In researching Nora Ward Goens, I discovered her sister Mattie Ward Robinson, who spent her adult life as the wife of a coal miner in east-central Illinois.
Henry Ward, son of D.G.W. Ward and Sarah Darden, married Sarah Forbes, daughter of Henry Forbes, on 16 June 1870 in Wilson. Rev. L. Moye performed the ceremony at a M.E. Zion church.
In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Ward, 21, and wife Sallie, 19, next door to Henry Forbes, 48, domestic servant, wife Louise, 43, children Charles, 15, Georgiana, 21, and John, 21, and Patsey Forbes, 70. [The Forbes family migrated to Indianapolis before 1900. More about them later.]
I have not found the family in the 1880 census.
In the 1900 census of Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee: at 527 High Street, minister Edwin Ward, 44; wife Sallie, 43; and daughters Adelia, 20, seamstress, and Mattie, 16. Edwin and Sallie were described as North Carolina-born; their daughters, Tennessee. [This, presumably, is the family. Nora Goens’ death certificate lists her father as “Rev. Ward.” Mattie’s age is right, though her birthplace is not. Had the family migrated to Nashville directly from Wilson, or did they detour in Indianapolis, where Nora married Eugene Goens in 1894?]
In the 1910 census of Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois: at 216 Clements, coal miner John W. Robinson, 29; wife Mattie, 26; and children Magdelene, 7, Adelia, 4, William, 2, and Eugene, newborn. [I have not found John and Mattie’s marriage license.]
In 1918, John William Robinson registered for the World War I draft in Vermilion County. Per his registration card, he was born 8 April 1886; lived at 216 Clements, Danville; worked as a coal miner at Peabody Coal Company #24, Catlin, Vermilion County; and his nearest relative was wife Mattie Robinson.
Undated photograph of Peabody Coal Mine #24, located between Catlin and Bunsenville, Illinois. Courtesy of Christopher Stratton, “Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Cultural Resource Management Program, Abandoned Mined Lands Reclamation, Cultural Resources Evaluation: U.S. Fuel Company, Bunsenville Mine, Bunsenville, Illinois” (2002).
In the 1920 census of Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois: brickyard laborer John W. Robingson, 38; wife Mattie, 34; and children Magdeline, 14, servant at soldier’s home; Odelia, 12; Eugean, 10, Fay, 5, Dorothy, 3, and Walter, 1.
Mattie L. Robinson died 12 March 1921 in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. Per her death certificate, she was born 16 September 1884 in Wilson, N.C., to Henry Ward and Sallie Forbes; was married to J.W. Robinson; and was buried in Springhill Cemetery, Danville.
William Robinson, 23, son of J.W. Robinson and Mattie Ward, married Vivian Thurston, 19, daughter of William Thurston and Anna Logan, on 17 March 1930 in Danville, Illinois.
In the 1930 census of Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois: coal mine laborer John W. Robinson, 49, widower; children Eugene, 20, hotel porter, Fay, 15, Dorothy, 14, and John W., 22, coal miner; daughter-in-law Vivian, 19, restaurant waitress; and daughter Mae M. Rachold, 26, divorced, office building elevator girl.