Mary and Martha Hinkle

Mary (left) and Martha Hinkle

Real Name: Martha Lois Hinkle
Case: Lost Sister
Location: Greenville, Tennessee
Date: July 1924


Details: Mary and Martha Hinkle were twin daughters of Greenville, Tennessee sharecropper Rufus Hinkle. After the twins' birth in the summer of 1924, their mother passed away. Since Rufus was now widowed and had to take care of nine other children, he felt that he had to give the twins away. He took them to a nearby orphanage, but hoped that one day, when his finances improved, he would be able to take them back. A few months later, however, he returned to the orphanage and learned that the twins had been adopted. Sadly, Rufus passed away in 1950 without ever seeing his daughters again.
After Rufus's death, his children began to search for the twins. One of the sons, Albert "Shorty" Hinkle, contacted the orphanage and they gave him Mary's adopted name. In September 1955, Mary was reunited with Shorty and the rest of her biological family. She was then told that she had a twin sister. Since then, she and her family has been searching for Martha.
There was trouble at first, however, because the orphanage had lost track of her. In fact, she had never been officially adopted, but was instead placed in a temporary home. In 1985, Rufus' granddaughter, Jackie Reynolds, discovered orphanage records which stated that Martha had been taken in by Charles and Lydia Meeks of Johnson City, Tennessee, in November 1924. Jackie searched through old census records in Johnson City. However, she could find no further trace of the Meeks or Martha. The Hinkle family is still hoping to be reunited with her.

Hinkle Family reunited

Hinkle family reunited

Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 24, 1990 episode.
Results: Solved. A viewer, Sandy Detain, contacted the Hinkle family saying she had found Martha. She had lived with the Meeks for three years, but was later taken in by the Dan Jackson family of Johnson County, Georgia. In 1940, she married James Thomas and they had four sons. Tragically, she passed away in April 1991, just weeks before the Hinkle family found her. However, in July 1991, they were reunited with her sons.

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