Sunday, November 4, 2012

Census Sunday: Among the missing



In 1940, four of the Jollett siblings were noticeably missing.  Of course, William Isaac was last enumerated in 1900 because he died quite young, so I didn’t expect to see him.  But the other three …?  The oldest and youngest brothers Burton Lewis and Ulysses Finks had only recently passed away, Burton in 1934 and Ulysses in 1931.  Their beloved sister Leanna died in 1936. 

But what of their spouses?  Both of Burton Lewis’s wives were long gone, so there’s nothing left to say there.

Sadie and Ulysses Jollett, Shenandoah, Virginia
Sadie and Ulysses Jollett


Ulysses’ widow Sadie is a puzzle.  I have been unable to find her in 1940.  She was living in Baltimore, Maryland during the 1930 census, and she was there when my great grand uncle died in 1931. It’s reasonable to assume she either stayed there or returned to Virginia to be closer to family.  However, the only Jolletts in Maryland were the family members of Clarence Jollett, son of Burton Lewis Jollett, and John Jollett, son of John Wesley Jollett.  No Sadie there. 

I thought maybe Sadie could be living with her daughter Vessie Steppe in King George County, Virginia, but no.  No Sadie there. 

I even tracked down Sadie’s brothers and sisters thinking surely she would be close to them in Greene County, Virginia, but no.  No Sadie with any of them.

I’m left to assume that her name has been misspelled or transcribed incorrectly, possibly both.  Her parents didn’t make it easy for us.  Her name:  Sadie Janiera Lamb Jollett.  Sadie is not the problem.  But Janiera!  Her tombstone even says Janeiro S.  In one document she is referred to as “Jenniey.”  Sometimes she’s Lam and other times LamBJollett or Jollette.  Perhaps Jolliett.  

I know she must be in the census somewhere because she didn’t die until 1961, according to her tombstone. 

Next week:  Mitchell Knight, widower of Leanna Jollett Knight


12 comments:

  1. Hmmm, curious. I'm assuming she didn't remarry then since you found her tombstone? Otherwise, you'd have her new married name. Wow! Where could she be?

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    1. I had considered maybe she remarried, but as you pointed out, she is buried with Ulysses and at least appears to still be Sadie Jollett. I've also considered that she was living with someone and her last name was omitted making her appear to be part of some other family. I tried searching for her without a last name, but Sadie is just too common a name in every county.

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    2. My husband's great grandmother remarried after great grandpa died. When she died many years later, she was buried with great grandpa. I'm assuming she paid for the site when he died so she just went back there when she died. But what's curious is that her original married name is on the stone, not the name of her second husband. We would never have known about the second husband if my father-in-law hadn't told us many years ago.

      I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe she remarried and then went back to Ulysses (and his name) when she died.

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    3. Debi, That's brilliant. I hadn't thought of that. It makes sense that Sadie would have bought a double-plot when Ulysses died. She lived another 30 years. She could have outlived a second husband. It's entirely possible that her daughter would choose to bury her with Ulysses, keeping her family together in one place.

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    4. I am Gilbert (Gil) Steppe, Sadie's great grandson. She did, in fact, live with my grandparents (daughter Vessie and Gilbert) in King George County (Dahlgren) until her death in 1961. She was affectionately known as Nanny to my 2 older sisters (Andrea and Jana) and me. I was 3 years old when she died. Jana's real name is actually Janeiro, so she carries on this unusual family name. I don't have detailed dates, but can tell you that Sadie moved with my granparents from Baltimore, back to Shenandoah in the early 30's during the Great Depression, then to King George before WWII where she lived out her life. So I guess I'm a long lost relative!

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    5. Hi there Gil! I'm so glad you found my blog and solved this mystery - including the spelling of Sadie's name. I think you and my sister met one time when you both were visiting the EUB Cemetery. I hope you'll email me.

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  2. I was going to suggest a remarriage but perhaps it is just an error due to poor handwriting of the enumerator. I have seen that many times. I wish they had only employed people with neat handwriting.

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    1. Really! I thought for sure by 1940 we would have been a smart country and required good handwriting as a prerequisite for enumerators. When I was helping to index the 1940 census, I read more poor handwriting than good. Only a few were exceptionally neat.

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  3. I hope you solve your mystery.

    Happy Monday! :)

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  4. This is Andrea Steppe Collins, Gil and Jana's sister. Sadie Jollette, Nanny to us, as Gil mentioned before, did indeed live out the remainder of her years in Dahlgren, Va, with Vessie and Gilbert. She was something else. My best memories of her are laying on her bed with her dog, Chips, and sorting buttons, and listening to the radio. She used to sing the Rosemary Clooney song to me about coming to her house and giving me candy? Don't know the lyrics but I do remember Nanny singing it!
    She let me get away with anything.... as did Vessie, her daughter, my grandmother whom Jan and Gil and I called BeeBee!
    Love that you are doing research on this!

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    1. I'm glad too, especially since now I know others are looking for the Jollettes as well. (I recognize that song - what a fun memory!)

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