When searching through stacks of papers left behind, eventually those important ones will surface. In this case, it was a yellowed envelope with the words, “Birth Certificate” written across the front, that yielded me the information I sought.
I had never known exactly where my aunt, Sara Jacqueline Davis, was born. Oh, of course, it had to be Florida, because that was where her mother’s family was from. But the family of Rupert Charles McClellan had moved a few times over the years. Starting from the family property in Suwannee County, long before Florida had even become a state, to the small town of Fort Meade, where R. C. McClellan served as city mayor as well as the town’s dentist, I had been able to track that.
The 1920 census had shown an as-yet-unmarried “Rubie B.” McClellan in her father’s home there in Fort Meade. Perhaps a sign of the times, Rubie’s entry in the 1920 census included her occupation as a telegrapher for Western Union. When—and where—she decided to marry Jack R. Davis, I’ve yet to ascertain. I know the family’s oral tradition on this, but I’m not finding any details that match up to that entry in the Davis family Bible.
As we’ve already seen, by 1925, the couple had traveled to Oelwein, Iowa—undoubtedly to find employment for Jack. But by 1926—at least, according to my aunt’s birth certificate—the family had returned to Rubie’s roots in Florida. And now, with a copy of that birth certificate—a certified copy, no less—I could find the town in which my aunt was born.
Better yet, I could even learn their current address: 2804 Jefferson Street. Wait! That address sounds familiar! And it is. According to the 1930 census, it’s the same address showing for Rubie’s parents, Rupert and Sara McClellan, who were now living in Tampa.
As all the dots start getting connected, my mind is racing to other details I’ve hoarded of the family's memorabilia. What used to be “just a picture” of a toddler in someone’s front yard—I had presumed it was my mother, apparently around the time of my aunt's birth—may turn out to be a photograph set in the yard of that very same house in Tampa.