Clarence Elwood Reed – Madness Monday

Clarence Elwood Reed was the youngest son of Anna Reed and the brother next in age of to my grandmother Pearl.  When I was collecting stories about the family my aunts and uncles told me that Clarence was a good looking man who went to Chicago from Indianapolis, never married and lived a wild life.

Clarence missed the 1880 census in Lebanon, Kentucky where I found his mother and older siblings because he wasn’t born until 1882.   His mother appears in the Indianapolis, IN city directory in 1893 and I assume that her younger children were with her, joining the older children who had relocated from Kentucky around 1885.  Clarence would have been 11 years old.  In 1893 he appears in his own right, still living at home at 529 Willard, with his mother and older brothers but now out working as a laborer.  In the 1900 Census he is described as doing day labor, being literate and single at 18.  The family has moved down the street to 225 Willard.  In 1906 he has moved with the rest of the family north of downtown Indianapolis to 2730 Kenwood Ave.   Clarence is still laboring. Unfortunately Willard Street is gone and 2730 Kenwood is a parking lot, so no photos of those houses.

In 1908 Clarence married Elnora Jackson in Chicago.  I only found the certificate in the last week on Family Search.  Clarence was about 22 and Elnora was 35.  This marriage didn’t last long.  They were divorced February 3, 1911.  I don’t know if it has anything to do with the time he spent in the Indiana State Prison in La Porte where we find him in the 1910 census.  I don’t know yet what he was there for.  Occupation this time, hotel porter.

In 1915 Clarence is back in Indianapolis, IN where he married Josephine Smith.  She was born in 1888.  I actually found this marriage record, which I sent for, before finding the first marriage.  This record said that this was the second marriage and that the first ended in divorce in 1911.  His job is listed as laborer.

In 1918 Clarence had moved back to Chicago where he was laboring at the Wilson Packing House.  He is still married to Josephine, who he lists as the person to contact on his WW1 draft information card.  He is described as Negro, short, of medium height with brown eyes and black hair.

I cannot find Clarence or Josephine in the 1920 or 1930 census anywhere in the United States.  In 1942 Clarence turns up in the WW2 draft registration cards.  He is described as a light complexioned Negro with black hair and brown eyes.  His contact person this time is Adela Reed.  New wife?  Daughter?  I have no idea.  Can’t find her in 1920 or 1930 either.  He is laboring in Swift and Company Union Stock Yard and is 62, but actually 60 because they took two years off of the birth year that all the other records show and make it 1880.

In 1946 Clarence is mentioned in his oldest brother George’s estate papers as Clarence Reed, brother in Chicago Illinois.  And that is the last I find for Clarence.  So far no death record.  And no photographs.

I plan to send for the application for a marriage license from his first marriage.  I would like to make sure that the prisoner in 1910 is really my Clarence so I need to check on how to determine that.  I’ll keep looking for him in the censuses.  He has got to be there somewhere.