Erwin Lamar

When I found the obituary for my grandmother, Mary Lamar Burton, I discovered she had a half-brother I didn't know existed, Erwin Lamar. (The obit states his name as Erwin, as does the SSDI, but on census records for 1910, 1920 and 1930, he is recorded as Irvin.) Mary's parents were William Lamar and Louisa Anna Mahan and they had four children. Louisa died in 1898 and William married Mary Cecelia Brown about 1904. Erwin was born June 7, 1905 and his father, William, died in May, 1906. It appears after William died, Mary moved to Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky to live with her mother.

I'm not sure when Mary died but by 1910 it appears she is dead and her son, Erwin, is living with his grandmother, Elizabeth Brown, in Owensboro, Kentucky. In 1920, 14 year old Erwin is living with Henry and Teresa Bergman in Huff, Spencer County, Indiana and is listed as a hired hand on the census. In 1930, Erwin is living in Troy, Perry County, Indiana with Henry and Teresa Bergman and is listed as adopted son. He is also married to Gertrude. In 1940, Erwin, Gertrude and children are living in Troy along with Henry and Teresa Bergman. It's a little confusing because on the 1940 census, Henry is listed as father-in-law to Erwin but Henry and Teresa Bergman never had any children so Gertrude couldn't have been their daughter.

Erwin never knew his father since he was only 11 months old when William died and his mother presumably dies when Erwin is still very young. His grandmother dies between 1910-1920 and somehow Erwin winds up in Spencer County, Indiana living with the Bergman's. Henry and Teresa never had children so it does make sense that they would have "adopted" Erwin. Since Erwin kept the surname of Lamar, I think he probably wasn't legally adopted but Henry and Teresa most likely felt he was the son they never had and they no doubt loved him as such.

I questioned my mother (her mother was Mary Lamar Burton) about Erwin and she told me that the family used to visit him on his farm and that she remembers him but couldn't remember his wife's name. She mentioned that her mother spoke frequently of Erwin being her brother. She just never thought to tell me about him. Ah-well, not everyone is interested in family history.