Joseph Bunyan Petty was born on 20 April 1869, probably in Logan County, Kentucky. He was the sixth of John R. Petty and Margaret E. Thomas’s ten children. Joe was one of the five children who went to live with their aunt, Mary Thomas Echols and her family, in Forsyth County, Georgia, after Margaret died in 1876.
Joe married Fredonia Tyson, called Donnie, on 12 November 1893 in Cherokee County, Georgia. Donnie was the daughter of Summerfield Francis Tyson and Mary Ann Tippens of Cherokee County. She was born there on 6 October 1878.
In 1900, Joe and Donnie lived in Canton, Cherokee County, Georgia, with their three oldest children. John Wesley was born on 6 August 1894, Cora L. in June 1896, and Mamie in May 1897. By 1910, they had moved to Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, and lived in the community of North Boggess. Five more children were born since 1900, all in Georgia before the move to Kentucky. Joseph Earl was born on 1 July 1900 in Bartow County, Corrie Jean in 1902, Jackson Buford on 17 June 1904 in Cherokee County, Clyde E. in 1908, and Oscar Milton on 24 April 1908 in Gordon County.
Their son Emmett Lee gave his birthdate and place as 22 April 1910, Louisville, Kentucky, when he registered for the World War II draft. He was not listed with the family in the 1910 census in Muhlenberg County, but the census date of 15 April would have precluded him being counted. Emmett’s birthplace was listed as Georgia in the 1920 census. If Emmett was born in Louisville, the family lived in Muhlenberg County less than three weeks later.
They were back in Georgia before the last four children were born and apparently moved back and forth between Gordon and Bartow counties. Grace Mae, who was born about 1912, was probably born in one of those two counties. A. Z. was born on 6 August 1915 in Gordon County. Wilson was born in Bartow County on 8 May 1916. They were still living in Bartow County in 1920 and their youngest child, Doyle Asberry, was born there on 1 July 1920. They moved back to Gordon County between 1920 and 1924 when Grace died at their home there on 15 February 1924.
When they returned to Georgia, Joe became a farmer. He had worked as a coal miner prior to that. Joe and Donnie divorced after 1920, and she married Joe Anderson before 15 April 1930.
Joe died of hypertensive heart disease on 10 April 1937 in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Donnie died on 22 November 1941 in Calhoun, Gordon County, Georgia. They are buried together in Scott Cemetery in Plainville, Gordon County, Georgia.