Friday, April 24, 2009

Clarence and May - A soap in the making

Yesterday I posted a bit of the story of Clarence Keener and May Kidwell. As I sat to write "a bit more" of the story tonight, I realized that there's much more to it than I could write in one post. I do want to keep y'all coming back to find out what happened after all :-)

Much of their stories I don't know, I may never know... some of it I have come to conclusions about and of course there are those never ending "I wish I had asked ....." questions that fill my mind. The previous post was more about Clarence's death and what I didn't know... tonight I'll spend a little time sharing what I do know about this couple.

I know that Clarence and May both lived in Fairfax County Virginia. She was the daughter of a farmer, Silas Kidwell and his wife Bertie/Birdie Horsman, she was born on Feb 24th 1903 in St. Louis Missouri. Clarence was the son of George Keener and Honora Harden and he worked at the Miller Dairy Farm and was born 1901-1902 in West Virginia according to their marriage license/certificate.
The information I have on Clarence I have learned from other researchers and various records available on line. After his death record gave me virtually no clues, I had to go digging a bit. I've "met" many cousins over the years, and have kept in touch with them as researchers do, but no one could make him come alive for me. There are no photos, no information about him anywhere. Of course, his family was quite large, his father having 3 wives and children with each of them, there's no telling what would have become of all the family memorabelia over the years. He was virtually alone in Fairfax, surely if his family was in contact with him someone would have reached them when he died. But, he wasn't brought home and buried in the family cemetery so I can only believe that the people he was working for had no idea who to contact.

Turning my attention to May, there is much more information available. Most of her family was in Virginia for many generations, there are many researchers of the Kidwell lines and they are all over the US, but most of us tracing our lines back to the same beginning in Maryland. My luck was with me when I began my research on May and her family, her brother was still living as I mentioned in my last post - he was my shining piece of glitter on the beach and I couldn't believe that I had found him! May's father was a farmer, they had a rather large working farm with livestock and produce in Fairfax. Her father was well known for his peaches, which he took to DC for the farmer's market on the weekends. The family also spent some time living in Hyattsville Maryland in the early 1900s. My grandmother managed to hold on to some photographs of her mother through the years, one is posted here. The back of the photo says "Mother Before she was married".

One story I want to share about her birth - I've been told that the family wanted to attend the Worlds Fair in St. Louis Missouri in 1903 and that's why May was born there. But, the 1903 fair didn't start in 1903 as planned, but rather it was put off until 1904. May's father was called "Uncle Bun" by his neices and nephews and one of them told me this story, going on to say that "the family lost all their savings and had to return by horse and buggy". Could it possibly be that they went all that way, the fair was put off for a YEAR and they had to turn around and come back?.... yet another question that I cannot now ask.

I've introduced you to May and Clarence. I have much more to share about May and her family and will get to that soon. I'll introduce you to their children, and tell you all about her "boyfriend". See you next time!

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