This month’s Genealogy Blog Party with Elizabeth O’Neal is all about the traditional month of love with Valentine’s Day right in the middle.
I decided to check for people in my family who married on Valentine’s Day and, to my surprise, out of more than 9,000 in the ancestral tree, only ONE couple married on February 14.
This couple is not my direct line, but is fairly close in time to me. Samuel Jones Coleman was the older brother of my great grandfather, Hartwell Thomas Coleman. In simpler terms, he was my maternal grandmother’s uncle and his children were among her first cousins.
In addition to being the only man in my family tree to have married on Valentine’s Day, it has also been some time since I looked closely at his family. Having done some new research, I have uncovered a few more details about the family than I had gathered before.
Samuel Jones Coleman, or Jones as he was known, was born 8 October 1863, the fourth child and third son of William Coleman and Sarah Moriah Crouse.
He grew up in Calais and married a Calais girl, Lulu Viola Rapley. Lulu was likely named Lucinda, after her mother, as Lulu is called Lucy in the 1870 census. She was born in January 1862, probably in Calais, where her family had lived since the 1850s. James Rapley and Lucinda Woodrock, her parents, were born in Canada, not an unusual occurrence in a border city like Calais.
February 14, 1885 was a Saturday, but I have to imagine that Jones and Lulu chose that day because it was Valentine’s Day. What is unusual is that no children have been identified for Lulu and Jones until their daughter, Gladys A., was born in October 1894. After 1894, three more children arrived regularly. Plus, in 1900, Lulu reported having given birth to three children, all living, and in 1910, having four children, all living, which fits the records.
Jones worked as an engineer and Lulu kept house. In 1900, the family lived in Calais with Lulu’s sister, Hattie Rapley, also residing with them.
In 1910, the family still lived in Calais, Hattie was still living with them, and Jones’s and Lulu’s youngest child had been born. This time, Jones’s occupation was more clearly defined: he was a tugboat engineer, which is not surprising, as his father, William, was a tugboat captain and his youngest sibling, Hartwell was a master mariner.
Calais’s heyday, however, was long past and the city was in decline, with many families moving to Massachusetts for better job prospects.
The Colemans were among those who left because in 1920, Jones and family were renting a house at 36 Medford Street, Malden, Massachusetts. The family was still altogether – Jones, Lulu, their four children and Hattie Rapley. Jones was working as an engineer at a dredging company.
The family was comfortably middle class with Lulu keeping house and the three eldest children working as a bookkeeper for a clothing store, a stenographer at a woolen company and a marine engineer, dredging, like dad.
By the 1930 census, Jones, Lulu, their unmarried daughter Ruby, and Hattie Rapley were renting at 18 Spruce Street, still in Malden.
The Massachusetts death index shows Hattie Rapley dying in Malden in 1930. Jones Coleman died on 9 January 1937 in Malden, at the age of 73.
Lulu survived her husband by at least three years, as she is last found living with her unmarried daughter, Ruby, in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts for the 1940 census.
I hope that Jones and Lulu were a love story – they were married for just short of 52 years when Jones died.
With new online records available, I have been able to trace Jones’ and Lulu’s descendants down to the present day, something I was unable to do years ago.
Children: (All born Calais, Washington, Maine)
1. Gladys A., born October 1894; died 18 August 1922, Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; unmarried
2. Ruby L., born 23 November 1896; died 27 February 1965, Massachusetts. Her death notice was in the Boston Globe, but I haven’t found the town where she was living when she died. Unmarried.
3. George Frederick, born 18 September 1898; died 24 december 1988, Charlton, Worcester, Massachusetts; married Grace English Flynn, 15 December 1920, Everett, Middlesex, Massachusetts. Grace was a singer and voice coach in 1947. I haven’t found a date of death for her yet. They were the parents of one daughter, Adrienne Whitney, born November 1934 in Massachusetts. She married William Borah in Florida in 1972, but had no children.
4. Mildred Evelyn was born 18 November 1902; died 22 August 1973, Norfolk, Massachusetts. She married Irving Barkley MacKinnon, 4 August 1928, Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire.
Mildred has living descendants and I’ve reached out. I am hoping we can trade information. I’d also love to have a photo of Jones, if there is one in existence!
With this month’s blog party theme, I’ve not only found one couple who married on Valentine’s Day and celebrated 51 anniversaries together, I’ve also located some second and third cousins, which is always fun.