Henry Eston Lovelace, 1900-1965

Henry Eston (“H. E.”) Lovelace, 3 Sep 1900 – 9 Jun 1965

Henry Lovelace was my maternal grandmother’s second husband, Margarite Witzke Denton Lovelace. She had been a widow for more than ten years when she married him at the age of 55. I really don’t know that much about Henry, so this is an attempt to see what I can learn. I know absolutely nothing about researching in the Georgia records, nor do I know anything in particular about Georgia geography or history.

1900 | 11 Jun. U.S. census record for Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Clyde Lovelace, son-in-law, age 24, b. 1876, Georgia (both parents also b. Georgia); Mary Lovelace, daughter, age 17, b. Georgia (both parents b. Georgia). Clyde and Mary (Townsend) Lovelace are living with her parents, Wm. B. Townsend (head of household), age 44 and Rebecca Townsend, age 44. William Townsend’s occupation is “Editor”; Rebecca’s occupation is “washerwoman.” Also in the household is Lizzie Townsend, daughter, age 22; Emma Townsend, age 23, daughter, and Fannie Walker, mother-in-law, age 80. Everyone born in Georgia.

Henry’s mother, Mary Townsend, was the daughter of an editor–William B. Townsend. That sounds interesting. Another thing about Mary is that she was only 17 years old when she got married and had her son Henry.

1900 | 3 Sep. Born, Henry Eston Lovelace, to Henry Clyde Lovelace and Mary Townsend Lovelace, in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. His name is spelled both “Loveless” and Lovelace in the records, although the Loveless version seems to be found in the earlier records. I remember that my grandmother pronounced his name that way–Loveless.

1902 | Born, Goldie Lee Lovelace, to Henry Clyde and Mary Townsend Lovelace.

1910 | U.S. Census record. Henry Lovelace, age 9, b. Georgia, living with his parents, Henry and Mary. His father Henry is a laborer in a gold mine; his mother Mary is a washerwoman–“at home.” The couple has been married for 10 years and has had 2 children–and have 2 living children in the census. The other child is Henry’s sister, Goldie Lee, age 8.

1918 | 12 Sep. WWI draft registration card. Henry Eston Lovelace, b. 3 Sep 1900, age 18; present occupation, Student at N.G.A. College (North Georgia Agricultural College in Dahlonega, Georgia); nearest relative, “Father and Mother.” His gravestone says: PVT STU ARMY TNG CORPS WORLD WAR I, which translates to Private, Student, Army Training Corps. I don’t find a record for him at Fold3.

1920 | 8 Jan. U.S. Census record for Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. (All b. Georgia) Head of household, William B. Townsend (Henry’s grandfather), age 64, occupation Newspaper Editor; Beckey Townsend, wife, age 64; not able to read, occupation Farmer, general farm; Emma Townsend, daughter, age 44, single, occupation Laborer, Home farm; Mary Lovelace, daughter, age 27, no occupation; Clyde Lovelace, son-in-law, age 44, occupation Miner, copper mines; Eston Lovelace, grandson, age 19, single, attending school, no occupation; Goldie Lovelace, granddaughter, age 17, single, no occupation; Glover Townsend, grandson, age 16, single, occupation Miner, copper mines.

1921 | 14 Aug. An ad in the Atlanta Constitution for North Georgia Agricultural College


1924 | Henry E. Lovelace and Laura Eleanor McLaughan/McLaughlin, married, probably in Georgia. Record not found. She’s the daughter of James R. McLaughan/McLaughlin and Mamie, b. Georgia.

1928 | 21 Nov. Born to Henry E. Lovelace and Laura Eleanor, Robert Henry Lovelace. Born in Georgia.

1930 | 7 Apr. U.S. Census record for Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. (All b. Georgia) Head of household, Henry C. Lovelace, age 54, he owns his home, occupation Mechanic; Mary T. Lovelace, age 45, occupation Helper, printing office (her father was a newspaper editor); Goldie Lee Lovelace, age 38, single, occupation Telephone operator. Henry’s only sibling, Goldie Lee, drops out of the records at this point.

1930 | 2 Apr. U.S. Census record for District 52, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Henry E. Lovelace, head of household, age 29, married at age 24, occupation Traveling salesman, road machinery; Eleanor M. Lovelace, wife, age 23, b. Georgia, occupation None (the family has one roomer); Robert H. Lovelace, son, age 1 4/12, b. Georgia.

about 1931 | Born, to Henry Lovelace and Laura Eleanor, Jerry Lovelace. B. Georgia.

1935 | 3 Jan. Died, Henry’s father, Henry Clyde Lovelace, Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, find-a-grave memorial #14327612.

about 1938 | Born, to Henry Lovelace and Laura Eleanor, C. Patton Lovelace. B. Georgia.

1940 | 18 Apr. U.S. Census record for Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. Mary Lovelace, Head of household, age 57, Widow, no occupation; Emma Townsend, Sister, age 64, single, no occupation. Mary Lovelace owns her own home.

1940 | Apr. U.S. Census record for Clayton, Rabun County, Georgia. (All born Georgia.)  Henry E. Lovelace, head of household, age 39, completed 4 yrs. college, occupation Resident Engineer, Highway Dept.; Eleanor Lovelace, age 33, completed 4 yrs. high school, occupation None; Robert, son, age 11; Jerry, son, age 9; C. Patton, son, age 2. The family is renting their home.

1942 | City Directory, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Henry E. Lovelace (Eleanor M. Lovelace), Chattanooga, Tennessee, occupation Engineer.

c. 1954 | Mrs. Margaret Lovelace, desk clerk, Hotel McClellan, Wichita, Kansas. It’s not clear when Henry and Margie met, but I’m guessing they met when she was working at the Hotel McClellan.


1955 | City Directory, Wichita, Kansas. Lovelace, Henry E (Eleanor) clk Wilson & Co r229 E William.

1955 | City Directory, Wichita, Kansas. Denton, Margt M desk clerk McClellan Hotel r110 N Estelle.

1955 | May. Divorce, Henry E. Lovelace and Eleanor M. Lovelace, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. [I didn’t find them in the 1950 city directory for Tuscaloosa, the closest one to 1955. His mother is still living, in Tuscaloosa, in 1965 when Henry died, according to his funeral notice.]

1955 | June. Margie saved quite a few of these “on the street” photos. This is the earliest one of them with Henry and Margie together. Margie was tall–about 5’9″–and in Henry she had finally found a man who was taller than she was, even when she was wearing her heels. In one letter to her, written about this time when she evidently left Wichita and Henry to visit family, Henry called Margie “My Honey-Chile,” darling, honey, sugar, sweet girl, and precious. He obviously wooed her and won her.


In the same (undated) letter, he also wrote:

Honey, you have it all wrong about the telephone call from Sister. Whatever I’ve ever asked Mother for, if it at all was possible she would do for me gladly. So don’t fret about that Sugar. I was only worried about what they were thinking and above all it was most time for you to leave me.

The letter seems to indicate that both his mother and his sister, Goldie Lee, were still alive in 1955. [Henry would find out, if he hadn’t already, that to ask Margie not to fret would be like asking the sun not to shine or water not to be wet.] The letter also indicates that Henry hadn’t been introduced in Margie’s family yet:

Enjoy your visit, see all your people and give them my love. Express my desire to them to meet them and know them better. I know I would love them because they are related to such a sweet girl.

1955 | 3 Sep. Married, Henry E. Lovelace and Margaret Denton. Below is the marriage announcement that my grandmother Margie carried in her wallet. It was probably from the Wichita newspaper, but I don’t know which one. I’ve never seen pictures of their wedding. It wouldn’t surprise me if neither one of her daughters thought to take a camera with them to the wedding.

Henry E. Lovelace, Mrs. Margaret Denton (9/3/55)
Mrs. Margaret Denton of Wichita, formerly of Hutchinson, exchanged marriage vows with Henry E. Lovelace of Tuscaloosa, Ala., in a 3 p.m. ceremony Saturday. Rev. David Miller officiated in the Presbyterian manse in Wichita. Among wedding guests were the bride’s daughters, Mmes. C.W. Embick and family, 226 West 17th, and R.K. Roorda and family of Denver.

Mr. Lovelace is employed in Wichita as a construction engineer, and his bride is employed there by the McClellan Hotel. After a short wedding trip they will be at home at the Shirkmere Hotel, Wichita.

Henry Lovelace was 55 years old when he married Margaret Denton, so he was still working, employed as a “construction engineer,” according to the newspaper account of their wedding. Neither Henry nor Margaret had ever owned a home of their own. Henry and Margie were “hotel people”–they lived together in residence hotels during the ten years they were married.

1955 | Fall-Winter. Henry and Margie visiting Margie’s sister, Emma Beacham and her family in Newton, Kansas. “The heart wants what the heart wants.” Margie looks about as happy as I’ve ever seen her look in a photo, with the exception of the very early days with her first husband, Cecil Denton.


1955-1962 | The dates aren’t clear to me, but Henry Lovelace and Margie moved from Wichita, Kansas to Kansas City, Kansas to Albuquerque, New Mexico. They probably moved to Albuquerque in 1962, since Henry’s funeral notice says that they had lived in Albuquerque for three years.

1956 | From the Polk’s Wichita City Directory, 1956: 

Lovelace, Henry E (Margt) supt Overend-Boucher & Assoc. h256 N Topeka Ave. apt 311. (No Eleanor Lovelace in the city directory.)

1957 | Christmas. Henry and Margie came to Denver for Christmas to visit. I think this outfit is Margie’s attempt to “do casual.” She wasn’t very good at it, always preferring to be dressed more formally. Maybe she was trying to get along at our house. I think Henry was really trying to like Margie’s “people.”


1957, Henry & Margie in Denver

1959 | Feb. Visiting her daughter in Denver, Colorado. My mother Alta, my grandmother Margie, and me, along with “Grandpa Henry.” Henry doesn’t look too friendly in this photo. There was always tension when my grandmother was visiting, and I think the tension escalated after she married Henry. She and my dad didn’t get along, and I can imagine that Henry wouldn’t have been too disposed to think kindly of anyone who wasn’t on the side of his “Honey-Chile.”


Margie, Henry, Alta and me. Where did I get that coat? I can’t imagine my mother letting me wear that thing ever, let alone wear it in a picture with my grandmother.

1959 | Mar. Just a month after the one above. Did Margie & Henry visit Gladys? Henry looks pretty good in this picture–certainly happier than he was in February at my parents’ house. This might be the best picture I have of him. Margie looks awful. It’s possible that she was just caught with her eyes half closed, and I may get in big trouble for saying this, but this is the part that we get into “warts and all,” and I think it was this photo that caused me to begin to wonder if just maybe Margie was a (secret) drinker. I have a suspicion that she might have been one of the millions of women in the 1930s who took “patent medicines” that contained somewhere between 12 and 20% alcohol.


Henry & Margie, March 1959

One of Lucille Ball’s most famous skits on I Love Lucy was the “Vitameatavegamin Girl.” It was a hilarious skit where Lucy had to make take after take of a commercial while saying the line “It’s so tasty, too!” In the multiple takes she takes spoonful after spoonful of the tonic, and she ends up drunk. It’s a hilarious skit, but the dark side of that humor may be that there were a lot of women who became alcohol-addicted to their “vitamin” compound.


“Spoon your way to health.”


“It’s awful hot in here; it must be the lights!”

If Margie had gotten herself addicted to “health” or “nerve” syrup sometime in the 1930s or even 1920s, she would have had a lot to choose from. There was Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, marketed until sometime around 1968; there was Nervine Syrup; there was “Viava,” a compound marketed to “strengthen blood.” nervineThere was even something that contained morphine, Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup. I don’t mean to belittle my grandmother, and even though I may seem to be making light of the issue, I don’t think it was a joke–not for a lot of women who unknowingly became alcohol impaired and addicted. My grandmother was skinny as a stick in 1935 and looked just dreadful. Her husband had been having a very public affair with a divorced woman. She was very much disposed to be “nervous”–the sound of someone chewing was more than she could bear; the smell of a piece of burned toast could ruin her whole morning. She was an absentee mother for both of her daughters. There really wasn’t very much she was interested in beyond playing bridge, reading romance magazines, and listening to her “stories” on the radio and later on TV. All her life, Margie had what I would call an addiction to sweets; when we were little kids, a visit from Grandma Margie meant candy (Henry called her the “cookie queen”). For years she was also addicted to laxatives–more self-medicating– probably the result of a terrible diet and lack of any sort of exercise. 1960_Margie_detailMostly I remember–and I was a little kid at the time, probably around 5 years old–I remember that Grandma Margie bothered me. Her smile never touched her eyes. She was a nervous, anxious woman with affected mannerisms, and she made people around her uncomfortable. So to think that maybe she self-medicated with something like Nervine Syrup to make herself feel a little better is not much of a stretch. Several years ago I visited with a cousin I don’t see very often, the daughter of Margie’s other daughter, Gladys. This daughter was shocked–shocked!–when I mentioned Margie’s liver cancer. “That’s crazy,” she said to me. “Grandma Margie died of stomach cancer.” Nope, she didn’t, and I have the memory of her biopsy and her death certificate to prove it. What I find interesting about that statement was that “someone” (undoubtedly her mother, Aunt Gladys) told my cousin it was stomach cancer, not liver. Why? Was it one of those “little white lies” people tell to sanitize a story? I honestly have no idea, but I do believe that my Aunt Gladys was savvy enough to know the difference between a stomach and a liver. Maybe like “insanity,” liver cancer back then had a negative connotation.

Below is an earlier photo, but it demonstrates my point about being “bothered” or maybe worried by my grandmother. It was taken at her home, probably in Wichita, probably the year before her marriage. This is Margie and her three grandchildren (I’m the little one with the terrified look), and I call it the “firing squad photo”–Margie lined up with her grandchildren.


Margie and grandchildren, 1954 or 1955

1960 | Here’s Henry Lovelace and Margie visiting Margie’s granddaughter, Gladys’s daughter. I always assumed that Margie visited Gladys’s family all the time–that it was easier for her to visit with Gladys and her only child and Gladys’s husband, whom she liked, instead of coming to our house with four loud kids. So I was surprised to hear from my cousin that Margie visited her family’s house very rarely. This must have been one of those rare times, maybe some sort of graduation, since my cousin seems dressed up for something special.


Margie, Henry, and my cousin, 1960

What strikes me about this photo is how absolutely awful Henry looks, compared to only a year or less earlier. He doesn’t seem to have his false teeth in, so that would make him look older, but beyond that he looks like he’s quite ill. He’s 60 years old, but he could easily pass for 80. And of course–the ubiquitous cigarette. Margie, on the other hand, looks good–better than usual.

1960 | Dec. This is a picture of Margie with some of her siblings. The occasion was the 50th wedding anniversary of Emma Witzke, her sister, and Frank Beacham. This was taken in Newton, Kansas. It would seem that Henry Lovelace had a positive effect on Margie, encouraging her to visit her “people” as he had put it to her in the earlier letter.

What about Henry’s own family? Did he ever visit them during this time? Henry had three grown sons who were all a little bit younger than my mother. In 1960 they would have been 32, 29, and 22. His mother, Mary Townsend Lovelace, was also alive. She was 77 years old in 1960. I haven’t been able to find his sister, Goldie Lee, in the records, although she was apparently still alive when Henry and Margie were married in 1955, since he mentions her in the earlier letter. Goldie Lee would have been 57 years old in 1960. Had Henry also split with his family, the way Margie had split with hers? It’s easy to imagine that Henry’s divorce from Laura Eleanor could have created hard feelings within the family.

Mary Townsend Lovelace, Henry’s mother, died after he died, in 1972. I don’t know where she was living when she died, but she was buried with her husband in Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia. I’ve found two people (so far) in the records in Henry’s family: his oldest son, Robert Henry Lovelace, who died in New Smyrna Beach, Volusia, Florida in 2009; and his ex-wife, Laura Eleanor McLaughan/McLaughlin Lovelace, died Laura M. Lovelace, 16 Nov. 1992, Los Angeles, CA.


Dec. 1960, Newton, Kansas. From left to right: Margie, Emma Witzke Beacham, Robert Witzke, Erne Witzke Messer, Unknown.

This photo illustrates the split that existed among Margie and her siblings, one that seemed to involve both age and geography. These are the older siblings: Erne, Emma, (George isn’t here), Margie, (Leona isn’t here), Robert and (Ted, who didn’t make the trip to Newton either). They all lived in the Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico area. Then there was Dorothy (Dot), Nina, and Violet, the younger girls who all ended up living in Florida with their mother.

1962 | April. Margie’s mother died in Miami where she was living with her daughters, Leona, Dot, Nina, and Vi. This photo shows the other half of the sibling split. It’s interesting that Margie’s sister Emma seems to have been able to negotiate both groups, the older “western” siblings and the younger “Florida” siblings. For years I thought Margie wasn’t in this photo because she chose not to go to her funeral. However, after hearing from a daughter of one of Margie’s brothers, who says that her father wasn’t told about his mother’s death until after the funeral, I’ve changed my mind and think that it’s certainly possible that Margie also wasn’t told until after the funeral. If that was the case, then I can see that Margie would have been angry with her sister Emma for not telling her, since clearly Emma is sitting in the middle of this group, so she knew. The rift between Emma and Margie, at least on Margie’s part, was permanent and lasted until after Margie died. I think it started here. It’s very sad, because the sisters had been so much a part of each other’s lives for years.


April 1962. Emma Baxter Witzke’s casket can be seen in the background. From left to right: Dorothy, Leona (standing), Emma, Nina, and Violet.

This means that by 1962, of Margie’s six sisters, she was still speaking to only one of them, Erne, the oldest sister. This comes from a memoir by Sharon O’Brien, Family Silver. It certainly reminds me of the dynamics of the seven Witzke sisters.

When the six Quinlan sisters were aggrieved they simply ceased speaking to each other, forming shifting alliances with other sisters, to whom they complained about the rest. Over the decades one or two sisters were always on the outs with one or two others; it was hard to keep track. Sometimes sisters went thirty years without speaking, and often the precipitating causes were bizarrely trivial; whatever the spark was, it must have tripped off some frozen, hidden childhood rage or deprivation (O’Brien, 102).

The rift was real. About ten years ago I was in contact with one of Emma’s grandsons who grew up next door to Emma and Frank Beacham. Unfortunately, he was short on details about what had happened between Emma and Margie:

Ah, yes. The long-forgotten family “falling out.” It seems as though I vaguely remember something about Margie’s death, but I would have been in Jr. High. We lived right smack next door to grandpa and grandma (Frank and Emma) until I was in the third grade. Grandpa was already retired by the time I was born, so I spent HOURS at their house. Grandma was always frail. She talked all the time about Margie and Ted [Theodore, Emma & Margie’s brother]. Emma also had a sister Ernie (Messer) who lived in Newton for quite a while. I will have to call my mom to see if she remembers anything about the “falling out.”

Why does it matter after all these years? Sharon O’Brien tells us why it matters:

Family patterns have a way of getting passed down, despite our best intentions. They change shape, they mutate, they persist.

Some people believe that the untold stories of your ancestors get passed down in your blood and bones, generation after generation, without your even knowing it. You can feel your great-great grandfather’s sorrow, you can dream your great-grandmother’s dreams. . . . I am one of those believers; I think that we inherit our ancestor’s emotional histories, particularly their unexpressed stories of suffering, exile, and yearning.

1962 | I don’t know when Henry and Margie moved to Albuquerque, but his funeral announcement says that he had lived there for three years, so it must have been sometime in 1962 that they moved. Why the move from Kansas City to Albuquerque? Margie had a brother who lived there, Robert H Witzke. That’s the only connection I can think of with Albuquerque. It could also be that Margie wanted to be closer to her daughter Gladys and her family who were living in Hobbs, New Mexico–about 5 hours by car from Albuquerque. Henry probably needed a town large enough to have a V.A. hospital–although I’m sure Kansas City had a V.A. hospital. So did Denver where my mother lived. He probably already was symptomatic with the emphysema he had at the end of his life, three years later. Henry was the kind of dedicated smoker who would take off the oxygen so that he could smoke a cigarette. Everybody smoked back then and they all smoked all the time.

1963 | Dec. This photo of Henry Lovelace comes from my Aunt Gladys’s collection of photos. I’m not sure why Margie would take such a photo and send it to her daughter Gladys, but it documents what Henry and Margie had come to have to deal with by 1963. Henry is still smoking, even in the hospital, even with emphysema.


December 1963, Henry Lovelace

1965 | Spring. Margie never dated her letters, but internal evidence says that this letter was written not too long before Henry died in early June. Margie was writing to my mother. Obviously she was very stressed over Henry’s illness, but I think the emotional tone of the letter is more typical of Margie than not. She writes this to her daughter, “Dearest Alta”:

Just a short note before I got to the hospital as I do every morning at 11 A.M. Henry is no better or worse but he cries so much it breaks my heart. He hardly knows anyone, it is so heartbreaking. He calls for his children, which is also heartbreaking too. I am so worn out and Erne is still here [Margie’s sister, Ernestine], but she is so childish and won’t go up and down stairs more than once a day, so I have to do all the running. It’s got to be automatic with me anymore.

In 1965, Erne was 74 years old, almost ten years older than Margie. Maybe rather than “childish,” Erne simply wasn’t able to do the stairs more than once a day. She was in Albuquerque helping Margie. It doesn’t seem that any of her other siblings were lining up to do the same.

1965 | 9 June. Died, Henry Eston Lovelace, in Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico. Henry was buried at Fort Logan Cemetery in Denver, Colorado. I don’t know why this cemetery was chosen, except that Margie’s daughter lived in Denver, this military cemetery was available, and Henry was eligible, because of his World War I service, to be buried at the military cemetery. Funeral and burial expenses would have been a consideration for Margie, since her funds at this point were minimal.

From an Albuquerque newspaper:

H. E. Lovelace Funeral Saturday

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Strong-Thorne chapel for Henry E. Lovelace, resident here three years, who died Wednesday at a local hospital after an illness. He was 64.

Mr. Lovelace, who lived at 1410 Central SE, was a member of the Presbyterian Church and a former resident of Kansas City.

He is survived by his widow: two daughters, Mrs. [Gladys] of Hobbs [New Mexico], and Mrs. [Alta] of Denver; his mother, Mrs. C.A. Lovelace, Tuscaloosa, Ala., and five grandchildren.

I guess the “five grandchildren” were Margie’s five grandchildren–Alta’s four and Gladys’s one. No mention of Henry’s children; no mention of Henry’s grandchildren. I’m frankly surprised that his mother is mentioned, since this funeral notice must have been written by Margie. I wonder if Margie notified Henry’s mother of his death? I hope so. I don’t remember anyone from our family going to Henry’s funeral in Albuquerque. Margie came to Denver shortly afterwards to see to Henry’s burial. The only people who attended his burial were my parents, me and my siblings, and Margie.


Henry E Lovelace, Fort Logan Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Margaret Witzke Denton Lovelace died less than a year later, 9 March 1966. At her request, she was buried with Henry Lovelace.


O’Brien, Sharon. The Family Silver: A Memoir of Depression and Inheritance. U of Chicago P, Chicago, 2004.

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One Response to Henry Eston Lovelace, 1900-1965

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors: #9 of 52 – Margarite Mae Witzke Denton Lovelace, 1899-1966 | The Shoebox Under the Bed

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