Thursday, August 9, 2012

...starts with the Thomas Family: Thomas twins, Olney and Elzie

The Twin sons of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison were Olney and James Elzie Thomas. Elzie was my great grandfather. Sadly, he passed away not long before I was born. What I know of him is sparse, mostly the data that is in Letha's files, and thankfully some photos. I wonder if any of my aunts, uncles, or cousins might help shed light on who he was as a grandfather, father, person in general...

James Elzie Thomas, better known as Elzie, was born on 25 Sep 1905. He was a twin, unfortunately the other baby, Olney, is listed as passing away on 25 Oct 1905 on Letha's information (no death record matches that on WVCulture website as of today, 9 Aug 2012). I'm not sure where Olney is buried. There are two records on WVCulture that record the birth(s) of these Thomas children. It gets a little confusing...

This record (click to enlarge), entry 104, records the birth of Twin Males, children 4 & 5, born to Mary E. Callison Thomas and J. A. Thomas on 25 Sep 1905 in Dawson, Greenbrier, WV. The record was returned on 1 Oct 1905 and lists the Medical Attendant as L. H. McClung of Dawson. Neither of the boys' names are listed, just Thomas.
Line 25 of this record lists an Eliza Thomas, female, born 26 Sep 1905  to J. A. Thomas and  Mary E. Thomas. The birth place is blank with a line through the box. The box after Mary E Thomas's name is "How Many At A Birth" which is listed as one...  
My thought is that the child that survived (James "Elzie") is the child referred to in the second birth record listed above. I believe that the person recording the information put in Eliza (instead of Elzie) and therefore listed the child as a girl... The first record lists only childs 4 & 5, not 4, 5 & 6 for the couple, so I am not sold on the thought that there was somehow a triplet birth that, having been recorded 6 days later, they would have misreported. Its hard to determine when the information for the "Eliza" record was submitted, either. If it was after Olney's death in October, it would make sense. What do you think?

There is a death record that I found on the WVCulture site that I cannot get out of my head... is it the death record of our Olney? Is there any way to be certain, either yes or no?
See Line 49 on this record.
Thomas, Jem (Jim?), death recorded on 30 Oct 1905. Date of death is listed as 27 Oct 1905 (letha lists Olney's death date as the 25th. His age is listed at 27 years (which quite obviously does not match our Olney, who would have been around 1 month old, 31 days old on 27 Oct 1905). His place of death is listed as Smoot (an area that our Thomas' were known to be living). He was buried in Smoot on 28 Oct 1905. The Physician returning the certificate is L.H. McClung of Dawson, the medical attendant from the Thomas twins' birth, not abnormal for a small rural area. His cause of death is listed as Cholera Infantum... would a 27 year old man have died from this? Wouldn't it just be listed as cholera? So therein lies the crux... which is right? The age or the cause of death? Is it possible the recorder simply put the 27 in the wrong column? Is there still an original form provided by L.H. McClung that might be available?

I've only seen the baby's name listed as Olney, but all the rest of the children have two names, a few of them known by their middle names. What was Olney's full name?

My heart aches for Joe Andy and Ellen's loss for their infant son.


Rita Kerleroux said...

I dont recall much talk about my grandpa's twin, although we were aware of it. My grandpa "Elzie" was a gentle and kind man who would come stay with us for a few weeks in the summer. I remember he liked to garden and listen to religious sermons on the radio. He also send a birthday card to each of his grandkids on their birthdays with a one dollar bill inside. He was a wonderful grandfather, I can still hear his laugh just thinking about him.

Jodi Roessler said...

Thank you so much for sharing that Aunt Rita! It means so much to me :)