Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Worthy Lee Christy

Having hit another brick wall while researching my own family, I decided to work on my husband's side of the family. Phil's father was orphaned at eleven years of age and sent to live with the Askins family on the Belmont Road in southern Bracken County. For all of my husband's life, he only knew who Bernard Christy's parents were. He knew very little about them until now.

Bernie's mother was kind of easy because she was a Poe, and anybody from Bracken County knows that Poe is a very common name in these parts. Christy, however is not a name that goes back centuries in Bracken County. The best I can deduce is that the name Christy was introduced to Bracken County when Etta Poe married Worthy Christy.

Worthy Lee Christy was born on December 18, 1896 in Huntington, West Virginia to a James W. Christy and Frances Priscilla Bush. He is listed in the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census for Huntington's Ward 4. By 1920, however, Worthy resided in Brooksville, Bracken County, Kentucky, according to the U.S. Census for Bracken County, Kentucky. He is also in the 1930 Census for District 7, Bracken County.

At this point in my research, it is not known where or when Worthy Lee Christy married Etta Nevada Poe. It is unknown why he migrated from Huntington, West Virginia to Brooksville, Kentucky. The Census gives James W. Christy's (Worthy's father) occupation as "Teamster," and if that means in 1900 what it means today, Worthy's father would have been among the first in the country. Given the violence of the early labor movement, could Worthy have left West Virginia to avoid it? He would have had to come west on a train. Did he get off at the old depot in Brooksville, meet Etta, fall in love and decide to stay? These are questions that cannot be answered given present research.

Worthy and Etta had six children, Harold, Chester, Bernard, Royce, Walter and Patsy. Etta died in 1932, leaving Worthy to finish the child rearing. As history has recorded the children were farmed out to relatives, friends and orphanages.

Worthy was a diabetic and in his later years became an amputee, losing his right leg to the insidious disease. From the time Etta died, however, Worthy was in and out of hospitals. Unable to hold gainful employment, Worthy lived off and on with his children, but ultimately, they'd get tired of him and put him to the street.

Worthy died at the Drake Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio on December 18, 1962, from complications of mental illness and diabetes. He is interred next to Etta in the Concord Methodist Cemetery in Bladeston, Bracken County, Kentucky.

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