So, was he James Garfield Smith or James Garfield McNeely?
Addie Lucinda McNeely married Daniel Smith in Statesville NC on 2 October 1902. Their daughter Ardeanur Smith was born the following February and son James Garfield Smith on 11 April 1906. I have never found the family in the 1910 census and do not know how long Addie and Daniel remained together. When her uncle Julius McNeely’s estate opened, Addie Smith with her siblings was listed as one of the heirs. Unlike her married sisters, however, her husband’s name does not appear alongside hers. In 1917, mid-proceedings, Addie died — I’ve never found her death certificate either — and her name was struck through and was replaced by that of her children, “Ardenia” and James Smith.
I have not located James again with any certainty before 1942. (There’s a “James McNeelly” of the right age listed in the 1930 census of High Point NC, but he had a wife, which my James allegedly never had.) When he registered for the World War II draft, James gave his name as “James Garfield McNeely.” Why the shift from “Smith,” which he apparently never used as an adult? Though his birth year appears to be off by one year, this is clearly our man. He was born in Statesville, and Janie McNeely, his mother’s youngest sister, is named as his contact. (The neighborhood in which he lived and worked is now part of the Washington Street Historic District, and Club Carolina merited a brief mention in the application for historic status.)
Cousin James disappears from the record again until his death certificate was filed. He was working at a pool room and living at the Kilby Hotel when he died. Ardeanur Hart of Jersey City NJ was informant and gave her brother’s name as James Garfield McNeely.
Here’s his obituary:
High Point Enterprise, 21 October 1960.
And a note of acknowledgment from his family. (Who in the world were the Martins and Griffins?):
High Point Enterprise, 13 November 1960.
[Sidenote: The physician who signed James’ death certificate? Dr. O.E. Tillman? His son and I met in high school and became good friends in college. He married A.B., my roommate and closest college friend, and I was in their wedding. Dr. Tillman is now retired, but remains active in High Point civic affairs.]