Harley Hartman Deeter was my mother’s father. His parents were John Henry Deeter and Elmira Knepper. Mom remembered the names of ten of her father’s 12 siblings, thinking that Uncle Will was the oldest and her Dad the second oldest: Will, Harley, Hattie, Mary, Betty, Henry, Ora, Aaron, Cyrus, Vesty, and Pearl. I was able to search census records for the John Henry & Elmira Deeter family while with Mom. This provided some interesting insights.
A search on FamilySearch beta (Tennessee Marriages, 1796-1950) found a record of the marriage of Henry Deeter and Elmira Knipper in Lawrence County, Tennessee on 3 October 1880. Since Harley was thought to be born in 1881, two options present themselves — 1) either Will was not the oldest child of John Henry and Elmira Deeter or 2) Will was conceived (and, perhaps, born) prior to the wedding. Unfortunately for this research project, John Henry & Elmira’s wedding was after the enumeration date of the 1880 census and, of course, the 1890 census records are no longer with us. Therefore we must start with the 1900 Census.
In 1900 the children (and their ages / birth year) are listed as: Vesty M (16 / Aug 1883), William A (Aug 14 / 1885), Ora V (12 / Aug 1887), Hattie V (9 / Jun 1890), Elizabeth (7 / Mar 1893), Henry P (4 / Jan 1896), and Cyrus (8 months / Sep 1899). Vesty and William were born in Tennessee; Ora and Hattie, in Michigan; Elizabeth, Henry, and Cyrus, in Ohio. Harley (19 / Oct 1881) is no longer living at home, but is living in Basil, Fairfield County, Ohio, as a servant in the residence of Ella Fairchild.
In 1910 the children (and their ages) are listed as: Hattie V (19), Mary A (18), Elizabeth (17), Henry P (14), Cyrus C (10), Vera A (8), and Aaron B (7). Mary A and Hattie V were born in Michigan; Elizabeth, Henry P, Cyrus C, Vera A, and Aaron B, in Ohio. Harley (29), Vesty M (26), William A (24) and Ora V (22) are no longer living at home. (Note: John Henry Deeter is listed as Henry J. Deeter.) The big question is: Who is Mary A Deeter? and where was she in 1900 (she would have been 8 years old)?
In 1920 only Pearl (23), Alvetta (18), and Aaron (16) are still living at home. Elmira is listed as Almira; John Henry is back to John H. But where did Pearl and Alvetta come from?
In 1930, John Henry and Elmira (indexed as “Elwin A”) are living with son, William. Uncle Will is now a single parent with a 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son. According to Mom, Uncle Will’s wife, Teenie, had previously committed suicide.
While looking for John Henry & Elmira (Knepper) Deeter on FamilySearch beta, I discovered a death record (Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953) for daughter, Elizabeth. She died on 19 February 1912 (ten days short of her 19th birthday) and was buried at Forest Rose Cemetery in Lancaster, Ohio, on 22 February 1912. This information was puzzling to Mom. We had thought that this was Aunt Betty, who married Tom Bales from Columbus, Ohio, and whose son, Billy, played pro basketball. But Mom had known Aunt Betty as she was growing up. This Elizabeth Deeter (daughter of Henry Deeter and Elmira Kneppe) had died before Mom was born (1915). As we started listing the children of John Henry and Elmira Deeter in birth order, some things started to become clearer.
Henry P (1900 census) was listed as Pearl (1910 & 1920) (birth years agree). Since Aunt Betty was close in age to Aaron, Mom concluded that Vera A (8 in 1910) is the same person as Alvetta (18 in 1920); and that Alvetta was the one she knew as Aunt Betty. That still accounts for only 11 children. The 1910 census record indicates that Elmira has born 11 children and 10 were still alive. As we reviewed (on a phone call this morning) the whole list of John Henry and Elmira Deeter’s 11 children, Mom could remember all of them except Elizabeth (who, as we have ascertained, died in 1912) and Ora V. It is also noted that Ora V. Deeter does not seem to appear in Census records after 1900. Therefore, we conclude that Ora was the one child who had died prior to the 1910 census.