A Revisit of Her Father’s Marriages: Harry Flowers and Lydia Bradley

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As I narrow down my thesis research project, I am revisiting multiple aspects of the Flowers family’s life. I have an entire wall devoted to this research in my apartment. Call me a nerd, I will happily say that I am; however, I find it much easier to visualize this project and connect the last remaining dots when I can sit, draw, write, and process it is out loud. As I was creating fact sheets for each individual within this family’s tree, I stumbled once again across Harry’s death certificate. I noticed that under his marital status, Rachel wrote widowed. I am unsure of why I never investigated this further, but this is not the first time I saw this marital status associated with Harry. In the 1920 Federal Census of the Flowers household, the initials for widowed appeared in reference to his marital status. It is hard to believe that this is a mistake by Harry who provided this information to the census enumerator or his daughter who remain with her father since 1913 wrote that her father was a widow. Where does this leave us? Well, it leaves me with no choice but to revisit Harry’s marriages.

First Marriage

Lydia Bradley (b. 1860)
Harry Flowers (b. 1845)
April 6, 1876
Duval County, Florida

Children—(3) Samuel (b. 1875, Mary (b.1878), and Josie (b. 1880)

On April 6, 1876, Harry Flowers married Lydia Bradley. I am unsure if they were married in a church. I am unsure of how the two met. I am unsure of their fifteen year age gap. What I can confirm is the three children they had which was concluded through the 1880 Federal Census. I can also confirm that something happened to Lydia and her two children, Samuel and Josie, because there is no record of them after 1880.

I was able to locate the 1870 Federal Census of the Bradley Household. Within this home, Lydia resided with her mother, father, and three siblings. The family was from South Carolina. Her siblings’ names lead to an interesting conclusion. Her first son is named about her brother, Samuel. Harry’s first child with Nancy is also named after Lydia’s brother, Chauncey.


Would one name his or her child after his previous wife if they had divorced?

I question why Lydia and two of her three children simply vanish after the 1880 Federal Census. They are in no state census, federal census, or in any death records. By the time of Harry’s death, only one child from his first marriage is listed as a surviving relative—Mary, who actually migrates to the Philadelphia area. Lydia was also from South Carolina. Did her family move further South or did she simply move further South alone?

Then I realized the mistake I had made. I originally marked Lydia’s parents as Edmund and Susan found through the 1880 Federal Census. Why did I accept two separate federal census documents? Everybody makes mistakes…

There are no census records from the state of Florida in 1890 for obvious reasons. There is no Lydia Flowers, Lydia Bradley, or Harry Flowers in the 1900 Federal Census. As for their children, I could find not one 1900 Federal Census of Samuel or Josie Flowers; however, I did find one potential census match for Mary, who resided in a boarding home in Jacksonville. This is the same town of Rachel and the other eight children born to Harry and his second wife in the late 19th and early 20th century.


I am unsure of what happened to Harry’s and Lydia’s marriage, yet by 1900 it seems as if they only have one surviving daughter. Did something happen to Lydia and her two children leaving Harry a widow with a daughter to care for? Or by the time they deceased was Mary at an age where she secured her independence? This is all speculation, perhaps I will find the truth one day.

Until the next post on his second marriage,


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