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 Elizabeth Ann “Bettie” <I>Bates</I> Drane

Elizabeth Ann “Bettie” Bates Drane

Itta Bena, Leflore County, Mississippi, USA
Death 1 May 1927 (aged 73)
Calvert, Robertson County, Texas, USA
Burial Calvert, Robertson County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 102011468 · View Source
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Elizabeth Ann Bates was born two days after Independence Day 1853 in Itta Bena, in Leflore County, Mississippi, about 80 miles north of Jackson, but the family farm was near Richland in Holmes County, Mississippi. The second of seven children, Elizabeth Ann was "Bettie" to family and friends, and in the 1860 census she was seven years old and attending school. Bettie Bates was the daughter of Joseph Carson Bates from Alabama and Anna Mariah Mitchell of North Carolina. They were a well-to-do farming family, worth nearly fifty thousand dollars per the 1860 census, princely wealth in 1860, and Bettie would have been reared in some comfort.

At age 16 she married Wesley Drane Jr, the namesake and son of a wealthy, Canton, Mississippi attorney and plantation owner, Judge Wesley Drane Sr. of Kentucky and Matilda Susan Field of Virginia. Though only 16, life for Bettie promised to be good. Both Bettie and Wesley had come from well-to-do stock, but they were on the wrong side of the War Between the States, and even though the war had ended four years before their marriage, times were not good. The South was feeling the wrath of the victorious North as more and more carpetbaggers filtered in. Economic and social conditions throughout the South were deteriorating.

Husband Wesley Drane Jr had fought for the Confederacy during the war. Having enlisted as a cavalryman in approximately December, 1863, he soon joined the newly formed Harvey's Scouts. This renowned unit bedeviled the Union's General Sherman, attacking behind his lines as he marched to Atlanta. Wesley had joined the war as a sixteen year old, a year under conscription age, and he likely had lied about his age to do so. Judge Wesley Drane had already lost eldest son Osceola at the first Manassas, and he likely would not have agreed to Wesley's underage enlistment. Yet he and cousins William Bates and Thomas and Scott Field joined up from Canton, Mississippi. They wound up In Harvey's Scouts with first cousins Addison and George Harvey. And they fought alongside one another to the end. Cousins Thomas Field and William Bates were lost in battle… listed in the rolls of Harvey's Scouts who were killed in action. Their cousin and commander Captain Addison Harvey was assassinated; he was killed by a confederate deserter he'd caught trying to steal a horse in Columbus, Georgia on April 20th 1865. The arrested horse thief managed to get a pistol in the night and shot Addison in the back of the head. Soon the unit along with other Confederate troops was surrendered to Union forces. Harvey's Scouts were paroled on May 13th , 1865. The war was over; Wesley was on his way home.

Wesley likely knew Bettie through their mutual first cousins, including the nearest in age, Scott Field. They married on October 20th , 1869. Bettie bore Wesley five children in eleven years: Helen Wesley "Nell", b: 1870; Bettie, b: 1873; Marian, b: 1875; Osceola, b: 1878; and Joe Bates, b: 1881.

According to the 1870 census, by the turn of the decade following the war, the Drane family was doing well. Wesley had become a merchant, and he was worth some nine thousand dollars. However, over the next ten years, fortunes changed. This was likely a result of the collapse of the South's economy after the war, and was also possibly driven by personal family loss.

On Saturday, July 27th, 1878, sorrow struck. Just six weeks after the birth of their first son, daughter Bettie, age 5, died in Goodman, Mississippi. The newborn son was Osceola, namesake of Wesley's elder brother Osceola, who had been wounded at the first Manassas in July of 1861, and had died of his festering wound on Aug 5th , 1861.

The Wesley Drane family fortunes flagged. Wesley was not likely to have been included in the 1863 amnesty granted by President Lincoln to Confederate enlisted men. As part of Harvey's Scouts and his behind-the-lines activities, he probably would have not have been considered a "regular soldier." As such, his fortunes could be slim at home in Mississippi whenever he was asked to show his amnesty papers. By the time of the 1880 census, Bettie, Wesley, and the children were living with Bettie's widowed mother, Anna Moriah Mitchell Bates. Wesley's occupation was listed as: "Has none."

Sometime after the 1880 census, Wesley left Goodman, Mississippi, likely in search of work. He was off to Texas where there was a new railroad going in, the Second Transcontinental Railroad. The Southern Pacific from the west and the Texas and Pacific from the east were in a race and would likely meet in Sierra Blanca, Texas. They would be hiring. Wesley's cousin and Civil War compatriot, Scott Field, had gone west in 1872. Scott had gone to college after the war, had passed the bar and was already in Texas, having set up a law practice in Calvert.

Then word came back to Mississippi that in 1886 Wesley had died in or near Sierra Blanca, in what is now Hudspeth County, Texas, near El Paso. First cousin Scott Field may have been the one who delivered the sad news of Wesley's death. Certainly, Wesley would have stopped in Calvert to visit with his trusted Civil War compatriot while on his way west to the new railroad, and Scott Field would be the closest relative to know Wesley's whereabouts.

A year after Wesley's death in 1886, of exact date and cause unknown, Bettie remarried. In those times remarriage was critical for survival. She traveled the four-day horse ride, about 280 miles northwest, to Morrilton, Arkansas where she wed J.C. Ramsey in 1887. But the marriage didn't last. Bettie had four remaining children to rear, two young boys, ages 6 and 9, and two daughters, ages 11, and 17. By 1889 Ramsey had gone, departed to Louisville, Kentucky where he died only three years later.

And then again sorrow struck. On March 3rd , 1890, twelve-year-old Osceola died in Ft Smith Arkansas. It's not known what took him. Ft Smith was a two days' ride west of Morrilton, about 100 miles, so perhaps Bettie took Osceola for medical care. Or maybe she took the family to Ft Smith when Ramsey left. Whatever the circumstances, the loss must have been doubly devastating; he was the eldest son. Bettie, only 37, had now lost two of her five children and two husbands.

Bettie wrote in her pension application that three years later, in 1893, she traveled to Texas where she spent most of her time until the end of her days. She took eighteen-year-old daughter Marian and twelve-year-old Joe Bates with her, traveling the 400 miles, likely to Calvert and making the trip in about six days. Calvert is located in the center of a triangle formed by Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, and it is where Scott Field had prospered in his law practice. Cousin Scott had done quite well and had even been elected to the Texas Senate. Later, in 1903, he would be elected to the US Congress. Scott and Bettie were first cousins. Scott's mother, Mary Jane Bates, and Bettie's father, Joseph Carson Bates, were siblings. Interestingly, as mentioned before, Wesley Drane and Scott Field were also first cousins. Wesley's mother, Matilda Susan Field, and Scott's father, Henry Field, were siblings. Yet Wesley and Bettie were related only by their marriage.

Eldest daughter, 23 year-old Helen Wesley Drane, known by the nicknames of "Nell" and "Nellie" must have remained behind in Arkansas or even back in Goodman, Mississippi. Instead of going to Texas she traveled to Georgia to marry. The family bible, which Wesley gave Bettie upon their marriage, lists in its section of marriages the following: "Sheridan Sol Smith and Nellie Drane January 14, 1895 Marietta Georgia."

In June 1895, two years after Bettie and the children moved to Texas, and the same year as her sister Nellie married, Marian married Marshall Albert Galbraith in Bonham. She may have met him as she traveled across northeast Texas to Calvert from Ft Smith, Arkansas. The Galbraiths settled in Honey Grove, in Fannin County, Texas.

After Nellie and Sheridan Sol Smith married, they moved to St Louis Missouri where Nellie gave birth to their first child, Marian Drane Smith, on November 5th , 1895. They named her after Nellie's younger sister Marian. Soon they followed in the footsteps of other Drane family members and went west to Texas, moving to Honey Grove to join sister Marian and her husband Marshall. Then, Marian and Marshall were pregnant too, but lost their first child to stillbirth.

in 1897 Marian was again with child and returned the honor of namesake to sister Nell. She gave birth to a daughter on November 6th , 1897, whom she named Nellie Drane Galbraith, after her elder sister, Helen Wesley "Nellie" Drane Galbraith. This tradition of namesake was popular among the Drane children for brother Joe Bates Drane later named his second daughter Helen Wesley Drane.

Sadly, only two years after the birth of daughter Nellie, on Saturday, July 8th , 1899, Marian Drane Galbraith died in childbirth, in Honey Grove, Texas. The finality was that Bettie Drane had now outlived three of her children. Only twenty-nine year old Nell and eighteen year old Joe Bates remained of her five children.

After Marian's death Nellie and Sheridan soon departed Honey Grove, taking daughter Marian Drane Smith back to St Louis, to Webster Groves, where they were recorded in the 1900 census. Bettie had remained in Honey Grove, living with her widower son-in-law, Marshall Albert Galbraith, along with son Joe Bates Drane, and granddaughter Nellie Drane Galbraith. For that 1900 census Bettie still used the last name Ramsey, but she later said in her Confederate Pension Application that she had soon resumed her former married surname, Drane.

On March 24th , 1904, Nellie and Sheridan Sol gave birth to their second daughter, Josephine Mitchell Smith. Josephine became a school teacher and professor of psychology at the University of Kansas and did not marry. During World War II she joined the Army. She died at age forty, on May 5th, 1944 of toxemia of unknown cause while stationed at Camp Butler, North Carolina. She was a private. Jo, as she was known by her family, was surrounded by family when she passed away.

Bettie's surviving son, Joe Bates Drane, too went back to St Louis, where he married Beulah Willie Yerkes in 1905. Beulah was born 3 Mar 1880 in Little Rock, Arkansas to Elias Conway Yerkes, 20 Oct 1856 - 15 Feb 1925, and Cora Justine Porter 22 Mar 1855 – 2 Feb 1949. Beulah had moved to St Louis by 1900. After their marriage on August 9th , 1905, Joe and Beulah moved to Macon, Georgia, where Beulah gave birth to two of their five children, Clifford Conway, b: 4 Jun 1906; and Beulah Elizabeth, b: 20 March 1910. They moved to Waycross Georgia, where they had two more of their five offspring: Helen Wesley, 26 Nov 1912 – 27 Nov 1983; and Virginia Justine, 11 Jun 1914 – 11 Nov 1993.

The Drane family moved to Webster Groves Missouri where the last of the children, Joe Bates Drane Jr , 20 Dec 1917 – 5 Nov 1990, was born.

Bettie Bates Drane had, by the 1910 Census, moved to Webster Groves, Missouri, where she resided with eldest and sole surviving daughter Nellie, her husband Sheridan Sol Smith, and their children Marian and Josephine. In 1920 Bettie was back with the Smiths in time for the census again.

In 1926, son Joe B. Drane took the family to Texas, to Houston, in search of specialized medical care for their youngest daughter Virginia Justine. Betty too had returned to Texas by 1926 and was living again in the home of cousin Scott Field. She joined son Joe and family in Houston after they arrived there. Back and forth she went, visiting among the homes of son Joe, daughter Nellie, and cousin the Hon. Scott Field.

But now it was the winter of 1926-27. Bettie was 73 years old. She had lived a difficult life, filled with hardship and loss. Now she'd been informed of the Texas law that provided a modest pension for widows of Confederate soldiers. So apply she did. In that application are her words, her narrative of what happened with her life, her husbands, and her travels. She describes Wesley Drane's service to the Confederacy, bringing alive the difficult struggles. Cousin Scott Field, former Texas Senator, US Congressman, and fellow Confederate who fought laongside Wesley for the duration of the war, went to work on her behalf to prove up her application. Written in his hand are letters of recommendation. Two additional, former Confederate soldiers who had served with Wesley Drane, George W. Sirrine and W. H. Howcott, came forward and swore to Wesley's service in Harvey's Scouts. Scott coordinated the efforts, and himself a Harvey's Scout, added his own personal testimony to Wesley's service. In two months Bettie's application was approved by the Texas State Comptroller. More than sixty years after the war's end Bettie was eligible to receive a $16 monthly pension. For the first time since the loss of her second husband J. C. Ramsey, she had means of support. But ironically, after all those years she may never have received any payment.

Bettie was approved to receive a pension effective March 1st , 1927. But on April 18th , she became ill with a kidney ailment. Dr Parker, her attending physician in Calvert, could not cure her, and she deteriorated for the next two weeks. Betty died of uremia on May 1st , 1927 in the home of the Hon. Scott Field in Calvert, her son Joe by her side. Elizabeth Ann Bates Drane, age 73, wife of our great grandfather and Civil War Soldier, Wesley Drane, mother of our grandparents, Helen Wesley Drane, Bettie Drane, Marian Drane, Osceola Drane, and Joe Bates Drane Sr, and grandmother of our parents, was buried in the Calvert City Cemetery on May 2nd , 1927. She had lived the life of a frontierswoman, and she had honorably carried the Drane name.

Texas Certificate of Death
Elizabeth Bates Drane, "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976"
Name: Elizabeth Bates Drane
Event Date: 01 May 1927
Event Place: Calvert, Robertson, Texas
Gender: Female
Race (Original): White
Age (Formatted): 73 years 9 months 21 days
Birth Year (Estimated):
Birth Date: 06 Jul 1853
Birthplace: Itabsna, Holace County, Georgia (error - Itta Bena is in Mississippi)
Marital Status: Widowed
Spouse's Name:
Father's Name: Joe Bates
Father's Birthplace: Alabama
Mother's Name: Anna Marie Mitchell
Mother's Birthplace: North Carolina
Residence Place:
Cemetery (Original): Calvert City Cemetery
Burial Place: Calvert City Cemetery
Burial Date: 02 May 1927
Informant's Name (Original): Joe Bates Drane of Houston (son)
GS Film number: 2114277
Digital Folder Number: 4165539
Image Number: 2375
Reference ID: cn 17722
Citing this Record
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Apr 2013), Elizabeth Bates Drane, 01 May 1927.

Family Members





  • Maintained by: Dr Joe B. Drane III
  • Originally Created by: Ricky Joe
  • Added: 11 Dec 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 102011468
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Elizabeth Ann “Bettie” Bates Drane (6 Jul 1853–1 May 1927), Find A Grave Memorial no. 102011468, citing Calvert City Cemetery, Calvert, Robertson County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Dr Joe B. Drane III (contributor 47348300) .