Thursday, August 19, 2021

52 Ancestors - IN THE CITY: Ray Does Louisville

Ellsworth Ray Rucker

My grandmother’s brother Ray Rucker registered for the draft in 1918. His time in the Navy is spottily documented in photos he left behind, mostly of the crew and ships he served on. If you would like to read more …

Neptune Party  

Sea the World  

German Mine  

Pacific Tour 

High and Dry  

Planes on Deck 

I was amused when I looked at the back of a postcard featuring Ray’s ship USS Nevada. There he had penciled in the names of 3 women. Sailors!

Ray's postcard: USS Nevada

Back of the postcard

C.A. Buckman

2919 Bank St.

Louisville, Ky


Miss Geneva Mooney

3117 S 3 St.


Miss Louise Woods

232 West Market St

Care Lincoln Watch Co


But why was Ray in Louisville, Kentucky? Isn’t that rather far from the ocean where the Navy would be? I researched Navy installations in Louisville. The Louisville ordnance depot wasn’t built until the 1940s. Ray was long gone by then, having died in 1927.

Then I found Camp Taylor. At one time it was the largest military training camp in the United States. F. Scott Fitzgerald was even stationed there for a time and mentioned it in The Great Gatsby. After World War I, the camp was dismantled and a neighborhood emerged with bungalows, many of which were purchased by soldiers returning from war.

Camp Taylor
Wikimedia Commons

But let’s get back to Camp Taylor in its heyday for a minute. Was Ray there? Did Claudia, Louise, and Geneva attend dances at the YMCA or YWCA? Is that how they met?

1919 - Hosteses at the YWCA at Camp Taylor

It seems the three young ladies all worked. Claudia and Louise were both sales clerks but not at the same store, however. Geneva was a stenographer.

Claudia Buckman (aka Anna, Annie, Claudine) lived on Virginia Avenue. The address on the postcard might be that of the rubber store where she worked. About 1926 she married Junius Thomas Oller. They had at least one child, Josephine, named for Claudia’s mother. However, the City Directory indicates Junius and Claudia probably separated before 1937. She returned to working life as a packer at a food plant. Claudia was living on 12th Street while Junie remained in the Buckman house on Virginia Avenue where Claudia grew up. She remarried in the mid-1940s to Walter G. Goodman.

Louise Woods (aka Mary Louise) worked at the Lincoln Watch Company and in 1925 landed herself a jewelry salesman named Harry Nashold, Jr. The two worked together in the jewelry store, at least for a time. In the 1940 census, Harry had moved on to plumbing supplies and Louise was not working. Louise died in 1946, Harry in 1964. The two are buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville.

Geneva Mooney (aka Thelma Geneva) never married. In her younger years, probably at the time she would have known Ray, she was a stenographer at the J.P. Krieger Saddlery Company or for B.L. Loventhal, realtor. From there she spent her adult years in the City Treasurer’s office. Depending on the census and city directories, her job was clerk, accountant, and finally Deputy City Assessor. Geneva lived her entire life in the house she grew up in on 3rd Street. She died in 1976 and is buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Louisville.

Unfortunately, I am unable to unravel the mystery about Ray and these 3 women. One new thought I have is that given the fact that Camp Taylor was an Army training camp, maybe Ray was drafted first into the Army in 1918 in support of the war. Maybe he enlisted in the Navy later. I have found no support for this theory either way.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you were able to document the lives of these three ladies. They could never have imagined they would be thought of so many years after giving your uncle their addresses. Thanks for sharing!