If you’ve been following along in my research you will know how I came about my start on my Stevenson research. If you haven’t, I invite you to read my three posts that describe how I began my research. Future posts will focus on my grand-uncles and grand-aunts and my grandmother, Winnie Ida Stevenson. Today I bring you my research on Elbert Stevenson, who I identified as Elbert Jackson Stevenson in my last post.
According to the 1910 U. S. Census, Elbert was still living with his parents at the age of 26. In the 1920 U. S. Census he is no longer with his parents. He is found living in Idaho Falls, Bonneville Co., Idaho with his wife, Muriel and a son, Elbert Jr. How do I know this? After discovering his death certificate I did a Google search for “Elbert Jackson Stevenson”. It came up with 36 results, one of which was a web site called Wham Roots and a page that showed Muriel Joy Wham marrying Elbert Jackson Stevenson on January 2, 1917 in Nampa, Idaho. It detailed that they had 4 children during this marriage and even detailed the marriages of their children! Voila! What a start.
Digging a little deeper into this site, I also found a letter written by Muriel’s sister that was written to Thomas J. Wham as part of his genealogical project. It contains so much information! Using that and using the records found at the Wham Roots site and the ones found at Ancestry and Family Search Labs, I was able to reconstruct quite a bit of info about Elbert and Muriel. Fortunately, it would take several posts to present it all but I will focus on the highlights for now. Future posts will reveal further information!
Elbert Jackson Stevenson was born to Emmit and Nettie Stevenson on December 3, 1883 in Anderson Co., South Carolina. He is the oldest of Emmit and Nettie’s children. He married Muriel Joy Wham on January 2, 1918 in Nampa, Canyon Co., Idaho. Muriel is the daughter of Franklin Lafayette Wham and Mary Abigail Sperry.
There were 4 children born to this union. They are:
- Elbert Jackson Stevenson, Jr.
- Kenneth Lee Stevenson
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Virginia Hope Stevenson
A couple of these children are still living so I won’t list birth dates for them. I hope you understand.
In the 1920 U. S. Census, Muriel is listed as being born in Illinois, as well as her parents and Elbert Jr. is shown as being born in Idaho. Elbert’s occupation is listed as Cook.
In the 1930 U. S. Census, it shows Elbert, Muriel, Elbert Jr. and Robert. This is because Kenneth died in 1922. It’s a sad story, one which I will elaborate upon later. It also lists that Elbert was 33 and Muriel was 18 at the time they were married. Elbert’s occupation is listed as Chef.
That’s the names and dates phase of everything. However, there is more to it than that. I always enjoy when I can put a little life into my ancestors. In order to do this, I will have to use a few tidbits from the letter by Muriel’s sister, Ruth. You can find the full letter here.
According to Ruth’s letter, Muriel and Elbert met while working at the Harvey House in Snyder, Oklahoma. He was a Cook and she was a Salad Maker. She also mentions that Elbert (who they called Jack) was 23 years older than Muriel. However, if you look at the birth dates, you will see that he was 15 years older than Muriel. Ruth also mentions that Muriel’s father disapproved of this relationship strenously. When the rest of Muriel’s family moved to Idaho, she stayed in Snyder with Jack (Elbert). It was 1917 when she and Jack arrived and announced they were to be married.
The next portion of her letter that concerns Elbert and Muriel is when she mentions the death of their son, Kenneth Lee. Rather than put it in my own words, I feel it would be more appropriate to quote a few lines to share it with you in her own words. Here is how she wrote it:
During the years we lived on Sixth Street we not only lost our dear brother Tom but were to be visited once more by the Grim Reaper. This time it was my sister Muriel’s adorable little fifteen-month-old baby, Kenneth Lee Stevenson. By this time she and her husband and their two boys had moved to Idaho Falls where Jack had taken a job as chief cook at the Grand Cafe. They rented a house next door to us which made it possible for us to learn to love their baby deeply. Our surroundings were bleak, as I have explained to you, so this sweet little boy became dear to all of us. The older boy (known to you as “Steve”) was not impressive even then although very quick and smart. However, Kenneth was different! He was the darling of all of our hearts! Well, my sister Muriel was doing her washing in her kitchen. Her white clothes were boiling and would be taken out of the boiler and be plunged into a tub of cold “blued” water to whiten them. She had poured the Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing into a cup preparatory to preparing the blued water. Alas, she turned her attentions elsewhere and little Kenneth climbed up on a chair, got the cup of bluing, and drank it. Of course she called the doctor but in those days I presume pumping the stomach was unheard of and two days later the child died, his stomach and intestines completely eaten up by the bluing. It was horrifying! The baby gone and my sister completely distraught, blaming herself! The funeral was a nightmare! All of the details stand out in my mind vividly. He was laid to rest by my brother Tom but no marker ever placed on his grave.
When I read this, I literally cried at the thought of how horrible it must have been to watch your young child suffer and die in such a way. I did, however, find that someone did eventually place a stone on his grave. I will share that with you now.
Somewhere along the way, Elbert and Muriel moved to East Texas. It was there that Elbert died on May 5, 1940. Muriel, as far as I know, never remarried. She died on January 21, 1984 in Sacramento, California.
I had the privilege of hooking up with Elbert’s grandson, Blake Stevenson, a few years back. He is the one who provided me with the picture of Elbert Stevenson. The picture of Elbert and Muriel was provided to me by my second-cousin, Mark Every. The picture of Kenneth Lee’s marker was found at Find-A-Grave.
I have more information I could share about Elbert’s children. I will save this for a future post.
Next, Foster Stevenson.
Have a wonderful day,