Thursday, August 2, 2018

52 Ancestors #31: Alice (Muir) Jennings (1906-1993): Grandma Jennings

Ancestor: Alice (Muir) Jennings, grandmother

Alice Muir was born on 16 March 1906 in Novinger, Missouri, to Robert Muir and Ida Mae Riggin. She was their second and last child as her mother died of tuberculosis in 1909. Alice was born blind in her left eye, having a detached retina. In 1910 newly widowed Robert Muir lived in Nineveh, Missouri, with his two young children -- Henry and Alice. The children's paternal grandmother, Margaret (Semple) Muir and her youngest daughter, lived next door.

Alice's father remarried in 1911 and Alice and Henry were sent to live with their grandmother, Margaret Muir, while their father raised a new family in East St. Louis, Illinois, and he worked in nearby coal mines. Robert Muir moved his family to West Virginia some time before 1920 as one of his daughters was born there that year.

When the 1920 census was enumerated, Alice continued to live with her grandmother in Nineveh, but her brother had left and joined his father in West Virginia. Grandmother Muir died on 31 May 1920 three days after an operation. At the age of 14 Alice Muir was on her own. She lived for brief periods of time with various Muir aunts and uncles.

According to an article in the Troy Call, she attended the fifth annual Riggin family reunion held at her maternal grandmother, Clementine (Wells) Riggin Collins' home on 19 August 1921 in Troy, Illinois. Eventually, she made her way to West Virginia, and worked with a family as a maid/governess in War. There she met Marvin Edward Jennings, a clerk with the Norfolk & Western Railroad. They met at a silent movie. Alice was reading the movie to her employer's young son and Marvin and his friends sat behind Alice and mimicked her during the movie.

Marvin and Alice dated for a few months but eventually Alice moved back to East St. Louis. When she discovered she was pregnant, Marvin quit his job with the railroad, traveled to Illinois, and married her on 13 May 1924 in East St. Louis.

Alice Muir standing on the station platform of the East St. and Suburban
Railway, which was an electric commuter train, circa 1925; personal

Their daughter Pearl was born on 19 September 1924 but died a few months later on 30 December 1924. The coupled lived at 870 North 80th Street in East St. Louis, just a few houses away from a house her father owned. Her husband worked for the Illinois Central Railroad Company.

Marvin and Alice's oldest son was born in 1927. Alice, my grandmother, used to say after Uncle Marvin was born, she was unable to get pregnant and went to a doctor in St. Louis. He told her that her womb was twisted. So she went every week for 26 treatments, which apparently consisted of untwisting her womb a little bit at a time. Two months after her last treatment, she was pregnant. Their youngest son was born in 1931.

Marvin and Alice (Muir) Jennings with their sons; personal

When the Depression struck, Marvin Jennings lost his job with the railroad. He did odd jobs to make a little money but the family was on Relief for a period of time. In 1941, Marvin took a job with the federal government and the family moved to Washington, DC, where they lived for a year before buying a house in Arlington County, Virginia.

Marvin Jennings died in 1961. Alice was left with a mortgage and a $1,000 in the bank. She got a job as an accounting clerk with the U.S. Navy and worked on expense reports submitted by Naval officers. However, to get to work, she had to buy a car and learn to drive. My father, her youngest son, always said teaching her was quite an experience.

Alice sold the family home and lived in a series of apartments until she retired. She and Marvin had bought a fishing shack on a tidal creek of the Chesapeake Bay in Deale Beach, Maryland, just before his death. Her youngest son, winterized it and built an addition, and she retired there.  She also began wintering in Saint Petersburg, Florida. When her sons moved to North Carolina, building homes next door to each other, Alice bought a mobile home and had it placed on their property, living there until her death.

Alice (Muir) Jennings died on 14 December 1993 of a cerebrovascular accident in Pamilco County at Britt Haven Nursing Home, where she had been treated for two months prior to her death. She was interred beside her husband at National Memorial Park in Falls Church, Virginia.

Alice and her husband were active in the Odd Fellows and the Daughters of Rebekah lodge organizations and both held offices in their local chapters. After her retirement, Alice indulged her love of travel visiting Europe several times, the Middle East, Hawaii, and took several cruises.

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

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Alice (Muir) Jennings, is Ancestor number 5 on my family tree:

5 Alice Muir was born on 16 March 1906 in Novinger, Missouri, to Robert Muir and Ida Mae Riggin; died on 14 December 1993 in Alliance, North Carolina; married Marvin Edward Jennings on 13 May 1924 in East St. Louis, Illinois.

5.1 Pearl Marie Jennings born 19 September 1924 in East St. Louis, Missouri; died 30 December 1924 in East St. Louis.

5.2 Marvin Edward Jennings, Jr. born 23 July 1927 in East St. Louis, Missouri; married Rachel Mildred Lange, daughter of Gustav Lange and Wilhelmina Schalin, on 5 April 1952 in Arlington County, Virginia.

2 Charles Theodore Jennings born 14 December 1931 in Centreville, Illinois; married Dorothy Ailein Lange, daughter of Gustav Lange and Wilhelmina Schalin, on 15 November 1957 in Arlington County, Virginia.

'Alice Muir at train station,' personal collection
1910 Federal Census, Census Place: O'Fallon, Saint Clair, Illinois; Roll: T624_323; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0155; Image: 641; FHL microfilm: 1374336
1920 Federal Census, Census Place: Nineveh, Adair, Missouri; Roll: T-625_902; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 17; Image: 330
1930 Federal Census, Census Place: East St Louis, St Clair, Illinois; Roll: 557; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 61; Image: 55.0; FHL microfilm: 2340292
1940 Federal Census, Census Place: Signal Hill, St Clair, Illinois; Roll: T627_879; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 82-35
Global, Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current, 1993 Alice Jennings
Riggin Family Reunion, Troy Weekly Call, 25 August 1929
Riggin Family Reunion, Edwardsville Intelligencer, 8 August 1948
Social News Notes, Troy Call, 19 August 1921
US, City Directories, 1822-1939, 1926 East St Louis, Illinois (Alice Jennings)
US, City Directories, 1822-1939, 1928 East St Louis, Illinois (Alice Jennings)
US, City Directories, 1822-1939, 1930 East St Louis, Illinois (Alice Jennings)
US, Illinois Marriage License,  No. H-11915
US, Illinois Marriage License 1924 Jennings, Marvin - Muir, Alice
US, Missouri Delayed or Special Certificate of Birth, No. 524307
US, North Carolina, Certificate of Death 060-482
US, North Carolina, Certificate of Death, Book 26, Page 181
US, North Carolina Death Index, 1908-2004, Deaths: 1993-96
US, Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume I, 1993 Arapahoe, North Carolina (Alice M Jennings)
US, Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume II, Alice M Jennings (St Petersburg, Florida)
US, Virginia, Find A Grave Index, 1607-2012, 1993 Alice M Jennings

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