John Corum Hankins, son of Thomas Leander Hankins and Samantha Angeline Petty, was born on 22 December 1893 in Hopkins County, Kentucky. His father, who was the informant on his death certificate, gave his birth date as 8 December 1894, but other evidence indicates that date is incorrect. John gave the 1893 date when he registered for the World War I draft, his wife recorded that date in her Bible, and that is the date used in John’s obituary. Two other sources offer the most compelling evidence to support the 1893 date. Dr. Michael Brown’s ledger lists an “obst. visit” to wife of Lee Hankins on 22 Dec 1893,” and the 1900 census lists John as six years old, born in December 1893.
At age 16, John worked as a farm laborer and was baptized after joining the Concord General Baptist Church. He married Gertie Tapp, daughter of Abner Tapp and Amanda W. Riddle, on 28 December 1910 in Hopkins County. Gertie was born on 8 August 1887 in Kentucky, probably in Hopkins County.
John and Gertie had three children, all born in Hopkins County. Helen Lee was born on 25 August 1913. William Perry was born on 24 August 1916 and lived less than three months. He died on 15 November 1916 and was buried in Grapevine Cemetery in Hopkins County. Jewel Franklin was born on 4 August 1920.
John registered for the World War I draft on 5 June 1917 in Hopkins County. The registrar described him as tall and slender with brown eyes and hair. He gave his occupation as self-employed farmer.
At the time of the 1920 U.S. census, John, Gertie, and Helen lived on Hanson Road in Hopkins County, which is north of Madisonville. John worked as a cemetery sexton.
John died on 7 September 1923 in Madisonville at age twenty-nine. The cause of his death on his death certificate is unreadable, but heart lesions were a contributory cause. According to his obituary “While departing this life he pointed toward heaven and seemed to pass to the beyond in a spirit of prayer.” He was buried in Grapevine Cemetery next to his and Gertie’s infant son, William.
Gertie lived less than two years after John’s death. She died on 13 June 1925 in Hopkins County of uremic poisoning. She was also buried in Grapevine Cemetery, likely by John and their infant son, but she does not have a marker. Their children, Helen and Jewel, went to live with John’s parents.
Helen Lee Hankins
Helen was born on 25 August 1913 in Madisonville. She married Oden Liberty Morgan on 22 January 1939, and they had one daughter. Oden’s parents were Frank N. Morgan and Verdie J. White. He was born 12 July 1919 in Christian County, Kentucky.
Helen and Oden settled in Mortons Gap in Hopkins County, but because of Helen’s health issues, the family moved to Arizona in the late 1940s. By 1951, they lived at 3822 N 32nd Place in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona, and Oden worked as an auto mechanic.
Helen died on 20 February 1993 in Sun City, Maricopa County, Arizona. Oden died on 30 October 1997 in Peoria in Maricopa County. They are both buried in National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix in Maricopa County.
William Perry Hankins
William was born 24 August 1916 in Hopkins County. He lived less than three months, dying on 15 November 1916, probably in Hopkins County. The cause of his death is unknown. He was buried there in Grapevine Cemetery.
Jewel Franklin Hankins
Jewel was born on 4 August 1920 in Hopkins County, Kentucky. He worked as a salesclerk before joining the U.S. Army on 6 January 1941 in Madisonville. He was a staff sergeant in the 563d Signal Company and served in Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples, and Rhineland. He was discharged on 24 July 1945.
He married Thelma Christina Ottoson on 2 September 1949 in Pima County, Arizona. Thelma was born on 7 May 1915 in Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York, to Thorwald M. Ottoson and Ida C. Carlson. In 1952, Jewel and Thelma lived at 67 1/2 E. Thomas Road in Phoenix, Arizona. He worked as a radio tech.
Thelma died on 10 April 1998. Jewel died on 5 February 2005. They are both buried in National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.