Maybe we should start with what is already well known. On August 12, 1913, twenty-year-old Claude “Red” Wynn eloped with seventeen-year-old Pearl Olive Swango in Jay, Oklahoma. Grandpa Swango was none too happy about that, maybe because of Pearl’s age or maybe because of the difference in their social status. Due to the battle over where the records would be held in Delaware County, the record of this marriage was lost. The only known public record of their marriage was later found in an article published in the Welch Watchman newspaper.
Less than a year later, on June 20,1914, Red and Pearl welcomed a son, Loyd Lee “Jack” while living in Welch, OK. By February 13, 1916, when James Elbert and Jewell Elberta (twins) were born, the family had relocated to St. James, MO. James only survived for a little over one month, passing away on March 19, 1916.
Red seemed to have a hard time settling down and the family was soon back in Craig County, this time landing in Vinita, OK. During the flu epidemic of 1918, Grandma Swango (Rosa Lenora Kash Swango) became ill, and though Pearlie was warned not to come to Welch, she could not bear to stay away from her gravely ill mother. Grandma Swango died on November 26, 1918. Pearlie, who had also become ill, joined her mother in death on December 6, 1918. Jack also came down with the flu but was able to recover.
These events left Red with no wife and two young children to care for. What’s a wandering man to do? The year 1920 finds Jewell, age 4, living in St. James, MO with her Grandpa Wynn and Aunt Selma Wynn Dowling. Red and Jack, age 6, were nowhere to be found. They were probably on the road somewhere when the census taker came round.
On September 7, 1920 in Vinita, OK, Red married the lovely red headed Lucy Allison. She wasn’t prepared to care for two small children and to put up with Red’s wandering ways. Sometime before October 1923, Lucy’s father, John Allison, came for a visit and she was all too happy to take leave from the marriage. It may come as no surprise that no divorce record can be found ending this marriage.
To be continued….