie Lane.  Miss Henri Alcott was second and Miss Elizabeth Williamson was third.  The decision was rendered by a popular vote, a ballot being given with every paid admission.  A good crowd was present, both on the floor and as spectators.

Bessie Lane marries Thomas Watson in Covington.

The Paducah Sun, McCracken County, Kentucky

Thursday, August 19, 1909

Miss Bess Lane and Mr. Thomas Watson Marry

Telling her friends that she was going to Louisville on a visit, Miss Bess Lane, 837 Jefferson Street, and Mr. Thomas Watson were married Tuesday night in Covington.  The couple left Tuesday at noon, the bride for Louisville, and the groom for Niagara Falls.  Relatives say it was not an elopement, but that the couple went to Covington for a quiet wedding.  They will return tonight and will reside at 837 Jefferson Street.  The bride is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Robert Lane, and is a pretty young woman of the blonde type.  She was graduated from the high school in 1908, and has many friends.  Mr. Watson is an operator at the Union Station for the Illinois Central Railroad, and is popular in a wide circle of friends.  He has resided in Paducah for several years, coming here from Hopkinsville.  Although the news of the marriage was a pleasant surprise for the friends of the couple, it was not unexpected.

In 1916 J. R. and Lula were involved in an automobile/surrey accident.

News Democrat, Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Wednesday, November 15, 1916

Women Hurt In Auto Accident Improving

Injured are Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Lane and two Mesdames Davis

Mrs. J. R. Lane, of the Hinkleville Road, who was painfully hurt Monday evening at 6 o’clock at Ninth and Broadway, when an automobile driven by Sinclair Skinner struck the surrey she was riding in, was resting well at the home of her brother-in-law, Frank Mantz, 1043 Monroe Street, last night.  It is thought by her physicians that a rib is broken, while several cuts and bruises on her head are very painful.

Mr. Lane was also hurt in the collision.  His head was seriously cut in several places, while one limb is painfully bruised.  He, too, was resting well last night.

The injuries received by Mrs. R. E. Davis and Mrs. M. J. Davis, who were in the second car that was hit by the Skinner car, were mending well at their home, 1032 Monroe Street.  Their injuries are not serious, consisting of bruises and cuts.  Skinner escaped injury.

The Paducah Sun, McCracken County, Kentucky

Wednesday, November 11, 1931

J. R. Lane Dies In Home of Daughter

J. R. Lane, 71, died Tuesday night at 10:45 o’clock in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Thomas Watson, 1612 Madison Street.  Death resulted from a brief illness of bronchial asthma.

Mr. Lane was born at Pembroke, Kentucky, October 22, 1860, and had lived in West Kentucky for a number of years.  He was one of the best-known clerks in the city and county.  Surviving him is his widow; one daughter, Mrs. Thomas Watson; three grandchildren, Mary and George Watson of Paducah, and Thomas Watson of Louisville; two brothers, J. T. Lane of the county and Wood Lane of Richmond, Virginia, and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral Services will be held Thursday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at the Roth Chapel.  In the absence of the Rev. Robert A. Clark, pastor of the Methodist church, the funeral will be conducted by the Rev. D. B. Clapp.  Mr. Lane was a member of the Broadway Methodist Church.

Pallbearers will be:  E. O. Meacham, W. L. Young, Thomas Leech, W. H. Rieke, Frank Rieke and W. R. Osborne.

Mr. Lane had been connected with the E. O. Meacham groceries for a number of years.

I could find no obituary for Lula Lane.  She was included in a list of deaths in The Courier-Journal of Louisville.  ‘Mrs. Lula Lane, 83, Paducah.’


J. Robert Lane, October 22, 1860 – November 10, 1932. Oak Grove Cemetery, Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky.

J. R. and Lula are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in the town of Paducah. 


Lula Roberts Lane, October 19, 1867 – May 29, 1950.


Irene, daughter ob Robert and Lula Lane, born March 22, 1888, died June 15, 1888.

Although family trees in Ancestry show them to have one daughter, I know that is not true.  Irene Lane, their daughter, lived only three months, born and died in 1888, March 22 – June 15.  This was their first child

1 reply »

  1. There used to be an old expression “23 skidoo” having to do with getting away from somewhere quickly. Birthday number 23? Skidoo party? Perhaps…

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