Tag Archives: jennie payne

Details in City Directories: Howard’s Radio Career Uncovered

I was asked a couple of days ago, “Why are city directories interesting?”  It is a fair question.  You find them, you attach them to your online tree or software program, and then you have a list of them.  A list of them?  Dreadfully boring .

Listing of records for Howard Turner, 1919 – 1992

This is not interesting.  It doesn’t tell me anything about the man and his life.

It is all about pulling the story out of them.

In my previous post, Just Because It’s In Print, Doesn’t Make it True, I discussed the obituary I found of my grandfather and whether he was a radio announcer. City directories hold important clues to Howard Turner’s radio career.

In 1938 and 1939, Howard, 18, was living with his parents, James Austin TURNER and Sudie Sarah HAMRICK TURNER, at 316 E Morehead, Charlotte, NC.  Howard’s brother James Austin Jr., was living around the corner with his wife Annie Lineriux BOONE TURNER; both James Sr. and Jr. were salesman.  Ira and Pearl TURNER, Howard’s aunt and uncle lived not far from them at 1826 E 4th; Ira owns Turner Trading Company.

In 1938, Howard is a student and in 1939 we see that Howard begins his career as a Radio Announcer.1

On May 25, 1940 Howard marries Jennie Elizabeth PAYNE in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.2

He disappears from the City Directories in until 1943, where he is living with Jennie in Asheville, North Carolina.  Howard is a Radio Announcer for WISE Broadcasting as well as the manager of a Welding Engineering School where both his father, James, and his wife, Jennie, are working. 3 Their first child, a daughter is born in 1943.4

From 1944 to 1950, Howard and Jennie are back in Charlotte, and Howard is working for WBT, a major radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina.  They are living at 522 Hawthorne Lane in an apartment.  Their second child, a son is born in 1944.5

In 1951, it appears the couple has separated.  Howard is living with Lois Turner at 323 E Blvd in Charlotte and is now working for Turner’s.  Jennie is living at 523 Hawthorne Lane and is working as a nurse at the Presbyterian Hospital.6

Except for the marriage and births, all the detail comes from the City Directories.  It’s all about the details and making stories a little less forgotten.

Footnotes
1. Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N. C. ) City Directory(Richmond, VA, Hill Directory CO., Inc., 1938), 661 ; also subsequent year by the same title: 1939 (666); digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jun 2012), Howard Turner.
2. “North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F884-NJG : accessed 22 June 2012), Howard Arthur Turner, 1940.
3.Hill’s Asheville (Buncombe County, N. C. ) City Directory (1943), 495.
4. Buncombe County, North Carolina, General Index to Births, North Carolina Birth Indexes, vol 31, Raleigh, North Carolina State Archives, microfilm NCVR_B_C013_66003, page 253, Katharine Ann Turner; digital images, “North Carolina, Birth and Death Indexes, 1800-2000, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com :accessed 22 Jun 2012).
5. Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, North Carolina Birth Indexes, vol 102, , microfilm NCVR_B_C065_66004, page 164, Thomas Richard Turner.
6. Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N. C. ) City Directory (1944) 754, (1945) 603,(1947) 723, (1948) 732, .

North Carolina in the 1920′s

Life in the 1920 is not life in the 2010′s.  I went searching for information in the 1920′s, specifically about North Carolina, to try and gather some perspective about the life of Jennie Elizabeth Payne and how her life was different than mine.

I know that prohibition began in the 1920′s and women were given the right to vote.   I wonder if my grandmother voted in the 20′s? Warren G Harding and Calvin Coolidge were the presidents in the 1920′s.  What did she think of them?  And did the family respect prohibition or was it just something they had to work around?

I found an interesting site NCpedia which had a article Women in the 1920s.  It is interesting to note that NCSU began accepting women in 1921 but didn’t actually have one graduate until 1926.  UNC also allowed women to attend in 1921, but “the student newspaper headlined, Women Not Wanted Here. ” Yikes!  I know that grandmother worked as a nurse at one point, so she probably had some education.

Crowder Mountain was a rural area, and electricity was not the norm and bathrooms were usually outhouses.  I would not have done well.1 Life could not have been easy on the farm.

I know that I saw that some people were working in Mills in the 1930s in the surrounding houses. I need to do a survey of the census and see what people did for a living and how that changed from 1920 to 1930s. Another task for the to-do list.

The Library of Congress does not have any North Carolina newspapers digitized.  I’ve had a lot of luck with Virginia newspapers.

GenealogyBank has digitized images of the Charlotte Observer in the 1920′s.  I doubt I’ll find any of my Payne’s in there, but it would be good just to get a feel for what was important.  I’ll put that on the list for another day.

I’m going to tackle the survey of the census next to try and understand the neighborhoods they live in.  And I think it is time for a timeline.  Nothing puts details together like putting them in chronological order.

Footnote
1. Government and Heritage Library at the State Library of North Carolina,”Women in the 1920s in North Carolina, NCpedia.org (http://www.ncpedia.org : accessed 3 Jun 2012).

How Eight Children Ended Up Living Alone in 1930

When we looked at Jennie Elizabeth Payne in the 1930 census, we were left with the question, why was Jennie, 22, was living on a farm in Crowder Mountain, North Carolina with 4 brothers and 3 sisters?  The oldest brother, Floyd, owned the farm which appeared to be family run. 1  The story we find is a sad one.

Let’s step back to the year 1920. Jennie is 12, and living with her parents, James, 37, and Georgie, 36, Payne. James owned his farm with a mortgage on Kings Mountain Road in Crowder Mountain, North Carolina. He lived there with his wife, 3 daughters, Lela, Jennie and Daisy and 4 sons, Boyce, Floyd, Thomas and Robert. His sons and oldest daughter worked the farm.2 Later that year, James and Georgie added another daughter to the family. In 1922, their fifth son Otto is born.3

But December 27, 1922 found James Payne suffering from influenza and pneumonia and on January 5, 1923 he died leaving his wife and 9 children.4 Five years later, tragedy strikes the family again. In November 1927 Georgie was suffering from pneumonia and on February 3, 1928 she also died.5

And in 1930, the 8 of the brothers and sisters are living together on the family farm without their parents.

The story is not the records, the story comes from the records.

Footnotes
1. 1930 U.S. census, Gaston County, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Mountain Township, p. 133 (stamped), enumeration district(ED) 9, sheet 18A, dwelling 280, family 314, Jennie E Payne; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 May 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1691.
2. 1920 U.S. census, Gaston County, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Mountain Township, pp. 65-66 (stamped), enumeration district(ED) 75, sheet 6B-7A, dwelling 97, family 106, Jennie E Payne; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jun 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1299.
3. 1930 U.S. census, Gaston Co., North Carolina, pop. sch., p. 133 (stamped), dwelling 280, family 314, Jennie E Payne.
4. North Carolina, State Board of Health, death certificate #421 (stamped) (1923), James R Payne, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Raleigh; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jun 2012); citing Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297.
5. North Carolina, State Board of Health, death certificate #397 (stamped) (1928), Georgie E Payne, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Raleigh; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jun 2012); citing Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297.

The Questions a Record Begs Us to Ask

Census records are great for giving us birth events, names and relationships (stated or presumed) and depending on the year other various event and identity information.  But I do believe that every census tells a story, with the questions it begs us to ask.

My grandmother was Jennie Elizabeth Payne and she was born in North Carolina.  In 1930, I find her living in Crowder Mountain, North Carolina with her brothers and sisters.1

I think too often we gather the names, the vitals and the relationships and move on.  Or maybe we transcribe everything off the record.  But what is the story that this document tells us?  What are the questions that it is begging us to ask and then answer?

A quick look tells us that  particular census is not the basic family unit we expect to see.  Where are the parents?  There are some fairly young children in this household; Otto B is only 8.  Where are his mother and father and why have they left their youngest children to be raised by their oldest.

Floyd R Payne, Jennie’s brother, owns the house.  This is not typical for a 20 year old single male in this area. Floyd is listed as a farmer on a General Farm, and his two brothers, Thomas and Robert, are listed as laborers on a Farm, presumably the family farm.  None of the sisters are working and Lela and Jennie are in their 20′s.  So it would appear that the family is not destitute.

So how did they end up in this situation?  Are the parents dead? Is there some other reason for this family setup?  It’s not that they were living here in this particular time and place, the story will come from why were they living here in particular time and place and where are the people we expect to be there.

The story begins by asking the right questions.

Footnote
1. 1930 U.S. census, Gaston County, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Mountain Township, p. 133 (stamped), enumeration district(ED) 9, sheet 18A, dwelling 280, family 314, Jennie E Payne; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 May 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1691.