At our February Genealogy meeting, a few of us found ourselves digging through stacks of old Winslow Dispatch newspapers that had been donated. It was really random because the third paper I picked up had my grandmother’s marriage announcement on the front page. Then Sherry picked up one that had my aunt’s birth announcement. Suddenly Sherry handed me a paper and said “look, good blog material.”
I think it is good blog material. I get a lot of blog hits from the search of Logtown Pike County.
From the front page of the July 19, 1946 issue of the Winslow Dispatch: Pike Pioneer Coal Miner: Martin Minters: When the first deep coal mines of the county were opened, Martin Minters was one of the original miners who opened the first mines. He is 91 years old, hale and hearty, though born in slavery. He has lived in the Ayrshire community more than sixty years and has always conducted himself like a gentleman.
The genealogist in me surfaced and I thought, “what a treasure for the family of this man.” I would give anything to find a picture and story like this about some of my relatives. I knew he lived in Ayrshire, probably in Logtown for some time. He is buried in the Logtown Mt. Hebron Cemetery. So I went to Ancestry.com to see if anyone was working on him in their tree. Nothing. A google search turned up no family trees with Martin Minters.
By now curiosity was getting the best of me. He was someone’s Papa in 1949 when he was buried. I had to put together a life story for this man who had obviously lived quite a full life.
Martin was born in April of 1861 at Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky as a slave. Parents unknown although he states on census records both parents were born in Virginia. He was a mulatto, half white.
A Martin Minters who’s service record in the Civil War U.S. Colored Troops Military Records states he was a Private in Comp. G, the 47th Infantry. He was recruited in May of 1865 from the depot in Mobile, Alabama. In July of 1865 he became sick and died of disease in August of 1865 at Pineville, Louisiana. Who was he? Someone related to the Pike County Martin Minters?
There were several Minter families living in Hardin County, Kentucky at this time and they were slave owners. They came to Kentucky from Virginia. Was Martin’s family a part of their slaves? Did Martin take their name?
Slavery is such a big brick wall.
October 1, 1881 Martin Minter married Belle Williams. The marriage record in Hardin County, Kentucky states: Boy of age, sworn, Henry Williams, father of girl present and consents. Black, Book 140 Hardin County, Kentucky
1900 census finds him at Mag. District 7, Kitchen, Hopkins County, Kentucky. The family is listed as black. He and Belle have a daughter Ruth, 9 years old, son Lavonia, 3 years old and a boarder, John Fox. Martin is a coal miner.
1910 census finds the family in Ayrshire, Patoka Township, Pike County, Indiana. They are living on the Ayrshire Road. Martin is listed as a mulatto. On this census, it looks like Belle and Martin are living in two different households next to each other. Ruth is not on the census. She would be 19 now, so possibly married or did she die? Their son, Lavonia and a new son, Murl who is five is listed. Lavonia is listed as black and Murl is listed as a mulatto.
January 1912, they will have another son, Flue A. C. Minters who only lives for a couple of months. He died in March 1912. His death record states: Fluia A.C. Minters, Date: March 16, 1912, Location: Pike County, Age: 2 months, Gender: Male, Race: Colored (black), Source: County Health Office, Petersburg, Indiana, WPA Book 8, page H1.
1920 census finds the family still in Patoka Township, Pike County, Indiana. Martin, black, aged 69 married to Gertrude Curry, black, aged 34. Lavonia and Murl, both black, live with them. They can all read and write. Martin and Lavonia work in the coal mines.
1930 census find the family still in Patoka Township, Pike County, Indiana. Martin, black, his wife, Gertrude and her mother, Elizabeth Curry. They live on the Old State Road from Winslow to Oakland City. Martin is still working as a coal miner at the age of 60 years. The boys are living with their mother in Indianapolis in 1930, along with a nephew, Lavell Minters.
Now we know Martin has a brother who also lived in Pike County for a short time. One the baby boy who did not live was named for.
Martin’s brother’s name was Flue Lerone Minters. He was born in 1879. He was in Patoka Township, Pike County, Indiana on the 1910 and 1920 census. Then in 1930 he was in Madisonville, Kentucky and widowed. In 1944 he is found in Danville, Illinois as a helper in a hotel. His wife’s name was Elizabeth and they had children: Catherine, Charlie, Palestine, Lawrence, and Lavell. His WW1 draft registration states he was a machine operator for the Ingle Coal Company while in Pike County.
Lavonia and his mother, Belle must have moved back to Pike County because on Lavonia’s WWII draft registration in 1942 he and Belle are at RR3, Winslow, Indiana.
Belle Williams Minters died in 1944.
Martin dies in 1949 and is buried in Mt. Hebron Cemetery at Logtown in Ayrshire, Indiana.
His son, Lavonia, a WWI veteran dies in 1950 and is buried beside his father in Mt. Hebron Cemetery at Logtown, Ayrshire, Indiana. Lavonia was married to Bertha Malone. They had a daughter, Lavern.
Martin’s son, Murl died in 1968 at Indianapolis.
The Hardin County, Kentucky genweb page has a copy of the will of Clarissa Williams, mother to Belle Williams Minters. It states there are no living heirs of Belle Williams Minters.
There are the facts for Martin Minters. I am so sure there is much more to the story.