Monday, August 10, 2009

Finding a New Family and Alice Floyd Ezell Bibb (Repost)

I am way behind in posting on the 52 genealogy blogging prompts provided by Amy of We Tree, but one of the recent prompts (last week's?) that I particularly wanted to respond to had to do with reposting an old article. I am going to combine two articles I posted in October 2008, Finding a New Family and Alice Floyd Ezell Bibb, 26 Jan 1882-17 Oct 1918. Alice's story is a tragic and touching one, and actually would have been ideal for the recent "Disasters" Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Miriam Midkiff Robbins over at Ancestories, because the influenza epidemic of 1918-1920 plays a large role.

Finding a New Family

The “new family” mentioned in the title above does not refer to a set of direct ancestors, i.e., the parents of a “brick wall” ancestor, but is located in a “collateral line,” in this case, the family of one of the brothers of my great-grandfather Charles Augustus Floyd. The brother in question is Caswell B. Floyd, who was born in 1845 in Illinois, married Mary Miller, and died in 1890 in Kleberg, Dallas County, Texas. The Floyds were one of the first families on whom I had any information, thanks to some outstanding Floyd family researchers, Eunice Sandling and the Jim and Pat Dodd family. It often seemed that there was very little I could add by way of research to what they had already done. They already had a family group for Caswell and Mary Floyd, which included five sons – George Albert, William Henry, Joseph Ira, Ollie B., and Charles Alford. However, Caswell ‘s death in 1890 opened up the possibility that there were additional children born between the 1880 census and Caswell’s death in 1890.

The 1900 census showed an Alvin C. Long, born ca 1888, living with a Charles and Mary Long in Precinct 4, Dallas County, Texas, and I suspected that Mary Long was Caswell’s widow. I eventually got in touch with a descendant of Cletus Caswell Floyd, Alvin Cletus Floyd’s son, and the name Caswell and the descendant’s claim that the family was from Kleberg, Texas, made me positive that my guess was correct. However, this still is not the family referred to in this article.

When I did the census work for Charles and Mary Long, I found that in the 1910 census, Mary was shown as having given birth to 10 children, of whom 8 were still living. That meant it should be possible to find eight living children at that point in time, but at this point I knew only of Caswell and Mary’s six sons plus another son, Emmet, born to Mary and Charles Long. Emmet was born in 1893, at which time Mary was already about 45 years old, and in the 1900 census Mary was mistakenly shown as having had only one child, i.e., Emmet, so I guessed that the child not accounted for must have been Caswell’s child. After eliminating Floyd males from the Charles August Floyd and Alfred Byrum Floyd (Charles’ and Caswell’s youngest brother) families, there did not seem to be any additional male Floyds born in the early 1880s living on their own in the Dallas area. That left one possibility, a phenomenon known to many family researchers dealing with this period in history – 1880 to 1900 – who understand that one of the consequences of the loss of almost the entire 1890 census is the “lost daughter” phenomenon – a daughter born in the early 1880s (so she does not appear on the 1880 census) who by 1900 has already married and no longer lives with her family (so she cannot be found under her maiden name in the 1900 census).

My next step was to look for a young (less than 20 years old) married woman in the Kleberg area. There were several candidates, and for at least two of these it was indicated that one or both parents had been born in Illinois (the only reliable “distinguishing feature” I could use to narrow down the field), but I was actually able to find their maiden names with a little hunting, and none of them was the missing daughter. That was several months ago. About a week ago I was taking care of one of the more mundane genealogy chores, recopying quickly scribbled notes to put in the proper family binders. Probably about a year or so earlier (before I was very familiar with the Caswell Floyd family), I had hastily jotted down some information from Jim Wheat’s Dallas County Texas Archives (another plug for one of my favorite websites) – the transcript of the death certificate for a young woman named Alice Bibb who had died in the great influenza epidemic in 1918. Listed as her parents were C. B. Floyd and Mary Mills. At the time it piqued my curiosity, but I was not familiar enough with the family to be certain that this was Caswell and Mary. Seeing my notes a second time, however, gave me that jolt and then the rush familiar to so many genealogy buffs – this was the daughter I had been searching for! This was followed by embarrassment at my “senior moment” – forgetting that I had already “found” the daughter. I then remembered that her death fell within the right time frame to be covered by the Texas death certificates on the Family Search pilot site (another favorite website). A glance at the image of the original death certificate showed that Mary Mills was indeed actually Mary Miller, and Alice Bibb was Alice Floyd, the missing daughter.

Alice Floyd Ezell Bibb, 26 Jan 1882-17 Oct 1918

One of the first things I learned about Alice Floyd Bibb was that she died of influenza and pneumonia on 17 October 1918. The date in itself is eloquent - these were the early days of the Great Influenza Epidemic. Now the task that confronted me was to work backward from her death and find out whom she had married, what children she had, if any, and everything else I could find out about her life. I started with her death certificate. Originally I had a transcription, but now I could get an image at the Family Search pilot site. Alice died in Kleberg, Dallas County, Texas. This was the area where members of the Caswell Floyd family lived. The other two brothers who survived Caswell, Charles Augustus and Alfred Byrum, had lived in the Hutchins/Lancaster area of Dallas County. The informant on her death certificate was Ira Floyd, her brother. The undertaker who signed the certificate was E. O. Prewitt, the husband of Alice's niece Cheba Floyd. Cheba herself would die within four years after complications from an operation. The registrar who signed the document was W. S. Skiles, a distant relative by marriage through Charles Floyd's wife Angeline Matlock Floyd.

My next step was to find out precisely who Mr. Bibb was; at this point I assumed that he was the man that Alice had married by the 1900 census, making her an "invisible" Floyd. A simple search did not reveal the couple on the 1910 census, so I took another piece of information from the death certificate, Lee Cemetery, to see if I could find someone there. Through a bit of googling, I found a site which listed a number of graves in Lee Cemetery and even had pictures of the tombstones. One of the tombstones was for a T. H. Bibb, 1868-1818. This looked promising. I could find no Bibb family with that spelling in the Dallas area on the 1900 or 1910 census, but the 1880 census for nearby Kaufman, Texas showed a widower named Thomas H. Bibb with his children, and the oldest child was also named Thomas, age 12. The younger Thomas must be the T.H. Bibb in Lee Cemetery (and the older Thomas Bibb is also buried in Lee Cemetery), but was he also Alice's husband? With a little creativity I found a Tom Bib on the 1900 census, born November 1868, with his wife Nancy, born February 1877, and daughters Lora and Mabel. It appeared that he was not Alice's husband. However, I went back to the Lee Cemetery records, and the 1918 date of death for Tom was very suggestive. Then I found an important piece of information - one of the other Bibbs In Lee Cemetery was a Nancy Bibb, born 1873 and died in 1904. It struck me that perhaps Alice was Tom's second wife and, given no Alice Floyd on the 1900 census, Tom may very well have been Alice's second husband.

To find this couple (I hoped) on the 1910 census, I decided to work on finding Lora or Mabel, without the last name. That worked - this time the family members were listed as Thomas and Allice Bibbs, Thomas' daughters Lora and Mabel, and, what gave me the final clue I needed to find Alice with her first husband on the 1900 census, listed as Thomas' stepson (therefore Alice's son from her first marriage), James Ezell. Looking for an Ezell family on the 1900 census in Dallas County was fairly straightforward and produced Tom Ezell, wife Allice, and son Oran T. James Ezell was born after 1900, so Oran must have died by 1910. Oran's death, the early deaths of Tom Ezell and Nancy Woody Bibb, and Alice's early death were the first chapters I found in the tragedy-marked life of this family. I returned to Lee Cemetery to find out how the other Bibbs were related, and quickly found two daughters who died quite young, Elizabeth (1912-1913) and Frances (1913-1914). Their death certificates, which were also online, showed that they were Thomas and Alice's children and showed that Elizabeth had died of bronchial pneumonia and Frances of dysentery. Thomas Bibb's death certificate confirmed what his tombstone hinted at, that he had died in the influenza epidemic, and in fact showed that he died on the very same day as Alice.

A search on Ancestry turned up a third daughter of Thomas Bibb and Alice Floyd, but no name was given. Further census work showed that she survived (her name was Billie) and was brought up by Lora Bibb who, at the young age of 22, had been the informant on her father's death certificate. The 1920 census with Lora and Billie shows them with Lora's husband Arthur Glenn and their son Martin. The 1930 census shows Lora as a widow, a younger son Phillip K. Glenn, and Billie. At first I thought this was the continuation of the numerous tragedies suffered by this family, but Ancestry searches for Arthur and Martin to find death dates led me to believe that the tragedy that befell this family may have been one of separation, not death. I found evidence that a Charles Arthur Glenn from the same area of Dallas County as the Caswell Floyd family was the "right" Arthur Glenn, and this Arthur Glenn, his son Martin (both of the right ages), a new wife Anna, and Anna's daughters Lorean and Caroline Ray living in Cameron County, Texas on the 1930 census. Arthur's stepdaughters were of the right age for him to have still been married to Lora when youngest son Phillip was born. The interesting thing was that each parent had taken a son.

Lora Bibb Glenn did not completely escape further tragedy, however. On 30 June 1951, her younger son Phillip Keith Glenn died at age 26 in a prison camp in Korea. The following information is provided for him in the Korean War Casualty listings:

"First Lieutenant Glenn was a member of the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. He was taken Prisoner of War while fighting the enemy near Kunu-ri, North Korea on November 30, 1950 and died while a prisoner on June 30, 1951. First Lieutenant Glenn was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal." I believe that he may have married a woman named Millie Etta Reed and had a daughter named Donna; perhaps this was some consolation to his mother. I believe Arthur Glenn died 23 July 1943, but I do not know what happened to Martin Glenn. Lora Bibb died on 22 March 1969; the informant on her death certificate was Billie (Bibb) Kay, her younger half-sister.

The other Bibb sister, Mabel Bibb, died at age 37 on 8 December 1934, about three weeks after the birth of her seventh child, Nancy Mabel Walton, apparently from an infection that set in after the birth.

I have not been able to find out anything further about James Ezell.

1 comment:

  1. I admire the way you share your process as you discover all your information! It takes a great deal of effort to do this work and share it with your readers.
    Evelyn in Montreal