Perry Evans’sssss

Stitching together Olive’s family and tracing her descendants as they moved about sometimes involves some twists and turns. For example, Olive had three sons, Shelton Joshua or Joshua Shelton, George and Perry. I can find a marriage only for George, who married Annie Egley. George and Annie had a son Perry. After Annie’s death, George married Addie Ramsey Howes. George, Addie, two of her Howe children, Dollie and Charlie, as well as his son Perry are enumerated in 1920 in Clark County, Missouri. Perry Evans, the elder, cannot be located in Clark County, Missouri after the 1910 census, where he is enumerated living alone. Perry Evans, the younger, George’s son, cannot be found in Clark County, MO, after the 1920 census. He may have moved around a bit, as there is a Perry Evans enumerated in District 5, Alfalfa, Burlington County, Oklahoma in 1930. SSDI has a record for a Perry Evans who died in 1963 in Kansas, whose card was issued in Oklahoma.

Here comes one of the twists, there is a Perry Evans enumerated in 1920 in Buchanan County, Missouri, a resident of St. Joseph’s Hospital No. 2. Although I saw this name pop up on census several times, I didn’t connect him with “my” Perry Evans until later. I disregarded the information, thinking that “my” Perry moved on or died. And yes, I know, that sometimes, in fact, most times, to trace family history, you have to connect the dots, that is, your ancestors probably didn’t behave as expected, nor did they leave nice letters or books or other tomes telling you who was related to whom, how they all came to be in this place or that and what exactly was up with Uncle Terrence being in the home for the last thirty years of his life. Sometimes Usually they specifically leave that part about Uncle Terrence out altogether. So, because he had the right name but was in what I thought was the wrong place, I didn’t pay enough attention to this Perry in Buchanan County.

Then I searched the Missouri Digital Archives for Perry Evans, this time leaving off the county designation of “Clark”. There are four death certificates for men named Perry Evans. One is for the Perry Evans of Buchanan County. He is the only one who was born in Clark County. His birth date is listed as 1860. At first glance, I almost discounted this Perry as his name was given as Perry Evans, Sr. and my brain behaved, in complete twentieth century fashion, at first assuming that this designation may have indicated that this Perry Evans had married and had a son who was named Junior, I knew that “my” Perry had been single in 1910 and likely remained that way, with no children. Yes, I do know that, historically, Senior and Junior designations did not necessarily imply Father and Son, or even a relationship, but was a designation for the Elder and the Younger. But, still I wondered, had I made an incorrect assumption? The death certificate for this Perry listed his status as single, not widowed or divorced, so perhaps not. The names of his mother and father are not on the death certificate, rats! The only connecting information is the name of the informant, Perry Evans, Jr. of Burlington, Oklahoma. Oh, and here is the twist of twists, Perry Evans, Sr. had been living in the St. Joseph’s State hospital No. 2 for over 27 years.

Why was he there? Well, not everyone was in the St. Joseph state Hospital No 2 for insanity. Those who could not cope living alone were often placed there. If we examine a few more facts about Perry and his mother Olive, we might have some clue about why he was there. Of course until his records can be located, if they exist, all of the following is mere theory. Perry was the last of her children. He was born in about 1863, Olive would have been about 40 to 43 years old, depending on the census information she provided, most likely the younger of the two based upon guardianship information from the estate of her father. That is, she couldn’t choose her own guardian as she was not over 14 within six months of her father’s death, in late 1833, so it is more likely she was ten rather than thirteen. Perry probably didn’t have Down’s syndrome, given the time period, those with Down’s syndrome would have had a difficult time living past the age of sixteen or seventeen at the latest, Perry lived to over eighty. He died of broncho-pneumonia due to arteriosclerosis [sic]. There is no mention of dementia as a contributing cause, had he been older than 54-60 when he arrived at the institution, the atherosclerosis might have caused some dementia and been the reason he was admitted to St. Joseph.

There are several lessons to be learned from this case. One general lesson learned is that people may not be where you expect them to be. So, if no records are found in the county in which you expect to find your ancestor, search all counties before presuming that he left the state. Perry couldn’t be identified as the correct person from the census alone, but it was a piece of the puzzle. Lastly, one document may confirm information about more than one person. Perry’s death certificate also confirms that the Perry Evans from SSDI records is likely “my” Perry Evans. The SSDI records have Perry born 14 Feb 1888. My Perry was born in Feb 1888, according to the Federal census of 1900 for Clark County, Missouri. SSDI Perry died in Kansas in 1963 and his Social Security card was issued in Oklahoma. According to Perry Evans, Sr.’s death certificate, my Perry Evans, the son of George Evans, lived in Burlington County, Oklahoma.

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