Robert Carroll (Dudley Anderson), Actor, of Chicago, Illinois

In the last article, William D Anderson, of Richmond, Virginia, we learned that William Dudley Anderson had a stage name of Bobbie Carroll and died in Chicago in 1932. Can we fill in anything else in his life between the death of his wife Mary Rodgers in 1898 and his own death?

His 1930 Census said that he was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, which took place in 1898.1 I couldn't find a record of his service--not all the information is on line. But perhaps that is why he was in the neighborhood of Bell County, Texas, when he married Lillie Birchfield there on September 22, 1901.2

Robert and Lillie apparently soon settled down in Chicago, Illinois, for that is where their daughter Evelyn was born on August 24, 1904.3

At this point I should mention that I believe "Lillie Birchfield" was a stage name and Robert Carroll's wife's real name was Sarah Jacobs. Their daughter Evelyn died in 1936, and that is the way her mother's name was listed on Evelyn's death record.3

Medicine Show Poster

Medicine Show Poster

In 1920, Robert, Sarah, and Eva Carroll, age 14, were living in a hotel at 231 East Garfield Blvd. in Chicago, Illinois. Robert's occupation was "theatre, medicine show, working on his own account."

The man listed above Robert on the census was James J McNulty, a showman with the circus. He shows up on a few pages at http://www.circushistory.org/. I don't know if Bobbie Carroll worked with him, but I don't think it is just a coincidence that they were living in the same hotel. The hotel housekeeper's son was a treasurer for a theater as well.4

About 1925, Robert and Sarah's daughter, Eva, married Arthur J Meader. In 1930, she and Arthur were living in the Columbus Park Hotel at 311 North Central Ave, Chicago. Eva's mother was with them and this time she is listed as Lillie Carroll, not Sarah. Arthur was a lineman for a telegraph company.5

In the same year, Robert Carroll was living on his own, at the Monarch Hotel at 517 North Clark, Chicago. He was an unemployed theater actor. All of the thirty-two hotel residents were men on their own and many were out of work. There was one other actor in the building, a 70 year old single man named Frank Healy, also out of work.6

I would like to think that living apart from his family was a "career move" on Robert's part--that maybe he was closer to the theater district--but I don't think so. I imagine he was more likely "down and out." He died a few years later, as mentioned, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Proviso, Illinois.7

Conclusion

That sums up what I know about this gentleman. I guess it was a long way from being William Dudley Anderson, son of a court clerk in Richmond, Virginia, who died young, to Robert "Bobbie" Carroll, unemployed medicine show operator in Chicago, Illinois. Especially when the road takes you through Oil City, Pennsylvania, Butte, Montana, and Bell County, Texas.

If anyone knows any more about him, I would appreciate hearing from them. Was he a successful actor? Did he have grandchildren by his daughter Eva? And did he ever visit Cleveland and see his son Edward?

Footnotes

1. "United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XS59-9QN : accessed 24 Feb 2014), Robert Carroll, Chicago (Districts 1501-1750), Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 1544, sheet , family 258, NARA microfilm publication.

2. "Texas, Marriages, 1837-1973," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FX7D-9VH : accessed 27 Feb 2014), W. D. Anderson and Lillie Birchfield, 22 Sep 1901.

3. Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947, at ancestry.com.

4. "United States Census, 1920," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MJSR-1MP : accessed 24 Feb 2014), Robert Carroll in household of Benair G Wheeler, Chicago Ward 6, Cook (Chicago), Illinois, United States; citing sheet , family 1, NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1820310.

5. "United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XSP8-WPX : accessed 24 Feb 2014), Arthur J Meader, Chicago (Districts 2627-2876), Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 2742, sheet , family 215, NARA microfilm publication .

6. "United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XS59-9QN : accessed 24 Feb 2014), Robert Carroll, Chicago (Districts 1501-1750), Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 1544, sheet , family 258, NARA microfilm publication .

7. See previous article.

Credits

Image of medicine show poster comes from Legends of America/Patent Medicine.

My Old Ohio Home
Most of the information here is about my family or my wife’s, or about families with ties to Cleveland, Ohio, or the area near Rostrevor and Kilkeel in County Down, Ireland. There are also some unrelated families included that I came across. Whatever the case, I hope the material is helpful in your own research.
-- Ed Hamilton