|Elizabeth Lois Whitley|
|Elk Springs, Warren County, KY|
Grandma Lois appears in the 1910 US Census in Rocky Hill, Barren County, Kentucky as "Lizzie L Whitley". She was living in the household of her parents, Thomas Whitley and Elizabeth Hayden Matthews.
At the age of 17, Lois left Kentucky for Indianapolis, Indiana, where some of her family, such as her sister Minnie and her mother's brother Felix Matthews had moved for better opportunities. She married fellow Barren County resident Alvin Read in Marion County on 8 February 1919. My grandfather, Leo Morris Read, was born on 10 June 1920 in Indianapolis. I'm not certain, but I think this may be a photo of Alvin and Lois from the early 1920s:
In the 1920 US Census, Lois and Alvin were living as boarders in the house of Oren and Minnie Whitley Sheeks, located at 1138 Belmont Avenue in Indianapolis. Minnie was Lois' older sister.
By 1930, Lois had placed her 9-year old son Leo in the household of her oldest sister Mattie Whitley Goff and husband Clifton Goff in Glasgow, Kentucky. Alvin later moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan, while Lois moved into the household of her uncle Felix Matthews, working as a servant in his boarding house located at 1341 Kentucky Avenue in Indianapolis (today this land is located on the Eli Lilly campus south of Downtown).
Lois ran the restaurant called Turner's Lunch at the same location until she retired in 1963.
According to my Dad, Edward Turner was murdered (possibly following a card game) in the early 1950s, and as he could recall the case went unsolved. I'll have to look this up in the Indianapolis Star archives in Indianapolis. This would have been another hardship that Lois faced during her life.
I remember her being a stern woman, but looking back, she dealt with a lot, losing her mother at an early age, moving away from home and having two children before the age of 19, separating from her first husband, later dealing with her second husband's murder. She left behind the hills of Barren County, Kentucky and rose from being a servant in her uncle's house to operating a restaurant there for 30 years.
She outlived my Grandpa Leo, who died in 1985. Grandma Lois moved into my parents house in 1987. I don't recall that being an easy time for my parents, but it could not have been easy for her as well.
Grandma Lois' obituary noted that she was a member of the White Cross Guild, which was a non-profit organization founded in the 1930s to provide volunteer services to Methodist Hospital. The Guild published a cookbook titled Select Recipes and Health Charts in 1937 (a copy is available on the IUPUI website). I cannot confirm that some of Grandma Lois' recipes made it into this book, but I'd like to think that they did.
|Source: IUPUI Collection, see link above|