Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Robert Earl Bond: Lost Then Found

Robert Earl Bond was born on 20 March 1896 in Staunton, Illinois to William Francis Bond and Mary Alice Riggin, who was the half-sister of my great grandmother, Ida Mae (Riggin) Muir, making Robert Earl Bond my first cousin twice removed.

Relationship between Robert Earl Bond and me; chart created using
Microsoft Powerpoint

Robert's father was a teamster. Robert grew up in Staunton and when he registered for the World War I draft worked as chauffeur for his father's company, Bond & Son. He was drafted in 1918 and served as a private during the war assigned to Supply Company of the 347th Infantry Regiment, 174 Infantry Brigade, 87th Division. The division was in France, in the Pons area. They worked primarily as laborers while overseas. Robert was honorably discharged on 21 January 1919.

He returned to Illinois and continued working as a chauffeur. He was listed in the 1928 Staunton city directory with a wife named Minta, who was Araminta (Stewart) Johnson. She was the daughter of Green B. Stewart and Sarah Cockron and had been married previously and had two children. In 1930 Robert was farming a rented farm and lived with his wife, divorced step-daughter and step-son in Tyrone, Illinois. By 1940 Robert's step-children had moved out and he and Minta lived alone. The farm was also gone and Robert worked as a foreman for the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

In 1942 Robert lived in Mulkeytown and worked at the Illinois Ordnance Plant in Carbondale, Illinois. Minta was listed as the person who would always know his address.  She applied for a Social Security account in January 1943 as Minta Stewart Bond. But then I lost Robert when I first researched my Riggin line in late 2012 and early 2013.

Recently, a lot of my cousins have taken DNA tests and as I processed their matches, I decided to check the two matches most of us have with known common shared ancestors in the Riggin line. Those matches shared a third match with me I had not seen before. There were only 13 people in this new match's family tree, but the Bond surname was familiar.

DNA match pedigree chart; courtesy of

It turns out the Robert E. Bond listed on this pedigree chart is the same Robert Earl Bond, who is in my tree. And he had a new wife! I don't know what happened to his first wife Minta. She was 14 years older than Robert so perhaps she died or perhaps they divorced.

On 24 May 1958 Robert married Ruby Elaine (Bailey) Sizemore, a divorced woman with three children in their early 20s in Gate City, Virginia. Robert lived in Cedar Bluff, Virginia, and worked as a coal miner. He was 62 years old at the time of their marriage and indicated when he applied for the license that he was single. Ruby was the daughter of James Bailey and Lepora Bumgarner and was 38 at the time of their marriage. They obviously had a child together as that person is a DNA match and from the looks of their family tree are either just beginning to research their family history or do not know much about their father's family.

Robert made a life claim on his Social Security account in 1959, perhaps he retired then. He died in Orange County, Florida, on 29 March 1962 and was interred at Grandview Memory Gardens in Bluefield, Virginia. Ruby married two more times before her death in 1998.

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