Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Charles L. Locke

This photo was taken at Tacoma, Pierce, Washington in about 1921. Charles L. Locke is holding his grandson, Ray, and standing next to his own son, Joel.

Charles L. Locke's life began on 12 March 1858 at Lynn, Randolph, Indiana. His parents were William F. Locke and his wife, Mary Jane Robbins. He was the fifth child in a family of eight children. He is listed on the census records for 1860 and 1870 with his parents, at Washington, Randolph, Indiana. Randolph County is located on the east border of the state next to Ohio.

Ellendale, founded in 1882, was the county seat for the new Dickey county that was organized in 1881 in the Dakota Territory. On 15 April 1883, Charles L. Locke married Mittie Duffy at Ellendale. Their marriage certificate lists his name as Carl L. Locke of Ellendale; hers, Miss Mittie A. B. Duffy of Ellendale. Dakota Territory was at the end of the "Dakota Boom" of the 1870's. Much of this growth was due to the expansion of railroads, especially the Northern Pacific Railroad whose main offices were in Minnesota. Wheat was the main crop in the Dakota Territory. During the 1880's as the price of wheat dropped and the area experienced a drought, the economy declined. It is possible that C. L. and Mittie thought to re-locate and then changed their minds and returned to Minneapolis.

Their children were John Henry, born 6 January 1884 and Joel Shirley, born on 4 November 1886; both at Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota. Their next child, a girl named Jessie Alice, was born on 11 November 1888, and died on 9 December 1889 at Minneapolis. A newspaper article of the time said,
"The youngest and only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Locke passed away on Monday evening, December 9, 1889, after a short illness. This being the first death in the family, it comes doubly hard and they have the sympathy of their many friends in this hour of trial. The link is severed and the chain is broken but God's will be done. Dec. 18th." (Corinna Cream)
In Minneapolis City Directories, C. L. Locke first appeared in 1880/1881, "Carl Locke, painter, b 1212 6th Ave N." It was the same for 1881/1882. In 1882/1883, he was listed as, "Carl L. Locke, letter carrier, b 629 N 13th." In 1883/1884, "Carl Lock, laborer, b Jackson N 3rd Ave NE." There was no entry for 1884/1885. In 1885/1886, 'C. L. Locke, millwright, r 3200 Hennepin Ave." In 1886-1887, "Carl L. Locke, clk PO, r 3200 Hennepin Ave." In 1888/1889, "C. L. Locke, health inspector eighth ward, r 3207 Holmes Ave." There were no entries after 1890. It appears that he did a little bit of everything, but was always employed during those years.

C. L. Locke was a Mason. "Brother Charles L. Locke petitioned Khurum Lodge No. 112 A. F. & A. M. for membership and was elected to receive his Degrees in Masonry. This he did, being Initiated an Entered Apprentice on April 13, 1888, Passed to the Fellow Craft Degree on May 4th, 1888; and Raised to the Degree of a Master Mason on May 18, 1888. On the date of his Master Mason Degree he made the following entry in our Lodge Register- C. L. Locke (his signature), age 30 year, born at Millwright, Indiana, Present residence, Minneapolis, Minnesota."

On 10 January 1891, C. L. and Mittie had a third son, Marion Damon, born at Annandale, Wright, Minnesota. Wright County was the home of Mittie's sister, Gert, who had her first child there just four months before Mittie gave birth to Marion. Annandale is about sixty miles NW of Minneapolis.

On 10 November 1894, C. L. received a letter from the Republican Campaign Committee, "In behalf of the Republican Campaign Committee I wish to thank you for the effective speeches which you made at various Republican Meetings, held in this City and County, during the past Campaign, and for your unselfish efforts in behalf of the success of our Party." From this little letter we know that he was a Republican and that he actively supported his political party.

Tragedy struck the family on 27 September 1899, when Mittie died of pulmonary tuberculosis at the young age of 36. She died at home at 811 West 31st Street. She had been sick for about four months, and had lived in Minneapolis all of her life. She was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, Richfield, Hennepin, Minnesota. In the Minneapolis Tribune on 28 September 1899, page 11,
"LOCKE--In this city, September 27, 1899, Mrs. Charles L. Locke, aged 36 years. Funeral Friday at 2 p.m. from residence, 411 Thirty-first Street West."
C. L. was still living in Minneapolis on the 1900 census--
Chas. L. Locke, lodger, W, M, born Mar 1858, age 42, widow, born in Indiana, father born in North Carolina, mother born in New Jersey, contractor & builder.
John, his oldest son, age 16, was living with Gertie and her husband, Henry Scheyer at Corinna, Wright, Minnesota. John was handicapped, and spent a good part of his life living with Gertie. Joel, age 12 and our ancestor, was at the Minnesota State Training School at Goodhue, Red Wing, Minnesota, about 54 miles SE of Minneapolis. We can assume that Marion, the youngest, was also living with family elsewhere. It had to be a difficult time for the family, being split up like they were. In all his later years, he never remarried.

By 1910, C. L. had made the move to the west coast. He was living in West Roseburg, Douglas, Oregon, and working as a painter. In 1920, he was living with his son, Joel, in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon. He is pictured with Joel's two young sons, our ancestor Ray, and baby David. On the 1930 U. S. Census, he was living next door to another son, Marion, at Eugene, Lane, Oregon.

Charles L. Locke died at Eugene, on 28 April 1941. He was 83 years old. His usual occupation on the death certificate was listed as sign painter and paper hanger. The information was taken from the Lane county public welfare records. He was buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery. "Funeral services for Charles L. Locke will be held from the St. Mary's Catholic Church Friday at 8 a.m. with interment in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery. The Veatch Chapel is in charge."

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Leta of the Laughing Blue Eyes


Leta Lavina Murray was born on 8 March 1881 at Salem, Dent, Missouri. Her parents were John Lewis Murray and Esther E. Thornton. Her father was an iron miner in Salem.

Leta had an older brother named William who was born in 1879, and did not live long. After Leta's birth, there were two other girls born to the family; Lota Esther who was born 12 January 1885 at Fort Worth, Tarrant, Texas; and Nelle Agness who was also born in Texas on 17 August 1887, in Alvarado, Johnson County. She also had two other siblings who did not survive named Mollie and Johnnie. Betty remembered, "I never really knew Aunt Lota. She and Mother had a falling out when I was very small and never saw or spoke to each other again. Aunt Nelle I knew quite well. She was a happy-go-lucky, fun-loving, frivolous member of the family. She was that way all of her life. My mother was the hard-working, practical one. She and Nelle loved each other dearly."

In About 1888, the family moved to Willow Springs, Howell, Missouri. Leta remembered being in a wagon train and peeking out of the back of the wagon to see the men talking with Indians. Esther died just after Johnnie was born, and they were both buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery in Willow Springs. In a letter, Nelle said that the three babies were all buried next to Esther, but we only found Johnnie there.

Leta was just nine years old when her mother died, leaving her father with three little girls to raise. As the oldest, the burden of the home fell upon her. That might be why she became the "practical" one. Her father remarried quickly on 25 June 1890, to America Lovan, in Willow Springs. "Mec", as she was called, was from a large Willow Springs family. She was was 32 years old when she married John and took on the family of three little girls. Leta said about her that she made them work around the house, but she was good to them and saw to it that they had the things that girls wanted and needed. This is a family photo of John L. and America taken in about 1903, with Fred sitting between them. Fred was adopted by the family. From left to right, the girls are Lota, Nelle, and Leta.


On the 1900 census, they were temporarily living on a farm in Clinton, Douglas County, but returned to Willow Springs after that. Leta's father liked to buy and sell. He was a trader. He'd buy an old house and move his family in and when it was just getting nice, he'd sell it. Leta remembered going with him on one job that was away from home. She was his cook while he was away. When she agreed to marry Art, she told him that she wouldn't make "biscuit" as she called it. She said she'd had to make biscuits for her father each day for breakfast and hated it. She remembered going to the market to purchase "a bit of pork and a bit of beef" to make the breakfast.

Leta graduated from high school in Willow Springs. One of her classmates was her future husband, Arthur Boucher. Leta is the girl at the lower left, and Arthur is at the left of the back row.

After she graduated from high school Leta taught school in Willow Springs. A teaching contract of hers states that she was a "legally qualified public school teacher", for which she was paid $30 per month. She thought teaching was a noble profession and encouraged her children and her grandchildren to be teachers. In her later life, Leta had problems with her feet; she had bunions. She always attributed it to boots she wore that were too small. She walked to school in them one whole winter.

In a letter to the editor in the Willow Springs paper that was written 13 April 1962 this appeared, "the fourth grade was Miss Leta Murray, who had the brightest, blue laughing eyes and a sweet smile (when we were good)." Leta was about five feet tall.

In 1903, Leta became engaged to be married to Arthur Boucher. Someone told her that it was a mistake because they didn't think he would live long. They would be surprised to know how long he lived! Art traveled to Tacoma, Washington to work on the Northern Pacific Railroad. Leta arrived a year later by train, with his mother, Rossea. Art and Leta were married at Tacoma, Pierce, Washington on 20 April 1904.

Back home in Willow Springs, Missouri, this appeared in the local newspaper--
Cards came this week announcing the marriage of Mr. Arthur Boucher and Miss Leta Murray, at Tacoma, Washington, Wednesday, April 20th. When Miss Leta went to Washington we knew what the next word from her would be, but we waited for the official announcement before mentioning it, and that did not come until this week. Mr. Boucher has been away from our vicinity for several years, holding a good position, but he still has many friends here and always will have. Miss Murray has been in our midst most of her life, and was a friend to old and young. She has been a successful teacher in our public school for the past two years and probably would have been the coming year had she not desired a change in occupation. We join with friends in extending congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple so many miles away.
Art and Leta set up housekeeping in Tacoma, with his mother Rossea, who spent about 17 years in their home. Their first three children were close together in age. They were Wanda Erma, born on 17 January 1905; Russell Murray, born 5 November 1906; and Dale Vern, born on 9 September 1908. They were all born in Tacoma. Tragedy struck the little family on 10 April 1913, when Wanda died suddenly. About Wanda, Betty said, "The family had taken a trip back to Missouri for a visit. Although they had no relatives back there (Mother's family had all moved west), they had many friends who they had grown up with and with whom they corresponded all of their lives. I never met any of them but the names were familiar to me. I suppose that is those days people did not travel as much as they do today. It was more difficult. On the return trip from Missouri, Wanda became ill on the train. She died shortly after they got home of tubercular meningitis. My mother always told me that Wanda was such a good child; almost too good. I know that Dad worshipped her and he grieved for her for many years. I was never told much about Wanda. I suppose it was because Mother and Dad didn't want to be reminded. Mother did tell me that I took Wanda's place with Dad. There were no other girls in the family. Just Wanda and myself."


The family moved to Spokane when Art received a transfer. Then, after many years, Betty Jane was born on 20 April 1921, Leta's wedding anniversary. Sixteen months later on 21 August 1922, Bill joined the family, and it was complete. Both children were born at home in Spokane, at 2924 Standard. They sent Grandma Rossie to stay with Art's brother, Luther, until Bill arrived. She never returned to the family, having died at Luther's house.

In the summer the family drove their Model T Ford. The rest of the year they rode the street car. Art would put the car "up on blocks" for the winter. Art had a big garden and Leta kept chickens.


In 1931, they returned to Tacoma to live. They bought a house at 4332 South Bell Street and lived there for many years. During World War II, Betty bought the house next door to them. When the war was over, she and her husband Ray built a house next door to her brother Bill and his wife, Frankie. Art bought the lot next door to Betty and built a one bedroom retirement home for them. The address was 8422 East B Street. It had a long hallway that was covered with snapshots of family and loved ones. Their kitchen was yellow and contained a large, black wood stove that made the best toast in the world. Leta also had a wringer washer machine in her small laundry room off the kitchen. She still kept chickens and they had a large vegetable garden. Leta was particularly proud of her azalea plant in her front yard. Our yard and hers ran together.

In their later years, Art sat in his rocking chair with his feet up, pipe in his mouth, hat on his head, listening to the radio. Leta sat in her little rocking chair and did embroidery or made crocheted rugs from old clothing. Art wasn't much for going places, but Leta had her social outings and rode the bus. Leta would take the bus to town to attend church socials and to shop. Sometimes she would take one of her grandchildren with her. The highlight of the trip was a stop at the soda fountain at Woolworth's. When it was my turn, I always had a chocolate soda for the price of a quarter. Then we would ride the bus home. She always said that if we weren't good, she would pinch us to remind us. But I don't remember ever receiving a "pinch".

All of the children on our little dead end road called her Grandma. She was the grandma for the whole street. The children would all come to the back door and she would pass out sugar lumps. Her small front yard had a little patio made of cement squares which we girls used to play hopscotch. In later years when she no longer raised chickens, she donated half of her shed to us for a play house.

Because my mother worked, having Leta and Art next door was an important part of my life. If we needed anything, we knocked on our window and she would see us from her kitchen window and come over. When school was out at the end of the day, her house was my first stop, where I spent happy hours talking to her while she did her hand work. When I practiced my piano playing she would sit and listen with her hands folded and a smile on her face as though she enjoyed what I played. It was usually hymns.

Leta taught me to memorize scriptures. When I weeded a flower bed for her and she paid me a dime, she always included an extra penny for me to give to the Lord. I realized, as an adult, that she taught me to pay tithing. She was a good, Christian woman. She wanted all of her granddaughters to be school teachers and encouraged us to gain a good education. She was a strong personality who said what she thought.


On 20 April 1954, Art and Leta celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary. All of their family gathered together to honor them at a reception held at the Plymouth Congregational Church where the family attended church together.

When Art died in 1967, Leta lived with her daughter, Betty, for about nine months. She was grieving. Then one day she got on the bus and went to town. She found a place for herself in a retirement complex and moved back out on her own. Her natural independence came to the surface.

Leta remembered when the first car came to Tacoma. She remembered driving up to Mt. Rainier and having to wait while the allowed number of cars drove to Paradise and back. She bought an old treadle sewing machine from a man who had three on the back of a wagon. She told us not to slouch because it looked terrible to be a bent over little old lady. She stood as straight as a stick, making use of every bit of her five feet. And she always wore shoes with a thick high heel, probably to give herself as much height as possible. She always wore dresses, and many of them she made herself.

We remember her sayings like, "a fool and his money are soon parted," "chickens come home to roost, " "a penny saved is a penny earned," and one I tried to live by, "learn to keep still." She always said, "hush," and never anything that might sound rude, like "shut up." If we forgot what we were going to say, she said "it must have been a lie." About doing hand work on Sunday, "sew a stitch on Sunday and pick it out with your nose on Monday." She said to never say a bad thing about a girl or boy. She deplored waste, having lived carefully all of her life. She encouraged us to remember the children in Korea when we didn't want to finish our food. She even sifted her garden soil to get the rocks out and waste not a grain of precious dirt. She was strong and good, a true matriarch in every sense of the word.

This four generation photo was taken in 1971 when Leta was 90 years old, probably at Thanksgiving. She is pictured with her daughter Betty, granddaughter Judie, and great-granddaughter Amber. In the last year of her life, Leta lived in a nursing home and didn't like it at all. As a strong-willed, always independent woman, she resented losing the freedom to do what she wanted; but she needed the help she got there. She died on 4 January 1973 at the age of 92, and just two months before celebrating another birthday. She was the pivotal person of my childhood, and I gained much of my attitudes and goals from listening to her. For me, she was everything wonderful.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mittie Duffy, Mrs. C. L. Locke


Mittie Alice B. Duffy was born at Fort Snelling, Hennepin, Minnesota on 19 February 1864. Ft. Snelling is located on a bluff at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, and is on the outskirts of Minneapolis. This painting shows the Fort in 1844. Mittie's father spent time there as a sergeant for the Union Army during the Civil War, which explains why she was born there.

Mittie was the first child of her parents, John S. Duffy and Alice Louise Madden. When she was four years old, her brother, Horace, joined the family. Her sister, Gertrude Susan, was born when she was six. When she was nine, her father was killed in a tragic accident while working for the railroad. He died in January, and in June of the same year, 1873, her mother married Thomas Gordon Brown. Thomas brought two sons to the new marriage. A year later, Mary was born. On the 1880 Minneapolis U. S. census, the family was listed as follows:
Thomas Brown, W, M, age 45, married, carpenter & builder, PA, PA, PA;
Alice, W, F, age 38, wife, keeping house, Ireland, Ireland, Ireland;
Duffy, Mittie, F, W, age 16, daughter, at school, MN, PA, IRE;
Duffy,Horace, M, W, age 12, son, at school, MN, PA, IRE;
Duffy, Gertie, F, W, age 9, daughter, at school, MN,PA, IRE;
Brown, John, M, W, age 12, son, at school, MN, PA, IRE;
Brown, Thomas, M, W, age 10, son, at school, MN, PA, IRE;
Brown, Mary, W, F, age 5, daughter, MN, PA, IRE.

Three years later, on 15 April 1883, Mittie married Charles L. Locke at Ellendale, Dickey, Dakota Territory. Ellendale is about 400 miles NW of Minneapolis, and on the North Dakota/South Dakota border. It was founded in 1882, so it was a very new town at the time. The Northern Pacific Railroad moved west from Minnesota to the Dakotas during the 1870's. It is likely that their time in Ellendale involved a train ride, which would have been quite an adventure for them. Their marriage certificate lists his name as Carl L. Locke of Ellendale; hers, Miss Mittie A. B. Duffy of Ellendale.

Whatever their reason for being in Dakota Territory, their children were all born in Minnesota. It may be that the economic difficulties of the Dakotas in the 1880's due to a decline in wheat prices, changed their plans and they returned to Minnesota. John Henry was born 6 January 1884 and Joel Shirley, on 4 November 1886; both at Minneapolis. Then they had a girl named Jessie Alice on 11 November 1888 who died on 9 December 1889 also at Minneapolis. A newspaper article of the time said,
"The youngest and only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Locke passed away on Monday evening, December 9, 1889, after a short illness. This being the first death in the family, it comes doubly hard and they have the sympathy of their many friends in this hour of trial. The link is severed and the chain is broken but God's will be done. Dec. 18th." (Corinna Cream)

On 10 January 1891, C. L. and Mittie had a third son, Marion Damon, born at Annandale, Wright, Minnesota. Wright County was the home of Mittie's sister, Gert, who had her first child there just four months before Mittie gave birth to Marion. Annandale is about sixty miles NW of Minneapolis and more rural in nature.

Tragedy struck the family on 27 September 1899, when Mittie died of pulmonary tuberculosis. She was just 36 years old. She died at home at 811 West 31st Street. In the Minneapolis Tribune on September 28, 1899, page 11, "LOCKE--In this city, September 27, 1899, Mrs. Charles L. Locke, aged 36 years. Funeral Friday at 2 p.m. from residence, 411 Thirty-first Street West." Her obituary said,
Alice B. Locke, wife of Charles L. Locke, residence 811 W 31st St, died Wednesday afternoon at 4:40, Sep 27th, after a four months' illness of tuberculosis. She was born 19 Feb 1864 at Fort Snelling and always resided in the city of Minneapolis. She was an active member of Plymouth Chapter No. 19 O. E. S. Funeral services will be held at the house on Friday, Sep 29th at 2:00 p.m." Another said, "Mrs. Charles L. Locke, residing at 811 31st St W, died last evening of tuberculosis, after an illness extending over a period of four months. Mrs. Locke was well known in Minneapolis, having been born at Fort Snelling, the daughter of Sgt. John S. Duffy, Co. G, and resided here all her life. She was a member of the Order Eastern Star and in Plymouth Chapter has held the office of Ruth two terms. She leaves a husband and three sons. The funeral will take place from the residence Friday afternoon at 2:00.

To those who extended sympathy, her husband wrote, "To my friends: God bless you always and in the hour of affliction give you loving, tender hearts and hands of ministration. -- C. L. Locke, 2 Oct 1899." Mittie was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Richfield.

Thanks to D. Vangsness for this photo.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Olive Wood, A Missouri Pioneer

This is a drawing of Olive Wood, who married Bennett Murray. I always wonder, when I see old photos and drawings, why they didn't smile. It was a serious business having your likeness captured. If Olive had smiled, you would be able to see the way her eyes crinkled and how her face lit up. Instead, she appears somber.

Olive was oldest child of Jesse Wood and his wife, Anna Henderson. She was born in Fredericktown, Madison, Missouri on February 17th. An old Bible entry sets the year at 1830, but on the 1850 census she was only 17 years old. He parents had a large family of nine children. Fredericktown is located in the NE foothills of the Ozarks. Jesse was a miner, a common occupation in that area.


Olive married Bennett Murray, a widower. He had a baby girl named Sarah who was born in 1850. They were married on 10 January 1851. Olive was Bennett's third wife, the first two having died young, probably with complications from pregnancy. She and Bennett had seven sons. Our ancestor, John Lewis, was the oldest of those sons. All of the boys were born in Missouri except one, who was born in Arkansas. The map shows the relationship of these places to the Mississippi River, Missouri's eastern boundary, and to Arkansas, at its southern boundary.

In 1859, Bennett bought land in Dent County, Missouri (B), about 92 miles west of Fredericktown (A). Bennett served in the Union Army during the Civil War, leaving Olive home to raise the boys by herself. During that time, he made at least one trip home to put in crops and see the family. By the 1880 census, the boys were all grown and gone from home. Olive died that year on July 3rd.


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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Beautiful Betty, 1921-2010



Betty Jane Boucher Locke died quietly at the home of her daughter on 15 February 2010 at 8:00 a.m. She had been on Hospice for two years. Betty was 88 years old. She was buried beside her husband, Ray Locke, who died in 1995. They are buried at the Sumner Cemetery in Sumner, Washington. Since her birthday is in April, her life will be remembered with a small history at that time.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Quiet Man

Arthur Boucher was a quiet man who didn't argue, complain, or talk too much. He began life in Texas County, Missouri, the son of Samuel Boucher and Rossea Whitlock. It was Rossea's second marriage; Art had a half sister named Pearl, and two brothers, Luther and Edward. Edward did not live long. Art was born in 12 February 1880. He was a handsome man, about six feet tall and slender, with dark wavy hair and brown eyes. As an older man, he was bald and wore glasses, but was still a handsome man.


Art grew up in Willow Springs, Howell, Missouri. He went to school with several cousins, and his future wife, Leta Lavina Murray. Leta remembered the first time she saw Art. He was standing in front of the stove in the school room. It was February 12th. He looked at her and said, "Two great men were born today, me and Abraham Lincoln."

He finished high school and went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad. In 1903, he and Luther moved to Tacoma, Pierce, Washington, where he worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. A year later, Leta took the train to Tacoma where they were married on 20 April 1904. Art's mother, Rossea, traveled with Leta and lived with them for the first 17 years of their marriage.

Art had a long career with the Northern Pacific. When he retired, he had worked for 32 years without being absent for a single day's pay. He spent 43 years working for railroads, 41 years with the NP. He started at the South Tacoma paint shops in July, 1903. and was transferred to the store department at South Tacoma in 1907. In September 1916, he went to the position of chief clerk to the division storekeeper at Spokane. Then in 1922 he was transerred to the division accounting office in Spokane. Lastly, in 1932 he was transferred to the district accounting office in Tacoma, where he worked up to the time of his retirement.


Art and Leta had five chilren. Wanda was born in 1905, Russell in 1906, and Dale in 1908; all in Tacoma. Tragedy struck the little family on 10 April 10 1913, when Wanda died suddenly. About Wanda, Betty said, "The family had taken a trip back to Missouri for a visit. Although they had no relatives back there, Mother's family had all moved west, they had many friends who they had grown up with and with whom they corresponded all of their lives. On the return trip from Missouri, Wanda became ill on the train. She died shortly after they got home of tubercular meningitis. My mother always told me that Wanda was such a good child; almost too good. I know that Dad worshipped her and he grieved for her for many years. I was never told much about Wanda. I suppose it was because Mother and Dad didn't want to be reminded. Mother did tell me that I took Wanda's place with Dad. There were no other girls in the family; just Wanda and myself."

After Art was transferred to Spokane, Betty was born in 1921, and Bill in 1922. That must have been something of a shock for parents in their forties. Betty and Bill were both born at home, 2924 Standard, in Spokane. Art owned a Model T Ford in Spokane, which they drove in the summer. Art "put it up on blocks" in the winter and they rode the street car. Art had a big garden and Leta kept chickens. He was an avid fisherman.

In 1931, they returned to Tacoma and bought a house at 4332 South Bell Street, where they lived for many years. During World War II, Betty bought the house next door to them. When the war was over, Betty and Ray built a house at 8418 East B Street, next door to her brother Bill and his wife, Frankie. So Art bought the lot next door to Betty and built a one bedroom retirement home for them. Their address was 8422 East B Street.

The house had a long hallway that was covered with snapshots of family and loved ones. Their kitchen was yelllow and contained a large, black wood stove that made the best toast in the world. Leta also had a wringer washer machine in her small laundry room off the kitchen. They still kept chickens and they had a large vegetable garden. A bulletin board next to the back door contained sayings and clippings of items of interest. One poem, in particular, always caught my attention. It said--
It doesn't do to do much talkin',
When you're mad enough to choke.
For the word that hits the hardest,
Is the word that's never spoke.
Let the other fella do the talkin',
'Till the storm has rolled away.
Then he'll do a heap a thinkin',
'Bout the things you didn't say.

In their later years, Art sat in his rocking chair with his feet up, pipe in his mouth, hat on his head, listening to the radio. He enjoyed baseball. The picture over his rocker was a needlepoint Russell made for their 50th wedding anniversary of their family tree with their children and grandchildren represented on the branches of the tree. Leta sat in her little rocking chair and did embroidery or made crocheted rugs from old clothing. Art wasn't much for going places, but Leta had her social outings and rode the bus since they did not own a car. Every afternoon he would get up from his chair and walk to the mail box for the mail. And that was as far as he went.

On 20 April 1954, Art and Leta celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary. All of their family gathered together to honor them at a reception held at the Plymouth Congregational Church where the family attended church together.

Art's most singular trait was that he was a quiet man. His daughter, Betty said that if he didn't like something you never knew it because he didn't say. He had a little sign next to his chair that said, "Ve get too soon oldt undt too late schmart." As his granddaughter, I remember drinking buttermilk with him. It's how I learned to love buttermilk. On birthdays my mother would purchase two cans of pipe tobacco, one of Velvet and one of Granger, which he mixed together. That was what we always got him.

When he was old, the doctor told him to quit smoking, so he did. He started eating potato chips and chocolates. Then they told him to give those up too. I always thought he died because there just wasn't anything left he could do. I thought it would not have hurt to let him enjoy his candy and chips.

Art died on February 24, 1967. He was eighty-seven years old.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

John Parker Gourd


John Parker Gourd was first christened at home on 15 August 1788. Perhaps he was a sickly baby and his parents, Matthew and Betsey weren't sure he would survive. By the time of his public christening on 2 January 1789, it appears they were satisfied he was going to be a healthy boy. His middle name was taken from his mother's maiden name of Parker. He was the fifth of a family of eight children, and only one did not survive. They lived at Liskeard, Cornwall, England (A), which was mentioned in earlier Cornwall posts.


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On 3 May 1810, John married Ann Pyne in her home town of Topsham, Devonshire, England, which is located near the cathedral town of Exeter (B) on the east side of the River Exe estuary. Topsham was made a town by royal charter in 1300, and is the location of an earlier Celtic settlement. It was a port city during Roman times, and is noted for its sheltered harbor. Topsham is 63 miles NE of Liskeard and across what is now the Dartmoor National Park. John was a blacksmith by trade, and the family moved around a bit, though never far.


By 1819, they settled in Chudleigh, Devonshire, where they raised their family. Our ancestor is their son William Soper Gourd, the youngest of seven children. John was enumerated on the 1841 and 1851 census records in Chudleigh. Chudleigh (C) is about twelve miles SW of Topsham, closer to Dartmoor National Park. Earlier Devonshire posts can give more information about Chudleigh and its "great" fire.


In 1858, Ann died, and on the 1861 census, John was living with his daughter, Emma and her husband Thomas Duke at Torquay, just 13 miles south of Chudleigh. Like all of these small places, Torquay has an interesting history. He lived with them for the most of the rest of his life. John died on 24 February 1878 at Combe Lane, West Teignmouth, Devonshire, England. He was 89 years old, and his son, John, was present at his death.


It strikes me that John Parker Gourd was surrounded by beauty his entire life. If you look at these pictures, you can see nature's loveliness everywhere you look. I think of his work as a blacksmith and wonder how often his smithing took him to ships rather than to horses and wagons.