Ervin Alonzo Drake, 1940

This past Sunday (18 March) was Ervin Alonzo DRAKE’s birthday.  He was better known as Poppy, or Lon.

Above is a photo of Poppy and Annie with three of their children.

It seems Poppy was named after his grandfather, Ervin Alonzo DRAKE.  I used to think Poppy’s name was Alonzo Ervin since he was sometimes called Poppy Lon but I’ve since come to think his name really is Ervin Alonzo and he was, perhaps, called Poppy or Lon to distinguish him from his grandfather.  Poppy Lon was born in 1875 in McDonald County, Missouri, to William and Hester Ann Eglentine (MITCHELL) DRAKE.  He was the first of 10 siblings.  It was a known fact that back in the day the DRAKE’s liked to drink and fight.  If you want to know just how rough some of them were, take a look at my series about his brother, “Red”, starting with part one.  It’s quite a story!

I’ve written about Ervin, or Poppy Lon, here:

Poppy Makes a Comeback and mentioned him here Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword, Part 4- The Finale.

Today I’m going to highlight the most recent released census that includes Poppy.  

Alonzo Ervin Drake 1940 census

Screenshot from Ancestry.

The year was 1940.  Poppy was living in Beaty Township in Delaware County, Oklahoma.  Beaty Township includes the area of Delaware County East of Jay, Southeast of Grove, West of South West City, McDonald County, Missouri, and Northwest of Maysville, Benton County, Arkansas – exactly the area I would expect him to live at.  It’s a rural area with no present-day towns.  You can find it on this map.

Beaty Twp Delaware Co OK marked

The original of the above map was found at OKGenWeb.

I’ve circled the name Beaty in red to make it easier to find.  Also notice in the upper left corner of the map I’ve circled (in green) the town of Echo in Bernice Township.  This is where Poppy Lon’s grandfather, Ervin Alonzo, lived before that area was flooded to make Grand Lake.  I’ve written a little about that in this blog post.   (This was one of my earliest blog posts about my family so it will be a little different than what you might read from me currently.)

In 1940, Poppy Lon was listed as the head of household.  He is listed as Ervin L. Drake.  Living with him were his wife, Annie (Mary Anne BAKER), his married son Roscoe, and Poppy’s grandchildren (Roscoe’s children) – Lulla Bell (age 14) and James E. (age 12).  (Note: Even though he is listed as “married son”, the same entry says he is a widower.) I’m not sure where Roscoe’s wife was at the time.  Just a quick glance at records looks like possibly the wife left Roscoe and the children and moved to California and remarried but I’m not certain and I haven’t asked.  Interestingly, Nancy wasn’t living with Roscoe in the 1930 census either.

I did find this photo (sorry for the quality) of Nancy and hers and Roscoe’s children.  Lulla Bell and James Ervin William are both in the photo.  James is on the back row and Lulla Bell is the girl with the darker hair and white blouse on the far right next to her mother.  The other girl in the photo is identified as Jolene Lavinia DRAKE (her middle name probably being given in honor of Poppy Lon’s grandmother, Lavina (PILGRIM) DRAKE) and the young boy is James Woodrow LANG and he looks to be from mom Nancy’s second marriage (after Roscoe).  Additionally, Lulla Bell’s name is spelled “Lulu Belle”, contrary to the 1940 census.

Nacncy Blanche Duke Drake Lang & children

This photo was shared publicly on Ancestry by Tori Hobbs.  I have tried over the years to get in touch with Tori without success.

This is what the 1940 census tells us about Poppy Lon.  He was the 79th (and last) family to be censused on 15 April 1940 by enumerator Ben F. Ryburn.  Poppy Lon owned his home.  When asked the value of the home, the response recorded was “3.50”.  I don’t think that meant $3.50- possibly $3500 instead?  I’m not sure.  Poppy Lon’s place was a farm.  His race was listed as “White” and he was 65 years old at the time of this census.  He was born in Missouri.  He completed 4th grade in school.  He was farming that year as his employment and was working 40 hours a week on the farm.  He worked 45 weeks out of the year.  He earned more than $50 but an amount was not specified.  He is person #68 on the farm schedule.  Unfortunately, I have not located the farm schedule and it may not exist anymore.  In 1940, Roscoe was a laborer with WPA.  About this time last year I wrote for WPA records for my grandpa, Troy BATES, and their response was that there was no employment record for Troy even though I know he was hired by WPA.  I may decide to write for Roscoe’s employment records to see what type of work he did but I haven’t done that yet.  Roscoe was unemployed 20 weeks in the year preceding the census before he gained employment with WPA.  That’s almost half the year so I’m sure he was very happy to get a job with WPA given he had a couple of children to support and was living with his parents.

A final note about the 1940 census.  Living near Poppy Lon was Raymond Hubbard.  Raymond was the brother of Edith (HUBBARD) DRAKE.  Edith was married to Mark DRAKE- Poppy Lon’s son and my great-grandfather.  So while Raymond wasn’t technically a relative, I’m sure Poppy and Raymond knew each other and had visited each other at Edith’s and Mark’s home.  Living next door to Poppy Lon was Poppy’s brother, Henry Arthur (who went by “Ned”) and Henry’s family.  You can find a photo of Ned in one of my blog posts here.

I’m going to leave Poppy Lon right here in 1940, farming and taking care of his family.  He has another 24 years of life ahead of him.  I think that’s a good spot to leave him in.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

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