Thursday, December 17, 2009

Everett Clarence Van Every (1906-1924)

I've mentioned Everett before...most recently in my post on Orphans...but my information on him has become a little more confused. He died childless at age 17, but was (possibly) the only child of Samuel Van Every, brother of my grandmother Myrtle.

Why the possibly? Well, there are two reasons. As I have mentioned in some of my earlier posts, Samuel appears to have had relationships with other women which might have led to currently unidentified children. However, there also turns out to be a chance Everett wasn't Samuel's child.

Here's what I know and how I know it.

From his death certificate, image obtained from FamilySearch:

Name : Everett Van Every
Death date : 01 Apr 1924
County: Travis, Texas
City: Near Austin, in Barton Creek
Birth date : 01 Aug 1906
Birth place : Texas
Age at death : 17 years
Gender : Male
Marital status : Single
Race or color : White
Spouse name :
Father name : S. Van Every
Birth place of father: Texas
Mother name : Esther Dahlin
Birth place of mother: Austin, Texas
Informant: G.A. Dahlin
Doctors note: "I hereby certify that I attended deceased from **saw soon after removed from water April 1, 1924** The cause of death was **drowning**
Place of Burial: Oakwood Cemetery
Date of Burial: April 2, 1924

From genealogy notes drawn up by Marguerite Benold Spencer (born in 1906- 1st cousin to Everett - daughter of Samuel Van Every's sister, Minnie)
Everett was the son of Samuel and Esther Dahlin, and he drowned at age 17.
From _X_, 2009 (born in 1917 - 1st cousin to Everett - daughter of a brother of Esther) - She is still alive, but the information was relayed through an email conversation with her son.
Everett was the son of Esther Dahlin and a Van Landingham. Marriage between Esther and Samuel Van Every was very brief, but Everett was given Samuel's surname.

Everett drowned in Deep Eddy Pool at a high school graduation party.

GA Dahlin (informant on Death Certificate) would have been Gustav Dahlin - another brother of Esther's.
In reading the death certificate I assumed "Near Austin, in Barton Creek" literally meant that is where Everett drowned. But research shows Barton Creek is also the name of a city in Travis County. Deep Eddy Pool is about 10 miles from the physical Barton Creek. It seems strange that a high school graduation party would be held on April 1 - but it could have still been a school-related event.

In evaluating the two sources, _X_ and Marguerite Spencer are both first cousins of Everett. (By marriage if not blood.) _X_ would have been 7 years old when Everett died, and her recollection of events might be mostly second-hand. Marguerite would have been 17 or 18, the same age as Everett. _X_ may have lived in the Austin area, while Marguerite, in 1924, was likely living in El Paso. (600 miles away) However, for the first 11 years of her life, she would have lived on the outskirts of Austin, and could have known Everett well.

I don't know the details of their separation, or if my Great-Uncle kept in contact with his ex-wife and son. I do know that in the 1910 and 1920 census he was living in California, and from about 1920 until his death he was living in Missouri.

I can imagine that by the time _X_ was born, Esther may have been trying to distance herself from an ex-husband who had long since left her and Everett behind. It's harder for me to imagine why my great uncle would tell his family Everett was his, if he wasn't. It's a huge mark against a man to even appear to abandon a child. (Though to repeat, I don't know if he kept in touch or not, despite the miles he put between himself and them.)

However, I can imagine Esther telling Samuel that Everett was his, and Samuel thinking this to be the case, even if it wasn't.

On the one hand, Everett didn't live long enough to have any children. ( least there is currently no evidence to the contrary.) So his paternity doesn't pose any major genealogical dilemmas. But I am saddened by the question mark that is now by his name, and which is likely never to be resolved completely, as there is no DNA to test.

Everett's birth certificate has not been found. Certificates are supposed to go back to 1903 in Texas. However, even if the Ancestry database were complete, of the 23,000 births in Texas in 1906 that it lists, over 17,000 are just recorded as "Infant of X" where X is the father's name. Since I'm no longer certain what should appear in that location, it's not too useful.

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