Sunday, February 24, 2013

Edith Naoma Lane

Edith Naoma Lane
This is my favorite photo of my Aunt Edie. I love the huge smile on her face! Number 3 of William and Martha Pierce Lane's children, Edith Naoma was born on March 24, 1908, in Clairfield, Tennessee. By the time she was two, she and the family were living in nearby Anthras. Papaw was working in the coal mines, and Granny was taking care of three young children.

In 1925, when Edith was only 16 or 17 years old, she eloped with Clarence D. Mayes who was ten years her senior.  They remained in Claiborne County, Tennessee, where both of their families lived.  Clarence worked as a coal miner and Edith was a housewife.  All this information is verified in the 1930 United States Federal Census.  What I can't verify are the elopement stories told my mom, Betty, and my aunt, Ruth, Edith's younger sisters.  My grandmother would have been pregnant with my mom, and Aunt Ruth would have been only eight years old when Edith and Clarence eloped.  Both, however, often told stories about the night Edith snuck out of the house and met Clarence, and of how the two of them ran off through the fields, climbing over fences and rocks while my papaw yelled after them to stop.

Edith Lane with her second husband, Earl
Sisters Ruth and Edith Lane

At some point after 1930, Edith and Clarence divorced, and Aunt Edie moved to Cincinnati.  My mom often talked of visiting her big sister in the city and of what fun that was.  Aunt Edie would marry two more times.  Her second husband, named Earl, I know very little about.  Her third husband was Herbert William (Bill) Janssen who was born in Holland in 1899.  Bill had been married previously as well and had a son, Eric.  Aunt Edith never had any children of her own.

Aunt Edith and Uncle Bill eventually settled in Florida, and Bill passed away there in 1980.  Edith remained in Florida for a while, but shortly after my Uncle Nolan died, she moved to Middlesboro, Kentucky, to be close to her sisters, Betty and Ruth.  My cousin and Edith's niece, Betty Jo McManaway, moved Aunt Edie into her home in Harrogate, Tennessee, and took care of her when it became difficult for Edie to live by herself.  Edith died, according to her death certificate, of an "acute cerebral infection" on June 11, 1992, at age 84.

Edith Lane Janssen

1930 United States Federal Census
Tennessee Delayed Birth Records, 1869-1909
New York Naturalization Records, 1897-1944
Commonwealth of Kentucky Certificate of Death #15409


  1. I agree, a great photo! She looks so happy it makes me smile, too.

  2. Makes me wonder where she was, who took the photo, what was going on in her life when the picture was taken. Thanks, Heather!