Carlton and Mattie – Part 2

Carlton Edward Robertson (1878-1945) ~ Mattie White Hughes (1883-1934)

About Mattie

Mattie White Hughes is our grandmother, and I was named for her. (Her actual name may have been Martha, but it seems she was always called “Mattie” and my true name is Mattie – not short for anything.)

Mattie was the eldest child of Charles Venables Hughes (1859-1930) and Mary Amelia Rider Fletcher (see The Hughes family, circa 1896). Mattie was born on 27 April 1883 in Maryland. . Mattie’s brothers – our Uncles Verner, Charlie and Claude were active in shipping, transport, and produce in Salisbury. We remember all three of them and their wives – Aunt Mary, Polly, and Eva.

The census data has a story to tell

1900 Census

Mary W. Hughes (Mattie’s mother) is listed as the head of the Hughes household, with an occupation as farmer, age 39. Her husband, listed as such, Charles V., is 40 years old and listed as a “sailor.” Mattie W. appears as the 18-year-old daughter and the eldest; Claude (13), Verner (9), Lillian (7), Charles (5) and Elsie (2) are also listed as sons and daughters. Mary and Charles and the six children would constitute the completed Hughes family.

1910 Census

Charles V. has become the head of household and is listed, at age 57, as a Captain of “bay vessels.” He is self-employed. Mary has gone back to being listed as a wife with no trade. Charles and Mary’s older sons, Claude V. (23) and Verner V. (19) are listed as farmers, doing general farming work.

Here’s the story we like to tell ourselves:

In 1900 Charles was a sailor on various bay-going sailing vessels and often out on said vessels earning his living on the Chesapeake. Mary, who was home, had to take charge and run the farm. We are assuming the children helped a bit – but the oldest was only 13 – so help from that quarter was limited.

By 1910 Charles had risen to the rank of Captain – perhaps of his own bay vessel? – and was perhaps not out at sea as much as his younger counterpart. Mary has “retired” from farming to be a wife, and her two older sons are in charge of the farm – or at the least the work of farming. I tend to think Mary did not simply bow out and leave the running of the farm to the boys. Her birth and death dates have her living until the ripe old age of 90 – and if those dates are true, she strikes me as a strong, persevering kind of woman and no softy.

By 1910 of course, Mattie, our grandmother, had been married for 4 years, with a 1 year old baby to care for.

We know even less about Mattie than we do about Carleton – with no real family stories to help us get to know her better. She died when she was 51, in 1934. Her son, our father, was 16 at the time. Our aunts, Pauline and Carolyn, were 25 and 11 respectively. From what we have gleaned from family stories and lore, several of the aunts – daughters of JWT Robertson’s first and second wives – must have helped out with the kids. We heard stories about Aunt Ruby, Aunt Rachel and Aunt Dula, among others, who were around and must have helped Grandfather Carleton with raising the young ones.

Carleton was 56 at the time of her death, and never remarried.

Update: It is very hard to find anything personal and meaningful about women during this time period. They are so very often, only a footnote or parenthesis. So we were thrilled to find the following poem – written by “A Friend” – in tribute to our grandmother.

In Memoriam
In memory of Mattie Hughes Robertson, wife of Carlton Robertson, who passed away May 10th at her home in Rockawalking, MD.

We knew her first a school girl bright,
In days gone by when hearts were light,
Here cheerful face no shadow knew,
Her loving smile was ever true.

The years passed quickly then away,
A lovely bride she was one day,
A home she made for loved ones true,
And many friends oft came there too.

Two daughters fair, and a bright boy,
Were added to that home of joy,
A loving mother she became,
In word and deed as well as name.

When need and trouble to others came,
Her helping hand was e’er the same.
The world a better place was made,
By all she did and sought to aid.

Her home although her joy and pride,
She ne’er forgot her church betide,
And many years amid the throng,
We heard her voice in praise and song.

The roses bloom, the roses fade,
Within the garden she loved and made,
But friends some day we’ll meet above
Where all is life and all is Love.

Mattie is buried in the Robertson Family Cemetery and Carleton is there next to her.

Mary Robertson Robertson

Mary Priscilla Robertson (1864-1901)

Mary Priscilla was JWT’s third wife and the sister of wife number one, Esther Adeline. Mary P. was born on 11 June 1864 and her mom and dad were Washington H. Robertson and Priscilla Ann Matilda June (or Jane?) Evans. The family lived in Tyaskin, Maryland for most of their lives.

The Continuing Saga of James WT’s Three Wives

Mary Priscilla makes her first appearance in the federal census in 1870. The whole family is listed under Robinson. Washington’s wife, Priscilla, is there, along with 2 sons, Oscar, John R., and daughter, Mary P., who is 6 years old. Her oldest sister, Esther, was married to James WT, when Mary was 5.

Washington Robertson passes away in 1875, so in the 1880 census it seems as though the eldest son, Washington Ryland, has taken over working the farm; his wife, Orlinda, is listed as the primary housekeeper. Priscilla, 56 years old, is listed at the same address as “mother.” Mary Priscilla is 16 years old and living at home.

James WT’s second wife, Caroline Lawson, died in August of 1880, 3 months after the birth of their daughter, Esther Caroline, but James doesn’t marry Mary Priscilla until December of 1882. It must have been difficult running a farm and caring for five children from 2 to 10, but he seems to have waited a bit.

James Washington Thomas Robertson, seated, with Mary Priscilla Robertson
JWT Robertson and Mary Robertson

They married 27 December 1882. Mary was 18, James was 33. James and Mary had five children: Dula Gardner, Ruby Pauline, Chester Harmon, Nellie Oscarena, and Rachel Randall. (We actually have some vague memories of Aunt Dula, Aunt Ruby and Aunt Rachel.) Mary Priscilla died in 1901. She was 37. She is buried in the Robertson Family Cemetery next to both James WT and Esther A.

Mary’s gravestone

Esther Robertson Robertson

Esther Adeline Robertson (1850-1876)

James Washington Thomas Robertson had three wives. This is the story of his first wife, Esther. She was the daughter of JWT’s uncle, so they were first cousins and her maiden name was Robertson. Her father, Washington Hughes was brother to George Washington Henry (qv). Her mother was Priscilla Evans.

Esther was their first offspring to survive past childhood. She first appears in the 1850 census as Hester, age 3/12. She was born in 22 April and the date of this enumeration is August so that puts her age at about 3 months. Washington and Priscilla are the only other family members listed.

In the 1860 census Esther is 9. Her younger brothers are listed — Washington 7, Oscar 5, Sydney 3, and a baby sister Lily or Sally. Sydney and Lily will both die in Sept. 1866. Esther and JWT Robertson were married in 1869, so she doesn’t appear with her parents after this.

As with so many of our female ancestors, Esther is largely hidden, and even more so because she died so young. James and Esther were married 12 May 1869. She had just turned 19 and he was 20. As of the 1870 census, she is again listed as “Hester.” At 20 years old she is “keeping house” for the head of house, JWT who is a “sailor.” No children yet.

Within 7 years, Esther gave birth to 3 daughters. First was Carrie Roberta in 1870 followed by Eva Blanch in 1872 and Alice Talmage in 1874. Esther died 13 April 1876, one week short of 26. Her three babies were 6, 4 and 2. Esther’s death led to founding the Robertson Cemetery.

Esther A. Robertson, 1850-1876

Esther’s gravestone

Carlton and Mattie

Carlton Edward Robertson (1878-1945) ~ Mattie White Hughes (1883-1934)

About Carlton

We never knew either of our paternal grandparents. Our grandmother, Mattie White Hughes, died in 1934 at age 51. Our grandfather, Carlton came from a long line of farmers and folks who worked with their hands. And even though they are just two generations back, aside from official documents we have been able to locate (census, marriage license, draft registration, etc.) we know very little of a personal nature about either of them.

Carlton Through Census Documents

1880 Census

Carlton E. is first mentioned in the 1880 census as the next-to-the-youngest member of the James W. T. Robertson household (see James Washington Thomas Robertson). The 1880 census also lists Caroline Robertson as 1/12 years old, which I take to mean 1 month. The child’s name was actually Esther Caroline, but our southern family had a habit of calling people by their second name, so maybe that was the case here. We knew her as Aunt Esther. These were the only two children that James W. T. Robertson and Caroline Lawson Catlin would have together.

In 1880 James W. T. was still married to Caroline (listed as Caroline L.) but she would die that same year, 3 months after the birth of Esther Caroline.

1890 Census

Most of the records for the 1890 U.S. Census were destroyed by fire.

1900 Census

The 1900 census has James W. and the whole family listed as Robinson. (This spelling alteration continues to be the bane of our existence.)

Carlton is here, age 21, and his sister is listed as Esther C., age 20. At this point, James is married to his third wife, Mary Priscilla (Robertson) his first cousin. At the time of the 1900 census, James is 50 years old; Mary is 35.

Marriage and Children

Carlton and Mattie married on the day after Christmas, December 26, 1906. Carlton was 28 years old; Mattie was 23. Below is their official Marriage License. It may have been signed by Ernest Toadvine, which was a relatively common name in the area. At any rate – that’s what it looks like.

carlton-mattie-marriage-lic-2

We also have the Trinity Church Marriage Register (official church record) that lists Carlton E. Robertson of White Haven, MD and Mattie W. Hughes of Rockawalking, MD, married on December 26, 1906 in the home of the bride’s parents in Rockawalking, with a “few friends” as witnesses.

Carlton was a farmer, so we presume Mattie went to live on the farm and became a farmer’s wife. They had their first child, Helen Pauline, on 20 March 1909.

They had two more children together: James Edward (our Dad) on 18 July 1918 and Elsie Carolyn on 14 February 1923. In typical Southern manner, Helen Pauline went by her middle name, Pauline  (although she was always Aunt “C” to us and wedon’t know why); Elsie Carolyn was called Carolyn; my dad was always Edward.

The Census Resumed

The rest of the census information we have for them both is fairly straightforward:
1910 – Carlton and Mattie are married, with daughter Helen P. Carlton’s trade is always listed as “farmer” and the nature of his business is “general farming.”

1920 – Carlton E. and Martha W. are listed, along with Helen P., 10-11 years old, and James E. at 1 1/2 or 2 – can’t quite read it.

1930 – Carlton and Maddie [sic] are listed. Edward is their 11 1/2 year old son; Carolyn is there now at 7 1/2 years old. Helen Pauline seems to have disappeared – which is curious, because she did not get married until 1938. She would have been 21 years old in 1930.

Mattie died on 8 May 1934. Dad was only 16 years old; Carolyn was 11. Carlton never remarried, so as we understand it, a whole host of aunts stepped in to help raise the children.

We think of grandfather Robertson as an upstanding southern Christian gentleman. We heard that there was never alcohol in the house, they being serious Methodists. According to our father’s memories, Carlton would till the fields singing In the Garden – a fine old Methodist hymn, swinging his scythe to the beat of

And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
And he tells me I am his own.”

Ta (everyone’s nickname for Carolyn) told a slightly different story – her memory included the same action but a different song – “O’ if I had the wings of an angel, Over these prison walls I would fly. Tra-dee-all, tra-dee-all, tra-dee-all…..”  Either way, he sounds like a hard-working, farmer and devoted father.

We still have a bright red whatnot shelf Dad made in high school. He said he milled the wooden planks with his father (Carlton) because they were extra wide and had to be specially cut. The realization dawned that our Dad’s childhood really was right out of The Waltons.

Miscellaneous Life Events

Carlton registered for the draft prior to both world wars.

Details from World War I registration

  • 12 Sept 1918 – he was 40 years old
  • Registration was with the Local Board for the County of Wicomico – State of Maryland
  • He is described as of medium height, slender build, grey eyes and brown hair. He is a self-employed farmer, and Mattie is listed as his nearest relative.

Details from World War II registration

  • 27 April 1942 – Carlton was 62
  • Registration was with the Local Board No. 1, Baltimore County
  • He is described here are 5’8” tall, 151 pounds, brown eyes and grey hair. He is of light complexion. His place of residence is Route 2, Salisbury MD.
  • He was born in Clara, MD on 9 July 1879. (They got it wrong – he was born in 1878.)
  • The “person who will always know your address” is listed as Glen Messick, the husband of his half-sister, Dad’s Aunt Ruby. By this time, Mattie was deceased.

Saying Good-bye

Carlton died on 16 April 1945, from a heart attack. His obituary says he died at home, “on the Quantico Road.”

[picture of newspaper obituary?]

I love that it says he was survived by “a son, Lieut (jg) Edward Robertson, somewhere in the Pacific.”

Funeral services, as with his marriage, were held in his home and officiated over by 2 (I am assuming, Methodist) clergy – Rev. Frank Brockley and Rev. James Cloyer. Our Mom and Dad had been married for just 16 months when Carlton passed away. The story is that Madeline – home while Dad was away serving his country in World War II  – traveled to Salisbury all alone to meet Dad’s family (for the first time?) and attend funeral services.

Carlton Edward Robertson, our grandfather, was buried in the Robertson Family Cemetery next to his wife, Mattie.

See also Carlton and Mattie, Part 2

Culling Through Old Photos.

Update on Leah Wainwright

Previous Post
Our Elusive Great-great-Grandmother

Using the aforementioned Emerson Roberts’s Wainwright and Related Families –[Roberts, Emerson B.. Wainwright and related families. Wilkinsburg, Pa.: unknown, 1942. https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=26034], namely this reference

Joshua’s will of 1850 is recorded at Princess Anne in Liber S.W.J. #2, folio 247. The administration by his son Jesse is dated September 16, 1850 (S.W.J. #2, folio 247, Princess Anne.)

I finally found a citing of Joshua Wainwright’s will administration. From the Maryland Register of Wills, Somerset County page on Family Search, the correct SWJ #2, page 247. And there it was — an acknowledgement that Joshua Wainwright was, in fact, Leah’s father. He leaves one eighth of his assets to each of his children, including

To his daughter Leah Robertson, wife of George W. Robertson, the one eighth

It doesn’t take much, but for this I did the happy dance!

So the next questions are

  • When did Leah die?
    from what?
    where was she buried?
  • And moving back, Is Joshua Wainwright the offspring of Cannon Wainwright (1745-1820)?

 

Rockawalkin United Methodist Church

(corner of Rockawalkin Road and Crooked Oak Lane)

On the way out the next day we drove by and had to stop at the Rockawalkin United Methodist Church, our dad’s childhood and young adult place of worship.

This was mostly a memory trip. The church’s function hall, above center, is where Uncle Verner Hughes had his 80th birthday party that we all attended in 1970, I think.

Culling Through Old Photos

Maybe it’s Swedish Death Cleaning or we might just be clearing out a lot of the dross.

Sister Mattie took another box of pictures from the attic, and one of the surprises we came upon was this picture. We think it might be our grandfather, Carlton Edward Robertson. This deduction is because it was with another picture, formatted exactly the same — with a green mat and a simple oval border and a type ornament top and bottom — of a woman we recognize as our grandmother.

mattie-and-carlton-cropped

So we’re thinking this is some kind of wedding photo. Of course, neither is labelled.

I have never seen a picture of Carlton, dad’s father. I have no idea what he looked like. So this is an exciting discovery, if it really is him.