Wednesday, January 15, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge: 2 - Mable Allie Roark

I read about Amy Johnson's 52 Ancestors Challenge at and at her blog site. She said, "My goals with No Story Too Small have been to remind myself that it's alright to blog about just a portion of someone's life..."  I have been trying to start writing a family history, but I've gotten easily overwhelmed and discouraged wondering when and where to start.  So, while the research will never really be complete, this has encouraged me to start writing about what we have found.

2 - Mable Allie Roark
Mable Allie Roark was born 10 February 1906 in Galena, Kansas to George T. Roark and Elnora Hussong, where George was working as a miner.[1]   By March 1907, her brother Roy had joined the family,[2]  and in the 1910 Federal Census, Mable and Roy were living with their parents in Webb City, along with their Uncle Tunny and Aunt Minnie Roark.  Webb City was then a suburb of Joplin, Missouri, surrounded by mines, and both Mable's father and her uncle worked in those mines; George as a powder-man and Tunny as a Machine-man.[3, 4]

On  27 February 1914, Mable's father, George Thomas Roark died from Pulmonary Tuberculosis attributed to working in the mines.[5]  It was probably difficult for a young widow with two young children, but Mable's mother was a hard working woman; we know that later in life she took in laundry and grew a garden to make ends meet. Her family and Tunny and other members of the Roark family may have helped her as well.  There was also a suggestion that the mining companies paid some type of benefit to the deceased miner's family, and if that was the case, I'm sure it would have been very welcome.

Four years later, on 8 March 1918, Mable's mother, Elnora, married William "Bill" Franklin Asbell in Joplin, Missouri.[6]  They continued living in the Joplin area, at least until 9 February 1919, when Mable's little brother, Roy, died from pneumonia.[7]  He was buried next to his father in an unmarked grave at Fairview Cemetery in Joplin.

By January 1920, Mable was 13 years old and the new Asbell family was living in Coffeyville, Kansas, on Dakota Street; just one street away from the Deller family.[8]  In June she welcomed a little brother, William Franklin Asbell, Jr.[9] Then four years later, on 16 February 1924, right after she'd turned 18, she married Charles Joseph Deller.[10] 

In 1924, Nora and Bill Asbell, along with some others, made a trip to California. It is thought that they went in search of jobs.  They camped out along the way and took various photos.  There is one that seems to show Charles and Mable on the first night they made camp. We don't have any hard evidence for this trip, other than family stories and a few photos, but it certainly brings history a little closer to home.

In January of 1925, the young family was living in Picher, Oklahoma, and Mable had her first child, Charles Joseph Deller Jr.[11]  Mable had, what was then called, a nervous breakdown after little Charles was born, and her mother, Nora, took care of her and the baby at home.[12]  By 1930 Charles, Mable and little Charles were living in a rented house on Maple Street in Coffeyville, Kansas.[13]

Mable's illness and an auto accident probably added stress to this young marriage, and it couldn't withstand it.  We don't have records for a divorce, but believe they obtained one in 1931 before Mable remarried. She later moved to Tulsa and began working in a drug store. On her lunch hour one day, she walked to a department store to pay on a lay-a-way, and Rudy (Adolfo R. Valdez) saw her. He followed her back to the drug store and asked the proprietor to introduce them.  On 10 June 1932 in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma the two were married.[14, 15] 

This happened during the Depression.  Their oldest daughter remembers, "...there were no jobs, they moved in with his family for awhile. One of the stories goes that Dad would get up early, in time for the milk man to deliver other peoples milk and he would go up to the porches and steal the milk so I would have milk to drink. Another story was he would have a cup of coffee for breakfast, then walk approximately 10 miles , work all day for the WPA and then walk back home. I think their supper was a bowl of beans. They had a very hard time of it, I think that is why Charles [Mable's son] lived with his grandmother, as she had pigs, chickens and a vegetable garden, so they always had plenty of food.[16]

In November 1933, Mable and Rudy had their first little girl and in March of 1935, they had a second daughter.[17]

In 1939 young Charles had moved to live with his mother and step-father in Dallas, when he received a letter from his father.[18]  Four days later, Charles Joseph Deller, Mable's first husband, died from an accidental drowning. Their son attended the funeral with his grandmother Nora.[19]

Mable, Rudy and the two girls traveled all over the south, as Rudy worked different construction jobs.  I've not been able to find the family in the U.S. 1940 Federal Census, probably because of this. Their oldest daughter shared, "[We] were always the new kids in class. One year we attended seven different grade schools. It was terribly hard to keep good grades.  Mother was a good trouper, she never complained about all the traveling but when I was starting high school, she put her foot down and said the gypsy days were over. They bought a duplex in Dallas and settled down. If he [Rudy] had work out of town, he went alone."  This would probably have been after World War II, between 1947 and 1949, when their oldest daughter was about 15 years old.[20]

On 2 December 1950, Mable attended the wedding of her son Charles, to Carolyn Jones in San Antonio, Texas,[21] and in 1953 and 1955 she attended the weddings of her daughters.[22]

During the 50's and 60's, family photos show that Mable and Rudy visited her son Charles and his family in Owasso and Tulsa, Oklahoma, her daughters and family and also her mother Nora, who was then living with her son Bill Asbell Jr.[23]

There are family pictures of Mable and Rudy in various places, indicating that they traveled a bit after the children were married.  Mable's mother Nora came to live with them in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and later moved with them to Dallas, Texas.   Nora died 26 March 1965 of cancer. [24, 25]

On 15 June 1979, Rudy died in Dallas, Texas.  After his death, Mable lived with her oldest daughter until her death on 17 December 1988.  She is buried at Laural Lane Cemetery in Dallas, Texas, next to her husband, Rudy Valdez.[26, 27]

At some point, Mable changed her name, from Mable Allie to Mable Alice. Her oldest daughter said that she never knew where "Allie" had come from, and hated it.[28]  And, from all the descriptions that I've heard, that sounds just like something that Mable would do. She was an independent, opinionated and sometimes a coarse woman, but she loved her family and grandchildren, and they meant the world to her.[29, 30]
[1] ROARK, F, first child, Cherokee County Birth Records 1903-1911 birth certificate (1906).
[2], 1910 United States Federal Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Webb Ward 2, Jasper, Missouri; Roll: T624_791; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 61; Image: 852.
[3], 1910 United States Federal Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Webb Ward 2, Jasper, Missouri; Roll: T624_791; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 61; Image: 852.
[4] "Mining Artifacts & History." Article. Mining Artifacts. : 2014.
[5] George T Roark, death certificate no. Registration District No. 411, File No. 5118, Primary Reg Dist No 2002, Registered No. 75 (1914), Missouri State Board of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics Certificate of Death, St Louis, MO.
[6] Marriage Certificate for William F Asbell & Norah Roark.
[7], Missouri Death Records, 1834-1931, Death Certificate - Roy Roark.
[8], 1920 United States Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Coffeyville Ward 5, Montgomery, Kansas; Roll: T625_541; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 180; Image: 1085.
[9], Social Security Death Index, Number: 446-10-1910; Issue State: Oklahoma; Issue Date: Before 1951.
[10] Montgomery Kansas, Marriage License, 11464, 16 February 1924.
[11] Charles J. Deller Jr., birth certificate no. Reg. Dist. 58254, Primary Dist No. 8315, Reg. No. 89 (1925), Oklahoma State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Oklahoma City, Okla.
[12] E.D. Valdez, "nora=mable=deller," email to A.B. Deller, 3 May 2013.
[13], 1930 United States Federal Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Coffeyville, Montgomery, Kansas; Roll: 712; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 22; Image: 553.0.
[14] Society, Oklahoma Historical. "Marriage Records." Database. Research Center. 2014.
[15] E.D. Valdez, "Mable-Deller ltr," email to A.B. Deller, 17 October 2009.
[16] Valdez, "Mable-Deller ltr," email to A.B. Deller, 17 October 2009.
[17] Personal knowledge of the author, E. D. Valdez.
[18] Letter from Charles Joseph Deller to Charles Franklin Deller, 11 Jul 1939.
[19] Charles J. Deller, notice, unidentified clipping, Newspaper Clipping - Funeral Service for Charles Joseph Deller.
[20] E.D. Valdez, "Mable-Deller ltr," email to A.B. Deller, 17 October 2009.
[21] Charles F. Deller and Carolyn Jones Wedding, Reception, digital image.
[22] Personal knowledge of the author, E. D. Valdez.
[23] Multiple photos of Mable & Rudy Valdez with Deller and childrens families, digital images.
[24] E.D. Valdez, "nora=mable=deller," email to A.B. Deller, 3 May 2013.
[25] Nora Asbell, Dallas, Dallas Texas death certificate 14242 (1965).
[26], Social Security Death Index, Number: 457-16-6260; Issue State: Texas; Issue Date: Before 1951.
[27] Gravestone for Mable A. Valdez, 1909 - 1988, Laural Land Cemetery, Dallas, Texas.
[28] E.D. Valdez, telephone interview, 16 April 2010.
[29] E.D. Valdez, "Mable-Deller ltr," email to A.B. Deller, 17 October 2009.
[30] D.C. Deller, interview, 14 January 2014.

Other posts about Mable Roark:
Wordless Wednesday - Roy & Mable Roark
10 February - Happy Birthday Granny Mable!
Happy Birthday George T. Roark
Share Your Memories
Tombstone Tuesday - George Roark
Tombstone Tuesday - Mable Alice Roark Deller Valdez
Wordless Wednesday - Roy & Mable Roark, 1910

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