After reading the letters my grandfather’s friends wrote to him in Detroit from Montgomery, I wondered what happened to those he left behind. Did they stay? Did they leave? I know that my grandparents never returned to Montgomery once they married so I wondered if he ever saw any of them again. I didn’t find them in the photographs in the backyard of the house on Theodore but, if they had moved to Detroit there wouldn’t have been any backyard photos. Those were reserved for out of town guests.
Below slide show of Mershell and some of his friends. Click any photo to stop and click again to resume. The post continues below it.
The six young men mentioned were Lowndes Adams, Robert Blakley, Rufus Taylor, Lewis Gilmer, Edgar Speigner and Nathan. I was able to follow them with varying degrees of success. There were twists and turns and connections and dead ends. And always more information to look for and check. Today I decided to write up what I have found so far.
Lowndes William Adams was born February 11, 1893, in Montgomery, Alabama to James and Ida Adams. James was a grocer. Lowndes was the 5th of 7 children. They all were educated and several of his sisters were teachers. Lowndes worked as a stenographer and later was the branch manager of an insurance company. He never married and shared his home with his widowed mother, several sisters, nieces and nephews. He was in Montgomery in 1930. He died in Detroit in 1977. My grandfather died in 1973. I wonder if they had a chance to spend time together.
Lowndes older sister, Emma Lena, married Edgar Speigner before he registered for the WW 1 draft in 1917. Edgar was born September 17, 1882, in Montgomery. He and his brother Charles were raised by their mother, Carrie Taylor who was a cook. Tall and stout, he worked as a pullman porter all of his adult life. Edgar and his wife Emma, raised four children. He died in 1954 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Rufus Taylor was born January 19, 1886 in Montgomery. His parents were Jordan and Fannie Taylor. Rufus was a cousin of Victor Tulane. Victor was married to Eliza and Dock’s daughter, Willie Lee. Rufus lived with the Tulane family for many years and worked in the store first as a clerk and then as a salesman. He remained in Montgomery and married Nan Nesbitt Jones. As far as I know he had no children but helped raise Nan’s son, Albert, from her first marriage. Nan Nesbitt was the niece by marriage of another of Dock and Eliza’s daughter, the youngest, Beulah. That is, Nan was the stepdaughter of Beulah’s husband’s sister. (Are you confused yet?) Rufus died in Montgomery at the age of 51 in 1937.
I believe Nathan was Nathan Nesbit, a cousin of Nan but have not been able to follow a trail, yet.
Lewis Abram Gilmer was born in Alabama on May 18, 1885. I’m not sure if he was born in Montgomery but he was raised there by his parents Louis and Carnelia Gilmer, along with 7 siblings. His father was a porter, a butler and a chauffeur. Lewis worked as a bank messenger in Montgomery. He and his wife, Annie, had four children. The oldest was born in 1919 in Montgomery. The second was born in1924 in Mississippi and the two youngest were born in 1925 and 1927 in Detroit, Michigan. Lewis worked as a porter at a department store in Detroit. He died there in July, 1969. I tried to find a link between Lewis Gilmer and Ludie Gilmer, who was the son-in-law of Beulah Allen Pope. No luck. Both their wives were named Annie but not the same Annie.
John Wesley Blakley was born January 22, 1893 in Montgomery, Alabama. He married Virgie Dorsette Beckwith, who wanted to leave the south according to John’s letter to Mershell. He was a barber in Atlanta before WW 1 and in Chicago, Illinois afterwards. He and his wife do not seem to have had any children. John was in Chicago in 1942. I have not yet found a death record or census records for 1900, 1910 or 1920 so I do not know his parent’s names or if he had siblings.