Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Drama in the Rozier family

I was so excited about what I found Saturday night, I could hardly sleep.

But first I will explain.

You may remember this picture of my Great Grandmother, Mary Jane Cole Rozier.
She is the mom of my Grandpa Romeo.
Okay, see that little baby she is holding? I'm pretty sure that's her grandson, baby Clair.
He is the son of her daughter, Rowena.

So Rowena was married to a man by the name of Archie Tatton.
Rowena died when baby son Clair was 14 months old.
Why or how she died I haven't figured out yet.
So Mary Jane's daughter, Rowena, is dead 
and she takes over raising baby grandson Clair.

A year or two later (not sure exactly when), Clair's Dad, Archie, shows back up
and says he is getting remarried and wants Clair back. But it's worse than that.
He wants Clair growing up thinking the new wife is his birth Mom.
In order to do this he feels he needs to cut ties with Clair's grandparents and the entire Rozier clan.
Oh and did I mention that the Roziers lived in house after house on a street named after them near Stockton, Rozier Avenue?
They were a very tight group.

So gone is little Clair, leaving Grandma Mary Jane heartbroken, from what I've been told.
The entire Rozier clan, especially all those aunts and uncles living on Rozier Avenue,
must have struggled with this.

Fast forward several years and Clair is in high school.
He just so happens to be attending the same school as Grandpa Romeo's son Irving.
Even though Irving had been born the same month as Clair, he had been told about his cousin....
I'm sure it was the talk within the Roziers for years. So he explains to Clair how he is a Rozier,
and tells him about Clair's Mom, Rowena. What a shocker that must have been!
Clair had a right to know and I'm glad my Uncle Irving had the courage to tell him.
Rowena had a right to be remembered by her son.
After all, it's not like she gave him up for adoption...she died!

So I have wondered about baby Clair for well over a year....
since I first heard about him through my cousin's daughter Kelly,
and also from my distant cousin Meg in Idaho that I recently hooked up with.

What happened to my Great Aunt Rowena's son?
I finally heard through Meg that he had been a school teacher,
and then a principal somewhere in the Stockton, Ca area.
So I thought, okay, he must be in some year book somewhere.
Late Saturday night Elora and I went looking.
Page after page of year books online looking for Clair Tatton and we FOUND him!

See him up there? 3rd picture down on the right. As soon as I spotted his face I thought, 
that's a Rozier if I ever saw one. No denying him! 
He looks some like my Dad and also my son McKay. 
I learned from my cousin Meg that Clair never married and never had children.

So there he is. My Great Aunt Rowena's son!

There's more to this story, what happened after Clair found out he was a Rozier, 
but I will save that for another day. This is long enough for one post!

If you are interested in just where Romeo and Rowena, plus Dollie and Frank 
(that I wrote about on anther day) fit into the Rozier family, 
here's their family sheet in my Mom's writing, back in 1957.

Odd to me now, but growing up these were just names on a sheet of paper. 
Now I think about these people everyday. I even occasionally dream about them. 
I have pictures of all the sisters except for Rowena. She was only 26 when she died. 
But still, her picture must be somewhere!


Richard said...

Wow. That was all new to me. You should find a church to join that encourages people to seek out their kindred dead...:)

I saw those same group sheets as a child, but had no idea there were discoverable stories about them. Whatever happened to Clair Tatton?

Anonymous said...

Wow! So interesting.
The most interesting part to me is that you "think about these people every day". Really? What are you thinking about all these relatives who are no longer here on earth?

Scrapally said...

What a wonderful story and so happy that you found him! Being the great detective that you are, I know you will find a picture of Rowena. We will be waiting to hear "the rest of the story!"

Grandma Honey said...

Richard~ Clair Tatton served in World War II and then became a teacher and then a principal and died about 2005, in his 80s. He was born in 1918. I'm hoping to find more.

Darlene~ After I wrote that I think about these people everyday I thought I better change that so no one would think I'm exaggerating. But then it's the truth, so I left it there. They are all a part of me and my family in some way and with the internet now I can find out so many things about them....little by little. It's become addicting, like this big mystery I'm trying to unravel. I also find it most interesting how this family all lived on the same after house of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.

Annette said...

Wow interesting story. FH work is amazing! And sad he never married. Maybe his dad scared him for life by lying to him all those years. Can't wait for the next chapter! Hurry up and don't wait to long.

Anonymous said...

Nathen did a lot of research on my dad's family (the one we have the most info on) and many of them, also, lived on the same street. We found out through census records! Nathen started to become very fond of these people by researching their lives.

Grandma Honey said...

Exactly Darlene. What is that saying..."to know them is to love them"

Annette~ That's what I'm wondering too...if he got scared away by the complexities of his own family life. I also wonder what kind of a "step mother" he had. I hope she treated him well...but then again, maybe she didn't, and he never wanted another woman in his life...I guess we'll never know. Archie and the new wife had 2 more sons together.

Karen Mortensen said...

wow! What a story.

Richard said...

What do we know about Robert and Mary Jane other than they had 10 kids?

Grandma Honey said...

According to Marnie, who lived next to Great Grandma Mary Jane....she was "strong, sharp, feisty, and independent." She had very RED hair. Also, she was either pregnant, nursing, or tending babies or grandbabies for over 30 years straight. And 20 of those years were her own babies. (1883-1905) Her last child died the month she was born, and little Albert only lived a year. She also lost 2 daughters, Dollie and Rowena, before they were 30.

I wish I knew more about Great Grandpa Rozier. I do know Milton, Calif was named after his Dad, William Milton Rozier. As more newspapers from the past open up, I'm hoping to learn more.

Ammy said...

What a cool story. Sounds like something you would see in a movie!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I remember looking at those family group sheets as well growing up, just seeing all the names. Now that stories and pictures are being found and posted, they start coming to life as real people...Thanks so much for finding all this! I hope you find Rowena's picture and give us the scoop on the rest of the story...or did you already do that? about Clair? I think it is really cool that you are thinking about these people everyday...

Anonymous said...

So both Rowena and Dolly died young mysterious deaths after having babies?...I wonder if we will ever find out how or why they died? I'd love to see more pictures of all these people. Did you post some on our family tree?

Anonymous said...

So Rowena died at 26 a year or two after having a child, and Dolly died at 30 after having a child that died. And we don't know how Rowena or Dolly died so young and mysteriously? I wonder if we will ever find out? I hope you can find her picture somewhere..

Grandma Honey said...

I finally got notice that Dollie's death certificate was found and it's on its way to me through the mail. So I should know soon how she died, then I will work on Rowena. I have pictures of Maude, Dollie, and Mabel, but nothing of Rowena. I haven't given up hope.

grandmapeg said...

This is so interesting!!! I love reading these family stories and I'm not even related :-) Now I can read part 2.