Thursday, August 9, 2012

...starts with the Thomas family: James Elzie Thomas

On to James Elzie Thomas's family... I discussed he and his twin brother's birth on this post, so on to Elzie's life, what little I know of it.

Elzie was first married to Anna Mae Bowyer, my great grandmother, on 27 Feb 1929 in Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia. He was 23, she 18. Elzie was a coal miner (someone was kind enough to keep and share some of his papers with me) and Letha lists his church affiliation as Methodist. Together the couple had nine children between 1929 and 1947. Letha was the second child, first daughter.  Elzie and Anna Mae divorced 24 Apr 1951. Elzie passed away on 18 Sep 1980 at McPhearson Hospital in Howell, Livingston, Michigan. He was buried on 22 Sep at Wallace Memorial Cemetery in Clintonville, Greenbrier, WV.

Anna Mae will be portrayed at greater length on a future post, but here is what is written on their Family Group Sheet: Anna Mae was born 27 Jan 1911 in Danese, Fayette County, WV to Ernest Russell Bowyer and Ruby Stella Legg. She passed on 14 Aug 1996 at her home in Brighton, Livingston County, Michigan. She was buried 17 Aug 1996 at Brighton Hills Cemetery in Brighton.

Elzie and Anna Mae
It grieves me greatly to read, and subsequently type, this information. I was 14 years old when Anna Mae passed. I have no memories of this woman, and certainly should remember my great grandmother's funeral. My parents divorced when I was 3, so my ties to my extended family, on either side, was tenuous at best, but far weaker on my father's side due to custody, visitation, and geography. 

Both Elzie and Anna Mae moved on to other relationships. Elzie's second marriage was to a widow named Iva Mae Sanford Bowyer. Yes, Bowyer. Strangely enough, it appears he married his ex-wife's widowed Aunt (Anna Mae's father's brother, Ora L Bowyer's wife). They married on 1 Jan 1961 in East Rainelle, Fayette, WV. Iva was born 8 Apr 1909 in Greenbrier County, WV. She passed on 26 Feb 1963 in Fayette County, WV.

Anna Mae had 3 had more children, so the siblings are 12 in total, several have passed on, but for privacy, I will leave it at that.

...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.

...starts with the Thomas Family: Joseph Berton "Bert" Thomas

The third child of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison was Joseph Berton "Bert" Thomas.

Joseph Berton (center) with two of his brothers,  Lester Robert (left) and James Elzie (right)
- does anyone know where Bert was headed off to in this picture?
Bert was born on 25 Jan 1904 in Dawson, Greenbrier, West Virginia, his birth record has no name attached, and Joseph's name is incorrect (listed as Jacob Thomas), but all else points to this entry being Bert's birth record. Bert died in Mar 1974 in Danese, Fayette, WV. He is buried at Wallace Memorial Cemetery in Clintonville, Greenbrier, WV.

Brothers, James Elzie Thomas and Joseph Berton Thomas
Bert married Nancy Evelyn "Nannie" Shuck on 20 Jun 1941 (according to Letha's notes, I have been unable to confirm this through the WVCulture site's marriage records, or searches on The couple is listed as having no children.  Nannie was born 16 May 1913 in Fayette County, WV (according to the Social Securty Death Index (SSDI)) to Henry Madison "Matt" Shuck and his wife Rebecca A Shuck. The Shuck family plays heavily in Letha's research, as we also have Shuck roots. So I'm sure I will be referencing this post when I get to the many pieces of Shuck info included in the Legacy (books, binders, folders, letters, etc...). Because of this, Letha has also noted Nannie's lineage in the notes on this Family Group Sheet.
Rebecca A Shuck - daughter of Mose II and Liz Shuck
Nannie - descendant of Mose I -> George -> Perry A -> Henry Madison -> Nannie 

Nannie remarried in 1976 to a Harry Wolford. Their marriage license is mentioned on page 7 of the Beckley Post-Herald, Beckley, WV from 22 Jun 1976:
FAYETTE MARRIAGE LICENSES ISSUED - ... Harry Oscar Wolford, 71, of Danese, son of Henry Wolford and Mary Susan Flanagan, and Nannie Evelyn Thomas, 63, of Danese, daughter of Henry M. Shuck and Rebecca Shuck.
 Nannie passed away on 5 Jan 1981 and is also buried at Wallace Memorial Cemetery.