What happened to Emma E. Lanier Childers and her children?

Emma E. Lanier was the daughter of Joseph Smith Lanier and Nancy Jane Bennett. She married Thomas Samuel Childers on 4 July 1889 at her parents’ home in Chambers County, Alabama.

Emma and T. S. were living in Coweta County, Georgia, in the community of Hurricane, by 1900. According to their census record, they had four daughters, Sallie (age 11, born August 1888), Nannie E (age 6, born March 1894), Jemmie (age 4, born March 1896), and Ann (age 1 month, born April 1900).

T. S. filed for divorce on the grounds of cruelty on 20 July 1905, and it was granted by the Coweta County Superior Court in March 1907. In the filing, he stated that Emma was no longer a resident of Georgia and her address was unknown. He listed their four children as: Sallie Pearl (married, age 15), Nannie Emma (age 11), James Ira (age 9), and Wilber B. (age 3). He gave no information about the location of the children.

Note that James Ira should have been listed with the family in the 1900 census and he is the same age as the daughter listed as Jemmie. It is likely that child was James. T. S. did not mention a daughter named Ann, who should have been five years old in 1905. If the census is accurate, she apparently died before he filed for divorce.

None of the children were with T. S. and his second wife in 1910 according to their census record. I have accounted for Emma’s parents and siblings after 1905, and there is no sign she or any of her children were with any of them. If you know anything about Emma or her children, please email me.

Last Update: 15 May 2020