Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Timeline Tuesday: Introducing the Kilsons of Salem County, New Jersey

Samuel D. Kilson in an early school photo.
Spoiler Alert: You've already met them! If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that one of my research goals is to discover how my great-grandmother Katherine Shepherd is related to the Kilson family. I’ve posted multiple times as I’ve learned more information, under the heading of Mystery Monday: Women, Who Art Ye?, and I also posted when I visited the cemetery where several members of the Kilson family are buried.

So why this post? Because I have yet to give a useful timeline for this family, and I have so many stories I want to tell about them, but I don't want to jump the gun! So, first comes a timeline, and then come details on movie theaters, military service, Junior Afros, and more.

1912, February 15: Samuel Waymon/Wayman (often going by just Waymon/Wayman) Kilson and Bertha Allen marry in Salem City, Salem, New Jersey. Waymon works as a farm laborer.

1912, June 21: Bertha gives birth to their first child, a boy named Carl.

1913, August 9: Carl becomes a big brother when they family welcomes second son, Samuel Dennis Kilson.

1915, August 16: The summer baby streak continues when Bertha gives birth to the couple’s third child and first daughter, Eleanor Frances Kilson.
Bertha E. Kilson in school photo

1918, February 7: Bertha claims a namesake when she delivers their fourth and final child, a daughter named Bertha Elizabeth Kilson.

1925, April - May: Parents Bertha and Waymon purchase a house at 27 Elm Street, in Salem City. This will be the residence for all of the Kilson children for their entire lives. Except for Carl and Samuel’s service in World War II, they all live at home even as adults.

1931, June 16: Daughters Bertha and Elizabeth are both mentioned as being part of the 8th Grade class to celebrate their promotion from the Grant Street School, though they are 3 years apart in age.

1933: Son Samuel graduates from Salem High School, where his nickname is “Sandy.”

1936: Daughter Bertha graduates from Salem High School, “With youth and jollity by her side.”

Carl Kilson, during military service.
1940, July 5: Matriarch Bertha passes away at the age of approximately 46. She is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Salem, NJ.

1942 – 1946: Eldest son Carl joins in the Army during World War II and serves as a Mess Sergeant. For at least some of this time, he is stationed at Baer Air Field, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Both before and after his service, he works at the Palace Theatre in Salem.

1942: Second son Samuel also begins a stint in the Army during World War II. Similar to his brother, he also works at a theatre both before and after his military service, but at the Fenwick, also in Salem.

1944, February 14: Patriarch Waymon Kilson passes away, four years after his wife. He is approximately 54 years old. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

1953, Aril 2: Daughter Bertha passes away quite young, at the age of 35. She is laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery, in Salem, like both of her parents. Prior to her passing, she had been working in a cannery, as a packer.

Eleanor Kilson, likely at her home, 27 Elm St.
1962, October 8: Samuel Dennis Kilson passes away in the Veteran’s Hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania. He is buried at Beverly National Cemetery several days later. He has never married and has no known children.

1968, September 14: Carl Kilson passes away, “stricken” on his front lawn at 56 years old. He is survived only by his sister.

1968, October 13: Just a month after her brother’s death, Eleanor – the last remaining Kilson child – passes away at the age of 53. Like her siblings, she is unmarried and has no children, leaving no heirs to this branch of the Kilson line.

1969, August: The house and land at 27 Elm Street are sold in a Sheriff’s Sale for $3,000, to cover costs Eleanor owes the county for receiving assistance from the Welfare Board.

As usual, 1) these milestones are all supported by documentary evidence, and 2)  I will link posts to their respective points on this timeline as I write them!

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