I’m Going Back To Old Kentucky #80

From October 1, 2010 through to the end of September 2011, we will, each day, celebrate the life of Bill Monroe by sharing information about him and those people who are associated with his life and music career. This information will include births and deaths; recording sessions; single, LP and CD release dates; and other interesting tidbits. Richard F. Thompson is responsible for the research and compilation of this information. We invite readers to share any tidbits, photos or memories you would like us to include.

Monroe Family Tree

This family tree extends back six generations to late in the 17th century / early 18th century to William Monroe and Jemima Smith. They provide Bill Monroe’s two given names: William Smith.

It has been thought that Bill Monroe was related to James Monroe, the 5th President of the United States (1817-1825).  Based on research by Anna Lea Barry, it has been established that the two are not related.  James Monroe was born on April 28, 1758, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, John Monroe, Bill Monroe’s great, great grandfather, was born in the same county on November 10, 1749.

Geographically, that seems to be the closest that they get. Genealogically, it is possible that that they were collaterally related (they had a common ancestor), but their kinship was not along direct lines.

William Monroe – Jemima Smith

In addition to John, the couple had another son, William, and a daughter, Elizabeth.

John Monroe – Winifred Berryman

John Monroe, born November 10, 1749, in Westmoreland Co., Virginia; died May 28, 1837, in Kentucky. He fought in the Revolutionary War. Winifred Berryman was born September 16, 1757, in Westmoreland Co., Virginia. Married on December 17, 1778.

Martin Andrew Monroe (aka Andrew B),  Cursey Q ‘Ailsey’ Harris

Martin Andrew Monroe (aka Andrew B) born November 25, 1794, Virginia, died April 1862, Ohio Co., Kentucky. Cursey Q ‘Ailsey’ Harris born 1810, Ohio Co., Kentucky. Married October 30, 1828, Ohio Co., Kentucky.

John ‘Jess’ Buchanan Monroe – Lydia Charlotte

John ‘Jess’ Buchanan Monroe born July 19, 1829, Woodford, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died  December 3, 1899, Horton, Ohio Co., Kentucky, buried Bethel Cemetery, Ohio Co., Kentucky.

Lydia Charlotte Stevens born February 1833, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died June 10, 1881, Elm Lick, Ohio Co., Kentucky; Married January 20, 1855, Ohio Co., Kentucky.

James Buchanan ‘Buck’ Monroe – Melissa Ann Vandiver

James Buchanan ‘Buck’ Monroe born October 28, 1858, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died January 14, 1928, Ohio Co., Kentucky.

Melissa Ann Vandiver born July 12, 1871, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died October 31, 1921, Ohio Co., Kentucky; youngest daughter, and eighth child, of Joseph Vandiver and Minerva Pharris. Married August 2, 1892, Ohio Co., Kentucky.

  • Harry C Monroe – born September 8, 1890, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died August 20, 1954; buried Rosine Cemetery, Rosine, Ohio Co., Kentucky; Nola M Goff married about 1915. Harry played fiddle.
  • Speed V Monroe – born November 30, 1894 Ohio Co., Kentucky, died January 1967, Jefferson Co., Kentucky; He played the fiddle and served in World War I; Married Jeanie Ethel Clark born 1895 Ohio Co., Kentucky, died 1982; daughter of James W Clark and Maria Florance York.
  • John Justine Monroe – born May 17, 1896, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died February 1, 1962, Ohio Co., Kentucky; buried Bethel Cemetery, Ohio Co., Kentucky; Clara M Wilson born August 18, 1899, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died January 24, 1980, Ohio Co., Kentucky; buried Bethel Cemetery, Ohio Co., Kentucky; daughter of Fletcher T Wilson and Irena Boyd. Married March 27, 1932, Ohio Co., Kentucky.
  • Maude Bell Monroe – born November 17, 1898, Ohio Co Kentucky, died December 26, 1961, Ohio Co., Kentucky; buried Bethel Cemetery, Rosine, Ohio Co., Kentucky.
  • Birch Monroe – born May 16, 1901, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died May 15, 1982 Indiana; buried Rosine Cemetery, Rosine, Ohio Co Kentucky.
  • Charles Pendleton ‘Charger’ Monroe – born July 4, 1903, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died September 27, 1975, North Carolina, of leukemia; buried Rosine Cemetery, Rosine, Ohio Co., Kentucky; Elizabeth Berry Miller born August 5, 1910, died January 1, 1967; buried Bethel Cemetery, Ohio Co., Kentucky. Married March 16, 1936, Ohio Co., Kentucky.
  • Bertha Monroe – born July 17, 1906, Ohio Co., Kentucky, died April 1, 1997, Ohio Co., Kentucky; buried April 2 , 1997 Rosine Cemetery, Rosine, Ohio Co., Kentucky; She played guitar and sang; Married Bernard Kurth (aka Kuita). (2 sons).
  • William Smith ‘Bill’ Monroe – born 13 September, 1911, Rosine, Ohio Co, Kentucky, died September 9, 1996, Springfield, Tennessee; buried Rosine Cemetery, Rosine, Ohio Co., Kentucky. Caroline Minnie Brown – married October 18, 1935, Lake Co., Indiana (a daughter and son). They were divorced on August 12, 1960.
    • Melissa Kathleen Monroe- born September 17, 1936, died December 3, 1990.
    • James William Monroe – born March 15,1941. One son, James William Monroe II ‘Jimbo’.

William Smith ‘Bill’ Monroe – Della Streeter, age 43. Married April 24, 1985. They were divorced on November 21, 1988.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.

A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.

He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.