Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Is recently-deceased poet Ruth Stone related?

Someone over on LibraryThing posted about poet Ruth Stone's death in one of the discussion threads. As I read her obituary, I noticed that she was born Ruth Perkins. The obituary also listed her father as a printer and part-time drummer named Roger Perkins. Since I'm descended from John Perkins and Judith Gater who immigrated to New England, I thought I'd do a little quick and dirty genealogical research to see if she might be related.  Since the obituary showed she was born in 1915, I decided to start with the 1920 census.

I found Ruth in the Roger M. Perkins household, living at 507 18th Street in Roanoke, Virginia. [Roger M. Perkins household, 1920 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Roanoke Jefferson Ward 2, Roanoke (Independent City), Virginia, ED 23, dwelling 316, family 376, p. 18A; NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1912; digital image, Ancestry.com, accessed 25 November 2011]  Other family members present were her mother Ruth, a brother named Edgar A., and a sister named Elsie J. This census confirmed that her father had been a printer. This dwelling was a rental property and another family lived there as well. (Family 375 of dwelling 316 was the Vona S. and Mable Carmel family.)

Armed with the information that her father Roger was born about 1892, I turned to the 1910 census. I located Roger in his father Edgar A. Perkins' household in Indianapolis, Indiana at 307 Olive Avenue. [Edgar A. Perkins household, 1910 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Indianapolis, Ward 9, Marion Co., Indiana, ED 169, dwelling 214, family 217, p. 9B; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 368; digital image, Ancestry.com, accessed 25 November 2011] The name of the street is a bit illegible, so I might discover that it is something else if I took the time to locate a map of Indianapolis from that time period. However, this is quick and dirty work, so I decided to just give it my best guess.  Roger was the oldest child of Edgar A. and Hattie Perkins. (It was recorded as a first marriage for both parents.) Three brothers (Harry, Edgar A., and Rodney), two sisters (Dorothy and Jennie W.), and one servant (Glenn Arend) are also enumerated in the household.

The family was living at 1906 Broadway in Center Township, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana in 1900. [Edgar A. Perkins household, 1900 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, ED 38, dwelling 278, family 300, pp. 13A, 13B; NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 387; digital image, Ancestry.com, accessed 25 November 2011] By the way, you may be interested to know that Roger probably picked up his printing trade from his father as Edgar's occupation is listed as printer.

It was now time to find Edgar's parents in the 1880 census. I found Edgar living in the Ellsbury Perkins household at 104 English Avenue in Indianapolis. [Ellsbury Perkins household, 1880 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, ED 126, p. 622B; NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 296; digital image, Ancestry.com, accessed 25 November 2011]. Interestingly enough, Ellsbury was also listed as a printer. It appears that Roger was the third generation printer in the family. Ellsbury's wife is Emily. Other children besides Edgar in the household include sisters Olla, Bessie, and Norma and brothers Arthur and Harry.

The family was enumerated twice in the 1870 census, both times in Ward 8 of Indianapolis. This time Elsbury was called Asbury in one and "A." in the other. A nice name discrepancy to clear up! [Asbury Perkins household, 1870 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Indianapolis Ward 8, Marion Co., Indiana, ED 2, dwelling 25, family 26, p. 480A; NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 339; digital image, Ancestry.com, accessed 25 November 2011] and [A. Perkins household, 1870 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Indianapolis Ward 8, Marion Co., Indiana, dwelling 70, family 70, p. 407A; NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 341; digital image, Ancestry.com, accessed 25 November 2011]. The expected children were present, although Olla is called "Ollie" in these censuses.

Hoping to locate Elsbury's parents, I went back to 1860. I only located his presumed mother in this one (since relationships are not specified on this census) in Rushville, Rush County, Indiana. [Nancy Perkins household, 1860 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Rushville, Rush Co., Indiana, dwelling 122, family 122, p. 507; NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 294; digital image, Ancestry.com, accessed 25 November 2011]  "Elsberry" was the oldest child in the household and had already taken up the printing trade. Two sisters are listed, Laura and Mary E. Mary E. was age 9, so I can presume that I might be able to locate Elsbury's father in the 1850 census.

I discovered Elsbury in the Levi Perkins household in Rush County, Indiana in 1850. [Levi Perkins household, 1850 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, District 97, Rush Co., Indiana, dwelling 471, family 471, p. 406B; NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 170; digital image, Ancestry.com, accessed 25 November 2011] Levi, Nancy, Elsbury, and Laura are all present. Levi is listed as a laborer.

Since I had exhausted the censuses where every household member was listed and knew that it would take extensive digging to make progress on my quest to discover whether or not I was related to the recently deceased poet, I decided to take the shortcut that all of us criticize when we see it on "Who Do You Think You Are?" I decided to see if I could go back several generations all at once with an online tree. I used WorldConnect's trees for this project and hit "pay dirt" with the Sheehan Clan tree that I found at http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=:3306581&id=I895. I will just give a quick summary of my findings from this point onwards. You may click through to the tree and see the complete information. I am listing the information as it appears on this tree. All locations should be verified to make sure that they exist as stated at that time in history.

It appears that Levi Perkins died about 1852. The tree's author claims that Levi was serving as the Rush County jailor at the time of his death and that his wife Nancy continued in that role for the next 9 years. It is interesting that no occupation was listed for Nancy in the 1860 census, so I'm unable to verify this without checking records in Indiana.

Levi's father was Newton "Ute" Perkins who was born February 1792 in Lincoln Co., N.C.  Newton's father was Augustus Perkins who was born in 1763 in Lincoln Co., N.C. and died 5 September 1834 in Rushville, Rush Co., Indiana. Augustus' father was Robert Biggen Perkins who was born 16 Mar 1734/35 in St. George Parish, Baltimore Co., Maryland and died 6 April 1823 in Lincoln Co., N.C. Robert's father was Richard  Perkins who was born 18 Dec 1713 in St. George Parish, Baltimore Co., Maryland and died 9 July 1789 in Lincoln Co., N.C. Richard's father was Richard Perkins who was born 9 July 1689 in Mosquito Creek, Baltimore Co., Maryland and died 5 August 1772 in Rowan Co., N.C. Richard's father was Richard Perkins who was born 1663 in Mosquito Creek, Baltimore Co., Maryland and died 2 May 1706 in Swan Creek, Baltimore Co., Maryland. Richard's father was the immigrant, Chauncey Perkins, born 1645 in England.

The minute the research started going into the Carolinas, I was fairly certain that this was not going to be a line that went back to John Perkins and Judith Gater of New England.  This, however, was a fun way to spend a couple of hours avoiding the Black Friday madness!




5 Comments:

  • It was fascinating to follow your research journey! Great post!

    By Blogger Dorene from Ohio, at 11:56 AM  

  • Awesome research on one of my favorite poets.

    By Blogger Tracy Kirk, at 12:27 AM  

  • Awesome research on one of my favorite poets.

    By Blogger Tracy Kirk, at 12:28 AM  

  • well, it looks like we're not related then! An interesting read anyway! I am becoming more interested in my genealogy these days. -Walter Stone (Ruth's grandson)

    By Blogger Big Orange Studio, at 12:09 AM  

  • Walter,
    It's too bad. It would have been an interesting relationship. We could still be related on some other line, but not on the Perkins one.

    By Blogger Lori Thornton, at 1:37 PM  

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