I have been staring at this obituary for a bit now, and finally decided to pull up some information that my Cathey cousin, Tracey, had sent to me. I finally figured some stuff out, but it definitely left me with an important question.
The first problem I came across a few years ago is what I found in Reflections From Our Past: a Pictorial History of Houston County, Tennessee (2001), page 257:
William Glenn Cathey was born 1857 in Stewart County, died July 6, 1906, in Houston County, Tennessee, and is buried in the Nolan Cemetery, Hurricane Creek Mills, Tennessee. He married Mary Elizabeth Summers in 1888 in Houston County. William Glenn and Lizzie had five children:
Riley Leonard, Acra Archie, George Arlee, Katie, Ludie Mae, and Willie Richard. (that is obviously six children)
Written down in Lizzie’s book (that was hand-copied by her daughter Maggie) is that William Glenn was born June 12, 1851. We know it wasn’t that early, so I’m wondering if she made a mistake. Or it may have been misread (I sure wish we could find the original!). She also writes that William Glenn died on June 6, 1906 in Humphreys County. Which makes total sense due to the date of the obituary.
Now, before I go any further, I also want to point out that Lizzie’s records and the 1900 census state that she and William Glenn were married in August 1888 in Houston County. As I have posted before, they were married August 26, 1889 in Houston County. And what is more interesting is that her oldest son Riley Leonard was born October 19, 1889 – nearly two months after their wedding. So keeping that in mind, from the June 8, 1906 edition of The Tennessean (Nashville), page 6:
WAVERLY, Tenn., June 7.-(Special.)- William Cathey, of Big Hurricane Creek, died last evening, aged 45 years. His wife and five children survive him.
So, this tells us that he did actually die on June 6, not July 6, and that he was 45 years old, placing him born in or around 1861. This also helps to confirm that the overgrown and hidden Nolan Cemetery on Hurricane Creek is the burial place of William Glenn (click here).
The most oft posted picture of the family shows Acra, Arlee, Lizzie, William Glenn, Katie, Ludie, and baby Willie. Willie was born in August of 1905. And Acra had said that his father died of pneumonia. The fact that William Glenn is standing apart, and looking quite gaunt, from the family leads me to believe he was quite ill when it was taken, so very shortly before his death. The photograph does not show Riley, however. Which leads to this question now:
Did Riley Cathey die? There are family stories that Riley a) ran away from home, never to be heard of again, and b) died during WWI.
A Riley Cathey (Cathers?) is found living and working for a family in Gibson County in 1910. He is the same age as Riley, but disappears after that census. And looking through (what is left of) WWI draft registration cards and records show no Riley and/or Leonard Cathey.
Maybe Riley wasn’t really a Cathey? Could he have been the child of another man? Lizzie, a few years after William Glenn’s death had a daughter Maggie out of wedlock, but she did marry William Green Smith (Maggie’s father… I guess? Maggie was born February 28, 1910 and Bill Green married Lizzie on August 6, 1911). Perhaps there is a possibility that Riley found out and ran away, disowning his family?
Or, and this is based on the obituary, is it possible that Riley died in Arkansas, on the way back to Tennessee from Arkansas, or when they return to Tennessee?
One find always leads to more questions.