Sunday, May 19, 2013

Orpha May Spencer

Orpha May Spencer  
Orpha May Spencer was born on December 02, 1877 in Salem, Centre, Indiana.
Her father was Norman Samuel Spencer, and her mother was Leah C. (Tena) Stutes

Orpha May Spencer married Robert H. Wilson October 30, 1904 in Illinois.

They had 8 children
1. Helen Spencer Wilson: July 8 1905 - December 9 1999 
2. Roberta Chestina Wilson: April 9 1907 - May 1985
3. Robert Halestein Wilson: March 1909 - 1912
4. Alta Elizabeth Wilson: October 15 1910 - 1958
5. James Howard Wilson: 1912 - 1958
6. Willis Hembree Wilson: August 14 1914 -  Feb 26- May 101942
7. Winiford May Wilson: August 14 1914 - August 24 1995
8. John Perry Wilson: November 19, 1915 - February 27 1998

Orpha saved many letters, and a few other items.  I am currently adding photos and transcribing them on a different blog.  Click Here to see the collection of letters, Rosters, etc. that were saved by Orpha.  They are mostly from 1904 - 1905. 

She died on June 15, 1956 in Redondo Beach, California at 78 years old.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Orpha was living in the Banner Township in Fulton County, Illinois. Orpha 2, Leah her mother 26, her brother Marcus 6, and her brother Julius H. 4, were living with their uncle George Stutes 25, his wife Ann 25, niece Rachel 4, and niece Nora 5 months old. They lived on a farm, and George, Orpha's maternal uncle was a farmer.
In the 1880 census Norman Spencer35, Orpha's father also has them living with him.  So this may be the year they seperated.  The census states that Norman is a farmer.  Norman was living in Stueben, Indiana. 

In the 1895 Kansas State Census, Orpha 17, lived in Parsons,  Labette, Kansas. She was living with her step father Richard Combs36,  mother Tena 40, brother Perry 21, brother Julius 19, and sister Alta 14. This census doesn't contain much information, but something interesting is that Orpha and Alta are going by Spencer, while her brothers are using the surname Combs.  

In the 1900 Federal Census, Orpha was living in Paragould, Greene, Arkansas.  She was living with her mother Tena (Leah Christina) 46, her brother Perry (Marcus Perry) 26,   her brother Julius H. 24, and sister Flora A. 2.  It says Leah is a widow at this time.  It also says Leah had 5 children, but only 4 were living, so he sister Alta, and stepfather Richard, died sometime in the previous 5 years.  a John Stutes 52, was living with them as a boarder, he is probably an uncle of Orpha's all three men were working as laborers in a timber yard.  

By 1904 Orpha was living at 6158 Ella St. in St. Louis, Mo. with her mother Leah, brother Julius, and sister Flora.  We are very fortunate, that Orpha saved a number of letters she received.  Click here for the collection of letters that she saved.  I am currently transcriping them on a different blog.   There are letters from Fiancee James O. Lee, and letters from Robert H. Wilson who she married.  

 She married at age 27, and had her first child at 28. The story is that she was engaged to a doctor, and someone told Robert.  Robert did not want to lose her, so they got married.  After they were married he told her that he was already married to someone else back east.  She was devastated.  Here is a letter she wrote Dec 24, 1904..  Christmas Eve, and 2 months pregnant with Helen their first daughter.  The full transcript is on the letter link above.
This is a letter from Robert to her mother telling her about his "wrong doings"  and asking for forgiveness, and for her to be kind to Orpha.  The letter link above has a full transcript.

The next census I found with information on her was 1910.  At this time she was living in Redondo Beach with her husband Robert Wilson 42, she was 32, and their children Helen 4, Roberta 3, and Robert H. 1 1/2.  

In 1920 Robert 51 and Orpha 42 were still living in Redondo with their children Helen 14, Roberta 12, Alta 9, James 7, Willis 5, Winifred 5, John 4.  Robert's son Robert (from the 1910 census) died at the age of 3 from internal bleeding caused by a accident while learning to ride a tricycle.

In 1930 Robert 61 and Orpha 52 were still living in Redondo Beach with their daughter Alta 19, son Willis 15, daughter Winifred 15, and John 14.  Robert was working as an electrician for the Railroad Co. 

In 1940 Robert 73 and Orpha May 62 were living in Redondo with son Willis 25, daughter Roberta Ferguson 33 divorced, grandson Robert 14, granddaughter Nadine 9, and granddaughter Jacalyn 7.

Orpha died 15 July 1956.  She is interred at Pacific Crest Cemetery in Redondo Beach, California.


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