I believe Mamie Mae is without a doubt the most interesting character in this genealogy adventure,that I have come across. I imagine that is in part because I’ve spent more time and treasure trying to figure out what role she played in my life, long before I even showed up, and to some extent a fascination that the folks that had access to her but didn’t take the time or effort to get some more information while she was available. Some people, my Pop and my Uncle Gordon have been pretty clear that I should just stop inquiring and let it alone, which of course just piques a persons interest.
I went so far as to get a Male line DNA sample from my uncle Gordon, in an effort to see if we, descendants of William Ray Peterson, were indeed Peterson’s. The DNA sample was done thru “Family Tree DNA” the sample kit is # 406702, Y-DNA 37, accomplished in the Spring (April) of 2015. My Cousin Mikie Peterson, daughter of Gordon Peterson, agreed to get the sample because it was likely that Gordon would not wish to participate in such an activity. Gordon is that last living son of William Ray Peterson, that is why I chose to try to get the DNA sample from him. The sample came back with 2 matches, Rollie Bill Mosely, and Dr. Verne V. Smith. Neither person responds to efforts to make contact, and Family Tree doesn’t do anything to assist in making contact, the whole thing could be a $170 scam! Maybe something will show up in time. I have been unable to locate any other male only line descendants of male descendants of Charles Emil Peterson to see if there is any DNA connection between Charles Emil Peterson and William Ray Peterson and any male sibling of William Ray. This puzzle is a direct result of the questions I have about Mamie Mae. Her marriage application and license clearly indicate that her name was “Edmonds” when she married Charles Emil. Those documents are dated Sept. 18, 1896, the certificate of marriage is dated Sept. 19, 1896. These documents are from Fargo, Cass Co., North Dakota. Mamie Mae Edmomds “says” in the “Application for Marriage License” that she was married previously and that “ Yes . Her former husband died. He died more than one year ago.” She also says on this form that her folks were “James Mc Carter and Sarah Mc Carter, they live in Grand Forks Co. N.D”. I can only guess at where the name McCarter came form, possibly a mistake by the person taking the information. Mamie Mae was a Carter, not Mc Carter. There is no Birth Certificate for William Ray Peterson, that I have been able to locate. His birth date is variously listed as Aug. 1894, 1900 census, Minn., Clay Co. City of Moorehead: Aug.3, 1895 , family Bible, Granny Williams (as Mamie Mae was called after her marriage to Floyd Shannon Williams),: Aug. 3, 1895 Fargo, N.D. from Draft record of William Ray Peterson.: Aug. 3, 1895, Wm. Ray Peterson death certificate. The Month and date seem consistent, inquiring about a birth certificate in the name of “Peterson” can’t work out since his name wouldn’t have been “Peterson” in 1894 or 1895. The letter I got back from North Dakota Health Dept., dated 3-28-2014 says that there was no record of birth under the names Peterson or Edmonds. There was no legal requirement to register births at that time. I have a “new lead”, the Red River genealogical society that may be helpful. Family history has the marriage between Mamie Mae and Charles Emil as Sept. 19,1894, ( not 1896 as indicated on the license) see letter dated 1977-78 and family bible entries of Letha Lestril Elvina Peterson Prettyman. My only real concern with whether or not William Ray is the son of Charles Emil and Mamie Mae or if he was the son of the mysterious “Mr. Edmonds” is my DNA. I am clearly a son of W.W. Peterson, who is the son of William Ray Peterson, my family heritage is obviously Peterson. The other issue, for good or ill, is my genetic makeup. Mamie Mae clearly had a rough start in this old world, her father died when she was quite young, and she was raised by an Aunt & Uncle. She was born in Hammond or Bloomington, Ind. 29 April, 1878 to James Henry Carter and Sarah Ann Carpenter ,they were married 1877. The 1880 Census , Indiana, Monroe Co. Indian creek Township, shows Mamie Mae, 1 year old, living with her Mom, Sarah Ann Carpenter, with Sarah’s Uncle Sexson (Sexton? ) Long and his wife Nancy. That squares with the information contained in the letter of Letha Peterson Prettyman referenced above. It appear’s that Mamie Mae’s Mom,Sarah Ann Carpenter was a lecturer for the Christian Science religion and was gone a lot. Sarah Ann Carpenter, Mamie Mae’s mother, also had rough go of things when her folks ( James Carpenter and Almina Carter) died of “milk Poisoning” in 1861, and she and her siblings were raised by aunts and uncles. It appears that Sarah Ann Carpenter maintained that close relationship with her Uncle and Aunt (Sexton Long and his wife Nancy) for many years. As a young lady (age 15) Mamie “taught some in the lower grades of a prescription school. As there was very little work in those days. Her Aunt & Uncle ( Sexton Long and Nancy) were getting along in years. She wanted to try help ease the burden of caring for her. After much persuasion they gave their permission for her to answer an ad through the employment agency to go to N. Dakota to work in the wheat harvest. A close girl friend went with her. My mother ( Mamie Mae) got work with a Norwegian family who had several threshing machines, they set up the cook shacks in the fields. My mother (Mamie Mae) said the work was so hard and hours so long she would get so tired and homesick she often thought of quitting her job and going back home. She did not have a chance to make new friends and had lost track of her friend who went to work for another family.” Quoted from the letter of Letha Peterson Prettyman cited above. March 1920 Mamie Mae petitions for a divorce from Charles Emil, May 1920 the divorce is granted. The 1920 census Oklahoma, Custer Co. Clinton township shows Mamie May with the same 6 children mentioned in the divorce decree granting her custody of those 6 children, William Ray, who would be of primary interest to me would be in his early 20’s by that time and married to Ollie and off to war ( WW1). Family history has Mamie Mae marrying Floyd Shannon Williams on March 9, 1920, Okla. Mamie Mae was recognized as the outstanding war mother and also a Gold star mother, she lost 1 son in WW1 and had 3 sons and 7 grandsons in WWII. 9 of her 15 children lived to adulthood. She was 80 years old at her passing.