Finally finding the 1928 obituary for Leon S. Bean—the building contractor in Redwood City and Palo Alto, California—may have seemed like the end of a long search.
It was not. It only became the start of a long line of further questions.
Take, for instance, the residence locations given for each of Leon’s three children.
His oldest, Leona, had by this time married the mysterious Mr. Grant—whom I’m still having trouble positively identifying—and was situated in nearby San Francisco. That move was not so much a surprise, as she is most likely the public health nurse showing there in the 1930 census. I say most likely because I still have doubts about that document. Compounding the fact that the scanned copy available for viewing at Ancestry.com is quite faint, the information I am able to decipher doesn’t seem to match what I know of Leona’s personal history.
Bill, one of the twins whom we’ve already discussed, the one with a passion for cars and a head for business, was listed as residing in Fresno, rather than the Alameda address I’ve always known about. While Fresno is a considerable distance from Bill's native Bay Area, it is no surprise to find him there in 1928—once I finally unearthed that detail about his wife’s maiden name and family origin.
But blind and deaf Sam? In Boston? Last time I looked, he had been wrapping up a stellar academic career at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley. Though he had been a star student, and while it was true that he had lofty ambitions upon graduation, moving so far from family with the types of challenges that he faced seems unlikely.
Do I chalk this up to the typical newspaper error? Or sniff out another unexpected story?
Photograph above left: torn from a larger format but still retaining the imprint, "Treasure Island, San Francisco Calif, 1939," this may possibly be a picture of Leona Bean Grant's husband, known only by the nickname Bob Grant, thanks to the few labels found on other pictures left in the Bean family's collection.