Trinnie Ward


An Early, Longtime Resident of McDowell Co, WV 



My grandmother was born Serena Trinville Ward in Johnson Co, KY on 26 Nov 1893 to Elzie Edmund Ward and Mary Jane Scarberry/Lyons Castle.  Trinnie was named after her aunt Serena Trinville Ward, the sister of Trinnie’s father Elzie Ward, but she did not like the name Serena and changed it, on her own, to Irene Trinville.  My sister “Tiny” Eleanor Irene Stanley was named after our grandmother and Eleanor Roosevelt. 


Trinnie married in 1907 at age 14 to Charlie Dollarhide who was a descendant of Mary Boone, the sister of Daniel Boone.  To this union was born one daughter whose family history is the most compelling of any of Trinnie’s children.  Trinnie’s life took many turns in her early years as evidenced by her enumeration on the 1910 Rural Paintsville, Johnson Co, KY census, living back in the home of her parents Elzie and Mary Ward with a five months old baby, her first born, my mother, Goldie May Boling b. 28 Nov 1909, the issue of forty two year old Horatio Seymour Boling who was married to Sarah Blevins.  My mother’s only full sibling, “Frankie” Sarah Francis Boling, was born 21 Mar 1912 in Johnson Co, documenting a long term affair from at least Mar 1909 to Jul 1911 between their mother Trinnie Dollarhide and father Seymour Boling.  



Trinnie had a daughter with Charlie Dollarhide in 1915, after which Charlie died, and then a son with James Preston Jennings in 1918 Mingo Co, WV.  Press Jennings and Trinnie may or may not have been married “on paper” but many researchers have searched for a marriage record without success; or they may have “jumped the broom”, an honour-bound hill ceremony whereupon two people enter a common law marital arrangement.   Regardless of how they united, they had a long term relationship from at least 1917 to1928 to which was born four of the finest citizens McDowell County ever claimed.  A baby son, Jay, died as a toddler when his nightgown caught fire as he walked past a pot bellied stove.  Press died in 1928 and was taken by train from Coalwood to KY for burial.  He owned a sawmill in Coalwood, and Trinnie ran the boarding house where his crew stayed.   The picture on the left below is J. P. Jennings (seated) and an unknown man.  The picture on the right is Trinnie with six of her children and two of their cousins in 1923 McDowell Co. 




Trinnie was known all over McDowell Co for her culinary and sewing skills.  She made clothes for people to make money to help support her children after Press Jennings died, among other jobs she did over the years.  I’m sure Trinnie did what she had to do to survive, being widowed twice and having all those children depending on her; it is not for us to judge.  She cleaned houses and cooked for people in exchange for hand-me-down clothing, left over food, and last year’s school books, which had to be purchased at that time.  She, and some of the kids, worked in harvest fields for fifty cents a day.  During the depression Trinnie made moonshine and, again, did whatever she had to do to make ends meet.  The picture below is of Trinnie and two moonshine customers, with my mother’s sister Frankie on the left, and my mother, who was a teetotaler, standing off to herself on the right.  Trinnie has her money roll from moonshine sales toward the bottom of her stocking where it was less likely to be taken from her. 



My most prominent memory of Trinnie was going to her house one time to visit; she was making noodles.  She mixed the noodle dough in a teacup with a teaspoon!  There were mounds of noodles in various stages of production on the table, some rolled out ready to cut into strings, some strings laying flat to dry, other noodles in piles ready to be bagged, and among all this business, Trinnie managed to wring a chicken’s neck, pluck it, singe it, cut it up and make chicken and dumplings, using her just-made homemade noodles in the dumpling gravy.  Lordy mercy!  My Mom once paid me the high compliment that I made the best biscuits she had ever eaten, but I have never been able to duplicate Trinnie’s dumpling gravy.  I still get cravings for it to this day. 


Trinnie was a devout Christian in her later years.  She was married to Aldie Steel and lived at Union City, which is called Long Bottom.  She owned a little house there. 


Aldie Steel

Trinnie died 1 Apr 1951 at our house in Hensley.  She is buried at Roderfield Cemetery near Iaeger. 




If anyone remembers Trinnie, or any of her children, I would love to hear from you.  Any remembrances or pictures of them would be very much appreciated.  I am happy to share any documents and pictures I have. 


christine hayes 

(micky stanley) 



McDowell County