Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Brick Wall for YOU

Maude Swilley was born about 1903 in Mississippi to parents Ben R. Swilley and Sophronia Cameron.1 She married Lemuel A. Simmons on 12 Oct 1917 in Lamar County, Mississippi.2 Lemuel died on 03 Nov 1926 in neighboring Forrest County.3 Not too long before Lem died, Maude left the family never to return. After Lem died, their three children were raised by other families and all three of those children are now deceased.4 So the question is, "What happened to Maude?" I would like to know where Maude went, whether or not she remarried, and whether or not she had more children.
Here is a list of what has already been done and the results:
  • Maude was only 23 years old when she left her family and when her husband Lemuel died. This suggests that it is likely she remarried. Forrest, Lamar, Marion and Perry Counties' marriage records have been searched for a 2nd marriage for Maude with negative results. 1926-1941 searched by the clerks of those counties.
  • Maude had 8 full siblings and 9 half siblings. The Hattiesburg American was searched for their obits in hopes of finding Maude listed as a survivor. None of the siblings' obits had Maude listed nor was she listed in her father's obit (unable to locate her mother's obit). The earliest of these obits is for Maude's brother Forrest Swilley which is dated 30 Sep 1941. 5 Since all of the surviving siblings were listed in all of each others obituaries, it is assumed that Maude died before this date or maybe her family shunned her for what she had done.
  • The Mississippi Department of Health is unable to find a death certificate under the name Maude Simmons from 1926-1945. This also supports that Maude remarried.
  • The 1930 census was checked for Maude Simmons as well as just Maude in the area surrounding Forrest County with no obvious matches.
  • There are no Maudes fitting the correct profile buried in the Entrekin Family Cemetery (Carnes, Forrest County) where her first husband Lem, her mother Sophronia and some of her siblings are buried nor in the Grantham Cemetery (Oak Grove, Lamar County) where her father, stepmother and some of her other siblings are buried. I have been to both cemeteries.
  • I have posted queries on the Swilley message board and mailing list, the Forrest and Lamar Counties' message boards and mailing lists as well as on the Swilley Facebook page with no responses.
  • One of the children (Opal) spent time at the Baptist Orphanage in Hinds County. 6 I was unable to get copies of the records from the orphanage due to Mississippi privacy laws. Opal is deceased and she had no children so there are no direct descendants that can help me with this.
So where do you think I should look next?

1. 1910 U.S. census, Forrest County, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 5, enumeration district (ED) 18, sheet 15B, p. 239 [stamped], dwelling 276, family 277, Benard Swilley household; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Sep 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 739.
2. Lamar County, Mississippi, Marriage Book G: 351, Lem Simmons-Miss Maude Swilley, 1917.
3. Mississippi State Department of Health, death certificate 22086 (1926), Lemuel A. Simmons.
4. Lois (Entrekin) Kopp (Baton Rouge, LA) telephone interview by Michele Simmons Lewis, 20 August 2012. Lois' family raised Lem and Maude's youngest child.
5. "Soldier Buried at Lumberton [Forrest Swilley obituary]," Hattiesburg American, 30 Sep 1941; Transcript by Celeste Young [E-MAIL ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. Unable to locate the actual article in the online archives. Mrs. Young transcribed this from microfilm many years ago.
6. 1930 U.S. census, Hinds County, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 1, enumeration district (ED) 26, sheet 2A, p. 254 [stamped], family 1, Baptist Orphanage; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 Mar 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1147.

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis