Tag Archives: Irene Polk

Irene Polk

Yesterday, while I was making notes for which articles here at Graham Ancestry would need to be updated with data from the forthcoming 1940 census, I decided to do some more digging in regards to Irene Polk.

You may recall from my article on Nona Elizabeth Graham that Nona has sometimes been erroneously recorded in family trees with the middle name of Irene. Nona’s son DJ Lathum informed me that following Nona’s passing, his father Frankie Lathum married a widow named Irene Jordan, née Polk. I believe that is where the confusion over Nona’s middle name originated – a mix up of Frankie’s two wives. A search at Ancestry.com revealed that following Frankie’s death, Irene married again, this time to Charles Bruner of Missouri. On a hunch I searched for “Irene Bruner” at Google and the second result turned out to be her obituary, reprinted here from the Sikeston Standard Democrat.

Irene Bruner

Thursday, February 27, 2003
Sikeston Standard Democrat

MATTHEWS – Irene Bruner, 89, died at 4:26 p.m. Feb. 25, 2003, at Missouri Delta Medical Center.

Born Jan. 14, 1914, in Center Ridge, Ark., daughter of the late Alvin and May Oliger Polk, she was a member of the Church of Christ in Matthews.

In 1930, she married James Thomas Jordan who preceded her in death in 1951. She married Frankie Lathum in 1954, and he died in 1966. She and Charles Bruner were married March 9, 1972, in New Madrid, and he died on July 29, 1990.

She was also preceded in death by one son, Thomas Hoover Jordan; two daughters, Reba Lee Davis and Barbara Van Dolah; one stepson, William "Bill" Bruner Sr.; one grandson, Jerry Edington; one stepgrandson, William "Bill" Bruner Jr.; and three brothers and two sisters.

Survivors include: one daughter, Ruby Mae Silvers of Matthews; six stepsons, D.J. Lathum of Germantown, Tenn., Phillip Bruner of California, Mike Bruner and Ed Bruner of Troy, Mo., and Jerry Bruner and John Bruner of Bentonville, Ark.; one son-in-law, David Van Dolah of Harper, Kan.; one sister, Marie Polk Dixon of Springfield, Ark.; and nine grandchildren, 12 stepgrandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, 10 stepgreat-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Nunnelee Funeral Chapel in Sikeston where services will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Jimmy Colvett, minister of the Matthews Church of Christ, will officiate.

Burial will follow in Mounds Park Cemetery near Lilbourn.

Source

Sikeston Standard Democrat, 27 February 2003:  Obituary for Irene Bruner. Retrieved on 29 March 2012.

See Also

Find A Grave. Memorial for Irene Polk Bruner. Retrieved on 29 March 2012.

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The Birth of Disinformation

Something recently happened at Ancestry.com that bothers me.

Ancestry has this feature called Member Connect that lets researchers connect their family trees and any supporting documents to other members’ family trees.  Once connected, Ancestry notifies members when any other members link to their trees or documents.  That’s actually a very handy feature.

Here’s the part that bothers me.  I received notification through Member Connect that another researcher had linked to the entry for William Thomas Graham in the Arkansas Death Index. At first I got excited because I thought, “Oh boy, another distant cousin that I can press for information!”  Then I looked at this other member’s tree and saw immediately that she had attached the document to the wrong William Thomas Graham!

I’ve done a lot of research on our William Thomas Graham, as chronicled here, here and here.  I’ve been in touch with our William’s grandson and great grandson.  I’m extremely certain that I’ve got it right, and that the entry in the Arkansas Death Index refers to our William.

Nobody wants erroneous information to be spread around.  I sent a message to the other member, but she has yet to make a correction.  What if she refuses to accept that she made an error?  What if she thinks that I’m in error?

In the original version of my article on Nona Elizabeth Graham, I reported that Find A Grave listed her middle name as Irene, which completely contradicts every other source I have on Nona.  I’ve recently been in touch with Nona’s son DJ and he informed me that after Nona’s passing, Franklin Lathum married a woman named Irene Jordan.  Whomever made the Find A Grave entry clearly confused the two women.

And the wrong information gets spread around the Internet.


Nona Elizabeth Graham

The ninth child and sixth daughter of John and Matilda Graham was born on 7 December 1907 in Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, and she was named Nona Elizabeth Graham.

1910

Nona was first recorded on the 1910 census at the age of three, living with both parents and her seven siblings on the Graham family farm in Red River Township.

1920

On the 1920 census, 13 years old Nona was still living on the family farm in Red River with her parents, her sisters Emma and Stella, and her baby brother Daniel.

Meanwhile, over in Mount Vernon Township, lived Nona’s oldest sister Evisa, her husband Posey Collins and their children.  Two farms away from the Collins family was the Lathum family, whose 15 years old son Franklin would sometime begin to woo Nona, perhaps when she stopped by Evisa’s to see her nieces and nephew.

1930

On the 1930 census, Nona, 23, and her brother Daniel, 20, were the last two children living at the farm in Red River with parents John and Tildy, but that would soon change.

LathumGrahamMarriageDetailOn 19 December 1930, Franklin Lathum paid a $100 bond for a license to marry Nona Graham.  Franklin’s cousin Everett Ace Watts signed as security on the bond.  Franklin’s residence was listed on the license as Imo, an  unincorporated populated place in Mount Vernon Township, Searcy County.  Nona’s residence was listed as Kay, an unincorporated populated place in Red River Township, Searcy County.  On 21 December 1930, Justice of the Peace A. Z. Taylor performed the marriage ceremony.  On the certificate of marriage, Justice Taylor wrote “ursey” above the word “Searcy” printed on the form, as if to correct its spelling.

1940

Frankie and Nona’s only child was born, a son named DJ Lathum.

The 1940 census recorded Frankie and Nona renting a farm in Sulphur Springs Township for the rate of $2 per month. Frankie’s highest grade of school completed was fifth, while Nona’s was eighth. Frankie was self-employed as a farmer for 40 hours per week, while Nona was “engaged in home housework.” In the previous year, Frankie had earned $200 from farming. Their infant son DJ had his age recorded as 4/12.

Living with the Lathums in 1940 was a boarder named John W. Heller, age 79 and single. Mister Heller had no employment recorded, but had received wages of $700 in the previous year. It’s pure speculation on my part, but Frankie may have been renting the farm from the elderly Mister Heller.

Lathum 1940 Census

On Thursday, 21 September 1944, Nona’s mother Mary Matilda Graham died in the Lathum home. Matilda’s obituary stated the Lathum home was in Watts, which was not in Sulphur Springs Township, so Nona and Frankie must have moved back to Red River. Frankie served as a pallbearer at Matilda’s funeral.

On 15 June 1947, Nona attended the wedding of her nephew Alvin J. Graham to Dora McClung and was recorded on the marriage certificate as a witness.

1950

On 23 March 1951, Nona Elizabeth Lathum, née Graham died at the age of 43.  She was interred at Chinquapin Cemetery in Searcy County.

Circa 1954, Franklin married his second wife, the widow Irene Jordan, née Polk.  While Frankie and Irene did not have any children together, Irene had four children from a previous marriage.

1960

On 24 December 1966, Franklin Lathum died at the age of 60.  He was interred at Chinquapin Cemetery.

Name Variations

Nona was enumerated as “Nona” on the 1910 census, “Nonie L” in 1920, “Nona E” in 1930, and “Nonie” in 1940.  She was “Nona Graham” on her marriage documents. On the John Henry Graham Family Group Sheet, she was “Nona Elizabeth Graham.” In other member family trees at Ancestry.com she was recorded as “Nona Elie”, and I suspect that middle name variation originated from the L and the E on the census documents, but it could also be a shortened form of Elizabeth. At Find A Grave she was recorded as “Nona Elizabeth Graham Lathum”, but the headstone pictured there reads only “Nona, wife of Frankie Lathum”.

Franklin was “Frank” on the marriage documents, but his signature reads as “Frankie”.  He was recorded at Find A Grave as “Franklin Lathum”, and his first name appears as “Frankie” on his own headstone and on Nona’s headstone. His name was spelled “Franky” in Matilda Graham’s obituary.

DJ told me “D.J.” isn’t an abbreviation – that’s simply his name. That’s why I rendered it without periods in this article.

Sources

Ancestry.comUnited States Federal Census of 1910, 1920, and 1930;  Grimes Family Tree.

FamilySearch.orgArkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957. Film Number 2048297, Digital Folder Number 4326335, Image Number 00679, Page Number 477. Record for Frank Lathum and Nona Graham.

Find A GraveMemorial for Franklin LathumMemorial for Nona Graham.

John Henry Graham Family Group Sheet, transcribed by Nellie Collins Allen from the Graham Family Bible, 1973.

Marshall Republican: Obituary for Mrs. Mary Bohannon, published September 1944.

National Archives: Sixteenth Census of the United States: 1940, for Sulphur Springs Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, Enumeration District 65-20, Sheet 1 B,  enumerated on 6-7 May 1940 by Floyd Gibson. Retrieved from 1940census.archives.gov on 24 April 2012.

Sikeston Standard Democrat: Obituary for Irene Bruner, published 27 February 2003. Retrieved on 29 March 2012.

Correspondence with Betty Johnson, sister-in-law of DJ Lathum, February 2011. (See comments on this article.)

Correspondence with DJ Lathum, son of Frankie and Nona, March 2011.


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