My uncle Muriel (pronounced Murel) mesmerized my brother and I with fabulous stories. We made a point to wake early when we visited his Clear Lake, California home to drink coffee, ours heavily laced with milk and sugar, and listen to his tales. Little did I know how much of his own life was an intriguing mystery to solve. Aunt Helen and my dad, Ralph, always said he had a son, name unknown. The picture above, with the note my father wrote next to it, sent me on my own investigation. The note said, “She sent this picture and the picture of his son to Mom. They were never heard of since.” Dad had dated the photographs, to the best of his ability, as 1923.
Muriel went to work in the coal mines by the age of 13, about 1916. It seems he soon tired of that life and joined the army, stationed at Camp Travis, Texas.
Somehow, from there, he ended up in Harvey, Illinois. This information came from the photography studio information on the pictures’ covers. Using the federal census, I was able to find a boy named Floyd Croy living with a Swanson family in Harvey in 1930. He was listed as the grandson of the head of household John P. Swanson. The only female child listed in that census was a 27 year old named Florence. With a little more work, I found her. Illinois death records show Florence Croy born February 13, 1903 in Harvey, Illinois dying on October 19, 1933 at age 30 in Bremen Township, Cook County, Illinois. She was buried in Thornton, Illinois. Her occupation was given as an elevator operator, divorced from a “Merrill” Croy. Her father was John Swanson, immigrant from Sweden, and her mother was Mary Matheson from Norway. She left her son, Floyd N. Croy who was born on September, 7, 1925, an orphan at age eight. Floyd continued to live in Illinois. Yearbook records show that he was a great first baseman. Social Security records indicate that he worked for the railroad and died in Harvey on July 22, 1989. Here is the picture she sent to Grandma Mollie Croy.
By the time Florence died, Muriel had remarried. The 1930 census shows him living with a “Dala” in Oklahoma and then, in the 1940 census, in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I found little on her but the 1940 census shows two nephews living with them, Armand and Raymon Odom whose mother’s maiden name was Schoopman. I have no pictures of her. Eventually, Muriel married Velma Truss with whom he lived for the rest of his life.