Eva Luke was one of my two grandmothers. Eva was born in Portsmouth on September 23, 1870
Eva married twice. She married William Beale Stokes in the 1880s, with whom she had three children: Eva, William B. and Frank Leslie. Apparently, Eva and Stokes lived in Newport News for most, if not all, of their married life. Eva Luke marries William B. Stokes in Pasquotank County, North Carolina on January 30, 1889. Eva was 19 and William was 24. The marriage record shows that William was from Newport News, Virginia and his parents were Richard and Margaret A. Stokes.
A William B. Stokes is found in an 1886 Newport News Directory, living at 2700 Jefferson Avenue, with occupation as tinsmith. This is the Stokes that Eva is married to. A birth record shows that a boy was born to William and Eva Stokes in Newport News on March 27, 1896. This would be William and Eva’s last child, Frank L.
How Eva and Stokes met and whether and where they lived before Newport News; what brought Eva to Newport News, other than possibly to accompany Stokes after marriage; whether Eva went directly from Portsmouth to Newport News; and where Stokes worked as a tinsmith (likely Newport News Shipbuilding Company) are unknown. Maybe Eva went to Newport News to be closer to her Mother, who now is at Eastern State in Williamsburg. Possibly Eva and William met in Portsmouth and they went to Newport News for him to work at the shipyard. Several Stokes did live in Portsmouth in the 1800s. Perhaps William received shipyard work training initially in Portsmouth, which, besides Newport News, was the site of much shipbuilding expertise at that time, and he went to Newport News for work.
In 1890, when their first child Eva was born, Eva Luke Stokes would be about 19 years of age. This might suggest that Eva Luke and William met in Portsmouth, Eva’s hometown. It is more unlikely, than likely, that Eva would have gone to Newport News as a single, young lady, and met William there.
As indicated in the Martha F. Shepherd section above, Eva’s mother, Martha, was committed to Eastern State, in Williamsburg, in 1886. Also, as indicated above, Eva’s father, D.D., has possibly abandoned the family by the middle 1880s.
Eva’s two brothers, John Wesley, age 20, and Dale, Jr., age 1, die in the early 1880s.
William B. Stokes, Eva’s first husband, was murdered on a street in Newport News in 1896 or 1897. An 1897 Newport News City Directory shows an Eva Stokes as widow living at 3500 Washington Avenue in a boarding house.
This must have been a difficult period for Eva.
In the middle 1890s, America experienced its worst economic depression up to that time. National unemployment rates were greater than 10% from 1894 to 1897. Hundreds of banks failed. The railroad industry was hit hard, with many railroads going out of business. This could have had an especially difficult affect on Newport News as the Newport News Shipyard was built on the fortunes of a railroad industrialist (see later for more on the Newport News Shipyard and its origins).
Murder rates in America increased from the 1880s to 1900. One reason that has been proposed for this was the increased urbanization of America during this time. Supposedly, sudden increases in higher concentrations of people resulted in greater opportunities for conflict, without effective counter measures yet in place, such as policing, and therefore a greater crime rate. The troubled economic times in the 1890s would likely lead to even more crime. Perhaps a factor in William B. Stokes’s murder in Newport News sometime in the 1896 to 1897 period was the troubled times caused by the great depression of the 1890s and the quick population growth in Newport News in the late 1800s.
William B. and Frank L., Eva’s sons with William Stokes, both worked at the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. Frank retired as head of the Appendice School at that company. In 1943, Frank L Stokes is Chief Vocational Instructor at the Apprentice School. Frank graduated from the Apprentice School in 1916, as a machinist. Eva Stokes, Eva Luke Stokes’ daughter, and Frank L., her other son, apparently never had children. One of William B.’s sons, Frank L., died during the World War II European combat, and is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery, in St. Avold, France (see next paragraph).. According to the 1930 census, William B.’s other children were: William B. Jr.; Eva V.; Grant L.; Evelyn P.; and N. Elizabeth. His wife’s name was Nora. Nora was from Connecticut. Besides Frank and William B. Jr., (see below), little is known of the eventual fates of William Stokes children. Eva, William’s daughter, apparently had a son in Newport News.
Frank L. Stokes was a private in the 3rd Tank Battalion, 10th Armored Division when he died in combat on November 23, 1944. He was awarded the Purple Heart. The 10th Armored Division was under General George Patton’s Third Army. The division arrived at Cherbourg, France on September 23, 1944 and entered combat on November 2, 1944 in the battle that captured Metz, France near the German border in north France. The division went on from there to lead General Patton’s Third Army into Germany on November 19, 1944, just 4 days before Frank was killed in combat.
When Frank L. Stokes registered for World War II duty, he lived at 60 Rivermont Drive, Hilton Village, Newport News. Frank was born in 1921. According to registration records, he enlisted in January 1944 in Richmond and had completed four years of high school. He was single and a listed skill was photographic processing.
Frank’s middle initial stood for Leslie, my middle name. I wonder if this was a coincidence, or planned, that my middle name matches Frank’s middle name.
Death certificates indicate that Nora P. Stokes died in 1952; William B. Stokes, Sr. died in 1966; and William B. Stokes, Jr. died in 1988. William B. Jr. lived in Hampton.
Also, a death certificate indicates that Frank L. Stokes died in 1971 and is buried at Peninsula Memorial Park, as are Nora and William Stokes Sr. in the same area. Frank’s wife, Erscil is also buried there.
Eva married my grandfather, William Robertson, in 1898, and had seven more children with him (in order of birth): Dale D. who died as an infant; Charles Allen; Richard; Harry E; Ethyle Gladys; my mother, Evelyn Mae; and William, Jr.
Charles committed suicide in 1960 in Newport News. Charles was in the numbers rackets, according to family information. He worked at a grocery store in Newport News.
Richard was a merchant mariner (seaman). Merchant marine crew lists (ships entering US ports were required to submit crew member information to port authorities) show that Richard had a trans-oceanic merchant marine cruise as early as 1924 and as late as 1966 (a span of 42 years). During this time, Richard is also in dozens of logbooks that ships were required to keep and provide port authorities. These logbooks are available at the National Archives. Destinations of his cruises were numerous: Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia); Hawaii; Germany; United Kingdom; Nigeria; Marshall Islands; Spain; Mozambique; Cuba; Egypt; France; Canada; and Japan. US ports of entrances and departures for cruises included the ports of: Los Angeles; San Francisco; Portland; New York; Seattle; Norfolk; Philadelphia; Baltimore; and many others.
Ships Richard served on included: Adrian Victory; Alabaman; Alameda; Alaskan; American; Braisard Victory; Contest; Gypsum King; Henry D. Whiton; Illinois; Louis McHenry Howe; M M. Gukin; M S Surprise; Myron T. Herrick; Nashaba; Palmetto Mariner; President Adams; President Van Buren; Puerto Rican; Republic; Rufus W. Peckham; Southwester Victory; Stephen T. Mather; Tar Hell Mariner; Virginian; and at least 65 others.
In April 1945, Richard is a crewman on the SS M.M. Gukin, a US-owned Liberty Ship, transporting troops across the Atlantic during World War II. The M. M. Gukin participated in several Atlantic-crossing convoys. In April 1953, Richard is on the SS Southwestern Victory, a World War II Victory Ship, put into service by the US military during the Korean War for transport. Richard started serving on Liberty and Victory Ships as early as January 1942; he served on at least 12 of them. Liberty and Victory Ship crew members were considered US Coast Guard seamen. In August 1945, Richard was given a US Coast Guard honorable discharge, a Victory Medal, and a Presidential Testimonial Letter.
Richard served on both cargo and passenger ships. In 1940, he is found on the SS President Adams, a passenger ship operated by the Dollar Line. Several of the ships Richard served on were owned by the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company, a cargo transport company from 1899 to 1953. Other companies operating ships that Richard served on included: American President Lines; Pacific Far East Line; Oceanic Steamship Company; Weyerhaeuser Line; Matson Navigation Company; and Pope & Talbot.
Richard’s seamen records show that he went out on at least 135 cruises over his 42 year career, or about 3 per year. His average cruise was approximately 37 days.
Richard was a member of the Marine Fireman’s Union, a union for ship engine room workers. He joined the Marine Fireman’s Union on September 22, 1934 in Portland, Oregon. He retired from his profession, as a union pensioner, in 1967.
Richard joining the Marine Fireman’s Union on September 22, 1934 is very interesting. 1934 was a pivotal year for west coast seamen (and longshoremen) and their attempts to improve their working lives through unionism and concessions from ship-owners. Attempts at working condition improvements had been going on, mostly unsuccessfully, since at least the 1800s, with many ups and downs in the seamen’s (and longshoremen’s) organizing abilities. By 1934 , seamen’s (and longshoremen’s) unrest with their conditions, combined with their desire and capability (through progress in organizing abilities) to do something about it, resulted in a labor movement milestone, not only for the seamen (and longshoremen), but for all US labor – an eighty-three day strike beginning on May 9, 1934, resulting in an almost complete shutdown of west coast ports shipping. Following this strike, the labor movement (and working lives) of seamen (and longshoremen) would forever be changed. An outstanding history of the seamen’s (and longshoremen’s) unionization activities, centered on the events of the 1934 strike and the unionism activities in the 1930s, can be found in Bruce Nelson’s “Workers on the Waterfront – Seamen, Longshoremen, and Unionism in the 1930s” book.
Was Richard on the picket lines in the 1934 strike? What was his views and activities related to the various events that were influencing his profession and its unionization? What was his political views – were they aligned with the US communist party, a major participant in unionization movements of the 1930s, or was they aligned with the many anti-red workers during the same period, or somewhere else?. Knowing some answers to these questions would be interesting.
The crew lists give some details about the crew. Richard earlier in his career reported his height as 5’ 7’’ and weight as between 165 and 185 pounds. Later, after 1945, he became heavier, reporting his weight at around 200 pounds. He had brown hair and brown eyes. Pictures of Richard from his Coast Guard records show a handsome, clean-shaving face. Ship-side occupations listed for Richard included: wiper; oiler; fireman-water tender; deck engineer; and engine maintenance - all engine room duties. Richard was listed as fireman-water tender in about 40 of his cruises with oiler (34 cruises) his next most frequent job.
There is no doubt that the Richard Robertson reported on in these crew lists was the Richard Robertson, son of Eva and William. The Richard Robertson information was consistent in age, size, and length of service, and in one of the records, Richard reported his father as being William Robertson, living on Palen Avenue, in Hilton Village, Newport News. Richard indicated he was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, which is consistent with what I have concluded about the Robertsons and Eubanks he is descended from.
Growing up in Newport News, where the James River enters the harbor known as Hampton Roads, a major ocean-shipping and naval port, at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Richard’s career as a merchant mariner makes a lot of sense. He grew up in a family that worked as shipbuilders – his father William, brother William, Jr., and stepbrothers, William and Frank, all worked at the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. Also, during his earlier years, and later after he became a merchant mariner careerist, Newport News was a major cargo port and served the military for loading and unloading thousands of soldiers during both World War I and II.
Richard died on June 11, 1978. At the time of his death, Richard was living at 105 East I Street in Wilmington, a seaport community of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. He died while sitting on a park bench, adjacent to his residence. Richard lived 78 years.
A career on the world’s oceans visiting dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ports provides unique experiences, and a life, unlike most of us have. I wish I had known him - been able to talk to him - gotten to hear about some of his experiences and perspectives from a life time of traveling the world’s oceans and visiting its ports.
In both the Robertson and the Luke ancestry past, of which Richard is a part, and covered in this family history, many ancestral members were involved in one way or another in work in the maritime industry, starting in the 1700s through the late 1900s. Richard’s at least 42-year merchant marine career was a significant continuation of this involvement. Richard ended up serving his country honorably in a critical industry – the merchant marine service.
Harry became a pharmacist and drug store operator in several cities before owning a pharmacy in Hampton or Newport News, which he had owned for several years at the time of his death. In 1930, Harry, age 26, was married to Mary B., age 19, and they had been married for two years. He was then a salesman for a drug store; they owned their home, worth $4,000; and they had a radio.
Ethyle died young in 1956 at age 51. She became ill while at work and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. She died the next day with cause not reported in her obituary. She was working in the Treasury Department of the City of Warwick as a clerk. In 1925, Ethyle was a junior at Newport News High School and a member of the Girl Reserve Club. In 1925, my mother, Evelyn was a sophomore at Newport News High School. I suspect that Ethyle and my mother had a close, loving relationship. Ethyle graduated in the 1927 February class. In the yearbook of that year, she was described as a very joyful and nice person. Ethyle, who remained unmarried, in the last years of her life cared for her father William, who reportedly was senile when he died in 1953. Ethyle must have been a devoted and caring daughter and should be commended for that. At the time of her death, Ethyle’s address was listed as 50 Rivermont Drive, which was the home of Frank L Stokes, her half brother, and his wife, Erscil Whitley Scott Stokes. Rivermont Drive is very close to Palen Avenue, where William and Ethyle were living when William died.
William, Jr. died in Jamestown, New York, in 1985. In the 1953 obituary for William Robertson, William Jr.’s father, William Jr. is listed as living in Philadelphia. According to Social Security Administration records, William worked for the Freeland Screw Products Co. (Freeland & Townsend), located in Philadelphia from 1948 to 1954. He then worked for James Yocom & Sons, also located in Philadelphia, in 1954 and 1955. By 1956, William has left Philadelphia and has begun working for Rand Machine Products, Inc., a family business, located in Falconer, New York, a suburb of Jamestown. He would continue to work for Rand until 1975, a total of 18 years. In 1975, William would be about 62 years old, and likely stops work at Rand due to retirement. See below for more on Williams’s life in Jamestown, New York.
Philadelphia telephone white page records at Philadelphia’s Free Library list a William Robertson from 1947 to 1962. Philadelphia has been, from the 1700s, a center of shipbuilding. William Jr. graduated from the Newport News Shipbuilding Company’s Apprentice School in 1935, as a machinist. Following the end of the 2nd World War in 1945, Philadelphia and its shipbuilding industry might have offered good employment opportunities and this could explain why William is in Philadelphia in 1953, and possibly from 1947 to 1962.
As a graduate of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company’s Apprentice School, William was an alumnus of an outstanding institution. The Apprentice School has been formally operating as a school at the shipyard since 1919, and even before that, the shipyard, which was founded in the late 1880s, had an apprentice program.
More than 10,000 apprentices have graduated from the school since 1919. The school continues to thrive and be a critical institution offering unique training in more than 20 trades and disciplines important to shipbuilding. As of 2013, the school has more than 850 students.
By 1750, Philadelphia was a major shipbuilding area in the colonies. One reason was the many settlers to the area who had shipbuilding experiences, gaining needed technical skills, in England before their migration to Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is 100 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, up Delaware Bay and River. However, many settlers to Philadelphia had experience in the ship building industry on the Thames River in England. Shipbuilding activities on the Delaware River would be similar to shipbuilding on the Thames. Another reason for Philadelphia's emergence in shipbuilding was the abundant natural resources near Philadelphia, such as the needed kinds of lumber, pine tar, and mineral deposits. A third reason was that ships were critical for the economy, more so than in later times. This demand for ships created good economic opportunities for enterprising Philadelphians to pursue and to build upon.
After Independence, Philadelphia continued its shipbuilding ways, but it was no longer the largest American shipbuilding center, relinquishing that distinction to the New York City and Baltimore areas. In the early days of the country, the US Navy turned to Philadelphia shipbuilding for many of its expanded needs for ships, keeping Philadelphia alive as a shipbuilding site. This demand would soon dwindle until later in the 19th Century when wooden, sailing ships were displaced by metal, steamed-powered ships. With these new types of ships, new shipbuilding skills, such as mechanical, machine, and management, were required, and the Philadelphia area happened to have residents with such skills. With the skills and the demand for these new ships, Philadelphia’s shipbuilding industry was revitalized and would go on to play important roles in providing ships during the World War I and II eras.
Following World War II, the US Navy continued to have a need for ships and this would keep Philadelphia going in shipbuilding, at least for a few more years. Unfortunately by the 1960s, shipbuilding in the United States needed to be consolidated and concentrated, and Philadelphia was not one of the concentration areas. Perhaps, it was this history, a still strong shipbuilding industry in the late 1940s and 1950s, which drew William to Philadelphia, and the decline of shipbuilding in Philadelphia in the 1960s that would lead him away from Philadelphia by the mid-1960s.
Crew lists for cargo ships do have a William Robertson, with an age the same as William, my uncle, serving on cruises in 1938 and 1941. It is not known if this is William, but the possibility exists. With his brother, Richard, being a seaman (see above for information on Richard), perhaps William was lured into trying seamanship. Living in Newport News, his association with ships and shipbuilding, and having Richard as an older brother would certainly be background factors if he did spend some time as a ship’s crewman.
But, why did William Jr. go to Jamestown, New York, where he died in 1985? As stated above, according to Social Security Administration records, by 1956, William has left Philadelphia and has begun working for Rand Machine Products, Inc., a family business, located in Falconer, New York, a suburb of Jamestown. He would continue to work for Rand until 1975, a total of 18 years.
Jamestown city directories list a William Robertson Jr. starting in 1961 and continuing off and on until 1986. Some of these listings also show the listed William Robertson, Jr. as being a machinist. In the early 1960s, Jamestown had industries needing skilled machinists.
Beginning in 1963, and continuing to 1969, the listed William Robertson Jr. shows a wife, Evelyn.
From 1961 to 1985, a gap of nine years, 1970 to 1979, exists (except for one year – 1975) when no William Robertson, Jr. is listed in the Jamestown city directories. But, then, starting in 1980, a William Robertson, Jr. returns to the listings, but without a wife. He is now listed as retired. He continues to be listed until 1985. Almost certainly this William Robertson, Jr., appearing in the Jamestown city directories, is my Mother’s brother, William E. Robertson, Jr., who dies in 1985 in Jamestown.
At the time of William’s death, his will was probated, and in the will he directs that a fund be established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to benefit the YMCA, YWCA, and the Boys’ Club. William left $80,000 to this fund. According to Chautauqua Region Community Foundation records, since 1986, approximately $97,500 have been contributed to the YMCA, YWCA, and Boy’s Club. The fund has a current (2013) market value of approximately $151,000.
William is buried at the Sunset Hill Cemetery near Jamestown. Interesting is that he is buried next to a Gunborg E. Lawson, who is described as a friend in cemetery records, and from whom William acquired the burial plot.
More about what William was doing in Philadelphia and Jamestown, about Evelyn, about a reason for the 9-year gap in the Jamestown city directory listings, and about William’s friendship with Gunborg would be interesting to know.
With the name Gunborg, I assumed that William’s friend, Gunborg E. Lawson, who is buried next to William, and from whom William acquired the burial plot, was a male. This is incorrect. Gunborg E. Lawson was a female.
A Gunborg E. Lawson was born in 1911, in Jamestown. Her parents were Fred O. and Evaline Lawson who were born in Sweden. Gunborg is a feminine name in Sweden. Census records show that Gunborg became a registered nurse. In the 1930 Census, she is in Queens, New York City. In the 1940 Census, Gunborg is in the Bronx, New York City, as a registered nurse. The 1940 Census indicates that in 1935 she lived in Miami, Florida.
The above information on Gunborg suggests that the Gunborg E. Lawson from whom William obtained the cemetery plot, and whom he is buried next to, is the same Gunborg E. Lawson, born in Jamestown in 1911. The middle initial E. could will be for her mother Evaline (and used by her as the more Americanized, Evelyn), and would be the name Gunborg would go by (Evelyn). This would explain the Evelyn who is associated with William in the 1963 to 1969 Jamestown City Directories.
That Gunborg Evelyn Lawson and William Robertson were, indeed, very close friends has been verified (in 2013) by a niece of Gunborg’s. The niece’s recollections is that Gunborg and William could have met in Philadelphia, which I suspect is likely the case, and therefore William would migrate to Jamestown because of Gunborg.
Gunborg graduated from the Pennsylvania State University (according to her obituary) and from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She was a registered nurse in New York. How, why, and exactly when Gunborg and William would meet, likely in Philadelphia, is not known.
As mentioned above, William died in 1985 and left $80,000 to a William Robertson Fund. Other than the $80,000, the only other known assets that William left behind were 20 pieces of jewelry (watches, bracelets, and rings). One of the rings appears to be a wedding ring engraved with “FL to EL”. This might be Evelyn’s parents’ wedding ring (Fred O. and Evaline Lawson). Another ladies diamond ring had the initials “EL”, again perhaps Evelyn’s mother ring or perhaps Evelyn’s ring. Correlation of the initials on William’s jewelry with Gunborg E. Lawson’s family names suggests that the Evelyn associated with William in the 1963 to 1969 Jamestown City Directories was Gunborg E. Lawson, presumably, but not necessarily, his wife.
Another interesting finding from the Jamestown City Directories was the re-appearance of William Robertson’s name in 1975, during the nine-year gap, 1970 to 1979, in which otherwise his name was absent from the directories. Gunborg (Evelyn) dies in 1975 (the date on her grave marker). Was there is relationship between William re-appearing in the Jamestown City Directory in 1975 (being otherwise absent from 1970 to 1979) and Gunborg’s death in 1975. It seems likely.
Two of the jewelry pieces William left behind were class rings, one a Newport News High School 1930 class ring and one a Newport News Shipbuilding Apprentice School 1935 class ring. Another ring has a ladies portrait, almost certainly a portrait of Eva Luke Stokes Robertson, his mother and one of my grandmothers (based on photographs that I have seen of Eva).
The 1930 Newport News High school class ring apparently was engraved with William R. Jr, providing William's middle initial – R.
The Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company grew out of a vision of the late 1800s railroad industrialist Collis P. Huntington and his associates. Initially Huntington only intended to use the location at Newport News as a shipping point at which coal could be loaded on ships. In order to do this he had t extend his railroad, the Chesapeake and Ohio, east from Richmond to Newport News, very suitably situated at the mouth to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. From this limited vision grew a great shipbuilding enterprise. Hundreds of ships have been built at the Newport News Shipyard, many of which have been for the US Navy. By 1930, the shipyard had 5,000 employees, and in 2013, 20,000 employees.
Eva Luke Stokes Robertson died in Newport News on September 11, 1939, at age 69. At the time of her death, she lived at 310 Palen Ave., Hilton Village in Newport News. She is buried in Peninsula Memorial Park in Newport News. Eva’s burial service was conducted at Trinity Methodist Church, which helps to confirm my mother’s account that she, my Mother, was a Methodist while growing up. That Eva was a Methodist connects her to earlier Lukes in Portsmouth. As indicated above under the Dale Delafield Luke section, an earlier Luke (Isaac Luke) helped start a church in Portsmouth, which eventually became the present day Portsmouth Monumental United Methodist Church. Eva’s grandparents, John and Lydia Luke attended Monumental, and Eva’s parents were married at Monumental. Eva died of a ruptured appendix. She died at Riverside Hospital. F.L Stokes, one of her sons, was informant on her burial certificate.
An obituary for Eva appeared in the Newport News’ Times Herald on September 12, 1939. The obituary stated that Eva was survived by her husband, William; sons Richard R. and Henry E.R., in Roanoke; son William, Jr., in Newport News; daughter, Mrs. S. Brown, in Richmond; sons Frank and William Stokes in Newport News; and daughter Evelyn Torian, in Hampton. 3 nephews, 3 nieces, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild also survived Eva. Pallbearers at the funeral were L.H. Dunnigan; R.N. Bridges; E.P. DeShasor; C.P. Marston; Henry Messick; and J.O. Ewing. Headlines at the time of Eva’s death dealt with Germany’s invasion of Poland.
One of Eva’s sisters, Lillie (also known as Lydia), according to my Mother, married a Hope and lived in Ocean View. Lydia was Dale Luke's mother's name. My Mother remembered 3 of Lillie’s children names as being Harry, Lily, and Sing.
The 1910 Census shows a George W. Hope, age 47, as head of household, and living in Ward 5, Norfolk. Also in the household was Lillie D., age 41, wife; Harry L., age 14; Hottie L., age 12; Haman L., age 11; Mattie L., age 6; and George R., age 1.
The 1920 Census shows a George W. Hope, age 59, head of household, living at Tanners Creek, Norfolk. Also in the household was Lillie D.; Harmon L., age 20; Leona, age 15; and Raymond, age 10. George W. was listed as a carpenter and Lillie was a (looks like) assorter in a tobacco factory. The 1920 Census shows that the L middle initial for the 1910 Mattie is Leona and that Harry L. and Hottie L. have left George W. and Lillie D’s household. The Tanners Creek section of Norfolk is not far from Ocean View.
A Lillie D. Hope, age 61, is in the 1930 Census, living in Ocean View. Also in Lillie D Hope’s household was a daughter, Mattie L., age (looks like) 23, who was a spinner in a silk mill. This Lillie D. Hope is the same as the 1910 and 1920 Lillie D. Hope in George W. Hope’s household. Apparently, by 1930 George W. has died and the other children have left the household.
Lillie D. Hope’s age, 61 in 1930, matches well Lydia (Lillie) Luke’s age, who in the Dale D.-Martha F Shepherd Luke census of 1870 was age 2. Also, the name that my Mother remembered (Harry) as one of the names of Lillie's children matches the Harry that appears in Lillie D. Hope’s 1910 census. And, that Lillie D. Hope was listed as living in Ocean View in the 1930 Census matches my Mother’s recollection that Lillie lived in Ocean View. Lillie D. Hope of the 1910, 1920, and 1930 Censuses could very well be Lillie (Lydia) Luke, Eva’s sister.
In the 1930 Census is listed a Harry L. Hope, age 33, carpenter, living in Norfolk. In the household was Mary L., age 31, wife; Margaret, age 12; Harry, age 10; Daisy, age 8; Herman, age 7; and Bessie , age 5. This is likely the Harry L. who is the son of George W. and Lillie D. Hope, and possible grandson of Dale D. and Martha F. Luke.
At the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Norfolk is buried a Harry L. Hope, Sr, died May 23, 1970 and a Harry L. Hope, Jr, born September 8, 1919 and died November 30, 1974. These Hopes are likely the Harry L Hope, age 33, and the Harry Hope, age 10, in the 1930 census, and are father and son.
A Norfolk-Portsmouth 1890 city directory shows a George W. Hope as a carpenter. This occupation matches the 1920 George W. Hope occupation.
Also in the 1880 Census is a George W. Hope, age 19, living in Hampton with his mother, Sarah A. Hope, and with several brothers and sisters. This George W. Hope’s age matches the 1920 George W. Hope age.
The 1870 Census shows a George W. Hope, age 9, living in George W., Senior, and Sarah Hope’s household in Hampton, with several brothers and sisters. Interesting, George W. Hope, Senior, in this 1870 Census is listed as a ship’s carpenter, the same occupation as Dale D. Luke. These Hopes were members of the Elizabeth City Parish in Hampton.
Was Lillie D Hope’s husband, George W., the same George W. Hope in the 1890 Norfolk-Portsmouth city director and/or the same George W. Hope, Jr. in the 1870 and 1880 Hampton censuses? And, if yes, was that the 1870 and 1880 George W. Hope’s father a ship carpenter somehow a factor in how George W. Hope and Lillie D. (possibly Luke) met – the factor being that their fathers knew one another because both were ship carpenters? Maybe one day information will become available to answer this question.
The Elizabeth City County (which included the City of Hampton) marriage register for males (1865-1944) shows a George Williams Hope marrying a Lydia Lake on December 3, 1883. As stated above, a George W. Hope, age 19, is in the 1880 Census, in Hampton. Based on the above paragraphs, it is probable that a mistake was made in the marriage register and Lydia Lake was in fact Lydia Luke and that the Lydia in the 1883 marriage, in Hampton, was Lydia Luke, daughter of Dale D. and Martha Shepherd Luke of Portsmouth.
What was the connection between Lydia, of Portsmouth, and Hampton (where George W. was from) and Eva, of Portsmouth, and Newport News, where Eva was living in 1890, with her first child, Eva, just borne? One connection is shipbuilding. Both husbands and wives had shipbuilding in their backgrounds. Another connection could be the need for Lydia and Eva to marry young, since their father was no longer present with the family and their mother was suffering from mental illness (see the Dale Delafield Luke and Martha F. Shepherd sections for more on this). Both Lydia and Eva married young, e.g. by age 16 or 17. However, the more likely connection is discussed in detail in the Dale Delafield Luke section. And, that connection is that one of Dale Luke’s sisters, Sarah, marries John Richard Bray, from Gloucester County in the 1860s, and begins living in Gloucester County. Gloucester County is very close to what were then Elizabeth City County and the City of Hampton. With Lydia, Eva, and Rachel, Dale and Martha Luke’s daughter's, still young, when Martha was committed to Eastern State and Dale appears to be gone from the scene, Sarah, their aunt, would be a very likely relative to have taken the sisters in.
Eva’s other, younger sister, Rachel, became a Taylor and lived in Newport News, again according to my mother. From my Mother, Rachel apparently had William, Louise, and Sidney.
No Rachel Taylor could be found in censuses. Possibly Rachel Taylor dies young.
However, a William Taylor is listed in William Robertson’s 1920 Census as a nephew, verifying information provided by my Mother about William being a son of Rachel Luke Taylor and likely that Rachel Luke did lived in Newport News or nearby. See the William Robertson section for more on this 1920 Census.
In the 1930 Newport News Census, a William T. Taylor, age 27, is head of household. Also, in the household are his two brothers, Sidney T, age 29; and John W., age 31. Both William and Sidney were machinists at a shipyard (likely Newport News Shipyard). John W. did not have an occupation listed. These three Taylors are very possibly the sons of the Rachel Taylor who is believed to be Eva and Lillie Luke's sister.
The 1940 census shows a William J. H. Taylor, age 36, living in Newport News and working as a shop machinist. He was married and was renting his residence. William Taylor had completed the 7th grade.
There was a John Taylor, age 20, in the 1920 Newport News census. He was in the S.T. Throm family. S. T. was 40, his wife Winnet, age 39, and their children Louis and Francis, ages 17 and 4. Is this the John Taylor in the 1930 William T Taylor census? That both William and John Taylor are in different families in 1920 supports the theory that Rachel Taylor, their mother, is either dead by 1920, or in some way unable to be a mother to her children.
Is it possible that the three daughters, Lillie (Lydia), Eva, and Rachel, of Martha F. Shepherd and D.D. Luke moved to the Peninsula (the name used to refer to the Newport News/Hampton area) following Martha's emission to Eastern State? That all three apparently were living there, or married there in the case of Lillie, between 1883 and 1900, offers the possibility.
Apparently, my mother was the only one of the Robertson-Luke children to have children. She had me, Richard Leslie Torian, and my brother, Melvin Carter Torian, Jr. Harry, one of my Mother’s brothers, adapted a daughter, Patricia. And, only one of my mother’s step-siblings, William B. Stokes, was known to have children.
My mother, Evelyn, was born in Newport News on September 21, 1908. She married my father, Melvin Carter Torian, on August 3, 1935 in Newport News. She graduated from Newport News High School in 1928. My mother worked when she was young at Nachman’s Department Store in Newport News and in the Newport News Shipyard Credit Union. I have been banking at a Credit Union for 30 years. After marriage, she was a housekeeper, mother, and faithful and helpful wife. Evelyn Mae Robertson Torian died on May 29, 2007, living 98 years and 9 months.
My brother, Melvin Carter Torian, Jr., born on March 16, 1936 in Hampton, worked as a civilian for the Navy in Portsmouth and Norfolk before retiring from federal civil service. He earned a certificate from a community college in the Norfolk area.
I, Richard Leslie Torian, was born on February 14, 1944 in Hampton. After graduating from college, I worked as a laboratory chemist and then as a Defense Department intelligence analyst before retiring in 1994 from federal civil service. I then continued my education in business and accounting, eventually working as an accountant for small companies in the Frederick, Maryland area. I also started my own company
My Brother had, in the 1960s, a son, Keith, who so far has had two children, Michael and Kimberly. I had one son in 1976, Maxwell Lansing.