Thursday, February 15, 2024

Annabell Poole Davis--My Paternal Great Grandaunt

     I sure wish I had a photograph of this lady.  Unfortunately, several of the Poole sisters did not have children.  Any of their remembrances undoubtably are deep in a Pittsburgh landfill.  

Sampson Frum Pool's Farm
underlined in red at top of map
     Annabell (Annabelle Poole is my paternal great grandaunt.  She was born on June 17, 1875 on a farm north of Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia.  The fifth child and fifth daughter to join the family of Sampson Frum Pool and Sarah Louise Harner.  

     There were very few stories passed down to me regarding any of the Poole family, even my paternal great grandmother, Annabell's sister, Jessie Poole VanGilder.  I guess I come from a family that did not talk about family.  It has hampered my genealogical research and so much depends on whatever research I am able to locate.  Fortunately I have been able to find some documentation about Annabell. 

     The Poole children did attend a country school nearby, Woodland School #2.  My paternal great grandmother was a student there in 1888.  Her teacher was George Ethelbert VanGilder, who she married three years later.  

     From the few newspaper articles I have found, the Poole girls were close and throughout their lives and they all removed from Morgantown to the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area in the early 1900's.

     The 1900 West Virginia census listed Annabell, age twenty-four, living on the farm with her parents and employed as a cook.  She was employed full time and able to read, write and speak English.  I am assuming that she was a cook for a local restaurant, not assisting her mother as a cook at home.  Side note, this census was enumerated by Annabell's brother-in-law and my paternal great grandfather, George Ethelbert VanGilder.  

Marion County West Virginia Marriage Records
page 550
      At age twenty-seven, Annabell married fifty-four year old Elias Blackshere Davis on January 7, 1903 in Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia.  Rev Jeremiah Engle, Methodist Episcopal minister, officiated.  Elias, son of John Wesley Davis and Phoebe Cunningham was born on December 23, 1848 in Mannington, Marion County, West Virginia.  

     Elias was employed as an engineer with the B&O Railroad Company.  He was married first to Priscilla Christine Holland.  Three years after her death on July 8, 1899 in Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia he married Annabell.  Elias and Priscilla had a daughter, Edna Letitia Davis.  Edna married Harry Brownfield Crane in Fairmont West Virginia four days before her father remarried on January 5, 1903.

1910 Pennsylvania Census
April 23, 1910
Knoxville Brough, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County

411 Rochelle Street
                Davis, E.B., Head, Male, White, age 60, married twice, 7 years in this marriage, born in West Virginia, both parents born in West Virginia, can speak English, employed as an engineer with a locomotive company, working on his own, was not out of work in 1909, can read and write in English, owns his home free of mortgage.

                Davis, Annabell, Wife, Female, White, age 34, married once, 7 years, no children, born in West Virginia, father born in West Virginia, mother born in Pennsylvania, can speak English, not employed, can read and write in English.

                Magill, Anna, roomer, Female, White, age 30, single, born in West Virginia, father born in Ireland, mother born in Virginia, can speak English, employed at a coal company as a stenographer, was not out of work in 1909, can read and write in English.  A roomer is a person who rents a room but does not pay for meals.

     This house is listed on Zillow, but is not for sale.  It has 5 bedrooms and 1 bath.  Another listing has 3 bedrooms and 1 bath.  The listing gives 1924 as the date it was built; however, the 1910 census show that it was already occupied.

     Annabell, Mrs. E.B. Davis , is visiting her older sister, Mrs. John Pinyerd, Sarah Ann Poole, in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  Also visiting from Morgantown is their cousin Mrs. William Murphy, Jeannette Harner.

1920 Pennsylvania Census
Knoxville Borough, Allegheny County
January 12, 1920

411 Rochelle Street

            Davis, Ellias B., Head, Owns his house free of mortgage, male, white, age 70, married, he can read and write, born in Pennsylvania, both parents born in Pennsylvania, speaks English, is not employed.

            Davis, Annabell, Wife, female, white, age 39, can read and write, born in West Virginia, both parents born in Virginia, speaks English, is not employed.

            Hendrycy, George, Lodger, male, white, age 27, married, can read and write, born in New York, both parents born in New York, speaks English, employed as an agent for an advertising company, works on his own account.

            Hendrycy, Marie, Lodger, female, white, age 28, married, can read and write, born in Pennsylvania, father born in Germany, mother born in the United States,  speaks English, not employed.

     A lodger rents a room in another person's house and could be able to use the kitchen.            

     This is a brief notice that appeared in The Charleroi Mail on November 26, 1921.  I have to thank Sarah Poole Pineyard (Pinyerd) for alerting the local newspaper whenever she had a visitor or she visited.  And also thank Ancestry for having decades of the newspaper searchable on their website.  In this particular article three Poole sisters spent the afternoon together.

The Pittsburgh Gazette Times
Sunday, November 4, 1923
Section 6, page 5

     Annabell hosted the family at her home for the wedding of her niece, Mary Louise VanGilder and Robert Wotherspoon.

The Pittsburgh Press
Friday, January 27, 1928
page 42

     Elias Blackshere Davis, age seventy-nine died on January 26, 1928 in his home in Knoxville Brough, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  Annabel (signed with only one "L") was the informant on the death certificate.  She gave his employment as retired railroad engineer with the B&O Railroad.  

    Elias was buried on January 28, 1928 at Woodlawn Cemetery, Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia.  His first wife, Priscilla Christine Holland Davis is also buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

West Virginia Willa and Probate Records 1724-1978
Wills Volume 8-9 1924-1929
page 267-268

     On February 8, 1928, Elias B. Davis Will was probated in Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia.  Elias wrote his Last Will and Testament on March 4, 1903 and filed it with the court in Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia.  

     The cropped portion of the Will bequeaths all his worldly goods and moneys to his wife Annabel Davis.  

     Annabell was the guest of honor at a fifty-third birthday party given by her sister, Sarah Poole Pinyerd in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania.

1929 Pittsburgh City Directory

     Annabell is MIA for the 1930 census.  I don't have the intestinal-fortitude to go page by page looking for her in the ward where Rochelle Street is located.  Either she was off visiting someone when the enumerator came by or her name is unreadable.  I have tried various spellings with no luck.

The Daily Republican
Monongahela, Pennsylvania
August 25, 1933
page 2
     On August 23,1933, Annabel signed an application to marry in Washington County, Pennsylvania.  Charles Thomas Porter, age fifty, son of Alexander and Elizabeth Porter, a contractor, would be her husband.  Charles was previously married to Bertha Sommerhalder and divorced her on June 16, 1933 two months before he signed the marriage application to Annabell. 

1934 Pittsburgh City Directory

1938 Pittsburgh City Directory

     Sometime between 1934 and 1938, Annabell and Charles Thomas Porter divorced.  The first city directory is under Porter.  The second is under Davis.  Annabell went back to her first married name.

     During a telephone conversation on June 6, 1994, Cousin Kae, Catherine Wallace Billik, relayed comments on various Poole Family members.  Kae, born in 1913, lived in Pittsburgh and knew various family members or heard stories.  Annabell would have been a grandaunt.

re:  Annabel Poole Davis-- believed she lived in Knoxville outside of Pittsburgh, PA.  It was said that her second husband, Thomas, wanted her inheritance.  Kae had a hard time believing that the inheritance amounted to much of anything.

     Cousin Kae was accurate about Knoxville; however, it appears that Annabell did have an inheritance from her first husband.  It's now anyone's guess as to why Annabell divorced Thomas C. Porter.  Perhaps the family story is correct.

1940 Pennsylvania Census
Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
April 16, 1940

411 Rochelle Street

            Davis, Annabel, Head, female, white, age 64, widow, born in West Virginia, lived in the same house in 1935, works in her house, no weeks worked, no income, has income from other sources.  Value of her house $5,600.00

            Petterman, H. John (Henry John Peterman), Lodger, male, age 48, married, born in Pennsylvania, lived in the same place in 1935, worked at private work for 50 hours a week at a Plumbing & Heating company in sales, worked 45 weeks, income $2880.00.

            Linkert, Marie, Lodger, female, white, single, age 28, graduated high school, born in Pennsylvania, lived in the same house in 1935, works at private work 40 hours per week as an office clerk at a Water Company, worked 52 weeks, income $900.00.

            Parnella, Nicholas, Lodger, female, white, married, age 26, graduated high school, born in Pennsylvania, lived in the same place in 1935, works at private work 40 hours per week as a laborer in a steel mill, worked 42 weeks, income $1,000.00.

            Petterman, Marie E. (Marie Edith Peterman), Lodger, female, white, married, age 33, graduated high school, born in Pennsylvania, lived in Los Angeles, California in 1935, works at private work 40 hours per week as a stenographer at a Plumbing & Heating Company, worked 40 weeks, income $850.00.

     Anabell is supplementing her income with four lodgers, one married couple and two singles.  Several realtors listed 411 Rochelle as having five bedrooms.  Imagine all these folks sharing the one bathroom!

     I would like to mention that other Poole siblings ran boarding houses.  My paternal great grandmother, Jessie Poole VanGilder ran boarding houses in West Virginia, Woodlawn and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before she was employed as a stewardess on river boats.  Another sibling, Sarah Ann Pinyerd ran a maternity boarding house in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  Finally, another sibling, Olive Poole Reeves ran a boarding house on the North side of Pittsburgh.  

1940 Pittsburgh City Directory

1943 Pittsburgh City Directory

Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph
Thursday, September 25, 1947
page 31

The Pittsburgh Press
Friday, September 26, 1947
page 36

     Annabell Poole Davis died following a fall on the street on September 24, 1947 at the age of seventy-two years.  The informant on the death certificate was a lodger at her house.  

     Annabell was buried with her parents and siblings in Mt Union Cemetery, north of Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia on September 27, 1947.



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