Double trouble

The Jeary family in America, descended from great great aunt Jane Watts and husband Robert who settled in Seward county, Nebraska, is quite extensive (see Going Abroad – America and global for some starters). Partly as a consequence, Robert Jeary’s siblings, who also emigrated to Nebraska from Norfolk, have been less researched by me to date.

Robert became a farmer, as did his sister-in-law Emma Watt’s hubbie William Flowerday. But not all the Jearys took that path.

Seeing double

Edwin Jeary, born 1850 Stalham, has the distinction of appearing twice in the 1920 US census. Unlike in England, the census enumeration took place over a period, not just one day. So on 6th January he and wife Kittie were at South 16th St Lincoln (Ward 4), with the surname transcribed on Ancestry as Geary, and then on 31st January they appear as lodgers at North 11th St (Ward 1), transcribed Jerry. Good thing Ancestry search allows for such variations in spelling.

Of course, this oddity became the starting point to discover more. Age 69 it is not surprising Edwin has no occupation at 1920, and the first thought is that they must have been poor, moving to rented rooms to save costs perhaps. But further research shows this to be highly unlikely – more probable that they were in lodgings while the other property was refurbished. {3}

There is plenty of further documentation on Ancestry for Edwin Jeary (I haven’t even looked on Google yet) – passport applications in 1900 and 1923, several passenger lists, city directories, at least twice on ‘US Indexed County Land Ownership Maps’ and the usual censuses in England and USA (although nothing found for 1870/71).

Edwin and Kittie passport photos 1923

Arriving about 1872, the first State-side record is marriage to Keturah (Kittie) Sampson, Cass County, Nebraska in October 1876, and at the 1880 census he is a fire insurance agent (and also the enumerator filling in the census form). By 1891, he is a lawyer in Lincoln but then a passenger list for 1892 has him as a banker. The 1900 passport application states ‘Lawyer & Banker’ and in 1910 his occupation is listed as ‘President, Bank’.

A further useful resource tucked away on Ancestry is ‘Nebraska, The Land and the People’ (originally published 1931). This has biographies “of many of the state’s most prominent men and women” according to Ancestry. Edwin features, along with son Clark. On the former, it says he organised (set up?) “the Salt Creek Valley Bank of Greenwood, later organized and was president of the Bank of Staplehurst, and a year later founded the Bank of Elmwood, in Cass County, and remained president of that institution a quarter of a century, under the successive names of State Bank of Elmwood and First National Bank.”

Here’s the full extract from  Nebraska, The Land and the People, Vol. 3 (text file). Edwin Jeary died January 1930.

At 1951, Clark Jeary is ‘Attorney-at Law’ based at 802 First National Bank Building in Lincoln, and Jim Flowerday (a great nephew of his sister-in-law) also worked for First National (but in Lincoln – would they be connected?) – see Making the news makes family history.

1951 Lincoln directory

Later arrivals

Robert’s eldest brother William Jeary doesn’t arrive in Nebraska until 1907, age 54, and settles in Cass county with his wife to farm. In 1930 he is in Lincoln, a widower, with daughter Emma. Their son Edward is actually the first to emigrate, in 1901 travelling over with uncle and aunt Stanton.

Younger sister Elizabeth (b 1854) gets to the USA in 1883, following husband John Stanton who first arrived in 1876. He’s also a farmer, in Lancaster county Nebraska. Elizabeth is reported as living to age 88, dying in Lincoln.

Politics in the family

According to ‘Nebraska, The Land and the People’ (1931) both Edwin and Clark Jeary were local politicians. Edwin became active in the Republican party soon after acquiring American citizenship (1878). In 1886 he was elected to represent Cass County in the Legislature and was elected from Lancaster County in 1912 and 1914. Clark, also Republican, served as a member of the Legislature from Lancaster County in the session of 1919 and 1921, and subsequently was elected a member of the State Senate. In the session of 1925 he was chairman of the Senate municipal affairs committee, and member of the judiciary, revenue and taxation committees {4}.

Did these two approve of the lifestyle of some of their cousins, I wonder?

It is noticeable that neither daughter of William and Ellen Jeary married (see Notes 1). Emma  in 1920 (true age 45) is recorded as ‘companion’ to Anna Dorgan, widow age 50 , and in 1940 is ‘partner’ to another widow, age 80, Martha Stewart, perhaps also her nurse? What might these terms mean or imply? The otherwise only slightly remarkable fact of Emma’s last residence in England being in Brighton (how does a woman from rural Norfolk end up there in the early 20th century?) takes on a new hue, as the seaside town has long been seen as a bohemian haven {2}. Alice also remains single and, from city directory entries rather than elusive census records, she was also a nurse.

Then their nieces Kathleen and Isla seem to remain unmarried too, both working as teachers. Something about those Jeary girls!

Denver city directory 1948

The title of this piece, Double trouble, came with the starting point of the dual 1920 census entries, but feel free to apply it to any other pairing.


1. More data on the Jeary families (not added to the HWNS Ancestry tree at present as not close relations).

  • William and wife Ellen Baker married in Norfolk 1873, three children born Stalham: Emma J 1875, Alice E 1877 and Edward John 1880. Alice accompanied her parents to America, Emma follows 1908 (staying with Edwin and Kittie at 1910). Alice Elizabeth didn’t marry according to her naturalisation papers issued Los Angeles 1938 – she died in Long Beach 1974. Emma also stayed unmarried, died Los Angeles 1966. Edward John at 1910 is married to Clara Dittman (or Dettman) in Stove Creek, Cass County with a one year old child Isla/Ila (possibly also known as Viola). A second daughter Kathleen born Oct 1910. Widow Clara is back with her parents in 1920 but where are the children? Clara and Isla are in the 1940 census at Denver, Colorado. Isla died 1996 Wheat Ridge Colorado, Kathleen died same place 2000.
  • Edwin and Kittie’s children: May Ethel b 16 May 1882, married Albert J Coates (spelling varies) and had son Edwin Albert 1906 Chicago; Lena born 1888 married Fenner Emory King, died Montana 1976; Clark b 1892 married Mary Minor 1914, children Barbara  b 1918, Ted b 1931. Late addition: twin boys John Alvin and Truman Albert lived 15/13 days in 1879.
  • Elizabeth and John Stanton – no children.

See Going to America page for the offspring of Robert and Jane Jeary (nee Watts). They emigrated in 1872 – perhaps they travelled with Edwin?

2. Both the passenger list for William and Ellen in 1907 and Emma’s own in 1908 refer to Emma living in Brighton – 3 Denmark Terrace, an imposing property so most likely a servant there. Emma’s passage was paid for by her uncle, and she is in possession of $1000 dollars (rather than the required fifty).

3. A Google search throws up a recent conservation document which includes 2318 Bradfield Drive, Edwin and Kittie’s final residence from 1923 at the latest. It looks like the building plot was purchased 1920, so clearly they weren’t refurbishing a property, at least for themselves. Extract from a completed National Register of Historic Places registration form for Boulevards Historic District, which can now (2018) be found on the register’s website (part of National Parks):

Extract from Boulevard District application form – small part of properties included.

4. There is a little more on Clark Jeary in The Nebraskan, dated 1932. The 50th annual report of the auditor of the City of Lincoln dated 1st Feb 1954 shows Clark as Mayor and President of Council (estimated 1953 city population 105,000). Elsewhere gives Clark as Mayor of Lincoln 1953 to 1956. UPDATE: a Jeary descendant informs me that Clark was adopted, so not technically one of the line.

5. More on Edwin Jeary in ‘Lincoln, the capital city and Lancaster County, Nebraska’ (Vol 2), Andrew Sawyer pub. 1916, on ebooksread and also extracted here: jearyedwin_lincolnandlancastercounty1916 . Also Bibliographical Sketches of the House, dated 1887.

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