8.13.2013

THE ELUSIVE CLARENCE LANE

A 2013 blog by great granddaughter, P. Davidson-Peters
With special thanks to Nonna for sharing her memories with me.

Clarence Lane, son of Clarence and Mamie 
Most family historians have an elusive ancestor who appears absent from common records.  For me, that ancestor is my great grandfather, Clarence Lane.  All anyone seemed to know about him was that he had been married and had a son named Claude prior to his marriage to my great grandmother, Mary Jeannette “Mamie” Moore, and that he had been a barber.

Sweet Mamie, the devoted daughter, had married Clarence when she was about thirty-six. One of four daughters born to Thomas A. and Clarissa V. (Pilcher) Moore, she was not quite ten years old in 1890 when her mother died, and her youngest sister was barely three.  While her siblings married and began their own lives, Mamie looked after their elderly father who worked as a carpenter despite the various side-effects he suffered from a gunshot to the head while serving with the 33rd Missouri Volunteers during the Civil War.  When he died in 1915, Mamie (whose only occupation had been to care for her Papa) had no financial means and applied for her father’s pension but was denied since she was well-past the age of majority.

The circumstances of how or where she met Clarence, is not known but it appears to have been shortly after her father’s death.  Although no marriage record has yet been located, they were said to have been married in about 1916.  Their son, Clarence Moore Lane, was born on 03 Jun 1918 near the end of World War I and during the Spanish Flu epidemic that had killed nearly half a million Americans.  The birth certificate states the father Clarence was a thirty-four year-old barber born in Vincennes, Indiana, and listed an address which matched that given on the World War I Draft Registration.  According to the latter, Clarence was born on 06 Dec 1883, and was employed as a barber at John Hopkins at 304 S. Jefferson Avenue.  He was described as five foot seven inches, stout build, brown eyes and black hair.  Photos of his son, Clarence (shown here), suggest his son may well have resembled him, though Mamie also had brown eyes and hair.

1918 Birth Certificate of Clarence M. Lane
In 1920 the threesome were enumerated in St. Louis residing at the same address listed on the birth certificate and draft registration, and Clarence was again listed as a barber.  Family stories say he abandoned his wife and son by about 1922, and thus far no records have been found locating him or his death after 1920.  From his date of birth, however, he appears to be the son of Seth and Sarah Alice, and brother of Edith who was born in Indiana in January of 1890.  This family was enumerated in the 1900 census residing in Liberty Twp., Stoddard County, Missouri.  The father, Seth Lane, was born in Martin Co., Indiana on 21 Feb 1862, and was the son of William Lane and Nancy Jane Holtzclaw who were enumerated in that place in 1850.  Seth died in Wayne Twp., Bollinger County, Missouri, and was laid to rest in Baltz Cemetery in Zalma.

Research for Claude, the half-brother of Clarence, led to the 1904 marriage record of Clarence Lane to Ellen Mayes, a minor of John and Alice who had given their consent on the 29th of July in Bloomfield with the marriage taking place at the bride’s home in Stoddard County, Missouri on the 31st.  The 1900 lists Ellen in the household of her parents in Elk Twp., Stoddard Co., Missouri and listed her birth as  June of 1888 which indicates she had been, as the consent indicated, barely sixteen years old.

Unlike my grandfather’s circumstance, Claude never appeared in the census records with his father.  In 1910 he is listed with his maternal grandparents, John and Alice Mayes, and was again listed in their 1920 household in Parma, Como Township, New Madrid County, Missouri.  In 1930, however, he seems to have reappeared with his mother who was then enumerated as “Ellen Anton.” They were residing on Park Avenue in the St. Louis where Claude was employed as a barber, the same trade as his absent father.

Interestingly enough, in 1940 Clarence’s 2nd wife Mamie and their son Clarence were living on West Park Avenue just about four miles from Ellen and Claude.  Both women were listed as widowers, but Ellen may have been a widow of a Mr. Anton, and not Clarence Lane – though it’s possible given the need for social appearances during that time, that Clarence was still alive and well living in places unknown.

City Sanitarium - St. Louis (Google Maps)
The home Clarence and his mother lived in on Park Avenue was in the St. Louis neighborhood known as Dog Town, and it belonged to Louisa Schneider , a widow of Sgt. Joseph A. Schneider who had been a city police officer and had died in May of 1930.  The Schneiders had no children of their own but had (according to the earlier census records), taken in foster children,  and in 1930 had a house full.  By 1940, however, the only other residents of the household besides Louisa, Mamie and Clarence was an elderly widower, John Distler, and one of the foster children from 1930 named Albert  Schneider, the latter listed as twenty-five year-old nurse employed at a hospital.  Mamie was also listed as a Practical Nurse employed at a hospital, and so it’s quite likely she and Alfred were co-workers at the City Sanitarium where she was employed.

It’s not known what became of Clarence after he abandoned Ellen and their son Claude, and then Mamie and his son Clarence.  How or when his two sons came to know of each also remains a mystery.  My grandmother believes Clarence may have learned of his half-brother about the time he enlisted or was discharged from the Army which would have been between 1935 and 1940 when they appear to have lived within miles of each other.

Missouri Death Records indicate Clarence Lane’s first wife Sarah “Ellen” Mayes passed away on 05 May 1957 in Dexter, Stoddard Co., Missouri, and was laid to rest at Hagy Cemetery.  His 2nd wife, my great grandmother, Mary Jeanette Moore, left this world on 06 Jul 1965 and was laid to rest at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.  Her son Clarence died the following year on the 30th of April at the age of forty-seven, and rests at Saint Matthews Cemetery in St. Louis.

Only three direct descendants of Clarence and Mamie survive.  Although I've searched and scoured the available records, my great-grandfather Clarence Lane remains a mystery.  Consistent with his esoteric lifestyle, I suppose it’s no surprise that all these years later he  remains an enigma.

SOURCES
  • 1850 Federal Census - Perry Twp., Martin Co., IN (William S. Lane & Nancy J. Holtsclaw family)
  • 1860 Rutherford Twp., Martin Co., IN (William S. Lane & Nancy J. Holtsclaw family)
  • 1870 Loogootee, Martin Co., IN (William S. Lane & Nancy J. Holtsclaw family)
  • 1900 Elk Twp., Liberty Twp., Stoddard Co., MO (Lane, Holtsclaw, Mayes & Tatum families)
  • 1904 consent, license and marriage of Clarence Lane and Sarah Ellen Mayes
  • 1910 Clay Co., AR marriage record of Clarence Lane and Sarah Ellen Mayes
  • 1910 & 1920 Wayne Twp., Bollinger Co., MO (William S. Lane & Nancy J. Holtsclaw family)
  • 1918 Birth Certificate of Clarence Moore Lane, son of Clarence Lane & Mary Jeanette Moore
  • 1918 WWI Draft Registration of Clarence Lane
  • 1932, 1930 & 1940 St. Louis, MO (Lane)
  • 1966 Death Certificate of Clarence Moore Lane, son of Clarence Lane & Mary Jeanette Moore
  • Find A Grave - Baltz Cemetery & Hagy Cemetery


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