24 March 2009

What is Alvis Witty's Connection to Panama?

Alvis Elmer Witty and his wife Juliette Hutson rest in Rose Hill Cemetery. They are buried in the Hutson - Redding plot in the Cabiness Ridge Section.

Alvis Elmer Witty
May 24, 1883
Apr 6, 1944
-------------
Juliette Hutson Witty
June 6, 1884
Nov 12, 1977

Alvis Witty is a bit of an enigma. I can find bits of information about him, but I cannot yet connect much of it.

Alvis was the son of James S. and Isabella Witty. According to census records, Alvis was born in Florida. He is listed with his parents and sister Cora in the 1900 Orange County, Florida US Federal census. His father James was a farmer born in North Carolina. Supposedly, James's parents were born in North Carolina as well. Isabella (Alvis's mother) was born in Tennessee. Her parents were supposedly born in South Carolina.

Alvis married Juliette Hutson, daughter of Moses M. Hutson and Effa Wickliffe, 18 August 1908 at the Vineville Baptist Church in Bibb County, Georgia.

The first time I see Alvis mentioned in connection with the United States territory Canal Zone in Panama was on a New York passenger list dated 26 July 1908 (less than one month before his marriage). There were many subsequent trips made to the Canal Zone by Alvis, his wife Juliette, his mother Isabella, and his mother-in-law Effa. Dates ranged from 1908 to 1913.

I found a few more items regarding Alvis and the Canal Zone. All were found in the Macon Weekly Telegraph newspaper in the "Society" column.

Macon Weekly Telegraph 9 Aug 1908
Mrs. Effa Wickliffe Hutson announces the engagement of her daughter, Juliette, to Mr. Alvis Elmer Witty, of Gorgona, Canal Zone, U.S.A. The wedding to take place at an early date. No cards.
Indeed, the wedding was soon, approximately 10 days later:

Macon Weekly Telegraph 19 Aug 1908
Hutson-Witty -- Pretty Afternoon Wedding Yesterday.
An interesting event of Tuesday, August 18, to many friends of the young couple, was the marriage of Miss Juliette Hutson and Mr. A. E. Witty, of Gorgona, Canal Zone.

It was celebrated at a beautiful home wedding at the residence of the bride's mother, Mrs. Effie Wickliffe Hutson, in Vineville, at 4:30 o'clock, those witnessing it being limited to the family and closest friends...

...Immediately after the ceremony an informal reception was held, the bride and groom leaving directly to catch the northbound train for New York.

They will only be there for a short while and sail on the 22nd for Gorgona.

The congratulations and best wishes of many friends attend them to their distant home, where Mrs. Witty will be a charming addition to the circle of young matrons from the States who are already there.
Macon Weekly Telegraph 12 Feb 1910
Mrs. Effa W. Hutson left yesterday for New Orleans and from there she sails for Panama, to visit Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Witte, at Gorgona, Canal Zone, and will probably spend several months with them. Mrs. Witte, as Miss Juliette Hutson before her marriage, was one of Vineville's loveliest and most popular girls, who went to Panama immediately after her marriage a year or two ago, and they have resided there, Mr. Witte having a government position.
By 1918, Alvis registered for the draft (and claimed his residence to be) in Glynn County, Georgia. His occupation was listed as manager of a mill supply company. I have not, however, found Alvis and Juliette in the 1920 US census.

Alvis can be found in the 1930 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma US Federal census. He and Juliette are also listed in the Oklahoma City directories from 1936 - 1939. Alvis's occupation is clerk for a U. S. Supply Co. By this time, it appears, Alvis and Juliette have two daughters.

That's about it. Juliette is listed in Georgia Deaths, 1919-98. She died in Bibb County, Georgia at the age of 93.

Researching Alvis and Juliette created a couple of big questions for me. How in the world did they meet? And what kind of government job did Alvis have in the Canal Zone?

If you have any more information regarding Alvis and Juliette Hutson Witty, please comment.

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