"For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." Virginia Woolf

Friday, June 22, 2007

Elizabeth Ann (Bess or Bessie) Carter Smith Carson (12/7/1897).

Here's what I know:

Name: Elizabeth Ann Carter, later Smith, later Carson
Born: 12/7/1897 (or 1898) [SSDI]
Died: 3/16/1967 in Michigan [SSDI]

Marriage One: James Elias Smith, approx 1918 [JES WWI draft card]

Marriage Two: Alfred Ray Carson, approx 1940 [Port Arthur News, June 1940]

1900 Census: Bess lived in Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas. Lived with father W. Sherman Carter (b. July 1865), his mother Ann (b. Feb. 1832), siblings: Clara (Nov.? 1891), Matilda (Sept. 1892), Myrtle(?) (May 1895). Lists no mother, which makes me think that Bess' mother had died by then.

1910 Census: Bess lived in Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas. Lived with father W. Sherman Carter, his wife Ada M., and her siblings: Clara (18?), Tillie (16), William (5), James (3), Richard (2), Kelley (sp?)(1). All of the children were born in Arkansas.
W. Sherman Carter, born approx. 1865, born in Tennessee. Father born in Virginia, Mother born in Kentucky. Contractor/brickworks. The 1880 Census puts him (or who I assume is him) puts him living in Martins Store, Weakley County, TN with his mother Ann, father William, and two sisters: Sophia/Sofia (19) and Delia (12). [Died after 1956. He is fairly light complexioned, similarly to my father (the young teenager on the left), so I assume my great-grandmother's complexion and Native American heritage come from her mother's side of the family. I could be wrong, of course.] Below are links to pictures of my great, great grandfather:








--Sometime between 1910-1920, she had lost her left arm and right leg due to blood poisoning.

1920 Census: Bess lived in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas. Lived with James Elias Smith and their three children. According to the this census, her father was born in Kentucky and her mother born in Tennessee.

--Last child was born 1927. Husband James Elias Smith died/disappeared between 1927-1930.

1930 Census: Bess lived in El Paso, was a house servant for an Earl Barron. Shows that she is a widow. Her children stayed in the El Paso Protestant Children's Home. Her children are/were: James Everett Smith, Sr. (my grandfather), Clara Nell, Mabel Irene, Edward Charles, Annie Laurie, Wilma, and William Carter.

-1933-1940: Bess took children out of children's home and moved them to Port Arthur. Grandfather James Everett Smith joined CCC then the army.

1940-lived in Port Arthur, married Alfred Ray Carson, staff Sargent in US Army, born approximately 1912.

-lived in Port Arthur, TX for many years, then after death of A.R. Carson, moved to Michigan with son, Edward Charles.

-died 1967 in Michigan.

Notes: She was dark complexioned and my dad says that she was part Native American, but he doesn't know how much so or from what side of the family. Below are two links to pictures of my great-grandmother in 1942 with my aunt Patricia.




Questions: How did a double amputee marry a staff Sargent from a well known Port Arthur family who was 14 years younger than her? How did she meet him when she was living in Little Rock, then El Paso, neither of which are close to Port Arthur (east coast of Texas near Galveston)? Who was Bess' mother? Where was William Sherman Carter in 1870?

Posted to: Carter, Miller AR, Arkansas Genealogical Society, Arkansas Family History Association

1 comment:

Gordon said...

So cool... Yeah for genealogy!