In the previous post, the Anderson (Indiana) Herald’s article about reuniting mother and daughter gave the name of Eva Louise Johnson’s birth mother as Clara Badgly. So I set out to see if I could locate this mysterious woman. The best place to start is to look at census records for 1910 since Eva was born in October 1910.
In order to get a better group of results, I wanted to find women who would be within child-bearing age in 1910 – someone age 14-50 (taking to the extreme on both ends). Eva was conceived in January so by the census date of April, I would have a pretty good idea of how probable it would be to rule out someone. I want to look at all different spellings: Clara/Clare/Clair/Clarra/Clora and Badgly/Badgley/Badgeley/Badglie.
I can rule out the Clara Badgly born about 1899, age 11, who is living with her parents, Frank and Grace, in Shelbyville, Indiana. I can also rule out Clara Badgley who is a newborn infant living with her parents, Sydney and Grace, in Anderson, Indiana.
There is a Clare Badgley age 43 living in Perry township of Marion county. She is married to Lewis and the household consists of Lewis’ two older children in their 20s, Clare’s six year old daughter from a previous marriage and the couple’s one year old son. The seat of Marion county is Indianapolis. The town of Fortville, where Eva was born on the interurban car, is half-way between Indy and Anderson where Katie and John Johnson lived. So Clare Badgley could be a possible candidate as Eva’s birth mother. The one year old son makes her a strong improbability but it is not an impossibility. In the 1920 census, she is now a 53 year old widow living with her daughter and son-in-law in Indianapolis. The one year old son from the 1910 census is not living with them.
There is also a Clora Badgley living at 1930 Nichol Avenue in Anderson. She was 52 years old and living with her husband, Joseph, and two of her three chidren. It is her second marriage and her husband’s first. In 1910 they had been married 31 years. The youngest child is 16. They lived a little less than a mile and a half away from my great-grandparents. If Clara was Eva’s biological mother, she would have been in pretty close proximity to the girl and quite possibly might have even known John and Katie. Again, I can’t rule out this Clara just because she is over 50 but as with the previous woman, the length of marriage and having children in the household makes this woman improbable.
A Cora Bagley, age 29, is married and the mother of a six year old daughter in the 1910 census. She is living in Duck Creek, a township of Madison county. This woman could also be a good possibility. Ten years later, she and her husband are at the same location and have added another daughter to their household.
All of the women (not the young children) mentioned above are using their married name. According to the news article in the previous post, Badgley was the woman’s maiden name.
Since the news article mentioned Chicago, I took a look at the 1910 Chicago directory. The Badgley residents: Bert and Edward L., home address 1341 Glenlake Avenue; Edward, Hannah and Joseph, 831 Sedgwick; Fannie, 1712 Park Avenue; Louis, 6242 Wayne Avenue; Rufus, 1941 Hancock; and Timothy, 850 Monticello Avenue. For residents with the surname Bagley, there are quite a few.
There is a 26 year old Clara Biagley residing with her cousin and his family in Chicago. She is single and her birth place is listed as Illinois. Prior to giving birth on the eastern side of Indiana, it is improbable that Eva’s birth mother resided in Illinois. In 1910, that would have been a long way for a pregnant woman to travel – especially so close to the time of giving birth.
Based on the information found in directories and census records, it seems rather unlikely that any of these women were Eva’s biological mother. So the mystery seemed to come completely to a stand still.
Until the letter was found.