The following obituary appeared in the Commonwealth Journal newspaper of Somerset, Kentucky on June 7, 2011:
Somerset — Lowell Gene Roy was born on June 11, 1938 in the Hickory Nut area of Pulaski County, Ky. He departed this life on June 2, 2011 reaching the age of 72, after a long illness.
He was united in marriage on October 10, 1959 to Cynthia Schafran, who survives. To this union were born four children, Martina of Dearborn, Mich., Mark of Dearborn Heights, Mich., Mike (and Gerri) of Garden City, Mich., Marlene (and Greg) of Livonia, Mich..
He was the youngest of six children born to Vola T. Roy and Myrtle Spaw Roy, who preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Marcie Dye and Geneva Spencer, and one brother, Ether Roy. He is survived by one brother, Clair Lee Roy of Melvindale, Mich., and one sister, Rebecca (and Tom) Waddle of Monticello, Ky.
He is also survived by five grandchildren, Ryan, Stefanie, Brandon, Madilyn and Matthew and three great grandchildren, Samantha, Nicholas and Zachary.
He was saved as a young man and was a member of Mt. Lebanon Church in Kentucky. He joined the Army in 1958 and served two years of service to our country.
He worked most of his life as a truck driver, which he greatly enjoyed. His greatest joy was his farm back home, which he visited when he was able. He leaves a multitude of family and friends who will greatly miss him.
Funeral services were held at 9800 S. Telegraph at Howe-Peterson in Taylor with burial to follow on June 6, 2011 at Lakeside Memorial Gardens in Somerset, Ky., on West Ky. 80.
Lowell Gene Roy (1938-2011)
. Vola T. Roy & Myrtle Spaw
.. James P, Rpy & Martha Carter
… Rev. William Madison Roy & Martha Ann Shadowen
…. Samuel Shadowen St. & Sarah James
….. Rev. Joseph Martin James & Martha Betsy McAlister
…… John M. James & Clara Nalle
David Ralph James, and his son Christopher David James, know one thing for certain about their DNA. They don’t possess the Y-chromosome DNA proven to be that of their paternal James ancestors.
The problem rests with David’s great grandmother, Mary Ellen James, who was born in 1856. She also is Sam Walton’s grandmother. As most of America knows, Sam Walton founded Walmart.
When Mary Ellen James left the home of her father Reverend Daniel Field James in Pulaski County, Kentucky, she took her only child with her. William Otho James was four years old when a history of Fayette County, Kentucky, reported in 1882 that his mother was unmarried and living in Missouri.
Unknown is whether or not Mary Ellen James left her Kentucky home in disgrace. No marriage record can be found for her. Nor can any record be found to identify the father of Will Otho James. Mary Ellen made sure her son bore her own name of James.
Leaving home, Mary Ellen took Will Otho first to Joplin, Missouri. Shortly after the report in Kentucky appeared, she then moved to Johnson County, Kansas, east of Kansas City and Lee’s Summit. There Mary Ellen married Reuben Moore Lawrence. He, too, had been born in Pulaski County, two years before she was. Together, the couple then moved to Corbin, Kansas, south of Wichita, where they started a family.
After Mary Ellen bore Reuben Moore Lawrence the second of their four children, Will Otho James struck out for Indian Territory. It was 1892. He was only fourteen. He’d be twenty-one before Sam Walton’s mother, Nancy Lee Lawrence was born. It would be almost a decade before Will Otho married and started a family himself.
Will Otho and his family lived in Kingfisher and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. When his children were grown, he settled in Norman. He was a charter member of the Assembly of God church. He operated a hotel, and the Log Cabin Restaurant, where he became a local celebrity among school kids who called him Dad.
David Ralph James is the grandson of Will Otho James. His aunts and uncles visited occasionally with the Lawrence family, and knew Sam Walton personally.
Knowing his DNA is not that of his James ancestry, David and his son Chris James cannot help but wonder if their DNA isn’t that of the Lawrence family, or even that of Sam Walton’s father, Thomas Gibson Walton.
ANCESTRY OF SAM WALTON
Samuel Moore Walton, aka Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, is a great grandson of Mary Ellen James. His pedigree is as follows:
Reuben Moore Lawrence Sr. and Rebecca Moore
. Reuben Moore Lawrence Jr. and Mary Ellen James
.. Thomas Gibson Walton and Nance Lee Lawrence
… Samuel Moore Walton
IS THE FATHER OF THIS LAWRENCE MAN THE UNKNOWN PARTNER OF MARY ELLEN JAMES ?
Robert H. Lawrence shares a physical resemblance with Will Otho James, as well as with Will’s sons Otho Junior and Vern Reuben James, his nephew David Ralph James, and grandson Christoper James. Like theirs, his life has its own mysteries.
Sometime between 1886 and 1890, Lawrence killed a person in a family feud. He was convicted and sent to jail. Within a year, he escaped. He changed his name to Robert Edward Goff and fled to Oklahoma Indian Territory, where many migrants from Pulaski County, Kentucky had settled. He married, settled in Sapulpa, had six children who carried the Goff surname, after which he mysteriously died.
The grandparents of Robert H. Lawrence are Reuben Moore Lawrence Sr. and Rebecca Moore, the same as the great grandparents of Sam Walton. William T. Lawrence, who may be Mary Ellen James’ mystery man, is his father.
W. T. Lawrence was eighteen years older than Mary Ellen James. He had served the Confederacy in the Civil War. Right before the war started, W. T. married Almira Griffin, a very distant cousin of the James. When Almira died around 1884, W. T. promptly remarried to Elvira Cash by whom he had two more children, Gopher and Iona. A third child is known to have been born to W. T. Lawrence, but that child has never been able to be documented. The only information about the mystery child that the descendants of W. T. Lawrence know is that the child bore the name James.
For the Goff descendants of William T. Lawrence, knowing the DNA of the Lawrence family would be as helpful to them as it would be to the family of David Ralph and Christopher James.
This is one of five historic homes of our James family in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Located at the intersection of Route 80 and James Road, the site is about eight miles east of Somerset, Kentucky.
Unclear is whether this home was built by John M. James (1751-1823), or by his son, Reverend Daniel Field James (1795-1871). I believe it was John. Daniel built his own brick home on Highway 461, north of Dahl Road. John’s previous brick home was built at the bend in Dahl Road, circa 1795. This second home was more opulent in its construction with arched windows and doorways, and much larger in size than John’s first home.
This home definitely was occupied by two of John’s daughters and their husbands. John’s third eldest daughter, Betsy, lived here with her husband, Reverend Jeremiah Vardeman. After she eloped with Jerry, John brought the un-godlike Jerry into Baptist ministry. Jerry went on to become an eminent Baptist Divine. Jeremiah Vardeman founded the schools of Theology at Georgetown College in Kentucky, and at William Jewell College in Missouri. He also gave Frank and Jesse’s father, Reverend Robert Sallee James, $20,000 to become a William Jewell College founder, after Robert graduated Georgetown.
Record books today identify this tract as “The Vardeman Tract.” Jerry’s enslaved were buried in a cemetery on this site. Jerry also had a still in the knob behind the cemetery meadow. John’s eldest daughter, Molly, subsequently occupied this home with Senator Jack Griffin Sr.
The home then was occupied by Will James, John’s grandson and a son of Daniel Field James, with his wife Nancy R. Gilliland. Will, it is said, got shot up riding with Frank and Jesse. Will returned to this home partially crippled. The estate sits in clear view of James cemetery, on the knob diagonally across Route 80 at the end of James Road.
It was Jack Griffin’s son, Senator Jack Griffin Jr., who accidentally burned down the house. This photo shows the markings of the fire that consumed the second story bedroom level.
Today, all the bricks are gone. The leveled site is planned as an interchange for the extension of historic Route 66. A gravel pit consumed the former slave cemetery onsite. The Commonwealth of Kentucky avoiding any necessary cemetery mitigation for the enslaved. The Commonwealth also determined the home itself not to be worthy of an archeological excavation. Soon the site will become a road interchange, unless the present delay in construction, caused by the collapse of the national economy, persists anbd national transportation funds are withheld.
We pray to John, Jerry, Daniel, Will, to all their wives, and to all their enslaved, that the history of Route 66 never paves over the history of our James family.
Fount & Addie Randall did not last long in Livingston, Montana, after migrating there to be with many families from Pulaski County, Kentucky who already had moved to Livingston. The couple returned to Pulaski County with their infant child, where three generations of the Randall family lived at Shopville, on the original settlement lands of John M. James.
In Pulaski County, the couple had three more children, Carl Fountain, Sherman Andrew, and Cecil B. Randall.
Fount had been married before in Pulaski County to Martha Ellen Gilliland who bore Fount Ada Lilly and Lee Othar Randall. Martha died in 1892. Martha’s parents are Gallen Elliott “Doc” Gilliland and Nancy E. Gastineau, parents of the hapless brothers James Harvey and Josiah Gilliland, who were hanged by Sheriff James McHargue. The Sheriff believed his daughter had been raped by the Gilliland brothers.
Thanks to Shelly Cardiel who rescued this old image and went in search of descendants who might appreciate it.
Official website for the family of Frank & Jesse James – Living lives, telling the story. Knowing self.
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