|Sallie Clift |
about 1942 or 1943
In 1940, my great-grandmother’s sister Sarah Catherine “Sallie”Clift at age 68 was all alone on Third Street in Shenandoah, Virginia.
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Valued at $2500, Sallie’s house where she raised two boys and a daughter after ridding herself of her philandering and abusive husband was no longer in need of boarders to make ends meet. Since before her divorce in 1914, she had provided rooms and board, most often to single men working on the N&W Railroad. She is listed as a widow, which might be enumerator error or Sallie’s deliberate attempt to spare herself the stigma.
|Sallie's house in Shenandoah, Virginia|
as it looked in the 1990s
Obviously the picture window is not original.
Sallie had a sixth grade education. She listed herself as “U,” meaning Unable to Work, but she claimed to have had income even though she did not work in 1939.
Her children were all married and living in Washington DC. Leonard (40) and his wife Lena (40) owned their home valued at $5500 on 10th Street. Leonard was a machinist for the railroad, earning $2000 in 1939, roughly $33,148 today. Their children Evelyn (18), Wendell (15), and Lucille (10) were in school while Lena was keeping house.
Raymond Clift was difficult to find in 1940. In FamilySearch he is indexed as Raymond CLEFT. In Ancestry, he is listed as Raymond ALFT, his wife Jessie is JESSAN, their niece Beverly Landis is BRANLY FANDES, and the roomer Thomas McDonald is TROAST MCDONAGH. What a disservice to genealogists and family historians. Anyway …. The Clifts were renting a home on Elliott Street in Washington DC. Raymond (39) worked as a clerk for a transit company, earning $2160 in 1939 (about $35,800 today) and clocked 60 hours the last week of March 1940. His wife Jessie (31) was keeping house for their 11-year old son Raymond Jr. (indexed as Raymond G.) and 18-year old niece Beverly.
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Alda (age 34) had remarried shortly after 1930 to Wilson Suite. They appeared in the city directory as early as 1932, but in 1940 they were renting a place for $35 a month on Emerson St NE. Wilson (age 35) was a barber who worked 60 hours the last week of March, and earned $1625 for a full year of work in 1939 (roughly $26,933 today). Alda’s daughters from her first marriage, Janice (18) and Gwendolyn (17) Monger, were attending school.