|Birth:|| March 24, 1897|
probably in DeKalb County, Alabama
|Death:|| August 14, 1945|
in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama
|Burial:|| Edward R. Forward plot,|
Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama
|Father:||Andrew Jackson Frazier|
|Mother:||Mary Evaline Chadwick|
|Spouse/Partner:||Charles Bertrand Powell, Jr.|
|Marriage:|| June 23, 1912|
in Ensley, Jefferson County, Alabama
|2nd Spouse:||Harry Rowland Forward|
|2nd Marriage:|| February 1, 1921|
in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama
Evelyn Frazier was the fifth child of Andrew Jackson Frazier and Mary Evaline Chadwick. Recorded sources place her birth in Alabama, though her siblings were born in Georgia, supposedly in Rising Fawn. Evelyn came from a broken home. Her father, of whom we know relatively little, is said to have skipped out on the family and started a new family with a new wife. Presumably this happened between Evelyn's birth in 1897 and the 1900 census in which Evelyn's mother claimed her marital status as "widowed" (Evelyn herself claimed to be widowed in the 1920 census when she was actually divorced). It is not clear what became of her mother, but by the 1910 census, May and Evelyn (called Lena) appear to be residing in a Catholic orphanage in South Point, Gaston Co., NC. This is very likely to be St. Anne's Orphanage and Industrial School for Girls, opened by the Sisters of Mercy Convent in the Belmont area in 1894, accepting white orphan and half-orphan girls. Presumably, between 1910 and 1912 (perhaps when May turned 18 in 1911), May and Evelyn left the orphanage and returned to Alabama. Without much going for her at that point other than good looks, it is no wonder then that she was attracted to C. B. Powell, Jr., the eldest son of a prominent Birmingham lawyer. However they came to meet, they supposedly eloped to the surprise and frustration of his parents. A marriage record exists for them in Ensley, a neighborhood of Birmingham, so I cannot tell if the elopement actually happened or not. The popular memory from Frazier relatives was that "he set her up in style".
Trying to make the best of the situation, Louise Powell, C. B.'s mother, attempted to culture her new daughter-in-law, but her finery had to be very foreign to a girl who had grown up under such instability. She probably calmed down a bit, but it must have been quite a culture shock for the 15 year old. Perhaps motherhood tempered her supposed wild side, but it could only have been temporary. She had my grandmother in 1913 and her younger sister in 1915. The marriage may have been showing signs of strain, though. By 1917, C. B. had enlisted in the military and was in training near Atlanta for quite a while. This prolonged absence probably tipped the scales against them and, by 1919 (possibly 1917), they divorced. The 1920 census found her living with her two daughters in her brother-in-law Ira Taylor's Birmingham household (Ira A. Taylor had married Evelyn's sister Ella May Frazier on Nov 27, 1917 in the Birmingham suburb of Tarrant City). In 1921, she remarried to Harry Rowland Forward, a shoe salesman from Toronto, Canada. Her two daughters appear to have become the responsibility of their Powell grandparents at this point. Evelyn and Harry would have two more children: Virginia in 1922 and Edward, or "Sonny", in 1925. Harry, who was twenty years her senior, appears to have died by 1930, leaving Evelyn with the two chldren. Frazier relatives remembered her as a doting mother, but she supposedly hardly had anything to do with her two older children. It is no wonder then that my grandmother's most distinctive memory of her mother was of Evelyn driving fast cars, drinking and smoking. My grandmother also recalled that her mother had more miscarriages than she had children.
At any rate, all this supposed hard living appears to have finally caught up with Evelyn. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a disease that is still hard to detect before its advanced stages. Though I am told she died in New York, a death record claims she died in Birmingham. I can only assume that she went to New York for treatment and returned home once the end became inevitable. My grandmother, in spite of lingering resentment toward her mother, traveled to New York to spend time with her during this difficult period. Evelyn also wrote letters to various family members to pass the time. However, whatever treatment she received was not enough and she died in 1945 at the young age of 48. I can remember my grandmother remarking that her mother never had gray hair. She really didn't have much of a chance to.
- Ancestry.com - California Death Index, 1940-1997.
- Anderson, Charles Clifford, Jr. Memories told by my grandmother.
- Anderson, Charles Wittichen. Memories told by my grandmother.
- Anderson, Charles Wittichen. Visit to Elmwood Cemetery.
- Anderson, Julia Wittichen. Memories told by my grandmother.
- Borchardt, Jodie. Email correspondence, 2000.
- Familysearch.org - Social Security Death Index.
- Frazier, Lee. Email correspondence, 2000 and 2009.