St. Augustine, Florida
Mary Lilian Varn and Daisy Pearle Clements
Mary Lilian Varn 1893 - 1975 was born in Polk Co., FL, daughter of Frederick Newton Varn and Mary L. Seward. Lilian married Gray L. Singleton on 24 Jun 1913 and in about 1915 they had a son named Frederick G. Singleton. The 1920 census reflects this marriage and living situation. At some point in the 1920"s Lilian's brother Claude Grady Varn 1890 - 1979 became a practicing attorney, married and established his family with his wife Mary in St. Augustine, FL. The 1930 census is conflicting as it shows Lilian to be present in Polk Co., FL with her husband and child and it also shows her present and living with her brother and his family in St. Augustine. Claude's wife was born in 1895 and died in 1929; she is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in St. John's Co., FL. The records are not exact but it appears that Lilian was granted a divorce from Gray L. Singleton in 1931 or 1932.
Daisy Pearle Clements 1911 - 1994 was born in Berrien Co., GA to Lucius Jordan Clements and Addie Eugenia Watkins. As a result of difficult economic times the family lumber business was sold in 1923 and the Clements's family relocated to Polk Co., FL presumably because of better job opportunities. As a result the Varn family and the Clements family were well known to one another from Polk Co., FL.
The record is somewhat unclear but it appears that the uprooted nature of Lilian's circumstances were occurring at about the same time as Daisy Pearle Clements was coming of age and determining what to do with her life. At some point, Pearle, and perhaps Lilian proceeded to attend beautician school in Chicago, IL. It was understood that she was being allowed to go and thereafter work together with Lilian Varn Singleton as she was considered a trusted family friend willing to take Pearle under her wing. At some point it was decided that Lilian would open a Beauty Shop in St. Augustine, FL where her brother was an established attorney and had already remarried. We first see Lilian and Pearle's documented presence in 1934. Several City Directories and the 1935 FL census present a case that is fairly easy to follow. It would appear that Pearle and Lilian work formally together for a couple years. Lilian herself will be in business at various locations from 1934 until 1949. Each of the documents has been marked and has been uploaded to the respective individuals on the Yatesville Genealogy & History website. The two links below are safe shortcuts to the correct pages.
In 1934 and 1935 Pearle would catch the eye of a recently widowed businessman in St. Augustine. Bill Owen married Daisy Pearle Clements in 1935. After marriage it appears that Pearle embark on this as her major task as well as being stepmother to Bill's young son. They would reside at 40 Rohde Ave St. Augustine, FL; to the right (east) is 38 Rohde Ave St. Augustine, FL. 40 was the residence of William Denham Owen and his parents lived next door at 38; later his brother James also lived at this address. Bill, Pearle and Bill's son William D. Owen Jr. lived at this address.
Tragedy struck on June 8, 1937 Bill Owen, Sr. died in an auto accident. Pearle at some point relocated to Washington DC and thereafter married James P. Fondren in 1940. Bill Owen, Jr. lived with his grandmother until she died in 1940; Pearle Fondren became his guardian and he lived in Silver Spring, MD until adulthood. After he entered the service he married and for whatever reason did not maintain a relationship with the Fondren family. Should any member of Bill Owens's family ever read this summary of events, Bill or his family would be warmly received. Within the last couple years we searched for Bill because we believe we have his baby silver spoon with his monogram which might be a desirable object either for him or his descendants.
This summary and the associated records were found by the author and posted; in the 1990's Pearle and James P. Fondren journeyed to St. Augustine with their daughter and her husband, Ron Yates. During that trip Pearle took us by both the 40 Rohde residence and the location known as 82-84 Charlotte Street and identified the location as the location where she worked with Lilian in the Beauty Shop. There appears to have been conversation about a working relationship with a small hotel/motel which I presume was the Monson. There seems to have been various relationships but this is speculation only. Pearle and Lilian Varn Singleton exchanged Christmas cards the rest of their lives and Pearle seems to have always thought in a positive way as to her memories working with Lilian even though she was required to manage some difficult circumstances with the death of her first husband. (Source; Ronald E. Yates; April 2010 and associated marked documents).
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