Tag Archives: Randall

Portrait of an Abandoned Family

Every photo tells a story. This photo tells the sad story of the aftermath left by a person not in the picture. Mack Henry James 1878-1945 ran out on this abandoned family. He left his wife and his children, shown here, with no support. With few resources, they successfully reorganized themselves into extended family.

Identified by Dean Watkins Conely, Feb 18, 2016: Center: Ivadean James Elliott & her 3 chrildren Patricia Ann, Gerald, & Rod Elliott. 4th Child is Del Watkins, sister of Dean Watkins Conley. 2nd Row L-R: Zena James Randall, Ada James Watkins, Geneva “Ginny” James Randall, Dora James, & Canzada Watkins. Back Row L-R: Lareen Randall Phelps, possibly Boyd Phelps, & Leonard Watkins.

Mac died terribly. He was a junkyard man woefully ridden by  Buerger’s disease. His two legs were amputated. Mac was left entirely to the care of one of the women for whom he abandoned his family. Following Mac’s death, his third wife Flora Audra Spencer, after caring for Mac and watching him die, would enter her own descent into the cruel underworld of Alzheimer’s disease.

Mac’s abandoned family progressed forward painfully. They were more successful. Generations of them, demonstrating high respect for family, have followed. Mac only survives as a lost memory and a sad story. The legacy of Mac’s family lives in his children and theirs.

The Abandoned Family in the Picture

Canzada Frances Gregory-Watkins:  From her apron, it is evident Canzada Watkins is the hostess of this group on the day the photo was taken. Born in 1872, she is the mother of Leonard Watkins, a twin born in 1905.

Leonard Watkins :  Leonard is a son of Canzada Watkins. Leonard also is a 6th great-grandson of Samuel Sallee of Culpeper County, Virginia. Just how Samuel is related to Guillaume “William” Sallee, the associate of Frank and Jesse James’ grandfather John M. James, remains undefined.

Ada James-Watkins :  Ada James, one of the daughters abandoned by Mack Henry James, stands to her husband Leonard’s right. All the descendants of Leonard and Ada James Watkins share a unique combination of James and Sallee kinship.

Delma “Del” Watkins:  The child standing far right is the daughter of Leonard Watkins & Ada James.

Dorinda “Dora” Phelps-James:  Standing to the right of Canzada Watkins, Dora is the first wife of Mack Henry James. She is the mother of his children. All were left to be Mac’s abandoned family shortly after the birth of their 5th child, Ivadean James in 1915. The 1920 census lists Dora at age 37 as head of household with four children between the ages of twelve and four and a half years. She had been head of household for almost four years.

Ivadean James-Elliott:  Standing front and center is the youngest child of Mack Henry James. Ivadean James inherited the genetic tall gene that is occasional among James siblings. Over the years, the unhappiness of her expression in the photo would turn into resignation and peaceful acceptance.

James Family History Is Lost & Unknown

When interviewed in 1999, Ivadean James-Elliott misidentified her paternal great-grandfather. She knew her grandfather Judge John Thomas James, who tragically was dragged under an automobile and killed when Ivadean was 8 years old. But she knew nothing about her actual paternal great- grandfather, the “talented, but erratic” Rev. Joseph Martin James.

Leaving his family in embarrassment and defrocked due to his alcoholism, outrageous misbehavior, and bigamy, Rev. Joe married Permelia Estepp bigamously, while he still was married to his second wife Rhoda May. Rev. Joe continued to father children in alternate years as he lived with his two wives in their houses in alternate years.

The community of Flat Lick Baptist Church and Pulaski County branded the offspring of Rev. Joe and Permelia Estepp as “the bastard bunch.” They were socially ostracized by a communal silence. Children and grandchildren of this line did not know or recognize one another. Nor were they regarded as family by others of the James family. Today, that has changed.

More Abandoned Family

Ronald “Ron,” Patricia Ann, & Gerald Elliott: The three children Ivadean James bore to Gid Chester Elliott, who also abandoned Ivadean as her father did. When Ivadean died in 2000, ironically Gid Elliott also passed 12 hours later.

Zena James-Randall:  Another child in the abandoned family of Mack Henry James, Zena married Rev. Clifford Randall Sr. They had 6 children. Zena operated a mercantile store in Science Hill. She was known to often forgive unpaid due balances. Her kindness and consideration, together with her children and their progeny, salvaged their lost ancestry. She restored dignity and respect.

Geneva “Ginny” James:  Geneva married Rev. William Lesbert Randall, known casually as Willie. Their 7 children moved in a world beyond Pulaski County. Five years after they married, Rev. Randall in 1928 began to conduct missionary work in China. For a year following September, 1936, he furloughed in Victoria of Vancouver, Canada. He returned to China until 1940, when Ginny and he finally returned to Pulaski County, he conducted Baptist evangelism.

Missionary Family

Missionary Family – Rev. William Lesbart Randall & Geneva James, with their youngest son Robert Randall.

Other Outlaw Kin

Through their ancestry in the Randall family, the descendants of Zena & Geneva James also are 3rd cousins, twice removed of Western outlaw & lawman Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp 1848-1929. The common ancestors they share are William H. Earp 1720-1778 & Priscilla Nichols.

Laurene “Lareen” Randall-Phelps:  The daughter of Zena James & Rev. Clifford Randall Sr., she married Boyd Bertram Phelps. The couple produced 4 children.

Boyd Bertram Phelps, possibly:  Zena’s husband.


Omer James:  Omer does not appear in this photo above. He is the sole male sibling of Zena, Ada, Geneva, and Ivadean James. Omer was known to visit his father Mack Henry James in Bloomington, Illinois on several occasions. He appears here with a friend identified as Clettie.


William Hurt:  The subject photograph above was brought to the attention of Stray Leaves by William Hurt. He is the husband of Mitzi Elaine Watkins, a daughter of Leland Elaine Watkins and a granddaughter of Leonard and Ada James Watkins.

Dean Watkins Conley:  Dean provided William Hurt with the subject photo initially. She provided furthermore identification of the individuals in the picture. Dean Watkins Conley is a daughter of Leonard and Ada James Watkins.

Ada James Watkins’ Lore about Frank & Jesse James

Contributor William Hurt provided Stray Leaves with this following family lore back in 2010.

“Hi. My name is William Hurt (not the actor). I was at my wife’s family reunion sitting with her grandmother Ada James Watkins. We were all sitting around talking and she was sitting quietly enjoying the presence of all the young people around her when a popular cousin arrived and caused a big stir of people wanting to see him.

Ada James-Watkins

“Well, out of the blue she [Ada] started telling a story. I was totally amazed. She said, ‘I can remember when I was a young’un at our reunions when Frank would show up he would cause an even bigger commotion.’

She went on to explain that she was talking about Frank James. I knew that she was somehow related to Frank and Jesse James, but I didn’t know that she actually knew one of them, let alone that Frank would come to Pulaski County to a James family reunion. Unfortunately, she stopped talking and a few months later suffered a stroke and forgot everything and everybody.

“I grew up in Campground close to where The James Gang hid out after an aborted attempt at robbing The Bank of Somerset, according to stories. It seems they rode into town and saw some young men with shotguns and thought someone had tipped them off. In all reality, the boys [with the shotguns] were going rabbit hunting and never even noticed the James gang. The gang returned to Campground and hid out a few days then rode on to rob the bank in Jamestown so the story was told to me. The cabin they hid out in burned when I was very young but the chimneys are still standing.

“My wife has been wanting to find out exactly what her relation to Frank and Jesse really is. Lots of people around here claim relation but most I do not believe. I didn’t really think my wife was related until her grandmother told that story and one of her cousins tried to explain the blood tie. Thank you for your time. I no longer live in Campground I now live in what locals call the Halloween house in Stanford.”

Ada James-Watkins (c) with daughters L-R Dean, Delma, and twins Zena and Lena Watkins.

The Facts about Ada James Watkins Lore

Alexander Franklin “Frank” James died February 15, 1915, when Ada James was still only 4 years old. Other James family relate stories of the James brothers visiting Rev. Joseph Martin James’ stone house in Shopville, but none of the stories are substantiated.  If Ada recalled a Frank James, it probably was another Frank James among the family and not the notorious Civil War partisan who had surrendered.

The attempted robbery of the First National Bank of Somerset, KY occurred in either 1876 or 1877 as reported in Alma Tibbal’s book The History of Pulaski County.  As is widely known and documented, Jesse James lived in Nashville and secondly in Waverly, Tennessee. Frank also lived in Nashville. Both were pursuing the turf trade and racing. Frank was pursuing a lucrative career as a race starter. They had little need for robbing banks.

Lastly, the Campground site mentioned has been researched and documented HERE on Stray Leaves.

Descendants of Dorinda “Dora” Phelps-James, 2017


Descendants of Mack Henry James & Dorinda “Dora” Phelps

Descendants of Geneva James

Ivadean James & Bernadine “Deanie’ James

James Family Dirt, Literall – Tombstones – Bastard Bunch – Ivadean & Gid Elliott

James & Earp Cousin Rev. Bernard Patton Randall Passes

Flora Audra Spencer, The Other Woman in The Life of Mack Henry James

Randall James attends the Pioneers & Old Settlers Reunion

Randall James is attending the Pioneers & Old Settlers Reunion in Alvarado, Texas this weekend, and shares some pictures with us.

Old Settler’s & Pioneers Reunion, July 30-August 5, 2012, Alvarado, Johnson Co. TX

Here Randy stands beside the plaque commemorating the Reunion, co-founded by John James of Alvarado.

Randall James, a Descendant of John James of Alvarado

The commemorative plaque tells the story of the founding of the Reunion.

Commemorative Plaque for the Pioneers & Old Settlers Reunion

From the Facebook page for Alvarado, we obtained this year’s schedule of events.

When the reunion was founded, stock certificates were issued. Here’s the stock issued to our John James.

Each year those who attend the Reunion receive a Commemorative Ribbon. Over the years these have come to be valued collector’s items.

You may have seen this iconic image before on Stray Leaves of John James of Alvarado, and his family at their home Mountainview.

Mountainview, the Home of John James of Alvarado

Fountain Carroll Randall Photo Found in Montana

Family of Fountain Carroll Randall. Fount Randall 1869-1905, wife Alta “Addie” Woodall 1873-1956, daughter Iva Blanche Randall 1898-1964

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.

James & Earp Cousin Rev. Bernard Patton Randall Passes

Rev. Bernard Patton Randall 1941-2011

Bernard Patton Randall is the son of Rev. William Lesbart Randall and Geneva James, and grandson of Mack Henry James.

His second great grandfather James Randall III came from Caswell County, North Carolina after the American Revolution to settle on the land of John M. James in Shopville, Pulaski County, Kentucky, where a plaque at the Peyton-Randall Cemetery memorializes him and identifies his burial in Randolph Cemetery in Bent, Pulaski County, Kentucky. The wife of James Randall III is Jemima Earp, an encestral relation of Sheriff Wyatt Earp.


From: Commonwealth Journal; Somerset, Pulaski Co KY
January 11, 2011

Bernard Randall
Somerset — Bernard Patton Randall, age 69 was born in Pulaski County, September 4, 1941 the son of Bro. William “Willie” Lesbert and Geneva James Randall .

He passed away Saturday morning, January 8, at the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.

On March 11, 1967, he united in marriage with Rona Meade Randall who survives. To this 43 year union two children survive; Leslie Ann Randall and Samuel Robin “Robbie” (Misty Amber) Randall.

Also surviving are two treasured grandchildren: Samuel Houston and Mikayla Amber Randall; two sisters, Doris Ellen Wright and Glenda McKinney; and brothers, James William and Clifford Wendell Randall. with many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends to mourn his passing.

He is preceded in death by his sister; Geneva Dean Roberts and brother; Robert Wesley Randall.

Bernard was a Veteran who served in Army Intelligence and was retired from the Farmer’s Home Administration.

The son of a Baptist Missionary and Pastor, Bernard served his Lord as a licensed minister and deacon and was a Mission Service Corp missionary and provided instrumental leadership in Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief and Baptist Global Response.

The funeral service will be held 7 p.m. today at the Monticello First Baptist Church with Bro. David Coy Webb and Bro. Chad Fugitt officiating.

Burial will be Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. at the Parlor Grove Cemetery with Bro. Albert McKinney, officiating.

Expressions of Sympathy should take the form of donations to the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief.

Obituary courtesy of Hickey and Son Funeral Home, 340 North Main Street, Monticello, Ky., 42633



Mack Henry James

Ivadean James, sibling of Geneva James

Descendants of Geneva James