Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Relationship of Susan Davis and Martin L. Schenck

Susan E. Davis was born around 1879 or 1880. She first appears in the 1880 census as a 6 month old baby in the home of her parents, Benjamin Franklin and Julia Ann Sibley Davis.

Benjimine F. Davis51
Julia A. Davis42
Louvena Davis17
Thomas F. Davis15
Eliza M. Davis13
Hartwell Davis11
John S. Davis9
Mary Davis6
Catharine Davis5
Sallie Davis2
Susan Davis3m

Twenty years later, she is the only daughter in the home with her mother "July" (pronounced Julie) Davis, brother Hartwell Alexander Davis, and a niece, 8 year old "Victory", whose identity I have not determined.

NameSusson July
Birth DateMar 1880
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1900 Tyson, Stanly, North Carolina
Race White
Gender Female
Relation to Head of House Daughter
Marital Status Single
Father's Birthplace North Carolina
Mother's Name Davis July
Mother's Birthplace North Carolina
Household Members
Davis July71
Alexander July33
Susson July20
Victory July8

1910 finds Susan, or Susie as she was called, as in inmate at Broughton State Hospital in Morganton, North Carolina.

NameSusie David
Age in 191032
Birth Yearabt 1878
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Home in 1910Morganton, Burke, North Carolina
Relation to Head of HousePatient
Marital StatusSingle
Native TongueEnglish
Able to readNo
Able to WriteNo

However, she was  not alone there. Also there were her sisters, Sarah,( or Sallie), Davis Whitaker and W. C. (or Kitty) Davis Cox.

In a land dispute in 1911, sister Sallie Davis Whitaker is still alive and Susie is still a Davis.

I have no proof, but it may be possible, that Susan met her future husband, Martin Luther Schenck, of Rowan County, there. 

Name:Martin Luther Schenck
Marriage Date:9 Jan 1916
Marriage Place:Rowan, North Carolina, USA
Spouse:Susie E Davis
Spouse Gender:Female
Event Type:Marriage

Luther and Susie would be married in Rowan County, NC, 6 years later. I know that this is the correct Susie E. Davis, because her address is Norwood, North Carolina, which is in Stanly County and near the farm where she was raised, and also, because later land divisions and court actions after the death of her mother Julia in 1914, and sister Kitty, in 1922, gives her name as "Shank/Shenk". 

Despite being married in 1916, Martin Luther Schenck's draft registration for World War I lists him as single. 

Name:Martin Luther Schenck
State:North Carolina
Birthplace:North Carolina
Birth Date:26 May 1891
Race:Caucasian (White)


Nearest Relative:


Color of Eyes/Hair:


The other interesting thing that this document gives is his reason for exemption, "Off in Mind". This is why I believe Susie may have met him in Broughton. They both obviously had been released by 1916.

The document gives his occupation as a farmer, working for his father and living in China Grove. He is tall, slender, and had light gray eyes and light brown hair. 

The 1920 census finds Luther living with his parents, and no Susan, although it does list his marital status as married.

Name:Martin L Shank
Birth Year:abt 1892
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1920:China Grove, RowanNorth Carolina
Street:Gold Hill Road
Relation to Head of House:Son
Marital Status:Married
Father's name:Augustus G Shank
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's name:Maggie Shank
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Able to Speak English:Yes
Employment Field:Wage or Salary
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Augustus G Shank57
Maggie Shank50
Martin L Shank28
Douglas A Shank21
Beulah F Shank15
Sherly B Shank14
Bessie F Shank13
Burleson T Shank12
Richard E Shank6
Spencer F Shank4
[4 6/12] 

Maybe his death record would shed some light on Martin's life and perhaps Susan's.

NameMartin Luther Schenck
Event TypeDeath
Event Date06 Jul 1969
Event PlaceLumberton, Robeson, North Carolina
Birth Year1892
Burial Date08 Jul 1969
Burial PlaceRowan, N.C.
CemeteryEbenezer Lutheran Comt.
Residence PlaceChina Grove, Rowan, North Carolina
AddressRt. 2
Marital StatusMarried
Race (Original)White
Birth Date26 May 1892
BirthplaceNorth Carolina
Father's NameAugustus G. Schenck
Mother's NameMargaret R. Roseman

Buried in China Grove, Martin L. Schenck passed away in Lumberton. Was he residing there, or was he being treated in a hospital?

A quick look at his death certificate does give a little more information. The informant was his brother, S. F. Schenck of China Grove, and Martin Luther Schenck was at the Cancer Institute and passed away of Cancer of the Bladder. His usual occupation was given as farming and his parents as Augustus G. Schenck and Margaret Roseman Schenck. His marital status is given as married, but in the blank for spouses name, it is recorded as "UnKnown", His address was given as Rt. 2, China Grove.

His death record declares that he was married. Was he still married to Susan, and was she still alive, or had he married someone else? His Find-A-Grave Memorial does mention that he married Susie E. Davis, although she is not buried with him.

Martin Luther Schenck

Susan E. Davis Schenck was still alive, at least in 1922, when she was a part of a land division due to the death of her sister W. C. "Kitty" Davis Cox, who had no children.
Kitty pt 2

The Stanly News-Herald
(Albemarle, North Carolina)
11 Jul 1922, Tue • Page 3

There are no indications that Susie and Luther Schenck had any children. It actually appears that they split up by the 1920 census, four years after their marriage, but Luther is still shown as married that year, however by 1930, he is not.

Name:Luther M Schenck
Birth Year:abt 1892
Birthplace:North Carolina
Marital Status:Single
Relation to Head of House:Son
Home in 1930:China Grove, Rowan, North Carolina
Map of Home:View Map
Street address:Concord and Salisbury Road
Dwelling Number:24
Family Number:26
Attended School:No
Able to Read and Write:No
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Able to Speak English:No
Industry:General Farm
Class of Worker:Unpaid worker, member of the family
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Augustus Schenck65
Maggie Schenck55
Luther M Schenck38
Trexlor Schenck21
Richard Schenck16
Spencer Schenck15

What I find most interesting about this census, is that although he is an unpaid family member working on his fathers farm, it claims he is unable to read and write, which was not unheard of then, but also that he was not able to speak English, although he was born in Rowan County, as was both of his parents. Did this mean he was unable to speak at all?

After the 1922 mention in the Stanly County Newspaper, Susie falls off the map.

Perhaps a trip to Rowan County can shed some light on this mystery.

Codicil: The trip to Rowan really answered no questions. It produced the actual marriage certificate, with further information that cemented the fact that Susie Davis who married Martin L. Schenck was indeed the right Susie. There were two other Susie or Susan Davis that married in Rowan County. One was African American and the other was much younger and with different parents.

The Obituary of M. L. Shenck provide no information at all on Susan:

"China Grove- Martin Luther Schenck, 77 of Rt. 2 China Grove died Sunday at 3:40 pm at the Lumberton Hospital after an extended illness. 

He was born May 26, 1892 in Rowan County, the son of the late Augustus and Maggie Roseman Schenck. He was a member  of Ebenezer Lutheran Church. 

Surviving are five brothers, Douglas of Salisbury and wife Shirley, Trexler, Richard and Spencer Schenck, all of Rt. 2 China Grove; and a sister, Mrs. Della Snider of East Spencer (Della was a witness of the wedding). Funeral Services will be conducted Tuesday at 4 pm at Ebenezer Lutheran Church by the Rev. Everette Horne. Burial will be at the churh cemetery. 

The body will remain at  Linn-Honeycutt Funeral Home, Landis, until placed in the church 30 minutes before the services. The family will recieve freinds at the funeral home tonight from 7 to 5.

-The Salisbury Post, July 7, 1969  page 15.

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