Sojourn Through Time...
~ Whiteaker Family History ~
Updated 20 January 2001
I plan to regularly update this document as new information emerges. My family genealogy elsewhere on this site focuses exclusively on well-documented individuals with all sources cited. A lot of additional information I have doesnít fit well into a family group sheet or pedigree, however. In addition, I have information regarding other ancestors that I cannot currently provide primary source documentation for. The information is useful, but I am not willing to fill my database up with secondary sources like books, articles and other peopleís genealogies. Having said that, I also donít want all of this information to languish in my notebooks and file folders when it may be interesting to others, and may even supply a useful clue or two. So here is the caveat: If you see a name you are interested in here but cannot find it in my genealogy with source documentation, it means I probably donít have much in that regard. But if you contact me I will point you in the direction that the information came from Ė a book, a relative, a photo or wherever. Something of peripheral interest to me may be vitally important to you, and I will help however I can. Just ask.
John Whiteaker (Whitaker) is my third great grandfather. I know little about him at present. He was born about 1820, probably in Washington County, Virginia. He married a woman named Martha, believed to be Martha Fulcher. John and Martha lived in Smyth County, Virginia (formed from Washington and Wythe counties in 1836) according to the 1850 Smyth County census. James and Elizabeth Whitaker appear two listings away on the same census. They are the right age to be John's parents, but I have no evidence to tie them together. James is the only Whitaker listed in the 1840 Smyth County census, with a household size of 11. There was a male in that household the correct age to have been John, but the evidence is circumstantial at best.
Daniel D. Whiteaker
Daniel D. Whiteaker is the son of John and Martha Whiteaker. He is my second great grandfather. He was born about 1850 in Smyth County, Virginia. On 13 February 1879 he married Darcus Crabtree, daughter of Maria Crabtree and an unknown father. Like Daniel, Darcus was 28 years old at the time of their marriage, and the license states that she was born in Smyth County as well. Very little is known about this couple at present. Nearly four years after their marriage, a son named William Daniel Whiteaker was born. Beyond that, it is unknown whether they had additional children, or where and when they died. It is believed that they died young, however, because family lore has it that their son was raised in the household of Davis & Nancy Hatfield.
William Daniel Whiteaker
William Daniel Whiteaker is my great grandfather. He was known throughout his life as "Oscar". He was born 11 December 1882 in Smyth County, Virginia. Documents throughout his life are very inconsistent with respect to his true age, but the above date is taken from the Social Security application he completed in 1938. I believe his inconsistent statement of age is due to the fact that he was underage when he married, and he was several years younger than his wife. The 1900 census shows him as being a 17 year old, then the next year when he got married he claimed to be 21.
Oscar married his second cousin, Mollie Hatfield, on 21 September 1901 in Smyth County, Virginia. Mollie was the daughter of Davis Wesley Hatfield and Nancy Jane Crabtree. She was born in either Tazewell or Smyth County, Virginia on 25 November 1875. She was nearly 26 years old at the time of her marriage to Oscar, making her about seven years older than he was. The couple had a total of seven children, and the birth of these children presents an interesting migration pattern across the United States: Nannie was born in 1902 in Smyth County, Virginia. Pearl was born in 1904 in Richmond, Virginia. Charles was born in 1907, followed by Edward in 1908 and Robert in 1910. All three were born in Mexico, Audrain County, Missouri. Daughter Grace was next, born in 1912 and followed by Frank in 1914. Both were born in Thurston County, Nebraska.
Sometime before 1920 the family again relocated; this time to South Dakota to Codington County. They lived at various times in Kampeska and Watertown. After 1922 they traveled due east to their final destination in the Minneapolis area in Minnesota. For a family that had moved around so much in the past they became surprisingly immobile; remaining in Minnesota for the next four decades. They split time between their home in Hennepin County and the farm of their daughter and son-in-law Nannie and Charles Cook in Little Falls, Minnesota. Family lore states that they had migrated from Virginia to Minnesota in a covered wagon. At a minimum, it seems likely that Oscar may have driven a team of blind horses named Nig and Baby pulling a wagon from Mexico, Missouri to Nebraska, then eventually on to South Dakota.
Oscar split time in his life between farming and working on the railroad. He seemed to enjoy farming the most, which is why he spent a good deal of time on the farm working along side Charles Cook. Oscar was said to have had a "personality and a half", and he was liked instantly by everyone he met. Unfortunately, there was a dark side to his personality as well. His mood turned sour when he drank alcohol, and he drank a lot. Oscar died on 9 December 1957 in Minneapolis, several years after he and Mollie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Mollie continued to live in Minnesota until her death on 31 May 1965 in Little Falls, Morrison County, Minnesota. She and Oscar are buried in Forrest Hill Cemetery in Anoka, Anoka County, Minnesota.
Children of Oscar & Mollie Whiteaker:
Nannie Darkcus Whiteaker was the oldest daughter of Oscar and Mollie. She was probably named for her two grandmothers. She was born 3 August 1902 in Smyth County, Virginia. While living in South Dakota with her family, she was pressured by her father to marry a widowed friend and railroad coworker by the name of Charles Willis Cook. Charles' first wife Marge Mae Quinn had died suddenly, leaving him with five children to care for. In 1918 Nannie married Charles, and while two of the children were adopted out of the family, she had suddenly become a 15-year-old housewife with three children to care for. Her three step-children, Archie, Mildred and Florian Cook were followed by five more kids of her own: Willa, Charles, Virginia, Betty Jean and Kenny. Nannie and Charles eventually divorced and she later married Aaron Crabtree. Nannie died in March 1974.
Pearl Mattie Whiteaker was my grandmother. She may have been named for her aunt Pearl Hatfield. She was born in Richmond, Virginia on 18 May 1904. She migrated with the family, eventually winding up in Minneapolis where she met my grandfather James Ray Curtis, who was possibly in the military stationed at Fort Snelling at the time. Ray (as he was called) moved to Detroit, Michigan in the mid-to-late 1920s. Pearl followed him there where they were married on 6 March 1930 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, and set up house. They lived in several houses in the Warren - West Grand Boulevard section of Detroit. Later they moved to Lincoln Park, Michigan. Initially Ray was self-employed as a mover, but eventually he wound up at Bowen Products where he worked for many years. Pearl worked there for several years as well. While Pearl worked for Bowen Products, her niece Willa (Nannie's daughter) came to live with the family to attend school and help raise the two Curtis boys, Ray Jr. and Jerry. When the Bowen Products plant closed in Michigan in the late 1940s, Pearl and Ray relocated to Auburn, New York where another Bowen factory was located. Ray worked there until that plant also closed, and he eventually opened a service station in Auburn. Ray died suddenly of a heart attack on 16 April 1958 in Auburn, five days after his 54th birthday. Pearl lived in Auburn for many more years, and eventually married Harold Hundley on 3 May 1969. Harold and his wife Marie Beyer had been friends of Ray and Pearl for many years. After Marie's death, Harold suggested that he and Pearl get married. He was receiving a lifetime pension from the railroad, and he knew that it would help Pearl financially after his death. Harold did die shortly thereafter, on 26 October 1970, and Pearl continued to live in Auburn. She eventually moved to the Detroit area to be closer to her two sons. After a long life she became afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. She died in Taylor, Wayne County, Michigan on 27 July 1989 at the age of 85. Cause of death was listed as organic brain syndrome. Pearl and Ray are buried together in Soule Cemetery, just outside of Auburn, New York.
Charles Davis Whiteaker was the third child and oldest son of Oscar and Mollie. He was born in Mexico, Missouri on 20 Jan 1907. As a boy he was known as Davis, named after his grandfather, Davis Hatfield, who himself had been named after his grandfather. As an adult, though, he called himself Chuck. He married Florence Mathers. The couple lived for a period in the Detroit home of Chuck's sister Pearl and her husband Ray Curtis in the early 1930s. They had two daughters, Barbara and Shirley. In July 1940 Chuck was living in Little Falls, Minnesota. He died in January 1972.
Edward Hopkins Whiteaker was born in Mexico, Missouri on 17 November 1908. Ed may have been the first Whiteaker to migrate from Minneapolis to Detroit. By the late 1920s he was living in an apartment in downtown Detroit and working for the Bud Company. He was married first to Frieda _____. They had three children: Rosemary, Dwayne and Milton. He later married Charla Austin. They had four children: Edward, Corrine, Keri and Sherry. Ed lived in Mt. Clemens, Michigan for many years before moving to Hernando, Florida about 1987. He died on 5 February 1993 in Hernando, Citrus County, Florida.
Robert Berrie Whiteaker was born on 25 Jun 1910 in Mexico, Missouri. He married Irene _____, and they had one son named Barry. Bob worked for many years for the Minneapolis Gas Company. He died about three weeks after his mother passed, on 20 June 1965, in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Cause of death was listed as spontaneous intracranial hemmorhage. At the time of his death, he and Irene lived in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Bob is buried in Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis.
Grace I. Whiteaker was born 7 September 1912 in Walthill, Thurston County, Nebraska. She was married twice, her second husband being Herman Wendel. She died 23 September 1967 in Plymouth, Hennepin County, Minnesota where she was living at the time. Cause of death was listed as carcinoma of the lung. She is buried in Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Harry Francis Whiteaker was the youngest of Oscar and Mollie's children. Frank was born 3 October 1914 in Thurston County, Nebraska. He was married to LaVahn _____. He died 13 January 1971 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Cause of death was listed as right heart failure, chronic obstructive emphysema. He had been employed as a truck driver by E.L. Murphy Trucking Company at the time. He is buried in Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis.
© Mike Curtis, 2000
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20 January 2001