Monday, June 6, 2011

Mystery Monday--96, 97, 100, 107, or 114 years old, but who’s counting?

I don’t normally spend much time off my direct line research, but it’s sometimes useful when you encounter dead ends.  I’ve been struggling with some of the details of the Morris line, and there was a sibling who might lead me to some clues. 

My grandmother’s notes indicated her great-uncle, John Morris, was born in 1848, supposedly in Wales, and died at age 103 in 1941 in Clearfield, PA.  Okay, so math wasn’t her thing.  It still let me know he was pretty old when he died.  I found four US census records (1880, 1900, 1910 & 1930) for John, putting his birth year at 1833, 1844, 1843 and 1840, respectively.  The earliest I'm still looking for is 1870 (supposedly he emigrated in 1865) and the latest is 1920.  At Find-A-Grave, the photo of his headstone had 1839-1940. Currently, I'm also on the hunt for his naturalization record.

I thought his age might generate enough interest for newspaper coverage.  Using Genealogy Bank, I found three AP articles (from Seattle, Omaha, Springfield, MA). 
From the Seattle Daily Times, April 27, 1940: 
Death Takes Man, 114
 Clearfield, Pa.,  Saturday, July 27   (AP)
John Morris, whose relatives said he was born 114 years ago during the administration of John Quincy Adams, sixth president, died yesterday.  A former Pennsylvania mine inspector, he was known as “First Aid” Morris because of his interest in first aid work.
I suppose it’s possible John was born in 1826.  After all, his sister, my 3x great-grandmother, was born in 1828.  It just doesn’t seem likely to me.  And I was hoping for more clues.  Unfortunately, the local or regional newspapers that are likely to carry more details don’t seem to have been digitized, but I'm still looking.   (As an aside, I find I am disappointed with Genealogy Bank.  I think it’s good for some researchers, but it just hasn’t been a very cost-effective resource for me.)

But who’s counting?  Well, I am.  I always liked math.

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