For many years I have wondered what happened to my 3rd great grandfather’s missing son. I could track his three daughters and two of his sons, but I could never figure out where the third son went. The paper trail hinted that he many have moved to Vincennes, Indiana, but my searches turned up nothing.
This week I tried some different angles and did some fuzzy searching online and I finally found him. John W. Shaw, born September 6, 1849 to Edward and Peninah (Hill) Shaw, had found his way to Chicago where he became a salesman for the Garfield Tea Company of Brooklyn, New York. On the 1900 census he’s living in Chicago with his wife Elizabeth Plummer and their two children–Percy and Marie Esther.
Percy and Marie never married. It seems as if they never really left home–unless you count a brief stint around 1910 when John, Elizabeth and Marie moved to Vincennes and Percy stayed behind in Chicago.
After John’s death in 1916, Percy and Marie lived with their mother at 827 Bradley Place, not far from the newly built ballpark for the Cubs: Wrigley Field. Sometime during the 1920s, Elizabeth and her two adult children moved a mile and a half northwest to Cullum Avenue. Then in February of 1929, Elizabeth died of diabetes.
What happens next is what has me confused. Between the taking of the census in April of 1930 and October of that same year, it appears that 45-year-old Percy and 47-year-old Marie moved less than a mile north to 1948 Wilson Avenue. This is the address their death notices cite as their last.
The Chicago Daily Tribune of October 24, 1930 announced that Percy Shaw, dearly beloved son of the late J.W. and Elizabeth and brother of the late Marie Esther, died on October 21st. And directly below this, the paper reported that Marie Esther Shaw, dearly beloved daughter of the late J.W. and Elizabeth and sister of the late Percy, died on October 22nd. Their joint funeral was to be held that afternoon at 3:30.
No explanation is given for their deaths in the paper, and from the records I’ve found all I can determine is that Marie died of a brain tumor at nearby Swedish Covenant Hospital on October 22nd.
The question remains what happened to Percy? I’ve emailed the local funeral home that handled the arrangements (fortunately, they’ve been at the same address since 1927 and in business since 1882). And I’m still looking for the death certificate or newspaper article that pulls it all together.
But for now–as so often happens in the pursuit of family history–a mystery solved results in another uncovered.
To read about the suicide of Edward Shaw’s other son, Henry, see my blog post Death by Downturn
To read more about Edward Shaw see my blog post The Family Historian
To read about Edward’s father see my blog post A Little Boy’s Shoes