Oatis Nelty Perkins (1877-1954) & Laura May Ruby (1884-1936)

updated February 2019

Oatis & Laura are Todd’s great grandparents, the parents of his grandmother Inez Faye Perkins.

Oatis Nelty Perkins was born on January 29, 1877 in Prole, Warren County, Iowa. His parents were Martin VanBuren Perkins and Mary Alice Lamb. He was the 3rd of their 4 children, and had 2 younger half-siblings. Read more about their family here.

Laura May Ruby was born on December 15, 1884 in Knowlton, Iowa County, Iowa. Her parents were James Addison Ruby and Melissa Jane Short. She was the youngest of their 4 children. Read more about their family here.

On the 1880 US Census, Oatis was enumerated twice, so his family must have moved. They were recorded on July 1 and again on July 7th. Oatis was 3 years old, his father Martin was 34, and his mother Mary Alice was 24. Also in the home was Martin’s cousin Edward Perkins, age 17. They were farming in Jefferson, Warren County, Iowa.

In 1881, Oatis’ mother Mary died when he was just 4 years old. His father remarried and two half-siblings were born. In 1889, Laura’s father James died when she was just 5 years old. Her mother remarried and had 5 more children, but 2 of the children died in 1899.

On the 1900 US Census, Oatis was in Jones, Union County, Iowa. He was 23, single, and boarding with Jasper Yount’s family. Jasper was a carpenter, and Oatis was a farmer.

Meanwhile, Laura was 15 and lived in Jefferson, Ringgold County, Iowa with her mother and stepfather. Her mother Melissa was 47 and her stepfather William Collins, a farmer, was 48. Laura had three half-sisters living in the home: Etta, 7; Goldie, 6; Daisy, 5.

Oatis and Laura were married on November 26, 1903 in Knowlton, Iowa. They had daughter Alice in 1904, daughter Mettie in 1906, son Ray in 1907, and son Cecil in 1909.

On the 1910 US Census, Oatis and Laura lived in Jefferson, Iowa, and were farming. They’d been married 6 years and had 4 children. Oatis was 33 and Laura was 25. Their children: Alice, age 5; Mettie, age 3; Ray, age 2; and Cecil, age 10 months.

In 1911, Oatis’ half-sister Bertha died. They had daughter Bernice in 1911 and daughter Maisel in 1913. In 1915, Laura’s sister Sarah died. They had son Martin in 1915. In 1916, Laura’s mother Melissa died. They had daughter Vildren in 1917.

On September 12, 1918, Oatis filled out a World War I Draft Registration Card. He was indicated to be of medium height, with a slight build, light eyes, and light hair. He was physically disqualified. His occupation was junk dealer.

They had daughter Carmel in 1919.

On the 1920 US Census, Oatis was 42 and Laura was 35. They were farming in Jefferson, Iowa. Children in the home: Alice, age 15; Mettie, age 13; Ray, age 12; Cecil, age 10; Bernice, age 8; Laura, age 6; Martin, age 4; Vildren, age 2; Carmel Leta, age 8 months.

They had daughter Inez in 1921, son Addie in 1923, and daughter Goldie in 1925. Oatis’ father Martin died in 1924. Their daughter Bernice died in 1926.

On the 1930 US Census, Oatis was 42 and Laura was 45. They were still farming in Jefferson, Iowa. Children in the home: Cecil, age 20; Maisel, age 16; Martin, age 14; Vildren, age 12; Carmel, age 11; Inez, age 9; Addie, age 7; Goldie, age 4.

In 1930, Laura’s brother Harrison died. In 1933, Oatis’ brother Isaac died.

Laura died on January 11, 1936 in Knowlton, Iowa County, Iowa. She was 51 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Otis in Perkins 009

Taken January 1, 1953, the day country music star Hank Williams died. Oatis Nelty Perkins is surrounded by grandchildren.

On the 1940 US Census, Oatis was 63 and widowed. Children at home were Martin, age 24 and working as farmer; Inez, age 19, working as a housekeeper in another home; and Goldie, age 14.

In 1948, Oatis’ half-brother Govia died.

Oatis died on February 23, 1954 in Knowlton, Iowa County, Iowa. He was 77 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

The children of Oatis Nelty Perkins & Laura May Ruby:

Viola Alice Perkins – Alice was born on September 3, 1904 in Iowa. She married Noah Owen on July 18, 1925 in Des Moines, Iowa. They had 3 children. Noah died in 1936. Alice married Edgar Benton Snyder, who had served in World War I. He had been married twice but had no children. They had 2 children. Edgar died on August 8. 1972. Alice died November 17, 1979. She was 75 years old.

Mettie Maurine Perkins – Mettie was born on April 29, 1906 in Iowa. She married Ferrel Dewaine Chew on November 21, 1925 in Creston Iowa. They had 2 children, one who died as an infant. Ferrel died July 24, 1963. Mettie died on August 11, 1993 in Wilmington, Illinois. She was 87 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Ray Reubin Perkins – Ray was born on July 4, 1907 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He married Fern May Blanchard on July 5, 1928 in Des Moines, Iowa. They had 2 children and farmed in Ringgold County. He died November 17, 1968 in Union County, Iowa. He was 61 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Cecil Clay Perkins – Clay was born on June 15, 1909 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He married Alvina Willows on March 4, 1933 in Worth, Missouri. On the 1940 US Census, they lived in Diagonal, Iowa and Clay worked as a laborer for the Works Progress Administration. They had 2 children. He died December 14, 1994 in Perry, Iowa. He was 85 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Bernice Nelta Perkins – Bernice was born on December 7, 1911 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She died when she was 14, on April 24, 1926. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Maisel Laura Perkins – Maisel was born on May 11, 1913 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Willis Raymond Russel on April 16, 1932 in Creston, Iowa, and they had 8 children. They farmed in Union County, Iowa. She died on June 14, 1956 in Des Moines, Iowa. She was 43 years old.

Martin Melvin Perkins – Martin was born on August 23, 1915 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He married Bonnie J. York, who had been married and had 4 children. They had 1 child together. He died on March 6, 1986 in Dallas Center, Iowa. He was 70 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Vildren Vernice Perkins – Vildren was born on June 9, 1917 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Glenn Woods on December 26, 1935 in Worth, Missouri. They had 4 children. She died on May 11, 2001 in Perry, Iowa. She was 83 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Carmel Leta Perkins – Carmel was born on April 9, 1919 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Marvin Leroy Akers on January 24, 1938 in Nodaway County, Missouri. They had 4 children. She died on June 14, 1956 in Des Moines, Iowa. She was 82 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Inez Faye Perkins – Inez was born January 31, 1921 in Knowlton, Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Howard William Reece on June 5, 1941 in Ringgold County, Iowa. They had 5 children. She died September 12, 2005 in Creston, Union County, Iowa. She was 84 years old. Read more about her here. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Addie Dean Perkins – Addie was born on March 21, 1923 in Ringgold County, Iowa. He married Mae Irene Henton and they had 2 children. He died on August 28, 1999 in Grimes, Iowa. He was 76 years old. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Goldie Mae Perkins – Goldie was born on July 11, 1925 in Ringgold County, Iowa. She married Walter Blaine Herbel and they had 4 children. She died on December 3, 1989 in Iowa City, Iowa. She was 64 years old. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

5 thoughts on “Oatis Nelty Perkins (1877-1954) & Laura May Ruby (1884-1936)

  1. Hi This is so cool….My grandmother was VIola Alice …she always went by Alice She passed away in November of 1979 a month before my youngest son was born. My mother is Alvena Bertha Owens Schaper … my father was Kenneth Dwight Schaper I am the oldest daughter of 7 girls.

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    • Kenna, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I love Alice’s sister Inez so very much. I joined the family in 1993 so I didn’t get to know Alice. I’ve updated my family tree – I had your last name as Schafer. And somehow I had her death date in my tree but didn’t have it when I wrote the post about her family. I’ve updated the post now. Do you know where she is buried? If you have any photos to share I’d love to have them.

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      • Grandma and Grandpa are both buried in Rose HIll Cemetery in Marshalltown ,Iowa along side my Uncle BIll Owens. I am in Kansas right now visiting my sons but when I get home I have a ton I can scan in….including one of grandma with her first husband Noah.

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  2. Pingback: Howard William Reece (1914-1982) & Inez Faye Perkins (1921-2005) | Filling in the Family Tree

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