Random genealogy story

I am trying to track down one of those mystery connections who no one seems to have researched because they may not have had children.

A historic map showing the irregegular township borders in Dallas County, Iowa, in 1860.

Grace Eglantine Davis[G] was born in Colfax Township, Dallas County, Iowa. The exact date is currently in question. In 1944 she filed an Iowa Delayed Birth record stating her birth date as 28 April 1867. The 1870 census has her aged 2, which fits, but the 1880 census reports her aged 11, which is two years too young.

In 1900 she is still living at home. Then she marries in Spokane in 1908, listing both she and her husband as teachers in Chesaw, Washington. Chesaw is now a ghost town up near the border with Canada. To get from Chesaw to Spokane over the winter break, to marry on New Year’s Eve with her youngest sister from Iowa attending, must have been quite an adventure by itself!

Her husband was Charles Edward Marshall[G], a year older and even further from his home of Syracuse, New York. In 1910 they are still in Chesaw, but in 1920 they appear in Mineral, Washington, which is near Mount Rainier[en.WP], south and east of Olympia. The federal census shows them in the same place in 1930. Charles died in 1933. Grace is still living in Mineral in the 1940 census, and reports living in the same house in 1935.

Then we have that interesting late birth record filing in Iowa, 1944.

Why does someone make a late filing? The reasons I know of are to document their own citizenship to provide evidence of citizenship for their child, or to document their birth for the government, for example for a passport or service. Social Security did not begin making monthly payments until 1940, which is reasonably close in time to Grace’s application, so that is my working hypothesis – to register for social security. It also suggests fairly strongly there is no other documentation for her birth, but I am not going to give up on locating a baptismal record.

Grace died in 1948, a short distance away from Mineral in the village of Elbe, which today is even small than Mineral. Perhaps at the time there was a rural hospital or an assisted care home; it is yet another one of the mysteries yet to be solved in this story.