This page last updated March 19, 2003.
Henry Lilton Whitten was born in November 1892 in Attala County, Mississippi, the fourth child of Willie J. Whitten and Frances Cummings. Two of his siblings born before him died before he was born, so Henry grew up as the second oldest child. Henry's parents moved back and forth between Attala and Winston Counties in Mississippi, but it was in Attala County that Henry met and married Ruby Jones in July 1912.
Ruby Pauline Jones was born in December 1895 in Attala County, Mississippi, the oldest child of Julius C. Jones and Letha Belle Massey. According to Dean Burk, youngest daughter of Henry and Ruby Whitten, Ruby's father J.C. Jones did not like Henry Whitten and did not want Ruby to marry him. Ruby told Dean that she and Henry had to elope to get married, even though Henry gave sworn affidavit to the Attala County, Miss. Circuit Clerk that J.C. Jones had given Ruby permission to marry. J.C. Jones disowned Ruby and Henry after they married and never wanted to see their children.
After he and Ruby married, Henry began working on the railroad in the northern part of Louisiana and southern Arkansas. They moved their family to Winnfield, Louisiana, and Henry would spend every other night with his family in Winnfield and the other nights in nearby towns in Louisiana and Arkansas, because of the railroad. In one of these towns, Henry was seeing a lady named Isabelle. Henry and Ruby divorced around 1925. Ruby took the children to live with her, and Henry then married Isabelle. Isabelle was an interior decorator, and she and Henry has only one child, Amanda. Amanda was born with hydroencephaly, and because Isabelle felt unable to rear the child, she and Henry put the infant in an institution where she lived all of her life.
Henry eventually followed the railroad to El Dorado, Arkansas where he made his home with Isabelle. Henry went back to Winnfield, Louisiana to see Ruby and her family once in 1940 - 1941. Dean was 17 years old at the time. She said Henry asked Ruby to remarry him right then, but Ruby refused. It was the first time Dean had ever met her father. Years later, in the 1950's to 1960's, Dean and her husband Jim Burk moved to Arkansas because Jim was helping to build the new freeway around El Dorado. One day a tall, thin man named Henry Whitten showed up at the work site looking to find work with the road crews. Jim hired him, not knowing who he was. When Dean learned that Henry Whitten from El Dorado, Arkansas was working for her husband, she asked to meet this man. Jim arranged for Henry to come meet his wife, and as soon as Henry saw Dean in the car, he recognized Dean as his daughter. Dean's father was working for her husband.
After Isabelle died, Henry continued to have steady female companionship with local ladies, but he never remarried. The one lady that he saw regularly after Isabelle died lived close by. Every morning when Henry arose, he would raise the window shade and cook himself some breakfast. After breakfast, he would go over to visit this lady, spending the day with her and eating his meals with her. He would return home for the night. The day Henry died, he did not raise his window shade. The lady went over to his house to check on him, finding him dead. He was sitting on the side of the bed with one sock and shoe on, and the other sock just over his toes. He apparently died suddenly that morning.
After Ruby divorced Henry around 1925, she remarried James Joseph "Jim" Brooks in 1926. They had two children before he died in 1931: Maude Helen Brooks and James Harold "Sonny" Brooks. A few years later, in 1935, Ruby remarried to Arthur White. However after a short time, Arthur left the family and returned to his home in Chicago, Illinois. Ruby reared her six living children alone.
Henry Lilton Whitten
Born: November 24, 1892 in Attala County, Mississippi (see notes below)
Married: July 14, 1912 in Kosciusko, Attala County, Mississippi
Died: November 24, 1979 in El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas
Buried: Woodlawn Cemetery, El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas
Father: Willie Jefferson Whitten
Mother: Frances Lucinda Cummings
Ruby Pauline Jones
Born: December 31, 1895 in Attala County, Mississippi
Died: September 12, 1949 in Rustin, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana
Buried: Wesley Chapel Cemetery, Ruston, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana
Father: Julius Curvin Jones (middle name has also been called Caesar)
Mother: Letha Belle Massey
Arlin and Edward Ray Jennings had four children: Marlin Ann Jennings (married Jerry Morgan), Ronnie Edward Jennings (married Charlene), Betty Ray Jennings, and Donnie Neal Jennings.
Robert and Melba had three children: two daughters, Sandra Faye Chesney and Bobbie Carol Deese, and a son, Robert Lilton Whitten, Jr.
Dean and Fred Sr. had two children: Alfred Fermon "Fred" Allen, Jr. and Paula Dean Allen. After Dean and Fred divorced, Dean married Jim Burk. Jim had five children from his first marriage: Mary Eileen Burk, Norma Lee Burk, David Howard Burk, Kathleen Kay Burk, and Jimmy Carl Burk. Dean and Jim then had three children of their own: Kenneth Clyde Burk, Alta Diane Burk, and Nancy Lizabeth Burk.
Notes about birthdates of Henry Lilton Whitten:
1900 Attala County, Mississippi Census: Enum Dist 103, Twp 14, Rng 11, Beat 5, House 215/218, Sheet 13:
Henry Whitten, age 7, born Nov 1892 in MS, son of William and Lucinda F. Whitten
1910 Attala County, Mississippi Census: Enum Dist 13, Beat 5, Sheet 18, House 332/332:
Henry L. Whitten, age 17, single, born in MS, father born in AR, mother born in MS, occupation: tireman? at sawmill
1920 Bolivar County, Mississippi Census: Supervisor Dist 3, Enum Dist 13, Page 19, House 273/273 - Beat 5, Boyle Town outside corporate limits, March 24, 1920:
Whitten, Henry - head, renting home, age 27, married, born MS, father born AL, mother born MS, farmer on account (general farming).
Whitten, Ruby - wife, age 24, married, born MS, parents born MS
Whitten, Coleman - son, age 7, attended school since Sept 1, 1919, born MS
Whitten, Arlin - dau, age 2 10/12, born MS
Whitten, Robert - son, age 8/12, born MS
See my picture of Henry Whitten with his second wife Isabelle in my Whitten Family Picture Album.
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