Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday- Laura E. Wilkinson

Teaser Tuesdays will be all about those ancestors that tease us with particular points of information that we know is important, but we can’t figure out.

When I first started doing genealogy seriously, I interviewed my grandmother. I sat with her at her kitchen table where we played solitaire together whenever I visited. I had a pen and a notebook and questions. But every question I asked, she answered with, “Oh, I’m not sure” or “I don’t remember.” Finally, though, she got to talking and even though she couldn’t remember her uncle’s name when I asked her, she was telling a story and said “And then Uncle Costa did blah blah blah.” So I had a name. Costa. Her dad’s name was Charles Edwin Shelton, who I could never find in early census records in Indiana where he came from. Here are the notes I took that day about Charles:

· He was 20 years older than Myra Belle (Nana’s mom).
· Owned shop with her- stitching and sewing.
· Very strict-(beat his sons with a razor strap).
· Belonged to Episcopalian Church.
· Very secretive.
· Life of the party.
· Close-mouthed.
· Had another family prior (wife- Veronica, 2 sons and daughter Fern); only told Myra about Fern; 2 sons went to orphanage and he had a housekeeper to raise Fern. When they married, Myra and Charles raised Fern and own children; Myra found out about 2 boys when she went to visit Charles' grave and asked who was keeping it up. Was then told about the 2 sons.
· He left home young and moved to Oakland
· Very jealous- took Nana and Myra to a dance and he got mad because his wife was dancing with other men, he took her over his knee and spanked her, Nana got so upset that she hit him over the head with a book.
· Dark hair, deep-set blue eyes, 5'9" muscular.
· Died of pneumonia.
· Climbed poles GW Power Co. (PGE). lineman then boss.
· Called "ED"
· smoked Camel nonfilters.

So that was the extent of knowledge of him. Internet searches gave me his date of death and so I ordered his death certificate. On that, I found listed that his dad was John Shelton and his mom was Laura E. Wilkison. I did low hanging fruit searches on those names through the years and found nothing, moving on to other items. I finally went back to it over and over again and the census records were just not working. I found a John and Laura were in the 1870 census with “Coney E Shelton, age 2” and “John P. Shelton, age 2 months”. It was the ONLY John and Laura Shelton in Indiana with the right aged child, but how could CONEY be short for CHARLES? And Nana said the her uncle was COSTA, not John.

The 1880 census gave me a Costa Shelton, living in a Thomas Morton household as “stepson”. Laura was the mother. So for years I looked for death records of John Shelton on and off, of course.

One day poking around the Fort Wayne website, I found a database for divorces from 1872. Just for fun, I checked. Yep. Divorced. Assuming gets you no where fast.

Anyway, then I decided to really delve in and the rest came to me. Searching the Fort Wayne newspapers I found Laura’s family all listed. And a reference to son Cora. A son named Cora? I searched that and found Cora E. Shelton living with his father in Missouri. His father John.

I know have much of the families documented. But I still want to find Nana’s half brothers. I found their mother was actually named Victoria, not Veronica, and Fern’s name was actually Hazel Fern. But I can’t find the boys. Yet…

The glory of this Teaser Tuesday is getting to share with you this picture:

It’s the grave of Laura E. Wilkinson Shelton Morton in Old Huntertown Cemetery in Allen County, Indiana.

Oh, and I’m thinking there is a chance that Great Grampa Shelton left home young because his evil horrible family named him CORA…

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