Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Happened to Theodocia? Part 3

Continued from Part 2.

Since the only Theodocia Smith who looked like a possibility didn't work out, let's move on to George Smith who signed the marriage bond for T. J. and Theodocia. This is where things get complicated.

In the 1900 census for St. Clair County, Alabama there was a George T. Smith living in Branchville. (The actual census record shows he's in Precinct 5 but says that's Branchville.) Since this was just three years after the wedding, he seems like an excellent candidate to be the bond signer. (This could be why George Smith's middle initial in his signature on the marriage bond looks like a T to me.)

Living with George in 1900 were his wife, Annie, and three daughters (all three single and born in Alabama). Florence R. was age 27, born in March 1873. Leila A. appears to have been first listed as 26 then changed to 16. Her birth month and year was September 1883, which matches the age of 16. Georgia Ann was 13, born January 1887. Annie was listed as the mother of five children (all living) so there were two other children living elsewhere. Maybe one of them was a daughter named Theodocia. If only it was that simple.

George T. Smith's 1910 census record shows him still in St. Clair County, Alabama but in the Oldtown community instead of Branchville. His wife, Annie, was listed as the mother of five children but only four were living so one of their children died during the past 10 years. Also living with George and Annie was a daughter and grandson - Leallie and George D. Lenier. Leallie was a widow, age 33, mother of one child. George was 10 years old and born in Alabama. Even though she aged from 16 to 33, this is the daughter named Leila A. from the 1900 census record. Hmmm, Lenier/Lanier, that's interesting.

This family remained in St. Clair County. Lee Ila Lenier married George Meredith there on 13 May 1917. There is not a marriage record for Leila Smith marrying anyone named Lenier or Lanier or anything else.  St. Clair County's records are intact for the time period. There are no marriage records during that time for anyone named Lenier and the only Lanier was T. J.

George Dewey Lanier registered for the WWI draft on 12 Sep 1918. He was listed as 18 years old, born 30 May 1900 and working as a coal miner for Alabama Fuel and Iron Company. His nearest relative was listed as Mrs. Lee Allen Merideth so this is Leila's son. George's birth date is probably a little off. If he was born in May 1900, he should have been listed with his mother in the 1900 census taken in June. 

In 1920 George and Leila Meredith were living in the Friendship community with George's three children from his 1st marriage, their son, Carl (age 1), and Leila's parents, George T. and Annie E. Smith. Dewey G. Lanier was living in the Moody community in a boarding house run by Audrey Payne. He was listed as 20 years old, single, born in Mississippi [interesting], working as a pumper in a coal mine. Nothing further has been found about Leila's son George Dewey Lanier (or Dewey George Lanier).

Leila was still living in Friendship in 1930 with her husband, two of his sons and their son, Carl. George Merideth died in St. Clair County on 15 Nov 1957 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery next to his first wife. 

Leila Merideth died on 1 Jul 1967 in Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama at the North Alabama Nursing Home. She was buried in Bethel Cemetery in St. Clair County. Mrs. Margaret Shea of Birmingham provided the personal information for Leila's death certificate. Since Russellville is over 100 miles from Birmingham, Margaret was probably not a nursing home employee so may have been a family member.

Obviously the name difference makes it seem impossible that Leila was Theodocia, especially since there are records listing a middle initial for each of them that rule out someone named Leila Theodocia or Theodocia Leila. On the other hand, some of the matching information makes it seem almost impossible that Leila and Theodocia were not the same person. What are the chances that George Smith had two daughters (or a daughter and some other relative close enough that he signed her marriage bond) who (1) both married a Lanier between 1897-1900; (2) both had only one child and the child was born around 1900, possibly in Mississippi; (3) both were no longer with their Lanier husband by 1910?

There is still a little more ground to cover with this story.

Continued one more time.

What Happened to Theodocia?
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

1 comment:

  1. What a complex puzzle, Linda - look forward to Part 4! Jo