Cephas Love Wilson, Jr. and Louise Adelaide Hughes

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Happy anniversary to Cephas Love Wilson Jr. and Louise Adelaide Hughes, who were married 81 years ago today, August 15, 1936.

Cephas Love Wilson Jr. and Louise Adelaide Hughes. This was the second marriage for Cephas Jr., his first wife, Mary Baker, died in Washington, D.C.  They had one daughter, Shirley B. Wilson. Source: Ancestry.com

Cephas Love Wilson Jr. and Louise Adelaide Hughes’ marriage license. Source: Ancestry.com

Cephas Love Wilson Jr. was Emmett’s nephew, the son of his closest brother and law partner. I’m been intrigued by Cephas Jr.’s story, mostly because this is the one branch of the Wilson family descendants that I’ve been unable to locate. But, over the past four years, small details about this branch of the Wilson family tree reveal themselves.

Imagine my excitement to find Cephas Jr.’s marriage records the other day! There’s a lot of information here, and of course, I can’t resist picking these documents apart. Here’s what I found:

  • Louise Hughes, a schoolteacher, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of George Warriner Hughes and Ida Hughes. According to the 1920 U.S. Census, George managed a restaurant in Allegheny County. The Hughes family was large; Louise was the second oldest. By 1930, the Hughes family (minus Louise and her younger sister, Florence D.) had moved to Cincinnati, where George was also managing a restaurant.
  • George was born in Florida; his sister, Florence P. Warriner, was a well-established music teacher in Jacksonville. According to the 1930 U.S. Census, Louise and her younger sister Florence D. were living with Florence P. Warriner.
  • Another aunt, Adelaide Hughes, was also a school teacher, and living in the Florence P. Warriner household in 1930 — so, a household of schoolteachers, all in the family!
  • In 1930, Louise is listed as a student — she was only 18 at the time — likely still in high school, or at least in college. Sure enough, there’s a yearbook photo of her!

Louise Adelaide Hughes, Senior, Class of 1929, Robert E. Lee High School. Source: Ancestry.com

And:

Louise Adelaide Hughes, Freshman, pledged Delta Zeta sorority. Florida State University, 1930. Source: Ancestry.com

Stunning, wasn’t she?

According to the 1940 U.S. Census, Louise did not graduate from Florida State University; the highest level of education attained is listed at second year college. If she was a Freshman in 1930 (right after the stock market crash), that meant she only went as far as here sophomore year (meaning she probably left around 1931 or 1932). The same census reveals that Louise is a teacher in the public schools (despite not finishing her degree), and that Cephas Jr. is a photographer at C.W. Dishinger Studios in Jacksonville. It isn’t specified what subject Louise teaches at the public schools, but I believe she probably taught music, as her aunts and sister (with whom she was living in 1930) were music teachers.

Somewhere between 1932 and 1936, Cephas Jr. met Louise Hughes. I like to think that Ceph’s mother Lula might have had a hand in getting the couple together, as she was musically gifted, and seriously tied into the music community at this time. Perhaps Lula knew Florence Warriner; perhaps the two ladies introduced the young people.

“Chipola River” by Mrs. Lulu (Lula) May Grether. Perhaps the Warriner-Hughes music teachers played this song, or had their students play the song! Source: Floridasheetmusic.com

The witnesses to the wedding were Louise’ sister, Florence D. Hughes, and J. Richard Grether (1897-1961). According to Richard’s WWI draft record, he was tall and slender, with gray eyes and light brown hair. His WWII registration card lists him as an employee of the Barnett National Bank in Jacksonville, with a ruddy complexion and a weight of 150 pounds, and living with his father, John Dillon Grether, at the family home.

Grether was the son of John Dillon Grether (1870-1943). John Grether married Cephas Jr.’s mother between 1925 and 1930, after the death of Cephas Sr. in 1925; J. Richard and Cephas Jr. were stepbrothers.

The Rev. Frank August Gustafson was the past of the Church of the New Jerusalem, also known as The New Church. This was Louise’ church, as Cephas Jr. was raised as an Episcopalian.

The house Cephas Jr. listed as his residence in the marriage license application is still standing; Louise’s home at 816 Oak Street is not. And the house where Cephas Jr. and Louise Hughes Wilson lived in Jacksonville (built in 1940) is still standing.

The address where the marriage took place — 4240 Marquette Avenue — appears to have been a private home in 1936. It is hard to tell if the house at that address today is the original Gustafson home. This was Gustafson’s home address (according to the Jacksonville City Directory in 1936); it was not uncommon for weddings to be held at home, especially if the bride and groom were of two different religious faiths.

Telecommunication

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What’s the first thing most folks would do in an emergency, if you had to let family members know that you were injured in an accident, or seriously ill?

You’d call them. And, more likely than not, you’d probably connect with them almost immediately.

Thanks to the miracle of modern telecommunication — we’re always accessible to other human beings at any time of the day or night. And it’s economical. I don’t give a second thought about the economics of calling my sister (who lives on the other side of the country) during the day: I just pick up the phone. But back in the 70s and 80s, I can remember having to wait until 5 or 6 pm to make a call to a friend who lived in the next county, because the rates would be lower.

(Aside: Here’s an interesting and informative article on the cultural shifts that telephones have brought over the past 100 years. The focus of the article is how the telephones have been depicted in film, but the historical background is well written.)

In Emmett’s day, and especially during his congressional service days (1913-1917) a telephone call (and in particular, a long distance call, as mentioned in the link above) was a big deal:

  • Telephones were still the accessories of the wealthy and upper-middle class by 1913.
  • Many communities, especially rural, were not completely (or consistently) wired for telephones.

Rural folks cutting telegraph and telephone lines for clothes lines. Priorities! Source: The Chipley Banner, February 18, 1899, p. 3 in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

  • Long distance calls were expensive, and you didn’t telephone someone long distance without a reason. [Some businesses charged $5 for three minutes (in 1913 dollars), which is the equivalent of $60 in 2017.]

I started thinking about this yesterday when I came across my notes about this event:

Source: The Pensacola Journal, December 21, 1914, page 1, in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Here’s the background:

  • Emmett was admitted to Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. at least a week earlier.
  • He was unconscious and his kidneys had shut down; he also went into delirium tremens, which was (and is today) sometimes fatal.
  • The condition was so serious, both Cephas Love Wilson and Frank C. Wilson Jr. were summoned to his bedside in Washington, D.C. This was neither an inexpensive nor easy trip for either of Emmett’s brothers.

My question is, were they contacted by telephone or telegram?

I am leaning toward telegram, because although Cephas had a telephone in both his home and office, and would have been accessible, the officials at Providence Hospital would probably not have known that — and, likely they would have used the tried-and-true telegram.

The cost associated with making the phone call from Washington to Marianna would also have been time consuming, and quite expensive. It was simply more efficient and economical to get the telegram to Cephas ASAP. 

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Finally, take a look at the story that ran right below the article on Emmett’s brothers being summoned to Washington, D.C.:

Was the article on drinking an unfortunate placement or was the publisher sending a message? Source: The Pensacola Journal, December 21, 1914, page 1, in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

At this point, Frank Mayes’ widow Lois Mayes was the publisher of The Pensacola Journal, and she was not a fan of Emmett’s. (The love-hate relationship between Frank Mayes and Emmett Wilson is an interesting story for another day.)

Lois, and the political movers-and-shakers of Pensacola, knew Emmett had a problem with alcohol. Most of Emmett’s colleagues and friends were now stepping away from him, tired of his behavior and wary of the professional fallout from associating with a known drunk.

Was the placement of this article on drinking an unfortunate coincidence or was it done on purpose?

 

Julian Wilson & The Steamer “Gertrude”

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Yesterday afternoon, I was going through my notes (looking for something else, naturally) when I found an article from the July 26, 1906 issue of The Chipley Banner, which reported Emmett’s twin brother Julian, “… a purser on the steamer ‘Gertrude’ was in town visiting his father at home, and left on Sunday to take his run on the ship.”

Of course, I had to stop what I was doing and track this down. Was it possible that there was information about the Gertrude out there?

Sure enough, the wonderful Florida Memory (run by the State Archives of Florida) came through. I found two photographs of the steamboat “Gertrude,” which ran up and down the Chattahoochie River.

The steamboat “Gertrude”, between Apalachicola and River Junction. Source: Florida Memory

I spoke with Julian’s daughter, Jule, several months ago, who told me that Julian and Emmett had become experts with the telegraph while they were teenagers working for the P&A division of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad around 1900.

Emmett did not feel a calling to the life of telegraphy, and set his sights on higher education and the law in 1900. Julian, however, liked telegraphy and Morse code, but he took a break from the railroad around 1903, and joined the crew of the Gertrude, just to mix things up.

Another view of the steamboat “Gertrude,” taking on a supply of wood. Source: Florida Memory

The job of purser was a natural fit for Julian; he was only with the steamship company for about two years (Jule thinks he didn’t care for life on the river), then returned to the L&N. He eventually became an accountant, and spent the rest of his career with the L&N. “My father loved working for the railroad,” Jule said. “He enjoyed going to work every day.”

By the way, the date of the original article that got my attention is interesting: Only a month earlier, Emmett came home permanently from Sterling, Illinois. Either The Chipley Banner was just now making note that Emmett was taking a long ‘vacation’ from his job back in Illinois, or Emmett’s family decided to say something, since it was obvious Emmett wasn’t headed back up North anytime soon.

The Brent-Warren Wedding

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Bonnie Burnham, society editor of The Pensacola Journal predicted that the wedding of Emily Brent and Alba Warren would be one of ‘the most elaborate of all the weddings’, and it was one of the first weddings held after Lent — on Easter Monday.

The Brent-Warren wedding was one of the society events of 1911. The gerund “queening” isn’t considered complimentary; I’m sure Bonnie Burnham didn’t mean it that way — or did she?  Source: The Pensacola Journal, http://www.chroniclingamerical.gov

The article mentioning the Brent-Warren wedding indicated that a Catholic wedding ceremony had to delayed until after Easter — and so it was fitting that Cora’s wedding had an Easter theme!

Source: The Pensacola Journal, http://www.chroniclingamerica.gov

Source: The Pensacola Journal; http://www.chroniclingamerica.gov

What is really great is that I found photographs of the Brent home, all decorated for the wedding!

One of the Brent-Warren descendants, Anne Field, has a web page dedicated to the Brent home, complete with wonderful photographs of the house, the room where the wedding took place, the wedding gifts (!!), and even a photograph of the cake that is described in the article above! (Thanks to Anne for permission to link to her page!)

The second photograph on the web page shows the library where the wedding took place. Our Emmett was definitely in attendance, standing in support of his friend Alba Houghton Warren. We can imagine Emmett standing on the right side, somewhere next to the bookcases, casting an occasional glance at the tomes on the shelves, avoiding the glances of some of the unmarried women in the room, who fancied him a bridegroom for themselves.

 

July 4th, 1898

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Here’s a summary of the July 4th celebration in Emmett’s hometown, as reported in the July 8, 1898 issue of The Chipley Banner. Dissecting this article provides an interesting snapshot of some of the people, places, and things in Emmett’s life.

July 4th, 1898, from the July 8, 1898 issue of The Chipley Banner. Source: chroniclingamerica.gov

The local celebration centered around organized sports events, a patriotic flag-raising, and speeches (probably political), as it was a mid-term election year. Stephen Sparkman was running for reelection, and would handily defeat Republican candidate E.R. Gunby in the general election.

In 1898, the new flag that flew on the 80-foot pole had 45 stars; the President of the United States was William McKinley; the Spanish-American War was in its third month; and 15-year-old Emmett was a telegrapher at the Chipley train station.

The Spanish-American war lasted only four months (it was fought between May and August 1898). Emmett could have volunteered, perhaps even lied about his age to join the military, but perhaps he was disinclined after hearing the stories of hardships and realities of war (i.e., it wasn’t so glamorous or exciting) from his father and grandfather’s experiences during the Civil War.

Lamp Harman was Miles Lampkin Harmon (1871-1934), first policeman of Panama City, Florida. I wonder if Emmett or any of his brothers participated in the race too.

The fleet Charlie Chandlee (1874-1973) eventually became a well known real estate and insurance salesman in Panama City. His obituary (Panama City News-Herald, January 15, 1973) stated that his family moved to Chipley for the health of his mother, finished high school there, then attended school in DeFuniak, settling in Panama City in 1905.

Poley Slay is also known as Napoleon Bonaparte “Poley” Slay (1871-1956), and was a longtime resident of Chipley.

Unfortunately, I haven’t uncovered much about Godfrey Clemons is a mystery still, although I found that Clemons received payments from Washington County in 1898, and is listed as a pauper.

 

June 23, 1891

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Emmett’s mother, Elizabeth V. Wilson.

On June 22, 1891, Emmett’s father, Dr. Francis C. Wilson, returned to Chipley, and his family, after a four-month separation. Dr. Wilson had been in Kentucky, attending medical school for one semester, to obtain a now-required medical credential so that he could continue to practice medicine in Florida.

The separation was a hardship for the family. The family was dependent on Dr. Wilson’s salary, and his absence meant money would be tight for awhile. Also, it meant Elizabeth would single-parent 10 children, manage Dr. Wilson’s medical practice (maintaining records, paying bills, providing nursing services when necessary, and so forth), and run the household. But Elizabeth was resilient and strong. She was not a stranger to difficult situations; I’m sure she told Dr. Wilson that she would manage just fine, everyone would pitch in, and not to worry. Things would be back to normal in only a few months.

And indeed, on June 23, 1891, things seemed back to normal for the family. That morning, Dr. Wilson immediately resumed his medical practice.  He hitched his horse to his buggy, packed his medical bag, and invited Elizabeth to come along with him as he made his rounds in Chipley.

Elizabeth Maxwell Wilson, about 1865.

I imagine Dr. Wilson wanted to spend some quality time with Elizabeth, as they rode out together in the buggy along the dirt roads of Washington County, on that warm, sunny day in June.

We can imagine Elizabeth catching Dr. Wilson up on all the family activities and news. Theirs was definitely a love match — I imagine them talking about how much they missed each other. It is easy to imagine Dr. Wilson telling his beloved Elizabeth that would make it up to her for keeping everything together so well all by herself, especially now that he was home for good.

Midday, Dr. Wilson and Elizabeth rode into downtown Chipley, and stopped at a drugstore, to get a cool drink. One of the storekeepers brought the drink out to Elizabeth — she drank it — then collapsed, unconscious.

Dr. Wilson took Elizabeth immediately to the nearest house, where the neighbors put Elizabeth in bed right away.

Despite all his best efforts, Elizabeth never regained consciousness; she died several hours later.

It is not known what Elizabeth drank at the drugstore. Some family members believe she died of an aneurysm, but because an autopsy was not performed, the cause of death was not conclusive.

Medical History

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Yesterday’s essay about Emmett’s father, Dr. Francis C. Wilson, spurred me to pay a visit to one of the best-kept museum secrets here in metro Washington, D.C.: The National Museum of Health and Medicine.

National Museum of Health and Medicine. Photo source: http://www.go4travelblog.com

Just so you know — this is not a museum for the faint of heart or the weak-stomached. But this is a great place to visit if you are interested in how medicine was practiced during The Civil War, and how one learned to practice medicine via an apprenticeship (as was the case with Dr. Wilson).

This post is quite picture heavy; I think the photos best tell the story of what you can learn from this museum.

 

 

Photographs that accompanied case studies.

 

 

 

The box of slides containing tissue of the tumor that was in Ulysses S. Grant’s throat. Grant was a heavy smoker and was diagnosed with throat cancer in February, 1885; despite the removal of the tumor, the cancer had advanced and he died in July, 1885.

 

A type of microscope that Dr. Wilson might have used in his medical practice.

There are several displays of battlefield injuries from The Civil War, complete with the original bullet intact. This part of the museum is disquieting when you realize the artifacts were, once, human beings.

 

 

Several of the displays identify the actual battle where the injuries were received. For the record, Dr. Wilson was at Spotsylvania, as well as the Battle of the Crater.

Also on display is the bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln.

 

Pocket surgical kit belonging to Dr. Mary Walker.

Yikes.

Portable dental and autopsy kits.

No wonder most of the casualties of The Civil War were due to infection.

An X-ray tube. Dr. Wilson might have used something like this in his practice.

There are several other displays in the museum dedicated to Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (or MASH units), military nursing (truly excellent), and a presentation on how recent flu epidemics are actual variations (‘descendants’) of the original 1918 pandemic.

Aside from coming away from the museum with a greater appreciation for modern medicine (and good health!), the visit made me curious about how Dr. Wilson got interested in medicine in the first place. Dr. Wilson was a private with the infantry during The Civil War; neither connected to a medical unit nor assigned to a hospital.

What I know from the family records is that a) Dr. Wilson did not talk about his experiences as a soldier and b) when he did, it was only about when he was with Robert E. Lee at the surrender at Appomattox.

I wish I could ask him about his experiences.