52 Relatives 2018-4:Wyatt Griffin Vaughn; O Brother Where Art Thou?

Wyatt Griffin Vaughn was my gr grandmother’s youngest sibling, son of Branch Vaughn and “Preshes” Chapman. He was born in Greenville County, South Carolina on September 25, 1859.

After 1880 Wyatt Griffin marries Margery Frances Jones; their son, Lewis Jones Vaughn is born 10 May 1882 in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Before 1889, Wyatt Griffin Vaughn, it is said, gets up from the breakfast table and heads out to work. He is never seen or heard from again. And, until about 2010 none of Griffin’s South Carolina descendants knew where he had gone, or if he had been dead or alive at the time of his seeming disappearance.

Sometime during 2010, as the Family Search Pilot Project was being merged into the New Family Search website, I was testing it out and entered my second great grandfather’s name, Branch Vaughn, into the search field. I got quite a surprise when this search yielded a Louisiana Death Certificate for one Wyatt Griffin Vaughn, born September 25, 1859 in Greenville, South Carolina and died September 6, 1950, only a week shy of his ninety first birthday, in Slidell, St. Tammany, Louisiana. His parents listed on the certificate are Branch W Vaughn and “Patricia” Chatmon. Too close to comfort I thought, and sent off a copy of Wyatt Griffin Vaughn’s death certificate to my cousin Helene, his direct descendant. The informant was one Shirley Pichon, a daughter with whom, according to the certificate, Griffin had lived for 11 years prior to his death. He is widowed at the time of death, but his wife’s name is listed on his death certificate as Lillie Glover.

So, the story of what in the world happened to Wyatt Griffin Vaughn shifts quickly out of South Carolina to Slidell, St. Tammany, Louisiana, where Griffin Vaughn had lived out his life after leaving a wife and son in South Carolina.

On September 25, 1889, Griffin had married Lillie Glover in Lauderdale, Mississippi. He is absent from the 1900 US Census but in 1910 he is in New Orleans, married to Lillie, who is 36 to Wyatt’s 51, with children: Gertrude, 19; Bonnie, 17;  Annie, 15; Jefferson, 10; Shirley, 7; and Samuel, 4. We know there is a detour in there somewhere because although Bonnie, Anna, Jefferson, Shirley, Samuel, and Leola all have Louisiana birth records, Gertrude was born in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1920, Griffin, now widowed, is living in St. Tammany  with daughters Annie, and Shirley, their  respective spouses and families, daughter Leola, sons Jefferson and Sam. No record is found for Lillie’s death.

In the  1930  US census, a 70 year old Griffin Vaughn is living in the household of daughter Shirley and her family; in 1940  an 81 year old Griffin is living in St. Tammany with son Sam and wife Annie May.

So it happens that we find that a man who went missing from South Carolina, leaving behind his wife and child, goes on to build a completely new life in Louisiana with a new wife, leaving, in addition to Lewis Jones Vaughn in South Carolina,  seven more  known children:

Gertrude Isabella Vaughn 1890-1981 m George Henry Brisbi

Bonnie Lora Vaughn 1893-1950 m 1)Robert Gustave Dubuc; 2)unknown Williams; 3)Hans Olsen

Annie Christina Vaughn 1895-1978 m 1)John William Berrigan; and 2) Alonzo “Lonnie” Gauley

Jefferson Roland Vaughn 1899-1973 m Rosemary Swenson

Shirley Camille Vaughn 1904-1972 m 1)William Williams; 2)August Pichon; 3) John Bennett

Samuel Vaughn 1906-1984 m) Anna Mae Womack

Leola Agnes Vaughn 1913-1973 m Pascal John Quarella

So, Wyatt Griffin may have escaped his life and wife in South Carolina, but he couldn’t escape the diligence of determined genealogists, both of Griffin’s South Carolina and his New Orleans families some  120 years later.

In memoriam, Vera Williams James 1955-2013, great grand daughter of Wyatt Griffin Vaughn






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