Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arthur Geder, What happened to You?

Arthur Jeter (1878 - 1951) is my Grand Uncle. He was born in Towanda, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Arthur was the second child of Harriet Melvin Jeter (1845 - 1891) and James Jeter (abt 1848 - 1882). He lost his father at age four and his mother at age 13. His grandmother, Emma Jeter (abt 1807 - 1881) passes when he is three years old. His other grandmother, Iantha Melvin (1804 - 1893) dies when he's 15. His grandfather, John Jeter (abt 1810 - 1893) also is gone when he's 15. In other words, by the time he's 15, Arthur is without parents or grandparents.

Here in the 1880 Towanda, Bradford County, Pennsylvania federal census, we see Arthur at age 2.

In the 1892 New York State census, we find Arthur's siblings living with their grandmother Iantha and their aunt, Emma Melvin - but no Arthur.

Arthur does show up in 1900 in the Bradford County, PA jailhouse; a hostler at reported age 24. Uncle Arthur, where were you in 1892 and what did you do to land in jail? Were you in PA all along?

1910, more jail time for Arthur.

1917 wasn’t a good year for Arthur. The December 12th newspaper account reads: To Face Robbery Charge After 59 Days In Jail _Arthur Geder, colored, was arraigned before Judge Hart in city court yesterday charged with public intoxication and sent to the Broome County jail for 59 days. It is also alleged that Geder stole a sum of money from another negro named M’bore and the officials stated this morning that when Geder is released from the Broome County jail he will have to face a charge of robbery.

On February 25, 1918, 65 days later, Arthur was expected to plead guilty to second degree robbery in criminal court.

Oh Lord, 41 days and Arthur Geder is back in the news. The Binghamton Press on Saturday April 6, 1918 published this story: Arthur Geder, Prisoner, Is Accused of Perjury Before Court _Arthur Geder, colored, who was sentenced to a year in Auburn prison by County Judge Baker on March (?) was indicted for perjury by the grand jury which handed up 31 indictments to Justice Davis in Supreme Court today. Geder is charged with swearing falsely as to his previous criminal record when questioned; under oath, before being sentenced. He will be arrested and arraigned when his prison sentence expires.

Could this be Arthur in 1920 lying about his age? If so, he’s back in his home state of Pennsylvania certainly bouncing in and out of jail. What's up, Arthur?

On April 14, 1951, my father, who was living in Binghamton, NY at the time, received a telegram informing him that Arthur had died at age 80 at the Strong Memorial hospital in Rochester, New York.

I haven't located Arthur in 1930 or 1940 yet. I may be able to trace him backwards from 1951 in the Rochester, NY city directories. I should also order his death certificate since my father was most likely the informant. That document may reveal what he did or did not know about his uncle.

This post was inspired by Melvin Collier's blog and article, "Diggin' Up Family Dirt".
Do you have an Ancestor whose story is elusive? Do you have an 'Arthur' limb on your family tree?
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