Find Mrs. J. R. Evans.
Mary Ann (Smeck) Barlet and Tobias S. Barlet of Reading, Berks Co., Pennsylvania had three children; William Edward, Emma Rebecca, and Hannah Mary. The eldest son died young. When Emma Rebecca (Barlet) Bradshaw died in Haddonfield, New Jersey in 1943, her obituary mentioned her sister, Mrs. J. R. Evans of Tampa, as a survivor. How did the youngest child, Hannah Mary Barlet, known as Mame, end up in Florida as Mrs. J. R. Evans?
The Pennsylvania to Florida migration was not unusual, many hard-working blue and white collar workers, especially railroad workers, explored traveling opportunities and discovered Florida’s phenomenal winter weather advantages.
Why Did Some Census Takers Use Only Intials?
Except Emma’s obituary, the last known mention of Hannah was in her father Tobias’ 1910 obituary. More than thirty years are unaccounted for before she is tagged in Tampa in 1943. Hannah was born in 1874 in Reading, Berks Co. Pennsylvania. Her mother died when Hannah was ten. Her great grandmother, Eve Barlet who lived next door, also died in 1885. Hannah’s maternal aunt and godmother, Angeline M. (Smeck) Jones died in 1886. Her maternal grandmother and probable namesake Hannah (Moser) Schmeck died in 1889. Emma was 16 when she assumed family responsibilities including raising her younger sister. Nine months after Hannah married Ammon Boone in 1894, Tobias remarried. In 1900, mourning their two deceased children, Mame and Ammon Boone lived with his parents, John and Louise (Boyer) Boone in Reading. When her father Tobias died in 1910, Mame lived in New York probably already divorced from Ammon. That is an incredible amount of grief and mourning in 35 years of life.
Hannah, Mary or Mame Boone (or Barlet or Evans) was not enumerated in the 1920, 1930, or 1940 federal census for Florida, New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania. I rechecked the 1940 federal census in Tampa for a Hannah born in ca. 1875 in Pennsylvania, nada. There is a Hannah Evans in the Florida Death Records Index who died in January 1958 in Pinellas Co. which is adjacent to Hillsborough, so this is geographically plausible but with a surname as common as Evans, not conclusive. Searching the 1945 Florida State census for Hannah Mary or H. Mame or Mame Evans was unsuccessful, however there was a James R. Evens in Dist. 28, Tampa, Hillsborough Co.
The name of the wife would have been nice, however the age 70 and the birthplace Pennsylvania were both good detail matches. The initial R. could be several other letters, it also could be from James Evens/Evans name. The first ditto suggests a married couple, but the ditto under James is just sloppy or poor copying. Enough clues to keep researching, but nothing strong enough to tie them together conclusively.
Comparing the 1945 state census to the 1940 federal census feels like a dead end, there are more than ten men named James Evans in Tampa in 1940, none the right age. There is one man the right age born in Pennsylvania, James Richards Evans in Cleveland, Ohio in 1940, but nothing except his name connects him to Hannah or the man in 1945 in Tampa. He previously lived in Springfield, Missouri in 1935. Something to work on but still shaky, so I decided instead to work the address, 2826 Morgan, Tampa, since the surname wasn’t doing it. Who lived in the house at 2826 Morgan in the 1940 federal census. Choosing a 1945 neighbor, someone older than 35, born in Florida, an owner rather than a renter, on the same side of the street (even numbers) with an unusual first or last name was the best chance of finding that house address. Martin E. Butler, Pauline Craven and Viola Walton all looked good for a potential neighbor search.
Viola Walton, 2830 Morgan worked well; two houses down, H. Mary Engel was enumerated at 2826 Morgan Street in 1940.
There she is, H. Mary Engel, a widow, right age, right birth place, wrong surname. What are the odds? A completely new and previously unknown surname, Engel in 1940 Florida Hillsborough Tampa federal census, H. Mary Engel by herself. Finally something concrete enough to stand on.
I worked the Engel angle back to the 1935 Florida state census and the 1930 Florida federal census, both of which list H. M. Engel and A. D. Engel.
1930 Florida Hillsborough Tampa
Seriously. What is up with this group and their initials instead of their names? I threw the name Hannah Mary Engel Evans up on Google, didn’t even use quotation marks.
Unbelievable, she is on FindAGrave with both husbands!! Albert Deal Engel and Rev. James Richards Evans, both buried in Orange Hill Cemetery in Tampa, created by John Keeth but maintained by Eleanor Lovett, which means Eleanor is very, very, very probably a relative of either of them.
Florida death records for A. D. Engel and J. R. Evans and a Florida marriage record for Engel and Evans are located. I started searching for Albert Deal Engel and James Richards Evans by their full names in addition to their initials. I found Ellie Lovett by searching for Albert Deal Engel. Then I found Hannah with Albert in Pennsylvania in the 1920 census. Ellie gave me the 1913 marriage of Albert and Hannah in New Jersey.
I still haven’t located Hannah Mary ‘Mame’ Barlet Boone in the 1910 federal census, but I have found her second husband, the one to whom she was married the longest. I am working on the childhoods of the two last husbands, but what a breakthrough in spite of the initials!!!
An aside: I wonder if it was easier to marry over and over again, if you didn’t stay in a locale where everyone knew you from birth? Geography and distance may have had an overpowering effect on the remarriage or widowhood habits, choices and statistics.
Another aside: Hannah Mary Barlet also had a paternal aunt Hannah (Barlet) Kissinger for whom she may have been named.
The last aside: Some census takers used initials because it took less time to write and copy. Think of the 1870 and 1880 census searched with only initials for lists of children, especially knowing there is no available census for 1890!! Those initials may the only mention of some children.