Luna May “May” Stevens, my great-grandmother, was born 8 April 1872 in Oglethorpe, Georgia. She was the daughter of Columbus Augustus “Gus” Stevens and Martha Jane Witcher.
May was the 2nd born of 8 children. Her father, Gus, served in the War between the States. He later became a large land owner. We will discuss him more carefully in later post.
According to the 1880 Census, May lived with her parents and siblings on a Farm in the Groves Creek District of Oglethorpe County. May was listed as a student.
The 1890 Census was lost to fire. You can read more about it here: http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1996/spring/1890-census-1.html
We find her in the 1900 Census already married to Walter Everett Whitehead. They are now living in Fork District, Madison County. Her first two sons, George Stevens and Walter Joe are listed in this census as well. We will also discuss Walter Everett more thoroughly in a later post.
We know that they married on the 22nd of November 1894, as I have a copy of the marriage certificate.
By the 1910 Census, Luna May has had her last two children, Fred Augustus and Martha Ann. They are still in Fork District, Carlton, Madison County.
In the 1920 Census, the family of 6 still resides in Madison County.
Luna May dies on 16 July 1921, she was only 49 years old. According to her death certificate, she had chronic arthritis for 17 years.
She is buried in the Obadiah Stevens Family Cemetery in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.
As I have said previously, I am very fortunate because there has been genealogist research my paternal side for decades before me. I am in possession of one such collection, The Adams Family, James Adams Line, by Emma Chloe Adams Whitehead (the wife of my Grand Uncle).
In her book, we gain a bit more information about May. “Joe (Walter Joe) said his mother had a brilliant mind and though she was bedridden with arthritis, knew where everything in the house was kept (Whitehead, 1983, p. 265).
Furthermore, I am in possession of Emma’s daughter Martha Mae Whitehead’s family history written in longhand the little green book, entitled “250 Years with 6 generations of Whitehead’s.” In it, she wrote,
Luna May Stevens Whitehead, his wife, was a victim of rheumatoid
arthritis and after the birth of their fourth child, in 1904, was an invalid
until her death in 1921. She was an inspiration to all who knew her,
never complaining about her condition. She possessed a keen
mind and could solve complicated math problems without using
pencil and paper!
Walter built a new home for him and his wife. According to appraisal records it was built in 1921. It seems unclear how long she was able to live there as she died in 1921. But the plan was for the master bedroom and bathroom to be first floor.
I recently asked my Aunts and father what they could recall. Aunt Viv stated, “I believe she had rheumatoid arthritis and she was bed ridden when Daddy was young. I can remember Daddy talking about how they would sit at her bedside, and she would read to them…or work with them on their homework. From his stories, I gather she was a loving caring mom despite her infirmity. I think that because she was an invalid Aunt Martha lived with Aunt Cynnie and Pellie.”
It makes me sentimental to think of the love Walter had for his wife to have a house built to accommodate her infirmities. Walter never remarried.