Sunday, January 20, 2008

Genealogue Challenge #112

Putnam County, Tennessee, Clerk Wayne Nabors stumbled upon a marriage license from 1909.

This marriage license announces the union of Oscar Helms and Miss Nadie Carr on April 17, 1909, who were married by Justice of the Peace J.B. Lafever, but it doesn't say how old the two were or anything else about them.

"If there's a grandchild or great-grandchild who wants it, I'd be glad to give it to them," Nabors said.
How many of this couple's children can you identify?


1930 US Census, for Florala Covington, AL District 17, sheet 15A, lines 13-19
gives us a household of
J. Oscar Helms, age 60, born in Alabama, married 22 years
Nannie Helms, his wife, age 45, born in Alabama
22 years married, puts marriage date as 1908-1909, which is consistent with our couple
Their Children:
son Bert,age 13, born Alabama
son Milford, age 11,born Alabama
daughter Elison (Alison?) age 9, born Alabama
Daughter Ann Floria, age 7, born Florida
Daughter Audrey, age 5, born Alabama.


From Rootsweb, Putnam CO, TN
Certificate: #62
Deceased: Flora E. Helms
Birth: 20 Aug 1913
Birth Place: Putnam County
Death: 1914
Father: Oscar Helms
Birth Place: Putnam County
Mother: Nadie Carr
Birth Place: Putnam County
Cemetery: Silver Point

There is also a Rootsweb listing for an Oscar Helms, married to a Nannie C. Byrd.
Could this possibly be Nannie Carr Byrd?


Dugan, Thelma,Alma,Luke,Dimple,Olav

Drew Smith

Oscar and Nadie (misindexed by Ancestry as "Wadie") Helms appear in the 1930 census for Putnam County with the following children: Dugan (19), Thelma (13), Alma (9), Luke (11), Dimple (6), and Olan (4 and 2 months).

Oscar is buried in Smellage Cemetery (I don't make these things up), and according to that, he was born 17 December 1885, and died 17 May 1965. His nickname was "True".

According to a death certificate, Oscar and Nadie also had a daughter Flora who was born 20 Aug 1913 and died in 1914.

Dugan is also buried in Smellage, born 27 Dec 1910, died 10 Sept 1992. According to that listing, he had siblings Thelma, Alma, Dimple, Luke, and Bud. (Could Bud be Olan?)

Ah, but wait, the Smellage Cemetery listing says that Luke's real name was Luther, that he was born 10 Feb 1917, died 27 May 1995. Apparently both Alma and Dimple married men with surnames of Fields, and "Bud" turns out to be "Otis". (Could Otis and Olan be the same person?)

An online family tree says that Oscar and Nadie had the following children: Otis, Alma, Ruby, J.R., Dimple, Thelma, Jessie Hawkins, and Luke.

Andy E. Wold

Dugan, 1910-1992
Luke, 1917-1995
Thelma, 1917-living?
Alma, 1921-living?
Dimple (FIELDS), 1924-living?
Orlan, 1926-living?
Ruby, aft 1930-living?


Drew's listing for the Smellage Cemetery also contains the following info from Luther's Obituary:
Luther “Luke” Helms Obt.
BAXTER: Funeral services for Luther “Luke” Helms, 78, of Elmwood will be held Tuesday, May 30, at 1
p.m. in the chapel of Baxter Funeral Home. Burial will be in Smellage Cemetery.
Mr. Helms died Saturday, May 27, 1995, in Cookeville General Hospital.
A native of Silver Point born February 10, 1917, he was the son of the late Oscar and Naddie Carr Helms.
He was a World War II Army veteran and a construction worker.
His family includes his wife, Nancy Edmonds Helms of Elmwood; one son, Michael Helms of Elmwood;
two daughters, Phyllis Washer of Elmwood and Debbie Gravley of Lebanon; one brother, Otis “Bud”
Helms of Baxter; one sister, Dimple Fields of Wartsaw, Indiana; six grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Helms was preceded in death by a brother, Dugan Helms, and a sister, Alma
The family is receiving friends at the funeral home.
Bro. Robert Christina will officiate at the services.


I do love the name "Dimple."

A list of unmarked graves (pdf) in Maxwell Graveyard in Putnam County says that Nade Helms is buried there with four infants, daughter Ruby, and son J. R. (probably the same identified here as "R.J.").

I think that it's quite possible that one or two of the couple's children (i.e. Dimple Fields and/or Otis "Bud" Helms) is still living.

Andy E. Wold

Dimple was living with her husband Robert K Fields and her son Earl Fields in Warsaw, Indiana. (According to


Her husband may have died in 2000.



Drew Smith

Actually, we can say that her husband *did* die then. Here is the obituary from the 9 March 2000 issue of the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne, IN:

ROBERT K. FIELDS , 80, died Tuesday at Kosciusko Community Hospital, Warsaw. Born in Chestnut Mound, Tenn., he was a World War II Army veteran and had lived in Kosciusko County for 31 years. He retired in 1985 as a production operator at Gatke in Warsaw and also had been a farmer. Surviving are his wife, Dimple ; a son, Earl of Warsaw; two daughters, Barbara Akers and Carolyn Lozier, both of Warsaw; three brothers, Edgar of Warsaw, Austin of Silver Point, Tenn., and Howard Hudson of Lebanon; three sisters, Minnie Ethel Bryant of Savannah, Ga., and Nancy Louise Stafford and Dorothy Hawkins, both of Warsaw; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Services at noon Friday at Titus Funeral Home, Warsaw. Calling from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. today. Burial at Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw. Memorials to Kosciusko Home Care & Hospice Inc., 902 Provident Drive, P.O. Box 1196, Warsaw, IN 46581-1196."


Thanks for the obit, Drew!


TN Death Certificate #20722:
R. J. son/dau? b: 1 Feb 1929 d: 20 Aug 1929; parents Oscar & Nada Helms; Denny Cemetery

TN Public Health Vital Records Deaths 1925 (Putnam County)
373 Helms, Ruby F-W-S b: 6 Mar 1921 d: 5 Sep 1925

I had the same info the the others from the 1930 census and Oscar's cemetery listing.


So-- the question arises...

who gets contacted? The Helms family? or the County Clerk?


I've just sent off an email to the Putnam County Clerk.

Andy E. Wold

Just wanted to let you know I spoke to the daughter Dimple and the grandson Earl Fields in Indiana this morning thanks to your great help. They are excited to be receiving this marriage license as such a treasured document of 99 years ago. Just can't thank you enough for your help. Keep up the good work !! You helped make it happen !!.... Wayne Nabors, County Clerk of Putnam County, Tennessee

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