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Feature Story

The Death of Virginia Travis-Robert Johnson’s Wife

Of all the events in Robert Johnson’s short life the one that might have had the most impact may have been the death of his young wife, Virginia. Robert and Virginia Travis were married in Penton, Mississippi, on February 17, 1929. They lied on their marriage record, Robert claiming he was 21 and Virginia stating she was 18, when he was really 17 and she was only 14. Johnson had already been a performer before get-ting married, but apparently he loved his young wife enough to put his music playing on hold and try family life and farming, an occupation from which he had always run. 
The young couple moved to a farm in Bolivar County, Mississippi, where Johnson’s older step-sister Bessie and her husband, Granville Hines, were living. There the couple lived for over a year until a pregnant Virginia decided to leave Robert and the farm to have her baby in her family’s care in Penton. Virginia died in childbirth at two a.m. on Thursday April 10, 1930, without Robert at her side. G. M. Shaw …

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