By Don Taylor
As I began a second look at my great-grandfather, Hugh Ellis Roberts, I learned about my grand-aunt[i] (my grandfather’s sister), Mabel Ilean Roberts’ life. Wow; her life was filled with so much tragedy.
Mabel Ilean (Roberts) Hart, Collins, Webb (1908-1964)
Mabel was born on 2 June 1908, the 4th child of Hugh Ellis and Clora Dell (Scott) Roberts. Before she was three months old, her father died at the age of 24.
Mabel’s mother, Clora, remarried later that year, on 1 December 1908, to Hosea Lee Adams. Life with her step-father must have been tough, as her mother divorced Hosea while Mabel was still a teenager. Meanwhile, Mable clearly wanted to get out of there because she married Olan Branson Hart on 3 January 1925, when she was still only 16 years old. Olan was 18.
Six months after her marriage, she had her son, Arthur Carlton, and two years after that, she had a daughter, Georgia C. Hart, on 2 August 1927.
By 1933, her marriage with Olan had collapsed, as Olan married Anna Mae Padget on 5 February 1934.
Mabel married Luke Marion Collins on 1 October 1938 in Shelby, Macomb County, Michigan.
On 22 September 1942, Mabel’s son Arthur married Virginia Lee Russell. They had a son, Arthur, the following year. Arthur died on 14 November 1943, before his first birthday. Joy came back into Mabel’s life as her second grandson, Randall Olan Hart, was born. Only to be crushed again when the accident happened.
Arthur (Sr.)’s wife, Virginia, was driving early Sunday morning (about 1 AM) on 25 June 1944 when the police were chasing a speeder. Trying to evade police, the speeder blew a stop and slammed into the car driven by Virginia. Virginia was pronounced dead when she was admitted to Highland Park General Hospital. In the car with them was Mabel’s daughter, Georgia. Six days later, Georgia died.
Luke and Mabel divorced on 13 September 1945.
Mabel married a third time to Nelson Raymond Webb on 8 December 1952.
Mabel died on 15 January 1964 at the age of 55.
1908 Death of father, Hugh.
1934 Divorce from Olan after nine years.
1942 Death of first grandson, Arthur.
1944 Deaths of daughter and daughter-in-law.
1945 Death of mother, Clora & Luke Collins divorce after six years.
1964 Her death at age 55
I don’t typically spend a lot of time researching a grand-aunt’s life and certainly not the lives of first cousins, once removed (Arthur & Georgia), but the accident that killed Georgia and Arthur’s wife was just so horrific I just had to stop and look at their lives a bit more than usual.
I’ll add, seeing this reminded me of the importance of rules regarding police High-Speed Police Pursuits. To see two young women died due to a police pursuit of a traffic infraction is saddening.
Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan, 2 July 1944, Page 10 – “Girl Traffic Victim” thanks to Newspapers.com. https://www.newspapers.com/image/98149112/?terms=%22Girl%20Traffic%20Victim%22&match=1
[i] Some people say the sibling of a grandparent is a great-aunt or a great-uncle. Others call that sibling a grand-aunt or grand uncle. I prefer using “grand” as it makes it clear that aunt or uncle is the sibling of a grandparent.
[ii] Thank you so much, Chris, for the photo image!