Sunday, October 7, 2012

Census Sunday: The Colemans

In my study of the 1940 census, I have completed parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and the great aunts and uncles on both sides of my family.  So I’m on to the great-greats, starting with the sisters and brothers of my great-grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis.

Mary Frances’s oldest sister Emma Jollett Coleman and her husband Andrew Jackson “Jack” Coleman should have been easy to find in the census.  They lived in Shenandoah, Page County, Virginia for most of their adult lives.  They both had simple, straight-forward and common-enough names.  But Ancestry has them indexed under CALEman.  FamilySearch got the name right.

Click to enlarge
Jack and Emma, Shenandoah, Page County, Virginia

Aunt Emma and Uncle Jack were enumerated for the very last time on April 30, 1940.  She was 77 and he was 81.  Not surprisingly, Jack was not employed and had no income recorded for 1939.  Neither was looking for work either.  However, Jack claimed to have had OTHER means of income.  The code #8 suggests his income was from agriculture.  I wonder if he owned land and was leasing it out for pasture or possibly for crops. 

They owned their home valued at $3000.  In each previous census, they lived at North Second Street.  However, this time it appears they lived on North Denver.  I find it hard to believe they would have sold their home and bought a new one at that stage of life.  

The census taker visited both of those streets on the same day.  My guess is she made a mistake, not clearly delineating where one street ended and the next began.  Had the enumerator provided house numbers, it might have been easy to determine whether my theory is correct.

Jack Coleman, Mattie Coleman Escue, Reba Coleman Morris, Jimmy Morris, Emma Jollett Coleman
Back row:  Jack Coleman, daughters Mattie Escue and Reba Morris
Front row: Reba's son Jimmy and Emma Coleman

I don't know much about Emma and Jack except that he was the designated prayer-deliverer at the Jollett reunions.  He was notorious for being long-winded, prompting many of the men to say, "Hurry up, Jack.  The food is getting cold."

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. I love the story about the long-winded praying! Those are the details that make people we didn't know really come alive to us. :)

    1. I don't know what it says about a person that "long-winded prayers" are the only surviving story. HA!

    2. Very cool entry...I think we all have some long winded relatives somewhere in our lineage! You have inspired me to do my own cencus digging. I also found the old title to my parents home in Crete, IL. Unfortunatley google has only done an aerial view of the house nad not a street shot. Soon I hope!
      Happy Sunday!

  2. "Hurry up, Jack"???

    I guess he gained a reputation that was hard to shake.

    I'm sure he meant well....

    1. I believe Jack and Emma were both very devout people, so I'm sure Jack was making sure to cover all points.

  3. Now that's funny that the men would actually tell Jack out loud to hurry up! I wonder if he did, or just made the prayer even longer in defiance.