My grandfather, Benjamin Royal Henthorn, always said that he named himself and that he did not have a given name until he was seven years old. He went to work at an iron foundry in Ironton, Ohio when he was a young boy. He made the large sum of three dollars a week. He asked to have the money made up into pennies and took it all home to his mother. He had very little formal education. He was always a hard worker and had a great deal of charm and was very good looking. He was not too tall, but more stocky. He went by the nickname, "Wink," because he was quick on his feet and agile.
He and my grandmother, Mary Emma Scott, were married in December 1887. They had planned to get married in the spring of 1888 but because of bad weather he had stayed all night with the family. The family thought it would, "look better," if they got married. In those days people were very conscious of the "moral mores" of the day.
They had three sons born to them. My father, Arthur Carter Henthorn, was the only one to live to maturity. He was the first born. Another son, Benjamin Royal, was born about three years after my father, but he lived only twelve days. Agustus Henthorn, the third son was born about four years after the second son. He lived until he was fifteen years old when he drowned in the Ohio River.
My grandparents lived in the little town of Vanceburg, Kentucky. Papa, as I always called my grandfather, was a barber by trade and a very good one too. The death of my Uncle Gus had a profound influence on his life. He joined the Christian Church and was baptized and lived a good life from then on and was always good to his family. Papa used to drink a little but after the death of Gus he gave up drink entirely. His mother-in-law always lived with them and he thought a great deal of her and she said he was like a son to her. In fact, he was better to her than her own son, who was something of a wanderer, but that's another story.
Papa and grandmother, Meema, as I always called her, raised me from the time that I was four.
Grandfather had strong opinions about everything and he was not afraid to voice them. The KKK was quite a popular organization in the early twenties and Papa was approached to join. He told them in no uncertain terms that he would not have anything to do with such an organization and that they should just leave him alone.
He was strong on politics too. He was a Republican and Meema was a Democrat and the arguments used to be pretty heavy when I was a little girl. As they grew older though they quit arguing about politics and about a lot of other things as well.
Papa and Meema died in 1935, within 5 months of each other. Meema had cancer and took sick first in January. Papa was very worried about her and realized that she could not get well. In the early part of February, Papa had a heart attack and died within a week. Meema died the following May. They are both buried "on the hill" at the Greenlawn Cemetery which overlooks Vanceburg, Kentucky and the Ohio River.