New findings about Willie Williams Ladnier show a much fuller view of Tommy's beloved mother than what we could present in Traveling Blues at the time of publication. Her ancestry has now been established and information on her second marriage has emerged. Read the full story in the documents below.
As described in “Traveling Blues,” Alfred Ladnier married Willie (Willa) Williams in St. Tammany on January 20, 1898.
According to a Chicago marriage record index, Willie Ladnier married one Joseph B. Bell on Wednesday March 27, 1918 in Chicago. From the marriage index we also learn that Willie was 37 years old in 1918. New family information shows she was actually born in January 1880. This is completely new information since we earlier only had the erroneous Chicago Defender statement that she was 37 years old at her death in 1923.
The Willie Ladnier marriages are described in more detail in the pdf file available below.