Maud Woodworth Bean lost her father, William Woodworth, she was relatively young: just thirty years of age. And yet, though she was a mother of two young boys, from that point on, she seemed impossible to trace, once that domestic role of mother and housewife enshrouded her.
Perhaps that was owing to the mores of the times. After all, Maud’s father passed away in 1928. Though the family lived in a place the rest of the nation has always considered to be progressive, even there the role of motherhood at that time would have been a likely qualification for invisibility from society’s eyes.
Yet there was something more about the inability to locate any further information about Maud. I knew she was not even included in the 1940 census—where her husband Sam listed himself as widowed—but I’ve often seen separated or divorced couples claiming that same status when I knew it to be otherwise.
In addition, there was no record of Maud’s death—at least, not in the usual online resources I’ve scoured in hopes of even uncovering any possible spelling variations.
Once I went through the Woodworth family line—and here was where I discovered the online source for all the back issues of the Covina, California, newspapers at NewspaperArchive.com—I realized I might have just found a back door approach to my research problem with Maud. In Covina, it seemed, their newspaper was just the right old-timey small-towned size to feature expanded coverage in place of the rigid formality of obituaries. The Covina paper had the habit of running reports of hometown kids gone away, so perhaps a mention of what happened to Maud might be tucked in among all those stories.
Entering a broad range of dates, in addition to both spelling variations of her name—Maud and Maude—I checked all the results for both Woodworth and Bean in the Covina papers through NewspaperArchive.com.
On the front page of the Friday edition of the Covina Citizen, dated July 14, 1933, I found a flowery headline quite reminiscent of a story the paper had run on the Woodworths over ten years prior. Once again, it involved a race against time in the aftermath of one of those calls every parent dreads receiving:
Reaper Wins Race as Mother Hurries to Bedside of Former Covina Girl
It was her sister Helen’s drama played out all over again, as Maud’s mother—her only remaining parent at this point—hurried to make the long trip from southern California to the Bay area residence of her daughter.
Receiving an urgent call to come to the bedside of her daughter, Mrs. Maude M. Bean, who was seriously ill in Alameda, on July 4th, Mrs. W. C. Woodworth of 212 Ohio street, Baldwin Park, arrived in the northern city too late to find her daughter alive.The young matron, who was born here, and lived in Covina over 20 years of her life had been confined with heart trouble for the past three months, and was believed recovering, when her mother received word that she was not expected to live. She passed away at 10:40 p.m. July fourth, and funeral services were held Friday, July 7, at Mountain cemetery in Oakland. Mrs. Woodworth remained in the north until after the services, returning home this week.Mrs. Bean, who was known here as Miss Maude Woodworth is survived by her husband, Samuel W. Bean, Sr.; and two small sons, Samuel W. Jr., aged 12, and Earle Ray aged seven, all of Oakland. Those left to mourn her here are her mother, Mrs. W. C. Woodworth, a sister, Mrs. Neva E. Chambellain [sic], of Selma, and a brother Mr. L. E. Woodworth, of Baldwin Park.Although she has not resided here for 13 years, Mrs. Bean was born two miles west of Covina at the former Woodworth home on the corner of Vincent and Covina boulevard, where she lived all the early years of her life attending school here. She has been a frequent visitor with her parents and many friends in Covina, West Covina and Baldwin Park during her residence in Alameda.She was a member of the Covina M. E. church, and an active religious worker, also being a member of the Covina chapter of Ladies of the Woodcraft.