My grandmother's sister's maiden name was Lera Bell Fowlkes. According to the Virginia Phillips Fowlkes Howell family Bible, she was born 8 Sep 1888 in Monroe County, Mississippi. (I have a photocopy of this record in my possession. The original was last known to be in the hands of a cousin of mine residing in the Hatley area of Monroe County, Mississippi.) The 1890 census was destroyed in the infamous National Archives fire that so many of us wish had not occurred. She was too young to be listed in the surviving 1892 Enumeration of Educable Children in Mississippi which serves as an 1890 census substitute for many of us researching in that state. (It lists the head of household and school-age children, generally ages 6 to 16.)
In 1900, she is enumerated in the household with her mother and stepfather.
Howell, John, head, W, M, Oct 1854, 45, M, MS, MS, MS, farmer
--, Virginia, wife, W, F, Mar 1865, 35, M, 11, 5, MS, MS, MS
--, Pearler, daughter, W, F, May 1886, 14, S, MS, MS, MS
--, Mary L, daughter, W, F, Feb 1889, 11, S, MS, MS, MS
--, Ollie, daughter, W, F, Jan 1894, 6, S, MS, MS, MS
--, Osie, son, W, M, Mar 1896, 4, S, MS, MS, MS
--, Dewey, son, W, M, Jan 1898, 2, S, MS, MS, MS
--, Dee, s-son, W, M, Feb 1887, 15, S, MS, MS, MS
Fowlkes, Lera, s-dau, W, F, Sep 1888, 11, S, MS, MS, MS
--, Norma, s-dau, W, F, Jan 1892, 8, S, MS, MS, MS
--, Jodie, s-dau, W, F, May 1895, 5, S, MS, MS, MS
[1900 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Amory, Beat 1, SD --, ED 68, p. 26A (stamped), sheet 26A, John Howell household, dwelling 504, family 505, lines 12-22; digital image, Ancestry.com : 29 Oct 2012; citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 822.]
She married Neely Nash on 14 Dec 1908 in Monroe County, Mississippi. [Monroe County, Mississippi Marriages (1821-1921). 4 vols. s.l.: s.n., n.d., vol. 1, p. 175. This index is held at Evans Memorial Library in Aberdeen, Mississippi. If I have a copy of the actual marriage record from the county books in the circuit clerk's office, it is not in my database. I'll check some older paper files, but I'll need to make sure to obtain the better source for this. It's been added to my to-do list.]
At the time of the 1910 census, the family is still residing in Monroe County, Mississippi. They have a young daughter by that time. Evelyn Nesby Nash was born 17 Oct 1909 in Monroe County, Mississippi. There is a bit of a discrepancy in her one month age on the 1910 census and this October birth date.
Nash, Nelley, head, M, W, 22, m1, 2, MS, MS, MS, farmer, gen farm, 182
--, Lera, wife, F, W, 21, m1, 2, 1, 1, MS, MS, MS, farm laborer, home farm
--, Nesby, daughter, F, W, 1/12, S, MS, MS, MS
[1910 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Hatley, SD 9, ED 55, p. 40-41 (stamped), sheets 10A/11B (written), Nelley Nash household, dwelling 182, family 182, lines 49-50, 100; digital image, Ancestry.com : 4 Mar 2013; citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 752. Note about census: The enumerator made a mistake. He had originally tried to create a line on the same page below line 50 to include Nesby but had crossed this out and had made a note to direct the reader to the remainder of the household.]
I have not found the family in the 1920 census. They could have still been in Mississippi. They could have been in the process of moving to Arkansas. They could have been in Arkansas.
What I do know is that according to the 1930 census, daughter Edith was born about 1918-1919 in Mississippi and son Billie was born about 1922-1923 in Arkansas. [By the way, Billy was said to have been born in Mississippi in the 1940 census.]
Nash, Neeley, head, R, M, W, 42, M, 21, MS, NC, MS, farmer, general farm, 45
--, Ila, wife, F, W, 34, M, 28, MS, MS, MS, none
--, Elihu, son, M, W, 15, S, MS, MS, MS, laborer, farm
--, Joe, son, M, W, 13, S, MS, MS, MS, laborer, farm
--, Edith, daughter, F, W, 11, S, MS, MS, MS, none
--, Billie, son, M, W, 7, S, AR, MS, MS, none
[1930 U.S. Federal Census, Poinsett County, Arkansas, population schedule, Greenwood, SD 3, ED 6, p. 68 (stamped), sheet 3A, Neeley Nash household, dwelling 49, family 49, lines 33-49; digital image, Ancestry.com : 4 Mar 2013; citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 88.]
You may have noticed that Lera is no longer in the 1930 census. She died in 1923, presumably in Arkansas, although it is possible that the family had made its way back to Mississippi. She is buried at Hatley Cemetery, Hatley, Monroe County, Mississippi. I have visited the grave which simply reads "Lera Bell Nash" and gives her birth date as 1888 and death date as 1923. This is also the reading that was rendered by a volunteer who transcribed the marker for Find-A-Grave (memorial number 66169047). There is one slight variation in the family. It's a more specific date, but it was possibly mistranscribed by a person who has been known to mistranscribe a lot of things. That date is 11 Jan 1928. I suspect that the actual date of death is 11 Jan 1923, and that this person wrote the 3 as an 8.
I'll include the 1940 census for the record.
Nash, Neely, head, M, W, 52, M (crossed out), no, 4, MS, same place, farmer, farming, OA, 70
--, Eda (x), daughter, F, W, 20, S, no, 6, MS, same place
--, Billie, son, M, W, 17, S, no, 4, MS, same place
[1940 U.S. Federal Census, Poinsett County, Arkansas, population schedule, Lunsford, SD 9, ED 56-12B, p. 277 (stamped), sheet 5B (written), Neely Nash household, visit 82, lines 63-65; digital image, Ancestry.com : 27 Apr 2013; citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 162.]
The children of Lera and her husband Neely should be:
- Evelyn Nesby Nash (b. 17 Oct 1909; d. 5 Mar 2000)
- Emma Lee Nash (b. 17 Jun 1912) - name/date comes only from family information; probably died young
- Ellie Hue Nash (b. 8 Jul 1914; d. 30 May 1970 ) - Tombstone gives birth year of 1913; SSDI gives 1914.
- Josier "Joe" Nash (b. abt 1917)
- Sada Odena Nash (Edith?, Eda?, Omie?) (b. 26 Jan 1920)
- Billy Shaddon Nash (b. 31 Dec 1922; d. 29 Jun 1989)
So - where is this family in the 1920 census? I'm stumped. I'm beginning to think they were missed.