William H Capps was born on February 28, 1916, in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, the son of Hazel Holbrook Capps and Percy Capps. He had two sons and one daughter with Dorothy G Walsh between 1936 and 1941. He died on February 8, 1989, in Port Huron, Michigan, at the age of 72, and was buried there.
In the Canadian 1921 census, William was only 5 years old. He was living with his parents in the Lambton West district of Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.
At the time of the US census in 1930, William was 14 years old and living at home on Forest Street in Port Huron, MI. The 1930 census states that both of his parents were born in Canada. They immigrated in 1926 to the USA. William is listed with a US citizenship status of “alien.”
The image below is from 6 July 1926 -immigration to Port Huron Michigan. Note that his race is “Irish.” (note that at this time, the notation that he was of an Irish race may simply mean that he was not native born American.)
In that same 1930 census, Percy (William’s father) states that his occupation is “kiln-hand.” at a brass factory. Percy also says that his parents were both born in England.
By the time of the US 1940 census, William was 24 years old and is a naturalized US citizen. He lists his highest education level as completion of High School. He is employed as an inspector in a parts factory. He is living with his wife and sons at 2620 Armour, Port Huron, MI.
In 1941, William Harold Capps enlisted in the Army on July 25, 1941, during World War II. He was 25 years old.
Sadly, in 1953, his 12 year old daughter Carole Dorothy Capps, passed away.
When Gugllielmo “William” Bivona was born on November 9, 1900, in Partanna, Trapani, Sicilia, Italy, his father, Vincenzo, was 26 and his mother, Anna Cappadoro Bivona, was 22. He married Calogera “Lillie” Triolo on February 23, 1927, in New York City, New York. They had one child during their marriage. He died on August 12, 1981, in Woodhavens, Queens, New York, at the age of 80. (William claims two places of birth in various US government records…described later in this blog… he may have actually been born in Argentina.)
The english translation for Gugllielmo is William.
William was the second born child. He had an older brother named Giuseppe “Joseph” Bivona who was born sometime around 1899.
When William was 4 years old his brother Francesco “Frank” Bivona was born. It was this brother, Frank, who was the maternal grandfather to my brother-in-law. So, William’s relation to our family is a Great Uncle to my brother-in-law.
In the 1920 US Census, William is 19 years old. He is living in New York on Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn Assembly District 13, Kings, New York. The census records that he can speak English, but his native tongue is Italian. At the time of this census he is single and occupied as a dyer in a silk factory. (The census takers at this time were not too careful with spelling…he is listed as part of the Bevona family.)
Could history ever give us a break on facts? In the 1920 census, William states that he was born in Argentina. Later, in 1927, he will apply for naturalization and will claim that he was born in Italy.
I am guessing that William was an Italian citizen, but may have been born in Argentina??? That might be why he claimed in the 1920 census that he was born in Argentina but in 1927 filled out forms for naturalization stating that he was born in Italy.
In 1930, the US census is again careless with his name. He is now listed as William Bevone.
In this document, he again lists his birthplace as Argentina. He must have been trilingual. Earlier, he stated that he could speak English but his native tongue was Italian. Now, he claims he speaks Spanish.
In the 1930 US census, William is 29 years old. He is now occupied as a chauffeur. Again, census takers gave little importance to the spelling of names. He is listed as William Bevana. Really? Also, the math of the 1930 census taker is horrible. How could you be 39 years old in 1930 if you were born in 1900? Clearly, it is a pretty amazing feat for Ancestry.com to still realize this is the same person.
The only child of William and Lillie was Vincent Joseph Bivona who was a 1st cousin 1x removed to my brother-in-law.
When Margaret “Maggie” Darlines Kelley was born on February 18, 1851, in South Carolina, her father, William Henry Kelley, was 35, and her mother, Elizabeth Ann Taylor Kelley, was 26. She married Simeon Scarborough Barnes in 1875. They had eight children in 22 years. She died on January 18, 1933, in Fitzgerald, Georgia, at the age of 81, and was buried there.
The first resource materials that I found on Maggie were the 1860 and 1870 US census records. At the time of these census takings, Maggie was living with her birth family in Sumter County, South Carolina (the Bishopville Post Office). Her father was a farmer.
I believe that she married Simeon Scarborough Barnes in 1875 at the age of 24.
Usually, math works…right? Well, I have a math problem! The first child of Maggie, a son named Wilson Scarborough Barnes, was born on 31 August 1876 when Maggie was 25 years old. But her next child, also a son, Samuel Tilden Barnes, was born on 6 February 1877. It was this son (Samuel Tilden) who was the direct ancestor to my brother-in-law.
Can you see how very little time there would have been between the births of the 1st two sons? The math is wrong it would be too fast to get pregnant, give birth and have a child that premature that would be able to survive. My head started spinning. Have we got Samuel Tilden Barnes in the right family? (Note: There are only 159 days between the dates of birth. The dates from Ancestry mean that Samuel would have been born 5 months and 6 days after the birth of his brother- NOT POSSIBLE) So…what? Where to now? Were Simeon and Maggie really the parents of Samuel Tilden Barnes (my brother-in-law’s direct ancestor?) Back to the research materials…
It was helpful to see the 1880 US Census. Here, our Samuel Tilden (Chris’ great grandfather) is listed simply as “Tildon”. Note that Wilson and Tildon are listed as the children of Maggie in this census. So, this is good for the case that they were brothers…right? If they were brothers, how amazing that they are only 5 months apart! Is that possible?
I started to wonder about pre-mature births in the 1870’s. I found this link: https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=575478.0 The comment that stood out was, “In 1876 there would not have been anything that could be done for a baby born too early, or with any significant problem. They either survived or they didn’t, and the mother and her female supporters just did their best.”
The next research I did was on grave markers and burial locations. Simeon Scarborough Barnes and Margaret Kelley are buried in Fitzgerald, Ben Hill County, Georgia, United States of America. The oldest son, Wilson, and several other children of the couple are also buried there… but NOT the direct ancestor to our family Samuel Tilden Barnes. Arrrghhhh… If Samuel was their son, why isn’t he buried with the rest of his family?
OK, back to census records and I hit a brick wall. In the 1900 US Census. Samuel Tilden Barnes in missing from the record!!! So…was he NOT the son of Simeon and Maggie? If so, then why was he listed in the 1880 census? Samuel Tilden would only have been a teenager and should be living with his family! Or, are they his family? Why was he in the 1880 census and not the 1900 census?
Here is another look at the troubling census of 1900. (The S.S. Barnes below would be Simeon Scarborough Barnes who I am starting to think is not the father of Samuel Barnes after all.) Again, the older brother Wilson is listed, but not our Samuel Tilden!
Stick with me here while I continue to unravel the mystery.
In a lawsuit filed after the death of Samuel Tilden Barnes, it states that Simeon Scarborough Barnes and Maggie were “next of kin”. Well, that means Samuel was related to them…but not necessarily their child. Right? The lawsuit is very tangled, but all of the right relative names are listed so … somehow, Samuel was “in the family” even though he is removed from many census forms and the math does not work for his birth date. He belongs with this family in some format, but could clearly NOT have been a biological son to Maggie. Oh dear!
In conclusion, here are my questions (if I can’t have answers, I can have questions)…
Was Samuel’s father Simeon Scarborough? If so, that means that Simeon had an affair with someone during his marriage.
Was Samuel a super premature birth?
Was he brought into the family? Here is one interesting clue from the Ancestry web site- see photo… (This would be VERY interesting!…Hard to trace) The Cherokee nation? Wow! (Oh, and the child listed below is not grouped with any parents???)
Or, my final guess. Was he actually the child of Simeon’s sister Margaret who died at about the time of Samuel’s birth? Margaret may not have been married so “giving” her son to her brother and sister-in-law may have been necessary. There are no birth records listing Simeon’s sister as a mother.
Mittie was the great grandmother of my brother-in-law.
When Mittie Campbell was born on June 16, 1882, in Georgia, her father, Hugh, was 36, and her mother, Mary, was 35. She had two children with Samuel Tilden Barnes and three children with Henry Little. She died on June 4, 1953, at the age of 70, and was buried in Columbia, Mississippi.
Her first husband Samuel Tilden Barnes died very young at the age of 32. (He was the great grandfather of my brother-in-law)
The first source material that I found for Mittie was the 1900 US census taken when she was 18 years old. At that time she was living in Pates Crossroads, Geneva, Alabama with her parents and 2 siblings. The census taker did a poor job of spelling. He lists her as Mattie and her father as Hue. (Should be Mittie and Hugh) In this census, it is stated that both of her parents were born in South Carolina. Her father’s occupation is non-sensical to me…it says “Rids Woods Turpin Tin.” Could that have something to do with wood alcohol or turpentine? Remember, this is the same census recorder that spelled everyone’s name incorrectly! This census record shows Mittie’s place of birth as Georgia.
In the US census from 1910, Mittie was the head of household, is 27 and a widow. Her first husband, Samuel Tilden Barnes, had died a year before this census in 1909. In this census record, her son, Eugene, was 4 years old and her daughter, Hilma, was 1 year old. (She states that the number of children born to her were 3 and 2 were living.) At the time of this census, they were living with Arthur Campbell (her brother.) Their home was on Pearl Street in Beat 5, Marion, Mississippi. Her brother, Arthur, was a foreman in a saw mill.
Sometime between the 1910 census and 1917, she remarried to Henry Little. I am drawing this conclusion because her first child from the second marriage was Jonnie Lee Little born in 1917.
By the time of the 1920 census, Mittie is listed as the wife of her second husband, Henry Little, who was a butcher. They are residing in Columbia, Mississippi.
After I read the full story of Henry Little’s death, it appears to me to have been accidental.
It is interesting to note that EL (Eugene) Barnes was only 2 years old when his father, Samuel Tilden Barnes, died. I am not sure when Mittie’s second marriage occurred, but she had children with Henry Little starting in 1917. This means that EL Barnes had Henry Little as a step-father from the time he was 10 years old (or younger.) Also, Samuel Barnes had been married and had a child with his first wife Mary Letha Galloway before he married Mittie. So, this means that EL Barnes had a step sibling from that marriage and then also the step siblings from Mittie’s marriage to Henry Little (a bit confusing) This is the blog that I wrote a while back about EL Barnes https://tellinglifestories.org/2018/08/17/eugene-ludlow-barnes-1906-1979/
He married Elizabeth Tollemache Campbell, Countess Argyll and Lady Lorne on March 12, 1677, in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. They had 14 children in 62 years. He died on September 25, 1703, in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England, at the age of 45.
Here is how he connects to my brother-in-law’s family:
When Rufus Robert Runke was born on February 10, 1889, in Ahnapee, Wisconsin, his father, Heinrich, was 36 and his mother, Wilhelmina “Minnie” Bruemmer Runke, was 31. He had seven brothers and eight sisters. He died on November 1, 1969 in Algoma, Wisconsin, at the age of 79. Rufus was 9th in the birth order of the Runke siblings. Our direct ancestor Alma Runke was 4th in birth order.
Rufus was married first to Ruth Elida Vollmer but after her death in July of 1932 he remarried to Myrtle Mae Hyde (the widow of William Esser Perry ) in 1936 when he was at the age of 47.
Here is how we connect: Rufus Runke was a brother of my son-in-law’s great grandmother, Alma Runke Schmiling. This means that Rufus Runke was a 2nd great uncle of Drew.