Martha “Patsy” Love

Martha was born 20 Oct 1804, the daughter of Jonah and Mary Garmon Love. She married 20 Dec 1823 John Petray in Cabarrus County NC. They left for Pope County Arkansas in what appears to be the first group migration occurring sometime in the early 1830’s. This is supported in the 1850 Pope County census in which the family is listed as: 35 John Petray NC, 45 Martha Petray NC, 13 John W. Petray AR, 10 Martha A. Petray AR, and 5 Sarah C. Petray AR. In 1860, the census lists only 55 John, 55 Martha and child Sarah S. aged 15. Also living in the home are Ransom A. and James Teeter. By 1870 the children had moved from home and then in 1880, John and Martha are listed in Pope County as: 75 John Petray NC and 75 Martha Petray NC.

John and Martha Love Petray settled in a portion of Pope County northeast of Pottsville near the crossing of present day I-40. Crossing under the interstate, Old Cove Road winds back up and over Crow Mountain. This long ridge parallels the highway creating the northern valley wall. Just as the road clears the interstate, Old Cove (otherwise known as Martin) Cemetery is located in a cedar grove overlooking the valley.

Arriving in mass, Methodists from North Carolina settled and likely first met at the site of present day Russellville City Cemetery. In 1849, a small school was built and well dug at the site of Cove Cemetery. Being a good ways east of Russellville, faithful in that area founded their own church using the school as meetinghouse and burial ground. This continued until a church was formally built in nearby Pottsville. Today the old Methodist Church building in Pottsville serves as the Masonic Lodge. In 1998, Laura J. Shull, wrote a wonderful article accounting one man’s efforts to preserve and memorialize Old Cove Cemetery. She writes that after relocating to the new church, the community used the old cemetery as place to bury paupers. Established in 1850, known burials in Old Cove predate most others in Pope County. Names of those buried include Teeter, Petray, Sossamon, whose home was once North Carolina. The photograph at the top of this page was taken at the edge of the cemetery piering in under the cathedral of trees standing watch. It is a peaceful place.

Martha Love Petray died 30 Aug 1889 and is buried at Old Cove Cemetery. Though no marker identifies her resting place, her obituary reads:


Martha Petray (nee Love), mother of J. W. Petray, of this county, was born October 22, 1804; was joined in marriage to John Petray, (who long since preceded her to the better land) December 29, 1828, in the state of North Carolina. She came to this state many years ago, and for more than forty years has lived in Pope County. She died in great peace August 31, 1889, at the home of her son, J. W. Petray. For fifteen years she had been an invalid, but the grace of God, which she sought in early life sustained her amid the severest trials and deepest afflictions of life.
At the age of 14 she was converted and joined the Methodist Episcopal church and has given her whole life to God; seventy years a Christian, and yet not weary; how encouraging to others.
The funeral service, which was largely attended by her many relatives and friends, was conducted by the writer, assisted by Bro. Massey, of Atkins.
May God comfort the bereaved.

B. D. Jones

With only being able to make determinations based on census records, known children of John and Martha Love Petray are:

A. John W. Petray

Born 1837, John W. Petray married 4 Jun 1867 Mary C. Reed.

The Children of John W. and Mary C. Reed Petray are:

A. Elizabeth P. Petray Her obituary reads: Died- Elizabeth P. Petray, daughter of John W. and Mary E. Petray, was born in Pope County July 12 1879, and died Aug. 19, 1883. She is buried at Cove Cemetery.
B. Charles Henry Petray His obituary reads: Charles H. Petray, son of John W. and Mary E. Petray was born in Pope County Jan. 4, 1875, and died Aug. 20, 1883. Charles and Lizzie were laid to rest at Cove church in the same grave on Aug. 21.
C. Florence Petray Her obituary reads: Died – September 1, 1886, little Florence Petray, age 5 yrs., daughter of Mr. and Mrs J. W. and M. C. Petray. She leaves behind a loving papa and mama, two sisters, Mattie and Laura, tow brothers, Willie and Little Arthur, and a host of relatives and friends. Just three years ago her little sister, Lizzie and brother Charlie were buried in the same grave. Little Florence was a sweet and loving child.

B. Martha A. Petray

Born 1840.

C. Sarah S. Petray

Born 18 Aug 1844 in Pottsville, Pope County AR, Sarah married 2 Feb 1862 Thomas J. Martin. Born 5 Jul 1841 in Tennessee, he is the son of Samuel A. and Rebecca Ann Lawson Martin. Thomas J. Martin died 1 Aug 1897 and is buried in Cove Cemetery. Sarah died 14 Jun 1919. Her obituary reads:
Mrs. Thos. J. Martin

Sarah S. Petray was born near Pottsville Aug. 18, 1844, and closed out a long life of usefulness June 13, 1919.
As a child she professed faith in Christ and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, where she lived the life of a consistend disciple, whether in the valley or on the mountain top.
She was married Feb. 4, 1862, to Thos. J. Martin to which union was born 11 children, 9 of whom are living. Eight of her children were with her in her last hours.
Twenty-two years ago her husband was taken from her and she was left to finish the rearing of the children which she did as only a devoted mother could do.
Sister Martin is the last of her family to pass into the more abundant life. Many friends And relatives, while grieved at her departure, congratulate her on the untiring beauty with which she so successfully ran her race for three-quarters of a century.

The children of Thomas J. and Sarah S. Petray Martin are:

A. Jessie Ann Martin Born 20 Aug 1864, Jessie died 26 Sep 1872. She is buried at Cove Cemetery.
B. Mary Lena Martin Born ca. 1866.
C. John Henry Martin Born ca. 1868, John H. Martin married 24 Dec 1901 Lois Teeter. John died 26 Nov 1945 and is buried at Pisgah Cemetery. Lois died 8 May 1959 and lies at rest beside her husband.
D. Samuel N. Martin Born ca. 1870.
E. William T. Martin Born 1872, William married 13 Dec 1899 Florence Teeter. Bron 1877, she died 1937. William died in 1943. The couple are buried at Pisgah Cemetery.
F. Martha Martin Born 17 Nov 1874, Martha died 16 Mar 1877. She is buried at Cove Cemetery.
G. Melissa C. Martin Born 18 Jul 1868, Melissa died 13 Sep 1952 and is buried at Pisgah Cemetery.
H. Rosa Lee Martin Born ca. 1879, Rosa married 28 Jul 1889 James Hopson of Caglesville AR.

Knowing John and Mary married in 1823, and realizing the above does not account for children who may have married and removed by 1850, we must question if they indeed had more children. To complicate this issue, there are other Petray families in the area who might also claim any older “loose ends.” Mary’s sister Elizabeth married George W. Petray. Keeping in mind that Mary and Elizabeth’s father is Jonah A. Love, we really need to question the parentage of Jonah A. Petray. As per the 1850 census, he was born ca. 1829 in Illinois. Knowing many of the people migrated through Illinois on their way west, Jonah just may provide us with valuable clues pertaining to this family.


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