Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: James Shannon Wolfe, 1870-1949

photo by Gale Green Brister, from FindAGrave.com
James Shannon Wolfe  is my great-grandfather Louis Henry Wolfe's older brother. There's some confusion about when he was born.

He's not on the 1870 census with his parents and older sister Emma (born 1869), which was taken in July.  He's listed as age 8 on the 1880 census, taken in June.  Both of these censuses were in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and show Shannon and his parents as born in Pennsylvania.

In 1900, he and his wife of five years, Annie (nee Volce) and two daughters are living with his step-father-in-law Victor Guerrero, in Houston, Texas.  Shannon's birth is listed as April 1873, and his parents are listed as having been born in Ohio, so it's pretty clear he wasn't there to answer the census-taker's questions.  He is shown to be a bricklayer.

In the 1910 census, taken in April, the family is living at 1405 Allston in Houston.  Shannon's age could be 41, 42, or 44; it's hard to read.  He's now a brickwork contractor.  Oddly enough, he and Annie are both shown as being on their second marriages and only married nine years.  However, Annie has given birth to three children, all living (son Joseph Shannon joined the family in 1902).

The 1920 census was taken in January, and the family is still at 1405 Allston.  Shannon is listed as age 55, meaning he could have been born as early as 1865!.  But then, his parents are listed as being born in Texas, which is also wrong.  He is still a brickmason.  Shannon's wife Annie and three grown/nearly-grown children are also at home.  Shannon's brother Louis, my great-grandfather, and his four children are also living in the home, after they were all abandoned by my great-grandmother.

The 1930 census was taken in April.  Shannon and Annie are empty-nesters at the same house.  Shannon is listed as James S., age 61, but he's still a bricklayer.   The Texas Death Index shows that James Shannon Wolfe died February 6, 1949, and that matches the date on his gravestone.  His son was the informant on the death certificate and gives James Shannon's birthdate as October 24, 1868, but the names and birthplaces of his parents are not listed - which makes me think the informant may not been sure of the birth year either. 

Until I can find more evidence, I think James Shannon Wolfe was born in 1870.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

1 comment:

  1. LOL...who knew men lied about their age too!

    I have the same trouble with my grandfather. His age (and name!) keeps changing. He is listed as living with his step brother in the 1920 census with a nickname (Lutie) instead of Luther and being almost 8 years younger. It really makes it hard to keep straight!!