Friday, January 14, 2011


Today is 59 years since my grandfather passed. He was born 18 Oct 1888 according to his WWI, WWII draft records and according to his death certificate. Looks like he may be one of the few persons in my database with no name or date conflicts. His WWI draft registration was my first knowledge of him having a middle name, Turner. After connecting with my 2nd cousins, I learned that his nickname was Uncle Bud. I got a kick out of that. I wonder what it would have been like to know him. I expect it may have likely been something similar to the relationship with my dad; I love him but... I'll get back to that in a few moments.

I was able to determine from his WWI draft card that Oliver's middle name was Turner. I expect that was a name passed down from the slaveowner family. I have seen at least two Turners in the caucasian HARGROVE group and at least one last name TURNER associated with them. He and my grandmother Clara married 12 Feb 1919 and their daughter, Agnes was born 30 Nov 1919. Just in time huh? Legacy, RootsMagic and PAF calculated that as 9 months 18 days. Second child, James was born November 1920. In November 1921, Clara was six months pregnant with their third. Moses was born Feb 1922 and Obie November 1923. Four children in five years. Fast forward to September 1927. Can't specifically say when, between 1923 and 1927 did they move to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania but I was saying before that Mom was the only one of them not born in Georgia. Mom was born in Pricedale, Westmoreland County, just southeast of Pittsburgh in 1927. Also between 1924 and 1926, there was a pair of twins stillborn to them. I don't know and will probably never discover if that was Georgia, Pennsylvania or between. Note to self: You actually have no evidence that Oliver himself, ever lived in Pennsylvania.

1928 found them moved from Pricedale to Youngstown. Couple of things confirmed their move to Youngstown in 1928. On my inaugural visit to the OGS, I was able to look at a lot of Youngstown City Directories. They were not in the 1927 but were in the 1929 I found them on Oak Street, confirming the address they were in the 1930 census. I had found his WWII old man's draft online (prior to that first OGS visit) and did see that the address on Rayen Ave in 1942 was changed to Berkley Avenue in 1943. I thought nothing of that, assuming that the family moved. From that OGS, visit, I saw the family did stay on Oak Street until 1936/37. They all moved not far to Rayen Ave. I found no City Directory addresses for any of them on Berkley but did see that Clara and the children went from Rayen to Blaine Ave. Oliver wasn't there. Wait a minute, he was still alive. Oliver lived on Cherry Street in 1949. I admit I did do some skipping in the 1930s. And the HARGROVES were not the only family I was following. I was also searching for the BARNES, BRIMMERs, DRAPERs and coincidentally also found some WORKMANs. I know it's supposed to be the stay with one family group... but my logic, this being a one day visit to OGS, find everybody I can, in each book I search. Well finding Oliver at these different addresses and Clara not being with him on Cherry Street (and I think I also found him on McGuffey Road, but missed documenting that one or making a copy). By that time, I was so caught up in the realization... They were separated! My calculations say for at least seven years, 1943-1950. One other thing I was doing during this OGS visit was tracking all the residents of Oliver & Clara's home on Myrtle Ave. This is Clara's home that I remember and where I also lived for 12 years. So, my logic takes me back to his WWII registration and saw that his registration changed Oliver's address but not Clara's. Clara continued to be his alternate contact on Rayen Ave but he moved by himself to Berkley Avenue. Looking him up in these City Directories also found him working in the steel mill when they first arrived in Youngstown but later that Oliver was a barber. The detective genealogist in me did some further investigation and found that they were also evidently separated at some time or another in Georgia. When my cousin, Fran sent Uncle Obie's photo, she also included his birth certificate. Looking again at Obie's birth certificate, 16 Nov 1923, I see the residence of his mother in Athens, Clarke County Georgia and residence of his father, Oliver, as DK! Did Oliver move away from Georgia during or before 1923? My thought was though, even for those husbands fathers who moved away from their family to find better jobs etc, the wives & mothers still knew their address, didn't they? Maybe he moved to Pennsylvania but likely not to Ohio until 1928. Oliver's death certificate specifies that he lived in Youngstown for 24 years as of his death. This again confirms that Oliver moved to Ohio in 1928, again whether he lived in Pennsylvania or not. So I expect that when Obie was born, that Oliver was still in Georgia but Clara didn't know where. To Do List: Check to see if there are City Directories for Athens in the 1920s. Hopefully, if they do exist, they include colored people.

Fast forward again to about a year and a half ago. I was talking to my cousin Benny and mentioned to him that our grandparents were separated. He asked, "yeah, you didn't know that?" Earlier I said that none of then nieces and nephews were born before Uncle Obie died. Also true that grandfather Oliver passed about 3 weeks before his first grandchild was born. Continuing the conversation with Benny... He told me of grandfather being a barber. Confirmed. Then he told me that when Oliver was a barber, he used to hide money in the center pole of the barber chair and grandmother busted him. Benny's saying that's why they were separated. Well, my thought process tells me it's not that simple. They probably separated, not simply because he was hiding the money but for what reason he was hiding the money. In any case he wasn't bringing it home to take care of his family. I have suspicions that alcohol may have been involved and likely other women. Someday, I hope to hear his side of the story.

1 comment:

  1. Darlene, this is such an interesting saga about your grandparenets. Great genealogical detective work.