Sunday, September 23, 2012

Census Sunday: Lester Slade

Lester Slade was my paternal grandfather’s younger brother.  In the 1940 census, he and his family were living on Jolliff Road in what is now the Western Branch borough of Chesapeake.  But in 1940 it was part of Norfolk County.  I’m sure that area was considered “way out in the sticks” back then because the Jolliff area has been developed only since the late 1980s / early 1990s.

Click to enlarge

In 1940 Lester (34) and his wife Mary Watson Slade (33) were the parents of three children: Lester Jr. (10), Louis (8), and Shirley (3).  Lester was working as a pipe insulator for the naval shipyard.  He worked 40 hours the last week of March 1940, and earned $1500 working the full year in 1939.  That equates to about $24,724 today.  Mary was keeping house and tending to Shirley while the boys were in school. Lester had completed only seven years of school and Mary, three years of high school.  Their boys were right on target according to modern standards with Lester Jr. having completed four years and Louis two.

The Slades were renting their house on Jolliff Road for $15 a month, the same amount they had paid to Mary’s parents when they were living with them on Maple Avenue in Portsmouth in 1930. 

from Google Maps
This house was owned by Mary's parents, the Watsons
Maple Avenue, Portsmouth, Virginia 

Growing up, we did not see the Slade side of the family very often, even though Lester’s family lived fairly close.  So I have no personal memory of Lester and Mary. 

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Neat looking house. I guess the house on Jolliff is gone?

    1. I don't know. The census didn't have a house number so I don't know which house was theirs. Aunt Margaret lived on Jolliff too, and her house is still there.

  2. Can you imagine $15 a month in Rent? Of course all is relative to the times, and it sounds as if Lester and Mary were hard working folks. You are certainly getting alot out of the 1940 Census. What a neat house and it looks really good today. Wonder if Lester and Mary's descendents live there or nearby.

    1. Lester Jr died in 1989 and Louis in 1995. I saw Shirley at the funeral of our great-aunt Mary Slade Blanchard who died just this year at age 100.