Why Clark-Goudy parents left their children, moved to Richton, MS and died soon after?

+5 votes

Goudy-51, Ida Louise Goudy {1893-1923, Mississippi}and Clark-10814, James William Clark are my father's parents. Here's my question: Can anyone suggest why these young parents would move to Richton, leaving their children to be raised by family, and dying so young? My father had no idea. I pursued all I could think of, but brick wall.

The parents were married in 1913 and had 3 children, Charles William in 1915, Nellie L in Jan 1918 and Maurice in Dec 1918.

By the 1920 Census, Ida and Jim are shown as living with a family in Richton, Perry County, Mississippi -without the children. James dies that year and Ida dies in 1923.

The 1930 Census shows all 3 children living with a widowed uncle, Charlie Gowdy. Maurice is listed as a nephew 8, Nellie 11 as niece, Charlie as nephew 13, in Eudora, MS.

WikiTree profile: James Clark
in Genealogy Help by Sandy Harris G2G4 (4.9k points)
While 1920 is fairly late, there could be the possibility of it being related to the 1918 Influenza outbreak. Relatively high numbers of young people contracted the disease and either succumbed directly or due to pneumonia.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic for more details.
Thanks, Simon. That is certainly a possibility. I'll continue my research.


1 Answer

+2 votes
There could be several different reasons.  My father had an aunt who contracted tuberculosis shortly before her youngest child was born. She left her two children with her sister and moved into a tuberculosis sanatorium, where she died at age 25 in 1917.  Tuberculosis was a common disease at that time.  Maybe Ida was ill and knew she couldn't care for her family, and James knew he couldn't care for them while working.  Or perhaps James was ill, moved in with a relative, and Ida went to be with him.

I've also researched another relative who worked on the railroad, and I discovered that he had two families - in two different towns on the rail line!  Maybe James left his family and Ida went after him?  She may have planned to return and wasn't able to because of illness or lack of finances.

You may want to get their death certificates to see if there are any clues.
by Star Kline G2G6 Pilot (547k points)
Thanks for your response, Star. Some of your suggestions are things I've pursued, albeit with no results. TB, flu or another illness certainly occurred to me, and I will continue looking for information about my grandparents. Hopefully I'll find some living descendants who have knowledge or records.


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