image_pdfimage_print

Madness Monday: Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount and Family, 1900

The family of Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount, 1900. Standing, from left, Mary Jane (Mollie J) (Roberts) Blount, baby Bernice Blount, Samuel Harvey Blount with hat and tie, and his father Samuel H. Blount, and Harry R. Blount. Seated on ground from left: Florence Blount, Helen J. Blount, Harold M. Blount. Cropped from a larger family photo.
The family of Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount, 1900. Standing, from left, Mary Jane (Mollie J) (Roberts) Blount, baby Bernice Blount, Samuel Harvey Blount with hat and tie, his father Samuel H. Blount, and Harry R. Blount. Seated on ground from left: Florence Blount, Helen J. Blount, Harold M. Blount. Cropped from a larger family photo.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Back in the mid- to late-1960s, kids did not generally have much of an understanding about divorce. D-I-V-O-R-C-E (remember that country song?) was something whispered about, and only amongst grown-ups. So it seemed madness trying to document this family back then as a young teen. Just WHAT was Mary Jane’s last name?? It was Blount, right? Her husband had that surname, and so did her kids. But what was this about her name being French (whisper, whisper)? And didn’t her brother Jason Lee Roberts marry  Julia French- was she related or was I just mixed up? It did not make sense to a young teen.

Sadly, today divorce makes too much sense to our kids, as so many have experienced it firsthand and it has become commonplace. But can you imagine the scandal in small town Iowa in the 1880s when a divorce took place?

Let’s start at the beginning, though…

Mary Jane Roberts was born 7 November 1863 in Warren County, Illinois, to John Roberts (1832-1922) and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts (1835-1917). Another kind of madness was going on around the family- the nation was in the midst of the Civil War. In fact, President Abraham Lincoln would dedicate a cemetery just 12 days after her birth- that speech is now known as “The Gettysburg Address.” Thankfully the family was in a northern state, but times were hard for most during the war.

Mary Jane was only about 5 when she rode and walked alongside the family’s covered wagon as they migrated from Warren County, Illinois, to Jasper County, Iowa in 1868.

Mary’s life on her father’s farm would have been similar in Iowa to what it had been in Illinois. She would have helped her mother with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and probably the “women’s work” on the farm which usually included a vegetable garden, some fruit trees, raising chickens for eggs and meat, and milking the family’s cows and producing butter, which was often sold in town.

Life changed for Mary on 4 July 1878- she married Reuben H. French (1856-1937) on that date, per family records. Yes, it would be four more months before she turned 15 years old, for you numbers people. Two years later, “Mollie J.” French was listed as the wife of Reuben French, a farmer like her father, in the 1880 US Federal Census for Mound Prairie Township in Jasper County, Iowa. Mollie’s brother William E. Roberts was living with them, and listed as a farmer, too. Reuben was 23, and Mollie 16. It was also noted that the couple was married during the census year, so the date from family records may be inaccurate, and Mary/Mollie may have been about 16 when she married. (A marriage record has not been found.)

It does turn out that Reuben actually was the brother of Julia French (1863-1917), who married Mollie’s brother Jason Lee Roberts (1859-1940) in 1881.

We don’t know details about the years in between for Mollie, but the family story includes D-I-V-O-R-C-E. The next document we have is from 18 April 1889- a marriage record for  a “M. J. French” whose maiden name was M.J. Roberts, and her parents were listed so we know the record is for the right M.J. The details of the record also state that the groom’s name was “Daniel Blount”- more madness, since all the other records we have state Mollie’s second husband was Samuel Henshaw Blount (1864-1935).

Sam and Mollie were next found in the 1900 US Federal Census in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. Sam was working as a coal operator, a skill he likely learned in England since he was a “colliery clerk” in Derbyshire when he was 17. (A colliery is a coal mine, and Iowa had a number of coal mines throughout the state.) They already had four children who were listed on the census: Harry R. Blount (1890-), Samuel H. Blount (1893-1966), Harold M. Blount (1896-), and Helen I. Blount (1898- ; married Joseph L. Cannon). By the 1910 census, two more children were born: Florence M. Blount (1900-1959) and Bernice M. Blount (1903-1994). In 1920, a Warren Blount was listed as a son of Samuel E. Blount, and 15 years old; he has not been found on any other census with this family.

Sam was moving up in his profession- by 1910, when he was 47, he was listed as a partner in the coal mine. Son Harry was working as a miner that year.

The state of Iowa took a census in 1915, and recorded that Mollie had 8 years of grammar school plus 1 year of high school. Her church affiliation was Christian and the family was  living at 2101 Clark St., in Des Moines, Iowa.

In 1920, a Warren Blount was listed as a son of Samuel E. Blount, and 15 years old; he has not been found on any other census with this family. Daughters Helen and Bernice were also living in the household.

Mary J. and Sam continued to live in Des Moines as they got older. Sam died on 29 June 1935, and Mary Jane on 20 December 1947. They are both buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Des Moines.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image cropped from original large descendant photo. See “Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900” at  http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/13/treasure-chest-thursday-the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1900/
  2. See also “Mystery Monday: The Children of Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount”

    Mystery Monday: The Children of Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount

  3. Family interviews and records, circa 1960s-1970s.

 

 

Click to enlarge any image. Please contact us if you would like an image in higher resolution.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Mystery Monday: The Children of Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount

Probably the children of Mary Jane Roberts and Samuel Blount. Boys, from left: Harold M., Samuel Harvey, and Harry R. Blount (assumed from DOB and family picture) Girls: Bernice M. is youngest, so possibly standing?, Florence M., and Helen Irene is oldest. Photo was in with Roberts family pictures.
Probably the children of Mary Jane Roberts and Samuel Blount. Boys, from left: Harold M., Samuel Harvey, and Harry R. Blount (assumed from DOB and large family picture) Girls: Bernice M. is youngest, so possibly standing?, Florence M., and Helen Irene is oldest. Photo was in with Roberts family pictures.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Mary Jane Roberts, also known as ‘Mollie’, was the daughter of John S. Roberts (1832-1922) and Elizabeth Ann Murrell (1835-1917). She married as her second husband Samuel H. Blount in April of 1889. Family records noted that they had six children, as listed above in the caption.

Now that we have online censuses, however, we have found that the 1920 US Federal Census lists a Warren Blount as their 19 year old son, and all the family birth information matches.

Samuel H. Blount family 1920 US Federal Census entry, Polk County, Iowa, page 169B.
Samuel H. Blount family 1920 US Federal Census entry, Polk County, Iowa, page 169B.

So was this a census error?

Samuel Blount was the operator of a coal mine, and an immigrant from England. A nephew or other relative could possibly have been living with him and maybe even working in the coal mine as a new immigrant, although no occupation is listed for Warren; additionally, he is listed as attending school that year, and born in Iowa. Was incorrect information assumed about Warren, especially if someone other than family provided the information to the census taker?

Or maybe Harry is not in this portrait?

We think the picture might have been taken around 1915, and Harry would have been about 25 that year- he may have already left home. Warren was born about 2 years before Bernice, so should have been in this picture if he was one of the children. If true, that would mean the boys were, from left, Warren, Harold, and Samuel.

Could the Roberts Family History have an error/omission?

Orpha (Roberts) Blount, daughter of Jason L. Roberts and Julia French, compiled the history, and since she had married into the Blount family, it would seem that she would have known about all the children of Mollie and Samuel Blount. Was Warren a son who left home and had been disowned? George Anthony Roberts disowned his daughter Ethel Gay Roberts when she married Bert Robison against his wishes, so it had been done before within the family.

The 1910 US Federal Census for Polk County, Iowa, lists Mary Jane as having 6 children born to her, and all six still living. So that would mean Warren was not one of the children, unless those numbers are incorrect. However, that census also states her marriage to Samuel was her first; other family records state she was married first to Reuben H. French on 4 July 1878, when she was just 14, though we have not yet found a record of this marriage. This first marriage is also not mentioned in the Roberts History.

Maybe ‘Warren’ was a middle name or unused first name?

We have the initials/full names of the Blount boys, and none include a ‘W.’ for ‘Warren,’ so can assume the person listed in the census was not one of the known boys using another name. Also, Warren’s birth year does not fit with known data for the documented sons.

Maybe it is not the Blount children in the portrait?

Older family members believed these were the Blount children, but there was no identification on the image. They do look somewhat similar to the Blount children seen in the 1904 Roberts family portrait, although they were much younger in that image. There are only six Blount children named in that portrait, in two separate family collections.

 

Any Blount or Roberts family members out there that might be able to more conclusively identify the children in this picture? Or explain who Warren was? We would sure appreciate more information.

ADDENDUM 5/17/16:

Reviewed the 1915 Iowa State Census cards on Ancestry.com and there is no Warren Blount listed with the family of Samuel Blount. Cards are for individuals, so went through all the cards within about 10 of the Blount surname, and no Warren is found, though Samuel, Mary Jane, and the other children have their own cards.

There is a Warren Blount ~ 8 years old in the 1910 US Federal Cenus in Muncie, Indiana, thus about the same age as the Warren listed as 19 in the 1920 census. His parents are Wilbur M. and Clara E. Blount, both born in Indiana; Warren was their only child. Any relationship? Maybe Samuel was taking care of him for a while?

More research…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Photo from family treasure chest.
  2. The Roberts-Daniel-Murrell Family History from the 1946 Family Reunion does not list Warren as a child of the couple. http://heritageramblings.net/family-documents/roberts-daniels-murrell-family-history/
  3. 1920 US Federal Census for Samuel H. Blount, head of household- Census Place: Des Moines Ward 1, Polk, Iowa; Roll: T625_507; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 86; Image: 1016.
  4. 1910 US Federal Census for Samuel H. Blount, head of household- Census Place: Des Moines Ward 1, Polk, Iowa, no additional source information. Accessed via Ancestry.com.
  5. 1910 US Federal Census for Wilbur C. Blount, head of household- Census Place: Muncie Ward 1, Delaware, Indiana; Roll: T624_346; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0025; FHL microfilm: 1374359
  6. Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1904- http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/13/treasure-chest-thursday-the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1904/

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900

The John Roberts Family, 1904.
The John Roberts Family, 1900 or 1904. (Click to enlarge.)

Eight years after their 1892 family portrait (see Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Family in 1892), the John S. Roberts family had another family portrait taken, this time at another ‘homeplace’ in Prairie City, Jasper County, Iowa.

Years ago I used the techniques discussed in the previous post to identify the persons in this photograph. I started with the known persons and then incorporated knowledge from other photos, censuses, etc. The date of the photo was estimated to be 1902-1903 due to the age of Edith Roberts, but since one of the babies was born in 1904, that definitely set the date later.

Here is the identification:
From left-

Mary Jane Roberts’ family: Mary Jane (Mollie J) standing holding her daughter Bernice Blount; son Samuel Harvey with hat and tie standing next to his father, Samuel H. Blount. Seated on ground in front are, from left, Florence, Helen J, and Harold M. Blount. Oldest son Harry R. is standing next to his father in a dark suit.

George A. Roberts’ family: Standing next to Harry R. Blount is Ella V. Daniels Roberts and in the (short) white dress is daughter Ethel Gay Roberts. Seated at her feet is Edith Mae Roberts. Their father George A. Roberts stands next to Ethel, with son George A. Roberts, standing next to him.

Jason Lee Roberts’ family: Oca Roberts, in a long white dress, stands next to George Roberts Jr. Her brother Guy L. Roberts stands in front of her and their father, Jason Lee Roberts. His wife Julia French Roberts stands next to him holding their baby Ralph Roberts. Sitting on the ground in front of them are, from left, Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts in white. The very short woman in front of Julia French is Orpha B. Roberts.

Elizabeth Ann Murrell and her husband John Roberts stand next to Julia French.

William Edward (W.E., or Ed) Roberts’ family: W.E. Roberts stands next to his father, John Roberts. His son Orville stands beside him, with the woman on the right probably Orville’s mother, Mary M. Main Roberts; his sister Edna is not seen in the picture. Seated on the ground in front of them are Maude & Clara, with Maude possibly having the lighter hair as seen in the 1892 photo.

In the last few years, we found an advertising page,

“Courtesy of
ROBERTS BROTHERS
Groceries, Bottled Gas Ranges,
Plumbing, Heating
Pumps & Windmills”

It contained the above picture and two others, with everyone identified plus information about John and Elizabeth Roberts’ lives. Sadly, the women and children were not truly identified, but it did verify that we had the families correct:

Left to right- Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Blount and family, Mr. and Mrs. George Roberts and family, Mr. and Mrs. Jason Roberts and family, Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Roberts and family. This picture was taken of Mr. and Mrs. John Roberts, their children and grandchildren at their home in Prairie City in 1900 (now the Vande Kieft home). The fifth boy sitting down from the left is the Mayor of Prairie City.

The moral of the story is:

1) Use ALL your resources in a collaborative way.

2) Revisit your families- new information comes online and available every day.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photograph, and page from a magazine or flyer.

2) Updated 12/2/16 with corrected identification of Oca and Orpha Roberts.

3) Some sources (like the Roberts family advertisement) state the picture was taken in 1900, some state 1904. I tend to agree with the 1900 date, as Edith Roberts was born 10 October 1899, so would have been 1-1/2 or 2 when this image was taken. That seems more consistent with her size, as if the photo was from 1904, she would have been 5 years old.

01/11/2017 UPDATE: However, if the baby being held by Julia French Roberts is their son Ralph Roberts, the date of the photo would be 1904, since he was born 11 July 1903. The baby could instead be one who died very young, as there is an almost 3 year gap between Ralph and his older brother Charley. We will have to leave this mystery to the Jason Lee Roberts and Julia (French) Roberts descendants to sort out.

 

Please contact us if you would like a higher resolution image.

Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.