Sunday, November 8, 2009

Erastus J. Perry: Obituaries - Part I

Armed with the info found on Erastus (and possibly his wife and son) in the SSDI, I next decided to check the Lake Charles American Press for obituaries. Here is what I found:

"E.J. Perry," obituary, Lake Charles (Louisiana) American Press, 29 Apr 1963, p. 2:
SULPHUR -- Funeral services for E.J. (Ras) Perry, 76, of Sulphur will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Burke-Hammer funeral home chapel. Rev. V. Henry Bowden, pastor of the Henning Memorial Methodist church, will officiate.

Burial will be in the Big Woods cemetery near Edgerly.

Mr. Perry, a resident of 1112 Morgan street, died at 11:20 a.m. Sunday following a long illness.

A native of Vinton, he had lived there until moving to Sulphur two months ago. He was a retired construction worker.

He was a veteran of World War I and before moving to Sulphur, he had been a member of the official board of the Vinton Methodist church for many years. He was also made honorary steward just before he moved. He was also made honorary steward of Henning Memorial Methodist church of Sulphur.

Survivors are his wife, Mrs. Bertha Westbrook Perry of Sulphur; one daughter, Mrs. Jack Strickland of Andrews, Texas; one son, Joe Perry of Carlyss; one sister, Mrs. Eula Harvey of Houston, Texas; and four grandchildren.

Well, this definitely looks like our Erastus Joseph Perry. Seems like he went by the name Ras, which must have been short for Erastus. His age of 76 would support a birth date of 10 Sep 1886, which is the birth date from the WWI Draft Registration card and from the SSDI.

Now that I know his burial place, I will be stopping by to take pictures. Big Woods Cemetery is literally in the middle of some "big woods."

This obit gives Bertha's maiden name as Westbrook.

It also gives a husband's name and residence for Erastus' daughter, presumably Carol from the 1930 census. Seems like she had moved to West Texas by 1963.

It looks like his son, Joe, didn't move too far. Carlyss is just south of Sulphur and southeast of Vinton.

His youngest sister, Eula, age 14 in the 1910 census and living with Erastus and their mother, Wyonna, seems to have married a man with a last name of Harvey and moved to Houston.

Here is what I found for Bertha:
"Mrs. Bertha Perry," obituary, Lake Charles (Louisiana) American Press, 25 Apr 1976, p. 26:

SULPHUR --- Funeral services for Mrs. Bertha Westbrook Perry, 83, will be at 2 p.m. today, April 25 in Hammer Funeral Home Chapel.

The Rev. Warren Blakeman will officiate. Burial will be in Big Woods Cemetery in Edgerly.

Mrs. Perry died at 2:10 a.m. Saturday in a local nursing home.

A native of Tuscanola, Miss., she had lived in Sulphur for 53 years. She was a member of Henning Memorial United Methodist Church.

Survivors are one son, Joe Perry, of Sulphur; one daughter, Mrs. Carol Perry of Imperial, Tex.; one brother, B.C. Westbrook of Birmingham, Ala.; three sisters, Mrs. O.J. Blair of Sulphur, Mrs. Lennon Hughs and Mrs. Mary Thompson, both of Miami, Fla.; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

The 1930 census did say Bertha and both of her parents were born in Mississippi. Tuscanola is an unincorporated area of Jones County in southeastern Mississippi. It is now called Moselle.

It seems like Bertha's daughter, Carol, had reverted back to using her maiden name, but still lived in West Texas, albeit a different town, in 1976.

Her son, Joe, still lived in the Sulphur/Carlyss area.

From this obit, we learn some of Bertha's siblings names and/or their spouse's names and their residences. I'm not quite sure if Lennon is her sister's name or her sister's husband's name. It looks like she had at least one other sibling in southwest Louisiana.

The obit says that Bertha had lived in Sulphur for 53 years, which would have put her moving there in 1923. I think this is an error, since she lived in Vinton in 1930. I believe that it meant to say that she moved to southwest Louisiana from Mississippi in 1923. According to the 1930 census, she married Erastus sometime around 1922 or 1923. Therefore, it would make sense that she moved to Louisiana in 1923. She probably moved to Sulphur in 1963 when her husband moved there, just two months before his death.

What's interesting is that the Perry family is still a prominent family in the Methodist Church in Vinton. I doubt the ones today are direct descendants of Erastus Joseph Perry and Bertha Westbrook because it seems that their only two children moved away from Vinton before 1963.

Stay tuned for the obituary of Erastus' son, Joe Perry.

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