Know Your History
(Many thanks to resident historian Dave Eyer for this look into our past. This is the second installment regarding 19th and early 20th century church member May Johnson.)
According to the 1935 Florida state census, May was a high school graduate. No college education is noted. She would likely have completed high school in Key West about 1894. The section of her diary being published currently is from 1896.
In 1901 May married Stephen W Douglass age 33, a pharmacist and US Navy officer, at St Paul’s Church. (This would have been the third church, the immediate predecessor to the current church that was destroyed in the hurricane of 1909.)
Douglas was from Waltham, Massachusetts. In the 1900 census May is listed as a single school teacher age 24 living with her mother on Division St (now Truman) in Key West. Stephen is listed in the 1900 census as being a single pharmacist age 34 at the US Navy base in Key West. He was the census enumerator and his penmanship has a peculiar exaggerated backward slant indicating he was likely left handed.
Stephen and May would have known each other for at least one year. The length of their pre-marriage relationship might be found in later years of her diary. May and Stephen had two children - Florence Douglass (1902-1907) and Malcolm Earl Douglass (1906-1907). The children’s deaths are just a few weeks apart and are in the state of New York death index. The causes of the deaths are not noted. The death locations listed are the same for each child. The family had apparently moved to New York as they followed Stephen's US Navy career.
In the 1910 census Stephen W Douglass, pharmacist age 43, and wife May age 34 (no occupation listed) were in Vallejo, California- likely at nearby Mare Island Navy Base. In only the 1900 and 1910 censuses all adult women were asked how many children they had and how many were living. May’s answer was that she had two children and both had died. How terribly sad for her and Stephen.