Here are some memories from a newsletter my family put out from 1990 to about 1994. Daughter Ayanna did all the drawings. I added one new memory that my sister-in-law Jocelyn sent me in December, 2013.
In 1940 my husband’s parents, Chester and Theola Williams and baby Maxine were renting the house at 395 North Knox street in Bowie, Chicot County, Arkansas for $1 a month. I will tell you that it is very hard to find illustrations for places out in the country unless the family took them. Google maps does not even make an attempt to get in close enough to see the house, although we can see what the neighborhood looks like now, lots of trees and a little distance from Dermott, where they later lived.
Chester Williams was 23. He was a farmer and working as a farm hand. He had worked 24 weeks in 1939 and earned $240. Chester was asked the extra questions and both his parents were born in Arkansas and he grew up speaking English. Farming was his usual occupation.
Theola was 20 years old. She didn’t work outside of the home. Both of them had completed 4 years of high school and lived in the same place (not the same house) in 1935. Jocelyn Maxine was 11 months old. They were enumerated on April 25. Chester Jr. would be born in September of that year so he was already on the way.
They had one roomer, Eliza Robinzine. (Note to those helping index the 1940 census, I’m sure if I were indexing this the arbitrator would say it was something different but it looks like Robinzine to me.) Eliza was 66 years old and born in Mississippi. She was a widow and had completed 4 years of college. In 1935 she worked 32 weeks as a school teacher, earning $360.
Theola’s mother, Amy Davenport lived next door. She rented her house for $1 a month and had not worked in 1935. She was born in Arkansas, a widow, 49 years old and had completed 5 years of school. She lived alone and had lived in the same place in 1935.
Looking at the 8 other households enumerated on that page we find that people had from no schooling (2 elderly women) to 4 years of college. Six families owned their own homes with values of $7,000, $500, $480, $300, $200 and $75. People were working at a variety of jobs. There was an undertaker, two real estate salesman, a secretary, a butcher, a carpenter and a cook. One man did odd jobs at a laundry, one was doing timber work and three people were seeking work. Most people were born in Arkansas but several were born in Mississippi and Louisiana. Two children living with their grandparents were born in Illinois and one man was born in Texas. Everybody was identified as Neg(ro).
You can see the 1940 Census Image with the Williams family HERE.