The Mother: Nancy J.P Flowers Sams


If you are new to my blog I would strongly encourage you to read my previous posts.

I realized I have done posts on Rachel, two of her brothers, Vincent and Chauncey, and her father Harry, but I have not yet written about her mother, Nancy J.P. Flowers Sams.

I was first introduced to Rachel Flowers’ mother in the 1910 Census:

1910 United States Federal Census-3

A name was not given only the initial N.J.P. Nancy was listed as the head of the household on an owned farm. I found this to be extremely unusual for a woman and a mulatto during this time period. At the age of 37, Nancy had nine children with only eight living. The eight living were Chauncey, John C, Fred L, Rachel H., Vincent A, Theodore, Gladys, and Hilda C. Flowers. All of her children are listed as being mulatto. This listing changes throughout each census from mulatto to negro to black.

Nancy was born in 1873 and although she was the head of the household and the only adult figure in the home she was still listed as being married for about 18 years. Nancy and her husband Harry married in 1891 when she was 19 and he was 45. I believe Harry went North to find work leaving his wife and children back home. Nancy was born in North Carolina as well as her father while her mother was born in Virginia. Thiswas all the information I could pull out of the 1910 Census, so I began to look at the 1920 Census.

In the 1920 Census, I tried honestly I did, but I could not find Nancy, but I did find her children living with their father who was listed as divorce as of 1920.

1920 United States Federal Census-1

I later found Nancy in the obituary of her son, Chauncey Flowers.

WWI Chauncey

He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Alexander H. Sams. At first it threw me off, but I realized that women were usually listed by their husband’s name, so I knew I needed to search for a Mr. Alexander Sams. I also noticed Henry Sams listed as a brother of Chauncey, he had to be the son of Nancy. It turned out Nancy remarried to a Mr. Henry Alexander Sams of Florida. I still could not find the family within the 1920 Census, but I did find the Sams in the 1930 Census.

1930 United States Federal Census-3

Henry and Nancy married in Florida when Nancy was 40 and Henry was 24. They had a son who was born in Jacksonville, FA in 1915. In the 1930 Census, Nancy is 57 years old and held no employment. Henry passed away in 1949. In the 1940 Census, I find him in the hospital listed as a patient. Where was Nancy? Well, I was too impatient to wait for the PA Census to be name indexed, so I decided to search for her myself. In a photo article of Rachel Flowers in 1941 an address was listed, 412 Salford Street.


With this information, I searched the Census by street and found the next census. Now, I was very sadden by what I found. At first, I was excited, you know that feeling when you find something that you have been searching for, but after reviewing the census my spirits were crushed. Take a look at the census yourself.

1940 Census


The Problem: Nancy Sams lives at this address and she is the head of the household. Fine, however, Rachel Flowers lived in the home and she was listed as a lodger, not a daughter of the head of the household Nancy and was 65 years old (that is 30 years older than what she should be).

How can you explain this?

Am I researching the wrong Rachel? No, I went back through all the data I had on Rachel to confirm that this is the right Rachel. A few were questionable, a few could be tossed, but a majority pointed me to the right person. Is this census just wrong or am I? As of now I do not know, but I will keep searching until I find the answer.

Until the next post.

Nancy J.P Flowers Sams (1873-unknown)



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