|Mary as a young woman|
When Mary was 24 she appeared on the 1910 Los Angeles census still living with her family on 37th Avenue. She was employed as an exchange operator. Two years later she was living at 2707 LaSalle and was employed as a clerk at the California Fruit Growers Exchange. The Southern California Fruit Exchange began in 1893 as a way of stabilizing the market for growers and it still exists in 2018.
In 1911, when Mary was 23 her older sister Jo and younger brother Lewis were both married in June and September.
|James William Pattillo with his three oldest children|
Jo, Mary, and Lewis
When Mary was 25, she married Russell Fraser on August 22, 1912. Russell was 27. According to the 1910 census, Russell was the son of Bruce E. Fraser from New York and Lacie Fraser from Canada. He had a younger sister Marion. For some reason, this marriage ended in divorce, and by 1914, Mary was again living with her parents, sister Ruby, and brother Elmer at 1307 West 51st Street in San Pedro, California. In the 1916 Los Angeles directory Mary was still working as a clerk – it does not say where and at that time she was living with her Cousin Ada Pattillo at 1233 ½ West 7th Street.
Mary’s sister Maude was also married in 1912 and their mother Carrie Brooks Stover Pattillo died in January of 1916 when Mary was 28.
|The Fruit Growers Exchange where Mary worked in 1910|
found on Google
Mary married a second time to Cary O’Steen on March 26, 1918, when she was 31. Cary was the son of Lewis A. O’Steen and Emma Cora McKinney. Cary was born in Columbia, Florida on August 29, 1887. According to the 1900 census Cary completed school through the 5th grade. He and his family lived at 1 Hickory Sink, Suwannee, Florida in 1900. In 1910 the census showed that Cary was a stenographer for a boat line and was living on Lake Avenue in Hillsborough, Florida.
Around 1915, Mary adopted the Christian Science religion as did her sister Jo. Both were very devoted. Mary’s Grandniece, Joyce Tucker Modugno recalls that her Grandaunt Mary was always “reading one of those little red books” associated with the religion.
By 1917, Cary was living in Los Angeles where he registered for the draft for WWI. He and Mary appeared together on the 1920 Los Angeles census living at 3919 Vermont when Cary was working as a commercial bookkeeper. Mary’s mother-in-law Emma, 62 was living with them at that time. By 1929 Cary was working for the Burbank Mutual Life and Benefits Association. His name appeared on a financial report that I found on Google and identified him as the secretary-treasurer of the company. Another document found on Google was a summary of a lawsuit which named both Cary and Mary as well as a Raymond O’Steen. The documentation is difficult for a non-attorney to understand but what I gather is that Cary and Burbank Mutual were sued in Monterey County Superior Court. Money was owed and Cary had hidden $2992 in a safe deposit box under the fictitious name of C. Collins – apparently to avoid paying what was owed. The 1900 census shows that Cary had two brothers and two sisters – none were named Raymond so the person named in the suit may have been an uncle or a cousin.
Despite these difficulties, Mary and Cary remained together appearing on the 1930 and 1940 censuses. In 1930, they owned their home at 3 Country Club Knoll (now Drive) in the Sunset Canyon Country Club of Burbank. The home was valued at $3500 – the least expensive home in a very nice neighborhood and they had a swimming pool.
|Mary and Cary's home in Burbank on Country Club Knoll|
In 1940, their son Jack Cary O’Steen was also listed on the census. Jack was born on August 12, 1928, in Riverside. He was an adopted son and since he was not with Mary and Cary on the 1930 census he must have been adopted shortly after his second birthday. In 1946, when Jack was eighteen he registered for the draft and got married. On his draft registration, he is described as being 6’2” tall, weighing 138 pounds and having brown eyes and black hair. He married Jeannine Dorsey the daughter of Roland and Sarah Isabel Dorsey. Jack and Jeannine were both residents of Washington DC according to their marriage license but for some unknown reason, they were married by a Justice of the Peace in Guilford County, North Carolina. Jeannine was born in DC. At some point, Jack moved back to Los Angeles and in 1954, when he registered to vote, he was living at 1196 West 10th Street. Jack died on June 21, 1985 – he was 56.
When Cary registered to vote in 1944 he was employed as an accountant for the city which seems curious given his fiscal shenanigans just a few years earlier. He registered as a Democrat and was renting a home at 125½ Witmer Street, Los Angeles – the same address he and Mary lived at when the 1940 census was taken, and where they were living in 1935. Today, there is a multi-story parking garage at that location. Cary died sometime after 1944 but I have been unable to find a death record for him.
Mary was working as a bookkeeper in 1940. At some point, Mary either divorced or left Cary and went to live with her sister Maude and Maude’s husband Otto Baty on Zelzah Street in Granada Hills, California – that was in the 1950s. When Maude and Otto moved to Los Osos Mary moved with them. She remained there until shortly before her death on June 12, 1981, after spending some time in a convalescent home. She was 93 years old when she died - the last of her five siblings to die.
Joyce described Mary as "a woman ahead of her time, she was nice, attractive as a young woman and had a wonderful personality. Mary experienced a very sad life marrying Cary O'Steen who provided a very comfortable and seemingly secure life for Mary including a beautiful home in Burbank on Country Club Drive. She wore lovely jewelry and clothes. They adopted a baby boy, named Jack when it was apparent that Mary couldn't carry a child to birth. The lifestyle and the marriage however soon fell apart when Cary was convicted of embezzlement and was sent to jail." That is about the time Mary started living with her sister Maude. Her son Jack rarely communicated with his adoptive mother after he left home. Joyce’s memory of Mary is of “a very sweet, small older lady, dressed in a “house” dress. I also remember her sitting on her bed and reading her religious pamphlets.” Joyce’s daughter Krista inherited a large amethyst ring from her grandmother who inherited the ring from Mary.
|Mary during the time she lived with her sister Maude and|
brother-in-law Otto, probably in Los Osos
Another grandniece, Laine Lawrence recounted this story that her mother Elma shared about her aunt Mary, “Jo, Carl, and children were going to visit relatives in Fresno (before they moved there) and picked up Mary on the way. Mary played golf at the time so it must have been while she was living in the Country Club community. She was wearing knickers and Carl was scandalized by her apparel. It was in the winter and Carl's car was a touring car with no windows only curtains. So everyone but Mary was freezing crossing the Grapevine and Carl had to apologize for making such a fuss about her wearing knickers. This story always made me think Mary was a very "modern" woman and a woman with self-confidence.
Unlike Joyce and Laine, I have no personal recollections of Mary. My connection is through Mary’s brother Lewis Pattillo, my grandfather who was very quiet. I don’t recall him ever talking about Mary or any of his other siblings.
Souces For This Post: 1900 - 1940 censuses, directories, emails from Laine and Joyce.