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The Fletcher Family Story

As Told by Mattie Tucker

Written and edited by Pattie Carter

Somewhere in Virginia, about 1849/50, my grandfather Benjamin

Patton Fletcher was born. His parents names are presently not known,

they both were also from Virginia. Ben left Virginia as a young man,

finding work with the railroad. He is also listed as a farmer on the 1880

census. It was when he reached Tennessee, the place he met and

married my grandmother, Mary Virginia Dodson/Dotson. Their marriage

record was located in Dickson County, Tennessee where they were

married on March 27, 1872.

Mary Virginia 'Jennie' Dodson was born about 1852 somewhere in

Tennessee, known to most everyone as Jennie. Even her descendants did

not know her name to be Mary Virginia, as they only knew her as Grandma

Jennie. Her parents names are not known either, and they both were from


My father, Benjamin Franklin Fletcher told us kids that my

grandfather worked for the railroads. That he was a big and strong man, he

could carry one steel rail all by himself. When other men carried them using

two men. Pneumonia took the life of my grandfather at a very young age,

leaving his wife, Jennie pregnant with her eighth child, Winnie.

Jennie, however was voted the most beautiful woman in McEwen,

Humphrey's County, Tennessee of her days. Jennie died of Yellow Jondis

within one to two weeks after the birth of Winnie, only being about 6 months

after the death of her husband.

My father also told us that my grandfather had killed a black man in

Tennessee. I'm not sure if this was the reason for their move to Texas, or

even if he was punished for a crime or running from the law. Working for the

railroad could of been another reason why they ended up in Texas.

After arriving in the Crandall, Kaufman County, Texas area.

Traveling with them on this journey were the children born in Tennessee,

Lucien Beauregard, Ida Jane, Charles P., Benjamin Franklin and George A.

(Although I do not think George made the trip with them or he could of died

along the way ). Arriving in Texas just before August of 1882, where their 6th

child was born, Henry Clay Fletcher, in Ennis, Ellis County, Texas. Leaving a

three year space between the birth of they're next child and no way of knowing

if the railroad brought them to Texas. Or was it in Ellis County that my

grandfather started working for the railroad, taking his family to the Crandall,

Kaufman County, Texas area. Where two railroads where being built. So its

not for certain which of the railroad companies he had worked for.

They're seventh child, Lydia Mae Fletcher was born there

in Crandall, Kaufman County, Texas in March of 1885, and Winnie the last

child born within this family according to the census record of 1900 she was

born in April of 1890. Using the census records and what my father told us

kids. My grandfather would of died at the latter part of 1889 and my

grandmother in April or May of 1890.

After grandma and grandpa died, there was an old grandma

woman, named Grandma Petry who had taken in the baby and the other

children until other arrangements could be made. The Dodson/Dotson family

from Tennessee had sent money for the kids to come stay with them.

Although, Lucien just being a kid himself, took the money and the kids never

got their tickets to Tennessee.

It was then Aunt Ida who married around the age of fourteen years,

John Henry Klutts, they took in Aunt Liddy, Winnie and Uncle Henry. My father,

Frank did not stay with is sister Ida. He said he could make his own way

and did so from around the age of thirteen years old. (His children tell the

story to be him making his way from around the age of seven years old, as

told them by their father). Frank did have a place to stay, Grandma Petry

helped him out.

In my teen years, we went as a family to visit Grandma Petry, she

could hardly get around then. She was so thrilled to see my father, because

she thought after he left, she would never see him again.

(The Big Family Trip...)

My father was a small boy when his family moved to Kaufman

County, Texas. They camped up on a hill in a tent. I remember visiting this

place also in my teen years. Papa went back to this place just to drink from the

well he had drank from when he was a small boy. When we drove up to this

place, Papa got out and drew water from the well and drank it. A woman had

come from the house, so Papa explained to her that he had lived up on the hill

when he was a young boy. The well there where they were standing, he had

drank from back then. There was a boy who lived in this house here, he was his

best friend. The woman asked his name and could not believe he was the

same Benjamin Franklin 'Frank' her husband had told her stories about. The

womans husband was not home at that time, and his wife knew that he would

be disappointed he missing seeing his boyhood friend. Papa never got to go

back to visit his friend or drink from that well again.

This is also the same place that my grandma and grandpa Fletcher

are buried. On the way to the cemetery you may be able to see that same hill

my father lived on as a young boy. My father, Frank told us that his parents

were buried under a tree and there was three graves there. Two large ones

and a small one. Papa had a brother in the small one, we believe to be

Charles P. Fletcher. When we arrived at the cemetery, it had not been kept up

over the years. The grass and bushes were high, but we found the graves my

father believed were those of his parents and his brother. There were no

headstones to identify them.

It was on this same trip that my father got to see his oldest brother

Lucien for the first time in forty years. My sister, Lillian 'Tinker' had found him

after she married and moved to this area of Texas. This would have made my

father around the age of 47 years old when we made this trip. When we

arrived in front of the house, mama and papa went to the door while us kids

stayed in the truck. My father and Lucien were talking and mama did not think

things were going just right, so she told Lucien that this was his brother Frank.

Lucien about fainted and was so very happy to see his brother, we ended

up visiting the whole day. Lucien also went to the cemetery with us that day.

Whats funny about this whole story is that later after we had been visiting

for awhile. Aunt Susie told us that Lucien was not happy to see our truck

coming up the drive way. He knew that someone was coming to visit and

he would not get any work done that day. Things turned out well and we all

had a nice visit.

This family trip we went on, I have always said was the best trip I

have ever taken in all my life. My father had seen things that he had not seen in

many years. Seeing Lucien again was what I felt my father needed. He always

felt so alone with us being his only family for forty years. He was always talking

about writing to Tennessee and trying to find some of his family, but never did.

It was not long after we returned home from this trip that I wrote a letter to the

Old Dallas Newspaper in search of papa's family. Someone knowing his family

in Tennessee answered my letter, sending addresses. I wrote to Papa's family

and they wrote back sending us pictures. (Mattie had sent these letters and

pictures to Loretta when she was living in Tennessee, in hopes that she could

find some of grandma and grandpa's family living there. Loretta never returned

them back to her. My grandmother tried for many years to finish out her fathers

dream). My father always wanted to go to Tennessee to visit his family, and

everytime we got ready to go something would happen that we couldn't leave.

Some of my fathers family from Tennessee, I think is named

Shaffer. Frank also had a niece and nephew that lived around San Bernardino,

California. Edith Fletcher Belcher. Ted Fletcher also lived somewhere around

there. They are some of Uncle Henry's children.

Frank, my father, always thought his family was Church of Christ

people, but after writing many of them. Most of his family was Baptist. My

mothers family, the Foley's was where our religion had came from.

Next Page: Page Two

This page was last updated 22 August 2003

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Web Site Part One of The Fletcher Family Story

As Told by Mattie Tucker

Written and edited by Pattie Carter

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