Blogging Prompts, Census, Montgomery Line, Research, Roberg, Thriller Thursday, Wilson

Thriller Thursday – The Disappearance of Sena Roberg

One of the stories that sparked my early interest in genealogy and family history is that of Sena Roberg. Born June 2, 1884 in Boone County, Nebraska to Anders and Agnette Roberg, she was the younger sister of my great-grandmother Sophie (Roberg) Wilson. My grandma, in relating to me the history of her family, stated simply that Sena had “disappeared” and that no one ever knew what became of her.

She appears in the 1900 census with her parents and brothers, apparently nicknamed “Sadie.”  Three years later she married Charles A. Johnson, born about 1873. On August 9, 1906 their daughter Esther was born. As has been detailed before, in October 1908 Charles traveled to enter a homestead drawing but never returned, having been run over by a train at the Oakdale (Nebraska) Railroad Yards. Sena was apparently expecting another child at this time.

In the 1910 census, Sena is again living with her parents and two daughters: Esther, age 3, and Clara, age 1. Research by cousin David Johnson reveals a history of legal disputes over Sena’s inheritance from her husband, guardianship of her daughters, and compensation demanded as a result of Charles Johnson’s death.

Sena married at least twice more – once to H. E. Fisher around 1911, then to a Mr. Evans (a traveling salesman) before 1915. I have yet to find her in any other census records. According to stories told by her sister Sophie, she later moved to Omaha, came home for a visit, then returned to Omaha to have minor surgery, and was never heard from again, in spite of newspaper advertisements attempting to locate her.

Her daughters on April 6, 1915 had been placed under the guardianship of their grandfather Anders, though they may have continued to live with a family named Bruland. I’m unsure what became of Clara, but Esther would marry John Bowen and remain in touch with her cousin, my grandmother, over the years.  Esther died February 23, 1997 in Nebraska.

Conklin, Letters, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research

Small World, Genealogy-Style

Genealogical “small world” moments are always fun.  There was the day when I discovered that my soon-to-be sister-in-law was also my ninth cousin once removed. Then the moment when I found that my second cousin four times removed and her husband had been keepers of the Little Sable Lighthouse Mom and I had visited in Michigan three years earlier (you can read my earlier blog post about that discovery).

In trying to decide what to write about next, I dug out a letter from Charles Montgomery, my great-grandfather, whose census history I covered on Saturday. It’s one of those documents I had not yet explored for all its genealogical significance (aside: I really need to get organized) – obviously, since it contained previously-unknown marriage information for Charles and his second wife Lyle:

[Postmarked Fort Collins, Colorado, July 16, 1941; Addressed Mr. & Mrs. L C Montgomery, Scotts Bluff Neb. Box 675; Return address Mr. & Mrs. C W Montgomery, 231 Walnut St.; 3c postage]

                                                                        Ft Collins July 17, 41

Mr & Mrs L C Montgomery,
            Dear Children

I got your card this p.m. and sure was glad to hear from you, i am real well. What do you work at in Scottsbluff. Elta was here last winter sure was glad to see her. My wife meet her. i was married March 27 at Kimbell Nebr we get alone OK.
     Elta wrote they were coming here on there vacation. We just have a small apartment but like it, hope to hear from you soon igen.

                                                                         Lot of Love to you and yours,
                                                                                 Dad & Lyle.

            231 Walnut St
                   Ft Collins

As another aside – it’s intriguing that Lawrence’s own father addressed the envelope to “L. C. Montgomery” – there has always been uncertainly about whether Grandpa’s middle name was Theodore or Conklin.

Fast-forward 71 years from Charles and Lyle’s wedding, and Mom and I are making a cross-country trek to my 20-year high school reunion. In search of small mom-and-pop motels, we found one in – where else?  Kimball, Nebraska. We felt a little uncertain about this particular reservation because I made it over the phone and wasn’t sure everything was confirmed.  But obviously our visit was meant to be!

Cemeteries, Death Certificates, Montgomery Line, Research, Roberg, Wednesday's Child, Wilson

Wednesday’s Child – Anders Clarence Wilson

Anders Clarence Wilson, my grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery’s older brother, was born August 13, 1907 in Boone County, Nebraska. He was the oldest child of Carl Ozro and Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. My grandma, Blanche, was born a little over a year later, on December 17, 1908.  Eight months later, on his second birthday, Anders died.  According to his death certificate, his cause of death was cholera infantum. This disease, also known as “summer complaint,” was apparently a form of dysentery affecting children that was more prevalent in the hot summer months. Anders was laid to rest in the South Branch Lutheran Church Cemetery in Boone County. Ten years later his grandmother, Agnette (Lien) Roberg was buried beside him, and his grandfather and namesake another twenty-five years after that.