Frankie Hathaway-Search For An Unknown Familyby Gary Telford
Franklin "Frankie" Earl Hathaway was born August 15, 1962 at a Little Rock Hospital. He was born premature; he was not expected to live. The hospital told his mother, she said, to go back home that Frankie would be in an incubator for at least a month. When his mother went back to the hospital a month later to get the baby, she said, she was told that he was no longer there. She said she thought he had died.
Instead, Frankie had been taken to a temporary foster home. When Frankie was about nine months old, he was taken to his permanent foster parents, Charles W. and Clara Eva Crenshaw Greer in Bald Knob, White County, Arkansas. Charles and Clara Greer raised foster children for about 30 years in Bald Knob. Charles died Aug. 29, 1970 and Clara died March 23, 2000 and both are buried at Shady Grove Cemetery, Bald Knob.
When Frankie was about six years old, he was enrolled in school at Bald Knob and attended until he graduated in 1980. While attending school, Frankie worked in the cafeteria stocking the five-gallon containers of milk and earned the nick name "Milkman". After he graduated, he continued working in maintenance at the school for about 7 years.
He was a member of the Bald Knob Volunteer Ambulance Service for about three years in the mid 1980's. Frankie was also employed by the Central Baptist Church in Bald Knob off and on for about 14 years.
Frankie began working at the Osmon Furniture Store located in Bald Knob, White County, Arkansas in 1985 and served as manager for about two years. He then purchased the store and named it "Frankie's Fine Furniture" and operated it until 1989, then he sold it. The store is still in operation as "Frankie's Fine Furniture".
Frankie also coached Buddy League Inter City for ages 7 and up for about seven years beginning in 1991, in Bald Knob.
He is now sales manager for Bobby T's Mattress And Furniture, located at 1717 East Race Street in Searcy, Arkansas. This is where I met Frankie and started talking to him about his family history.
He said that he couldn't tell me anything about his real parents because he didn't know who they were.
This really touched my heart and I thought I might be able to help him. At the end of our conversation, I ask him if he would like to know who they were. He said it would mean a lot to him and that he had thought about this all his life, 39 years. This was June 14, 2002.
On Monday three days later, I went back to visit him and ask him to go to Little Rock in order to get a birth certificate. He said he didn't know what to tell them. I encouraged him to go anyway and tell them what he knew. On Friday, seven days later, he took the day off and went to Little Rock and received his birth certificate. It named his mother as Frankie Heloise Brooks, born in Judsonia, White County, Arkansas. She was 27 when Frankie was born. His father was listed as R. E. Hathaway born in Michigan. He was 37 when Frankie was born and there were three other children living.
My research led me to Mrs. Frankie Hathaway, Rt. 1, Trumann, Arkansas and I was able to get her phone number. Frankie was hesitant and did not want to call, in fact, he didn't call.
On Saturday, eight days after our initial conversation and one day after going to Little Rock and receiving his birth certificate, Frankie drove to Trumann and found the house. He knocked on the door not knowing what to expect. He was invited in and met his real mother, Frankie Heloise Brooks Hathaway, now age 67, for the first time in his life.
They had a lot to talk about. Frankie said the meeting went well and they correspond often.
I began checking the Social Security Death Index and found that Frankie's father had died April 1999 in Puyallup, WA. I found that he had married again to Susan C. Elfving, May 4, 1979 in Clark Co., Missouri.
Frankie had been told that his grandfather was James Leroy Hathaway. After exhausting all efforts to find something on a James Leroy Hathaway, I wrote a letter to the Social Security Administration, July 5, 2002 asking for information on Roy Elsworth Hathaway. We received our reply on Friday August 2. He now knows that his grandfather was, "James Herman Hathaway" who was born November 16, 1890 in Sawyerville, Michigan (Allegan County). James Herman Hathaway, at age 46, (Jan. 8, 1937), was working for Michigan Shore Lumber & Supply Co., Coloma, Michigan. He died October 1973 in Watervliet, Michigan. His great-grandparents were Herman MacIntire Hathaway, born January 22, 1854, and Ida Mae Monique Hathaway, born September 26, 1865.
Additional research by Gary Telford has revealed that his great-great-grandfather and mother was Job Dewey (1820-1874) and Charlotte Ladow Hathaway (1827-1911). His great-great-great-grandfather and mother was Malatiah (1774-1836) and Betsy McFarland Hathaway (1782-1854)-a total of 6 generations. All this was accomplished in less than sixty days, proving that miracles still happen.
Frankie thanked me for my time and efforts allowing him to fill a 39 year gap in his life. He also told me that he looks forward to reading my column "Family Roots" on a weekly basis.
Frankie and I are now good friends and I visit him often.
By Gary Telford
Published August 8, 2002