Locating the Leys – 1940 United States Census

Ley RE Sr Dental Ofc 1942

Great-grandfather Robert Earl Ley Sr. in his dental office about 1942. In 1940, he still kept his Dover home on Iron Avenue, south of the Tuscarawas River, while maintaining his dental office downtown.

Robert Earl Ley Family | 1940 Census

Part three of our look at the 1940 federal census brings us to the Ley residence.

I was only a little surprised to find my great-grandfather, Robert Earl Ley Sr., and his second wife, Florence Wilma (Jones) Ley (M.A. to   us) still living at  at 534 E. Iron Ave. in Dover, Ohio.

In the 1930 census, they were just beginning to make a home there. Robert Sr. had married Florence following the tragic death of his first wife, my great-grandmother, Zula Lucrece (Fisher) Ley. After Zula had succumbed to the flu in February 1920, miscarrying a daughter known on her death certificate by her mother’s name, my grandpa, Bob Jr., was sent to live with Zula’s parents for much of his boyhood.

It is in the Stone Creek home of John William Fisher and Addie May (Smith) Fisher that we find young Bob in 1930. Across town, his father and stepmother have made their home on Iron Avenue, where they are raising his three-year-old half-brother, Richard Earl Ley (Dickie).

But things would soon change, with Great-Great-Grandpa Fisher passing away that April. (Addie May would die in 1936.)

I don’t know when Grandpa first came to live with his father, stepmother and half-brother. But we know he was with them in 1933, when tragedy again struck the family. Dickie was just shy of his 6th birthday when, according to the record of his death, about 3:15 p.m. on Sept. 9, 1933 he suffered “several convulsions, cause unknown, died suddenly.” He had received a smallpox vaccination on Sept. 2, but the doctor’s notes regarding this are illegible.

So it seems that the family remains at that address into the 1940s. (Indeed, in reviewing other documents, it is clear they still are there in 1959, at Robert Sr.’s death; so M.A. Ley doesn’t move to an apartment above their 2nd Street dental office until the 1960s, at the earliest.) Grandpa graduates Dover High School in 1936, then attends Ohio Wesleyan and Baldwin Wallace. He is probably just about to start doctoral studies at Ohio State when the 1940 census finds him at home in Dover.

Ley RE Jr Dental College c 1940

In this picture from the 1940s, Colt's grandpa, Robert Earl Ley Jr., stands by the dental college at Ohio State, where he completed his DDS after undergraduate studies at Ohio Wesleyan and Baldwin Wallace colleges. He would return home to Dover and succeed his father in their dental practice, eventually retiring in 1991.

Grandpa Ley Accounted For

By 1940, the Leys’ Iron Avenue home is worth $8,000, according to the census. It is unclear to whom census-takers speak, but they are informed that:

Robert is 47 at the time of the census; Florence is 37. Their son, Bob, is 21 and listed as a student.

Robert Sr. and Bob Jr. have each completed four years of college; Florence graduated high school.

Robert Sr. is the only working member of the household, having put in 44 hours the previous week, and worked all 52 weeks of 1939. He declines to report his salary, however.

The census records Robert Sr.’s occupation as dentist, “own shop”, with the corresponding code as working on his OA (own account).

One of their closest neighbors, at 538 E. Iron Ave., is Kenneth Shawelser (???), a doctor.

Down the street, renting at 218 E. Iron Ave., is another dentist, 40-year-old Lewis Brinley, who put in 60 hours the previous week, presumably trying to keep up with Robert Sr.

When the census next finds Bobs Sr. and Jr., they will be practicing dentistry side by side in their Second Street office in downtown Dover.

Ley Iron Ave 2012

The Iron Avenue, Dover home of Florence and Robert Ley Sr. from the late 1920s through 1959, as it appeared in 2012.

Categories: Ley, quickie post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Locating the Leys – 1940 United States Census

  1. Pingback: High School Life in New Philadelphia, Ohio, 1913 « Whispering Across the Campfire

  2. Earl

    Colt, you made this history come alive with good and factual story telling. Thank you, Earl

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