Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

26 April 2011

Cora Lou Jackson Tallen (Talent?) Vinson & the Principal Players

This post will show you what I have found out about Cora Lou Vinson thus far. My only research has been the online kind, and that is of course limited. I am very intrigued by her, and would love to know her ultimate fate. Did she live out the rest of her life in prison, or was she eventually able to get clemency? She doesn't strike me as a woman that would stop after just one attempt at that. I would also personally be thrilled to know her final resting place.

I do also understand that this really did not happen all that long ago. Less than 100 years, and some of Cora's and/or William's grandchildren might be living their lives without the desire to have this relatively recent past drudged up. Having said that, if there is anyone with information they are willing to share, I would greatly appreciate a comment or email.

OK! Here's what I've found:

Newspaper articles provided a bit of information. As chronicled when her nephews were testifying against her, Cora's maiden name was possibly JACKSON. She was described as a sister of "Simp" Jackson, whose sons J. S. and Roy took the stand. That same article brings out the fact that her marriage to William D. Vinson was a second one. Her first was "to a man named Tallen," by whom she had a daughter named Mary.

The article by Dudley Siddal states this: "...Married first at 14, she had only the education that falls to a mountain-born woman whose childhood was spent in the cotton mills. But she is intelligent, answers questions directly..."

I have not yet found Cora in census records before she was married to Mr. Vinson, but I did find this entry in the Georgia Marriages database at FamilySearch: Cora Jackson married M. L. Talent 24 June 1893 in Cobb County.

In 1910, having been married to William D. Vinson for seven years, they were in Atlanta on Ponders Avenue. William was a practicing physician. It is listed that Cora (aged 33 years) had four children, three living. Two of Mr. Vinson's sons from a previous marriage were listed: William B. and Tilley D. The two girls listed were from the union of William and Cora: Pauline and Ruby.

1920 finds a 38 year old Cora listed by herself with three children. Her marital status is already listed as widowed, even though it's two years before Mr. Vinson would be killed. Her likely attempt at "keeping up appearances" proved to be a bit ironic. The three children are Pauline, Ruby, and Louis J.

In 1930, Cora is exactly where you would expect to find her -- in the Georgia State Penitentiary at Baldwin County. She was a 52 year old widowed prisoner.

As you can see, Cora's birth years range from 1877 to 1882 to 1878. Newspaper articles at the time of the murder estimate her birth year to be 1878 or 1879. I have found three possible entries for Cora in the Georgia Deaths database at Ancestry and the Social Security Death Index (one might could argue there are more, but not one I viewed fits perfectly):

· Cora L. Vinson, d. 13 Feb 1953 Fulton Co, GA, aged 68;
· Cora Vinson, d. 23 Feb 1971 Baldwin Co, GA, aged 86; and
· Cora Vinson, b. 1 Jul 1889, d. Feb 1971, last residence at Milledgeville, Baldwin Co, GA.

Cora and William's daughter Pauline is found with her husband and three children still in Atlanta in 1930. Her husband, William T. Brown, is still a city fireman as stated in a newspaper article. Pauline was married about 1920 at age 15, sometime after the January census enumeration when she was still listed with her mother.

Here are two possible entries for Pauline in the Georgia Deaths database. I think the first is likely our subject:

· Pauline V. Brown, d. 6 Apr 1979 Fulton Co, aged 73; and
· Pauline V. Brown, d. 10 Jan 1985 Coweta Co, aged 77.

William "Willie" B. Vinson, son of W. D. and his first wife, is listed with his divorced father at Fulton County, Georgia in 1900. By 1930 he is married to Minnie L. and has three daughters in Dekalb County. His occupation was life insurance salesman.

Georgia Deaths, 1919-98 shows a William B. Vinson d. 25 Oct 1945 in Dekalb County at age 57. FindAGrave provides us with the burial location of East View Cemetery in Atlanta.


After Tillie D. is enumerated with his divorced father in 1900 as was brother William, we find him still in Atlanta in 1920. He is married to "Viola" Miller, and they are listed in her parents' household. Tillie was a practicing dentist. In 1930, Tillie and "Violet" are in Atlanta with their young son. Tillie is still a dentist, and we can add a veteran of World War I.

Tillie registered for the draft about 1917, while he was living with his father and step-mother on Ponders Avenue in Atlanta. His occupation was even listed then as dentist. Tillie was described as having brown eyes and dark brown hair on his draft card.

The only Tillie D. Vinson in the Georgia Deaths database states he died 6 August 1956 at age 61 in Dekalb County.

...Does this family connect to yours?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am related to this family, and I am also researching this case. I'd like to connect.