Monday, October 28, 2013

REPOST {June 25, 2010}: Roberta's death

A repost [with revisions] from my previous blog: tgarnett.posterous.com
For a few years now I have been trying to find out what happened to my great-grandmother Roberta Pipkins.  I first learned of her name when reading the obituary of my grandfather who passed away in 2001 and that "Mama Lois" [who I thought was my grandfather's mother] was his step-mother by whom my great-grandfather, Marcellus had four children with.  According to my Aunt Mary [grandfather's half-sister] she knew a few of Roberta's siblings Columbus Stephens [married Lois's sister Minnie Allen], Harmon Brown and Roberta's Aunt Jennie Tony. She mentioned that Roberta's mother, Mandy had died early on in life and her children were raised by various relatives. All of Roberta's siblings had different fathers and took on the surnames of their respective father's. Roberta met and married Marcellus Pipkins, but it would be years before they would finally have children. My grandfather's obituary stated that his mother died when he and his brother were just children and they were later reared by Marcellus & Lois Pipkins.
Marcellus Pipkins married Roberta Perkins on December 4, 1910 in Panola County, Texas.
They had the following children:
1) Tharnar James Pipkins (b. April 6, 1924 - d. April 1, 2001) - My grandfather "Buddy/James"
2) Marcellus Pipkins, Jr (b. May 6, 1925 - d. July 4, 1993) - Uncle Junior 
Roberta was last seen on the 1930 U.S. Federal Census in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. She appears to have passed on sometime after the Census was taken because later that year her husband, Marcellus Pipkins married Lois Allen on October 28, 1930 in Panola County, Texas.
[1930 U.S. Federal Census,  Police Jury Ward 7,  Caddo Parish,  Louisiana; Enumerated: April 3, 1930; Dwelling #42, Family # 43, Roll 788; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 70; Image:  208]. 
The family lived next door to Henderson Wynn [Roberta's, 1 cousin once removedand Mariah Golden [Roberta's, Great Aunt]


INTERVIEWS

From: C. Esther (Cousin) 
Date: March 21, 2007
Communication: Email

"Terrence,
You may come upon resistance in getting information about Roberta. It is said by some family members, 
that Roberta was "crazy".  Don't know exactly what that means, but that is the gossip. All of the folks that I've spoken with only give brief information on Roberta."
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Person Interviewed: Mary K. (Great Aunt, grandfather's half-sister)
Date: March 2007
Communication: By phone and in person
"Roberta and Marcellus had lost a son in child birth or when he was just a little boy and she was never the same
after that. Daddy said it was if she had lost the will to live, she stopped taking care of herself and eventually she just died."
Aunt Mary said she believes the child was named John Pipkins.
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Person Interviewed: Alma Golden Jones (Cousin) 
Date: October 16, 2007
Communication: By phone
Cousin Alma lived in Deberry, Panola County, Texas at the time of our conversation.
She is the granddaughter of Jennie Tony, Roberta's AuntAlma was born on August  04, 1923 in Panola County, Texas and died January 31, 2008 in Dallas, Texas. 
She mentioned that she knew "Cuzin Cellus and Berta". Based on her year of birth Alma would have been around 7 years old when Roberta died.
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Person Interviewed: Lillie Mae Stephens Webster (My grandfather's 1st cousin & Roberta's niece)
Date: January 10, 2008
Communication: By phone
Lillie Mae was born on March 10, 1923 in Panola County, Texas and died on March 23, 2009 in Houston, Texas.
She said she didn't know who Roberta's father was, but she said Marcellus and Roberta lived in Oklahoma and then moved back to Texas where she died. I asked her if Roberta went insane or was crazy, she said "oh no honey I ain't never heard of my aunt Berta being crazy".
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No death record has ever been found on Roberta Pipkins in Texas, Louisiana, or Oklahoma. Based on the information my Aunt Mary gave [told to her by her father Marcellus Sr] it appears that Roberta suffered from major depression and depending on her actions could have been mistaken or viewed as insanity during that time period.

Terrence A. Garnett

 Source Citations:
  1. Pipkins, Marcellus & Rhoberta Perkins: Panola County Marriages; Volume I: Page 260, County Clerk’s Office, Carthage, Texas.
  2. Pipkins, Marcellus & Lois Allen: Panola County Marriages; Volume N: Page 134, County Clerk’s Office, Carthage, Texas.
  3. Pipkins Jr, Marcellus C: "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V3ZK-5TL : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Marcellus Pipkin Jr, 7 July 1993; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  4. Pipkins, Tharner James: "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JTMD-YPR : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Tharner J Pipkins, 1 April 2001; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  5. "United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XMT1-G1J : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Marselles Pipkins, Police Jury Ward 7, Caddo, Louisiana, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 0070, sheet , family 43, NARA microfilm publication.
  6. Webster, Lillie Mae: "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VMC9-TTR : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Lillie Mae Webster, 23 March 2009; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  7. Jones, Alma: "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VSS2-KZK : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Alma Jones, 31 January 2008; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing)


12 comments:

  1. Wonderful read and I love the way you documented who you talked to! I believe some relative (especially those that are older) don't tell everything they know and tend not to talk about anything unpleasant. I look forward to reading what else you may find out about Roberta.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Erlaine for visitng my blog! I definitely agree with you about older relatives being secretive about certain things.

      Terrence

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  2. I can't imagine the pain Roberta felt..to lose herself over the death of her son....my sons are grown and I still worry about their safety.

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    1. I guess it was just to much for her....my great grandfather probably felt helpless watching his wife suffer the way she did over their loss.

      Terrence

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  3. Great job Terrence, loved the read!

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  4. Terrence I am thrilled that you are re-posting your family again -- right here!

    WOW, it is amazing that you have not been able to find any vital records documenting Roberta's death . . . especially with her passing away during a time when states were required to register deaths! I also like how you shared everyone's perspective on her life and well-being too --- very nice touch!

    I actually could not find any information about my paternal great-grandfather, Henry Newsome, for many years. Then finally his death certificate appeared on FamilySearch. He died while a patient at the Austin State Hospital, which is something NO ONE in my family even mentioned when I often asked about him. It wasn't until folks realized I had a copy of his death certificate which revealed where he was and what was wrong with him did I start to hear about his mental illness.

    So keep searching . . . information about what really happened to her will come to light!

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    Replies
    1. Terrence, what was Roberta's maiden name?

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    2. Hi Liv,

      Perkins was her maiden name. She was the daughter of James Perkins and Mandy Golden. Over the years my mother has asked me to try and locate Roberta's death record, but I haven't had luck in doing so. I do wonder if she was ever Institutionalized..perhaps I can check for Hospitals during that time period.

      Terrence

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  5. I echo Liv, KEEP SEARCHING! A Re-post presents new opportunities for visibility & search engine traction. Reading family commentary along with the post -- a true gift. Who knows technology + their clues, might lead to Roberta's mysteries being unveiled. Well done T!:)

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  6. Mental illness is a difficult process for the sufferer and for the people who love them. During Roberta's lifetime, treatment for the illness was sparse. I hope you find a death record for her.

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