James Gwartney

James is Kevin's great-great-grandfather.

Early Life

James Gwartney was born in Washington Township in Harrison County, Indiana - the ninth of eleven children. Harrison County is located in the far southern part of Indiana, about halfway between the state's east and west borders. Washington is the smallest of twelve townships in Harrison County and (because of a sharp curve in the river) lies on the eastern bank of the Ohio River, both east and north of Kentucky.

The family moved at least twice during his childhood, first to Webster Township within Harrison County Indiana and then later to Pike County a bit further west in the state.

Marriage and Family

James married Laura Ann Hassell on 4 April 1872 in Pike County, Indiana. He was 22yo and she was 15yo. Some time in the next few years, the couple moved to Benton County, Arkansas where their four children were born. (There are unconfirmed reports that they had two other children, a daughter Mary Francis and a son Robert, who died as infants.)

  • Emma Dora Gwartney (1876-1957) - born on 18 Mar 1876 in Decatur, Benton County, Arkansas. She married George Madison Hart; they had three sons and three daughters. She lived her life in Benton County and died on 14 Feb 1957.
  • Maggie Nettie Gwartney (1880-1937) - born on 1 August 1880 in Hiwasse, Benton County, Arkansas. She married William Walter Nichols, the first cousin of the husband of her younger sister, Grace. They had seven children, most of whom moved to the west coast. Maggie died in Spokane WA on 19 Oct 1937 about 14 months after her husband died in Hiwasse.
  • Jesse James Gwartney (1886-1961) - born on 23 Mar 1886 in Benton County Arkansas. He first married Mattie Callis and had four children. After that marriage ended (believed to be a divorce, not by death), he married a widow, Anna Elizabeth Brown Bentley, and helped raise her four or five children. He died on 25 May 1961 in Ventura County California.
  • Grace Ann Gwartney (1889-1993)

Early Death

James' death on 12 Sep 1890 in Hiwasse AR at the early age of 40 had a profound impact on his wife and young children. His oldest daughter Emma married five months after his death at age 15. The remaining three children were raised by two separate stepfathers, each of whom had many children from previous marriages.

James is buried with his wife Laura in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Hiwasse AR.


James is referenced:

  • 1850 U.S. Census in Harrison County, as age 0 - along with his parents and six of his older siblings.
  • 1860 U.S. Census in Webster, Harrison County (post office Spring Dale), as age 10 - along with his parents, two older siblings and two younger siblings.
  • 1870 U.S. Census in Marion, Pike County (post office Pikeville) as age 20 and named Jene Gortney - along with his parents and two younger siblings.
  • 1880 U.S. Census in Round Prairie, Benton County, Arkansas as an age 30 farmer - along with his wife and first child.

Are we related?

Here are the GEDmatch Kit #s for my father and mother:

GI: A909282
CL: A216073

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