Update: Willie was a girl, alright, but she was the daughter of John’s brother, Shade G. Nettles. See this post for more information. No word yet, then, on Will and Jet Nettles.
The little ol’ stub clung precariously to the family tree: John and Sallie Nettles had three boys and a girl — James, Jet, Willie, and Lenna. Of the four, we had a fair amount of information about James and Lenna. Jet and Willie, beyond the fact of their birth and a census listing, are ciphers. Were.
As I was finishing up my work at the Henderson County Historical Commission, the director, Phyllis Vermillion, suggested I take a look at the list of “orphan’ marriage licenses. The courthouse recently turned over about 2000 marriage licenses that were never picked up and the Commission is seeking family members. Well, I ended up finding three, and one of them was for Willie — who married E. Clifford Crews on 26 December 1903. Willie was a girl!
And here’s the top of the marriage license:
Just that tidbit got the information flowing:
Willie Nettles was born in (or about) 1885 in Texas to John and Sallie Nettles. Her father, John, was from South Carolina and her mother, Sallie, was born in Texas. Willie and Clifford were married by R. W. Benge (Benger?) in Henderson County, Texas.
They farmed all of their lives in Henderson County, Texas. Early in their marriage, they lived on a farm (#234 in the Farm Schedule) next to the farm owned by William and Julia Nettles (#235). By 1920 they had moved away, but in 1930 they are living on farm #235 in the same census precinct. Did they buy or inherit the property from John and Sallie? Are the census farm numbers the same in 1910 and 1930? This is an area for further research.
The couple had two daughters, Bonnie May Crews (1907) and Stella Crews (1909). Clifford died sometime between 1930 and 1940; Willie is listed as a widow on the 1940 census. Both daughters attended college and became school teachers. In 1940, Bonnie is listed both at home with her mother and as a lodger in Smith County, Texas, teaching English in the public school. Stella is listed as a Penmanship teacher, and is listed only as at home with her mother.
I have not yet found any obituaries or death notices for this family; there is some possibility that Bonnie was teaching in Corpus Christi by 1963, but I don’t have a definitive link.
Jet? Still don’t know about him. But I love the name!