Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mary Lane Button -- I'm trying to do the math!

Looking at various documentation, my great grandmother, Mary LANE BUTTON , has a birth span from 1869 to 1875 (a six-year span).  The more I find, the more questions I have . . .

Below is a letter from 1935 that my paternal great-grandmother Mary BUTTON sent to the county clerk in Georgia requesting a copy of her marriage record to my great-grandfather Henry BUTTON.   In the letter she states that they were married December 24, 1883.  She needs proof of her age to get "old age assistance". Following that is the response from the clerk's office.

Mary LANE BUTTON inquiry for marriage license

Response to Mary LANE BUTTON from Deputy Clerk, Bibb County, Georgia

Marriage License of Henry Button (Burton) and Mary Lane

The 1910 U.S, census lists the number of years married as 26 years which would be 1883  --  another verification of their marriage year.  My great-grandmother's age is listed as 41 which would make her birth year 1869 and she would have been 14 years old when she was married.  She is living with her husband, Henry BUTTON and five daughters  --  Florence, Ida B, Annie M, Bessie, and Verna E.  There is also an 18-year old niece, Fanny GROSS.  Residence: Macon Ward 1, Bibb County, Georgia.

In the 1920 census  my great grandmother's age is listed as 44 --  three years older in ten years  --  making her birth year 1876.  At this time she is a widow living with her so-in-law and oldest daughter, William and Florence BURKETT and their infant son, Joesph.   Also in the household are Mary BUTTON's two young daughters, Bessie and Lizzie (Verna). Residence:  Macon Ward 1, Bibb, Georgia

On to the 1930 census, her age is listed as 59 making her birth year 1871.  She is living in Detroit Michigan with her son-in-law and daughter, Charles and Ida B. RUSSELL and their adopted daughter, Cauurn (?) Johnson.

Of course the last available census is from 1940.  Her age is listed as 72 making birth year 1868. She is living in Detroit with her son-in-law, Charles and two lodgers.  (Her daughter, Ida B. BUTTON RUSSELL, is deceased.)

Below is the New York State Death Certificate  for Mary BUTTON.  The year of her birth is given as 1875  --  which would have made my great grandmother 8 years old when she got married!  Informant was her daughter, my great-aunt Anna Mae DAVENPORT.  At this time she was living with her son-in-law and daughter, Richard and Anna Mae DAVENPORT in Buffalo New York.

In each of the census years, I know of every one who is listed as members of my great grandmother's family  --  initially husband & children.  Later as a widow, she lived with her adult children.

I have documentation through census records and city directories that my great grandmother, Mary LANE BUTTON lived with each of her daughters at various times and for some reason I find that very comforting.  I just wish I could find out her birth year!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Really Stuck My Foot In It This Time!

So I went to Forest Lawn Cemetery yesterday as I do on a regular basis  --  it's one of my favorite places. When I got out of my car, I did a brief assessment of the best way to get to where I wanted because there were snow mounds and mud puddles all around.  As I stepped off the paved path to find who I was looking for I noticed a lot of new residents, what I didn't think about was the condition of the earth.  I walked around and suddenly my right leg went down into the earth and the more I tried to pull it out, the deeper it went. Got to the point where my leg was stuck in the ground up to my knee!  The worst part was that when I was finally able to pull it out, my boot stayed.  I live in the northeast, so I NEED my boot and as I mentioned there was both snow & mud puddles all around.  So without a second thought,  I'm on my hands & knees trying to get my boot.  Mission accomplished but my boot is ruined, of course.  Not to mention the fact that I'm wet and caked in mud.

In this "adventure" I've discovered that there is clearly something wrong with my thought process:  (1) While my leg was stuck in the ground, my first thought was that I wished someone was around to take my picture.  (2) As I walked muddy & wet to my car, I was trying to think how I get in without getting the interior of my new car dirty.  And then there's the initial assessment/thought process of deciding to walk around in the first place!   At any rate,  I LAUGHED all the way home and I'm still laughing every time I think about it.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

In the "Flick" of an eye, my brother made transition

My Facebook post from January 26, 2014:
                   It is with great sadness, confusion and a trust in God that I report the transition of my twin and my partner through life, Richard "Flick" Williams. There are no details at this time. My heart is beyond broken.

To our knowledge, he wasn't sick.  He told a cousin and a neighbor days before that he was fighting a cold.  He hadn't seen a doctor in about ten years  --  that "manly thing".  Of all the images I have of Flick through the years, the last one I chose is him going to sleep and not waking up  -- making his transition in the "Flick" of an eye.   So my answer to what happened is that his heart stopped.  Why?  Emotionally, it doesn't matter because my life is forever changed.

Sandra Ann & Richard Lamonte Williams, 1954

For the longest times it seemed that our names were one:  Sandra&Ritchie.  And while we weren't biological twins we were extremely close throughout our lives.

With that one mindset we had, we began telling our classmates that we were twins around our junior high/high school years. It was funny how it was so readily accepted, even though I was a grade ahead of Ritchie  --  probably because I was a model "A" student and he wasn't.  What he was, was musically gifted.

From his biography:
Richard Lamonte Williams
      The amazing seed of music was planted in his spirit when as a child he watched his great uncle, Richard Davenport play his guitar. When in his youth his father made him a set of bongos from coffee cans. and his mother encouraged him to explore his gifts. From that point on he was hooked on that thing called music. Flick was born and raised in Buffalo, New York at a time when the music seen was vibrant. The sounds of bands playing and musicians practicing could be heard in every corner of the city, and he knew that he had to be a part of that sound. In grade school he took violin, and clarinet lessons. In Jr. High he moved on to the saxophone, flute, and was a member of the Choir. Flick went on to Buffalo's East High School, which at that time was a musician's candy store. People like Grover Washington, Rick James, Kenny Hawkins, the Shaw brothers, Jerry Livingston, and most of the hottest musicians on the local scene passed through those doors. He was in the school band, the choir,participated in talent shows, and though he was under age, Flick was playing in clubs with some of the hottest bands in town. It was at this time that he began to write and arrange music in various styles.
      Throughout his career as a writer,arranger, and performer he has never confined himself to one style of music. The one thing that remains constant in his musical journey is writing, exploring, and painting musical pictures in various styles. From Jazz to Classical, R & B to Reggae, the music is what is important not the label. 
      And a message from Richard Lamonte Williams (Flick). I have been blessed to express the feelings of the soul through music, and what I've received through these blessings far exceed what I could ever give. Through the love of my family and friends, and those close to my heart. Through the strength of my ancestors, and through the grace of God, I leave you with this:

Plant a seed of Love,
In the soil of Hope.
Nurture it with the Nectar of Wisdom
Smile and watch it Grow