For whom the Bell tolls

Chasing Arby

She had three names that we knew of — until yesterday, that is.

She was born Margaret Arby Cottrell, the third daughter and fourth known child of my second great grandparents, George Washington and Martha Louisa (Baker) Cottrell.1

ArbyThe birthday given on her death certificate — the 5th of July — is probably correct, though the 1900 census says she was born in August.2

The birth year — 1871? Well, not so likely.

Her parents can’t be found in the 1870 census, but in 1880 Margaret was recorded in their household with an age of 16, or birth year 1863-64.3 She was recorded as age 36 in 1900,4 age 45 in 1910,5 and age 56 in 1920.6 She left no descendants for us to ask, but a birth year of 1863-1865 is far more likely.

And when she married Robert C. Hollis in Parker County, Texas, 128 years ago yesterday — on 15 November 1885 — she became Margaret Arby (Cottrell) Hollis.7 She was Margaret or Arby Hollis on the census in 1900, 1910 and 1920.

When she died in 1944, however, she died as Margaret Arby McCann, wife of J. M. McCann of Aspermont, Stonewall County.8 Even though we haven’t yet found a marriage record for Arby and J. M. McCann, we know that’s our Arby for a lot of reasons, particularly:

• Her parents are identified on her death certificate as G.W. Cottrell and Louisa Baker.9

• When she died, the Aspermont Star newspaper published a Card of Thanks signed by J.M. McCann, Mrs. J.H. Green and Mrs. and Mrs. E. N. Aycock.10 Mrs. J.H. Green was Mary (Cottrell) Green, another daughter of G.W. and Louisa (Baker) Cottrell.11 And Mrs. Aycock was Ludy Katherine (Green) Aycock, daughter of John H. and Mary (Cottrell) Green.12

We were able to find a death record for Robert Hollis — he died in Abilene, on 15 May 1928.13 And we can find the McCanns — Jim and Arby — on the 1940 census.14

But where was she — and who was she — in 1930? Poking around that Aspermont newspaper yesterday — it’s now available online — using all the family names as search terms provided a clue to yet another name.

The newspaper reported in June 1931 that “Mrs. Eugene Aycock of Levelland Mrs. J.C. Holley of Lubbock visited with relatives here last week. Mrs. Green who had been with her sister Mrs. A. Bell for the past few weeks returned home with them.”15

Bell? Who the heck was Bell?

Well, according to the 1930 census, he was the 71-year-old husband of somebody named Arby Bell, age 66.16

I haven’t found a marriage record for the Bells yet, nor a death record for Jim Bell, but one thing’s for sure…

The Bell tolls for Arby… and we’re hot on her trail.


SOURCES

  1. Texas Department of Health, death certif. no. 20306, Margaret Arby McCann (13 Apr 1944), Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin.
  2. 1900 U.S. census, Wilbarger County, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 3, enumeration district (ED) 130, p. 284(A) (stamped), sheet 6A, dwelling 95, family 100, Margaret A Hollis; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication T623, roll 1679.
  3. 1880 U.S. census, Parker County, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 6, enumeration district (ED) 139, p. 458(B) (stamped), dwelling 10, family 10, George W Cotrell household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication T9, roll 1232; imaged from FHL microfilm 1255323.
  4. 1900 U.S. census, Wilbarger Co., Tex., pop. sched., Justice Pct. 3, ED 130, p. 284(A) (stamped), sheet 6A, dwell. 95, fam. 100, Margaret A Hollis.
  5. 1910 U.S. census, Wichita County, TX, population schedule, Justice Precinct 3, enumeration district (ED) 230, p. 31(B) (stamped), sheet 2(B), dwelling 23, family 23, Arby Hollis; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication T624, roll 1597; imaged from FHL microfilm 1375610.
  6. 1920 U.S. census, Stonewall County, TX, population schedule, Aspermont, p. 226, enumeration district (ED) 231(A) (stamped), sheet 1(A), dwelling 1, family 1, Arby Hollis; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Oct 2011); citing National Archive microfilm publication T625, roll 1842.
  7. Parker County, Texas, Marriage Book 1: 38, marriage license and return, R C Hollis and Arby Cottrell, 15 Nov 1885; County Clerk’s Office, Weatherford.
  8. Texas Dept. of Health, death certif. no. 20306, Margaret Arby McCann (13 Apr 1944).
  9. Ibid.
  10. “Card of Thanks,” Aspermont (Tex.) Star, 20 Apr 1944, p. 1, col. 2; digital images, Portal to Texas History (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ : accessed 15 Nov 2013).
  11. Texas Department of Health, death certif. no. 32464, Mary E. Green (12 July 1946), Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin.
  12. Texas Department of Health, death certif. no. 68584, Ludy Katherine Aycock (31 Aug 1975), Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin.
  13. Texas Dept. of Health, death certif. no. 23369, Robert C. Hollis (15 May 1928), Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin.
  14. 1940 U.S. census, Stonewall County, Texas, Aspermont, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 217-1, sheet 4(A), dwelling 64, Arby McCann; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Nov 2013); citing National Archive microfilm publication T627, roll 4140.
  15. Aspermont (Tex.) Star, 4 June 1931, p. 2, col. 4.
  16. 1930 U.S. census, Stonewall County, Texas, Aspermont, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 217-1, sheet 4(A), dwelling 77, family 78, Jim and Arby Bell; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Nov 2013); citing National Archive microfilm publication T626, roll 2389; imaged from FHL microfilm 2342123.
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2 Responses to For whom the Bell tolls

  1. Celia Lewis says:

    Ring on, Judy. I can hear echoes…
    What an interesting life she had, eh? What would that have been like, I wonder, marrying those 3 men at different times in her life. Very interesting. Hope your many-married relative had a good life.

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