Growing up, my mother's stepfather and his upbringing were somewhat of a mystery. Wes was part-Cherokee; he and his brother, Lee, had been brought up by their father after their parents divorced. The father was apparently an abusive parent and the mother, Frances Blevins, seemingly just vanished. She was half Cherokee, the daughter of a Cherokee father and white mother. At just fifteen years old, she married a white man of 29 who was living in Indian Territory, had two sons and a daughter by age 19, and was divorced soon after. I recall hearing that she remarried and had another child and that she had committed suicide. But there was really no evidence to support any of the stories and Wes seems to have never spoken about her. I also remember seeing a photograph of a young girl that was supposedly his mother, but nothing else. So it's remained a mystery.
This week, I finally got around to perusing the Indian records on Fold3. I knew that Frances and her children had been enrolled on the Dawes Roll in the early 1900s, however, I hadn't seen more than just a list until this week. The packets that are available on Fold3 give a tremendous amount of information (on both Dawes and Guion Miller) and have solved the mystery of what became of Frances after her divorce. Unfortunately, it also leads to more questions that must be answered!
Frances and Robert Berry married in October of 1896. Their first son, Wesley, was born in 1897 and their son Lee in 1899. A daughter named Maud was born in August 1902; Maud only lived a year, dying the day before her first birthday in August 1903. I found a death record for her in the Dawes packet, but no cause of death is given. According to statements given by Robert in the packet, he and Frances separated the same month their daughter died. They were officially divorced in November 1903 and Frances married William F. Maberry in December. On April 5, 1904, she died at the age of 22. No cause of death is given on her death record in the packet.
Now we take a turn into soap opera world. After finding these records, I began researching Mr. Maberry. It seems that he married Frances's sister, Araminta (Mintie) Blevins fairly soon after her death. And twin girls named Hattie and Mattie were born in July 1904, just three months after Frances died. Was William having a relationship with Mintie and expecting the babies while he was still married to Frances? Mintie and William had three more children and were married until his death in 1962. So far I've had no luck locating any kind of obituary or death record for Frances that lists her cause of death, but a young woman who had experienced the death of a child and then a husband and sister who were carrying on with each other might just be driven to a desperate act.
And just to add to the soap element, it seems Frances's mother Louisa, after divorcing her father, married Robert Berry's brother and had four children with him. I can't even begin to figure those relationships out.
|Part of Robert Berry's statement for enrollment on Dawes Roll|
|Enrollment on Dawes Roll|
|Robert Berry's statement on the death of his ex-wife|
|Frances Lavona Blevins Berry Maberry, 1881 - 1904, Dewey Cemetery, Dewey, Washington, OK|