According to Ben's tombstone, he was born 4 June 1883. According to every census record I find him living, he was born in South Carolina.
The issue for me is not Ben's beginnings though. It's everything else.
The first piece of evidence I found, at some point during my research, was the following document.
|Certificate of Marriage, UNKNOWN SOURCE|
So, here we have my great-great grandparents, W. B. Findley and Pearl Olivia Cargill. The record states they were married 14 April 1907. It also says they were both from Anderson County, South Carolina when they got married.
|Clipping from the 1907 Anderson, Anderson County, South Carolina Directory|
|Clipping of 1907 Anderson, Anderson County, South Carolina Directory|
I think I have found them in 1910 living in Lee County, Georgia. The only thing that baffles me slightly with this record is that the child, who would be my great-grandfather, is listed as Ben Jr. My great-grandfather's name was Jesse Lee. I am curious if and when they changed his name because I had never heard of him ever being called or named Ben.
|Clipping from 1910 Lee County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census|
Here, they are seen living in Hart County, Georgia. By this time, my great-grandfather's name is correct and some of his siblings are present.
|Clipping from 1920 Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census|
|Clipping from 1920 Walhalla, Oconee County, South Carolina U.S. Federal Census|
I can't help but think this has to be a different family. The children are different. Pearl is listed as being born in South Carolina instead of her actual homestate of Georgia. And Pearl is listed to be about 10 years younger than she is.
Now, all of these things could be explained as follows: They moved between the 5th of January when they are shown in Oconee and the 23rd of January when they are shown in Hart. Pearl's place of birth could have been miswritten or assumed on the part of the enumerator (though there are several families on the same page who are from multiple locations aside from South Carolina). And Pearl's age could have been mistakenly recorded 20 instead of 30.
Despite all of those explanations, I feel confident these are two different families. The problem, however, lies here:
Look at how close all of these locations are! All three counties in question (Anderson, Oconee, and Hart) are touching. This could still very well be the same family.
In 1930, I find the family living in Hart County, Georgia again.
|Clipping from 1930 Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census|
Meanwhile, from 1931 through 1959, a Pearl and a William E Fendley are shown listed in the city directories of Anderson. To me, this proves that this William and Pearl are a different family unit than my Ben and Pearl.
Still, even with this large entanglement sorted out, I find myself with a million questions about this family. My main question is: Why did they move to Anderson County, South Carolina in 1907? What drew them there? Pearl, I assume, moved there with her (recently?) widowed mother and sister; but this is the only time I see Ben listed as a butcher. He always appears as a farmer in the records.
Perhaps it was just destiny playing out. Somehow, the two of them had to have the chance to meet. I've been playing around with Google Earth lately. I hope to plot their respective addresses from the 1907 directory to see where they lived in relation to one another and where Ben's butcher shop was located. Be sure to look for that post further down the road.
- 1907-1959 Anderson, Anderson County, South Carolina City Directories (accessed on Ancestry)
- 1910 Lee County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
- 1920 Rays, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
- 1920 Walhalla, Oconee County, South Carolina U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
- 1930 Rays, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
- 1940 Rays, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
- Bible Record of unknown origins
- Map of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee (found here on FamilySearch)
- Tombstone, William B. and Pearl Olevia Findley (as viewed on Find-A-Grave)