Historically Speaking: Tale of Two Jennies; Hartline Kith and Kin Lend a Helping Hand


Last Saturday’s Historical Society meeting and genealogy workshop was a success. Our genealogy workshop began with Gail Hedden summarizing her quest to find the original owners of every land lot in Slygo Valley. She wants to find all family connections to each other and to her. As a byproduct of her quest, we learned quite a few things about using the land lot maps and indexes housed at the Clerk of Court’s office. We also were reminded that if you know the index information from the Clerk’s office, then you can use the microfilmed deed record at the library for research.

One big advantage to that is that you can have your cell phone, tablet or laptop with you to do the research, since that is not allowed in the Dade Court Facility. Gail has also used the records in Walker County (which many Dade County researchers need). She apprised us of some of the differences between the organization of Walker and Dade.

As Gail continues her quest, Joy Odom has her own path to follow. The former DCHS principal loves her quilting group and she loves genealogy. After several years of quilting with the New Salem matriarchs and hearing stories of their familial connections, she is endeavoring to untangle the Bradfords, McKaigs, Masseys, Moores, et cetera, from one another. I look forward to seeing the charts that she creates and stories which she finds.


One of the historical Dade photographs--this one by Rita Pennington--now on display at the Dade County Library.

We gained some new members and friends and learned a ton about each other’s connections. One of our new members, David Russell of Chattanooga Valley, has just begun to scratch the surface of his Dade County connections. I suspect that he will be spending more time here, doing research and meeting new relatives. His most immediate quest is on his Hartline tree. I know that there are at least two of his questions which I can help him answer. Yes, David there is a Prince Road (actually there may be two) and there is also a Price Street in Dade County.

Formal obituaries don’t appear in our local newspapers until about 1940. If anyone is looking for information which is older than 1879 then you need to check a Dalton or Walker County newspaper. See my note about the Simpson House in question 4.

The following is a short article David wrote to summarize what he is looking for.

A Tale of Two Jennies, or: I Dream of Jennie

by David Russell

Two ladies born in 1874 in DeKalb County, Ala., were named or came to be known as Jennie Hartline. Both had fathers named William Hartline. Mary Virginia Hartline was born 9 January 1874, died 8 August 1944, and was buried in the Cole City Cemetery (AKA Shanty Town), Dade County, Ga., next to her husband, Charles Thomas Prince (25 Feb. 1870—4 Aug. 1957). They were married 30 Oct 1890 in Dade County and on the license Mary Virginia is listed as Jennie. She was known by her friends and family as Jennie and is on the United States Census as Jennie. On Mary Virginia’s death certificate her parents are listed as William Hartline and Mary Ford. William and Mary Hartline are listed on the 1880 census with sons, Alexander and Acy and daughters, May and Willie. The daughter listed as MAY corresponds in age to Mary Virginia HARTLINE Prince. (Hereafter referred to as MV Prince.)

Jennie Hartline Koger was born 26 Sept. 1874, died 15 July 1 966 and was buried in Head Springs Cemetery, Valley Head, Ala. She married William Jasper Koger (1871-1918) on 29 Jan. 1893 in DeKalb County and her name is listed on the license as MLJ Hartline. (Hereafter as Jenny Koger.) She is the daughter of William George “Bill” Hartline and Sarah Mahaffity. Jennie Koger is listed as the surviving sister of Wallace Erskine Hartline in a Chattanooga Times article dated June 7, 1935 (page 3) that details his tragic death. (MV Prince is not listed.) Wallace Erskine Hartline is also acknowledged as a child of Bill and Sarah Hartline.

If Jenny Koger established as daughter of Bill and Sarah Hartline, then is MV Prince also a child of their union? Some facts cause continued questions: 1) the 1935 obituary of Wallace Erskine Hartline does not list her as his sister. 2) Jenny Koger would have been conceived nine months and a couple of weeks after MV Prince was born. While this is not impossible it is unlikely for children from the same mother. 3) Two girls in the same house with the same name would be confusing and therefore unlikely; 4) MV Prince’s death certificate indicates that her mother was named Mary not Sarah.

5) My Ancestry DNA test results show that there is a very high degree of confidence (4th to 6th cousin) to another descendant of William A. Hartline. I believe William A. Hartline to be my second great-grandfather as well as the father of MV Prince. There is no mention of William A. Hartline’s daughter MAY after the 1880 census. If a MAY Hartline from the Dade/DeKalb Co area was located, then the likelihood of Bill and Sarah’s parentage of MV Prince does not improve.

If you use Ancestry.com and look up Mary Virginia, then you will find that almost all the entries list her parents as William George Hartline and Sarah Mahaffity. I’m not trying to anger or quarrel with these Ancestry researchers but it is likely that the numbers of William and Jennie Hartlines with similar date are muddying the waters of my research.

I am not a genealogist and my skills of investigation can’t find final proof that William A. and Mary Hartline are the parents of MV Prince. If you are up for investigating this mystery here are a few things with which I need some help.

  1. An obituary for William A. Hartline (b.1827), Mary Hartline (b.1845), Alexander Hartline (b. 1858-abt. 1858), Acy Hartline (b. 1871) or Miss Willie Hartline (b. 1876 and was married to both Oma T. Humble and ?? Ridgewood. Also information on Joseph Wheeler Hartline (d.1917). He is listed as the second son on the 1880 census and it did not mention his two surviving sisters.

  2. Death Certificate for William A. Hartline immediate family members.

  3. Obits for William George Hartline and Sarah Mahaffity family.

  4. Details about the old Prince house located about 1/10 of a mile south of the lineman school on U.S. 11. It is now overgrown. I would like to know when it was built, purchased and sold). My grandmother, Stella Prince Gass told me that she was born in the house. NOTE from DS: Some in the area may know it as the Simpson House.

  5. Where is the old Ledford place in New England?

  6. Any news articles about the Charles and Mary Virginia Prince family. I found two such articles from the 1950’s. Are there more articles?

Contact information:

David Russell

Email address - darj.0505@yahoo.com

Ancestry.com- under Russell and Gass ancestor


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