Sunday, May 22, 2011

James Griffith & Stella Sheets

James GRIFFITH and Stella SHEETS are my paternal 2nd great grandparents.

James is listed with wife Stella in the 1910 Census, but by the 1920 US Census, Stella is listed with Will OWENS as wife.  I originally assumed that James had died.  Apparently, my memory had forgotten that many years ago, I was contacted by a cousin related to me through my great father Harley's brothers - Lester GRIFFITH and Oley GRIFFITH.  My great Aunt Mary Lou had told me the same thing many, many years ago.  But James & Stella didn't have children named Lester and Oley.  The only conclusion?  James didn't die, he "ran off", got remarried, or something that produced, at the very least, those two boys AND someone stayed in touch because the older family members knew of them.  Do I have written proof?  Not a shred.  But I do have a missing father on a 1920 Census, and the memory of a Great Aunt.

    b. 24 Apr 1880 Howard County, Indiana
    d. Unknown
Father:  Joshua D. GRIFFITH
Mother:  Sarah Jane COTTINGHAM

married 10 Dec 1898 Clay County, Indiana to

Estella SHEETS* (Estelle / Stella)
    b. Feb 1852 Indiana
    d. 1924 Howard County, Indiana

*Stella married 2nd: Will OWENS as listed on the 1920 US Census.  On the 1930 US Census, it's just Stella & Woodrow.  What happened to Will?  Why do Stella's husbands keep disappearing?

Children with James:
1.)  Virgil GRIFFITH
      b. Apr 1900 Indiana
      d. Unknown
2.)  Harley GRIFFITH (click me!)
3.)  Carl GRIFFITH
       b. 10 Apr 1905 Indiana
       d. 2 Feb 1923 Harrisburg, Saline, Illinois
       Buried:  Coalmont, Indiana
4.)  Woodrow GRIFFITH
       b. 1913 Illinois
       d.  Unknown

About Virgil GRIFFITH
The 1900 US Census shows Virgil Griffith, son of James Griffith & Stella Sheets, as born Apr 1880.  However, the census itself lists Virgil as 1/12 (meaning 1 month old).  If he had been born in 1880, he would have been the same age as his father.

Thus, the 1900 US Census is WRONG.  Virgil's birthdate is April 1900.

I cannot find any other record of this particular Virgil, leading me to believe he died very young, or was mis-represented on the census.  There is also a servant, Letta M Rowse, 15 years old, born July 1884 in Indiana (both parents born OHIO), on the 1900 Census.  On the 1910 Census, no mention of either Virgil or Letta exists, and a new servant is in the household - Gertie Barzat - and the family is living in IL with two young boys.  Could Virgil have been her and James child?  Did they run off together?  Was Letta hired to take care of Virgil and after his death, let go?  So many possibilities.

Update: June 1, 2011 - Virgle passed away at the age of 5 months old.  By clicking both his links, it will direct you to more information about him.

1880 US Census
1900 US Census
1910 US Census
1920 US Census
1930 US Census
Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941

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