Friday, July 27, 2018

52 Ancestors #30: Robert Muir (1875-1956): Union Mine Organizer?

Ancestor: Robert Muir, Great Grandfather
Haplogroup: Unknown

Robert Muir was born on 16 March 1875 in Swinhill in the parish of Dalserf, Scotland to James and Margaret (Semple) Muir. He was the couple's second child together but their oldest son had died the previous year. When the 1881 census was enumerated Robert lived with his mother at the farm of his maternal grandparents, Peter and Janet (Torrance) Semple. His father was not at the home when the census was taken.

Remains of Robert Muir's Sottish birth registration; personal collection

In June of 1887 James Muir immigrated to the United States. Margaret followed later that year with their living children.  They arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 30 September 1887 aboard the Allen Line's S/S Manitoban. The ship had sailed from Glasgow, Scotland, and made a brief stop in Ireland before reaching Philadelphia. Margaret, Robert, and his siblings likely took the train to Streator, Illinois, where James worked as a coal miner. Robert Muir became a naturalized United citizen on 10 October 1896 at the Livingston County Courthourse.

In 1900 he lived with his mother and two younger brothers in Reading, Illinois, where he worked as a coal miner beside his brother Peter. Each had been unemployed for six months during the previous year.

He and Ida Mae Riggin applied for a marriage license on 12 October 1902 in Collinsville, Illinois, and were married shortly thereafter. They lived in Troy for about a year after their marriage; then moved to Novinger, Missouri, where they were living when Robert's cousin, Peter Muir, listed him as his contact when he arrived in the United States in 1903. They moved to O'Fallon, Illinois, just before Ida Mae (Riggin) Muir died in 1909. The couple had two children, Henry and Alice.

In 1910 Robert and his two young children lived in O'Fallon, Illinois, next door to his mother. I imagine she helped care for his children as they were not yet school aged.

On 26 September 1911 Robert married Elizabeth "Liz" Fausz in St. Louis. They both claimed to be over 18 years old and that was certainly the case with Robert, but Liz was only 17 and pregnant. When Robert was required to register for the World War I draft in 1918, the family lived in the Edgemont Station area of East St. Louis, Illinois. Robert's appearance was described as being of medium height and stout build with blue eyes and partially gray hair. He and Liz had four children together. All but Henrietta was born in Illinois.

Robert was not enumerated in the 1920, 1930, and 1940 U.S. federal census. However, he was listed in the East St. Louis city directories between 1924 and 1930. He owned a home on 436 North 80th Street.

His daughter, Alice, my grandmother, always said her father was a union organizer and traveled frequently to coal mines across the country trying to get the workers to unionize. She said he'd been blackballed from several mines, threatened and even shot at. I always thought these stories were fantasies of a young girl who didn't know her father very well. However, not finding him in so many census records makes me wonder.

Robert Muir applied for the new Social Security insurance program on 4 December 1936. At the time he submitted his application he lived in Iaeger, West Virginia, and worked for the Pocahontas Red Bird Mining Co.

Social Security application with Robert Muir's signature; personal

He divorced Liz some time before 1940. When he retired from mining, some time after 1942, he bought a small piece of property along a river in Van Buren County, Tennessee. On that property he lived in an abandoned bus.

Robert Muir's Coal Miner's Certificate from the West Virginia
Department of Mines; personal collection

He was hospitalized in September 1956 while in southwest Virginia visiting his family. He died on 23 September 1956 at the Clinch Valley Clinic Hospital in Richlands, Virginia, of a cerebral hemorrhage due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease. He was 81 years old at the time of his death and was interred at Iaeger Memorial Cemetery in Roderfield, West Virginia.

Robert Muir died without a will. His real and personal property was auctioned off in two separate sales on 11 October and 15 November 1956. When his estate was settled in 1957, each of his six children received $310.52.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. The theme for this week was "Colorful," which I did not follow.

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Robert Muir, is Ancestor number 10 on my family tree:

10 Robert Muir born 16 March 1875 in Swinhill, Dalserf, Lanarkshire, Scotland, to James Muir and Margaret Semple; died on 23 September 1956 in Richlands, Virginia; married 1) Ida Mae Riggin, daughter of John Wesley Riggin and Clementine Wells, on 12 October 1902 in Collinsville, Illinois, and 2) Elizabeth "Liz" Fausz, daughter of Peter Fausz and Margaret Dietrich, on 26 September 1911 in St. Louis, Missouri (divorced)

10.1 Henry "Jack" Muir born 29 May 1903 in Adair County, Missouri, to Robert Muir and Ida Mae Riggin; died 24 May 1986 in Gretna, Louisiana; married 1) Mary Frances Canterberry, daughter of Howard Canterberry and Nancy Robertson on 3 July 1921 in Walls Creek, West Virginia, (divorced) 2) Armitar Ormmueth Alleman, daughter of Arrestide Alleman and Alice Istre, on 24 February 1930 in Acadia Parish, Louisiana, (divorced) 3) Eppa "Eppie" (Swan) Childs Swafford, daughter of William Henry Swan and Edna Sarah Norvell, before 1953, likely in Louisiana, and 4) Edith Mary (Davenport) Samples in May 1979 in St. Bernard Parish.

5 Alice Muir born 16 March 1906 in Novinger, Missouri, to Robert Muir and Ida Mae Riggin; died 14 December 1993 in Pamlico County, North Carolina; married Marvin Edward Jennings, son of Charles Edward Jennings and Effie Beard, on 13 May 1924.

10.3 Robert Muir, Jr. born 7 January 1912 in O'Fallon, Illinois, to Robert Muir and Elizabeth Fausz; died 22 February 1959 in Welch, West Virginia; married 1) Sadie Viola Cline, daughter of John Estil Cline and Maude Rasnake, on 1 November 1930 in Russell County, Virginia, (divorced) and 2) a woman named Carrie after 1949.

10.4 Verna Muir born 3 July 1917 in Illinois to Robert Muir and Elizabeth Fausz; died 18 April 2010 in Ravenswood, West Virginia; married Franz "Frank" Burglechner, son of Unknown Burglechner and Maria "Mary" Miller, before 1935.

10.5 Henrietta Muir born 14 January 1920 in Tralee, West Virginia to Robert Muir and Elizabeth Fausz; died 23 February 2008 in Eglin, Illinois.

10.6 Margaret Elizabeth Muir born 26 September 1924 in East St. Louis, Illinois, to Robert Muir and Elizabeth Fausz; died 14 June 1988 in Richlands, Virginia; married Cecil Roy Hess, son of Charles Robert Hess and Jessie Mae Fitzgerald, on 24 October 1942 in Buchanan County, Virginia (divorced).

'Remains of Robert Muir's Scottish Birth Registration,' personal collection
'Robert Muir's Coal Miner's Certificate,' personal collection
'Social Security Application,' personal collection
1881 Scotland Census, 03/04/1881 Semple, Peter (Census 1881 638/02 002/00 018)
1900 US Federal Census, Census Place: Reading, Livingston, Illinois; Roll: 318; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0114; FHL microfilm number: 1240318
1910 US Federal Census, Census Place: O'Fallon, St Clair, Illinois; Roll: T624_323; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0155; Image: 641; FHL microfilm: 1374336
Alice (Muir) Jennings' Genealogy Notebook, page 4, 8
Scotland, Statutory Registrations, 1855-2013, 1875 Muir, Robert (Statutory Births 638/02 0037)
US, City Directories, 1821-1989, 1924 East St. Louis, IL (Muir, Robert)
US, City Directories, 1821-1989, 1926 East St. Louis, IL (Muir, Robert)
US, City Directories, 1821-1989, 1928 East St. Louis, IL (Muir, Robert)
US, City Directories, 1821-1989, 1930 East St. Louis, IL (Muir, Robert)
US, Illinois, Livingston County Court, Naturalization Application, 10 Oct 1896
US, Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002, 1911 Muir, Robert - Fausz, Elizabeth
US, Pennsylvania, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1963, 1887 Muir, Robert
US, Social Security Application, Number: 235-10-9644
US, Social Security Card, Number 235-10-9644, State: West Virginia
US, Tennessee, Van Buren County Court Administrator, Settlement of and with C. C. Greer, Administrator, 27 Jun 1957
US, Tennessee, Van Buren County Court Administrator, Goods and Chattels Sale, 11 Oct 1956
US, Tennessee, Van Buren County Court Administrator Estate Sale, 11 Nov 1956
US, Virginia, Death Certificate 1956, Muir, Robert, No. 22810
US, West Virginia, Department of Mines, Coal Miner's Certificate No. 93665
US, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, State: Illinois; County: St. Clair; Roll: 1614579; Draft Board: 1

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