Monday, November 22, 2010

Marriage Monday - Lena's Marital Adventures: Epilogue

After having researched and written so much about Lena herself, I thought it would be interesting to see what I could find on one of her husbands. I chose the husband that I knew most about but wasn't actually related to - Clarence Johnson.

When I say I knew the most about him, I don't mean that until I started researching him I knew a lot about him. I didn't. All I really had on him was
1. a marriage record from the FamilySearch beta site's Montana Marriages, 1889-1947 database
2. a census record of Clarence and Lena living as husband and wife in Montana in 1910

I thought that since every relationship had an effect on Lena and how she lived and raised her kids, and since Clarence is the second best documented relationship I have of Lena's, I could learn more about her by learning more about him. So I spent a couple hours on Ancestry.com to see what I could find. The marriage record from FS said his parents were Merit and Eliza Johnson, and that Clarence was originally from Kansas. That matched the census record's info. So I went off in search of more information on Clarence's family.

Of course, I started with census records. I always start there, as they are the easiest to search and contain a lot of info. I started with the 1900 census, and soon found Clarence living as the oldest of four single children - the others being Jennie, Leo, and Lio - of Merit and Eliza Johnson, though with an older widowed sister named Letta Harvey also listed in the family. Letta also had two children in the household, Eunice and Eustace, aged 4 and 1. So in 1900 Clarence lived in a household of ten people, ages 56 to 1, all living in Clay county, Kansas. I thought that was very interesting, as ten years later he lived with his wife Lena in a household of two. What really interested me, though, is that the 1900 census said Clarence's mom was the mother of 11 children, of which 8 were still living. I wanted to learn more about Clarence's family, and why he had two brothers with apparently the same name, Leo and Lio.

I started poking around other census records, but this time went with the Kansas state censuses. I've been listening to the Genealogy Guys podcast and remembered George saying Ancestry.com had added a huge database of Kansas state census records, so I went there first. George wasn't kidding! I found the Johnson family in the 1885, 1895, 1905, and 1915 censuses pretty quickly. It was through these censuses I found that Lio's name was actually Lionel. The other Leo stayed as Leo in other censuses so that may have been his actual name. I also found that Clarence's sister Lettie remarried to a man named Harry Bender, and stayed near her parents.

I then went back to the federal censuses. Fortunately for me, Merit and Eliza didn't move out of Kansas. It was pretty interesting to see their family grow from 2 kids in 1870, to 5 in 1880 and 1900, then to just Merit and Eliza in 1910. Each census had a different list of children, depending on how old they were, who was still living, and who had married and gone off on their own.

Going back to Clarence, he and Lena split sometime around the end of 1910 (assuming they split when Lena got pregnant with Ernie Craddock's daughter, Edna). Clarence married Ruth Hauscan on 4 Sep 1913, in Havre, Hill county, Montana. They stayed together at least through the 1930 census, and by then had had six children - Hazel, Lila, Leo (probably named after his uncle), Shirl, Laurie, and Kevin.

I haven't found what happened to Clarence after 1930 yet. But it's interesting to look at his life and see what his background was like, and his life after Lena. He came from a big family of 8 kids, his parents stayed in the same state for over 50 years, so (in that regard at least) he came from a stable home, and that seems to be the lifestyle he sought for himself. Clarence and Lena married when Clarence was 25 and Lena was 19, and were only married for 3 years at the most. Clarence, at least until 1930, was married to one more person for at least 17 years, and seemed to just settle down and raise a family.

It kind of makes me wonder what would have happened if Clarence and Lena had stayed together. My great-grandma might have been a Johnson, and not a Craddock (if they'd had any girls that is); I might have had an ancestral line that probably would be much harder to trace (Johnson seems to be much more common than Craddock); and all of this research would have taught me more about blood relatives than simply the family of one my great-great-grandma's ex-husbands. But it was still interesting to learn about them.

1 comment:

Nolichucky Roots said...

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