Long ago, I made a vow to myself to learn the story of what happened to my father’s family and what happened to each of his brothers and sisters. I had no idea it would take me over 50 years and then still not know the complete story. This is a story that centers on Raymond Moore, one of my father’s younger brothers, who was adopted out of the family. Raymond was one of seven children that were living in 1924 when the family was to fracture, sending the children off in all different directions. While I have spent many years tracking down and gathering information about these seven people, Raymond has been one of my greatest mysteries. Raymond was adopted and would, in time, leave his Moore family origins behind. I have discovered that he was adopted by Harry and Emogene Stone. But let’s start the story a few years before in 1920. That is when the following news story appeared in the Potter Enterprise newspaper.
In an interview with a daughter of one of the children described in the above article, she told me that her father described how “the men came in and wrapped the body of his mother in a white sheet and carried her out of the house.” A few years later, in a 1924 news article in the Potter Enterprise shows that things had gone even more terribly wrong. The article reported that “Conditions squalid beyond belief…seven children who range from a wee tot to a daughter about twenty years of age… Five of the children are now being cared for at the county home but will be taken to the Tier Children’s Home in Harrison Valley later…” The Harrison Valley Children’s Home will figure in this story a little later.
However, I believe this story had its’ start in the year 1918.1918 finds Harry and Emogene Stone grieving over the loss of their only son Newton. In the extraordinary for the time period obituary, because of its’ size and the fact it was for a very young child, we learn some interesting facts about the Stone family. We learn that they have a daughter named Leah and no other children.
The fact that the Stone family had no other children is also supported in the 1920 Census with part of a transcript from the Potter County Historical Society, which is shown below. Please note the occupation of Harry Stone is listed as “drill oil wells.” My father always said that Raymond was adopted by a family named Stone and that “he took their name.” This was again backed up when I found my cousin Susan in 2004, living in Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. Susan is the daughter of another of my father’s brothers. She introduced me to an old family friend who was born in 1927 and lived in Shinglehouse her whole life. She had known Raymond and his family. She stated that Raymond Moore was, in fact, adopted by the Stones. While she could not be sure of Mr. and Mrs. Stone’s first name, she did give a few clues. She said that Mr. Stone was in the oil business and also was a judge.
Now, if you look at the 1930 census below, you will note a few key items. Raymond has made his first appearance in this family. He is listed as 13 years old. That would be old enough to be mentioned in little Newton Stone’s obituary and certainly should have been recorded in the 1920 census. Also, if you look at Harry Stone’s occupation, you will see it listed as; “driller oil lease.”
Even with all of the above, it still was not enough to be able to say positively that Raymond Moore and Raymond Stone were the same person. In all the records I researched when Raymond Stone appeared, Raymond Moore disappeared. I have, over the years, been to and been in contact with the Potter County Historical Society, which is the county that Shinglehouse is found. In a letter from them dated September 18, 2015, which in part says the following. “Enclosed are the materials that I emailed you about…I could not find an adoption record for Raymond or Ainslee in the Potter County Courthouse. It is quite possible that both of those adoptions were recorded in New York. The Hulett family had children quite older than Ainslee, so they must have been forthright in her being adopted and listed her as so on at least one census. The Stone family, however, did not…but I am most sure that Raymond was the son of Frank and Elzada.” Also, at the Potter County Historical Society was an elderly research volunteer that I met in 2004 who stated Raymond stone was, in fact, Raymond Moore. Also, I would like to point out this person was not the letter writer. My big break came while searching online newspaper archives. How I love those sources of information. Below is what I found.
There it was, Harry Stone adopts a boy, and the boy was from the Harrison Valley Orphanage. I have not found another Harry Stone in the area other than the Harry and Emogene Stone family. In 1958 Harry Stone died, and I was able to find his obituary. The information confirms that he was a driller and that he held the office of Justice of the Peace. It also showed that Raymond was now living in Rochester, New York. He was to marry Sephronia McCarthy, and they would have at least three children. He was later to settle in Wellsville, New York, less than 30 miles from Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. Raymond worked at Burke Steel in Rochester, New York.
I now felt confident that Raymond Stone was, in fact, my Uncle Raymond Moore. But I continued to search for more proof. Once again, old newspapers that have gone online gave me more proof. When I spotted the newspaper article below, any lingering doubts disappeared.
How did this rather short piece of social news cement for me that I had indeed found my father’s missing brother? The answer lies with the conversations I had with my father. My father was a combat veteran of World War Two. I had asked him if he was ever hurt in the war, and he informed me that he never got hurt at all. He did tell me about his brothers who did. He said his brother Raymond broke his leg. Somehow he had known this about his adopted out brother. I suspect most likely he learned this through his older sister Ethel Moore Hunter. She is, in fact, a story that will be told in the future. I must have read that 22-word news article a hundred times. I now had all the proof I needed. I found some other articles regarding Raymond, being transferred to a hospital in Brigham City, Utah, and his being discharged after serving about four months in occupied Japan. Below you will find Raymond’s draft registration card.
Note his date of birth is December 31, 1916. Proof he was alive when Newton Stone died and should have been included in his obituary and the phrase “Newton D Stone, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry D Stone…” should have never been written. It also shows once more his father as Harry D Stone.
Raymond died in 2005 well before I had the chance to meet him. At least I have learned a little part of his story. I have reached out to some of his family, but the people I contacted do not think that Raymond was adopted and do not accept what I believe to be the true story. Raymond had decided to leave the Moore family behind and fully embrace the Stone family. But he had so many answers to questions I have to ask, and now I have no one to ask. I do take some solace that what I believe to be the true story has been discovered and now is known to my branch of the family. I would have liked to have gotten to know his family better, but at least one more family mystery has been solved. The picture below is one of several I have been able to obtain in my research.