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Facts but not stories

Today is the 119th anniversary of the birth of Arthur Carlton Livingston.

ArthurYoungest of the nine children born to my second great grandmother Martha Louise (Shew) Baird Livingston, the eighth by Arthur’s father Abigah C. Livingston, he is a man about which we know so much.

And so very little.

You see, there are tons of records telling us so many facts about Arthur Carlton Livingston.

• He was born 20 September 1895 in Bexar County, Texas.1 His family had moved there from Cherokee County, Alabama, sometime around 1888.2

• He was living with his parents in Williamson County, Texas, in 1900.3

• By 1907, the family had moved to Oklahoma. Arthur’s parents were recorded that year as residents of Comanche County, selling land in Frederick, now the county seat of Tillman County.4

• In 1909, Arthur’s mother died of tuberculosis.5

• In 1910, the family was still in Tillman County, where Arthur was shown as a 13-year-old schoolboy and farm hand. Only he and his brother Leva were still at home, though their widowed sister Etta Roberts and her two children were living with the family.6

• He registered for the draft on 5 June 1917, as a single man, a farmer living in Hollister, Oklahoma. He was described as of medium height, slender build, brown eyes and dark hair. He hoped he’d be exempt from being called up, noting he had a widowed sister and her two children he was helping to support.7

• He married Annie Wright in Tillman County around 1919. In 1920, they were living in Stephens Township, enumerated next door to his widowed sister Etta (Livingston) Roberts.8

• Arthur and Annie were parents by 1921: a son, Ralph, was born on the 15th of March 1921 in Tillman County. He was the first of eight children all told — and the one they lost as a child. He was just six years old when he died of blood poisoning.9

• The family was still in Tillman County in 1930. That census listed Arthur as a highway patrolman; the four then-living children were all shown as born in Oklahoma.10

• The Livingstons were still in Tillman County in 1940; six sons and one daughter were enumerated in the household that year, and my great grandmother — Arthur’s aunt — Eula (Baird) Livingston Robertson was living with them as well.11

• At some point after 1940, the family moved to California. It was there that Arthur died in 1963. He was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier.12

You see what the problem is right away, don’t you?

We have all the facts about Arthur’s life.

But we don’t know a thing about the man.

He was just a boy when his mother became ill and was sent to New Mexico in the hopes of saving her life. What was that like? How did it change his life? Was he particularly close to her, as the baby of the family, or had she been so ill for so long that he didn’t really know her?

You know it had to be a terrible blow to lose a child the way Arthur lost Ralph, in 1927. What impact did that have on his life, and the lives of his other children? Was Ralph remembered in that family group… or was there a concerted effort to move on and leave the sadness behind?

Arthur and his family stuck it out in Oklahoma all the years of the Depression and the Dust Bowl times. What took him to California? Did he miss Oklahoma? Was it always home to him, or did California become so much more to him as time went on?

What, I wonder, was he really like?

As a genealogist, I am happy to have as much information about Arthur as I do have. It’s far more than I have on many of my cousins.

But as a family historian, I am deeply disappointed. How very little I know of this cousin of mine… and how much I hope his closer kin may be recording his stories …


SOURCES

  1. See “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Sep 2014), card for Arthur Carlton Livingston, no. 35-3-38-A (stamped), Tillman County (Okla.) Draft Board; citing National Archives microfilm publication M1509, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
  2. His brother Noel was born in Cherokee County in 1887; his sister Susie was born in Texas in 1889.
  3. 1900 U.S. census, Williamson County, Texas, Justice Precinct 2, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 125, p. 117(B) (stamped), dwelling 143, family 154, “Author” Livingston; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Sep 2014); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, roll 1679.
  4. See Tillman County, Oklahoma, Deed Book 4:384-385, Livingston to Brown & Wade, 11 July 1907; Tillman County Clerk’s Office, Frederick.
  5. Linda Norman Garrison, Tillman County Personals: Abstracts from Frederick, OK Newspapers May 1902-June 1911 (Lawton, Okla. : Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society, 2009), citing Frederick (Okla.) Enterprise, 16 Apr 1909.
  6. 1910 U.S. census, Tillman County, Oklahoma, Hazel Twp., population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 250, p. 107(A) (stamped), dwelling/family 145, Arthur C. Livingston; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Sep 2014); citing National Archive microfilm publication T624, roll 1275.
  7. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 May 2011), card for Arthur Carlton Livingston, no. 35-3-38-A (stamped), Tillman County (Okla.) Draft Board; citing National Archives microfilm publication M1509, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
  8. 1920 U.S. census, Tillman County, Oklahoma, Stephens Twp., population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 183, p. 116(B)(stamped), dwelling/family 21, Arthur C. Livingston household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Sep 2014); citing National Archive microfilm publication T625, roll 1489.
  9. Frederick City Cemetery (Frederick, Tillman County, Oklahoma; on County Road N 220, Latitude 34.3986926, Longitude -99.0475769), Ralph Livingston marker; photograph by J.G. Russell, 25 April 2003.
  10. 1930 U.S. census, Tillman County, Oklahoma, Hazel Twp., population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 71-11, p. 196(A) (stamped), sheet 2(A), dwelling/family 36, Arthur C. Livingston household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Sep 2014); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 1932.
  11. 1940 U.S. census, Tillman County, Oklahoma, Frederick, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 71-5, sheet 1B, household 26, Arthur Livingston household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 Sep 2014); citing National Archive microfilm publication T627, roll 3335.
  12. Rose Hills Memorial Park, Los Angeles County, California, Arthur C. Livingtson Sr. marker; digital image, Find A Grave (http://findagrave.com : accessed 19 Sep 2014).
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