In Search of Himself

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Continuing our story about Cephas Love Wilson, Jr. from here:

We next find Cephas Jr. and his father, Cephas Love Wilson Sr., visiting Emmett in Pensacola:

The roster of the San Carlos for May 11, 1911. From The Pensacola Journal, in ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Another clue of what’s going on, as reported on page 3 of the May 11, 1911 issue of The Pensacola Journal, from ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Cephas Jr., age 17, should still be enrolled at Marianna High School, but he appears to be clerking in his father’s law firm. It’s a logical leap — at this point, Cephas Sr. still has dreams of living in the Governor’s mansion, and of building a Wilson-family political dynasty. Cephas Sr. and the Florida Democratic party are in the process of moving potential candidates for U.S. Congress around on their chess board. Emmett is being groomed for a Congressional run; and so, why wouldn’t Cephas Sr. decide to groom his namesake for further Wilson family prominence?

But what were Cephas Jr.’s dreams?

Without any of his actual letters or anecdotes from family members, it is hard to tell, but if we observe his actions as they were written about in contemporary media, we see that he loved music, he loved photography, and he was a gifted artist (much like his mother, Lula). We get the picture (no pun intended).

Here’s why I believe Cephas Jr. was clerking for his father (keep in mind by this point, 1912, Cephas Jr. is 18 years old):

Catalog of the University of Florida, 1912-1913. From Archive.org

Cephas Jr. is a junior in the College of Law at the University of Florida in Gainesville — an upperclassman. So, when did he finish high school?

I don’t doubt Cephas Jr. was intelligent. But it is dubious that he’d go right from high school into advanced academic standing that quickly. There were definitely several strings pulled for Cephas Jr., by his father. Cephas Sr. only wanted the very best for his son, and he knew what it took to get there in 1912 — a law degree. It’s natural he’d want his son and namesake to have similar aspirations, and at least similar professional success.

But law school? I sense that was Cephas Sr’s dream, not his son’s, because otherwise, why wouldn’t Cephas Sr. encourage a vocation in the fine arts?

Cephas Jr.’s definitely there, ready or not. Here’s another source listing Cephas Jr. in the junior law class of The Seminole for 1913. Source: University of Florida archive

Cephas Jr. threw himself into campus social activities, also likely at the encouragement of his father. Source: 1913 Seminole; University of Florida archive.

Source: 1913 Seminole, University of Florida archive

Cephas Love Wilson, Jr. Source: 1913 Seminole, University of Florida archive.

Compare this photo of Cephas Jr. to his father, below. Striking resemblance, isn’t it?

Cephas Love Wilson Sr., about 1910. Striking resemblance between father and son, down to the bow tie.

As I go through the clips, I get the feeling that Cephas Jr. wasn’t happy at The University of Florida. I don’t believe it had anything to do with his intelligence, or ability to do the work: He just didn’t want to be a lawyer. Cephas Jr. was being pushed to do something he wasn’t ready or willing to do — similar to what happened with Uncle Emmett.

Fast forward to April 1913:

Cephas Jr. is home. Is this when he told his father he wasn’t cut out for law school? April 13, 1913 issue of The Pensacola Journal. Source: ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Cephas Jr. moved back home at the end of the Spring, 1913 semester, and apparently got a job with the local newspaper as a photographer. He never finished his degree at the University of Florida, and he spent the next few years in search of a way to market his talents:

Cartoonists Magazine, Volume 2, 1916. Source: Archive.org

And an article in the Marianna Times-Courier for 1917 mentioned that he had a job playing the piano in the local movie theatre. Cephas Jr. is clearly not sitting around twiddling his thumbs; but, he was working in a variety of different jobs to earn a living. It is unlikely he went back to work for his father.

Then — the U.S. entered World War I, and things changed for Cephas Jr.

I’ll continue with his story in a few days.

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The Puzzler

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The next information I have about Emmett’s nephew, Cephas Love Wilson Jr., is dated 1905 — he’s 10 years old — and back in the day, having one’s name printed in newspaper (especially The Pensacola Journal, a paper with a much larger circulation than the Marianna Times-Courier) was a big deal.

CLW Jr. was into puzzles — something I can definitely relate to. For several weeks during 1905, The Pensacola Journal offered a silver dollar to the first person (determined by postmark) who could solve the puzzle each week (a dollar in 1905 is about $27 in 2017).

Ceph Jr.’s first try at the puzzler contests found in The Pensacola Journal. June 4, 1905. Source: ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Alas, Ceph Jr. didn’t win the prize. Here were the results of the June 4 contest:

The results of the June 4 puzzler, as reported in The Pensacola Journal, June 11, 1905. Ceph Jr. was a runner-up. (Apologies for the blurry image; you can see the original here.  From ChroniclingAmerica.gov

Ceph Jr. was persistent. I have clips from several of the 1905 edition of The Pensacola Journal where he was listed as a runner-up, and always with the correct answers; always a participant, but never the winner.

Still, I admire and respect the fact he took the time to solve these brain-teasers, all without the benefit of technology, probably always on his own. I can picture Ceph Jr. energetically jumping on the puzzle as soon as his father was finished reading the paper — methodically tracking down the right answers, then rushing off to the Post Office with his sealed envelope, hoping his was the first, hoping to win the silver dollar!

Another ‘also ran’ for Ceph Jr., in the September 17, 1905 edition of The Pensacola Journal. Source: ChroniclingAmerica.gov

 

The Runaway Incident

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Friends, I’m happy to report that I’ve hit a treasure-trove of new information on Cephas Love Wilson, Jr., oldest son of Cephas Love Wilson Sr., Emmett’s closest sibling, law partner, and executor of his estate. I’m thrilled with the amount of information I’ve turned up; not only does it shed light on Emmett’s nephew, but interestingly, it informs the personality of Emmett’s brother. That’s important, because Cephas Sr. was a surrogate father to Emmett, at least until Emmett graduated from law school in 1904.

This is a big find because it confirms my understanding of Cephas Sr.’s behavior, in terms of expectations he had for those he wanted to help him build the Wilson family dynasty. And, it confirms my understanding of the power struggles among the Wilson brothers. More on that later.

First, I’d like to share a very interesting article that I unearthed unexpected the other day — when I was looking for something else, naturally!

Check it out:

Lula was likely scared out of her wits. Cephas Love Wilson, Jr., the baby, was less than a month old. Source: The Chipley Banner, August 25, 1894.

Can you imagine what that must have been like?

Here’s Lula, with a one-month old baby, probably just out for her first drive since she had Cephas Jr. A brand-new mother out with her brand-new baby, probably making calls on friends in Chipley that Saturday afternoon. In fact, Lula, the baby, and Cephas Sr. were on their way to St. Andrews for a week’s vacation. They decided to stop in Chipley for a few days to visit with family, to show off their son.

This was Dr. Wilson’s buggy. Here, Dr. Wilson is posed in front of the Butler house in Chipley, likely on a house call. This is also probably the same buggy that Lula drove when the horse was spooked. Background on this photo: It was a copy given to me by a direct descendant of the Butler family in Chipley; I am not certain who has the original, but there are contemporary prints (large, matted) in existence. I obtained one from a contact in Pensacola, Lucy Gray; I gave that matted print to Emmett’s 99-year-old niece. 

Lula probably put Baby Cephas in a basket, right there in the front, on the floorboard of the buggy. And suddenly — the horse takes off!

The streets of Chipley were not paved in 1894, but they were dirt roads, probably uneven, possibly rutted, especially if she was on or about Main Street, where large wagons and cattle passed through. The short article doesn’t give much attention to the fact that this was a truly dangerous situation, especially with a horse racing through a busy town, over an uneven, hard road. It says, ‘no one hurt,’ but Lula and the baby could have easily been killed.

And I can imagine what this might have been like for Lula: She was probably panicking, her heart racing, calling for help as the horse literally tore down the road. I can also imagine Lula anxiously pulling back on the reins, desperate to slow the horse, while frantically trying to keep the basket steady with her feet. “Dear God,” she must have prayed out loud, “please keep us safe!

We don’t know if Lula was able to stop the buggy herself, or if some of the townsmen chased and eventually overtook the buggy, escorting them back to the Wilson’s house on 6th Street. It seems most likely that a Good Samaritan helped her, though; she would have been frightened out of her wits, maybe unsteady, and appreciative for assistance in case the horse was spooked again on the way home. It also seems likely that the Good Samaritan told the tale among the neighbors once all was back to normal, and word got back around to the editor of The Chipley Banner.

And, in later days and weeks, as she held Cephas Jr. close to her, perhaps rocking him to sleep at the end of the day, Lula would probably reflect back to this moment.

Before I found this article, I have long believed that Lula and Cephas Jr. always had a close relationship; i.e., Cephas Jr. wasn’t a ‘Mama’s boy,’ but he and his mother they shared many interests, and had a good rapport. (Interestingly, I don’t this was the case between Lula and Kathleen Wilson, Cephas Jr.’s younger sister.) Now that I’ve seen this, I wonder if this near-miss helped foster the protective, close relationship Lula always seemed have with Cephas Jr.

I’d love to hear from any of Cephas Jr.’s descendants about this.

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I’ll continue my report on the new information about Cephas Love Wilson Jr. over the next few days.

 

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.