Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Brick Wall Wednesday: Elusive Elijah Washington

One of the relatives that I had a particularly difficult time locating any records for was my great-grand uncle Elijah Washington. Elijah Washington, born about 1892, was the second born son of Roxana McFarland-Earls and Scott Washington. Elijah was an infant when his mother Roxie passed away and he was raised by his younger sister Jane. When he was a young man, Elijah left for the Delta region of Mississippi and eventually settled in Arkansas, where his descendants currently reside. I couldn't find any records that proved his existence in either Arkansas or Mississippi. On a whim while searching military records online, I found this:

The card reads as follows:


Name in full: Eliza Washington
Age in yrs. 21
Home Address: Arkansas City, AR
Date of Birth: Does not know age
Are you: Natural born
Where were you born?: Woodville, Miss USA
What is your present trade, occupation or office?: Laborer
By whom employed?: Arkansas Cooperage Co.
Where employed?: Arkansas City, AR
Have you a father, mother, wife, child under 12 soley dependent upon you for support?: No
Married or single (which)?: Single Race: Ethiopian
What military service have you had?: None
Do you claim exemption from draft?: No


Tall, medium or short (specifically which)?: Short Slender, medium or stout?: Medium
Color of eyes: Black Color of Hair: Black Bold?: No
Has person lost arm, leg, hand, feed or both eyes or is otherwise disabled?: No

Signed by JW Jarvis
City or County: Arkansas City
State: Arkansas June 5, 1917

Examining this card, although no birth year is the first offial record that I've been able to get on Elijah Washington, the younger brother of Will Washington. As it was earlier mentioned, Elijah moved to the Delta and then into Arkansas where his descendants now reside. Without the missing information, it connects with his name and birth location of Woodville, Mississippi. It also offers new clues into his occupation and early life in Arkansas. While researching on what exactly a cooperage is, I discovered that the Arkansas City Cooperage helped in the production of railroads during the early 20th century. In 1917, when the Draft Card was completed, Elijah was working for the Arkansas City Cooperage in Desha County.
Further researching Elijah Washington in Arkansas on Family Search shows an Elijah Washington b. abt. 1891 marrying an Ardena Rutherford in Lee County (two counties north of Desha County) in 1916 and another Elijah Washington b. abt. 1896 marrying Victoria Davis in Desha County in 1919. I'm wondering which one is my Elijah Washington. More research is required at the state and county level.

Hopefully, this is just the first of many records that I'll be able to locate on the elusive Eljah Washington.

The Family Griot