Sunday, January 16, 2011

COLD CASE: A CANTY QUEST MYSTERY (PART I)

Fannie BILLINGS ENOS was born abt 1890 in New London, Connecticut where her mother's family line (BRIGGS, COMSTOCK) had been living since before the Revolution.  (Proof of this exists.)  Her father's family line (ENOS) came over in the early 1800's from the Azore Islands of Portugal (More proof). 

Thomas Walter CANTY was born abt 1885 in Barnwell, South Carolina where his father's family line I'm still investigating but went back to at least the late 1700's.  (Proof).  His mother is still a brick wall.

Fannie and Thomas were married (no proof yet) at least by around 1910 and lived in New London where the first of their three children were born (Leona, Nellie and Harold).  Harold being the last of their children was born in 1915.  So far, I have no evidence of a divorce or a death.  I do have proof of Thomas relocating back to the South and living in Clyo, Georgia with/near his brother Willie and his wife in 1918.  I also have proof of Thomas being (honorably) discharged from the Army on May 25, 1913 at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina.

Fannie re-married Charles Joseph DURR abt 1918-19 and lived in New York where the first of their two children were born (Anna and Lawrence).  In the 1920 Census Leona, Nellie and Harold are listed as "Cantey [sic] Durr" and referred to as the step-children of Charles DURR.  Charles died before 1930.  Thereafter Harold used only the last name Durr, while Leona and Nellie kept the CANTY name.  Harold's family to this day continue to use the surname DURR.

Fannie went on to marry two other times but that is another story.  [A tongue-in-cheek story of Fannie was that she was referred to by later family members as the "black widow" as all of her husbands passed away.]

THE MYSTERY:  Why does Thomas CANTY leave the Army in South Carolina (he was stationed in New London) in 1913?  Does he move back to New London since it appears he has another child (Harold) in 1915?  Why does he end up back in Clyo, Georgia, working as a salesman and living either with or near his brother Willie?  Also, I have found a newspaper clipping of Harold's death saying he was the child of Fannie and Charles?  

THEORIES:  Thomas deserted Fannie.  She moved to New York, met and married Charles.  Harold may really be Charles' son even though he is listed as his step-son in the census.   Or, really any number of scenarios which I have not been able to confirm.

WHY I CARE:  Thomas and Fannie are my grandparents.  Their second child Nellie Frances CANTY was my mother who passed away when I was 5.  I am trying to write their stories and genealogy for the benefit of not only myself but for my children as well.

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