Researching Wreatha May Murray

I was not able to find enough information to determine if Wreatha May Murray is my half-great-aunt. This is what I’ve discovered so far.

Wreatha was born in 1904 in Indiana. In January 1920 at the age of 16 she was living with two married couples and three other young women as a lodger in Indianapolis, Indiana. That’s about 65 miles from Montezuma. I imagine Indianapolis was “the big city” in that area. It’s not given if she was working.

On 3 July 1924 Wreatha married Cyril Myron Elwood in Marion Co., IN, the county that contains Indianapolis. Cyril was a year older and born in Kentucky. They had six children:

  1. James Richard Elwood, born 3 Feb 1925, Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN, USA; married Loraine Stellhorn, 26 Jun 1948, , Allen Co., IN, USA.
  2. Betty J. Elwood, born ca 1927, , , IN, USA, married Male Sexton.
  3. Ronald G. Elwood was born circa 1929 in , , IN, USA.
  4. Roy Elwood was born circa 1933 in , , IN, USA.
  5. Rose A. Elwood was born circa 1938 in , , IN, USA.
  6. Larry L. Elwood was born circa 1938 in , , IN, USA.

In 1930 the family was living on Wilcox Street in Indianapolis. Cyril was a mechanic for an auto manufacturer. In 1940 the family was living in Adams Township, Allen Co., IN where Cyril operated a garage and service station.

Wreatha died in 1969, Cyril in 1982. They are both buried in St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Adams Township.

Why do I think that Wreatha May Murray may be my relative? She was born 1904 in Indiana, just as May was. In 1920 Samuel F. Murray, the father, was living without his daughter in Paris, IL, with his dead wife’s half-brother and his family. His wife, my great-grandmother, Viola Hise had died 14 May 1914. Wreatha was living more or less by herself in Indianapolis that year. I was told my grandfather had a sister named “Reethie.” The 1940 census appears to note Wreatha Murray Elwood as part Native American, as I know Viola Hise was.

There are other May Murrays, but they don’t seem to quite match in age or place. I was surprised to find out that Wreatha was a very common name in Indiana at the time. Unfortunately on the birth record for my great-aunt, there’s no given name recorded, so I have to look at other records.

If Wreatha May Murray were my half great-aunt, the man below would be her half-brother.

Frederick E. Wilson

The mature woman below would be her grandmother Mary Jane Runyan, widow of Jesse Hise who didn’t live much longer after the Civil War, and David Leonard Humphreys.  Her  children pictured would  be an aunt and uncles.

Mary Jane Runyan Hise Humphreys


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