52 Ancestors: #8 A Prince of a Man

In this 8th post of the 52 ancestors I’ll write about in 2014, the focus is my great-grandfather, Prince Albert Weaver. I’ve always wondered where he got that name. When he was born November 24, 1860, there was a more famous Prince Albert living, who was the beloved Prince Consort to England’s Queen Victoria. Maybe Great-Grandpa was named after him.

My Prince Albert was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Nathaniel D. and Cornelia C. Weaver. But by the 1870 United States Census, Nathaniel was deceased and Cornelia was living in Washington, D.C. as a widow with two children – Ellen C., age 16 and Albert, age 10.

From the census records, it looks like Prince Albert spent his entire childhood in D.C. because he’s still there as a 19-year-old laborer living with his mother, Mary C. Weaver in 1880.

On September 2, 1889, Prince Albert married Jennie Daisy Hood who was originally from Waterford, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Despite the fact that they married in Cleveland, Ohio (not the deep South), the interracial marriage of Prince Albert and Jennie was still very controversial. In fact, Jennie’s father, my great-great grandfather Andrew Coover Hood never spoke to her again.

Jennie and Prince Albert Marriage

Although times were often tough, Prince Albert and Jennie remained husband and wife until his death forty-one years later on February 17, 1931. Together the Weavers had one son, Earnest and five daughters, three of whom would die in childhood. The surviving girls were Clarissa Mae and Hazel Edna – my grandmother.

I only have the one photo below that shows my great-grandfather. It was taken on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey in about 1920. Prince Albert is circled in green and my great-grandmother Jennie is the woman with the black hat on the left. The young couple on the right are my grandparents, Hazel and Frederick Dickinson and the baby –

Well that’s my mother, Alice Vivian who was born in 1919.

My great-grandfather, Prince Albert Weaver (he's the one circled in green).
My great-grandfather, Prince Albert Weaver (he’s the one circled in green).

Over the years my great-grandparents lived in Cleveland, the United States census records from 1900-1930 show that Prince Albert worked as a carpenter and a laborer. From our oral family history, I always heard he was a brick mason too. But the person who told Prince Albert’s story best was his eldest daughter and my great-aunt – Clarissa or “Clara” as we all called her.

By the time I came along and was old enough to express an interest in my heritage, Aunt Clara was my oldest living relative – and the self-appointed family historian.

My Great-Aunt Clara, as we called her. She was one of Prince Albert's daughters.
My Great-Aunt Clara. She was one of Prince Albert’s daughters.

At some point, Aunt Clara sat down and wrote a letter about her father and his life. So best you should read who he really was in her words rather than mine:

Bio of Prince Albert by his daughter, Clarissa.
Bio of Prince Albert Weaver by his daughter, Clarissa. Page 1
Bio of Prince Albert Weaver by his daughter, Clarissa. Page 2
Bio of Prince Albert Weaver by his daughter, Clarissa. Page 2
Bio of Prince Albert Weaver by his daughter, Clarissa. Page 3
Bio of Prince Albert Weaver by his daughter, Clarissa. Page 3

From Aunt Clara’s story, it seems that Prince Albert felt himself a failure. But as William Faulkner once said:

All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection.

What I see in my great-grandfather is someone who kept trying, who was a good husband, who raised three children and had even had one daughter graduate from college back when most women didn’t finish high school. In my book, Prince Albert left a legacy of perseverance and that made him a prince of a man.

I wish he had known that.

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