Saturday, May 5, 2012

William Walker Fearon Family Clues


Here are the clues which seem to lead me to believe that my grandfather might not have been telling the truth about his parents family's origins.  The only direct sources I have for his birthplace, and that of his parents, are his selective service registration in 1917, and what he reported to the 1920 and 1930 U.S. Census.  In all three, he said that he and his parents were born in Northern Ireland.  He also said that he had arrived in the U.S. in 1892, and become a naturalized citizen in 1893.  He would have been two years old, and would certainly have come with his family.

I have been searching for confirming evidence to no avail.  No birth records for William Walker Fearon, John Fearon, or Mary Walker in Ireland.  No marriage record for his parents.  No immigration or naturalization records for any of them from Ireland.  No record o them in the 1900 or 1910 Census.

Alternately, I have been exploring the possibility that he was the oldest son of John Fearon and Mary Linton Fearon of Ennerdale, Cumberland, England.  Here are the clues:

The 1861 English Census lists a family in Ennerdale headed by a 76-year old Mary Walker, her 35-year old daughter Margaret Walker Fearon and 49-year old son-in-law William Fearon, their 6-year old daughter Eleanor and 1-year old son John.

The 1881 English Census indicates John has moved out as a 21-year old, and is living on his own in Ennerdale.

The 1891 English Census lists John as living with his wife Mary L. Fearon, and their four children: Beatrice Ellen (8), Margaret (6), William (2), and George (1) in Whitehaven, Ennerdale, Cumberland.
Mary and Margaret are listed as being born in Workington, while John, Beatrice, William and George were born in Ennerdale.

By the 1901 English Census, Beatrice and Margaret have gotten married and moved out, making room for five more children: Marian (8), Rebecca (6), Mabel (5), John (3), and Mary L (8 months).

The 1911 English Census indicates that John is employed as a coal miner, William has left, 5-year old Edith has joined the family, and they are living in Frizington, Cumbelrand.

It is then possible to believe that the 18-year old William traveled to America, made his way by train across to Kansas, enrolled in the army, served for four years, and was discharged sometime after 1912.  He traveled north from Kansas to North Dakota, where he meets and marries Edna Leen, the daughter of a Norwegian farm family.  In 1913, he is hired as a police officer in Ray, North Dakota.  The 1915 North Dakota State Census indicates that William and Edna are living in Williams County, and have two daughters: Beatrice V and Edith Eloise, both under 5 years of age.  Laverna becomes his third daughter.  In 1917, he reports in his selective service registration that he is the Chief of Police in Ray, North Dakota, and has three children.   It reports that he had served for four years in the Army in Kansas Infantry, emerging as a non-commissioned officer.  The 1920 U.S. Census lists the family as including the fourth daughter, Helen, and living in Clark, Clark County, South Dakota.

The 1930  U. S. Census lists the family as adding a son, Floyd (5), and living in Benson, Swift County, Minnesota.  Floyd was my father.

I have become convinced that my grandfather was born into a family from Ennerdale, Cumberland, England.  I'm convinced by the fact that my grandfather's middle name is the family name of this William's grandmother, that his first daughter shares the same name as a sister in that family,  and that I've confirmed the married names of the three of his sisters (Edith, Rebecca, and Ann) in the family is the same names as my great aunts given to me by my Aunt Eloise ( Mrs. James D. Williamson, of 35 Wetheriggs Rise, Penrith, Cumberland; Mrs Robert Anderson, of 21 Napier Street, Auckland, New Zealand; and Mrs. Gordon William Stronach, of 1761 Great North Road, Avendale, Auckland, New Zealand.  I found a copy of their marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, and military records.

Thank you, Marjorie Gardner!!!!!  My cousin!!