I know your inquiry about Eli Frances Laurens was posted on ancestry.com almost 20 years ago, but I came across it tonight. My husband's grandmother was Faye Walton Laurens Ruminer, Eli Frances (Hugh) daughter. I've head a similar story, although not exact, as yours above. I haven't found much. I found his WWI draft registration signed in 1918 in Palestine, Anderson Co, TX. I also found his marriage record to Allie Matthews. I heard that he went missing between 1923 - 1926 but I thought around the Roby area. I found a message on ancestry similar to yours, asking for information, that said he went missing from Claytonville. Have you received any other information about him through the years?