John Christian Oakes was born August 8, 1906, in Issaquena County, MS, near Harworth, MS, a sawmill town along the Yazoo River. The town no longer exist, a casualty of too frequent flooding, clear cutting and the depression. He was the son of Charles Franklin and Sophie Dose Oakes. His siblings included Frederick Franklin, Robert Grantham, Laura Annis and William Warren. Two sidblings, Milton Elliot and Ruth Dean died young. Four of the children are shown with their parents in the picture below. The family life centered around farming, fishing, hunting and trapping. Life was difficult, little opportunity to accumulate any wealth. Loans were necessary to survive. Most of the family eventually moved to Vicksburg and left their farm to be confiscated for failure to pay taxes. Fred left in 1922 at the age of 19 and found work with the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad and a workman in their repair shop on Levee Street in Vicksburg. John Christian left not too much later and found work as an air brake mechanic at the Y&MV, likely as a result of his brother, Fred's recommendation. John Christian "Chris" married Georgia Mae Letney, June 4, 1927 in Vicksburg. Chris eventually joined his brother, Fred, in the auto repair business. They worked together for many years. Chris later became an engineer on the towboats of Dolly King.
Chris and Georgia had five children, John Christian Jr., Harold Franklin, Laura Belle, Norman Jack and Marion Levern. For more details check: Fred Oakes Memoir
Georgia Mae Letny was born March 22, 1908. The location of her both and information about her mother, "Callie" remains a mystery. Her father, Jack Letney was married a number of times after Georgia was born. Below is a timeline that I have assembled that summarizes what I have determined. Hopefully others with try to fill in the missing details.
Andrew Jack Letney
Recent information from Al Letney: he suggest that Jack’s parents are: Ulysses Carlock "Lissy" Letney B. 1831 and Hester "Hess" Miller B. 1858. Lissy and Hess was married on 30 Aug 1881 in Jasper County, Texas. Although undocumented, family lore tells that this couple had two sons together. At some point in time Hess took the two boys and returned to her home in Louisiana (Probably to her parents home in Caddo Parish). Her parents might be Thomas G. and Rebecca Cooper Miller. They appear with Hester in the 1870 Census. Al suggests also that Jack was likely Andrew Jackson Letney, a popular name in the Letney family
Timeline for Jack Letney
1883, March 3, Born in Texas, 1930 Census, 1918 WWI Registration
1887 There is a Josie Weaver born 1887, however her niece, Josie, is born in 1904.
1889 A Callie M. Baker born in Texas ? Probably not Jack’s first wife.
1889 Harry Caldwell born.
1897 Essie Clark born in Saint Martin Parish, LA
1908-09 Jack Marries 1930 Census, probably Callie or Carrie
1908 Georgia Mae Letney born Jack and Callie Mae Baker in Clarksdale. According to Laura Oakes.
1912, May 12, Marries Essie Clark in Vicksburg, MS, Divorce document. Also marriage certificate.
1915 Sylvan Letney born to Essie and Jack.(Essie and Sylvan are pictured at right, ca 1918-19)
1918 Essie files for divorce, Jack is in Pt. Pleasant, LA
1918 Daisy Weaver marries Harry Caldwell in Lake Providence, LA
1920 Divorce granted to Essie.
1920 Harry Caldwell is inmate but living with Rose family and working as skidder operator.
1920 Melvin Caldwell born to Josie Weaver Caldwell,(Melvin & Josie about 1920 sitting on grass in picture.)
1920 Harry Caldwell dies.
1920 Essie Letney is living in Vicksburg with Sylvan (4 1/2) and Ann McCarty, boarder.
1923, April 13, Daisy marries Jack Letney in Warren County.
1930 Jack and Daisy are shown married in the 1930 Census, living with Sylvan Letney and Melvin Caldwell
1936 Jack and Josie living at 1121 Jefferson St. He is a boat operator. Melvin Caldwell is with them. Clarence Guy owns the house.
Sylvan Letney is at 40 Connecting Ave. John C. & Georgia Oakes at 40 Connecting Ave. also.
1937 Josie Letney living on South Street in Vicksburg, MS.
1938 Daisy and Jack divorced Sept 14, 1938
1939 Sylvan Letney marries Ida Lee Carroll.
1940 Daisy Weaver marries Robert Mervin Cunningham. Jack listed single in 1940 Census, lodger.
1944, about, Jack marries Gertrude Spencer, they are living on Farmer street and he is a blacksmith.
1945 Affidavit by Charles Bigby. He states that Josie Daisy Weaver is the same person as Daisy Cunningham and that she is the daughter of Stanton O. and Eunice Stegall Weaver. Robert M. Cunningham is in the service and overseas.
1946 Jack and Gertrude living at 3000 Pitman Alley. He is carpenter with U. S. Experimental Station.
1948 Jack and Gertrude living on Miller St., he is a painter.
1953 Jack fell from a ladder while painingat the Williams Tire and Garage on January 29, 1953. He died two days later on January 31, 1953 and was buried in the Cedar Hills Cemetery the next day, February 2, 1953. The family sued the owner George Miller because of a defective ladder. The local trial denied them damages, however the higher court overturned it and his children and wife were awarded a settlement. The case continues to be cited in litigation as defining a ladder as a tool. Miller vs Letney. Fred Oakes was a pallbearer.
Left to Right, Fredrick Franklin Oakes, Laura Annis Oakes, Charles Franklin Oakes, Sophie Dose Oakes, Robert Grantham Oakes and John Christian Oakes, Home in Harworth, MS ca 1913.
John Christian and Georgia Letney Oakes
John Christian Oakes Grandparents, Parents and Siblings