Sunday, January 25, 2015

Henrietta Lucille Kell 1901 - 1967

This week’s topic for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was “closest to my birthday”:  I have several living relatives with birthdays on the same day as mine.  My mother’s birthday is only three days before mine and she is also still living.  I chose my Grand-Aunt Lucille Kell because she is no longer with us and so she qualifies as my ancestor with the closest birthday. 

Henrietta Lucille Kell was born on 3 Oct 1901 in Cook County, Illinois, probably at home in Maywood.  Her parents were William Henry Kell and Mary Elizabeth Davies.  She was the second child and the first girl of nine children (5 boys, 4 girls) born to this couple.  She was probably named for her paternal grandmother, Henrietta Clay Kell.  To her family she was known as “Cele” (pronounced as “seal”).

She is found in the 1910 US Census (enumerated 20 April 1910) as Lucille H in the household of her father William H Kell, along with her mother Mary E and 5 siblings – Ray D, William H jr, Paul E, Merle E and Ruth M.  The address is 1505 7th Ave in Maywood, Cook County, Illinois.  Her father is listed as a salesman for a printing company.

Kell Home, 1505 S 7th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois

Mary Kell holding her daughters Ruth and Merle, 
seated left to right are Lucille, Billy, Ray and Paul circa 1913

A few weeks before her 12th birthday, on 23 September 1913, one of her younger brothers, William H Kell, Junior or Billy, died from a childhood accident at the age of 10 years old.

William H Kell, junior – “Billy”

Top row, L to R:  William H Kell, Ella Davies (Mary’s sister), Herbert Davies (Mary’s brother),
Bottom row, L to R:  Merle Kell, Lucille Kell, Ruth Kell, Mary Davies Kell, Francis Kell
Circa 1914-15

Lucille would have attended Proviso Township High School (founded in 1910), today known as Proviso East High School, in Maywood, Illinois.

Kell daughters:  Lucille holding Jean, Merle, Ruth; 
Jean was born Aug 8, 1916

Kell sons, Lucille's brothers:  
Ray holding Lyle, Francis and Paul, circa 1915

She is found in the 1920 US Census (enumerated 13 Jan 1920) as Lucille in the household of her father listed as Wm Henry Kell, along with her mother Mary E and 7 siblings – Ray, Paul, Merle, Ruth, Francis, Lyle, and Jean.  The address is 1505 7th Ave in Maywood, Cook County, Illinois.  Her father is listed as a salesman of books.

Lucille married Victor Martin Thompson (born 5 Aug 1900 in Illinois) on 2 Dec 1922 in Cook County, Illinois ( Cook County, Illinois Marriage Indexes, 1912-1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011). Family records agree with this date.  I do not have a marriage license for them at this time.

She is found in the 1930 US Census (enumerated 21 Apr 1930) as Henrietta L, wife of Head of household Victor M Thompson.  The address is 504 S. Cuyler St, Oak Park, Cook County, Illinois.  It shows that they have been married for 7 years, no children.  Victor is a postal clerk for Railway Mail and Lucille is a Payroll Clerk for Tobacco Manufacturing Company.  My mother tells me Lucille was a long-time employee of United States Tobacco.  In the 1923 Chicago City Directory, United States Tobacco is listed at 4325 5th Ave.

In October 1930, Lucille became the godmother to Carol Lucille Koepke, her sister Merle’s first child.  Perhaps because of the closeness of their birthdays, Carol was named for her Aunt Lucille. 

William Kell family, August 1932, Pontiac, Illinois. 
Back row Left to right: Ruth, Lucille, Jean, Merle
Front row L-R: Francis, Lyle, Mary, William, Paul, Ray

Lucille is found in the 1940 US Census (enumerated 4 Apr 1940) as Henrietta L, wife of Head of household Victor M Thompson.  The address is 506 S. Cuyler St, Oak Park, Cook County, Illinois, same location in 1935.  Her education level is shown as 4 years of High School; his is 8th grade. Victor is a Railway Postal Clerk for Railway Mail and Lucille is a Payroll Clerk for Tobacco Company.    

Sometime after 1940 Lucille and Victor were divorced.  Victor remarried in 1951.  Lucille worked for the United States Tobacco Company for at least 20 years and retired from that company.  Sometime after she retired and before she died, Lucille lived with her youngest sister, Jean in Syracuse, Indiana.

Lucille with nephew Jack Kell and possibly Jack’s sister Patty.  
Circa 1940-42.

Lucille holding nephew Lyle Francis Kell (born Aug 1950).

Kell Siblings at Kell home in Maywood, circa early 1950s. 
Left to right: Lyle, Lucille, Jean, Francis, Merle, Ruth, Ray

Lucille died 9 Feb 1967 in Indiana and was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery near her parents and other family members on 11 Feb 1967.

Lucille with her sister Jean, Jean’s daughter Mary Ellen (center) and grand-nieces Donna (left)
and Caron (right) Primas.  About 1963. Syracuse, Indiana

Lucille’s niece, Carol Koepke Primas, remembers visiting her aunt in a small apartment.  She thought it was neat that there was a hot plate in the room.  Carol thinks it was a room they would consider an SRO (single room occupancy) today with a room similar to a hotel room.  She also thought it was interesting that Lucille had a job in an office.  

I still need documents for Lucille – birth certificate, marriage license, and death certificate.  I still have questions:  when did she retire?  When did she move to Indiana?  I know she had diabetes, when was she diagnosed, did she have other illnesses?  Was she godmother to other nieces and nephews?  Maybe some of my cousins know more information.

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