Friday, April 16, 2021

Zora Louise W. Seibers

Zora Louise W. Seibers, daughter of William L. Seibers and Missie Belle Boles, was born in Tennessee on February 2, 1915. Zora was the third child of seven—Ruby S. Seibers, Gladys Elizabeth Seibers, Zora Louise W. Seibers, Ida Lee Seibers, Allen Derod Seibers, Patsy Reba Seibers, and Frances Juanita Seibers. She is the sister-in-law of my maternal grandfather, Samuel Jackson Holland, who married Zora’s sister Patsy. We have no common relative. Zora shared her February 2nd birthday, although not the year, with Patsy.

Zora's mother Missie and sister Ruby
(shared by Melissa Ivey)
On January 2, 1920, Zora (5), her parents, and sisters Ruby (10), Gladys (7), and Ida (2 6/12) lived in a rented home of the Butler’s Landing Precinct (District 3) of Clay County, Tennessee. Her father worked as a farm laborer. None of the girls were attending school at the time, and had not since September 1919. Zora’s father was unable to read or write, however both her mother and sister Ruby could. Zora’s mother died in Tennessee about 1929. She would have been 37 and Zora 14.

On April 29, 1930, for reasons unknown to me, Zora was listed as an inmate at the Tennessee Industrial School located in the Sixth District of Davidson County, Tennessee. According to a story published on December 30, 1917 in The Tennessean in Nashville, Tennessee, “… The school was started in 1886 by Col. E. W. Cole” … “for the purpose of making better citizens out of the children who had been forced to stand the hard knocks of life.” In 1930, it took 18 full pages for the census enumerator to record the inmates living there so it was a good-sized school. 

Zora gained a stepmother on November 2, 1930 when her father married Mattie (Strong) Collins in Clay County, Tennessee.

On June 7, 1933, 18-year-old Zora gave birth to a baby girl at Nashville General Hospital in Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee. Born prematurely at 5 ½ months and a breech delivery, Baby Seibers only lived five minutes. No father was listed on her death certificate. Instead, the word “unknown” was written in. The baby was buried in the Potters Field the next day. At the time, Zora lived at 408 Second Street in Nashville.

Malcolm "Mac" Crabtree,
Cooper-Martin Store Manager,
The Tennessean,
Nashville, Tennessee
September 22, 1960
I have searched and searched for Zora in the 1940 census but have been unable to find her. I’ll keep looking but if you’re reading this and have found her, I hope that you’ll share that piece of information. About 1945, Zora married Malcolm Allen Crabtree, son of Marshall Bowers (or Barren) Crabtree and Minnie L. Bates. I can’t find a marriage record so have estimated the marriage year after not finding Zora listed with Malcolm in the Nashville City Directories in 1942, 1943, and 1944. The 1945 city directory posted in is incomplete so can’t be checked. I finally found Zora and Malcolm in 1946 living with his parents at 1117 North Second Street in Nashville, his childhood home. Malcolm was a branch manager at a Market Basket Store. The two couples lived at the same address in 1947 and Malcolm still worked at Market Basket. In 1949 and 1950, both couples still lived together on North Second Street. Malcolm had changed jobs and was now a branch manager at Cooper-Martin Inc., a grocery store. Malcolm’s father passed away in November 1954. Four years later, the family was in mourning again when Zora’s father died at the age of 76 on February 20, 1958, in Celina, Tennessee. He was buried at the George R. Drury Cemetery in Lafayette, Macon County, Tennessee. Zora, Malcolm, and his widowed mother Minnie remained in the same house and Malcolm continued to work at Cooper & Martin through at least 1959. Zora was a housewife.

On December 18, 1964, 49-year-old Zora died at Park View Hospital in Nashville. The doctor recorded her cause of death as uremia, due to chronic nephritis on her death certificate. Zora apparently suffered from kidney disease, as well as emphysema, bronchial asthma, and a partial intestinal obstruction. Zora’s funeral was held at the Cosmopolitan Chapel on December 20. My grandfather, Sam Holland, was a pallbearer. Other pallbearers included Charles Crabtree, Marshall Crabtree, Ed Beasley, George Drury, and Robert L. Crabtree. Zora was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery. 

It’s not until you read Zora’s obituary that you learn she had a son named Danny. 

The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, December 19, 1964

That’s confirmed a year later when a “memorium” was published in The Tennessean on December 18, 1965 to remember Zora:

In Memorium


In loving memory of Mrs. Zora Louise Crabtree who passed away December 18, 1964.

“You are not forgotten, loved one,

Nor will you ever be, 

as long as life and memory last.

We will remember thee.”

Sadly missed by Husband and Son.

Another newspaper article was published on December 29, 1965 in The Tennessean announcing Malcolm’s second marriage. This article included a sentence that read “David Crabtree was his father’s best man.” So now we don’t know if the son was named Danny or David. When Malcolm died in 1996, his obituary noted that he was survived by his wife, stepson, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter but no mention of a son, either living or deceased. The boy wasn't listed as a surviving grandchild in Malcom's father's obituary in 1954. I’ve searched for other records but have been unable to find any. We may have to wait for the 1950 census to be released to learn more about Danny. Another mystery I found in Zora’s obituary was the third survivor, listed immediately after Malcolm and Danny—Hugene Seibers of California. I can’t figure out who he is. Hopefully, I’ll be able to figure both of these out someday. 

An April 17, 2021 update from Zora’s (Louise) niece (my aunt): HUGENE SEIBERS was Louise’s son and I believe he was raised by Louise’s father, Will Seibers He was born prior to her marriage to Malcolm Crabtree. Hugene visited us in Atlanta in the late 1940s when I was about 5 years old. I do not know who his father was. DANNY CRABTREE was adopted by Louise and Malcolm in the early 1950s. I remember him as a baby. He visited Mother and Daddy in the 1960s at their home on Roberta Circle in Gainesville.


  • Baby Seibers, Certificate of Death no. 11290, State of Tennessee, State Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics.
  • Clay County, Tennessee Census, 1920.
  • Crabtree, Vick Vows Said, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, December 29, 1965.
  • In Memorium – Crabtree, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, December 18, 1965.
  • Louise Crabtree, Certificate of Death no. 64-33260, State of Tennessee, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics.
  • Malcolm “Mac” Crabtree, Store Manager, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, September 22, 1960.
  • Malcolm Allen Crabtree, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007.
  • Marshall A. Crabtree obituary, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, April 19, 1996.
  • Marshall Barren Crabtree obituary, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, November 15, 1954.
  • Marshall Bowers Crabtree, Certificate of Death no. 54-23964, State of Tennessee, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics.
  • Nashville, Tennessee, City Directory, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1959.
  • Nephritis;
  • Resigns Superintendence of State Industrial School: W. C. Kilvington Severs His Connection with Institution to Which He Has Devoted Thirty-one Years of His Life, Making It What It Is Today, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, December 30, 1917.
  • United States Federal Census, Celina, Clay County, Tennessee, 1940.
  • United States Federal Census, Civil District 3, Clay County, Tennessee, 1910, 1920.
  • United States Federal Census, District 1, Clay County, Tennessee, 1930.
  • United States Federal Census, District 6, Davidson County, Tennessee, 1930.
  • Uremia;
  • Zora Louise Crabtree obituary, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, December 19, 1964.

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