Monday, March 25, 2013

Fearless Females: Ruby Clayton Moore Albillar, 1908-1967

Ruby Clayton Moore Albillar was Breathless' aunt.  She was a bit of a free spirit and it's been hard to find much information about her, but here's what I've located so far.

Ruby was born February 8, 1908, in Fort Worth, Texas, the fourth child and third daughter of  Tandy Clayton Moore (1878-1964) and Nancy Flora "Nannie" Jones (1882-1969).  She's living with her parents and siblings on the 1910 and 1920 Censuses (in Tarrant County, Texas, and Marlow, Oklahoma, respectively), but is not listed with them on the 1930 Census - and I haven't (yet) found her anywhere else.

According to family stories, Ruby fell in love with someone of whom her father disapproved, and left home.  She was married more than once, and wound up in Phoenix, Arizona, where her last husband was named Teofilo Albillar.  She developed cancer and died in Phoenix on September 21, 1967.

Breathless' cousin Tom remembers seeing Ruby at the Moore family home in Marlow  when she came home for a visit around 1936, and again about 1960.  He believes the photos in this post are of Ruby.

I found the obituary at the left on page 42 of the Saturday, September 23, 1967, Arizona Republic.  It provides clues that match up with other research.

Ruby apparently moved to Phoenix from Hot Springs, Arkansas, in the mid-1930s.  This matches up with a record I found for her in the 1940 Census.  She is working as a practical nurse in the home of Frank A. Johnson in Maricopa County (where Phoenix is located).  She is listed as divorced, and her home in 1935 is listed as Hot Springs.

What might have taken her to Hot Springs?  I found a record of a marriage license dated April 18, 1932, in Garland County (where Hot Springs is located), Arkansas, for a 24-year-old Ruby Moore of (born in?) Fort Worth and a 42-year-old Charles C. Wilson of Hot Springs.  Could this be the man judged "no-account" by her father?

As for a divorce, the Arkansas Divorce Index shows one finalized on October 31, 1935, between a Charlie Wilson and his wife Ruby, in Pulaski County.  The following year, Ruby appears for the first time in a Phoenix city directory, on page 328 under her maiden name of Moore.  She is listed as a housekeeper and residing at 119 W. Almeria Rd.

Shortly before Ruby died, Breathless' mother, Jewel Moore Gresham, and her sister, Audie Ruth Moore Cook, went to see Ruby in the county hospital in Phoenix.  A week after Ruby's death, Jewel wrote to their other sister, Ivis Moore Mew (1905-2004), about their experiences.  On page 10 of her 14-page letter, she wrote,

Ruby didn't ask about things at home.  She told us about her marriage.  The man she married had a small child about five I think.  She said she stood between her husband and the child and later the child said "We just got married.  Now I am going to have me a mamma."  She said he was a wonderful child and gave her much happiness.  She told how her husband stepped on a nail at the barn.  She said, "He told everyone but me."  He died of lock-jaw.  She told of the [funeral] Mass.  She said, "I just did what everyone else did.  I stood and I kneeled like everyone."  After his death all the children went to California to their mother's people.

With more research, I found the death certificate for Teofilo Carrion Albillar, who died February 5, 1957, in Phoenix of tetanus (lockjaw).  Ruby is listed as his wife and the informant on the death certificate.

While I have not yet been able to find a record of their marriage, I know it occurred after Teofilo's first wife, Pomposa Quihuiz Serrano Albillar, died at the age of 28 on June 9, 1942.  However, it did occur before November 16, 1948, when Ruby signed as a witness, listed as stepmother, on an affadavit to correct the name on the birth record for Teofilo's oldest of five sons, Ernesto Serrano Albillar (1930-1988).

The youngest son, Francisco "Frank" Serrano Albillar, 1941-2011, is probably the about-five-year-old referred to in Jewel's letter.  He would have only been six months old when his birth mother died, and would not have remembered her.  However, he was probably raised Catholic, which may have been part of the reason he was sent to live with his mother's relatives in California (Ruby was not Catholic).

Ruby is still listed under Moore in the 1947 Phoenix city directory, so the marriage might have occurred in 1947 or 1948.  In that directory, Ruby's address is 1101 Grand Canal, which is also hers and Teofilo's address on the 1948 and 1957 documents.

The picture at the top of the post of Ruby with the rifle, and the one below with the little boy (not her child), have the same dog in them, and were probably taken at about the same time and place.

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. Don't you wonder who the shadow is in the last picture? I have some pictures with shadows of the photographer and I always wonder who that person it. I enjoyed your post, very interesting.

    1. I do wonder, Betty - that's part of why I decided to leave the shadow in. I did not crop that photo at all, in hopes that another family member might recognize the location and maybe even the shadow.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. This has got to be one of the most poignant story about a lady that I have read in a long time . It's great that you were able to untangle her life with the records and the obituary. And sweet to hear how she loved the step-child. I loved the photographs . She reminds me of my daughter.

    1. Thank you, Magda, and thank you for commenting!