Update: A. Max Wilson

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While conducting a periodic check-back on old databases, I found an updated obituary for Emmett’s oldest sibling, Augustus Maxwell Wilson, who was called “Max.”

Source: Find-a-grave.com. Dated January 23, 1925 from the Dade City Banner.

The text from another obituary (from the Palatka, Florida Times-Herald for January 30, 1925) stated he had lived (past tense) in East Palatka, Florida, but at the time of his death had been living with his oldest son, A. Max Jr. in Lacoochee, Florida.

The Dade City Banner obituary provides details of Max’s funeral, and additional information on survivors. By 1925, only five of the original Wilson family siblings are alive (Frank Jr., Walker, Emmett’s twin Julian, Dora and Katie).

This obituary also confirms that Max was living separately from his wife Belle at this point. In another post, I’d mentioned that Belle wrote a family history, “Remember Who You Are Kin To,” published by her son

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In Appreciation of Patience

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If I had to name the personality defect that is the bane of my existence, it is impatience.

I am absolutely terrible at playing the waiting game. I think I have gotten better at it as I’ve gotten older (i.e., matured, and sobered up), but I clearly have a long way to go when it comes to patience.

I will say that Emmett’s research project has been a great help in terms of improving my patience tolerance levels. I can’t believe I am coming up on the third anniversary of ‘meeting’ Emmett, and the book is still not finished!

It is creeping along — slowly — and I can tell you that I understand and see why that is. If I had rushed this project at any point, I’d likely have written something based on incomplete information, or inaccurate perception of data, or (probably) have offended someone by being impatient.

I’ve had wonderful results so far with the research — and I chalk it up to being patient. It’s not easy for me; but, I’ve come to the understanding (thanks to Emmett and his story), that if I’m careful, tolerant, and patient, the information will surface and the story will be told.

 

And sure enough, thing are happening!

This morning, I had a phone call from Emmett’s 98-year-old niece, Jule, in Alabama. (If you recall, I had sent her information about her 98-year-old first cousin, daughter of A. Maxwell Wilson.)

Yesterday, I heard back from Edith’s pastor, who was kind enough to pass my information, and Jule’s information, to Edith and her family. The only thing I could do next was wait.

I didn’t have to wait long, though!

Jule and Julian Wilson in the 1940s. Jule still has that lovely smile.

Jule and Julian Wilson in the 1940s. Jule still has that lovely smile.

“Guess what?” Jule said. “I found Edith. She’s in nursing home, but I got her room number, and told the folks over there I’m coming to see her! I’m going to drive over there myself!”

That made me laugh out loud!

“Did you know about her, or that she even lived close by?”

“No!” Jule said. “I had no idea! But I can’t wait to see her! We have a lot to talk about!”

Jule said she’d let me know how it went after the visit.

I can’t wait to hear about it!

 

Recipient Most Likely

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The quest to locate the Wilson family Bible continues. Here’s what I’ve determined so far:

Kate Langley Jordan Wilson

Kate Langley Jordan Wilson

Emmett’s father, Dr. F.C. Wilson, remarried about 18 months after the death of wife Elizabeth Maxwell Wilson. The new mizzus, Kate Langley Jordan Wilson entered the scene. She was a decent person; had no desire to erase the memory of the first Mrs. Wilson, but, clearly, she was now the family matriarch. She had her own family Bible, which she would want on display in the parlor.

The Wilson family Bible, which Elizabeth was the keeper of, was not discarded, but given to one of the older children, who would hold it dear, appreciate it for what it was — a treasured family relic.

Family records were kept in this book; it was also precious from a legal standpoint, as birth certificates were not necessarily issued by states, nor kept on a regular basis, until after the turn of the century. One example from as recently as the 1940s, was when Katie Wilson Meade took her family Bible to obtain a delayed birth certificate for son Everard Wilson Meade, so that he could join the Navy in World War II.

Everard's delayed birth certificate. If you look midway in the document, there's reference to a family Bible as proof of his birth. Source: Ancestry.com

Everard’s delayed birth certificate. If you look midway in the document, there’s reference to a family Bible as proof of his birth. Source: Ancestry.com

When Elizabeth died in 1891, there were several young children in the house. They would not have been given this precious relic. So, that would have eliminated Walker (six years old); Emmett and Julian (eight years old); Katie (12 years old). I’ve confirmed this with family descendants from these four Wilson children.

Turning now to the older children, here’s what I’ve determined, based on research to date:

  • Eudora, the oldest daughter: Dora was 16 when her mother died, and in my view, she would have been an obvious choice to be given her Mother’s Bible, had there not been older siblings already married and settled down. Dora’s grandson has shared with me that while Dora did not receive the Wilson Bible, she did receive the Maxwell Bible. This makes sense: Elizabeth would have been given her family’s Bible by her father, Augustus Emmett Maxwell. Perhaps Dora was given a choice: The Wilson Bible or the Maxwell Bible, and she knew that her mother held the Maxwell Bible especially dear.
  • Maxwell, the oldest son: When Elizabeth died, Max was part of a traveling band, on the road a lot, and generally considered unsettled. He was not yet married. It seems unlikely this precious book would be in his possession.
  • Cephas, the second son: In 1891, Cephas was still living at home but working with W.O. Butler as his law clerk and apprentice. In 1893, eighteen months later, Cephas was a newly minted lawyer establishing a practice in Marianna. He also married Lula May Wiselogel in 1893, three months before Dr. Wilson married Kate Langley Jordan Wilson. Although I have not been able to prove it yet (because I have not located any of Ceph’s descendants yet), it makes absolute sense (to me) that Dr. Wilson would have given the Wilson family Bible to Cephas as a wedding gift, and, symbolically, as a way of carrying on the Wilson family standard.
  • Percy, the third son: When Dr. Wilson remarried, Percy was in transition — he was an apprentice with a local physician, and, preparing to go away to medical school in Mobile. Percy was an unmarried teenager at this time, too. It seems unlikely that Percy would have been given the Wilson family Bible.

The next two sons in the family, Meade and Frank Jr., were teenagers, unmarried, and living at the Wilson home when Dr. Wilson remarried. They were also working with the Louisville & Nashville railroad in various capacities (luggage manager, conductor, and the like). Neither of these boys were home consistently, as they were assigned to different depots along the railroad line now and then. It would seem that Frank Jr., as Dr. Wilson’s namesake, would be the obvious next candidate to have been given the Wilson family Bible, but the timing was off.

It’s true that Frank Jr. could have been given the Wilson family Bible later, after he settled down, married, and had his own family. But, I’ve been in contact with Frank Jr.’s descendants, and they don’t have the Bible.

One other clue that makes me think that Cephas received the Wilson family Bible was a notation I found in Katie Wilson Meade’s correspondence on the recent trip to Charlottesville:

Katie mentioned in a document from the 1930s that she copied a list of the births, marriages, and deaths recorded verbatim from the Wilson family Bible, and she stated that directly on the list. So, Katie did not have the actual Bible. Katie’s granddaughter confirmed that with me.

Katie was in close, regular contact with a few of her siblings and their spouses at that point, though: Frank Jr., Julian, and Lula Wiselogel Wilson, the widow of Cephas. Based on communication I saw between Lula, Cephas, and Katie Wilson Meade while I was in Charlottesville, I believe that Cephas was the recipient of his mother’s Bible.

 

Now, to track down Ceph’s descendants! Wish me luck!

Odds and Ends and Ironies

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So, I’ve reached a brick wall in my exploration of A. Maxwell Wilson’s descendants and the elusive Wilson family Bible. It isn’t insurmountable, but I’m hesitant to push further without help from other family members. Here’s the story:

The three-out-of-eleven remaining children of A. Maxwell Wilson in our study are: Warren, Harry, and Edith.

There’s not much information about Warren and Harry; this is not to say that they didn’t live exceptional lives. But, there’s just not a lot of information out there to tell their stories completely at this point.

Here’s what we know so far:

It seems that Warren was blind. He’s enumerated in two of the 1930 U.S. Census documents: In the first, he is in the Wilson family home headed by his mother, Belle, in Blountstown. In the second, he is enrolled as a student in St. Augustine at the Florida State School for the Deaf and Blind. Max Wilson’s family was already familiar with the FSSDB — oldest daughter Lalla attended this school also, and eventually became a teacher there.

Warren eventually moved to Pueblo, Colorado; he died in 1988.

There’s less information on Harry Wilson: He worked as a clerk in a hardware store (according to the U.S. Census), he served in the military in World War II. He married, had children, lived in Alabama, and died in 2010.

But Edith…

…Edith, bless her heart, is still with us! She is the same age as Julian’s daughter, Jule, who is ALSO still with us.

And, get this: They both live in the same town!

Here is why I’m hesitant to press forward:

I’ve already sent Edith a snail mail letter, and it has been a few weeks. I haven’t heard back from her. I understand she may be hesitant to reply to a message from someone out of the blue; she’s a senior lady and doesn’t know me yet. But, I’d love to contact her, if nothing else, to let her know that, hey, she has a first cousin exactly her age, who (probably) lives close by, who (maybe) attends the same church as she does — and she may never have realized it all these years.

The least path of resistance, I feel, is for Jule and her daughter to let me know if they already know her, and perhaps initiate contact. I reached out to Jule and her daughter yesterday. And if they don’t and/or they are hesitant, then, my plan B is to contact her through her church.

I hope I hear back from Edith. I get a little anxious and antsy dealing with 98-year-olds. I don’t want to miss a chance to talk with them, to hear their stories directly from them.

I always figured that the odds of finding any of Emmett’s nieces or nephews still around, given the fact that most of the Wilson children were born in the 1870s and 1880s, would be small.

But finding two of Emmett’s nieces still with us?

Way cool.