Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Making Cousin Connections

For as long as I can remember, my father, Verne Troutman, would go out of his way to connect with long lost family members. This penchant must have developed as he grew up with aunts, uncles, and cousins in Nebraska, hearing tales from the adults about their childhood in Virginia, enjoying annual picnics with the Virginians, and playing with his cousins. Perhaps his horse-trading trip to Virginia in the fall of 1936 intensified his itch to look up relatives he had not seen for about ten years, for on his way home from Virginia to Nebraska, he took a side trip to Oklahoma to visit cousins.

Verne’s paternal aunt Estelle and her husband Tell Worley and family had lived nearby to the Clint and Mary Troutman family in Missouri and in Nebraska until the late ‘20s. Estelle’s son Carl and his family had lived in Wayne where Carl was a shoe maker and owned a shoe shop.[1] By 1930, however, Carl had moved his family—wife Serena and five children: Verdena, Pauline, Carl, Jr., Captola, and Wilburna—to Miami, Oklahoma where Carl was making a living painting houses.[2] Verne and Verdena were about the same age, and the others were younger. Verne seems to have enjoyed his visit with his pretty cousins in Oklahoma.

Wilburna (15), Verne (22), & Captola (17), 1936.
Captola and Wilburna wrote letters to Verne soon after he had visited their family urging him to come for Christmas with their grandmother Estelle, and they sent him this photo.[3] He saved the photo and the letters. I don’t know whether he returned for Christmas, or not. Through the years, he liked to tell about this trip to Oklahoma. He said that his cousin Carl's wife Serena was Native American, but if she was, the records don't show it.

[1] 1920 U. S. census, Wayne, Wayne County, Nebraska, population schedule, enumeration district [ED] 225, sheet 14-A, dwelling 161, family 169, Carl Worley; digital image ( : accessed 17 October 2016); NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1003.
[2] 1930 U. S. census, Miami, Ottowa County, Oklahoma, population schedule, p. 132 (stamped), enumeration district [ED] 58-15, sheet 8-A, dwelling 188, family 154, Carl D. Worley family; digital image ( : accessed 17 October 2016); NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1923.
[3] Wilburna Worley, Miami, Oklahoma, to Verne Troutman, letter, 23 Nov. 1936, inviting Verne to come for Christmas, Assorted Letters, Memorabilia, and Other Papers from the Collection of Verne and Lois Troutman, binder, privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
© 2016, Z. T. Noble  

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