Thursday, May 21, 2015

#19 of 52...Eugene Ledbetter...a Lost Uncle Found

I've mostly been keeping these posts limited to actual direct line ancestors and not collateral relatives; however, I feel that they are all our relations and I am including them.  Today I'm going to talk about Eugene Ledbetter, brother to my great great grandmother Lou Ella Ledbetter Bussey.
I have always been fascinated by Ella Ledbetter Bussey, since she was my grandmother's grandmother.  My Nana to this day speaks of Ella with high regard and remarkable love.  She calls her Mama Bussey and she was an influential person in my Nana's life.  There is a fantastic photograph of Ella in riding boots and a hat.  Somewhere I think I have a copy of that photo.  I really need to organize my stuff better!  Anyway,she always seemed like a spitfire and someone I wish I could have gotten the opportunity to know.  So Ella has long been a research topic for me.  Nana has said that Ella was an orphan and that the relatives that she lived with was mean to her.  Of course I wanted to search for her family and find out what happened.  As far as Nana knew, Mama Bussey had no siblings, at least none she ever spoke of.

I started researching going back through each census year.  When I started the newest one was the 1930 census.  I traced Ella back during her married life.  I started trying to find her prior to her marriage.  Her Family Bible has her listed as being born in 1872 and I take that as being pretty accurate as it was her Bible and she wrote the information in there or had someone do it for her. The first census she would be listed in would be the 1880.  I searched and searched finally finding who I believe to be her in Gainesville, Hall County, Georgia living with the mysterious Elizabeth Lawrence and her children.  In that census it lists Ludella (which we think is actually Louella) Ledbetter and right under her name is a Jene Ledbetter.  Jene?  Who's Jene?  Could it mean Eugene?  And now it appears that Ella had a brother named Eugene!  This was news to us.

I continue searching and searching and cannot find anything about their parents nor anything about Eugene after that single census.  I make the assumption that he died in childhood and the likelihood of finding a document about it in Georgia is very low.  I searched, found a memorial for Eugene from Hollywood Cemetery in Atlanta.  I realize that this is the same cemetery where Ella is buried.  The person that set up the memorial had written information and had a death certificate number.  I contacted her and she stated that she got the information from the death records at the Georgia State Archives.  I start searching the Georgia Archives website with the death records found a Eugene's death certificate.  It is then that I truly know that he is indeed our uncle.  He died at the home of Ella as it lists her address.  Also as informant is Ella's son JJ (James Jefferson) Bussey.  That solved the one mystery of who was Jene/Gene?  It lists his parents as Alice Mull and John Ledbetter; which simultaneously gives information and creates more questions.

Where exactly was Eugene between 1880 and 1903?  I believe to have found him in the Atlanta City directory starting in 1903, but cannot be certain that it is him listed.  I have not found him on any census after 1880; but he should be in 1900, 1910 and 1920.

Eugene Ledbetter (1876-1929)

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