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."


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 elections, Mildred died 17 October 1989 at Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina.


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).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Widget by LinkWithin