Joseph Fears & America Penn

"My Great-Grandparents"

By Ewing Fears Best

Joseph Reuben Fears was born 2-22-1856 in Springport, Henry County, KY [confirmed and updated 12/27/04].  He was the son of Jesse Fears (1833 - 1883) and Elizabeth Hickman Evins Fears (1834 - 1923).  He was an attorney in Henry County, KY and later a County judge. On 3-23-1887, in Franklin County, he married America "Maggie" Penn at the Antioch Church. Maggie was the daughter of Robert Franklin Penn [1831-1894] and America Franes Riner [1831-1901]. from Franklin County, KY.  Joe Reuben and Maggie had 6 children [all born in Henry County]:   John Carroll [my Grandfather] b. 7-10-1889,  Anna Mae b. 12-18-1890, Morgan Penn b. 6-13-1896, Virginia Ethington b. 10-18-1898, Joseph Reuben, Jr. b. 6-23-1902, and America Kathleen b. 2-7-1909.
At the time of his death on 6-10-1936, Joe Reuben and Maggie are found living in a home on Cross Main Street in New Castle.  Maggie died on 1-25-1940 in Lexington, KY [I suspect to be near her daughters there].   They are both buried at the New Castle Cemetery in Henry County plots 01755 and 01756. Also buried there are his parents and his sister, Anna Fears Neal [1860-1952], and her husband, James Neal [1856-1879] as well as his daughter, Virginia Fears Welch.
Joe Reuben was remembered by his grandchildren as a pleasant tempered man, but he apparently was a man ready to enforce "the letter of the law", as one funny tale about him has him threatening to prosecute those breaking a noise ordinance in Henry County which forbid the use of sleigh bells!


John Carroll Fears married Mary Generose Edelen in 1920
Anna Mae Fears married Simpson D. Wills in 1908
Morgan Penn Fears married Julia Graves Squires in 1919
Virginia Ethington Fears married Clarence Newton Welch in 1926
Joseph Reuben Fears, Jr. married Ocie Grace Carr in 1932
America Kathleen Fears married Shelby Elliston Adams, Jr. in 1926
[Note:  many of these marriages have Henry County connections to other
families there]