Those Left Behind

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.

Lowndes, Rufus and Lewis with Lowndes niece,Edoline Speigner.

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.

Mystery woman, Rufus Taylor, his wife Nan.

After posting  Migration Story Part 3 last week my cousin, Ruth (who is not related to Nan) asked her cousin (who is related to Nan) if Nan was married to Rufus Taylor, who was Victor Tulane’s cousin and my grandparent’s friend.   The answer was, yes, Rufus was Nan’s third of four husbands.  After Rufus died, Nan married a Mr. Murphy and ended up in Ohio, where she died in 1988.

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.

You can find part 1 and part 2 by clicking on these links.

8 thoughts on “Those Left Behind

  1. I just happened to Google my maternal grandfather’s name, and lo, there he is in a photo!

    Lewis Abram Gilmer and Annie Hertline (Wimbs) Gilmer had 5 children: Iola Kelly, Cornelia Stephens, Ellen Ann Campbell, Willesse Lewis, and Dolores Miller, in order of age and including their last names. Each of them had at least one child and some had a few, so his grandchildren range far and wide around the US and overseas. His great-grandchildren are almost all grown, and I’ll bet that there is a great-great-grandchild out there somewhere. Iola lived in Pasadena CA as an adult. Most of the other sisters spent or are spending most or all of their lives in Detroit.

    1. Wow! Thank you for the update. Is the little girl in the photo one of his children? I can email you a higher resolution copy of this photo and another one that I have with him in it. If you want to send me send me your email address to kriswms at bellsouth dot net. Changing the at and dot first, of course.

  2. I love these pics! A lot of information just looking at them about the closeness of the ties. Still trying to wrap my head around Nan being the “stepdaughter of Beulah’s husband’s sister,” did anyone know her father’s name? Thanks for sharing with us.

    1. I must have done research on Nan because I remember finding her husbands and sons and all. I wonder if I wrote it all up or if it’s in my notes. I’ll have to go look. I have her story in my mind, if I haven’t written it up yet, I should!

    2. I found my notes. Nan’s name was Nanniebelle Nesbit. Her father’s name was Nathan Nesbit. Her mother’s name was Josephine. When Josephine died, Nathan married Robert Pope’s sister. Robert was married to my 2 X great aunt Beulah. This all happened in Montgomery, AL.

  3. Kris, how is it that you’re only a few years older than me, yet you’re able to quickly master fanky-smancy computer software? I’m lucky to simply be able to work my computer, let alone figure our new doodads! Your addition of the slide show is marvelous. Congrats!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I spent a lot of time in the past week figuring out how to get this program and update various parts of my computer. I hope to get better in the future! Thank you for suggesting this to me.

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