Untangling the Ramsey, Blunt, and Coon Families
Researching ancestors, as most family historians learn after researching a while, will come across some tangled, twisted families and relationships. Untangling those can be challenging and takes using various strategies to sort out. Family historians use strategies that work in finding the records to establish and determine an ancestor to be a part of a specific family group, and link family members to each other. Those strategies work well in an ideal situation where records are available; and ancestors are listed on those records; and identifiable with precision.
While researching Mary Lavenia Ramsey the research went well up to a point.Mary Lavenia Ramsey was born November 1876 in Pricedale, Pike County, Mississippi. She was the second oldest daughter of Eliza Jane Ramsey and husband Asa Martin. At a young age of fifteen she married W. G. Blunt.
Sometimes in genealogical research family members seem to be identifiable with precision, and linked together with accuracy. Family members all seem to be in place, that is linked to each other, records are plentiful, loaded with information, and lead to other resources that will further research.
Such was the case with W. G. Blunt and Mary Lavenia Ramsey up to the year 1908, then their lives were forever changed. As one researches using records (especially census records) spelling variations of names – given and surnames – nick names, using initials on censuses rather than given name, using a given name and initial, located in various counties from census to census, one census year having a spouse then by the next census having a different spouse or no spouse at all, are all things that must be considered when analyzing records. What changes were in the lives of W. G. Blunt and Mary Lavenia Ramsey in 1908? Mary L. was married again and living with her second husband; and Mary L. has a seven-year-old stepson.
Further research into the first husband of Mary L., W. G. Blunt, yielded no information. He wasn’t found on any records after 1900. Therefore, he apparently was deceased by the 1910 census. His last child Mamie, was born in 1906 so he was alive in 1906. If another record is found to prove W. G. Blunt is alive after 1900 this information will be amended.
In June 1900 Clifton Coon is living with his sister Sara Lentz, her husband James Lentz and their six children. Clifton is eighteen years old and single on the June 7, 1900 District 98, McClendon, Lincoln County, Mississippi Census. However, on June 9, 1900 Clifton Coon and Missouri Coward were married. Their only child Henry Roan was born October 23, 1901 In Brookhaven, Pike County, Mississippi.
Clifton Coon’s first wife Missouri did not die until January 28, 1948 in Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas. Therefore, it is concluded that Clifton and first wife Missouri divorced sometime after 1900, or they just parted ways since no divorce records are found to date.
Whatever the case for the blended families of Clifton Coon and Mary Lavenia Ramsey Blunt the two of them are living as husband and wife. The 1910 District 87, Beat 3, Lincoln County, Mississippi Census provides information about the couple. As stated on the census the couple was married for two years, their marital status showed a second marriage for both. They were renting their home on Brookhaven Road in Lincoln County, Mississippi. Clifton Coon was head of the house. Living with Mary Lavenia and her second husband Clifton Coon are Luther Coon age seven, stepson, Julia Coon age five, and Mammie Coon age two daughters. In addition, another child Roan Coon age seven, son. The family members and the information linking them made an already complex problem more complex. Luther Coon being listed as a stepson, however, did give a lead for more research into his family. This information did not help to explain two Coon sons the same age, one a son and one a stepson, and two daughters, Julia Coon and Mammie Coon, since Clifton and Mary L. had been married only two years. More research needed, therefore the search to untangle the twisted relationships continued.
Genealogical problems do sometime arise when analyzing records and looking at those family relationships. The 1910 Brookhaven Road, Beat 3, Lincoln County Mississippi census did just that. Sorting those relationships and linking them to the right parents takes research strategies and skill. When looking at this census and the two sons ages, and both were listed as Coon on the 1910 census, not knowing about the previous marriage of Clifton, a researcher would assume twin sons. But, with little information to go on the hypothesis couldn’t be proven that they were twins. What happened to Mary L. and Clifton’s former spouses? What is going on in this blended family before the marriage in 1908?
The 1920 census helped to identify relationships to the head of the family. Untangling the relationships was coming sooner than expected. By time the taking of the 1920 District 92, Ruth Precinct, Lincoln County Census was taken Mary Lavenia or Vennie is living as head of the family and listed with her are a son Luther Blunt age eighteen, a daughter Julia Blunt age sixteen, another daughter Mamie Blunt age fourteen years. These are children from her marriage with her first husband W. G. Blunt. The daughters are the ones listed with the surname Coon on the 1910 census. Also, listed with them are Morris C. Coon a son age eleven, Essie Coon age nine, Janie Coon age seven, Alma Coon age four years and nine months’ daughters of Vennie Coon, head. Another son George Coon is a year and seven months old. Those children are Vennie’s with her second husband Clifton. A stepson Rowan Coon an eighteen-year-old is living with them. He is the son from Clifton’s first marriage with Missouri Cowart. On the 1920 census Vennie is married according the information she provided on this census. Where is Clifton Coon her husband and father of their children? What is going on with Clifton that he left his wife with all the children including his son by Missouri Cowart his first wife?
Researching in the surrounding counties of Pike and Lincoln Counties, Clifton Coon is found living with another family as a boarder in District 113, Beat 1, Marion County, Mississippi. Clifton also is shown as a widower (wd). Why is he listed as a widower on this 1920 census and Vennie is listed as married on the 1920 census that she is listed on? Has he left Venie and his family? Has he gone to look for work? This creates another genealogical problem within this already complex family. As an experienced family historian, one can only surmise as to the reason Clifton was living in another county as a widower. When looking at the outcome of his previous marriage one can infer that he had left this family; however, there is no conclusive reason at this point in researching him.
Names that were found on censuses for Mary Lavenia Ramsey Blunt Coon were M. L., Mary L., Venie, and Vennie. She isn’t on any records after the 1920 census where she is shown with all the children and her step child. Venie died about 1924. The date of her death is based on the children’s marriages and locations after the 1920 census, their locations in 1930, and Clifton’s location in Louisiana in 1930.
In 1930 Clifton Coon is listed as widowed and living as head of the family in District 7, Ward 4, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.
Living in the dwelling household 79, family number 86 with Clifton Coon is Alma Coon his youngest daughter that was fourteen years old, George Coon his youngest son age twelve. Also, living with them is Mamie Etherege, Clifton’s step-daughter and her family; her husband Ed Etherege, two daughters Hellen age four years and two months and she was born in Mississippi, and Dorothy Lee age two years and three months and she was also born in Louisiana, and a son Calvin Edgar seven months old also born in Louisiana. Knowing the place of the children’s birth is an important fact. By knowing this information, the family can be placed in Mississippi about 1926.
So, Clifton headed west after the 1920 census. His son Henry Roan Coon, by his first wife Missouri Coward (Cowart), had already gone west. In 1930 Henry Roan is living in Precinct 2, Jefferson County, Texas in Port Acres an unincorporated town. He was living on Fourth Street with his wife Minnie, son Oliver C. age seven, daughter Mary L. Coon age five and other son John Coon age three years and six months old. By this time Henry Roan Coon has been married eight years, and was twenty years old at his first marriage. So, he married about 1922 in Mississippi since his first son was born in Mississippi. Henry Roan was twenty-eight years old at this census taking. His wife Minnie was twenty-three and stated she was fifteen at her first marriage. Henry worked in an oil refinery as a laborer. Henry Roan lived the remainder of his life in Texas. He died June 17, 1978 in Silsbee, Hardin County, Texas.
Life has changed again for Clifton Coon by 1940. Clifton Coon is now fifty-eight years old on the 1940 Rural, Ward 4, Township 22, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana, and is head of the family and has a wife Mildred I. age thirty years old. Mildred had finished four years of high school as shown on the census. Clifton had gone through the fourth grade. Mildred was born in Mississippi as was Clifton. As shown on the census neither had any income or working. They were renting the home, but they didn’t live on a farm. How long was Clifton in West Carroll Parish. His sons were living in Jefferson County, Texas by 1951. Clifton signed up for the World War II Draft Registration in 1942 in Oak Grove, West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. Therefore, he was a resident of Louisiana in 1942. Clifton applied for Social Security and Claims September 1946 while living in West Carroll Parish. Later Clifton migrated to Hardin County, Texas and died there February 21, 1963.
Mary Lavenia Ramsey was the second child, and second daughter born to Eliza Jane Ramsey and her husband Asa Martin. The Ramsey family is on the 1880 Pike County census listed only with their initials. Asa Martin Ramsey is on censuses with his wife Eliza Jane through 1920. He died September 19, 1929 in Pike County, Mississippi. Eliza Jane Ramsey is on censuses through 1930. She died September 9, 1933 in Pike County, Mississippi. She was about seventy-eight years old at the time of her death. Eliza Jane is buried in the Wingo Cemetery along with her husband of fifty-five years.
This tangled twisted family of Mary Lavenia is slowly being untangled and the twisted relationships are being sorted out and linked to their rightful family members. Researching is ongoing and will continue until there is no longer conflict of the relationships and connections of family members.