Monday, March 10, 2014

Edwin Bruce and his widow, Leona Ringo

The State of Missouri some time ago posted searchable images of death certificates from 1910 into the 1960s. A branch of an ancestor settled in Missouri well before the Civil War. I searched for the surname Ringo and was rewarded with many hits.

The female hits were either of unmarried women who were Ringos or women who married a Ringo. As I matched up the death certificates with names in my family tree, I found that I was missing death certificates for Ringo daughters who married. One such woman was Leona Ringo.

She was 3 years old when her family was enumerated in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1880. The 1890 Census was mostly destroyed in a fire. The next intact federal census was in 1900. She was not enumerated with her parents and some of her siblings in the 1900 US census. At the age of about 23, she was likely to have married.

Her father was a prominent lawyer in St. Joseph, Missouri and much of the family seemed to have remained in St. Joseph, I took a chance and searched the State of Missouri death certificates for a Leona in Buchanan County. Fortunately she married a man whose surname began with the letter B.

After looking at a half a dozen death certificates, I found her. She was Leona Bruce and died in St. Joseph, MO in 1961. Her son, John, was the informant and he provided the name of her husband. I then found the couple in the 1900 census. She was born in August 1878 and he was born in November 1878. They had been married a year.

Next I found an entry in a register of their application for a marriage license and the record of their marriage. Their marriage license was issued in Buchanan County, Missouri on December 31, 1898. They were married by Rev. C. M. Chilton on January 2, 1899 in St. Joseph, MO.

In 1910, Leona and her husband were living in Lamar, Barton County, Missouri where he was in the lumber business. They had a son, John, who was 6 years old and born in Missouri. In 1961, John was living in Norman, Oklahoma at the time of his mother's death.

In 1920, I found Leona and her son living with two of her sisters in St. Joseph, MO. She was identified as a widow. She was a widow at the time of her death in 1961 so I assumed that Edwin died before 1920. But to my surprise, I found the death certificate for Edwin Beldon Bruce who died in 1951 in St. Joseph, MO and was born November 25, 1878 in Princeton, Missouri. Leona was the informant for his death Certificate and was living in the same rural route number as was Edwin at the time of his death.

So confused...

I then found a World War I draft registration card for Edwin Beldon Bruce in Missouri who was born November 25, 1878. He was living in Jackson County, Missouri at the time and his wife was Edyna. Edwin and Edyna were enumeration in Jackson, Co. in 1920. I then found the register of their marriage in 1917.

It would appear that Leona and Edwin were divorced by 1917. However, in 1930, Edyna Ringo was divorced. She apparently did not remarry as she died in 1981 and the Social Security Death Index includes Edyna Bruce who was born on December 14, 1888 and died in September 1981. He last residence was Springfield, Greene County, Missouri.

At this time I have not found either Leona or Edwin in the 1930 or 1940 census, but at some time the couple reunited before his death in 1951

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