Viva Jane Roberts Lefter

Viva Jane Roberts Lefter

Viva Jane Roberts was born on March 2, 1891 in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana.  She is the daughter of Wright Roberts and Della Helfridge.7  I couldn’t determine the exact identity of Viva’s mother.  Her name is different on every record; I will walk through all the records I found.

Wright and Della were married on August 12, 1888 in Marion, Indiana. 16  Della is listed as Dollie Hedge in the record.  Since this record is only an index, I can’t verify the spelling on an actual copy of the record.

The only direct record of Viva’s mother that I could find is a newspaper article printed on December 11, 1888 in The Indianapolis Journal. 11  Neither Wright nor Della are referred to by their first name, but based on where they were living at the time, I’m confident the article is about them.  In 1888, Wright is listed as living at 156 Washington Street 17 which is two blocks from Meridian Street referred to in the article.  The article reads: “Thrown from a Buggy.  Last evening, while Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, who live on East Washington street, near Liberty, were driving on Meridian, near Ohio street, the horse became fractious and caused the buggy to turn so sharply that Mrs. Roberts fell out.  She was somewhat bruised by the fall.  Flanner & Buchanan took her home in their ambulance.”

Wright and Della first had a son named Ernest Bert Roberts who was born on May 16, 1889 in Indiana .13  Two years later, Viva was born. 7  I have not been able to find a record of Della’s death, but it had to be between 1891 and 1899, the gap between when Viva was born and Wright married Mary.

On June 4, 1900, Viva is living in Harrison, Indiana with her father Wright and his new wife Mary 1.  Wright married Mary Cary on June 28, 1899 14.  She is the daughter of Charles Cary and Catherine Kale.  Mary was born on July 8, 1871 in Fayette County, Indiana. 14,15  Wright and Mary had a son, Charles V, born in Mar 1900 listed on the 1900 census.

On February 1, 1907 an article was printed in The Indianapolis News 12 that states: “Miss Viva Roberts, of Connersville, is here visiting friends and hunting for her father, Wright Roberts, who disappeared from home last May.”  Viva was 15 when the article was printed.  She either found her father and he sent her away, or she didn’t find him, because in the 1910 census, she is living with her father’s sister, Ida Roberts Black. 2

 Marriage

Viva married Earl Lefter on January 8, 1913 in Rush County, Indiana. She is listed as living in Rush County working as a housekeeper on this record.  Curiously, she lists her father as deceased.  This suggests to me that she never did find him when she was looking for him in 1907.  I am curious what happened to him between the 1907 when Viva was looking for him and the next record I found for him is on the 1930 census where he is living in the Rush County Infirmary. 18  I will continue to search for a 1910 and 1920 census records for Wright Roberts and maybe get more insight on what happened to make Viva think he was deceased.  Wright Roberts didn’t pass away until February 22, 1932 in the Rush County Infirmary. 19  On the death certificate, it looks like Wright was at the Infirmary for 5 years before his death.  Viva lists her mother as Dolley Hedge on her marriage license application.

Viva and Earl lived together on each of the census records in 1920 and 1930.  On the 1940 census record, Viva is listed as living with her daughter Geraldine McNew.  Under the 1935 residence she is listed as living at the same place. On Viva’s death certificate there is a note that she has been separated for 25 years and never divorced.Knowing that Geraldine married in 1937 at the home she lived in, I think it would be a safe assumption that Viva and Earl separated sometime after the marriage of their daughter and 1940.

Children

Viva is the mother of one child, Geraldine Ellen Lefter who was born in Rushville, Indiana on March 13, 1918. Geraldine grew up in Richmond, Indiana and attended Oliver P Morton High School, graduating in 1937.  She was tall, slim, and athletic according to her yearbook.  She was in General Business and was in Art Appreciation, Captain of the Volley Ball team, in the Around – the – World Club, Girl Reserves and Nine-court Basketball. 20  After high school, Geraldine married Roy McNew on September 4, 1937 at her home in Richmond, Indiana.  In a newspaper article about her wedding, it describes: “The bride wore a floor length gown of white silk organdy made on princess lines.  She wore white accessories and her flowers were a corsage of sweetheart roses.” 21  Geraldine was the mother of at least 4 children listed in her obituary when she died in November 1992, Tommy, Michael, Vicki and Nancy.  She also is listed to have had five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. 30

Career

Viva was a housewife and mother from the time of her marriage in 1913 to the 1930 census.  She was elected treasurer for the Sevastopol P.T.A in 1929. 32  After her separation from her husband Earl, she got a job as a cook.  On the 1940 census her job is listed as a cook at a college.  She is listed as working 40 hours per week and earning nothing in 1939. 5  With that information, it probably narrows the window of when she separated from her husband to early in 1940.  The 1940 census was taken on April 16, 1940.  In the 1941 city directory for Richmond, Indiana, Viva is listed as a cook at Earlham College. 22  Through at least 1949, Viva was a cook for Earlham college. 23  In 1951, Viva is a salad maker at Stewart’s Snack Shop. 24  In 1955, she is working as a waitress at Circle Drive In. 25  In 1960, Viva is a clerk for Anderson Bakery. 26  On Viva’s death certificate, her occupation is listed as a dietician for a college cafeteria. 7

Death

Viva Jane Roberts Lefter died on July 29, 1965 in Spring Grove, Wayne, Indiana. An obituary found for her in the paper misspells her last name as Lester. The obituary says, “Viva Lester, 74, Richmond, Dies.  Mrs. Viva Roberts Lester, 74, of Richmond, former Rushville resident, died about midnight Thursday in Reid Memorial Hospital there.  The widow of Earl Lester, she had lived for many years with her daughter, Mrs. Roy McNew, 1818 South J Street in Richmond.  Mrs. Lester was employed at the old glove factory when she resided in Rushville.  The daughter in Richmond is the only immediate survivor.  Mrs. Ethel Roberts of Rushville is a sister-in-law.  Funeral services will be held at 222 North 10th Street in Richmond at 3 p.m. Saturday with burial there.”  27  It is very curious that Earl is listed as being dead in Viva’s obituary.  Earl didn’t die until two years later in 1967. 28  Since she had listed her father as deceased on records before he was, and her obituary to be written like her husband was dead instead of being separated from him is very interesting.  Another article about her death also doesn’t mention her husband.  It says, “Mrs. Viva J. Lefter, 74, died Thursday evening at Reid Memorial Hospital after a two month illness.  She had resided with her daughter, Mrs. Roy W. McNew, 1818 South J Street.  She had retired as a dietitian for Earlham College.  Surviors include her daughter, Mrs. McNew; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  Services for Mrs. Lefter will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Stegall-Berheide-Orr Funeral Home, with Rev. W. F. Badgett officiating, and burial in Glen Haven Memorial Gardens.  Friends may call at the funeral home Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.” 31

Viva and her daughter, Geraldine, must have been close because of a message Geraldine placed in the newspaper two years after her mother’s passing.  It says, “Viva Lefter.  In memory of my mother, Viva Lefter, who passed away July 29, 1965.  A silent thought, a secret tear, Makes her memory ever near.  Daughter, Mrs. Geraldine McNew.” 29

Looking at Viva’s life, she didn’t live an easy one.  Her mother died when she was young, her father left her, and she had troubles with her marriage.  She was close with her daughter and I would imagine that carried over to her grandchildren as well.  She lived with her daughter for many years and probably helped her raise her children.  She was a cook and submitted over 100 recipes to newspaper recipe contests.  I can imagine that she took joy in cooking especially for her family.  Below is the list of recipes I found that Viva submitted.  I will link the recipes as I make them and all the source information will be found within each of those posts.  All the other sources used to compile this history are listed at the bottom of this post.

Recipes

A Savory Nut Croquette

Apple Cider Jelly

Apple Dumplings

Apple Pudding

Baked Cabbage With Cheese

Baked Chicken

Baked Eggs in Ham Cases

Baked Rice And Cheese

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Beef-Steak Pie

Beefsteak With Dressing

Boston Roast

Broiled Tomatoes

Canned Pears

Checker Board Cake

Cheese and Apple Fritters

Cheese And Rice Croquettes

Cherry Cake

Cherry Nut Salad

Cherry Pie

Cherry Preserves

Chestnut Pudding

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken in Rice Timbales

Chicken Pudding

Chocolate Fruit Pudding

Claret Wine Jelly

Cod Fish Croquettes

Coddled Eggs

Cold Meat Sandwiches

Colonial Hats

Confectioner’s Frosting

Corn Fritters

Corn Meal Gingerbread

Corn Muffins With Dates

Corn Oysters

Cornmeal Rolls

Cottage Loaf and Nut

Cranberry Salad

Creamed String Beans With Bacon

Divinity Fudge

Dried Apricot Griddle Cake

Eggs A La Suisse

Eggs and Green Peas

Fig Rice Pudding

French Griddle Cake

Fried Cakes With Apple Sauce

Fried Chicken

Fried Cornmeal Nut Cakes

Fruit Cookies

Fruit Fudge

Fruit Puffs

Fruit Salad

Green Corn Custard

Green Tomato Mince Meat Pie

Halloween Fruit Pockets

Ham Fritters

Health Bread

Herring Salad

Jellied Chicken

Jellied Vegetable Salad

Lemon Apple Pie

Lemon Jelly

Marguerite Salad

Mexican Style Tomatoes

Mock Chicken Salad

Molasses Cake

Mustard Pickles

New England Broiled Dinner

New Lima Beans En Casserole

Nut Doughnuts

Oatmeal Cookies

Oats Macaroons

Orange Pudding

Oyster Omelet

Oysters In A Crust Case

Peach Fritters

Peanut Butter Biscuits

Pear Dumplings

Pear Preserves

Pear Salad

Pigs in Blankets

Pineapple Frosting

Pineapple Griddle Cake

Pinwheel Biscuits

Pork Liver and Bacon

Pralines

Prune Charlotte

Prune Pudding

Pumpkin Pie

Rainbow Potato Salad

Raised Buckwheat Griddle Cakes

Ribbon Potato Salad

Rice Pudding

Roast Chicken

Rolled Sandwiches

Sausage Rolls

Scalloped Apples or Fruit

Scalloped Cheese Bread

Scalloped Salted Codfish and Rice

Scripture Cake

Snitz Glose

Star Salad

Steamed Apple Pudding

Stuffed Peppers

Succotash

Sweetmeat Tortilla

Tenderloins Stuffed With Oysters

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Pudding

Tomato Salad

Turban of Fish

Turkish Paste

Vegetable Salad

Velvet Griddle Cakes

Whole Wheat Ginger Bread

Whole Wheat Griddle Cakes

Sources

  1. Ancestry.com, 1900 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2004, Year: 1900; Census Place: Harrison, Fayette, Indiana; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0007; FHL microfilm: 1240370
  2. Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2006, Year: 1910; Census Place: Rushville Ward 3, Rush, Indiana; Roll: T624_377; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0122; FHL microfilm: 1374390
  3. Ancestry.com, 1920 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010, Year: 1920; Census Place: Rushville, Rush, Indiana; Roll: T625_462; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 95
  4. Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2002, Year: 1930; Census Place: Richmond, Wayne, Indiana; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0046; FHL microfilm: 2340373
  5. Ancestry.com, 1940 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2012, Year: 1940; Census Place: Richmond, Wayne, Indiana; Roll: m-t0627-01108; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 89-28
  6. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2016, Certificate Number: 15328; Roll Number: 004; Volume Range: 31-40, Geraldine Lefter Birth Certificate
  7. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2015, Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1965; Roll: 11, Viva J. Lefter Death Certificate
  8. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2015, Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1992; Roll: 18, Geraldine E. McNew Death Certificate
  9. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Marriages, 1810-2001, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2014, FHL Film Number: 001630193, Viva Roberts Marriage Certificate
  10. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Marriages, 1810-2001, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2014, Wayne, 1937-1937 Volume 87, Geraldine Lefter Marriage Certificate
  11. The Indianapolis Journal, Newspapers.com – The Indianapolis Journal – 11 Dec 1888 – Page 8
  12. The Indianapolis News, Newspapers.com – The Indianapolis News – 1 Feb 1907 – Page 23
  13. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2015, Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1965; Roll: 03, Ernest Bert Roberts Death Certificate.
  14. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2014, FHL Film Number: 413541, Reference ID: pg212 rn544, Wright Roberts and Mary Carey Marriage
  15. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2015, Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1944; Roll: 04, Mary Roberts Death Certificate
  16. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2014, FHL Film Number: 499376, Dollie Hedge and Wright Robinson Marriage
  17. Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011, Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory, 1888
  18. Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2002, Year: 1930; Census Place: Rushville, Rush, Indiana; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0014; FHL microfilm: 2340360, Wright Roberts living in Rush County Infirmary
  19. Ancestry.com, Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2015, Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1932; Roll: 02, Wright Roberts Death Certificate.
  20. Ancestry.com, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2010, Indiana, Richmond, Oliver P Morton High School, 1937.
  21. Palladium-Item, Newspapers.com – Palladium-Item – 9 Sep 1937 – Page Page 5
  22. Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011, Richmond, Indiana, City Directory, 1941
  23. Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011, Richmond, Indiana, City Directory, 1949
  24. Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011, Richmond, Indiana, City Directory, 1951
  25. Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011, Richmond, Indiana, City Directory, 1955
  26. Ancestry.com, U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011, Richmond, Indiana, City Directory, 1960
  27. Rushville Republican, Newspapers.com – Rushville Republican – 30 Jul 1965 – Page 1
  28. Ancestry.com, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2014, Number: 305-18-6721; Issue State: Indiana; Issue Date: Before 1951
  29. Palladium-Item, Newspapers.com – Palladium-Item – 30 Jul 1967 – Page 30
  30. Palladium-Item, Newspapers.com – Palladium-Item – 5 Nov 1992 – Page 38
  31. Palladium-Item, Newspapers.com – Palladium-Item – 30 Jul 1965 – Page 7
  32. The Richmond Item, Newspapers.com – The Richmond Item – 14 Apr 1929 – Page 27

 

Close Menu