As I mentioned in my previous post I Asked About…Lilly, my Uncle LeRoy was not technically my uncle. He was my dad’s cousin but some time after 1930, he came to live with Grandma and Grandpa Shoults, I don’t know why…I Wish I Had Asked. My grandparents were very poor but there was not much thought back then about whether there was enough to feed another mouth, you just did it. I always thought Uncle LeRoy looked like Clark Gable, especially when he grew his mustache. I found him truly exotic and he played the guitar and sang, and I guess if you can have a crush on your uncle, I had one on Uncle LeRoy. Somewhere in our family, someone has a record he made. I wish I had that record.
LeRoy Blanchard was the son of my great-aunt Zula Belle Shoults. Remember the little baby on the lap in my post I Started Asking? That was LeRoy’s mother. Zula was married to Frank Blanchard on March 27, 1919 in Lonoke County, Arkansas. LeRoy, born September 26, 1922, was her second child. The 1930 census of Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas lists Zula (enumerated as “Julia”), as a widow with three children: twelve year old Martini, LeRoy and another son, James, age 4.
Family history has it that Zula was a heavy drinker and James was fathered by a black man and later adopted by a black family. Interracial relationships were taboo at that time in the South and this relationship caused a rift in the family. Zula’s daughter, Martini (Marteen), known in her later life as Loretta, was murdered in Hot Springs some time in the 1940s by her husband in a murder-suicide. Nothing more has been discovered about Marteen. Sadly, LeRoy passed away from cancer in 1972, two years after my dad died.
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