Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Fearless Females: Favorite Female Ancestor

Ida Davis

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

While I've written about her before, my favorite female ancestor that I would like to know more about is my maternal 2nd-great grandmother, Ida DAVIS.

Ida lived a rather short, hard life - dying at age 26.  Yet before she passed, she was married twice and gave birth to two daughters, neither of whose parentage has truly been established.  One of those daughters, June, was my great-grandmother.

Ida Davis and daughter, June
So many facts about Ida are not clearly documented.  Her parents were James Austin and Mary Ellen (SWAFFORD) DAVIS, residents of Owen County, Indiana. I have Ida's birth date as July 2, 1874 Owen County, Indiana, but do not have a documented source.  If the census record in 1900 at the door of hope I found for Ida D. HANCOCK is her - it gives her birth date as May 1874 in Indiana.

Ida was first married to Samuel G. HANCOCK,  son of Joseph and Margaret (VAUGHN) HANCOCK on August 28, 1892 in Monroe County, Indiana.  A unverified letter from a correspondent states that Ida and Samuel filed for divorce in the May of 1894 in Monroe County, Indiana. They must have divorced before 1897 when Samuel remarried in Monroe County, Indiana.  Ida's second marriage was Carvie A. MORRIS on July 19, 1900 in Monroe County, Indiana.  By August 2nd of that year, Ida died of tuberculosis in Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana.

Death Record of Ida D. Morris, Owen County, Indiana
The two daughters of Ida were Pansy and June.  Pansy, the oldest, was born December 11, 1894.  Her obituary states that her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Fletcher.  June, my great-grandmother, was born June 11, 1898 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana and her birth certificate lists her parents as Atkinson and Ida DAVIS.

Birth certificate of June Davis, my great grandmother
One of my research goals is to search the court records in Monroe County and Owen County, Indiana to see if there are any records that can shed light on the parentage of her daughters.

I have not been able to locate Ida in the 1880 census, when she would be around 6 years old.  Her father, James Austin DAVIS, was enumerated in Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana as a resident of the county home, listed as "insane".  Her mother, Mary Ellen (SWAFFORD) DAVIS, was enumerated in Washington Township, Owen County, Indiana, under her maiden name, living in her father's household.  No listing of Ida or her younger sister Delia have been found in the 1880 census.

I believe that I have found Ida in the 1900 census, living in the 7th Ward of Center Township, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, listed as Ida D. HANCOCK, age 26, born May 1874 Indiana, widowed, with 2 children living.  According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (p. 458), the "Door of Hope" had a purpose to provide 'wayward girls' with shelter and assistance.  There was also an earlier reference to an Ida DAVIS in the 1898 city directory of Indianapolis, living at 606 1/2 E. Wabash.

A cousin provided the pictures I have of Ida and June above, and the following photo as well.  I'm not sure if this may be from an earlier time period and might be Ida's mother instead:

Ida Davis (1874-1900) ?
Would love to solve some of these mysteries regarding my 2nd-great grandmother.

Once again, in honor of National Women’s History Month, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.

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