The Story of
Kittie Geraldine Cochran, born in 1893, was, at least during her lifetime, the "illegitimate" daughter of John R. Parsons and Caroline "Cal" Cochran of Reader, Wetzel County, WV.
Kittie's biological father, John R. Parsons, married Ada/Anna Belle Yoho on 21 Dec 1892 at the home of Mechack Yoho in Wetzel County, WV (Wetzel Co. WV Marriage Bk 6, pg 278).
But probably at about the time of John's marriage, Caroline Cochran discovered she was pregnant with John's child, later named Kittie Geraldine Cochran.
To the marriage of John R. Parsons and wife, Ada/Anna, were born William A., Vercha Edna, Joseph Andrew and Thomas H. Parsons. John and Ada/Anna Belle divorced before 1916.
On 17 Feb 1916, John R. Parsons married Sesta C. Moore (Wetzel Co., WV marriage Bk 17, pg 213) and they, too, divorced.
Caroline Cochran, born 1 Apr 1873 to James and Catherine (Long) Cochran, married, on 24 Jan 1895 in Wetzel County, WV, Ben (Benoni) P. Bowers, born Marshall County, WV abt. 1866 (Wetzel Co., Marriages 1894-1902, Wetzel Genealogical Society). Their children were Florence E., George Clifford, Bernice B., Catherine Rosa, Stanley Earl and Claude(Claudine) Alice. Caroline divorced Ben Bowers 19 Jul 1923 in Wetzel County.
Meanwhile, Kittie, the daughter of John and Caroline "Cal", is found in both the 1900 and 1910 Green District, Wetzel County, WV Censuses, living with Presley and Catherine Martin. In the latter she is listed as a servant.
Kittie married Grover C. Bucher, son of Mortimer Charles and Permelia Youst Bucher, on November 23, 1912 in Reader, Wetzel County, WV (Marriage record from Wetzel Co. Clerk). They apparently resided in Reader and Grover worked as a "line walker" for the gas company. Their children were Geraldine Virginia, John Paul, Clarence Lee and Hilda Caroline Bucher.
Hilda Caroline, the youngest, was born 4 April 1921. On 6 May 1921, Kittie, only 28, died of TB and complications of childbirth.
An account of the anguish experienced by Grover Bucher at the loss of his young wife is given by Wilda Parsons Siburt*, a relative of John Parsons and well-acquainted with the Parsons, the Buchers and the story of Kittie's life and death. She states, "Grover Bucher became so despondent over Kittie's death that he could not function. He went to live with Mart . Grover was going to kill one of the cows because, in his confusion, he believed the cow had given Kittie T.B. Finally, Grover had to be placed in Weston State Mental Hospital. He did not live very long after Kittie's death."
In fact, Grover died at Weston on 7 July 1921. His death certificate states the cause of his death as "exhaustion from acute mania".
Wilda Parsons Siburt goes on to say, "After the death of Kittie, the grandparents, Mortimer Charles and Permilia Yost Bucher took custody of John Paul, Geraldine Virginia and Clarence Lee. The infant, Hilda, was given to Oscar and Nora Fankhouser Steel. Grandfather Mortimer Bucher would not sign for the Steels to adopt Hilda. The Steels did not permit Hilda to be with others very much. The Steels felt that the Buchers would attempt to reclaim her."
These events had a profound effect on the life of Hilda Caroline, who died 5 Jan 1977. She was the wife of Charles Edward Fluharty, born 9 August 1913, the son of Charles Lemuel and Virginia Josephine Bench Fluharty of Folsom, Wetzel County, WV. Charles and Hilda's children were Duane Lemuel, Eugene Richard and Charles Larry Fluharty.
Ironically, on 30 April 1929, eight years after Kittie Cochran Bucher's death, John R. Parsons and Caroline "Cal" Cochran Bowers, both divorced, were married in Wetzel County, WV (Wetzel Co., WV Marriage Bk 23, pg 92).
Wilda Parsons Siburt states, "Caroline "Cal" was a hard working woman, who worked in a rural village to rear her children. She was a midwife, who assisted Dr. McCuskey in home deliveries and assisted at my birth (Wilda Parsons'). "Cal" would take in other women who had difficulties.... those who had been 'put out'. She also washed for people. John Parsons taught in a rural school, one or two rooms. After he and "Cal" married they lived on American or Huff Ridge. John received a small pension from WV Retirement Fund."
That Kittie Cochran was the biological daughter of John Parsons was never disputed. According to Wilda Parsons Siburt, "It was common knowledge that John Parsons was the father of Kittie b. 1893. John Parsons never denied that he was the father of Kittie, and that the unwed mother was Caroline "Cal" Cochran."
Furthermore, a son of Grover and Kittie, Clarence Lee Bucher, 81, is alive and well and provides first-hand accounts of his family life before and after his parents' deaths.
Caroline "Cal" Cochran Bowers Parsons died 15 June 1940 and is buried in the Cochran Cemetery in Reader, Wetzel County, WV, where Kittie and Grover are also buried.
John R. Parsons died 4 Dec 1947 in Parkersburg, Wood County, WV, at the home of his son, Thomas.
(*Mrs. Siburt, a former teacher in Wetzel County, related the family history to genealogist Eloyce Parsons Trader. Eloyce documented it in a letter.)