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9765Re: was Re: [RedHotJazz] Joe Oliver's middle name- Nathan?

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  • PETER GERLER
    Jul 2, 2014
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      Well, a few points on all of this (Andrew--many thanks for the CNN piece--I look forward to reading):

      • In general, Stella's testimony has holes. For example, the Hogan Jazz Archive oral history says that "Stella knew Joe for four or five years before they got married (1911), and Joe had been in New Orleans several years before that; Joe's mother had died, and Joe had come to New Orleans after she died, when he was still a boy." However, the 1900 NOLA census shows Joe living on Nashville Street as the "son" of "Jennie Jones." That would be fine--if she weren't dead. (BTW the overwhelming but not conclusive evidence is that Joe would have "come to New Orleans" from Abend/Donaldsonville. We know for a fact that Stella did come from D'ville.)

      Another eg of Stella's "holes" comes from Dan Vernhettes, who notes that Stella said both that Joe "was 17 years old" (c. 1902) and that she met him four years before they got married (c. 1907)

      • Stella does say, "Joe's father, Henry, was a minister; his mother was named Virginia; they both had died before Stella met Joe." So far I find no pertinent evidence for a "Henry"--except a Louisiana 1870 census record listing "Henry Davis" (b. 1820) living in East Baton Rouge with Fannie Davis (age 47) and Virginia Davis (age 16), two other teenage Davises and an Elizabeth Berry, age 65. It doesn't really match, but from family sources I've found that Davis was, at one time, Virginia (Jennie or Ginnie) Oliver's surname. And the above-mentioned 1900 census lists a Fannie Davis as Jennie Jones' daughter. I've been told there were a good many Davises around Donaldsonville back then.
      • We don't know how many fathers were involved in Jennie Jones' 15 children. I need to dig on this, but it seems there were at least three fathers for the final 6 children. In any case, "Nathan" Oliver may have been a "back door man," never to be seen again--a circuit preacher. The only substantive listing I have is a Nathan Oliver listed in the 1900 LA census for DeSoto Parish (northwest corner of the state)--age 48, listed as a "preacher," and married. He was also listed in DeSoto 20 years earlier, unmarried, also a minister. I also have "Nathan Oliver" listed in the 1900 LA census, New Orleans Ward 5, born 1846, living with wife "Clara," married for 15 years. Occupation: "Coal hauler."

      • If he was a back door man, then Joe's info on him might have been sketchy--hence "Nathran" as opp to "Nathan." Hence "Henry." Like so much of what Dan Vernhettes calls "Jazz Puzzles," we may never know. 

      We do know, however, that on Joe & Stella's marriage application and license, his father's name appears as  "Nath...." (with the "an" or "ran" truncated by the clerk.) Only on the Draft registration do we see "Nathran." BTW, Joe Oliver not only could read and write, but he could type. So--I don't know why he wouldn't have caught the "Nathran" on the draft doc if it was wrong. Another mystery. (To paraphrase Dan: "History is Mystery.")

      Onward and upward! (or downward)

      PG
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