Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Arthur Baker Family in the 1940 Census-Whose Mother is Mattie?

Arthur Baker Sumter County South Carolina
The Arthur and Mattie Baker Home
Sumter County, SC

 This is the home of my Great Great Grandparents Arthur Wellington Baker and Martha "Mattie" Victoria Bradford Baker in Sumter, SC . This is where my Grandmother, Mary Baker Hudson, grew up and where my father, John Allen Hudson, visited regularly as a boy.  I have been told that several of Arthur and Mattie Baker's children and grandchildren lived on and off there over the years. When the 1940 Census was released I was curious to see who was living there then.
The families of Arthur Baker and his daughter Kate Baker Ryan in the  Sumter, SC  1940  census.
 What I found was nothing new but did have me wondering about the placement of a "mother" Mattie in the household of Jimmy Ryan. Was this Mattie Baker? If not where was she? Was this Jimmy's mother ?
  The Arthur Baker Household listed on line 27 with  Mattie listed                                  
 on on line 31 in the household of James and Kate Ryan.

  Arthur Baker is listed in household 162, was 82 years old, married and a farmer. There is no one else listed in the household.  In the box for marital status there is a M with a number 7 by it. I have been told that this means that the person was married but the spouse was not living in the household.
 Below Arthur, in household 163, is James Ryan, his wife Kate ( who is Arthur and Mattie Baker's daughter ) and their daughter Ellen. Also in the Ryan  household is Mattie,78, Mother and Single. My feeling was that this was Arthur's wife who for some reason was with their daughter at the time of the census and considered to be apart of the Ryan household. . I believed that this is one house with two households enumerated in it. The age, 78, and birth place, Sumter, SC, for this Mattie were in line with what knew about Mattie Baker but I decided that I had better do some checking to make sure.
Patrick and Mary Ryan Marker
Holy Cross Cemetery, California

           Photo by SO 
  First of all I needed to make sure that James "Jimmy" Ryan's mother wasn't also named Mattie. The Mattie living with James and Kate Baker is actually indexed as being Mattie Ryan because of the way she was placed in the family. Taking a look on Jimmy's' death certificate, which I found on , I saw that it said his Mother was named  Mary Keelam with his Father being Patrick Ryan. It also said that they both had been born in Ireland.
 Hoping for an additional source for Jimmy's mother's name I went to my files for his obituary. Many years ago I was given Kate Baker Ryan's Bible. In it were many obituaries and birth announcements that she had cut out of the newspaper over the years.. One of the obituaries was for her husband James P. Ryan. Unfortunately,there was no mention of his parents. Since I knew from previous research that James Patrick Ryan was born in 1893 in Santa Cruz, California  I decided to go to and search the 1900 census for his try get more information. I found the Ryan family living in Santa Cruz, California. Father Patrick, Mother Mary with son James.
 A search of gave me a picture of Patrick and Mary Ryan's marker in Old Holy Cross Cemetery in Santa Cruz, California.  It was a great find  It tells the date of  Mary's death , 25 December 1910, and that Patrick and Mary were from County Galway, Ireland.  My thanks to the person who took and shared this picture on the site.
 Just to tie things up I went to and searched for an obituary for Mary Ryan in the California Historical Newspapers. The search engine was quickly able to find it. The obituary said that Mary Ryan, wife of Patrick Ryan, mother of James P. Ryan died on 25 December 1910.
 It seems clear that James Patrick Ryan's mother was named Mary not Mattie. Mary died in 1910 so she could not have been living with her son in 1940. All of this leads me to the conclusion that the the "mother" listed as Mattie Ryan in the James Ryan household  is, as I suspected, really Mattie Baker.
  I am not sure why this happened.  I do know that Arthur Baker died in October of 1940 and that he had been ill. I know he spent some time in the hospital. The census was dated in June. Perhaps Mattie was enumerated with the Ryan family because Jimmy was supporting her while Arthur was sick. I don't know if I will ever know why, but I do know that if I had not been familiar with this family and had just "found" them in the census I may have made the mistake of taking the information at face value. I would have put in my notes that Arthur was living alone with no wife and that James and Kate Ryan had his mother Mattie living with him.  I would be searching for Arthur's wife and instead of adding a branch to my tree I would be building the foundation for a brick wall!  Always analyze sources.

Arthur Baker (28 April 1857-28 Oct. 1940)

Martha "Mattie" Victoria  Bradford (11 June  1862-19 April 1947)

Kate and Jimmie Ryan about 1940
 On a side note-Kate Baker Ryan was one of the ones to have additional information asked of her and recorded at the bottom portion of the census.  No new information but fun to see her answers.

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