John Franklin Petty was twenty-two months old when his mother died in 1876. He was born on 15 September 1874 in Hopkins County, Kentucky, to John R. Petty and Margaret E. Thomas. John was one of the five children who went to live with their aunt Mary Thomas Echols in Forsyth County, Georgia, after Margaret’s death. He returned to Hopkins County as a teenager to live with his sister Samantha.
John married Elizabeth Jane Givens at her parents’ home in Hopkins County on 24 February 1897. Lizzie was born on 3 November 1878, probably in Hopkins County, where she and her parents lived in 1880. Her parents were John Lewis Givens and Cecil L. Trigg.
Their first child, Curtis Lyle, was born on 20 May 1898 in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky. John, Lizzie, and Curtis lived in Hopkins County in 1900 where John worked as a coal miner.
John and Lizzie’s only daughter, Lora, was born on 14 June 1901 and died on 22 September 1902. They probably lived in Muhlenberg County then since Lora was buried in Eaves Cemetery at Powderly. They apparently moved to Illinois after Lora’s death. Their youngest son, Frank Givens, was born on 17 June 1903 in Marion, Williamson County, Illinois.
By 1910, John, Lizzie, and the boys were back in Muhlenberg County and lived on Depot Street in Greenville. John continued working as a coal miner.
John and Lizzie next moved to Harrisburg, in Saline County, Illinois, where they lived for the rest of their lives. On 12 September 1918, they lived at 100 E. Walnut Street. John worked for O’Gara Coal Company as a miner. In 1920, their address was 306 N. Vine Street, but it is possible they had not moved. 100 E. Walnut is on the corner of Walnut and Vine and Google Maps identifies both addresses as the same house.
In 1927, they lived at 200 E. Dayton Avenue. John had switched occupations from coal mining to sales. By 1930, they lived at 402 Ford Avenue, and John worked for an electrical supply company as a salesman.
John’s brother Perry took a trip from Georgia to Madisonville, Kentucky, around 1934 to visit their sister Samantha. While in the area, he and Samantha also visited John in Harrisburg. According to an undated newspaper clipping saved by John’s family, it had been forty-four years since the brothers had seen each other. Using Samantha’s age noted in the article, forty-four years ago would have been about 1890.
John died on 30 June 1943 in Harrisburg. He was buried there in Sunset Lawn Cemetery. Lizzie died in Harrisburg on 22 March 1967 and was buried beside John.