July 7, 2012

Roy Chester & Cora Viola Coffey Wilkerson

I've been neglectful of this blog over the past few weeks because of the 1940 census. I've spent a lot of time researching my own family lines and, catching up on marriages and births that occurred after 1930. I'm finding it somewhat suspicious however, that much of my maternal line missed that census. In some cases, entire families with the same surname and living in the same general area were skipped or, failed to respond to the enumerator's knock.

Roy, a son of John Russell and Mary Mae Box Wilkerson*, was born in Laurel Co., KY on Mar. 4, 1890.**  He first married Cora Viola Coffey, the daughter of Linville and Mary Jane Stansbury Coffey, born Dec. 15, 1887 in KY, died of Pellagra on Sep. 19, 1919 in Whitley Co., KY.***  She was buried at Campground Cemetery near London, KY on Sep. 20, 1919.

When he registered for the WW1 draft on Jun. 5, 1917 in Whitley Co., he was described as being tall, medium build, blue eyes and red hair and, was employed by the L & N Railroad as a "car repairer" in Corbin, KY.  He gave his age as 29 years and birth date as Mar. 4, 1888 in London, KY.  It was noted on the draft card that he was married and the father of five children.

Their children were Fred, born 1908; Gladys, born May 10, 1909, died May 3, 1997, married a Mr. Taylor; Lester R., born Sep. 1, 1911; Allie, born c1914 and an unnamed daughter born Aug. 3, 1918 in Whitley Co.

The only census that this family appeared in was the 1910 census for McHargue, Laurel Co., KY.  Chester was a farmer.  By 1920 Roy had married a lady with given name of Mary Mae¹ but, I have not found them in the 1920 census.  In 1930 the family was in Corbin, Whitley Co. where Roy was employed as a city policeman.  Mary was born Feb. 10. 1897 in KY and died there on Aug. 12, 1982.  I know of two children: Warren G., born 1920, died 1992 and Ruth, born c1923, both in Whitley Co.

Sometime over the next 20+ years, Roy was named, or elected, to the job of Chief of Police in Corbin.  He died on Aug. 5, 1952 in Somerset, Pulaski Co., KY.  He and others were involved in an automobile accident outside of Somerset on Jul. 26, 1952 and Roy died in the Somerset City Hospital 10 days [death certificate reports 13 days] later of cardiac failure.

According to a record found on-line at Find A Case [VersusLaw, Inc.], Roy was not only responsible for the accident that ultimately killed him but, for the death and injury of others.

April 30, 1954
Court of Appeals of Kentucky
Wilkerson's Adm'x
The car of Roy Chester Wilkerson collided head-on with the car of Delmer Turner at the intersection of Highways 80 and 461 in Pulaski County. The appellee, T. H. King, a passenger in Wilkerson's car, was injured. Nancy Ann Lawson, a passenger in the Turner Car, was killed. Wilkerson later died from injuries received by him. In the trial of a suit by the administrator of Nancy Ann Lawson against both Turner and Wilkerson, the appellee was called as a witness by Wilkerson and testified that the accident occurred on Wilkerson's side of the road. In the present suit by appellee to recover for his injuries against Wilkerson's administratrix, he recovered judgment based on a jury's verdict in the amount of $5,000.
The appellant argues two grounds for reversal: (1) There is a conflict between appellee's testimony in this case and his testimony in the Lawson case and he is bound by his previous testimony; (2) the physical facts show that the accident occurred on Wilkerson's side of the road.
We find no material conflict between appellee's testimony in the two cases. He testified in the Lawson case that the accident occurred on Wilkerson's side of the road. On cross-examination in this case he testified to the same effect. But that is not the decisive question before us. It has been Turner's contention all along, and is the contention of appellee now, that just prior to the collision Wilkerson cut his vehicle to the left as if he intended to turn off of Highway 80 and enter Highway 461; that Turner thereupon turned his vehicle to his left in order to avoid the Wilkerson car; and that Wilkerson apparently having decided not to turn off of Highway 80 then cut his car back to his right, and into the path of the Turner car. The jury apparently believed the accident occurred in this manner, and the evidence supports its verdict.
Judgment affirmed.

Both Roy and Mary are buried at the Locust Grove Cemetery in Keavy, Laurel Co., KY.  Their son Warren, born 1920, died 1992, is also buried there.  At least one child, Gladys, from his marriage to Cora is also buried there as Gladys Wilkerson Taylor.  Her death date is May. 3, 1997.

*KY death certificate 17560
**The year in conflict with WW1 draft registration which gives birth year of 1888.
***Ky death certificate 26605
¹His mother's given name was also Mary Mae.

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