52 Ancestors: #2 Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY 1899-1975

52ancestorsThis is my second post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. I’m still experimenting with how I want these write ups to look. This time, I tried working with a timeline generated by my genealogy program Ancestral Quest 14.

Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY with his son Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY (abt. 1973)
Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY with his son Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY (abt. 1973)

Fred Rothwell DEMPSEY was born October 30, 1899, in Victor, Fayette County, West Virginia, to William Henderson DEMPSEY, a coalminer, and his wife Laura Belle INGRAM. The Register of Births [line 4 from bottom] for Fayette County lists his mother Laura as the informant. Fred was their 5th son and 7th child. He applied for his Social Security Number before 1951 and most likely this was when he applied for his delayed certificate of birth which was signed by his older brother Ernest R. DEMPSEY. On the certificate, his father was listed as 38 years old and his mother as 31 years old at the time of his birth. Two children born to the mother had died before Fred’s birth. These angels were his sisters Viola (1885-1887) and Pearl (1897-1898).

Delayed Certificate of Birth No. 13681 from http://www.wvculture.org
Delayed Certificate of Birth No. 1368 [Source: “West Virginia Births, 1853-1930,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KSG5-DXF : accessed 24 Jan 2014), Fred Rothwell Dempsey, 1899. Image, West Virginia Division of Culture and History (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view2.aspx?FilmNumber=4017243&ImageNumber=365 : accessed 24 Jan 2014)]

In 1900 we see Fred enumerated for the first time on the United States Federal Census:

1900 U.S. Federal Census, Mountain Cove District, Fayette County, West Virginia.

1902 – birth of brother Clyde Lewis (1902-1974). [line 15]

1904 – birth of sister Hester Ethel (1904-2001).

1907 – marriage of his oldest brother William W. “Willie” (1888-1915) to Mallie Lee GRAY. [line 7 from bottom]

In 1910 we see Fred for the second time in a census:

1910 census
“United States Census, 1910,” images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/13thcensus1910po1680unit#page/n246/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 20 Mountain Cove district; citing NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375693.

1910 – birth of brother Earl Stanley (1910-1968).

1914 – World War I began and his three older brothers married:
Oscar Lawrence (1892-1940) md. Fannie Belle NOBLE [line 37]
Roy Lee (1894-1947) md. Liliane Madelene NUNNERY [line 43]
Ernest Rupert (1890-1955) md. Virginia Lenora “Lee” WILLS. [line 14]

Fred, who attended 8 years of school, most likely began working at around the age of 15.

Fred’s oldest brother Willie was killed on October 5, 1915 (left page, line 39). He had gone into a small mine at his home, accompanied by his wife and little son Gordon, to mine some coal for home use. While his wife was watching him a heavy fall of slate came in on him, killing him instantly.

On September 12, 1918, Fred filled out his World War I Draft Registration Card. He was 18 years old, of medium height, medium weight, with black hair and black eyes. His middle name was written correctly (Rothwell) on the card but then corrected to match the spelling he used in his signature. He was working as a miner for Edward MORRIS in Jodie. Per 1920 census Edward L. MORRIS was the representative of Gauley Mountain Coal. At about the same time in 1917-1918 Fred’s brothers Roy and Ernest were working for the Signal Knob Coal Co. in Ansted and Oscar was working at Pemberton C & C Co. in Affinity.

1918 – end of World War I

In 1920 Fred was enumerated twice on the census. On the 13-14th of January, he was living at home in Victor with his parents and three youngest siblings: Clyde, Hester, and Earl.

1920 census 2
“United States Census, 1920,” images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu1948unit#page/n332/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 33 Mountain Cove District, Victor Precinct; citing NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1821948

Then on the 22nd of January, he was living in Jodie, same county, in his brother Roy’s household. Fred may have just moved in with his brother’s family or he could have been living at both places, spending working days in Jodie and free time at home.

https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu1947unit#page/n589/mode/1up
“United States Census, 1920,” images, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/stream/14thcensusofpopu1947unit#page/n589/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 11 Jodie Falls Magisterial District; citing NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1821947.

1921 – brother Clyde Lewis married Mary Etta “Marietta” HOLLY. [line 40]

Fred, 23, and Myrtle Hazel ROOP, 17, both of Jodie, were married on January 20, 1923, in Fayetteville by A. H. Perkins. [line 4]

1923 – daughter Thelma Louise (d. 1991) was born on August 11.

1925 – daughter Lois Emma (d. 2006) was born on April 24.

1926 – sister Hester Ethel (d. 2001) married James Arthur GROSE. [line 31]

1927 – daughter Leona Mae was born.

In 1930 Fred, a coal miner, is seen for the first time as the head of household on the census. The family of 5 was living in Jodie, paying $8 a month rent, and owned a radio set.

1930 census
“United States Census, 1930,” images, Archive Internet ( https://archive.org/stream/15thcensus2531unit#page/n174/mode/1up : accessed 24 Jan 2014) West Virginia > Fayette > ED 10-5 Falls; citing NARA microfilm publication

1931 – son Doyle Stanley (d. 1990) was born May 20 .

1935 – son Fred Roosevelt (d. 1974) was born November 3.

1937 – sister Hester Ethel married William R. “Bill” SKAGGS.

On Sunday, September 12, 1937, the sixth reunion of the Dempsey family was held near Lover’s Leap.

The Charleston Gazette Saturday, September 18, 1937
The Charleston Gazette published Saturday, September 18, 1937

1939 – World War II began; son Oscar and his wife Fannie divorced about this time.

On the 1940 census Fred is the head of a household with his wife and 5 children. He had 8 years of schooling and was a coal loader in the coal mines. He worked 35 hours a week and had worked 44 weeks in 1939 with an income of $1,451. They rented their home which was not a farm for $8 a month.

1940 census
“United States Census, 1940,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-27896-11842-71?cc=2000219&wc=M9QD-F6J:1840445939 : accessed 24 Jan 2014), West Virginia > Fayette > Falls Magisterial District > 10-5 Falls Magisterial District in Voting Precinct 7 Gamoca, Voting Precinct 8 Belva, and Voting Precinct 9 Jodie; Jodie, Vanetta (part); citing NARA digital publication of T627.

1940 – daughter Thelma married Fred Lawrence “Freddie” FITZWATER in Kentucky.

Fred’s brother Oscar die in May and his mother Laura in October 1940. His father followed in January 1941. Fred and Myrtle who were living in Jodie at the time of the census moved to Victor during the year. Their youngest son confirmed that they moved to Victor to take care of Fred’s Mom and Dad in 1940. Fred bought out his brothers and sisters — there was not so much a transfer of money but an agreement that he would inherit the house and property for taking care of his parents.

1941 – son Walter Leland (d. 1993) was born April 15.

1941 – Daughter Lois married Nathan B. LEE [left page].

1942 – first grandchild was born

Fred was too young for the “old man’s registration” conducted on 27 April 1942. It was for  men not already in the military and born on or between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897 – men who were between 45 and 64 years old.

1944 – son Lloyd Allen was born.

1945 – World War II ended in August and daughter Leona married Frank J. “Buck” MULLINS in November. [line 24]

1952 – son Doyle married Mavis Ivalene WOOD. [line 29]

1957 – son Fred married Catherine Josette WILDINGER.

1957 021 visiting in WV
Fred and his wife Myrtle at their home in Victor.

1958 – son Leland married Nancy Lou ZICKAFOOSE. [line 33]

1959 – brother Earl married Mabel Lucille WILKERSON. [line 24]

1961 – Fred, a member of the United Mine Workers, retired the end of October at the age of 62. Fred and his wife began spending the winters at their home in Masaryktown, Florida.

1966 – son Lloyd married Anndra Kay McCLUNG.

Between 1942 and 1971 twenty-four grandchildren were born.

[Source: Raleigh Register (Beckley), Wednesday Afternoon, January 10, 1973]
Raleigh Register (Beckley), Wednesday Afternoon, January 10, 1973
January 21, 1973, Fred and his wife Myrtle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Their seven children and spouses were present with most of the grandchildren.

Golden Wedding Anniversary - 20 January 1973
Golden Wedding Anniversary – January 20, 1973 – Celebrated on January 21, 1973

Fred was Sunday School assistant superintendent at Hopewell Baptist Church and a teacher for the men’s Bible class. He died at home after a short illness on Monday, Feburary 3, 1975.

Charleston Gazette, Wednesday February 5, 1973
Charleston Gazette, Wednesday February 5, 1973

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

As a military brat I've lived in Georgia, France, Idaho, West Virginia, Spain, South Carolina, Texas, and Luxembourg. Married 39 years with two grown children. When I’m not doing genealogy, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful countryside in Luxembourg and surrounding countries.

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