Who Are You?: Cora Amelia Marsha

Cora Amelia Marsha

I don’t know if I would consider Cora a brick wall but she has that brick wall feel to her. There is just so much I don’t know and don’t know how I could find out.

I’ve been dealing with Cora since the fall of 2009. She was my first frustration, before John Little and Gus Steward. This was the first time I had done research for someone other than myself and I guess I had set the bar too high. I wanted to do well. Most people define a brick wall as being unable to prove a person’s parents. That’s not my problem with Cora. It’s that so many years of her life are unaccounted for.

The first record I find is the 1875 New York State Census listing Cora with her parents at age four. I cannot find the family at all in 1880.

1875 Census, Essex, New York
1875 Census, Essex, New York. Family is second family on right hand side of page.

I don’t find her again until 2 April 1891 in Salem, South Dakota when her first child, Vella Catherine Price, was born. She was married to her first husband, William Price at only 20. She remained in Salem at until 1897 when her third child, William Leslie Price, was born.

Between that time and 1903, William Price left the picture. I don’t know if he died or if they were divorced. I have never found William and Cora together and I have found no evidence of death or divorce.

16 November 1903 saw the birth of Jessie Hoag in Sheldon, Iowa to Cora Marsha and her new husband, William Hoag. (She really loved her Williams, I suppose.) Two years later, Cora and three Hoag children: Jessie, Frederick, Bella were enumerated in the 1905 Iowa State Census without William Hoag. Again, I don’t know if he died or if they were divorced. I have never found this William and Cora together either.

1905 Sheldon, Iowa Census. Cora and children on top right.
1905 Sheldon, Iowa Census. Cora and children on top right.

On 13 November 1907, Cora married her third husband, Oliver Perry Jones, in Sheldon, Iowa. This is the first marriage certificate I have been able to obtain for Cora and I have no trouble finding her after this because she set down (metaphorical) roots with Oliver. I say metaphorical because they loved to move. They moved from Sheldon, Iowa to Springfield, Oregon, near where her parents lived.

a23208f8-777e-4d57-9cc1-253aa6167c9bOliver and Cora had two children, Howard and Harry. Howard died in 1924 at the age of 16. Oliver died in 1945 and Cora followed him in 1950. She was born in New York, lived in South Dakota, Iowa, Oregon, and died in Minnesota.

One of the prevailing things about Cora is ability to just move on. None of the children from the first marriage are found living with her during her brief second marriage. Vella married at 15 the year before her mother married Oliver Jones. William and Fred were 8 and 10 years old. Who did they live with? I can’t find them. Fred is staying with Cora and Oliver in 1920 but then gets married. None of the Hoag children I ever find again.

Perhaps I just don’t have enough information to go on. Maybe I’ve looked right at them a hundred times and just didn’t see. The incredible thing is I can’t find any of the Price family in 1900. They are perfectly aged to be found but I just can’t.

I hate not knowing.


Wednesday’s Child: Signe Marie Holm

I research three main families: mine and those of my two closest friends. I’ve blogged about one already with my posts about the Little/Fratis/Rapose/Smith/Hyde families. Signe Holm is the aunt of my other friend.

Signe Marie Holm was born to Gustaf Holm and his first wife, Anna Alfrida Anderson in Fort Dodge, Iowa on 24 June 1907. She was their first child.

Her life was contentious because the marriage between her parents was contentious. In the words of my friend, her grandfather (Signe’s father) was “a bull headed Swede.”

The marriage was bad enough that Frida packed six year old Signe and four year old Elmer and went back home to Sweden in November 1913 after six years of being married to Gust. They didn’t return until March 1918.

I believe they returned because Signe had started to show symptoms of tuberculosis. Frida probably had more faith in American doctors. Eventually, Signe deteriorated to the point she had to be put in the Glen Lake Sanatorium in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The family was living in Minneapolis at the time.

It was there that Signe died from TB on 16 February 1921 at the age of 13.

Signe at the sanitarium