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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

52 Ancestors: Week 17: Emma Fuller Artis

Emma Fuller Artis and her son, Romie Lee Artis.
This week’s post is about one of my maternal great aunts, Emma Fuller Artis.

I never met Aunt Emma but heard a lot about her through my mother. Emma was my maternal grandfather, Leslie Fuller's sister.  She was born in 1906 in Fremont, North Carolina to Arthur and Hattie Vick Fuller. Arthur was not Emma’s biological father but he raised her and she took the Fuller surname.

Hattie died when Emma was 10 years old. I'm not sure if Emma remained with her step-father and brothers but in 1920 she was living with her Great Aunt Fannie Vick Brooks in Washington, D.C.

1920 Census for Fannie Vick Brooks and Emma Fuller

On December 12, 1922, Emma married Romeo Artis.  She was 16 years old. She gave birth to her only child, Romie Lee on April 26, 1924.  In 1930 Emma and her husband were living in Belleville, New Jersey.

1930 New Jersey Census

Sometime after 1930, Romeo died. My mom said that his death was work related. I could not find a copy of his death certificate but I do know that he worked at the Edison Plant.

By 1940, Emma and 16 year old Romie Lee were still living in Belleville; however, by 1942, Romie Lee enlisted in the Navy but not in New Jersey; he enlisted in Fremont, North Carolina. A Maggie Swinson who was Romie's father first cousin was listed on his registration card as "a person who will always know" his address. 

Draft Registration Card for Romie Artis

Unfortunately for Emma and Romie Lee, they both died of cancer and they both died young. Emma died after 1956 and she was buried in New Jersey. Romie Lee died at the age of 46 of cancer in New Jersey.

One of the unfortunate stories that we do know about Emma was that her husband was abusive. It’s not that her family didn’t come to her rescue but Emma did not want anyone meddling in their affairs. Perhaps, this was a symbol of that time when most women didn't divorce or separate from their husbands even abusive ones.  


1920 Census, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: T625_211; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 199; Image: 292.
1930 Census, Belleville, Essex, New Jersey; Roll: 1327; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0324; Image: 1069.0; FHL microfilm: 2341062.

The National Archives Southeast Region; Atlanta, GA; Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group: RG 147; Class: RG147, North Carolina World War II Draft Registration Cards; Box Number: 10.

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