Saturday, January 23, 2016


As a child growing up I was so confused as to what Grandma’s real name was So when asked I would reply Lena Galeenah, but apparently I wasn’t the only one that was confused. 

My mother’s, Hazel #9, birth certificate says her mother’s maiden name was Delaney Carney, okay.  But it gets more complicated than that.

Dollie Faye Poyner Jones, #7, birth certificate says her mother’s maiden name was Elaine Carney.  But then it also says Faye was born in Kansas and Lena’s age was 82 at the time.  Boy someone messed that record up.

Just out of curiosity, what does your family member’s birth certificate say her name was?

In the 1900 census soundex for Franklin county, AR she is listed as Galina Carny.

Grandpa Jesse’s death certificate says her name was Galeenah Poyner. While their marriage liscense says Gareena Carney, age 15.

Her marriage license to Simon Peter Barnes says Lena Poyner,

She, herself, was apparently very confused as to what her name was because in 1981 she signed a note Gleenth Barnes. While her social security cards list her as Gleena Barnes and Galeenah Carney Barnes.

Whoever composed her obituary tried to clear up the confusion by saying she was Galeena Lena (Poyner) Barnes. 

But then there is a Christmas card of her that says on the back “"Mom 60 years and 6 months old. Faye Keefover Lena Galena Carney” Faye had this card in her possession in 1997, I hope in all their moves it hasn’t been lost.

So what was Grandma’s name Delaney, Elaine, all variations of the spelling of Galeenah including Galeenth and Gareena, or was she simply Lena.  I know Grandpa Jesse called her his Lena Galeenah.  To me she was always strictly Grandma Poyner. 

Interestingly enough the Hebrew meaning of Galina/Galeenah/etc is God shall redeem.
I’m not certain when she became a reverend, but I do know that she was listed as that in more than one place.

Faye said she wasn’t truly a reverend that she had sent off an application to be one from the back of some magazine. Whether this was true or not I don’t know.  Perhaps some of the family members know the truth.

It is no wonder she was confused about her name.  Her upbringing was different to say the least. 

Born July 16, 1893 or 1894 the census records can’t agree on the year to Chesterfield M (probably for Monroe) Carney and Porter Columbia Branham in Oolagah, Oklahoma Indian Territory (what is now Rogers county, Oklahoma).

There was no official record at the time that I can find.  In fact the state of Oklahoma took my money and said they could find no birth record for her.  However, Fay told me she knew there was a delayed birth certificate on record because she helped her gather the information to get it in order to be able to draw social security and Grandpa’s rail road retirement money.

She says there was an affidavit filled out that said her delivery was carried out with the assistance of Porter’s three sisters acting as midwives.

From her beginnings her life was a series of ups and downs.

From a telephone conversation with Dollie Faye Poyner Keefover Jones on January 10, 1997:

She said that Chesterfield and Porter divorced when Lena was a little bitty thing and that Chesterfield kidnapped Lena twice.  Once when she was real tiny and Porter got her back.  Then again when Lena was six and he snatched her right out of Porter's arms.  According to Faye, Grandma remembered it happening and said she thought they were going to tear her apart like a wishbone.

Chester kept her until she was grown and then she happened to mention to a neighbor that she'd give anything to see her Mom.  The neighbor knew exactly where Porter was and put them in touch with each other.  While they did meet Lena continued to live near Chester and only saw her mother on a few occasions.  Only once or twice that Faye could remember and she said the one time she remembers for sure Chester showed up just out of the blue right after Porter got there.  JP NOTE: This leads me to wonder about something else I was once told.  That Chester had been married to a Native American woman at one point and he came home and caught her in bed with another man, divorced her immediately and was very bitter about it. Could Porter have been the woman?  I know I have always been told there was "Indian" on Lena's side of the family, but Lena denied it.  If we could prove Porter was Native American we could all benefit.  Anyone have any definite information on this?

In my records I also have this scattered note:
Notes from discussion with Lula Poyner Maxey Maynard on July 25, 1998: Mary Bailey at Talequah, Tom Bailey, at Hobart, Ok Mary were related to Chester. Reeder Bailey was the son of Mary & Tom Reeder's wife's name may have been Lena. Charlie Dunham was a brother in law to Reeder Bailey. Homesteaded in Talequah records.  Grandma was born in a two story house straight east of Collinsville toward Oolagah.

From my own research I found that Mary was indeed related to Chesterfield, often call Chester or Chet.  She was his sister Mary Carney. It is believed it was Mary who told the teenage Lena where her mother was. According to Lula it was Mary and Tom Bailey who took care of Lena when Chesterfield was not available.
Census records seem to hold at least part of the story up.

1900 AR Soundex C650:
Carny, Chester F. Vol 13 ED 201 Sheet 3 line 46
male white b. April 1852 age 48 b. TN
Franklin County, White Rock Twp enumerated with Alexander, Mary E. as a boarder
In the same household Carny Galina white b 7/1894 age 5 IT
On the ancestry census data base he is listed as Cluster F. Corney. Talk about mutilating a name.

The actual census record on T 623-59 of Franklin County White Rock Twnsp enumerated 6/6 1900 by J. B. Stuart
Dwell 43 Family 43
Alexander, Mary head white female b. sep 1848 age 67 widow b. Ny fb NY mb NY occupation: farmer can
     read, write, and speak English
Carney, Chester F. boarder white male b. 4/1842 age 48 married 2 years b. TN, fb. TN, mb TN occupation:
     day Laborer can read, write and speak English
     Ida boarder white female b. 2/1880 age 20 married 2 years b. AR fb. TX mb. MO can only speak
          English, but not read or write it. ( She was apparently Chesterfield’s current wife at that time).
     Galina, boarder white female b. 7/1894 age 6 single b. IT, fb. TN, mb. MO
Monaham, Walter 16 male (the ancestry site lists him as Waller)
Keys, Wallace 16 male

By the 1910 Census she was married to Grandpa Jesse and was living in Newton Country, AR.

My memories of Grandma Lena are very few.  I remember being afraid of her because she was a very stern woman quick to tell me what a naughty little girl I was. 

I was equally as afraid of a big grey gander she once had.  He loved to pinch and flog me and I lived in terror of the goose being loose when I was there.

Around the time I was ten they had a large party, I believe it was to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary party, but it was in the summertime.
As usual the kids were all banned to the outdoors during the party.  It was hot so some of us sought the comfort of the shade of the okra plants in Grandma’s large garden.  It didn’t take long for the nearby bright red ripe tomatoes to catch our eye. 

I slipped into the kitchen and got the salt shaker from the stove.  Before it was over we cousins had eaten every single one of Grandma’s ripe tomatoes.  When she discovered this she became madder than I had ever seen her.  I was terrified! I never ventured into any of her gardens after that again.  In fact I seldom went to her home after that.

After Grandpa’s death she married Simon Peter Barnes and we acquired a whole new batch of “cousins” one of which went to the same high school I did.  I remember accidentally meeting her in the girls’ room one day and she made it VERY clear she was not happy her grandpa had married my grandma.  It was the only time I ever met the girl, but the anger in her voice made it clear she didn’t want to be friends.

Mr. Barnes passed before Grandma and as her life wound down Grandma’s health deteriorated. During her last years of her life she lived with Fay and Tom Jones.  One weekend my husband Gary and I spelled Fay and Tom in Grandma’s care while they got to have a night out.

By then she was in the fetal position and unable to care for herself at all, but her mind was still active.  Seeing her that way made me ashamed I was ever afraid of her.

Grandma died December 29, 1983.  She was laid to rest next to Grandpa in Ridgelawn Cemetery in Collinsville, OK.

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