Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Story of Ida Perry

The "we" in this story would be Mary Taylor Guy and I. Mary is my cousin (1st cousin once removed) and fellow researcher. She and I worked on this brick wall together.


Ida Perry was my 2nd great-grandaunt. She is very special to me because she was a nurse as were two of her sisters. If I haven't told you before, I have been a registered nurse for 30 years. When I graduated nursing school, my Aunt Carolyn gave me this photograph:

The three sisters were:
Mary Susan Perry [1880-1931]1
Ida Leora Perry [1884-1911]2
Margaret Frances Dona Olive Perry [1888-1972]3

The photo is of Ida and younger sister Dona but they look very similar and I am not sure which is which. Here is a photo of Ida taken in 1904. Thank you LSU Health Sciences Center! I found this photo when doing research on the Charity Hospital School of Nursing. Ida was a mystery to me for a long time.

Mary, Ida and Dona were the daughters of John Judson Perry and Francis E. Lyons.4 The three sisters left their home in Purvis, Mississippi for Shreveport, Louisiana to attend the Charity Hospital School of Nursing.5 Older sister Mary went on to marry Dr. Isaac Newton Adams and they had one son.6 She died on 24 Oct 1931 in Selma, Louisiana of tuberculosis.7 Younger sister Dona married twice8 and lived until age 84.9 But what happened to Ida?

Here is Ida's timeline:
01 Jun 1900 - Living with her parents in Purvis, MS10
12 Jun 1903 - Graduated from the Charity School of Nursing in Shreveport, LA11
1904 - Head nurse at Charity Hospital in Shreveport12
Mar 1906 - Ida resigns her position as superintendent at Charity Hospital13
Nov 1907 - Ida visits her family in Purvis, MS14
15 Mar 1908 - Ida is living in Crowley, LA15
21 Mar 1908 - Ida is living in Crowley, LA16
29 Mar 1908 - Ida is living in Crowley, LA17
03 May 1908 - Ida is living in Crowley, LA18
16 May 1908 - Ida is living in Crowley, LA19
Aug 1908 - Ida travels to Mexico20
13 Sep 1908 - Ida is living in Crowley, LA21
03 Oct 1909 - Ida is living in Eunice, LA (with older sister Mary?)22
18 Apr 1910 - Ida in living in Eunice, LA with her older sister Mary and her husband for the 1910 census23

Our timeline suddenly stops. Cousin Mary states that she was told as a child that Ida had died of tuberculosis.24 If you look at the timeline, this makes sense. Ida was a nurse and could have easily contracted TB. She resigns her post at Charity Hospital in 1906. She visits her family in 1907 (sick and wanted to see her family?) but then returns to Louisiana. In 1908 she travels to Mexico, perhaps for some treatment? In 1909 she moves in with her older sister Mary. Mary too had tuberculosis. She remains in her sister's household for the 1910 census. In 1910 she is still listed as being single. For many years this was a dead end and a brick wall. No death certificate was found in Louisiana or Mississippi.

Our big break came when Cousin Mary came into contact with a grandson of Ida's brother Herman. This grandson had a postcard25 in his possession that Ida had written to her brother. It was postmarked Denver, Colorado and said,

"Dear Bro, I am feeling fine. Had this made to show you all how fit I'm getting.
With love to all from "Jack"
The front of the post card was a photograph of Ida. There was no date but there was a note on the card that had been written by an unknown person apparently at a later date stating:
Ida Perry Faust
died in Denver, Colo
was a nurse
sister of Herman Perry
Sister Dona & Mae

This was the first time we had seen the name Faust. Ida had apparently married. This would explain why we haven't been able to find any more records of her under her maiden name. It made perfect sense that she had gone to Colorado. Many TB patient went out west for the drier air.

The signature line of With love to all from "Jack" was a bit of a mystery. As far as anyone knew Ida didn't have a nickname of Jack.

We checked Louisiana and Mississippi again for a death certificate, this time under the name of Faust. Nothing was found. Colorado also denied having a death certificate for her. Going back to the newspapers with this new name we found the piece of the puzzle we had been looking for, a death notice in the New Orleans Item for Ida dated 04 Sep 1911.26

Mrs. Ida Perry Faust
EUNICE, La., Sept. 4 - A telegram from Denver (Colo.) brings the news of the death of Mrs. Ida Perry Faust, sister of Mrs. I. N. Adams [Ida's sister Mary] of this city. The remains will be interred at Purvis (Miss.) the girlhood home of the deceased.

With this approximate date of death, we again appealed to the state of Colorado who was now able to find Ida's death certificate. She died on 31 Aug 1911 of pulmonary tuberculosis.27 One mystery had been solved but another one remained. Who did Ida marry and when and where did she marry him. The informant on the death certificate was E. P. Foust, who is assumed to be her husband.28

We checked the Hattiesburg American (Ida's home paper) and the Denver Post (where Ida died) for a more complete obituary but nothing was found. We checked for a marriage record in Lamar County, Mississippi (Ida's home county) as well as the surrounding counties of Marion, Forrest, and Perry where Ida was known to have had extended family. We also check Caddo, Acadia and St. Landry Parishes in Louisiana where Ida was known to have lived. Nothing.

Something of interest was found in the Denver Post though. We had Ida's exact address from her death certificate. This address was listed in the Denver Post as a rental. The ad specifically appealed to "Healthseekers" citing its sleeping porch [fresh air].29 Ida's death certificate states that they had only been living at this residence for seven days before her death. We were able to pull the address up on Google Street View and the house still exists. It is pretty neat to be able to see exactly where Ida was living when she died.

We tried finding E. P. Faust/Foust in the census records but came up short. Our second big break came when I posted this dilemma on the Transitional Genealogist's Forum. I was asking if anyone had any idea where to look next. Literally within minutes I had my answer. Someone (sorry, I can't remember who it was and I no longer have the email. If you see this let me know and I will give you full credit) thought to check the state of Texas. There is a known connection between the states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. In this case I hadn't thought to explore this because my timeline was so tight. The person on the TGF found E. P. and Ida's marriage license in Harris County, Texas. Enos Pierce Foust and Ida Leora Perry married on 23 Apr 1911,30 only four months before her death. Enos surely knew of Ida's condition and yet he married her anyway. I would love to know more about this man.

We still had one more mystery to solve, why Texas? What was the connection? Our answer would be found in the census records.

In 1900 "Pierce Foust" is found living with his widowed mother in Acadia Parish, Louisiana.31 This puts him in the same county as Ida so now we know where they met. In 1910 Pierce's mother Adelia remained in Acadia Parish though Pierce is no longer living with her.32 It is the 1920 census that gives us our final clue. In 1920 Adelia is living in Harris County, Texas.33 Son Enos P. is living with her. It appears that Adelia moved to Harris County shortly after the 1910 census was taken and Enos and Ida went to Texas in 1911 to be married in the county where Enos' mother was.

Though we know from Ida's death notice and her death certificate that she was buried in Purvis, Mississippi, no marked grave has been found. It is most likely she is buried at Coaltown Cemetery where many of her known family members are buried. Enos went on to remarry and have two children.34 He is buried in Houston, Texas.35

Now back to the postcard that was signed, "Jack." Enos' nickname was Jack as seen on his death certificate. Even though the postcard was written in the first person from Ida's perspective, it was her husband Enos that wrote and signed it. Though the postcard is not dated, this implies it was mailed shortly before her death and she was unable to write it herself. According to Ida's death certificate, they had only been in the state of Colorado for 2 months before her death.


1Louisiana Secretary of State, Vital Records, death certificate 14802 (1931), Mrs. Mary S. Adams.
2Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, death certificate 6775 (1911), Ida L. Foust.
3"Find A Grave.com," digital images (http://www.findagrave.com), Olive P. Ames marker, Memorial #10806434, photograph by Rita Graves; Greenoaks Memorial Park, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.
41900 U.S. census, Marion County, Mississippi, population schedule, Purvis, Beat 5, enumeration district (ED) 81, sheet 1A, p. 112 [stamped], dwelling 1, family 1, John J. Perry household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http:www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 819.
5Ida Leora Perry, Diploma, 1903, Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana; Charity Hospital Training School for Female Nurses; Olive Perry, Diploma, 1906, Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana; Charity Hospital Training School for Female Nurses; We do not have a diploma for Mary. No records from the school have survived according to Louisiana State University who holds all of the surviving records from Charity Hospital. She most likely did attend the nursing school at Charity Hospital as she too left Mississippi for Shreveport. It is possible that she trained privately with her husband who was a doctor but that is less likely. She is listed as a nurse on the census records.
61910 U.S. census, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Eunice, enumeration district (ED) 121, sheet 8A, p. 120 [stamped], dwelling 160, family 160, Isaac R. Adams household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 530.
7Louisiana Secretary of State, Vital Records, death certificate 14802 (1931), Mrs. Mary S. Adams.
81910 U.S. census, LaSalle Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Ward 3, enumeration district (ED) 63, sheet 13B, p. 216 [stamped], dwelling 254, family 256, Virgil Ames household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 516; Mary Taylor Guy (McComb, MS), oral interview by Michele Simmons Lewis, 04 Jun 2000; After Dona Perry's husband Virgil Ames died, she married Shep Bond. Dona and Shep had been sweethearts when they were very young but they broke up when Dona went off to nursing school. They divorced after about 6 months (this was about 1962). Dona moved back to Baton Rouge. Shep stayed in Purvis and when he died he was buried next to his first wife. After Dona died she was buried next to her first. Mary is Dona's grandniece and she knew both Dona and Shep personally.
9"Find A Grave.com," digital images (http://www.findagrave.com), Olive P. Ames marker, Memorial #10806434, photograph by Rita Graves; Greenoaks Memorial Park, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.
101900 U.S. census, Marion County, Mississippi, population schedule, Purvis, Beat 5, enumeration district (ED) 81, sheet 1A, p. 112, dwelling 1, family 1, John J. Perry household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 819.
11Ida Leora Perry, Diploma, 1903, Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana; Charity Hospital Training School for Female Nurses.
12Miss Ida Perry [head nurse], Photograph of Staff of New Sheveport Charity Hospital, 1904; A Chronological History; LSU Health Sciences Center.
13"Personal," American Journal of Nursing 6 (Mar 1906): 400.
14"Crowley," Times-Picayune, 10 Nov 1907, p. 37, col. 4.
15"Crowley," Times-Picayune, 16 Feb 1908, p. 40, col. 3.
16"Eunice, La.," New Orleans Item, 22 Mar 1908, p. 30, col. 4.
17"Society," New Orleans Item, 29 Mar 1908, p. 30, col. 4.
18"Out-of-Town Society," New Orleans Item, 03 May 1908, p. 15, col. 4.
19"The Hotels," Times-Picayune, 17 May 1908, p. 12, col. 7.
20"Eunice," Times-Picayune, 30 Aug 1908, p. 41, col. 2.
21"Society," New Orleans Item, 13 Sep 1908, p. 14, col. 6.
22"Out-of-Town Society," New Orleans Item, 03 Oct 1909, p. 12, col. 3.
231910 U.S. census, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Eunice, enumeration district (ED) 121, sheet 8A, p. 120 [stamped], dwelling 160, family 160, Isaac R. Adams household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 530.
24Mary Taylor Guy (McComb, MS), oral interview by Michele Simmons Lewis, 04 Jun 2000.
25Ida Perry Faust Postcard, undated; privately held by Roy S. McBride, Jr. (Gautier, MS).
26"Mrs. Ida Perry Faust [death notice]," New Orleans Item, 04 Sep 1911, p. 2, col. 4
27Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, death certificate 6775 (1911), Ida L. Foust.
28Ibid.
29"Healthseekers [advertisement]," Denver Post, 20 Aug 1911, p. 29,col. 1.
30Harris County, Texas, Marriage Book 4: 106, Enos Pierce Foust-Ida Leora Perry, 1911.
311900 U.S. census, Acadia Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Rayne, enumeration district (ED) 1, sheet 10A, p. 10 [stamped], dwelling 178, family 183, Adelia Foust household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 556.
321910 U.S. census, Acadia Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Crowley, enumeration district (ED) 10, sheet 15A, p. 134 [stamped], dwelling 331, family 331, Adelia M. Foust household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 507.
331920 U.S. census, Harris County, Texas, population schedule, Houston, enumeration district (ED) 49, sheet 6B, p. 77 [stamped], dwelling 101, family 174, Adelia M. Foust household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 1813.
341930 U.S. census, Harris County, Texas, population schedule, Houston, enumeration district (ED) 220, sheet 3A, p. 43 [stamped], dwelling 23, family 24, Enos P. Foust household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 2350; Texas Department of State Health Services, death certificate 8618 (1930), Donald Walter Foust; Enos' second son died before the 1930 census was taken.
35Texas Department of State Health Services, death certificate 18687 (1931), Jack Foust.


Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis

6 comments:

  1. So amazing and interesting!!! Also encouraging to all researchers.

    Ann

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoy your blog very much. Great brick wall story. Your blog is so informative. I look forward to reading it every day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you so much for your kind comments :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Enjoyed learning about how you solved this problem. TB was the cause of death for many in those years. In one family I knew of, the story was that the mother "left" the father and boarded the train taking the youngest child with her to go to her family about 100 miles away. She soon died and was buried there. For years, the descendants blamed the mother for leaving the father. When her death certificate was found it showed cause of death as TB. They then realized that she went home for her family to look after her in her last days.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So sad. I am sure there are so many stories like this where we, the genealogists, come to a conclusion based on what we see but we are actually way off base.

    ReplyDelete