31 October 2017

Thurman A. & Ellen S. Calvert (Tombstones Tuesday)

(Part of the Descendants of Henry Abel series.)

Rose Hill - J Allen-006

Ellen Elizabeth Stephan was born 18 April 1915 in Georgia.  She was the daughter of William George Stephan (1873-1933) and Laura Elizabeth Abel (1876-1939), and the great-granddaughter of Henry Abel.

A week before the Halloween of 1936, Ellen shared a double wedding ceremony with her younger sister.  Mary Doris Stephan (1917-2012) married James Harold Hitchcock (d. 2000), and Ellen married Thurman Asia Calvert.  Thurman was a son of Francis Marion "Frank" Calvert (1871-1937) and Mary Kirkpatrick (1882-1975).

tacalvert-wwiidraftcard

According to his World War II draft registration card, Thurman stood 6'3" tall and weighed 140 lbs. He also had blue eyes, blonde hair, and a freckled complexion.

About 1940, both Thurman and Ellen were working at a cotton mill.  He was a hauler, and she was a winder hand.  The couple had several children, one being William Frank "Bill" Calvert (1941-2016).

Thurman and Ellen rest in the Honeysuckle Ridge Section (block 5, lot 12) of Rose Hill Cemetery.

30 October 2017

Fred DeIvey, Lion Tamer

I haven't located him in any Rose Hill Cemetery database, but there is reason to believe Fred DeIvey is there.

freddeiveyobit

It hasn't been easy tracking down someone who lived the Circus Star life, but what follows is what I've been able to find so far.

Fred DeIvey, according to his entry in the Social Security Applications and Claims Index, was born 21 June 1860 in Dayton, Marengo County, Alabama to John F. DeIvey and Susan Tarrant.  Other sources offer Fred's birth as being four to six years later.  I have precious little information about his early years in life, but an obituary suggests Fred joined the circus about the age of 15.

Fred was into his 30s before I find reference of him with an act providing entertainment at a Retail Grocers' Association picnic held the summer of 1896 in St. Louis, Missouri.  He was part of a "trapeze performance by the three Nonpareils – Mr. Fred De Ivey, Miss Blanche De Ivey and Sig. Frisco."

After a gap of about seven years, I find Fred had joined the staff of the Great Pan-American Shows.  According to the official route book of 1903 transcribed at CircusHistory.org, Fred was a superintendent of the cookhouse.  No doubt he was an entertainer, as well.  On May 19th of that year, at an evening performance in Logansport, Indiana, "Fred De Ivey fell from his stilts receiving a painful injury to one of his hands, which was dressed by a local physician."

Some time over the next five years, Fred began traveling with Haag's Mighty Shows.  He was advertised as a "Haag's Hustler" in the 5 December 1908 Billboard [from Google Books] -

haagshustlers1908

I find Fred next in Jewella, Caddo Parish, Louisiana for the 1910 U.S. census, though I wonder if his and his lodger's occupations should be reversed:

DeIvey, Fred (hoh) age 44 / widowed / KY-US-US / Farmer, General
Davenport, I. (lodger) age 55 / widowed / Ireland x 3 / Trainer, Wild Animals

By January of 1915, Fred was still performing with The Mighty Haag Shows.  The outfit had been "playing Louisiana" since the prior November.  After breaking for the winter, The Mighty Haag Show opened their new season on March 10th, with Fred as side show manager.  According to the 17 July 1915 Billboard, "Fred DeIvey, who has seen service with the Barnum Show, Gollmar Bros., Lemen Bros., and other shows, [is?] ringmaster, announcer and superintendent of stock with the Haag Shows." Two months later, Fred had "severed his connection with the Haag Shows."

Fred must have left the Haag Shows to join the Metropolitan Shows.  A 26 November 1916 Pensacola Journal (Florida) newspaper article speaks to this operation closing its season and going into winter quarters.  It further stated, "Many features are planned for the stay here and Fred Deivey the French tamer promises the training of a new lion."

In 1920, Fred was stationary long enough to be counted in the North Augusta, Aiken County, South Carolina U.S. Federal census.  He was one of at least seventeen individuals with the occupation industry of "show business." It's possible, maybe even likely, Fred was in another winter headquarters.

A Greensboro Daily (North Carolina) newspaper article dated 10 April 1921 put Fred with the J. F. Murphy Shows, providing entertainment for a carnival hosted by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks:

The Murphy Shows will present a very large and diversified line of entertainments, all of which are said to be strictly high class, moral and refined:  featured among which are Capt. De Ivey's Trained Wild Animals...

Another decade went by in Fred's life, and I presume he was traveling around performing with one entertainment group or another.  Then, finally, I find Fred DeIvey in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.



An article by Joseph Bradbury written in 1976 for the Bandwagon periodical (vol. 20, no. 1) provided information about the 1930 and 1931 seasons of the Downie Bros. Wild Animal Circus: The Largest Motor Circus in the World.  Fred DeIvey was on the staff roster for 1931, but not as an entertainer.  Instead, he was now "boss carpenter."  In the spring, "final news before the opening said that the new cages turned out of the shops by Fred De Ivey had been elaborately decorated as had all parade vehicles."

Citing the 26 December 1931 Billboard, Mr. Bradbury included a description of the Downie winter headquarters in Central City Park at Macon:

"Upon entering the park one first comes to the office building and here can be found Charles Sparks, Clint Shuford, secy-treas; Charles Katz, asst. manager, also supt. of quarters. In rear are wardrobe rooms in charge of Mrs. Sparks. Next to the office are modern living quarters for the men. It has twenty 14 x 14 outside rooms which are completely furnished. In these quarters is a radio with loud speaker. Cookhouse and dining room are under personal direction of Jack Fitzgerald and meals are of the best. Dining room seats 48 at one time and meals are served hotel style. Next is horse barn, in charge of Melvin Arnold. It contains 20 head of trained horses and ring stock, 10 head of ponies, and 2 mules each in separate box stalls.

Main ring barn is an all brick building, 70 ft. in diameter, with no posts or obstructions. Merritt Belew has a regulation ring in the center where he spends 6 hours each day, improving the old and breaking in new stock. Domestic animal ring barn is 50 x 100 ft. with 2 rings, in charge of Jerome O'Hanlon. Elephant barn, 70 x 50, one ring, is in charge of Larry Davis. At present he is breaking the herd of 5 in a new routine.

Animal house, 60 x 50, is in charge of George Palmer. There are comfortable permanent cages. Paint shop, 100 x 50, is in charge of Irving Goseh. Mechanical dept., 100 x 75, in charge of Mr. McNeil, is a busy place, as every motor with the show is thoroughly overhauled and tested before opening of the season.

Fred Delvey has charge of building and repair shop and during the winter will build a number of large dens and grand stand. Blacksmith shop is in charge of Joe (Scotty) Nobel; carpenter and wagon shop, George Ingolls. At this writing 2 cages and 2 semitrailers are being built. Teddie Premont is supt. of the electrical department."

Fred DeIvey died at the Macon Hospital 17 May 1939.  His death was due to "myocardial degeneration and pulmonary congestion." His death certificate, which included information based on hospital records, showed Fred's address as "Central City Park," his occupation as "Retired Lion Tamer," and burial at Rose Hill Cemetery.

fdeiveydc

Two obituaries were published for Fred in the local newspaper, the Macon Telegraph.  The first appeared the day after his death, and incorrectly named him Fred B. Ivey.  The second article, published the day after his burial at Rose Hill, had a headline of Last Rites Held for Fred DeIvey: Former Circus Star and Lion Tamer Buried.  This article confirmed Fred was indeed laid to rest at Rose Hill.  Furthermore, it read (in part):

After 60 years in the circus business Mrs. [sic] DeIvey declined in health when he lost an arm in an encounter with a lion.  He had lived here in comparative obscurity for some time.

During the last 10 years he had devoted his time to construction of animal cages and other circus equipment.  For nine years he had charge of construction at winter quarters here for Downie Brothers Circus.

He left the show last summer to join the Barfield Cosmopolitan troupe with which he was traveling in Kentucky when he suffered a heart attack.

Mr. DeIvey returned to Macon several months ago…He had no near relatives and his scattered friends did not know his whereabouts.  He was saved from a pauper's grave by the generosity of his former employe[r] Charles Sparks, for several years owner of the Downie show…

Fred DeIvey possibly lost his arm during or after his time with the J. F. Murphy Shows described above.  And though Fred was granted a "proper" burial due to the generosity of his former employer, it appears no headstone was included.


24 October 2017

Three Scars for Lovick Moreland

(Part of the Descendants of Henry Abel series.)

Paul Kenneth Moreland (1892-1968), son of William and Nannie L., married Myrtle L. Abel (1903-1977) about 1920.  Myrtle was a great-granddaughter of Henry Abel.

Paul and Myrtle had at least three children.  Two were Lovick Alexander Moreland (1926-1986) and Edith Kinnie Moreland
Smith Parish (1928-2005).

lamoreland-wwiidraftcard

A physical description of an eighteen-year-old Lovick can be found on the flip side of his World War II draft registration card.  He stood 5'4" tall, weighed 105 lbs., and had blue eyes and blonde hair.  It was also noted Lovick had a "scar on arm [at?] wrist on right hand.  One on right knee & small scar on back head."


Search Military Records - Fold3

A couple of news items might shed some light on a young boy who either liked to play hard, or was accident prone.  In May of 1939, a school aged Lovick was treated for a laceration on his head at the Macon hospital.  He told nurses he was hit by a swing.

Two years later, almost to the day, Lovick was doctored for "injuries received when he was run over by an auto…He was treated for chin laceration and face abrasions at Macon hospital emergency room and soon dismissed."

Upon his death on 7 March 1986, Lovick was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery.  His parents are there, too.

Rose Hill - J Allen-005

23 October 2017

Abel Brothers Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter

(Part of the Descendants of Henry Abel series.)

BrothersAbelJesse Frederick and William Crisp were sons of William Wolff Abel (1885-1948) and his wife Martha Mae Williams (1889-1947).  They were great-grandsons of the German immigrant patriarch, Henry Abel.

Jesse was born 12 July 1910 in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.  As a young man, he worked at his father's ice factory.  About 1934, Jesse received a degree from the National College of Drugless Physicians and opened up shop as a drugless doctor and chiropractor in Bibb County.  The career was short lived, however, since by 1940 he was dabbling in watches and jewelry.

Jesse married twice, and had at least one daughter.

William Crisp "Chris" Abel was born 13 January 1916 in Georgia.  Similar to Jesse, William was for a time a jeweler, did marry, and had at least one son.

In late February of 1937, the brothers Abel got into some trouble while having a night out near Lovejoy in Henry County.  Apparently, there was a bit of a ruckus at a roadhouse – or filling station, depending on which newspaper article you read – which culminated in the shooting death of J. M. Wallace. The brothers were held for a few days in the Henry County jail, and after such time were charged with involuntary manslaughter and released on bond.

Chris Abel, who allegedly fired the bullet which proved fatal to Wallace, was quoted as saying that it was necessary for him to shoot to protect the lives of his brother and himself, and the attorneys said they have been informed the Abels were dragged from an automobile by an armed group of 15 to 20 men. [Source: GenealogyBank]

Unfortunately, I do not know the specific outcome of the case.  I do know the brothers were free men at least by April 1940, when they were both enumerated for the U.S. Federal census.  Jesse died 17 May 1954, and William Crisp died 8 July 1968.



William Wolff, Martha Mae Williams, Jesse Frederick, and William Crisp Abel all rest in the Eglantine Square section (block 1, lot 55) of Rose Hill Cemetery.

Rose Hill - J Allen-004

22 October 2017

Who Exactly is Mrs. J. M. Smith?

It's mildly annoying, and sometimes frustrating, when you come across a tombstone for a "Mrs. John Smith." Am I right? I mean, when visiting a cemetery for the purpose of researching local history or genealogy, a maiden name would be ideal.  But even a given name would help!

smith22045ph

Mrs. J. M. Smith = Mary Bessie Abel Smith

Well, I can clarify one such case in Rose Hill Cemetery:  Mrs. J. M. Smith (1884-1952) is Mary Bessie Abel Smith.  She was a daughter of John Henry Abel (d. 1892) and Sarah Catherine Murfee (1854-1945).

About 1904, Mary married James Monroe Smith (1883-1940), son of J. T. Smith and Pennsylvania native Laura Ann McCarly.  The couple had at least five children.  In addition to those listed here, there was possibly another child who was born and died before 1910.

  • Bessie L. Smith (b. abt 1906; d. aft. 1956)
  • Charles Edward Smith (b. 1908; d. 1988)
  • Sarah Belle Smith (b. bet. 1911-1912; d. aft. 1956)
  • Harry Philmore Smith (b. 1912; d. 1977)
  • Ross Abel Smith (b. 1916; d. 1956)


Mary, her husband James, and two of her sons – Harry and Ross – rest in the Lakeside Terrace section of Rose Hill Cemetery (block 1, lot 80).

Rose Hill - J Allen-003

(Part of the Descendants of Henry Abel series.)

Some Additional Sources:

  1. 1900 census of United States, population schedule, 716 District, Macon City, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 31, sheet no. 4A, dwelling 66, family 79, Sarah C. Abel household, accessed 18 May 2017. Includes daughters Marth E. and Mary B.; sons Theodore G. and Sydney W.; step-daughter Laura E. Lightfoot; step-granddaughter Katie L.; and step-grandson Henry G.; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  2. Rose Hill Cemetery (Macon, Bibb County, Georgia), Grave Marker Transcription by Stephanie Lincecum, Acquired between 2003 - 2013.
  3. "South Carolina Death Records, 1821-1965", database, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry, (http://www.ancestry.com), Image of death certificate for Ross A. Smith, d. 14 November 1956 at Charleston County.
  4. "Georgia Deaths, 1914-1927", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), death certificate image for Lovick Askew Abel, d. 11 August 1925 at Bibb County.
  5. Friends of Rose Hill, "Historic Rose Hill Cemetery Directory", database, Historic Rose Hill (http://www.rosehillcemetery.org) Accessed 18 May 2017, entry for John Henry Abel, d. 22 November 1892.
  6. "Neighborhood News," issued 1 April 1934, accessed 3 June 2017, names of interest:  Mrs. Sarah Catherine Abel, Theodore G. Abel, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  7. "Mrs. Sarah C. Abel Funeral Set Today," issued 28 November 1945, accessed 31 May 2017, name of interest:  Mrs. Sarah C. Abel, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  8. 1910 census of United States, population schedule, Macon City, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 49, sheet no. 2A, dwelling 32, family 37, Sarah C. Abel household, accessed 18 June 2017. Includes daughters Martha E. Massengale and Mary B. Smith; sons Theodore G. and Sidney W.; son-in-law James N. Smith; granddaughters Mary L. Massengale, Catherine E. Massengale, and Bessie L. Smith; and grandsons William A. Massengale, and Chas. E. Smith; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  9. "Georgia Deaths, 1928-1940", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), Image of death certificate for James Monroe Smith, d. 30 January 1940 at Bibb County.
  10. "Services Set Today For Ross A. Smith," issued 16 November 1956, accessed 22 October 2017, name of interest:  Ross A. Smith, Charleston News and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  11. "U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947", database, Ancestry Operations, Inc., Ancestry, (http://www.ancestry.com), Image of card for Charles Edward Smith, b. 10 December 1918.
  12. "Florida Death Index, 1877-1998", database, The Generations Network, Ancestry, (http://www.ancestry.com), Entry for Charles Edward Smith, d. 28 November 1988 at Duval County.
  13. 1920 census of United States, population schedule, Macon City, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 43, sheet no. 8A, dwelling 143, family 187, James Monroe Smith household, accessed 18 June 2017. Includes Mary Bessie; daughters Bessie L. and Sarah Belle; and sons Charles Edward, Harry Philmore, and Ross Abel; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  14. "U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947", database, Ancestry Operations, Inc., Ancestry, (http://www.ancestry.com), Image of card for Harry Philmore Smith, b. 11 December 1912.
  15. "Georgia Death Index, 1919-1998", database, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., Ancestry, (http://www.ancestry.com), Entry for Harry P. Smith, d. 21 February 1977 at Bibb County.

21 October 2017

Laura Abel Stephan Couldn't Recover from a Fractured Skull

(Part of the Descendants of Henry Abel series.)

LauraEAbelLightfootStephanLaura Elizabeth Abel was born 19 July 1876 in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia to John Henry Abel and Laura Elizabeth Brooks.  When little Laura was just 10 months old her mother died, leaving Laura and an older brother (Lovick Askew Abel) to be raised by a single father.  Less than sixteen months would pass before John married again to Sarah Catherine Murfee.  This union provided Laura with five half siblings.

When Laura was a young woman of just 18 years, she married James M. Lightfoot.  The couple had two children:  Katie L. and Henry George.  Less than five years into the marriage – on 10 August 1899 – James died at the age of about 27 years.  His sudden death was "due to a hemorrhage."

A few more years would pass before Laura married again.  This time, she wed William George Stephan, a first generation American born to a German father.  William and Laura had five children:

  • Prentice D. Stephan (d. 1966 at Arlington, Virginia)
  • William Lovic Stephan (d. 1987 at Glynn County, Georgia)
  • Robert Augustus Stephan (d. 1993 at Charlotte, Florida)
  • Ellen Stephan Calvert (d. 1997)
  • Mary Doris Stephan Hitchcock (d. 2012)

Rose Hill - J Allen-002In early March of 1933, Laura had to bury another husband.  A portion of the newspaper article describing William's death said this (article may be viewed in totality at GenealogyBank):

After hearing much evidence and examining six witnesses, a coroner's jury decided Saturday afternoon that William G. Stephan, 59-year-old painter, was drowned when he fell into a pool of water while he was drunk Wednesday.  His body was discovered by a Negro boy Friday in half a foot of water in a pit at the old steam power plant of the Georgia Power company near Central City park.

Fellow veterans of the Spanish American War attended William's funeral.



Six and a half years following the death of her husband, on 7 September 1939, Laura would have a mishap in the home they once shared on Yates Avenue in Macon from which she would not recover.  She accidentally fell down some steps and fractured her skull.  Laura was taken to the Oglethorpe Private Infirmary in town, where she died eight days subsequent due to the fracture and contusion of the brain.

The survivors listed in Laura's obituary show the expanse of the Abel family in middle Georgia, just two generations after the arrival of her grandfather Henry from Germany (article may be viewed in totality at GenealogyBank).

Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Katie McCaw, Mrs. Ellen Calvert, and Mrs. Doris Hitchcock, all of Macon; four sons, Henry, Willie, and Robert of Macon, and Prentice Stephan, of Washington, D.C.; 11 grandchildren; step-mother, Mrs. Sarah Abel; two brothers, Sidney W. Abel and Theodore G. Abel; a sister, Mrs. Mary Bessie Smith; sister-in-law, Mrs. Lovick Abel and a number of nieces and nephews in Macon.

Both Laura and William rest in the Honeysuckle Ridge section of Rose Hill Cemetery.

Some Additional Sources:

  1. "Illness Is Fatal To Mrs. Stephan," issued 16 September 1939, accessed 3 June 2017, name of interest:  Mrs. Laura Elizabeth Abel Stephan, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  2. "Georgia Deaths, 1928-1940", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), Image of death certificate for Mrs. Laura Stephan, d. 15 September 1939 at Bibb County.
  3. Friends of Rose Hill, "Historic Rose Hill Cemetery Directory", database, Historic Rose Hill (http://www.rosehillcemetery.org) Accessed 18 May 2017, entry for John Henry Abel, d. 22 November 1892.
  4. "Georgia Deaths, 1914-1927", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), death certificate image for Lovick Askew Abel, d. 11 August 1925 at Bibb County.
  5. Friends of Rose Hill, "Historic Rose Hill Cemetery Directory", database, Historic Rose Hill (http://www.rosehillcemetery.org) Accessed 18 May 2017, entry for Laura E. Abel, d. 25 May 1877.
  6. "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), Image of card for Lovick Askew Abel, b. 11 February 1873.
  7. "Georgia County Marriages, 1785 - 1950", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), image, J. H. Abel m. Sarah C. Murfee 12 September 1878 at Bibb County.
  8. "Neighborhood News," issued 1 April 1934, accessed 3 June 2017, names of interest:  Mrs. Sarah Catherine Abel, Theodore G. Abel, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  9. "Georgia County Marriages, 1785 - 1950", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), image, James M. Lightfoot m. Laura E. Abel 27 September 1894 at Bibb County.
  10. 1900 census of United States, population schedule, 716 District, Macon City, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 31, sheet no. 4A, dwelling 66, family 79, Sarah C. Abel household, accessed 18 May 2017. Includes daughters Marth E. and Mary B.; sons Theodore G. and Sydney W.; step-daughter Laura E. Lightfoot; step-granddaughter Katie L.; and step-grandson Henry G.; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  11. Fort Hill Cemetery (Macon, Bibb County, Georgia), Image of tombstone by Jimmy Allen (2013) via FindAGrave Memorial #117955923 -- Henry George Lightfoot. http://www.findagrave.com/.
  12. "Mr. Lightfoot Buried," issued 12 August 1899, accessed 31 May 2017, name of interest:  Mr. James Lightfoot, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  13. "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), Image of card for William George Stephan, b. 16 November 1873.
  14. 1880 census of United States, population schedule, Macon Third Fire Ward, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 15, page no. 47, dwelling & family 365, William Stephan household, accessed 16 June 2017. Includes wife Ellen; sons Thomas P., Alfred W., William G., Robert E. L., John, and Marian; and daughters Mary E., Elizabeth I., and Agnes H.; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  15. "Deaths: Stephan, Prentice D." issued 14 April 1966, accessed 16 June 2017, name of interest:  Prentice D. Stephan, Evening Star, Washington, District of Columbia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  16. 1920 census of United States, population schedule, Macon City, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 17, sheet no. 2A, dwelling 30, family 32, William D. Stephan household, accessed May 2017. Includes wife Laura; sons Prentice, William, and Robert; daughters Ellen and Dorris; and niece Maude; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  17. "Mary Doris Stephan Hitchcock," issued 25 June 2012, accessed 30 May 2017, name of interest:  Mary Doris Stephan Hitchcock, The Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, transcription (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  18. "Stephan's Death Called Drowning," issued 5 March 1933, accessed 16 June 2017, name of interest:  William G. Stephan, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  19. 1850 census of United States, population schedule, 716th Dist G. M., City Macon, Bibb, Georgia, Dwelling & Family 53, Henry Abel household, accessed 18 May 2017. Includes Elizabeth (age 24); Frederick (age 6); William (age 5); Henry (age 3); E. A. (female, age 2); and C. E. (male, age 8/12); digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).

20 October 2017

Mildred Abel Worked for the WPA

(Part of the Descendants of Henry Abel series.)

By Works Progress Administration, artist unknown - National Archives and Records Administration, Public DomainThe Work Projects Administration was a United States Federal relief program designed to help those in need during the Great Depression.  Operating from 1935-1943, the goal of the program, in short, was to create jobs and put as many people to work as possible.  In trying to keep things fair, and to reach as many families as possible, it was usually the head of the household who received the opportunity for government employment.  Over its eight year existence, the WPA provided important and dignified jobs to 8.5 million Americans – of which most were men.

Women were not totally excluded, however.  Approximately 15% of those heads of household receiving relief by way of government employment were in fact female.  Mildred Elizabeth Abel was one such beneficiary.

Born 9 February 1907 in Rowan County, North Carolina, Mildred was one of at least three daughters born to Lovick Askew Abel (d. 1925) and Callie Mae Taylor (1877-1962).  Mildred was also a great-granddaughter of Henry Abel.

In early April of 1940, a 33-year-old Mildred was residing with her widowed mother in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.  According to her U.S. Federal census entry, Mildred's occupation was noted as Social Service, W.P.A. Recreational.  Based on information from the National Archives, it is quite possible Mildred worked in the Division of Professional and Service Projects.  These were "federally sponsored 'white collar' work relief projects including the federal arts programs and the recreation and education programs."

Little_Miss_Muffet_1940_poster

1940 WPA poster using "Little Miss Muffet" to promote reading among children.
(By Arlington Gregg. Work Projects Administration Federal Art Project, Illinois. Via Wikimedia Commons.)

Though her two sisters, Margaret Abel Melton and Myrtle Abel Moreland, did marry, Mildred did not.  Some time after the taking of the 1940 census, likely after 1950, and possibly after the death of her mother Callie Mae in 1962, Mildred returned to the state of her birth.  As a retired clerk for the board of election, Mildred died 17 October 1989 at Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina.

abel15963ph

Mildred's remains were returned to Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, and interred at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Some Additional Sources:

  1. "North Carolina Deaths, 1931-1994", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), entry for Mildred Elizabeth Abel, d. 17 October 1989 at Guilford County.
  2. 1940 census of United States, population schedule, Macon City, Militia District 564, Bibb, Georgia, E. D. No. 11-10, sheet no. 2B, household #56 -- Lovick Abel, accessed 31 May 2017. Includes daughters Mildred and Margaret Melton; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
  3. Rose Hill Cemetery (Macon, Bibb County, Georgia), Grave Marker Transcription by Stephanie Lincecum, Acquired between 2003 - 2013.
  4. "Georgia Deaths, 1914-1927", database, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FamilySearch, (http://www.familysearch.org), death certificate image for Lovick Askew Abel, d. 11 August 1925 at Bibb County.
  5. "Deaths and Funerals: Lovick A. Abel," issued 13 August 1925, accessed May 2017, name of interest:  Lovick A. Abel, Macon Telegraph, Macon, Georgia, online image (http://www.genealogybank.com).
  6. 1900 census of United States, population schedule, New Decatur, Morgan, Alabama, E. D. No. 142, sheet no. 18A, dwelling 303, family 324, Lovick A. Abel household, accessed 31 May 2017. Includes wife Callie M.; daughter Etna M.; brother-in-law Charles C. McKelvy; sister-in-law Berta E. McKelvy; and nephew William M. McKelvy; digital image, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).
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