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Posts Tagged ‘Lori Black genealogy’

History and Her Story

October 19th, 2015 Sears Homes 5 comments

The older I get, the more I realize, I just love history, and as is evidenced by the Addie blogs, I have a special passion for the story of the women in my family.

My beloved mother died about 13 years ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. She was beautiful, funny, enchanting, quirky, honest, brilliant and loved very deeply. She did not suffer fools gladly, and she spoke her mind bluntly. I so admired that about her. She was a lot of fun in so many ways, and she also shared so many stories with me about her own mother (Flossie Appleby Brown).

Mom (Betty Brown Fuller) adored her mother but she didn’t have a very high opinion of her own father (Edward William Brown) because - according to Mom - he divorced Flossie when Mom was about 14 years old (about 1935), after 27 years of marriage and ran off to marry a younger woman named “Elsie.” Flossie would have been 50 years old at the time.

Flossie was devastated and never got over the divorce.  Compounding the difficulty was the fact that Edward would drop in at Flossie’s apartment regularly for a visit and a meal “with his three girls” (Flossie, Betty and her sister, Engie). Even after Engie and Betty left to serve in the WACS and WAVES, Edward continued to visit Flossie. Mom said these visits made it harder on Flossie, because each visit left her reeling; it was a reminder of how much she still loved him.

As Mom said, “Mom and my father clearly loved each other very much; they just couldn’t live together.”

Flossie’s health went downhill in the 1940s and she died in 1951, after a prolonged illness and institutionalization (in a primitive convalescent home).

These last few weeks, I’ve been working diligently (as in 8+ hours per day) to finish this manuscript on Penniman. It’s been slow going, and when I was ready for a respite, I went digging around on Ancestry.com for more information on Flossie and Edward William Brown. It was a welcome distraction and so very entertaining, but I hit a number of dead ends. That’s when it became more than a lovely distraction; it became a quest. I contacted fellow history buffs and researchers Milton Crum and Mark Hardin, and I also contacted a professional genealogist, Lori Jackson Black.

All of us came to the same conclusion: There wasn’t much to be found on Edward’s second marriage to Elsie.

And there wasn’t much to be found on the divorce of Flossie Appleby Brown and Edward William Brown. In fact, the 1940 Census shows that they were living in the same house as man and wife.

Unfortunately, I don’t know Elsie’s last name (her marriage to Edward Brown was her second marriage), and I don’t know where or when she died. I do know that my mother had a low opinion of Elsie and did her best to tolerate her step-mother when she came for a visit in 1959. And - thanks to Lori - I know that Flossie categorized herself as “the widow of E. W. Brown” in the city directories of the 1940s.

Did Edward ever legally divorce Flossie? Was he legally married to Elsie?

There are plenty of folks who will say, “what does it matter?” but it matters to me. It’s these very questions that make family history so utterly captivating. In learning about the trials and travails of our mothers and grandmothers, we can learn more about ourselves.

To visit Lori’s wonderful website, click here.

To read about Addie, click here.

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Flossa Mae Appleby Brown was born in 1885 and died in 1951 from complications of diabetes. This photo is probably the late 1930s. 30s

Flossa Mae Appleby Brown was born in 1885 in Wisconsin and died in 1951 (in California). This photo is probably the late 1930s. My mom always told me, "I wish Mom could have met you. My mother would have loved you so much. You would have been her favorite. She adored little girls."

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I dont know the date of this photo, but I suspect its Flossie and she appears to be emerging from a biplane. Id love to know the approximate date.

I don't know the date of this photo, but I suspect it's Flossie and she appears to be emerging from a biplane. I'd love to know the approximate date. I'm guessing 1920s (from the hat).

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Mom and Grandma Flossie - perhaps in the late 1930s. Apparently Flossie was very short. Mom was 59 tall.

Mom and Grandmother Flossie - perhaps in the late 1930s. Apparently Flossie was very short. Mom was 5'9" tall. Grandmother is in heels. Mom is in flats. Look at the difference in heights!

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Edward William Brown and Elsie about 1957 or 1958. He died in 1959 in Marin, California. I have no idea when Elsie died.

Edward William Brown and Elsie about 1957 or 1958. He died in 1959 in Marin, California. I have no idea when Elsie died, or what her maiden name was, or her first husband's name...

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Elsie and her daughter Prudence visited us in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1960.

Elsie and her daughter Prudence visited us in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1959. Apparently, I had already formed a strong opinion of Elsie by the age of four months. I wish I could find leggings like that now with the little balls on top of the foot.

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My opnion

My opinion of Elsie improved when she offered to take me for a car ride to look at old houses.

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Less

Apparently Prudence visited us in 1960, and I don't know if she brought Elsie with her at that point. Prudence was Elsie's daughter, by Elsie's first husband (another name lost to history). I know less about Prudence than I do about Elsie. I'm not sure, but I think that's an ashtray in my little hand. Or it might be food, which explains the big smile.

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My wonderful, quirky, brilliant and inimitable mother in 1988.

My wonderful, quirky, brilliant and inimitable mother in 1988. I miss her so very much.

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Thanks to Lori, I now know that my grandparents eloped! The article is from the Rockford Morning Star, August 18, 1908.

Thanks to Lori, I now know that my grandparents eloped! The article is from the Rockford Morning Star, August 18, 1908.

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As an added bonus, I found this picture amongst my Aunt Engies belongings. It appears to be Alameda or a nearby area in the 1920s (and thats nothing more than a guess). Any clues?

As an added bonus, I found this picture amongst my Aunt Engie's belongings. It appears to be Alameda or a nearby area in the 1920s (and that's nothing more than a guess). Any clues?

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Thanks again to Mark Hardin, Milton Crum and Lori Jackson Black for their help!

To visit Lori’s wonderful website, click here.

To read about Addie, click here.

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