He was the son of William Bethea and Olivia Pierce Bethea, and was the husband of Christian Bethune Bethea.
He was a member of the Home Guard during the Civil War and participated in a raid against the Maple Swamp Deserters who were camped out at Donaho Bay. He was wounded in the incident.
In addition to the children listed below is a son, Chesley Bethea. He died while in the Confederate Army. And a daughter, Caroline Pearce Bethea Bethea. She was the wife of Calvin Cade Bethea and is buried in Texas.