RAYMOND & LENNIE MAE HENLEY
FAMILY OF HUMBOLDT, TENNESSEE
submitted by Adam McCartney
Raymond Henley was born on February 7, 1910, in rural Fayette County, Tennessee. He was a
triplet and with his two brothers, Hammond and Leemond, created quite a stir in the
country setting of the early twentieth century. Their father, James Allison Henley, and
mother, Alean Hammons Henley, lived for some time in the area near the Fayette and
Hardeman County line and had already had eleven children by the time the triplets were
born. Besides the total of fourteen children after the big birth, they were also raising
Alean's nephew and niece, which brought the total to a whopping SIXTEEN children in the
Henley house. The unthinkable happened on March 22, 1910. When the triplet boys were just
six weeks old, their mother Alean who, in all likelihood was suffering from phlebitis, had
a massive heart attack and died unexpectedly. In her forties and going through such tough
times as giving birth to triplets had taken its toll and her body could no longer handle
the stress. Shocked, the family buried her at the Enon Cemetery in Hardeman County near
that of her twin sister, Rosa Shearin. James Allison Henley then attempted, with the help
of his older daughters, to raise the triplet boys.
Sometime in probably the late 1910s, James Allison Henley moved north and settled in the
area near Humboldt, Tennessee. Another tragedy struck when Leemond, one of the triplet
boys who had amazingly survived such dyer circumstances, died of what was called "spotted
fever." His gravesite is unknown, but has been rumored to be near the "Windy City"
community south of Humboldt.
James never remarried, but his two other triplet boys did marry local girls. Hammond
married in Gibson County 1926 to Mary Ella "Sonny" Holmes. Her parents were originally
from Bradford, and her grandparents had given the land for the present-day Bradford
Cemetery. Hammond and Sonny had four children and moved up north to Cleveland, Ohio,
seeking factory work which was rare in rural, agricultural West Tennessee at the time.
Raymond married Lennie Mae Morris, the daughter of William Allen Morris and Nealy Ellis
Smith. Lennie Mae had been born in the Pinson area of Madison County and was reared near
Fruitvale in Crockett County. Her father died when she was young and was buried in an
unknown grave in Crockett County. (Note: I have sent off for his death certificate and,
upon receiving it, saw that the place of burial was listed as "Vinse White." If anyone
knows who or what this was, please let me know.) Raymond and Lennie Mae were married in
Gibson County in 1933 and made the home in Humboldt.
Raymond, however, suffered from severe asthma, which would not permit him to work in the
cotton-laden air of the Humboldt Gin. Lennie Mae worked tirelessly to provide for the
children, but eventually, they moved to Cleveland, Ohio, following Hammond, and attempting
to find work in the industrialized north. After a two-year stint in Cleveland, they
returned to Humboldt. Then, went back to Cleveland where Raymond got a job working as a
"tool-and-die" man in a plant. They made their home in Cleveland until about 1952 when
they returned to Humboldt. A shoe factory had opened which would let them return home and
permit Raymond to work in his hometown of choice.
Raymond was very active in baseball and helped organize youth baseball leagues in
Humboldt. He also was converted to Christianity in Humboldt and united with Emmanuel
Baptist Church. Raymond and Lennie Mae also had children. Namely, they were Sara Frances,
James Raymond (known as Bub or Bubba), Betty Faye, Robert Ellis (known as Bob), Douglas
McArthur (known as Doug), and Gerald Thomas (known as Jeep), all of which were born in
Humboldt with the exception of Doug, who was "yankee" of birth, born in Ohio. Sadly,
Raymond's asthma, coupled with other health problems and a weakening heart, put him in the
hospital in 1958. He died on November 7 at the age of only 48. His funeral services were
held at Emmanuel Church were he worshiped and he was interred at the Rose Hill Cemetery in
southern Humboldt near the grave of his mother-in-law, Nealy, who had died about three
Raymond had seen the his first grandchild, Paula Christine McCartney, Sara's daughter, who
was born September 13, 1958. His second daughter, Betty, was pregnant at the time of his
death and about a month later gave birth to a son, Michael Raymond Hayes. After Raymond's
death, Humboldt decided that in order to honor this man who had given so much time to his
community, they would name a baseball field after him. Today, Raymond Henley Field is
still in Humboldt today.
Raymonds young widow, Lennie Mae, continued to live in Humboldt for the remainder of her
life. Suffering from severe lung problems, she was on oxygen for the later years of her
life. She also suffered from severe diabetes, which worsened her circulation. She
continued caring for her family for many more years.
The youngest son of Raymond and Lennie Mae, "Jeep" as he was affectionately known, was
killed in a car accident on March 31, 1985. He was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery in
Humboldt days later, leaving his wife, Linda, a daughter, Allison Rae, and a step-son,
Kevin Sipes. Lennie Mae Henley died of complications resulting from her multiple health
maladies in Humboldt on December 6, 1991. She was buried next to Raymond and a deceased
grandson, Michael Hayes, in Rose Hill Cemetery. Today, Sara lives near Skullbone in the
northeastern part of Gibson County. She is married to Dwain McCartney and they have three
adult children, Chris, Bill, and Scotty.
"Bub," who married the former Joyce Phelps, lives between Humboldt and Gibson, Tennessee.
They are parents of Russell and Kenny.
Betty died on March 2, 2005, at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in Jackson,
Tennessee, after having battled lung disease for years. She left behind her two surviving
children, Johnny and Missy, who still live in Gibson County. She was preceded in death by
her son, Michael Raymond Hayes. Betty is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Bob resides in Henry County, Tennessee, near the Tennessee River, where he retired to do
his most beloved hobby…fishing. His wife, Peggy, died of pneumonia in 1990 and he
remarried to his current wife, Lillie, a few years later. They currently operate a
restaurant in the Big Sandy-Springville area known as "Lillie Dee's." Bob's daughter,
Janie, lives in Texas and his son, Bobby Lee, was killed in a car accident in 1993. He is
buried at Rose Hill Cemetery next to his mother, Peggy.
Doug died on September 23, 2007, at home in Humboldt, Tennessee. He left behind his wife,
Sandy Rutherford Henley, as well as four children: Diana, Mark, D. J., and Joey. Doug
was a loyal member of Avondale Baptist Church in Humboldt. Three of his children reside
in Gibson County and one resides in Ohio.
"Jeep," as aforementioned, passed on in 1985. His wife, Linda, has relocated to Vero
Beach, Florida, but his daughter, Allison, remains in West Tennessee, living in the