Thursday, December 12, 2013

Zora Catherine Smith

Zora Catherine Smith was born on July 6, 1892 in Williamson County, Illinois*. Her parents were Susan A Treece and Thomas Wilford Smith.
In the 1900 Census records she is living in Grassy, Williamson County, with her family.
In the 1910 Census records she is living in Stokes, Union County, with her sister.
In 1910 she gave birth to a son, Doyle Lee. She was unmarried at the time and it appears kept to herself about the father. I have interviewed several of Zora's children and grandchildren, and it appears that she did not share this information with others. I did find out she had a special place in her heart for unwed mothers in the community. It is my personal opinion that William or some other "Ward" is Doyle's father.
On February 2, 1911, she married William Ward in Pleasant Grove, Illinois. Her son Doyle took the last name of Ward. I have not been able to find an official adoption record.
Zora and William added 6 more children to their family.
The Ward family followed the crops and were always on the move.
In the 1920 Cenus the family is in Perks, Pulaski County. In the 1930 Census they are living in Anna, Union County.
Zora died in March 6, 1978 in Olmstead, Pulaski County, Illinois. She is buried at McGinnis Cemetery, Union County, Illinois. 

Below is information gathered from several emails with Zora's granddaughter and son-in-law:

Zora Ward passed away in Olmstead. She was at her side when she died. Her husband wrote a poem and read it at the funeral.
Grandpa Ward ran an ice house that was in the back of the house in Olmstead, Ill. and Grandma Ward raised canaries in one room of their house. Grandpa had a strange habit of going thru the house hitting the top of his head with the palm of his hand and you could hear it all over the house, and no one seemed to know why. He was also very jealous of Grandma, when she would go to church he would follow her to make sure she didn't talk to any men on the way. He sometimes was not very nice to her. My dad whose name was (leaving blank) said that Grandpa wasn't a very good worker and that he quit school in the fifth grade to go to work to help feed the family. Grandma was a crafty lady, she crocheted a lot, and I think I inherited that gift from her. She also had a great sense of humor. Grandpa didn't show affection to his grandchildren especially the boys. I happen to be one he liked and I have better memories than some of the others do. We use to sit in the porch swing on the porch and Grandma would tell stories about her children. She would have loved to travel but never had the chance. I know that she was pregnant before she married and Grandpa always held that over her head. She always had a lot of compassion for girls that were in the family way as she put it. Life wasn't easy for her, she also took in ironing to help put food on the table.
I can remember spending the night with grandma Ward and hearing the mantle clock strike every hour on the hour. She always made homemade biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Grandma did tend to think her boys could do no wrong and was very protective of them if they were wrong. She used to work as a cook on the church campgrounds during campmeetings time, and would always make sure we got a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.
Grandma attended the little Pentecostal frame church on the hill in Olmstead, Ill for as long as I can remember, and it still stands there and they still have church there, but the campgrounds is no longer there.
(name) and I used to visit when our kids were small and we would always swing on the porch swing. She lived in several different houses in Olmstead after grandpa died but she always had a porch swing. She would always fry us a big skillet of cat fish from the river there.
She moved to Indiana a little after grandpa died, and lived with each of her children for awhile.
Zora's house ( she lived here with William):
in Olmstead, Illinois
directions: find RR tracks, there are 2 main streets, turn down the one with buildings, at the end of buildings there was 5 houses, 5th house

Zora's house in Olmstead, Illinois:
Go straight up the hill, church will be on the left, take a right, house on the river, Zora lived there from the time William died until death ( Zora attended the church)
{end of email with granddaughter}

Below is from an interview with Zora's daughter :

Zora canned meat, fruit and veggies. She was baptisted Baptist and belonged to the Mounds City Baptist Church. She attended the other church ( Pentacostal) because it was closer. She did not believe in dancing.

{end of interview}

Below is from an interview with Zora's daughter-in- law:

She believed his family was from Caterville, Illinois. She did know the story about him not being William Ward's child. She believed an Aunt of Zora's ( with the maiden name of Smith) knew about his father. She remembers a Hounds Creek.
A few years after she married she went with husband and mother in law to put flowers on some graves. Directions: Somewhere between Carbondale and Caterville. Around Devil's Kitchen, Wolf Creek and the lake. Back off the road. It was overgrown. She believes it was a family cemetery and not a public cemetery. She believe's it was Zora's family.
She remembered that the Wards had moved a lot. They were farm hands. They lived in houses provided by the farmers.

{end of interview}
note about interview: the Aunt of Zora's was actually a Sister of Zora's, refer to Smith family

* Her marriage records state Williamson County, Illinois. According to an interview with her granddaughter, she might have been born in Mt Pleasant.

Resources: marriage license, census records, social security death index, gravestone, interviews and emails with her daughter D.  Mitchell, granddaughter L. Miller, daughter - in-law M. Scivalley

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