A few weeks ago, I was browsing through some Ancestry.com hints and found a few interesting records.
One was a marriage license application for my Great-uncle Doc—full name Howard Doctor Hopkins.
In Kansas City, Missouri.
A place I would never have looked for his marriage record.
Uncle Doc was a musician who grew up in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. He moved to Chicago, Illinois around 1930 to perform on the WLS National Barn Dance as part of the Cumberland Ridge Runners. Doc made his first solo record for Paramount in December 1931, was featured on WJJD’s Suppertime Frolic by 1935, and recorded for American Record Corporation and Decca between 1936 and 1941 before returning to WLS in 1942 to host the morning wake-up show and again perform on the National Barn Dance. He retired from show business in 1949 but made appearances at various folk festivals in the 1960s and 1970s.1
I knew Doc’s wife was Mary Locke from family information recorded by my grandmother.2 I knew they were married in 1933 from Doc’s obituary.3 I had no idea exactly where or when they were married. The greater Chicago area seemed to be the most likely location since that is where they lived, but I hadn’t found a record.
And then that Ancestry.com hint took me to a marriage license application in Missouri Marriage Records, 1805–2002 showing Howard D. Hopkins of Ecorse, Wayne County, Michigan applied for a license on 7 August 1933 to marry Mary Locke of Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.4 From there, I found the marriage license with certification from the Catholic priest who performed the marriage ceremony on 10 August 1933.5
Ecorse, Michigan as Doc’s residence is a little confusing. He should have been living in Chicago at that time and almost certainly was. But his brother Henry lived in Ecorse so it appears he gave Henry’s residence as his.6 He may have been temporarily staying with Henry or using Henry’s address because he didn’t have a permanent residence in Chicago.
I didn’t know Mary was from Missouri until after I saw the marriage record. But the 1940 census record for Doc, Mary, and their son, shows Mary and their son were both born in Missouri.7
Now I wonder how they met? Always more questions.
Howard Doctor Hopkins was the son of James Arton Hopkins and Lucinda Howard.
- Paul Kingsbury, editor, The Encyclopedia of Country Music Compiled by the Staff of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pg 247. ↩
- Emma Ewers Taylor Hopkins, “Our Family History” (fill in the blanks family history book, Loyall, Kentucky, 1976-1978); privately held by Faye Hopkins McCauley, Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, 1978. ↩
- Doc Hopkins (obituaries), 1988; privately held by Linda McCauley Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. (3 obituaries from unidentified Illinois newspapers.) ↩
- Jackson County, Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805–2002, License Application 52230, Hopkins-Lock, 7 Aug 1933; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 Dec 2016). ↩
- Jackson County, Missouri, Jackson County, Missouri Marriage Records, 1840–1985, 52230, Hopkins-Locke, 7 Aug 1933; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Dec 2016). ↩
- 1930 U.S. census, Wayne County, Michigan, population schedule, Ecorse, enumeration district (ED) 913, sheet 8A, dwelling 141, family 148, H. M. Hopkins; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Feb 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 1071. ↩
- 1940 U.S. census, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, Chicago, enumeration district (ED) 103-3179A, sheet 10A, household 296, Howard D. Hopkins; digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 Dec 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T627, roll 1021. ↩