This installment picks up where Part 2 left off…
A window on family life in the Federal Census
Following his mother’s death, Robert Earl Ley Jr. was left in the care of his grandparents, John W. and Addie May Fisher. According to family stories, the infant Bob would toddle to the foot of the stairs in the house and call up for his mother in a way that made everyone’s hearts ache.
By 1920, R.E. Sr.’s parents, Charles and Minnie Ley, are also living in New Philadelphia. Census records indicate they are staying with their son, Lester, and his family in Goshen Township, where the Fishers will also live, at 147 Beech Lane NW., within the next decade. But it is to the Fishers that young Robert is sent.
Census takers in New Phila seemed to get to an early start. But that’s lucky for our family, because without census records dated in January or February, of 1930 and 1920, respectively, it is doubtful any record would exist for some of our ancestors at all.
The 1920 Census Record was taken barely a month before Zula’s death. From it, we know that she and R.E. Sr. and their infant son were living at 813 W. High Ave., sharing a home with her oldest brother Clyde, her sister-in-law, Catherine, and their young children, Dale, Glen and Florence. R.E., a dentist, and Clyde, a carpenter, were listed as co-heads of household.
The 1930 Census Record was also taken early in the year. And it confirms the split households continuing a decade after Zula’s death. R.E. Ley Sr. and wife Florence and 2-year-old son Richard live at 534 Iron Ave. in Dover, where his dental practice is reported as being run from the Reeves building in that city. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Robert Jr. is listed as a resident of John and Addie May’s household in New Phila. Perhaps his grandfather’s death, in April of that year, finally prompts the reunion of father and son.
This installment concludes in Part 4…