Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #66 Cousin Bait Success Story

I’ve been writing about and sharing photographs from this collection since April 2015. During this time I’ve heard from three persons who recognized their ancestor or ancestors in the photos.

I want to tell you about the most recent one. Scot Holt wrote to me via private message to my Facebook page Opening Doors in Brick Walls. He recently began working on his family tree. His mother is a LILLIE and he’d found my post on his great-great-grandfather Albert Spencer LILLIE (1848-1913). He descends from Albert through the son of the youngest son Robert Wiley LILLIE (1895-1947) and knew very little about the LILLIE side of the family. My problem was that I had a marriage and two daughters for Robert but no son. In fact Robert was missing in the 1930 and 1940 census. His wife was found in with their oldest daughter in 1930 and 1940 but the second daughter was missing in 1930. If one daughter was missing in 1930, was it possible other children were missing? On the other hand, could Scot be barking up the wrong tree?

I checked and found his grandfather Robert Walton LILLIE at the age of 3 years in the 1930 household of his uncle and aunt Ray and Clara OWENS. This had to be him as Robert Sr.’s wife was Neele Audrey OWENS. I would have to look into the OWENS family to see if Neele and Ray were siblings but it looked like Scot was on the right track.

Scot wrote back, “This is definitely him. I looked at your page and my mom has a similar picture of Neele Audrey Owens” and promised to dig through a box of stuff his grandma left him to see if he could get some more information for me.

Less than five hours later he wrote, “Thought you might like to see this picture. It’s all of Albert’s children, minus one.

MRIN21907 1920 Lillie Reunion photo of the 11 children courtesy of Scot HoltYou know what’s coming? A genealogy happy dance!

You might remember my post on the 1920 LILLIE Family Reunion in which I included the same photograph:

smallgroupTen men and a woman were lined up in front of a bank. My cousin Joe Rooney had labeled it “SamRoy3rdleft.” When I was working on the post I compared photos of Samuel Royalty “Roy” LILLIE, son of Isaac, with this photo and #5 was Roy. But who were the others?

I noticed everyone in the lineup was also in the family group photo and wearing the same clothes. It had to have been taken the same day as the reunion and, with the exception of Roy, it looked like a lineup of youngest to oldest (left to right) of the sons and only daughter of Albert Spencer Lillie and Pernecia Elizabeth Glass. Cousin Joe agreed with my idea and we came to the conclusion that Roy was standing in for Reuben D. LILLIE who was the family black-sheep and had gone underground after robbing banks – at least according to one cousin’s version!

My new cousin Scot, 5th cousins through Landon S. GOWING and Sally CRISP, not only sent me his copy of the photo above but also a view of the back.

MRIN21907 1920 Lillie Reunion back of photo of the 11 children courtesy of Scot HoltLeft to right:                                                                                Children of
1. Robert W. Lillie                                                                       Albert Lillie born 1847 KY
2. Jess Lillie                                                                                              &
3. Roy Lillie – standing in for Rueben (sic) Lillie                  Pernecie Lillie born 1851 KY
4. Ed Lillie                                                                                      mad. (maiden) name
5. Bert Lillie                                                                                                             Glass
6. John Lillie                                                                                 Lillie
7. Tom Lillie                                                                                  Brothers & Sister
8. Rose Lillie
9. Frank Lillie
10. George Lillie
11. Ike Lillie – Roy Lillie is Ike’s son

Scot’s copy of the back of the photograph proves my labeling of the picture was right on the money!

This side of the family has always been a bit of a mystery so I’m very excited to share information with you or anyone else who would like to get in touch with me.~ Scot Holt

Even though Scot says the Lillie side of the family has been a mystery he had been told there was an uncle who went to prison. This fit in well with the story of why Reuben was missing at the 1920 family reunion. Now all we need is for another cousin to take the bait and get in touch with the answer to this mystery.

bestwishescathy1

More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

© 2016, 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 36 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.

12 thoughts on “Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #66 Cousin Bait Success Story”

  1. I can’t find the specific blog where you were discussing Reuben Lillie, but I wanted get my gossip published before I completely forget about our alleged bank robber relative, to wit:

    “I think I may have found Elizabeth Ruth Breitzka (Reuben Lillie’s wife) but I have no proof, just many curious discoveries and a suspicious nature.

    1. Elizabeth Ruth Breitzka was inducted into the Army Nurse Corps in January 1918 and subsequently discharged for conduct prejudicial to the service September 1918. The Great War was still raging on so she really must have morally stubbed her toe. It could also be she married Reuben in August 1918; I don’t know. But we have established she was a nurse, probably attending a school at some Women’s and Children’s hospital in New England.

    2. Dorothy Breitzka shows in the 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 US Census being born in 1905. I could not find her birth record. I’ve found 14 children so far, some having Breitzke instead of Breitzka, all have birth records. But the last born, Leslie Louise was born 08 March 1905 and the entry is marked as being corrected on 10-5-45. Dorothy is listed as a private nurse in the 1940 US Census. She is listed as a Nurse Trained District if I’m correctly reading the 1930 US Census.

    3. Dorothy Breitzka in the 1930 US Census has her father being born in Illinois. I can’t figure out the declarent, but it is difficult to keep things straight when you are hiding something.

    4. Elizabeth Lemmler Breitzka and Fred seemed to have babies with regularity, except for one or two gaps of a year(1881, 83,84, 85, 87, 89, 90, 91, 93, 95 97, 1900, 05) but the last birth to Dorothy AND Leslie Louise Breitzka suggests three possibilities. Mother was physically incapacitated or traveled. Father was pysically incapacitated, he was a farmer (foreman?) and they never travel. Or Dorothy may have agreed to let her “on the lam” sister Elizabeth Ruth take her place in the home to watch over Donna Ruth Lillie, her daughter.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joe, I’ll have to take a closer look at the Breitzka family. I have father Fred and daughters Anna Wilhelmina “Nan” CANADY and Elizabeth Ruth LILLIE, Reuben’s wife.
      Thanks for looking into this. Wish Reuben would show up somewhere so we could prove or disprove the bank robber story.

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    2. Joe, I had a look at the census records. To me, it looks like Dorothy (birth record originally had Leslie and was changed to Dorothy in 1945) was always living at home with her parents and, after her father’s death, with her mother. Donna Ruth Lillie (seen as Dorna Ruth Lilly in 1930) was living in the same home with her grandmother Elizabeth Mary (Lemmler) Breitzka and her aunt Dorothy in 1930. It is hard to say Elizabeth Ruth (Breitzka) Lillie left her daughter with her mother or her sister from the census. We may have to track down a descendant to learn more about why Donna was with her mother’s family in Newton, MA.

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    3. Joe, one mystery solved. Elizabeth Ruth (Breitzka) Lilly (spelling seen for Donna in 1930 helped the search) died in Newton on 14 Apr 1926 (MA index, records only available to 1915) and is buried in Newton Cemetery. Did she come home with her daughter between 1920-1926? Where was Reuben at this time? Searches for Reuben in the 1930 and 1940 census are still nil.

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      1. Cathy, It seemed to me that the birth record was Dorothy and changed to Leslie Louise Breitzka. The image shows what could be erasures. The extent to which relatives on my Mom’s side hid the tarnish, my Cousin Marie saying he stayed in Europe after the Great War, for instance, leads me to believe that the Elizabeth Ruth (Breitzka)Lilly was likely Dorothy and the family fibbed to the authorities about who it was. This theory will probably be debunked if Dorothy and Elizabeth Ruth went to nursing schools contemporaneously. I’m not well versed in researching criminal records, most of the purported crimes may only be researchable at the state level. I’m thinking in 1920 they were close to all the silver in Tonopah, yet one of his in-laws was a bank teller in Mass. But I really think the Breitzka family took part in hiding black sheep with a charade.

        Trust, but verify

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      2. Joe, I think we are seeing two different birth records for Leslie Louise b. 1905. The one I found was handwriting and Leslie was marked out and Dorothy written above in a different handwriting. The mother’s name was also changed from Mary E. to Elizabeth M.
        Dorothy married at the age of 42 for the first time in 1947. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=136629604
        Did you see my other comments about finding Elizabeth Ruth’s death entry for 1926? She was born in 1893.
        Do you think the “crime” took place in Massachusetts?

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