I originally wrote this on May 18th, 2012.
This is being written to prove to other researchers who care to have accurate information in their tree that:
1. Mary Jane Bowling, the mistress of Jesse Radford and wife of Solomon Hensley
2. Mahala Bowling, wife of George Hensley
3. Mahala Boling, wife of Simon Pfaff
Are THREE, DISTINCT, DIFFERENT individuals. Dozens and dozens of family trees here on Ancestry.com and other places online have combined these three people’s information at will, some even forming the conclusion that all 3 were the same people, though most confuse number’s 1 and 2, or number’s 2 and 3. All over the internet and on Ancestry, researchers have listed Jesse Radford’s mistress as Mary Jane “Mahala” Bowling, but with a little bit of research, one can find that Mary Jane’s name was never Mahala, and though they both married Hensley men, they were still not the same person.
The number 1 best piece of evidence differentiating these 3 women is the 1880 Census, where all 3 appear in different households.
1. MARY JANE BOWLING – Was the daughter of JAMES BOWLING and DELILAH HOLLAND. She was born 15 Mar 1854 in Clay County (Source: Kentucky Birth Records, 1852-1910 – Ancestry.com). She is found in the 1860 Census in her parents’ household in Clay County, Kentucky. She is found in the 1870 Census in the household of her aunt and uncle, Jesse and Grace Holland Radford in Precinct 4, Clay County, Kentucky. It is then she began having children with Jesse as his mistress; she had at least 6 that we know of. In 1880, while apparently pregnant with another child of Jesse’s (Mahala), she married a Solomon Hensley, a cousin of the Holland family. She is found in the 1880 Census in Leslie County, Kentucky, just 2 households from Jesse and Grace, with Solomon and a daughter she had with Jesse, Elizabeth. 2 months prior to the 1880 Census, she’d given birth to Mahala, another child with Jesse. And apparently their affair did not end even though she married, as she gave birth to Clark Levy in 1881. No children between Mary Jane and Solomon have been identified or found. Supposedly, Mary Jane moved to Arkansas with the Radford’s and Holland’s, and died there around 1888. As best as we can tell, Clark was her last child with Jesse. (We assume he was Jesse’s and not Hensley’s because he went by the last name Radford; his death record lists his parents as Jesse Radford and Mary Boland, which is one of the many misspellings of Bowling that are out there.)
2. MAHALA BOWLING – Was the daughter of ADDISON [Adam] BOWLING and ELIZA BENGE. She was born about 1858, four years after Mary Jane. She is found in the 1860 Census in the household of her parents in Clay County, Kentucky. She is found in her parents’ household again in 1870 in Precinct 2, Clay County, Kentucky. She married George Hensley on 27 Mar 1877 in Clay County, Kentucky (Source: Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979 – FamilySearch.org). Her name appears on her son Alfred’s birth record on 29 Mar 1878 in Clay County as “Mahaly Bowlin” (Source: Kentucky Birth Records, 1852-1910 – Ancestry.com). George must have died by 1880, because in the 1880 Census she is still in her parents’ household in Pigeon Roost, Clay County, Kentucky, without George, but with Alfred and another son, Newton. Newton is shown to be 4 months old. This is important, because should anyone continue to insist that Mahala and Mary Jane were the same person, they could ask themselves how the same woman could have Newton Bowling and Mahala Bowling with 2 different father’s only 2 months apart. Clearly, this is not possible, so clearly, these are 2 different women.
3. MAHALA BOWLING – Was the daughter of JOHN BOWLING and ORAH ASHER. She was born in September of 1870, at least 11 years after the birth of the previously discussed Mahala Bowling (Source: 1900 Census). She is found in the 1880 Census in a household with her siblings, with her sister Lucinda Bowling as the head of the household. Despite the 10 year age difference between she and the previously mentioned Mahala Bowling, many researchers contend that the other Mahala married Simon Pfaff, but it was this Mahala who married Simon Pfaff, as evidenced by the clear significant difference in their ages.
So please, use this information as a guide. Do not apply Mary Jane’s and Mahala’s information to one another, and do not apply Mahala wife of Simon Pfaff’s information to Mahala wife of George Hensley’s information. If anyone would like to argue any of these points, please feel free to contact me, but I’m quite certain this information is accurate. Thank you.