The Missing Lee Daughter
Searching for Flora Elizabeth Lee daughter of William Alfred and Emma Meadows Lee was a daunting task since no one in the family has heard of her. The censuses for her parents didn’t reveal any clues for a child named Flora Elizabeth.
The 1880 Census for Beat 5, Newsite, Tallapoosa County, Alabama Census shows a Wm. A. Lee age 29, Emma age 28, James W. age 9, and Dolly O, age 1. This was the first marriage for both of them. Wm. was a Blacksmith, born in AL, Emma, keeping house, born in GA.
Then the 1900 District 2, Chanahatchee, Elmore County, Alabama Census shows a Willie A. Lee age at last birthday 52, Emma age 54, Robert age 17, Alice age 12; Emma was the mother of nine children, and five of the nine children were living; Willie and Emma were married 29 years; there was a Houston Roney, age 23 born Nov. 1876, in GA, parents born in Georgia; A Neal Harris, boarder born 1875 age 25 at last birthday was listed on the census. Neal Harris was born in AL, mother from GA, and his father from TN.
Finally, the 1910 District 53, Police Jury Ward One, Jackson Parish, Louisiana, Census shows a William A. Lee head age 64, married 45 years, born Alabama, Emma, age 61 his first wife, age 45, mother of 8 children 8 born and number now living five. Dollie age 28, married to John H. Edwards age 33 and married one time, John H. was born in Texas,his mother was born in Georgia, and his father was born in Alabama.
I haven’t found Flora Elizabeth Lee on any Alabama censuses. There was only one West on the 1910 census in Jackson Parish when the Lees were living there, and he was an older man and there wasn’t a Flora Elizabeth as his wife.
What makes it so very difficult for genealogists/family historians is there is no 1890 census, and Flora Elizabeth would have shown up on that census living with her family in Alabama. Flora Elizabeth most likely was born in the years between Uncle Jim and Aunt Dolly because on the 1880 census there is an eight-year span where there are no children. There possibly were two maybe three children born between them. Those children most likely died as infants or at birth. On the 1900 and 1910 censuses they show Emma to have five living children. Therefore, I deduce that Flora is alive in 1910, married and living in another place.
Emma would have been about nineteen years old when James W. was born. Emma and W. A were married 5 Sep 1869 and Jim was born 3 July 1869. James W. Lee was the oldest child. And there would have been other children born after James W. was born. Persistence is a fantastic quality to have in family history research. The research for Flora continued.
Records are being added to Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org on a regular basis. I went back to search for Flora Elizabeth Lee married to a West. Walla! In the search results was a marriage record for Flora E. Lee and L. W. West in Elmore County, Alabama. This record looked promising.
Assuming this is the correct Flora: Flora E. Lee married 29 Dec 1899 in Claud, Elmore County, Alabama married L. W. West. Most women married around eighteen years of age. So this would make her estimated birth as being 1881. She would have been born after Robert E. Lee another son of William and Emma Lee.The 1900 District 56, Tallassee, Elmore County, Alabama Census shows Lon West age twenty-two years and Florey E. West age twenty-five with three other people living in the household. Harvey W. West age five, Magie D. West age three and Charlie F. Moon age twenty-three. Lon's birth information was Feb 1872 and born in Alabama and Flora's birth information was July 1882. It stated they had been married seven years with two children, both living.
1910 Ward 6, Franklin, Louisiana William L. West born in Alabama, age forty-one; Florine West age twenty-eight, born in Alabama; and her parents were born in Alabama. Magie D. West age thirteen, born in Alabama; Annie L. West age seven born in Louisiana; and Overi West age five born in Louisiana.
By 1930 Lon West is living with Anna his daughter and her husband in Gilbert, Franklin, Louisiana. Lon is widowed according to the information on the census.
Flora was difficult to find because when she was born 9 Jun 1881 the 1880 census had already been taken. The 1890 census was destroyed and there is no record for her. The next census would be the 1900 census and by that time she would be old enough to be married and her name would have changed. I was fortunate to find a marriage record for her on Ancestry, and the original document is on Family Search. On the original document J. H. Edwards signed as a witness, and the person performing the ceremony was an A. J. Langley. Who is he? What connection is he to the family? Who is J. H. Edwards? Possibly J. H. Edwards is John Houston Edwards, husband of Flora’s sister Dolly. He is known as J. H. Edwards in other documents. Also, John Houston Edwards' sister Mary married a Langley. Odessa, John Houston Edwards daughter gave Flora Elizabeth's birth and death dates to a cousin; therefore, I believe this is Emma and William's daughter, Flora Elizabeth.
Looking at all the circumstantial evidence, there is a possibility this is Flora Elizabeth Lee daughter of William Alfred Lee and Emma. Research is on going for the mysterious Flora Elizabeth Lee. Records are frequently put online on Ancestry and Family Search; so, I will keep checking those databases. There is a death record out there somewhere, and eventually I hope to find it and her place of interment. Until those records are found I will be happy with the ones found in researching Flora Elizabeth Lee married to a West.