Etha Maud Hodges 1873 – 1962

Etha Hodges was born 4 November 1873 in Factorydale, in Kings county, Nova Scotia.  Etha’s father was Jonathan Hodges, farmer, and son of an Irish immigrant.  In letter to her nephew later, Etha said her father was known as Sampson, perhaps to distinguish him from his father, and his first cousin with the same name.  Etha’s mother was Henrietta Vroom, who was of Dutch descent and whose Loyalist family had moved from New Jersey during the American Revolution.   

Jonathan, Henrietta, and Etha moved to Massachusetts, and her brother Frank was born in 1874 in Middleborough.  Another brother, Charles, was born in Cochituate MA in 1875.  A month later, Etha’s father, now working as a well digger, died of consumption.  Henrietta and her three small children took Jonathan back to Nova Scotia for burial.  Two months later, Etha’s youngest brother Charles died of whooping cough, and was buried with his father, in the Morristown cemetery. 

Etha’s family lived with her mother’s mother – Catherine Jones Vroom, who as a widow had remarried to Thomas Roland.  Their house was near the Baptist church in Morristown.   They were counted in the Roland household in the 1881 census.

Etha was baptized 28 August 1882 at the Wilmot Methodist church.  Her residence was listed as Lawrencetown,  so she may have been living at the time with her Aunt Becky – Rebecca Hodges McKeown.  Etha attended school in 1883 in Morristown. 

Henrietta moved the family back to Massachusetts in about 1887, and Etha’s mother married Lyman Beecher Woodbury in 1890.  He was a widower from the same area of Nova Scotia, and they probably knew each other there.  That marriage did not last long, as Henrietta was soon listed in the city directories as widow of Jonathan Hodges.   

Etha worked as a bookkeeper, and the family lived at 82 Harwood for several years.  In 1900, the Hodges family lived at 123 Holyoke.  Etha was a bookkeeper at a shoe store, and her brother Frank was a produce dealer.  The household included Henrietta’s widowed cousin Charles A Vroom, and his small daughter, Cora.  Next door lived Albert and Mary Smith whose adopted daughter (Albert’s neice) Josie married Frank later that year. 

It appears that Etha and Henrietta almost always lived with Frank and Josie and their sons.  They resided a couple years at 19 Waverly, at 216 Maple, 15 Graves, all in Lynn.  Frank’s family lived in Dracut in 1906, when his twin sons were born.  I am not sure if Etha lived there with them.  In the 1910 census, she lived with Frank and family, and Cora Vroom, in Lynn.   Etha was an accountant at a hardware company.  

The family moved to Nashua, NH, and Etha continued her occupation as bookkeeper.  Her brother Frank died in 1919 in Hudson, NH.  In 1920, Etha lived with her sister-in-law Josie, and two of her nephews (Frank Chester and Fredrick Donald Hodges).  The other two nephews (Albert Warren and Arthur Roland) were working for and boarding with a farmer elsewhere.  Etha’s mother was living and working as a housekeeper at an adjacent house.  The family lived at 12 Prescott for several years, at least until 1923. 

Etha and her mother moved to Florida, where Henrietta died in 1928 in Green Cove Springs.  The 1930 census shows Etha boarding with the Herbert and Bertha Beard family in Green Cove Springs, at a house on Ferris Street.  The household included daughter Helen Beard,  and Annie Smith who was from Massachusetts.  Annie is likely the daughter of William W and Sophronia Smith, and she previously lived in Lynn, but I don’t know if Etha knew her in Massachusetts. 

 About 1932, the Beard household moved to St. Petersburg, and Etha continued to live with them.  She was counted in the 1935 state census with the Beard family.  Her home addresses included 801 Burlington, 841 Burlington, 922 8th Street North, 331 6th Avenue North (employed as a seamstress for the Beard family).  The 1940 city directory listed her at 201 35th Street South, and the 1940 census lists her at that address, with Herbert and Bertha Beard.  This census lists her as widowed, although I have never found any record of a marriage for her, and Hodges was her maiden name.  The information was provided by Mrs. Beard and she probably knew Etha was single.  Etha’s occupation was housekeeper for a private family – I don’t know if she was employed by the Beards.  In the 1940s, to as late as 1945 she lived at 887 26th Avenue North with the Beards.  Her occupation was listed as clerk, “The Carrot Juice Man”, and also as a housekeeper. Herbert and Bertha Beard both died in 1945. 

The St. Petersburg Times reported on 22 February 1942 that “A class of 97 aliens from 18 other lands took the oath of allegiance and became American citizens in federal court yesterday.”  The list included Etha Maud Hodges.      

In 1949, Etha lived at 4027 ½ Sixth Street South with Mrs. Helen B Dunham.  In 1951, she lived at 33950 9th Avenue North, and in 1955 and 1956, she lived at 1701 32nd Avenue North.  At some point probably in the 1950’s, Etha worked for a family as a housekeeper and nanny for the twin sons.  

Etha corresponded with her nephew Albert, and when he and his family were planning a trip to Nova Scotia, she sent him names of relatives and locations he should visit.  That letter was the basis for the beginning of my Hodges family research.

Etha died July 20, 1962, age 89, at the Lakeview Manor Restorium at 2620 19th Street South.  The record says she had lived in St. Petersburg for 30 years, and her occupation was listed as “Lady Companion”.  Parents were listed as unknown.  She was listed as born in Nova Scotia, but a US citizen. She was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery.

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