|License to marry notice - 1913|
|1930 Federal Census - Washington DC|
Still no clue where Uncle Rollin was hiding in 1920 but at least we've got some more info on him; an ex-wife and a teenage son. The son makes sense now that we know he exists because the newspaper clipping of Rollin's attendance at his sister's silver wedding anniversary indicated he had his son with him. What is not clear in that regard is who was the Mrs. Webber attending the anniversary party with Rollin and Rollin Junior? Divorcee Gertrude was reported on the 1930 census dated April, 1930. The silver wedding anniversary took place in September of 1930. Was it Gertrude or somebody else? Perhaps the "Faye" that Rollin listed as his wife on the 1942 Allentown draft registration? And if it was "Faye" did they live in Philadelphia like the newspaper clipping specified? Allentown is just North of Philly so perhaps it was easier for Rollin to claim it was their city of residence? Perhaps a little editorial license to keep things simple. And maybe it was Aunt Lois?
|1930 Federal Census - Washington|
My wife and I had plans to drive to New England in July. I shrewdly made plans to stop in Allentown to see what information we could find. I figured the death date info on Aunt Lois would enable us to find obituary information in the Allentown library. I called ahead and found out they had a good genealogy section with microfilm records of obituaries. If we could find her listed I was hopeful that would also lead us to info on Rollin. Perhaps even lead us to where they were buried as I had found nothing on line. We got to Allentown the evening of July 6th and the first thing we did was scout out the location of the library and then searched for the last known address we had on Rollin using our GPS and the photo of the house taken in 1939. We found both. The house looked basically the same with improved and updated siding and roofing. I knocked on the door and asked the owner's permission to photograph the house and showed them the 1939 picture as well so they wouldn't think I was a weirdo or stalker. (I also sent them a side by side 11 x 8 after I got home to print it out)
|Side by side, 1939 and 2011|
So much for finding gravestones in Allentown! He apparently was buried in or near Washington, DC. The obituary included a few pieces of information that were matches to facts we already knew and a few surprises as well. We knew his employment history with the navy yard. We did not know he was a veteran having served with the infantry during the Spanish-American war in Puerto Rica. (Not sure if that's a place or they meant Puerto Rico). His survivors were Faye (Aunt Lois), a brother in Michigan (another interesting tale), his son (Rollin, Jr) and one granddaughter (still a mystery to me), and was predeceased by one son (another mystery). Lots of grains of sand flowing through the hourglass now but unclear what to take with a grain of salt. For instance, the way the obit was written it would seem that Uncle Rollin and Aunt Lois might not have lived in Philadelphia if "he was a resident of this area since 1936...and prior to that worked at...Washington, DC." Not conclusive one way or the other by any means but just adds to the puzzle. Unless he prepared his own obituary before he died I would assume the information was provided by his widow and perhaps edited by the funeral home assisting with final arrangements. Thus, obituary info as wonderfully informative as this one was, still has to be considered with a grain of salt. It's not a biography, it's just an obituary.
We had reserved the morning in Allentown for research but had travel obligations going forward so we departed Allentown late that morning and headed on to New England. I was especially intrigued by the info that Uncle Rollin was a veteran and surmised that if funeral services were in Washington, perhaps he was buried in Arlington. During the next few weeks while we were vacationing I checked out Arlington cemetery rules on line and determined the best way to find burial information was to submit a written request as instructed on the cemetery website. I also did an online search for the Washington, DC funeral home listed in the obit but only found facilities with the same name in a couple of Maryland locations, nothing in DC. I sent them an email inquiry to see if they could offer any insight but never received a response. Two weeks later, heading home to Florida, we drove South past and beyond Washington, DC with some reluctance not to be able to find where Uncle Rollin was buried but knowing a search would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
When we got home I decided to look up Lee Funeral Home online again and tried calling them. Two Maryland addresses with the same name were both located within 50 miles of DC. The gentleman I talked to verified that they were, indeed, the same company but they no longer had a facility in DC. He offered to have his office look into their archives to see if they could find any information for me regarding the services reportedly held in DC in January 1960. The next day Lee Funeral Home returned my call with the following info: "their office was contacted by Trexler Funeral Home of Allentown, Pa on January 15, 1960 and requested a representative meet the widow, Faye Webber, at the train station in DC who was accompanying the remains of her late husband, Rollin F Webber, and assist her in coordinating movement of Rollin to the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC for burial on Saturday, January 16, 1960."
So much for Arlington. Uncle Rollin was buried in Congressional Cemetery located right in the heart of downtown Washington, DC. I looked up the cemetery and they have a website. I was a little concerned when I saw the size describing the cemetery grounds on 35+ acres with 14,000 headstones that it might be a challenge to find out where Rollin was buried. Another website called Findagrave.com had failed to provide any info. But on the Congressional Cemetery website I not only found a listing of Uncle Rollin's burial site, it even provided a photo of his gravestone!
|Site - R88/109 Congressional Cemetery|
|License To Marry notice - May 1910|
So my research on my Uncle Rollin has pretty much come full circle from his birth in Oxford, Maine in 1880 to his death in Allentown, Pa in 1960 with burial in Washington, DC. It's true that the decade from 1920 to 1930 is a little foggy as far as where Rollin was residing but I'll continue working on picking out whatever details and records I can. The question at this point of my investigation was, what happened to Aunt Lois? My source information on her consisted of three Federal Census records from Indiana for 1900, 1910, and 1920, the questionable Philadelphia census in 1930 (with husband, "Rowland"), and the social security death record of 1973. When we had been unable to find her obituary in the Allentown library, the staff suggested we submit a request to the state for a death record. I could do that and maybe I still will but my
|Obituary notice - Aunt Lois|
MORE NEWS FROM UNCLE ROLLIN
Two days following our library search in Allentown my sister in law gave me some records she had discovered while sorting through items in her home in preparation for a yard sale. Talk about irony?!? And good timing! One of the records was a letter dated July 6, 1958. The letter was written by Uncle Rollin and addressed to my mother and father.
|Letter written by Uncle Rollin - 1958|