Lafayette "Lafe" Blankenship, and family, about 1912.
Right to Left: Lafayette and "Jennie" Blankenship; one of their daughters, Clara Blankenship;
and Jenny's brother and sister-in-law, Eugene and Anna Duvall.
Lafayette BLANKENSHIP, b. 26 May 1851 in Carter County, KY; son of William Riley Blankenship (1822-1895) and Amanda Dawson (b. 1820).
On 12 Mar 1874 he married Manerva Jane (Jennie") DUVALL, b. 4 Mar 1855 in Ash County, NC.
Jennie was the daughter of Ambrose B. Duvall and Rebecca Porter of NC.
Lafayette d. 28 Apr 1927, the result of a stroke suffered while a witness in a court trial in Grayson.
He is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Carter Co.
All nine of Lafayette and Jennie's children were born on a small farm at Oak Grove in Carter County.
As with most rural families of the day, the farm produced most of the foodstuffs required.
Jennie's butter and egg income generated necessary cash for running the household.
Lafayette, or Lafe as he was called, built houses and this income went into savings.
Throughout their lives Lafe and Jennie were very careful with expenditures.
Lafe, although thrifty,was not always prudent with investments and in later years lost part of his estate in unwise business investments.
An example of their respect for cash is in the following told by Jennie to their grand-daughter, Ruie Blankenship.
"Once when I was ironing his pants a dime fell out; at first I thought I might keep it, then I thought better and put it back."
Throughout their life together, Jennie never asked Lafe for money, and he never provided any.
As the mines and the brick plant were accounting for rapid growth of the Hitchens community, and their last born, Wilson, was in his teens, Lafe moved to Hitchens,
continued to work as a carpenter and built houses.
His approach to the building of a house is remarkable since he usually cut all the pieces of lumber before starting any assembly.
Unusual because as he worked from neither plans nor blueprints, this made it necessary to rely on great familiarization with the task.
His work at Hitchens was interrupted for a brief period when he went to Chillicothe Ohio, to work on the construction of Camp Sherman, Cantonment of WW I.
Back in Hitches he returned to the building of an occasional house.
Later he secured a contract with the county to furnish caskets required by the court, which put him in the casket business.
He built caskets in his workshop at Hitchens; Jennie padded and lined them.
There were usually several caskets in the workshop at any one time and the grandchildren,
when they could get away with it, would play "hide and seek" in and around them.
In his late sixties he moved to Ashland, KY, where he build a house for them and two or three rental units. They lived there until his death in 1927. Clara BLANKENSHIP, b. 1894 is the 7th born child of Lafe and Jennie. She married Herbert WILLIAMS. Eugene DUVALL, b. 1870 is Jennie's brother. He married Anna KENDALL of West Liberty, Morgan County on 25 May 1894. Eugene died 30 Mar 1938.
Submitted by Nancy Brinly