30 November 2009

COG: Lee Rutter - How Do You Connect?

 Carnival of Genealogy, 85th ed.: Orphans and Orphans

The first time I encountered Lee was Dora Emily Rutter-McCall's obituary: "Survivng are three daughters and one son: Mrs. Rose Thomas, Seaside, Ore.; Mrs. Nina Evans, LosGatos, Calif.; Mrs. Maude Linner, Minneapolis; and Lee McCall, White, S.D."[1]  I've never heard mention of my great-grandmother (Maude) having a brother. I have numerous pictures and stories of her with her sisters. I had not run across a Lee McCall in any of my research either. I chalked him up to a newspaper misprint.

The next time I ran into Lee was in two photographs my aunt sent me. The first was "Uncle Lee," Maude McCall-Linner (great-grandmother), my aunt, Bertram Linner (great-grandfather), and Dolores Linner-Mattson (grandmother) in front of a car. The second was Bertram, Maude, and "Uncle Lee." They were taken at the same time (the three in the second picture are wearing the same clothing in the first picture), crit. 1948. Perhaps Lee was an honorary or adopted member of the family?

I went through my research and found that I did have a record of Lee: The 1905 Minnesota state census for Maude's uncle and Dora's brother, Adelbert, had a "Lee Rutter" listed immediately after his family.[2]  The census is not broken up by family, nor does it list relationships. However, it does list place of birth for the person and his/her parents. Lee Rutter is listed as having been born in Iowa, father born in Rhode Island, and mother in Pennsylvania, the same as Adelbert "Dell" Rutter. Lee's age is listed as 26 years, making his date of birth about 1879. Dora and Adelbert's parents, Alonzo John and Mary (Finch) Rutter, have a well documented lineage, and I have never run across mention of a son named Lee. No one by that name, nor that approximate date of birth appear in any of the family records (censuses, AJ's pension file, other family member's obituaries, other researcher's trees).

I was able to find Lee Rutter's World War One draft registration card which lists his date of birth as 28 December 1879.[3]   He states that his nearest relative is Dora McCall.&

Lee Rutter died 30 May 1955 in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota. I ordered a copy of his death certificate.[4]  His parents are listed as Richard and Dora E. Rutter. The informant is Mrs. B.G. Linner (Maude McCall-Linner). His birth is given as 28 December 1878 in Little Rock, Iowa.

Conclusion: AJ and Mary had children born in 1878 and 1880, making it unlikely that Lee is their child. The family had a farm in Elgin Township, Lyon County, Iowa in 1878/9. Little Rock would have been the closest post office upon its creation in 1884 (however, the family had already moved by then). His birth was not recorded in Lyon County, however, none of the Rutter children births were. Dora would have been 17 or 18 years old when Lee was born. All of the evidence points to her as his mother.
The earliest record I can find of Lee is his enlistment in the army on 2 July 1898.[5]  This past June I was visiting my aunt (the same one who had given me the photographs) and was presented with Lee's original discharge, a thank you leaflet from the city of Augusta, Georgia, and a tube containing his pass while in that city. He spent his entire enlistment (2 July 1898 - 27 March 1899) state-side.

I do not know who raised Lee or where. His mother was probably an unmarried Dora Emily Rutter. I know that as of 1905 his mother's family acknowledged him. On 19 November 1920 Lee married a widow named Gertrude A. Taylor-Hardy.[6]  They ran a cafe in White, South Dakota for many years. Gertrude died 2 November 1934.[7]

Uncle Lee continues to be a brick wall. I'm hoping that his military and pension files will shed light onto his early years. He has been a solitary figure on my tree for quite a while and I would very much like to give Lee his place among the branches.

[1] "Death of a Former Pipestone Woman: Mrs. Phil McCall, Sister of Mrs. J.D. Wilson, Dies in Minneapolis Sunday," Pipestone County (Minnesota) Star, 3 April 1936, p. 1; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
[2] 1905 Minnesota state census, Rock County, Luverne north ward, population schedule, p. 56, p. 23 (penned upper left corner), p. 38 (penned), lines 45-51, Rutter surname; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded 25 May 2007); citing Minnesota Historical Society reels 1-47 and 107-164, MNSC_152.
[3] "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image, Ancestry.com (http:/www.ancestry.com : downloaded 2007), Lee Rutter, serial no. 1739, order no. 1549, Redwood Falls, Redwood County, Minnesota; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; FHL microfilm 1675777.
[4] South Dakota, Department of Health, death certificate 285257 (6 June 1955), Lee Rutter (informational copy); Central Location, Pierre.
[5] Franklin F. Holbrook, Minnesota in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota War Records Commission, 1923), 401; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2008).
[6] "South Dakota Marriages, 1905-1949," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded 13 May 2007), Lee Rutter and Gertrude A. Hardy, 19 Nov 1920, Codington County; South Dakota Department of Health. South Dakota Marriage Index, 1905-1914 and South Dakota Marriage Certificates, 1905-1949. Pierre, SD, USA: South Dakota Department of Health.
[7] Minnesota Historical Society. "Death Certificates Index," database (http://people.mnhs.org/dci/ : accessed 27 May 2009), entry for Gertrude A. Rutter; citing death certificate no. 1934-MN-012981, Redwood County.


Greta Koehl said...

Superb research, and a fascinating story of this "unconnected" branch!

Palmsrv said...

Very interesting pieces to a family puzzle.

J.M. said...

I loved this post. You showed in a very clear way how to connect all the puzzle pieces until an image arises, even though the image might not be complete yet.

auntiehotmama said...

I am the great granddaughter of Maude Linner. Her maiden name was Fuller. Not sure if it is the same Maude Linner you mentioned.

Jen said...

auntiehotmama - The Maude Linner I reference in this post was born Maude McCall.

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