Sunday, January 12, 2014

Benjamin Franklin Spann & Hiley Ann Deckor

Why anyone would have 2 tombstones is a mystery to me, but I found these 2 markers for my Great Great Grandmother Hiley Spann myself.  In 1996, in the Spann Cemetery (not to be confused with the Spann Hill Cemetery) in Wayne County, Kentucky, I saw both of these lying on the ground not exactly side-by-side but near each other.  The inscription on both is the same - "Hiley Deckor Wife of Benjamin Spann  Born Sept. 26, 1836, Died July 1, 1884".  It's great to see her maiden name there. Her parents were Abner Deckor and Mary "Polly" Garner. The only two children I have found for Abner & Polly Deckor are a son Abner and Hiley Ann, Hiley being another nickname for Mary.  Brother Abner was 13 years older than Hiley.  In 1850, Hiley is the only child listed with her parents who were in their 60's.  Hiley more than likely has other siblings that I haven't found yet.  She was only 47 years old when she died, her youngest child was 2, my Great Grandma Allie was 13.  

From a transcription of marriage records:  "SPANN, Benjamin F. and  Mary "Hiley" Ann Decker.  Surety, Abner Decker, Married 5 May 1852 by William Simpson at the house of Abner Decker on Beaver Creek in Wayne.  Groom resides in Wayne, age "Not known", born in Wayne, bride resides in Wayne, born at Abner Deckers house on Beaver Creek, a maiden."   In 1852, Hiley Ann would have been 15, Ben was 24.  They were married for 32 years.

Ben & Hiley had 10 children:
  1. Abner Hartwell  (1854-1952)
  2. Amanda Susan  (1855-1942)
  3. Telitha Ann  (1858-?)
  4. Juda or Julia Angeline  (1860-1949)
  5. Polly Ann  (1863-1885)  buried near her parents
  6. Margarett Jane  (1866-1928)
  7. Tranquilla J "Frannie"  (1870-1892)
  8. Allie Lucinda  (1971-1959) 
  9. Hilda Etta  (1877-1958) 
  10. Marrion Washington  (1882-1959) his birth year varies on records, I wasn't sure if he was the son of Hiley or Mattie at first.  His draft registration has his birth year as 1882, so I'm going with that.
After Hiley died, Ben remarried to Mattie (Martha Elizabeth) Conley and had 6 more children:
  1. Lewis  died young
  2. William Henry  (1889-1948)
  3. Stacey  (1891-?)
  4. Bertha Mae  (1892-1972)
  5. Frank (twin)  died in infancy
  6. Jessie (twin)   died in infancy  (* Interesting names for twins in this time period)
Benjamin Franklin Spann was born October 18, 1827 in Williamson County, Tennessee.  He died December 15, 1901 at age 74.  Census records show he was a farmer and he never learned to read or write.  In 1870 his parents, Hartwell "Jack" and Mary (Bonds), were living with him and his family.  Jack was blind.  In 1880 Mary had died and Jack had remarried to Susan Culver.  They live in a poor house, no longer with Ben's family.  In 1900, Ben is widowed from his second wife and his daughter Allie, also widowed, and her son live with him.  None of the children from his second marriage are living with them and they would range in age from 8 to 11.  I've possibly found some of them living as "boarders" in other households. 

I've shared information with a few other descendants of Ben.  One cousin shared with me photos of Marrion visiting his sister Allie and other relatives in Nebraska in 1950.  Marrion, sister Hilda Etta and half-brother William Henry all ended up in Illinois.  Margarett moved to Tennessee, and Abner, Amanda, Juda /Julia & Bertha Mae all stayed in Kentucky. Telitha eludes me after 1880, but I'm working on a lead that one of Allie's sisters lived in Oklahoma in the first decade of the 1900's.

Someday I will get back to Wayne County.  When we visit my husband's family in Marion County, I could possibly take a day trip to Monticello.  Spend some time at the library, the county courthouse, and I'm very curious to see what kind of shape the Spann Cemetery is in now.  It's been nearly 20 years since I was there.


  1. The stone for Benjamin and the second stone for Hiley look like they were made at the same time. My guess would be that the family wanted matching stones for their parents, and the monument maker didn't take the original stone away.

    1. That's a good point, Michael. That could very well be the case. Thank you for reading and commenting!