Friday, July 27, 2012

The Washington State Moore Family: 1940


Lawrence and Marjorie Moore were living with their three children in Buenna, a neighborhood in Federal Way, King County, Washington, when the 1940 census enumerator came by on April 22.  They were just a short distance from Seattle where Lawrence worked as an auto painter.

Lawrence was a veteran of the Great War and a Michigan native who had spent time in Lodi, California during his younger years.  Now, at age 46, he had been living in the Seattle area for more than a decade.
It could be a compliment to his youthful appearance that his wife, Marjorie, reported her husband’s age as being only 36 – the same answer given ten years previously for the 1930 census.  Or, it was just the mistake of the enumerator.

Lawrence Lloyd Moore, Sr.
Marjorie was only four days shy of her 38th birthday, but she accurately reported her own age as 37.  Born in Iowa, she came from a family on the move; she had already been in Washington longer than anywhere else.  In fact, she and her husband had been living in the same neighborhood for at least five years, and they now owned a house worth $3,700.

I know this because one of the questions on the 1940 census asked each person where they were living five years before on April 1, 1935.  The Moore family indicated that they had lived in the “same place,” so they were in a different house in the same town and county.  There seems to be an abnormality with how their enumerator used the 1935 “State” box, however.  For non-migrants like the Moore family, the box should have been left blank, but instead, for Lawrence it reads “Glenn” and for Marjorie, “Council Bluffs.”  Obviously, Glenn and Council Bluffs are not states, so what question were they answering?   One possibility is that they were asked where they considered themselves from – their hometown.  Glenn, Michigan, is not too far away from where Lawrence grew up, and Council Bluffs is in Marjorie’s birth state of Iowa.  This is just one possible explanation.

Marjorie Ellis Rosenberg Moore
Lawrence had an eighth grade education, while Marjorie had four years of high school.  Lawrence worked, “For pay or profit in private or nonemergency Govt. work during week of March 24-30” with a 40 hour work week.  He had been employed all 52 weeks of the previous year.  His income was $1,300, and they were not receiving money from any other sources.  Marjorie was engaged in home housework.

Lawrence and Marjorie had three sons, all born in Washington State.  Lawrence Jr. was eight years old and had completed the second grade.  Robert was six, and although attending school, had not finished any grades yet.  The youngest, Bruce, was just seven months old.

Bess Mayo, Lawrence’s 57 year old sister, was living in Kenmore which is also in King County.  Thirty years previously, in 1910, she was Mrs. Merritt Galbreath, but sometime after that year her marriage disintegrated.  I was unable to find her in the 1920 or 1930 census records, but she was married to Arthur Mayo on 19 January 1932.  By 1940, Arthur and Bess owned a home worth $3,000. Arthur was a 55 year old native of Maine. Bess was born in Michigan.  Both had four years of high school.  In 1935, they had been living in Seattle.  Neither was working outside the home, and although no occupation is listed, Arthur’s income was $1,700 after working all 52 weeks of 1939.  Bess did the home housework.


Everett Heister
Another sister, Ruth Heister, was 55 and living about a hundred miles to the north in Lynden, Whatcom County.  Previously married to Frederick Dougherty, she married widower O. [Oscar] Everett Heister (56) on 7 October 1933.  The two were renting their home on Main Street for $25. Everett’s 20 year old son Nevin lived with them.  Father and son were both born in Indiana.  Ruth was born in Michigan.  The three of them had been living in Seattle in 1935.  Everett had three years of high school while Ruth had one.  Everett owned a furniture store, and Ruth was the bookkeeper. They both worked 48 hours a week and were fully employed in 1939. Nevin was in college, having completed two years already and was working part-time.  He was a draftsman assigned to public emergency work during the week of March 24-30 for 12 hours.  He worked 36 weeks in 1939 for $135 and was unemployed three weeks. 

Ruth and Everett Heister in front of their furniture store.
So, in 1940, three of the seven Moore siblings, children of William and Evangeline Moore, were living in Washington State.  No one could have known that Lawrence, a young husband and father, had less than a year on this earth remaining to him.  He was injured in a car crash on his way home from work on New Year’s Eve 1940, and he died on 22 January 1941.
Arthur and Bess Mayo, unknown man (possibly a Moore brother), Larry in front, Everett and Ruth Heister, Robert in front, Lawrence Moore, Sr. About 1939.
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

Source Citation:
Year: 1940; Census Place: Buenna, King, Washington; Roll: T627_4343; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 17-37.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Lynden, Whatcom, Washington; Roll: T627_4369; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 37-52.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Kenmore, King, Washington; Roll: T627_4344; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 17-99.

1 comment:

Robert Wayne Moore said...

Elizabeth, this was such a well written family summary from 1940. I think you already know that the Seattle area is on my short list of places we need to visit!

I used Google Earth to locate the original federal highway from which Federal Way took its name. Today, it's State Hwy 99, and it connects Federal Way with Seattle (25 miles to the north) and Tacoma (12 miles to the south). This highway runs just east of Puget Sound and becomes International Boulevard when you get to Seattle.

One of the surprises to me was that Federal Way is so much closer to Tacoma than Seattle. I would really like to drive that highway.

Do you know the address in Federal Way where my grandparents lived during the 1940 census? I don't think it's included on the census -- at least I couldn't see it.

Thanks again for such good work. I am very happy the Lord placed me in this family.

Dad