Friday, January 20, 2017

Leaving Only Traces

Studying history — especially family history — has its obvious benefits. There are many stories that tie us to the history of the country, or which give us a sense of triumph over adversity. The loss of children, the tragic accident, or even the quiet, gallant acceptance of the consequences of others' misbehavior can bring a kind of nobility to every life we study.

Sometimes, we aren't able to see the details of these lives, and must fill gaps in the records with our imaginations. Other times, we know more than we are comfortable knowing, and must say more than we like. Today's descendants seem to fall mostly into the first category; but even after finding a ton of information, there is still no certainty that we know what happened to them.

At least we have some pictures!

Bessa Viola Callin (1873–1939) was born 27 August 1873, and she was three years old when her mother, Rosaline Davenport Callin died. Her father, James Monroe Callin, remarried in 1880, when she was seven, and she and her two older brothers — last week's Architect and Tailor — lived with Rosaline's parents, Martin and Laura Davenport.

Mrs. Bessie McFann
The only information the Callin Family History offers about her is her name (Bessie) and a birth date of 1872, listed in her father's record. Fortunately, her Ohio birth certificate lists her parents as "James W. Callin" and "Rosa Davenport," so we can be reasonably sure we have her correct birth date.

The photographs of the sisters as young married women we have today were passed down from their brother Albert to his son, Eugene. Bessie's is labeled "Mrs. Bessie McFann" in pencil.

Starting with that clue, we learned that she married Andrew J McFann (1857–1918) in 1896, and they appear in the 1900 Census, along with their little daughter, in Toledo. Andrew was a restaurant manager in Toledo during that decade. He and Bessie divorced, and Andrew remarried Emma M. Hoover (1883-1912) in 1909. Andrew, Emma, and Nona McFann appear in the 1910 Census in Cleveland. Emma died in June 1912, and Andrew remarried again that August; this time, to Catherine Klingensmith (b. 1880). When Andrew died, he left his Cleveland properties and total value of his estate to Catherine. According to the probate documents, the value of his personal estate was "nothing," but presumably the property was enough for her to live on.

In 1910, the recently divorced Bessie was listed as a housekeeper in Cincinnati, but she later remarried in August 1919. Her second husband was David Edward Lakie (1879–1930) of Toledo; after he died in 1930, Bessie went to Chicago where she found work as an interior decorator. When she died, she was buried in Beverly Cemetery, Blue Island, Cook County, Illinois.

     I. Nona B. McFann (b. 1892) married John Dent (b. 1885) in Cleveland on 5 May 1910, less than a month after appearing in her father's home on that year's census. John was the son of Thomas Dent (b. 1847) and Mary Jane Purvis (b. 1853), and was born in Sacriston, Durham, England, on 10 July 1885. He appeared in his father's household in Witton Gilbert, Durham, in both the 1891 and 1901 England Census records.

John Dent is listed in city directories as a resident of Akron, Ohio, in 1912, 1914, and 1915, and his World War I draft registration places him there with Nona around 1918. He worked at the Goodyear rubber works. Interestingly, on his draft card, he is listed as an Alien/non-declarant, meaning that even as late as 1918, he had not applied for U.S. citizenship.

Sadly, there are no more records to show what may have happened to John and Nona. The only other records that turned up were a birth certificate and a death certificate indicating that Nona had a baby, Bessie M Dent, who was stillborn on 24 August 1911.

Jessie Callin was born in March of 1876, barely six months before her mother died. She was taken in by the St. John family of Bowling Green, Ohio, appearing as "Jessie St. John" and listed in their household in 1880 as their daughter. Stephen W. and Harriet Husted St. John were the parents of Jessie's aunt, Mary Ann Callin. Mary Ann St. John had married James Callin's younger brother, George W. Callin, in 1871. (We'll talk more about the St. John family in a few weeks.)
Mrs. Jessie Chudleigh

The Callin Family History had slightly more to say about Jessie than it did about Bessie, giving her an entry of her own:

Record of Jessie Callin Chudley, who was the 2nd daughter of James Callin, who was the 2nd son of William Callin, who was the 3rd son of John Callin, who was the 2nd son of James 1st.

Born in 1876.
Married in 1893.
Born to this union two children.
Laverne, born in 1894.
Lila, born in ____.

While that isn't terribly substantial, it gives us a start. Records show that Jessie married Albert Henry Chudley (b. 1868) on 25 June 1893 in Wood county, Ohio. Albert was born in Devonshire, England, in October 1868, and arrived in the United States in April 1883. He was naturalized in November 1893, just a few months after his marriage to Jessie. After that, things get less certain.

       I. Lu Verne Chudley was born 30 January 1894, in Bowling Green, Ohio; and there is an Ohio birth record that lists her parents as Albert Chudley and Jessie St. John.

       II. Lila R Chudley was born 25 February 1896, also in Bowling Green, according to her Ohio birth record; but it listed her name as "Chas Chudley." I'm only certain that it is her birth record because it lists Albert Chudley and Jessie Callin as the parents.

Four-year-old Lila and her mother, Jessie Chudley, appear in the Census for Jackson, Michigan, in 1900. The other information in that Census tells us that Jessie was married (not widowed or divorced), had been for 8 years (close enough), and had two children, both living. But there is no information about where Albert or Lu Verne might be in that Census year.

There are City Directory listings for Mrs. Jessie Chudley; in 1902 and 1904 she is listed in Jacskon; in 1904 there is a Mrs. Jessie Chudley listed in Toledo, Ohio. (The two towns are about 70 miles apart.) The Jackson listings that mention her occupation say she is a machine operator; the Toledo listing says she is a clerk.

     This is the end of what I think I can "prove" we know about the families of these two sisters.

But, strangely, I may have found more information about Albert Chudley - a person who was not specifically mentioned in the CFH - than I have for his wife and two daughters. Starting with their marriage record, we know that Albert lived in Bowling Green. His naturalization record from November 1893 gives his age as 24 and lists his birth date in 1869; it also says he arrived in the U.S. on 1 April 1883.

Based on that information, we can find an English birth record and two English Census records (1871 and 1881) which tell us that Albert was born in October 1868 to Henry Chudley (b. 1844) and Emma Lattaney (1846-1878) in Devonshire, England. There are other "Albert Chudleys" in England, but none who quite match the information we have from the American records.

I can go a little farther with Albert's story, but the evidence is thinner, and I could be jumping to conclusions. When I ran broad searches for combinations of Albert's name with the other details we have learned, I found a California death index record for an Albert Henry Chudley born in "Other Country" on 4 November 1866. This record indicates that this Albert died in July 1952 in Hayward, Alameda county, California; there is a Find-A-Grave memorial for him, as well. The researchers who maintain that memorial included this note:
Albert Henry "Al" Chudley
on Find-A-Grave

Albert's parents were Henry Chudley b. England and Emma Lattany b. England. The 1925 Iowa census shows they were married in England and were not living. 

That seems a huge coincidence, but it looks like they got their information from a different source than I did, and that implies to me that we may indeed be looking at the same Albert Henry Chudley.

As I kept digging, the story of what may have happened to Albert became apparent. He appeared in Topeka, Kansas in 1907, working as a tailor; in December 1907, he married Mabel M. Warren (1886-1918) and moved to Bedford, Taylor county, Iowa. They had two children, and on the records for this period, Albert gave his date and place of birth as 1878, Richmond, Virginia. After Mabel's death in 1918, Albert remarried, this time to Sarah Virginia "Jennie" Hathaway (1895–1932) on 15 May 1919. They lived in Jackson and, later, Villisca, in Montgomery county, Iowa. They also had two children.

After Jennie's death, Albert moved to Cedar Rapids, but he later retired and followed his youngest daughter and her husband to California. They were all living in Oakland at the time of his death in 1952.

I'm not sure why, but Albert's birth information on the 1910, 1920, and 1930 Census records is wrong. Each of these records misstates his date of birth by anywhere from 7 to 11 years, and each record says he was born in Virginia. It is only after he was widowed for the second time that Albert lists his correct birth information on the 1940 Census. This casts doubt on the idea that I have the same Albert Chudley, here, but because the date and place of birth on the 1940 Census matches better, and because his death certificate indicates that he was an immigrant, I'm assuming that he is the same man.

The conclusion I come to after looking at all of this information is that this Albert Chudley is the same one who married our Jessie Callin. Hopefully, Jessie's disappearance from the record means that she re-married, and that her new husband adopted her two daughters. Alternately, she, Lila, and LuVerne could have fallen victim to any number of epidemics or accidents common in the 1910s. Albert did not leave any clues, and he may not have known what happened to them.

The fact that the Callin Family History does not say one way or the other implies that they were still living with their mother as late as 1910, when George Callin compiled his book.

 - -- --- -- - 

There are still many questions to answer about this branch of the family. As thoroughly as I have searched through Ancestry, and, this is as much as I have been able to prove.

Without records or relatives to tell us what might have happened to Nona, LuVerne, or Lila, there is no way of knowing if we have more cousins out there or not. If they are out there, here's hoping they find this blog, and drop us a note - the comments below are open, or you can email me at my "callintad" Gmail address. You can also join the Callin Family History Facebook group, if you want to talk to a growing group of cousins.

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