Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lou Ella Godwin Otten (1882-1947), Part I

Lou Ella Godwin Puzzle

According to Joyce Hambleton Whitten’s transcribed Arkansas Marriage Records, an Ellce or LouElla Davis, 19 yo, of Hardy, Sharp Co., AR married Allen or Alvin Godwin, 22 yo, also of Hardy, Sharp Co., AR on 14 Mar 1899. The marriage was officiated by W. E. Dark, witnessed by J. N. Pully.

In the 1900 Fulton County, Pleasant Ridge Township, AR census report taken 2 June 1900, Alvin Godwin was enumerated with his wife, Looeler? Godwin. Alvin Godwin was 21 years old, born Jan 1879, married 1 year, 0 kids, born in AR with father born in AR and mother born in MS. “Looeler?” Godwin, wife, was 18 years old, born Feb 1882 in AR, both parents born in TN.

This census report corroborates the approximate date of marriage and ages of Alvin and LouElla Godwin listed in the marriage record.

Alvin and Ella Godwin were enumerated again in the 1910 Fulton Co., Mammoth Springs, AR census report with their two children, Laura and Arvil Godwin:
Godwin, Alvin T. Head, 30 yo (b. abt 1880) Married 11 years (abt 1899), AR AR AR
Ella Wife, 30 yo (b. abt 1880), Married 11 years (abt 1899), 2 / 4 kids living AR TN AR
Laura 8 Daugh AR AR AR
Arvil 6 Son AR AR AR

Alvin and Ella divorced sometime between 1910 and 1920. By 1920, Alvin was back living with his parents in Mammoth Springs at age 40, was divorced and an Ella “McGee” was found in Shawnee, Pottawatomie, Co. OK. The census states she is married, born in TN around 1886 (34 years old) with two kids - Lorine O, 17 born in MO and Orvale L, 15, born in MO. The children's ages match up, however, Ella's age is off and the census lists the kids' birthplace as MO instead of AR.

By the time the1930 census was enumerated, Lou Ella was married to Nace Robert Otten. They were listed in the 1930 Shawnee, Pottawatomie Co., OK census report: N Robert Otten was 42 yo, married, b. in MO; railroad conductor; WWI vet, Ella Otten, was wife, 44 yo, married, b. TN, both parents born in TN;

This past fall we found the obituaries of both Lou Ella and Nace Otten at the Shawnee public library, as well we photographed the headstones placed on their graves in Fairview Cemetery, Shawnee, OK. The obituaries brought up some interesting questions about exactly who was Alvin Godwin married to? The marriage record said Alvin Godwin married Lou Ella DAVIS. However according to the obituaries, Lou Ella had 3 brothers with the last name of CARPENTER. So did Alvin Godwin marry Lou Ella Davis or Carpenter? Was Lou Ella married to a Davis before marrying Alvin?

Here are the transcripts from the death notices and obituaries:

Shawnee (Okla.) News-Star, Friday, July 18, 1947
Funeral Pending For Mrs. Otten, Railroader’s Wife
Mrs. Ella Otten, 62, of 431 North Aydelotte, died Thursday at 4:15 p.m. in a local hospital as result of a heart attack suffered about 10 days ago.
She was the wife of N. R. Otten, Rock Island conductor.
Funeral services are being arranged by Gaskill’s.
Mrs. Otten came to Shawnee in 1910 from Hardy, Ark. She was a member of the first Presbyterian church and the Ladies Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen.
Surviving besides her husband are one son, Orville Godwin of Tulsa, one sister, Mrs. Ed Clark, Los Angeles, a half sister, Mrs. Roy Eckert, Shwanee, and three brothers. The brothers are Ernest and Marland Carpenter of Hardy, Ark., and Willie Carpenter, Los Angeles. Mrs. Otten also leaves nine grandchildren.
[Microfilm No. XVI-378-406 from the Shawnee, OK public library]

Shawnee (Okla.) News-Star, Sunday, July 20, 1947 (p. 2A)
Otten Services Set for Monday
Funeral services for Mrs. Ella Otten. 62. 431 North Aydelotte, who died Thursday in a local hospital will be held Monday at 2 p. m.
Services will be held in the Gaskill chapel with Rev. Claybron Derring in charge. Burial will be at Fairview cemetery.
Mrs. Otten was a member of the Central Presbyterian church and the Laides Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen. She had lived in Shawnee since 1910, coming from Hardy, Arkansas.
Bearers will be Henry Martell, O. Beeson, Wallace Doss, Robert Freeman, Edmond Kitchell and Sam Hewlett.
[Microfilm No. XVI-378-406 from the Shawnee, OK public library]

I did find the three brothers listed in the obituary as children living in the household of William Carpenter in Highland Township, Sharp Co., AR in 1900:
Highland Twp., ED 119, enumerated 4-5 June 1900, T623, Roll 77, p 44
William Carpenter, head, white male, b. sept 1844, 55 yo, Married 10 years, IL, Unk Unk, farmer, owned free farm
Dora B or E Carpenter, wife, white female, b. June 1864, 35 yo, married 10 years, 6/8 children living, TN TN TN
Lou A Carpenter, daughter, white female, b. Feb 1882, 18 yo, single, AR IL IL
Oceola Davis, step-daughter, white female, b. Jan 1885, 15 yo, single, AR TN TN
Acy Carpenter, son, white male, b. Jan 1892, 8 yo, single, AR IL TN
Willie Carpenter, son, white male, b. July 184, 5 yo, single, AR IL TN
Marlin Carpenter, son, white male, b. Oct 1896, 3 yo, single, AR IL TN
Ernest Carpenter, son, white male, b. May 1899, 1 yo, single, AR IL TN

1910 Sharp Co., AR census report:
Dora Carpenter, head, 45 yo (b. abt 1865), widow, 6/6 children, TN TN TN
Willie Carpenter, 15 yo (b. abt 1895), single, AR IL TN
Marlin Carpenter, 13 yo (b. abt 1897), single, AR IL TN
Ernest Carpenter, 10 yo (b. abt 1900), single, AR IL TN
Nellie Carpenter, 5 yo (b. abt 1905), single, AR IL TN

However, as I mentioned earlier, my Lou Ella Godwin was enumerated with Alvin Godwin in Pleasant Ridge, Fulton Co., AR, 2 June 1900. She was born Feb 1882 according to both census reports, so it is possible she was enumerated twice. There is mention of a DAVIS living in the family’s household in 1900, she was Ocealo Davis, 15 years old, born about 1885, step daughter of William Carpenter.

So what should I do with this information? Should I attach my Lou Ella to William Carpenter? Did she marry a Davis before marrying my Alvin Godwin at the age of 19? Or is it more than a coincidence that she had a step sister with the last name of Davis? Was she really Dora Davis' daughter and William Carpenter's step daughter?

Continued on Part II

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