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Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small continues the challenge to the geneablogging world to write a blog post weekly on one ancestor. This could be a photo, a story, biography, or a post on the weekly theme. To read her challenge please go to Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. Feel free to join in at any time! This week’s theme is “Close to Home.”

I had started this post in a completely different direction but realized it will need to be used for something else as it has been quite time consuming. So in keeping with the prompts that Amy has suggested: “Which ancestor is the closest to where you live? Who has a story that hits ‘close to home’?” – I have decided to write about an ancestor who has lived close to where I live.

After high school, I moved from the area where I was born and raised in Ohio to the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. All of my closest direct ancestors were either Ohio or Indiana born and raised. Very few of them ventured far from there – except my maternal great-grandmother who moved to Oregon. Since I still live in Texas, I will have to go “off-roading” – in other words, find a distant, collateral relative and not a direct ancestor.

e a johnson

Elbridge Arno Johnson and I share the same kinship three times! He is my second cousin twice removed on my maternal grandfather’s Johnson side.  The common ancestor we share would be Jacob Johnson who is Elbridge’s great-grandfather and my 3rd great-grandfather. Elbridge’s grandfather, John J. Johnson, and my 2nd great-grandfather, James W. Johnson, were brothers. Elbridge’s grandmother, Dolly Mullis (John J. Johnson’s wife), and my 2nd great-grandmother, Amanda Mullis (wife of James W. Johnson), were sisters giving us a common ancestor of John Mullis – who would be my 3rd great-grandfather.  Still second cousin twice removed through the Mullis line! And now for the third line – we share the common ancestor of John Blazer who is the grandfather of Elbridge’s mother, Rosa Jane Hawkins, and is the grandfather of my great-grandmother, Katie J Blazer – making John Blazer my 3rd great-grandfather!

E.A. Johnson was born to John Marshall Johnson and Rosa Jane Hawkins on January 15, 1883 in Cicero, Indiana. In 1900 at the age of 17, he is still residing in Indiana with his parents, three brothers, and a sister as located on the census of White River, Hamilton, Indiana. Sometime between that census and February 1, 1905 – perhaps to attend college – Elbridge moved to Houston, Texas. There at 22 years old, he married 25 year old Elpha Rhoda Stewart, daughter of John T Stewart and Anna M Keifer. Elpha was born in Ohio but by the 1900 census, the Stewart family was living in Greencastle, Indiana. She gave birth to their first child – a daughter, Lucille Agnes Johnson, on August 4, 1906 – probably in Houston. A few years later on September 22, 1909, the couple’s second child, a son, was born. He was named Stewart Arno Johnson.

By the 1910 census, the family of four is living in Texas City near Galveston, Texas. Elbridge lists his occupation as a laborer doing “general laboring” while Elpha is listed as a housewife. On April 28, 1915 the couple’s third child and second son arrived. On the boy’s birth certificate, E.A. is listed as a Construction Foreman. A few months later on the Military Registration Card (WWI), his occupation is listed as Foreman at Pierce Oil Corporation. A few years later, it would become the Pierce Petroleum Company. On the 1920 Census the family of five is living in a rented home located on Broadway in LaPorte, Texas. Elbridge is listed as a Superintendant at an oil factory.

Ten years later, the family owns a home worth $6500 in Webb county, Texas and has the same occupation as in 1920. A year later, on October 24, 1931, Lucille married Samuel McInnis Campbell in Vernon, Louisiana. By 1935 the Johnson family returned to Texas City and purchased a home located at 231 11th Avenue valued at $5000. On April 18, 1936 Stewart Arno Johnson (also called Arno Stewart Johnson) married Lorrain Adell Johnson.  Elbridge and Elpha continue to reside on 11th Avenue through the 1940 census.

E.A. Johnson was elected Mayor of Texas City and served until 1946. Before his death, he and Elpha were residing at 1107 10th Street North in Texas City. He died on January 18, 1970 at the Texas City Nursing Home and was buried at Galveston Memorial Park. His death certificate gives the cause of death as acute pulmonary infarction due to acute recurring pancreatitis; generalized arteriosclerosis. Elpha died a day short of the third anniversary of her husband’s death – January 17, 1973. Their daughter, Lucille, died on March 8, 1984 and then on July 29 her husband, Samuel, died – and their daughter, Carolyn, died a few months later on November 24. Stewart Arno Johnson died on June 17, 1988. As far as I can tell, the third son is still living as are the children of Stewart Arno.

These are the closest “shirt tail” relatives I have found living in Texas (this does not include a really, really close relative – my sister!)  It is also interesting to be able to have a distant cousin who I am related to in the same kinship fashion via three different lines!

howard-name-design2

In the previous installment, I introduced you to Clara Margaret Badger and Howard William Day’s daughter, Clara Marie Day. Clara Marie was the half-sister of Eva Johnson (my grandfather’s foster sister).

The second child born to Clara Badger and Howard Day was Howard Harold Day (predominantly called “Harold”). He arrived when his older sister, Clara Marie, was 21 days shy of her first birthday. After losing their mother at a very young age, he was also sent to live with Anne Chilian “Day” where he and his two siblings were located in the 1930 census in Beech Creek, Indiana.

Locating “Harold” in the 1940 census was a bit tricky. At some point prior to 1940, the father, Howard William Day, changed his surname to Daley – perhaps because on his WWI Registration Card there is a word at the bottom by his signature – “Deserter.” 

howard day deserter ww1 registration

 

Via the name change from Day to Daley is how I was able to locate the oldest son of Clara and Howard. At eighteen years of age, “Harold” was living in the household of his father and step-mother, Ella (Garringer), in Chicago, Illinois. Their address was 920 N. Fairfield. The home is still standing today and Trulia.com explains that it is a multi-family property of two units with 2 baths and over 2800 square feet built in 1909. It has two stories and a basement.

920 N Fairfield Avenue Chicago Illinois

Those living in the household included Howard William (Day) Daley’s son from his first marriage (Clara Badger was his third marriage) – Howard age 26 as well as his youngest son with Clara – Verle age 15.  Also living in the household were Howard and Ella Daley’s two sons, Robert age 8 and Donald age 2. All of the children were listed under the Daley surname. Howard (the Senior), Howard (the younger), and Ella all worked in the laundry and “Harold” (subject of this sketch) was a laborer.

Howard Day Daley 1940 Census Chicago Illinois

 

Within the next year, “Harold” married Audine Adele Pyne, who was born and lived in California. The couple had four children. Daughter, Barbara J. Day, was born on April 28, 1944 in Alameda and died on October 3, 2012. Son, Lyle Howard Day, was born on July 22, 1952 also in Alameda. He died on February 24, 1990. The other children may still be living so no further information is provided.

“Harold” died in Los Angeles on November 28, 1975 and was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park. His wife, Audine, remarried after Harold’s death. She passed away on February 13, 2000.

 

In my last post, Who Is Clara Badger?, I mentioned that Clara Badger, birth mother of my grandfather’s foster sister, Eva Johnson, had married Howard William Day and given birth to four children – one daughter, a son, and twin boys. One of the twins, Earl, died at the end of November 1924, at the age of six months, and Clara died a month later. What happened to the other children – Eva’s half sister and brothers?

clara marie day

Clara and Howard’s oldest child, Clara Marie Badger (not to be confused with Clara Margaret Badger, who is the subject of this series), was born on February 5, 1922 probably in Indianapolis. Her birth came just 24 days after her parents, Clara Margaret Badger and Howard William Day were married in Marion county. Little Clara lost her mother when she was not quite 3 years old.  In the 1930 census, she is living in the home of Anne Day in Beech Creek, Greene county, Indiana. (Anne was never a “Day” – she was Howard’s “adoptive” mother and there was no blood relation.) In the same household was Anne’s brother, Henry Chilian, and Clara Marie’s brothers – Harold and Verle. Anne is listed as the children’s grandmother. Their father, Howard Day, is not living in the household. When Clara was just a tad over 16, she married Frederick A. Garringer in Marion county on June 5, 1938. Two years later, the couple is found in the 1940 census living at 2449 Van Buren Street in Chicago. Their residence was one of several in an apartment building. They rented their apartment for $13 a month and was a few blocks from Lake Michigan. She is age 18 and he is listed as age 25. Clara only completed the 8th grade but her husband had finished one year of high school. Both of them worked for a wet wash laundry. He was the night watchman and she was a “shaker.”  In 1940, they are also listed in the directory for Indianapolis living at 2828 Clifton, Apt. 7, and listed Fred’s occupation as a laborer. I don’t know if they moved back to Indy from Chicago or vice versa. Clara Marie (or “Marie” as she was frequently called) and Fred had a son and a daughter.

Marie and Fred’s son, Fred Arnon Garringer Jr. was born on November 14, 1940 in Indianapolis and died on August 27, 2014. He and his wife had five children and twelve grandchildren.

Their daughter, Mary Margaret Garringer was born on October 4, 1942. She married John R. Atkins. Mary died on December 3, 1986 in Martinsville, Indiana.

Clara Marie Day Garringer died on January 18, 1997. Her husband, Fred A. Garringer died 16 years earlier on May 13, 1981. They are both buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

(photo of Clara Marie Day Garringer originally shared on Ancestry.com by Elizabeth Day Martin – no infringement intended or implied)

52ancestors-2015

I knew – based on my grandfather’s genealogy notes – that his maternal grandfather was Franklin Blazer. Close to fifteen years ago, a close friend took me to the Dallas Public Library so we could peruse census records on microfilm. She showed me how to check in to the Genealogy area, where to locate index books, and then how to find the correct microfilm. I will be forever grateful to her because I wouldn’t have gone by myself. What I learned that day kept the fire alive to find out more and more information!  That was a very good deed on her part!

Looking in Madison county, Indiana for a Blazer family in the 1850 census, I only located one. Within that household I saw the name of Franklin, age 14, putting his birth about 1836. My second great-grandmother was born in 1832 so Franklin’s birth year seemed probable. He was living with John and Mary Ann Blazer. The other children included Elizabeth, John P., Mary Jane and George. Unfortunately, the census did not give a location for Franklin’s birth.  I noted the ages of all inhabitants and went forward to the 1860 census. I found John and Mary Ann but no Franklin or Frank Blazer living anywhere in Indiana (nor did I find my 2nd great-grandmother, Melissa Goul). Oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was no longer living in the household but John P., Mary Jane, and George were still there. Father, John, was born about 1810 in Ohio and Mary Ann was born about 1813 in Virginia.

In order to determine who John Blazer’s parents were in order to go back one more generation, I had to wait. There were several people researching ancestors with the surname Blazer, but I couldn’t connect my third great-grandfather with any of them. Maybe if he had a very unique first name I might have been able to but with the given name of John, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack!

I ran across a biography of Samuel Blazer printed in The Biographical and Historical Record of Jay County, Indiana published in 1887 by the Lewis Publishing Company in Chicago. Located on page 353 was this little tidbit:

Samuel BLAZER, one of the old and honored pioneers of Greene Township, has been identified with the interests of Jay County since 1838. He was born in Gallia County, Ohio, August 2, 1813, a son of Philip and Elizabeth BLAZER, who were natives of Pennsylvania, and of Dutch descent.

A few lines later, as the article mentioned those children of Philip and Elizabeth Blazer, I saw this:

John, another son, settled in Madison County, Indiana, and died a few years since…

That seemed to confirm for me that my third great-grandfather was the son of Philip and Elizabeth Blazer. I added one more generation and learned the identities of John’s siblings. But it wasn’t until I went to the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records that I found John Blazer who purchased 80 acres in Madison county, Indiana north of Pendleton in 1835. Looking at the image of the Patent Record, I was excited to read: “John Blazer of Gallia County, Ohio…” John Blazer also bought 80 acres in August 1838 located west of Pendleton in Madison county.

I found out who my third great-grandfather was by way of a good deed of my friend and consequently was able to identify my fourth great-grandparents, Philip and Elizabeth Blazer!

Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small continues the challenge to the geneablogging world to write a blog post weekly on one ancestor. This could be a photo, a story, biography, or a post on the weekly theme. To read her challenge please go to Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. Feel free to join in at any time! This week’s theme is “Good Deeds.”

john lafayette johnson birthday 001

This is a picture that my mother told me was taken for my great-grandfather’s birthday. When I asked her who everyone was (besides those whom I knew), I don’t remember if she told me or if she just said “relations.” I’ve slept since then and of course – it is NOT WRITTEN on the back of the picture. I dug it out again last week and decided it was time I tried to figure out who was at the birthday celebration.

I knew it was taken in 1939 – two months before my great-grandfather (he’s the older man on the far right), John Lafayette Johnson, passed away from pancreatic cancer. Even if I hadn’t been told that was the year, I could look at the image of my mother – third from the left in the sweater with the “B” on it – and know that she was still in high school. In 1939, she was 17 and played basketball for her high school, Bath Consolidated Schools, located in Bath Township, Greene county, Ohio. My great-grandmother, Katie (Blazer) Johnson, had passed away in 1930 of stomach cancer which explains why she wasn’t in the picture.

I knew the photo was taken in front of the home on Ohio Street in Fairfield (now Fairborn, Ohio) because I have seen other pictures of the same house and in the 1940 census, my grandparents were still residing there. My first thought upon seeing all the other people was that it was Johnson relatives, but when I shared it with some distant cousins hoping they would recognize someone, it was a bust. Anyone that it might have been had already died by 1939. Besides, the Johnson relatives lived in Indiana.

So I turned to my great-grandmother’s family. They lived in Urbana, Ohio – about an hour’s travel today. Her brother, Wesley Blazer, was still living in 1939 but I had never seen a picture of him. His son, Glen O. Blazer, I had known and had pictures that I could compare as well as his wife, son, and sister. Below are the comparisons. The picture on the right was taken in 1976. Looking at the ears, chin, mouth, nose and eyes led me to believe this was Glen. Based on that deduction, all I needed to do was compare photos of his wife, Nina (Cushman) Blazer, and his sister, Ada D. Blazer, as well as place them in that time frame.

glen blazer comparison

Below, the picture on the right of Nina Cushman Blazer (Glen’s wife) was taken at a reunion in 1969 – 30 years after the one on the left.

nina cushman blazer comparison

The comparison collage below of Ada Dell Blazer show how she looked in 1939 (left), around 1918 (top right), and at a reunion in the early 1970s (bottom right).

ada blazer comparison

Based on the photographic evidence, I was able to see the picture more clearly (pun intended!). Since Wesley Blazer was still living and would have been 76 years old, I believe he is the gentleman with the hat sixth from the left. The young man standing just over Nina’s shoulder would be Marion Blazer – son of Glen and Nina. In 1939 he was about 16 years old. The man peaking out from behind Ada’s head would be her second husband, John Black, and their daughter would be in front of her.

Below is the photo after I added the names of those in the picture.

john lafayette johnson birthday

 And just for more comparison – here’s a few photos taken in 1969 and the early 1970s that include my grandparents, Glen & Vesta Johnson, as well as Glen and Nina Blazer, and Ada (Blazer) Black.

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glen_gleno_nina_ada

2000px-Broken_heart

It’s not just a line from The Righteous Brothers song – it also explains which ancestors I choose to research until the cows come home. Most are not direct ancestors but collaterals. Nieces of great-grandfathers, distant cousins of a 2nd great-grandmother, relatives of an aunt’s in-law, etc. These are people who I have found in newspapers and court documents due to a dispute – sometimes with a neighbor but most times with their spouse. Disputes that turn ugly and full of scandal. Why do I enjoy spending countless hours of research on these people? Because there is so much to find! They are fascinating, full of dramatic details, and even a little sad.

Since my paternal side hails from Coshocton, Ohio, I have found a wealth of news articles on many of those relatives. Skeletons in the closet do not make me bat an eye or shy away from digging deeper. I want to know what type of circumstances – environmental, genetic, or social – led up to whatever scandal or drama happened. Was that a turning point in that person’s life – for better or worse? Did that person ever seem to achieve happiness within their life? Are their descendants aware of these troubles?

I also love to do research to flesh out a mystery. If you’ve been following my Genealogy Mystery posts, then you are aware that I’m trying to solve a mystery for someone – related to me as my grandfather’s foster sister’s biological daughter. Broken hearts prevail in that story as well.

Unfortunately, most of us have had to live through heartbreak – in whatever form it took: the loss of a close family member due to death; watching a loved one suffer through disease or mental illness; a divorce or split in a marriage or partnership; loss of a job that caused a domino affect in everything else; a disaster such as flooding, tornado, hurricane, dust bowl or fire that created a tremendous loss and hardship; or being a victim of a crime. Stories of our ancestors and their families could possibly be our stories – human stories. What we find in researching makes our ancestors real life people – not just a name with dates of birth and death. And that is the main reason that I do this research.

Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small continues the challenge to the geneablogging world to write a blog post weekly on one ancestor. This could be a photo, a story, biography, or a post on the weekly theme. To read her challenge please go to Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. Feel free to join in at any time! This week’s theme is “Love.”

(Image attribution: By Corazón.svg: User:Fibonacci derivative work: Eviatar Bach (Corazón.svg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

clara graphic

Armed with what seemed to be the correct names of Eva Johnson’s biological parents, I decided to see what I could find in online databases of FamilySearch. It wasn’t the primary name of Clara Badger that steered me to the correct person, but instead it was the name of another – “she wanted to marry Fred Blackburn.” As soon as I plugged in the primary name of “Clara Badger” with a spouse of “Blackburn,” I received a hit. In the Indiana Marriages from 1780-1992 index, a record popped up. Fred Blackburn married Clara Badger on May 13, 1911 in Marion county, Indianapolis. Clara’s parents were listed as Edmund Badger and Myra Sprankle. That was just seven months after Clara gave birth to Eva. I had finally found the correct person as well as had the names of Clara’s parents! In another index, her father is listed as Edward Badger. When she married Fred Blackburn, Clara’s age was reported as 19 which would put her birth about 1892. Her place of birth was listed as Covington, Indiana located on the western side of the state in Fountain county. Other items I found include a listing in the May 14, 1911 edition of The Indianapolis Star on page 32 that Fred and Clara received a marriage license.

Armed with that information, I was able to locate the family in the 1900 census living in Indianapolis. Edward, age 38, is listed as the head of house. His month and year of birth is not listed. His place of birth as well as his parents is reported as Indiana and his occupation is a helper at a saw factory – probably at E.C. Atkins & Company located on South Illinois in Indianapolis. The home at 509 Senate Avenue where the family is residing is rented. Today, the address shows up on Google Earth as being in the middle of the street with the Cosmopolitan apartments on one side and a small building of stores on the other. The wife’s name on this census is listed as Miriam, age 26, born in Ohio. Her month and year of birth is also not included. Her father was born in Pennsylvania and her mother in Ohio. She can read but not write. Their children living in the home – all born in Indiana – include Clara, age 8, born December 1891; Albert, age 6, born September 1893; Theodore, age 5, born May 1895; Ethel, age 2, born June 1897; and Jessie, age 9 months, born September 1899. The household also includes Edward’s brother, Albert, age 40, born in Indiana. This census provided names and ages of not only Clara’s siblings but also of an uncle and indicated birth places for both sets of her grandparents.

On Ancestry, I came across a Family Tree (which are not sources in and of themselves but sometimes a good way to glean further information), I entered the name Clara Blackburn and Indiana as the location hoping to locate a census record during her marriage to Fred Blackburn. What I found was her name listed as Clara Margaret Badger Blackburn married to Howard William Day. That made me pause. Another record turned up a story item under Day that read in part:

Howard married again on January 12, 1922 to Clara Margaret Blackburn.  She was married previously to Fred Blackburn.  Their [sic] were no children and the divorce became final January  11, 1922.  Her maiden name was Badger, and her birthday was given as December 28, 1892. (1)

The discrepancy was the year of her birth. According to the 1900 census, it was December 1891; however, I have found more than I care to count the number of times the census year is a year off from the birth year. That really didn’t bother me, but it was something to consider moving forward. If the information above is believed, then Clara married Howard Day one day after she divorced Fred Blackburn. In the November 9, 1920 edition of The Indianapolis Star under News of Courts for Superior Court is an item that reads: “10584. Clara Blackburn vs. Frederick Blackburn. Divorce. Morris A. Silverman.” In The Indianapolis Star on December 23, 1921 reports the same type of case except this time it was Fred Blackburn vs. Clara Blackburn. That would mean she and Fred had been married for almost eleven years without having any children.

The marriage certificate lists their full names as Howard William Day and Clara Margaret Blackburn and shows they applied for a marriage license the same day they were wed by a minister who signed his name as G.E. Dething. The story on a Family Tree in Ancestry continued to report that they had four children: a daughter, Clara Marie born a month after their marriage, a son Howard born a year later, and twin sons, Verle and Earl, born the following year. Now if I was the speculating type (and in genealogy that is a big no-no!), I would presume that there was a good chance that Fred Blackburn had not been able to father children, the couple ceased having marital relations, they found a good form of birth control, or they were living apart most of their marriage which would make sense if Clara and Howard’s first child was born soon after their marriage. The (1) author of the story on Ancestry is not known although the date of the report is September 23, 2003 and uploaded to the family tree by “sonyabayles1.” Continuing, it is reported that one of the twins (Earl) died at six months of age from not being able to get proper nutrition as he was bottle fed(probably not able to absorb nutrients) while the other twin was breast-fed and that Clara died soon after of pneumonia. If the twins were born the end of May and Earl died in November or early December, that could put Clara’s death as toward the end of 1924. Eva’s report in her letter of Clara dying on Christmas of 1928 was incorrect as her birth mother really died four years before.

In the previous post, I had asked the question as to how and from whom Eva had received the information about Clara. Was it from her birth father, John Hanrahan? It seems unlikely that he had first hand knowledge – especially since the years of Clara’s death was off by four years. Had Eva met Clara’s father – her biological grandfather, Edward? And if she had met him, wouldn’t he have given Eva a more accurate date of death as well as to mention that she had three living half-siblings? Could those half-siblings have been re-created in her letter as step-children of John Hanrahan? The children Eva had reported as “jealous” of her?

Moving onward with the search, I came across the 1930 census that showed Clara’s three surviving children were living with a woman who had raised their father, Anne Chillian, in Greene county, Indiana. The children were listed as her grandchildren.

At one point, I had information overload as I realized what all this could mean to “L” and her thirst for information. I kept finding records for Clara’s parents and other family members.  But just how far back could I take this search and what surprising piece of information would I be able to find?

 

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