Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#52Ancestors: WK 2: ADAMS, Welcome Calfy

** cross posted to Lass Chronicles **
Welcome Calfy (this is based on his WWI registration) Adams was born 20 Jun 1875 in Arkansas to Zachary Taylor Adams and Dora Adams, née Calloway.  He was the second of seven (possibly nine) children.

Some Context within American History
In 1875, Ulyssess S. Grant was President of the United States.  Henry Wilson was Vice President (although he would died 22 Nov 1875).

1 Mar 1875, Congress passed the Civil Right Act -- prohibiting racial discrimination in public accommodations and jury duty. In 1883, the Supreme Court rules the Act unconstitutional.

4 Jun 1875, Harvard and Tufts play the first game of college football (this is a disputed fact).

9 Nov 1875, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and the hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne associated with them are deemed hostile to the United States by Indian Inspector E.C. Watkins. This is part of the what some call The Black Hills War.

He married Mary Frances Cornstuble in 1896 in Ouachita County Arkansas.

Detail of marriage record for W.C. Adams and M.F. Cornstuble

They had six children, their eldest being my great-grandfather: Benjamin Franklin ADAMS, Sr.  Their youngest, Opal Dora ADAMS was born in 1918.  In 1918, based on Welcome's WWI draft card, he and Mary Frances were living in Garvin, McCurtain Co, Oklahoma.
ADAMS, Welcome Calfy | WWI Draft Card
WWI Draft Card for Welcome Calfy Adams
This is where my research falls apart.  Or my level of patience drops into the basement.  Welcome, Mary Frances, and their six children disappear from the public record.  I can't find them in the 1920 census. I can't find them in city directories. I can't find marriage licenses, divorce decrees, land, probate, birth records, death records...not a single piece of public record.

I have three running theories.

Theory One: Timber Camps
While discussing my disappearing relatives with a fellow genealogy geek, Jen pasted a bit of McCurtain County History:

Between 1910 and 1921 the Choctaw Lumber Company laid tracks for the Texas, Oklahoma and Eastern Railroad from Valliant, Oklahoma to DeQueen, Arkansas. McCurtain County

You will notice in the screenshot of Welcome's WWI draft card, he worked for M.D. Morphew.  Welcome's son, Robert, also worked for M.D. Morphew.

I hunted down M.D. Morphew via his son's Texas Death Certificate (thank you State of Texas for having these records digitized!), the 1920 Census, and the WWI draft card collection on Ancestry.

Turns out, M.D. Morphew worked for the Pioneer Coal & Timber Co.  He also started his own timber company, The McCurtain Timber Co.  Neither of these discoveries leads me anywhere.  At least, I haven't had this information long enough (since last night) to develop a research strategy that produces more than Google Books results and a lot of dead ends.

Theory Two: Misspelled and/or Mistranscribed Names (a chronic problem for Welcome)
In 1880, he is enumerated as Welcome (zoom, is my friend!) but transcribed as William. I added Welcome (with the reason being transcription error).
Detail for Jack Adams Family
1880 Census - Welcome Adams
In 1900, he is enumerated as Welcome but transcribed as Welsome.
Detail for Welcome Adams Family
1900 Census - Welcome Adams
In 1930, he is enumerated as Welcome and transcribed as Welcome, but someone has added the variant: Weleom
Detail of Welcome Adams in 1930 Census
1930 Census - Welcome Adams
In 1940, he is enumerated as Welcom and transcribed as Welcom, but I added Welcome as a variant.
Detail for David Adams Family
1940 Census - Welcome Adams
If Welcome, his wife, and his children are misspelled and/or mistranscribe, none of my normal variations are working.  I do know that Ben F. ADAMS would probably have been in a military hospital or base recovering from his injuries during WWI.  I will be requesting his military records soon.

Theory Three: The Mothership. You think I kid.
This is my current reigning theory. I'm pretty sure Welcome, Mary Frances, and all of their children are aliens. In 1920, they decided they needed a little intergalactic vacation. Maybe they knew about the coming depression? The dust bowl? Sadly, they were ordered back to Earth...and they are back in the public record (mostly) from 1930 forward. Yep. I'm frustrated. Again.

What else do I know?  At some point between 1918 and 1930, Mary Frances and Welcome divorced (the 1930 census lists him as divorced). In 1940, he is listed as widowed. Did he remarry? Mary Frances died in 1950.  On 5 Mar 1955, Welcome, a retired carpenter, died in Tulare County California.

I know a little about Welcome's life.  I know where he lived during the censuses of 1880, 1900, 1910, 1930, and 1940.  I know where he lived and how he earned a living in 1918 via his World War I draft card.

When did Mary and Welcome divorce? Why?
Where is Welcome in 1920? Why can't I find him? Why can't I find ANY of this family in 1920?
Why was he named Welcome Calfy? Was "Welcome" a common name in the 1870s? What about Calfy? Was it a family name?

Other questions that can't ever be answered also plague me.  Questions about his personality, his opinions, his aspirations.  These are always the questions that plague me when I research my family tree.  So much is lost when each generation dies out without any personal record.

Optional Theme: Week 2, King — January 8 is Elvis’ birthday. January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Do either of these “Kings” remind you of an ancestor? Or, taken another way, do you have a connection to royalty? Did you ancestor flee from an oppressive king?

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