Friday, June 29, 2012

Carrie Alice Williams (1883-1967)

Great-Grandma Carrie on her wedding day to her first husband,
my Great-Grandpa John William Scott, 14 Jan 1905.
My Great-Grandmother Carrie Alice Williams was born in Miller County, Missouri on 5 February 1883 to Napoleon Preston Williams (1846-1922) and Eleanor Elizabeth White (1853-1926).  She was their fifth child. She married at the age of 21 to my Great-Grandfather John William Scott (1881-1936), and they had six children: Edward Arnold (1907-1908), Ines Lorraine (1910-1994), Grace (1911-1917), twins Leslie Clyde (1913-2004) and my Grandfather, Wesley Clarence (1913-1986), and Bonnie Louise (1915-1994).

From the stories I have heard, the marriage between John and Carrie was not a happy one.  It was full of struggles.  It has become clear that my Great-Grandpa likely suffered from depression, and quite possibly, bipolar disorder. Carrie likely also had some sort of mental illness.  The descriptions I received from my Grandma Scott of Carrie were not very nice.  She described Carrie as being a hateful woman that she did not like one bit.  Apparently, my Great-Grandmother wanted things her way and if it didn't go that way, she was not happy about it.

Around 1924, she and my Great-Grandfather divorced.  She was remarried soon after to a man by the name of John Piedmont Smith. I have not found much information on him. I know he was born around 1894 in Oklahoma.  That is about all I know about his history. It has come out, over the years, that it is likely that he abused my Grand-Aunt Bonnie.  We don't know that for positive, but something he did to Bonnie led to my Grandpa Wesley Scott, around 14 at the time (circa 1927), confronting John Smith. The confrontation turned into a physical altercation resulting in my Grandpa leaving home and going it on his own.  Carrie Williams ended up divorcing him sometime before 1940.  She never married again.

My Great-Grandmother was by no means a perfect woman. She had a lot of anger. I can only imagine what led to that. Right now I am reading and transcribing some of her diaries in the hopes of better understanding who she was and why she was they way she was.  I have 7 diaries to go through.  I am currently working on the earliest dated one, from 1921, the only one written while she was married to my Great-Grandfather.  The others are dated in the 1940s.They are proving interesting reading, and I plan to include them in the blog in the near future.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Searching Crawford County, Missouri

In 1832, Allen Davis (1809-1886), my 3rd great-grandfather, bought land and settled in Crawford County, Missouri. The land he bought was on Whittenburg Creek on Dobkins farm.  Three years later, he married my 3rd great-grandmother, Missouri Scott (1821-1890), who was likely born in Crawford County, Missouri (still looking for proof).

Since that time, my family has lived in Crawford County. My great-great grandfather, Moses Henry Davis (1842-1915) was the postmaster of a town that ended up becoming named Davisville because of him.  Additionally, I still have some first cousins there (once removed, mind you).  In fact, my mom's first cousin, Lyle, is the police chief of Steelville, the county seat. It is strange when you think about your family living in an area for at least 180 years.  Other families married into the Davis line, like the Martins and Deweeses, who all settled there by 1850.  Some family members left, but often not to far. Most remained in Missouri over the years, quite a few in St. Louis.

Crawford County is not particularly large.  It has a population of around 25,000.  I am probably related, in some way, to a good portion of that population.  So, it is not particularly surprising that I spend a lot of time doing research on the inhabitants of that county.  I am working on my family tree going down. One of my best resources in recent years has been the Steelville Star-Crawford Mirror, the local paper.  I find some family gossip on occasion, but mainly look to it for obituaries which help me flush out my line.

Currently, I have been going through the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, township by township.  I look for the surnames I have become familiar with over the years and see if they match up with people in my tree; names such as, Davis, Martin, Deweese, Setzer, Britton, England, Worley, and Turnbough, just to name a few.  It has been taking me a while to get through just one township because I am related to so many people.  However, I do love that I have a place that I know is rich with my family history.  You can't beat that.