Thursday, October 16, 2014

Joseph D. Brown, Ohio Farmer with Low Profile - Ancestor #36

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Joseph Daniel Brown was the first child born to Thomas Brown and Jane Clark Brown in December of 1867, possibly in Adams County, Ohio.  By 1880, Joseph was living with his father and step-mother, Rebecca Ann Edwards Brown, in Wilson Township, Clinton County, Ohio.  He had two younger sisters, Ida May Brown Kendall and Hannah Ellen Brown Ballenger but they were not in the household.

Marriage record for Joseph D. Brown and Eva Belle Allen, 1899
Joseph was 31 years old when he married 25 year old Eva Belle Allen on 15 Feb 1899 in Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio.   For the duration of their marriage, they lived in Turtle Creek Township, Warren County, Ohio.  Joseph was a farmer on a rented farm, Eva kept house.  No record of children has been found.

On 16 Jun 1919, Joseph died of pulmonary tuberculosis.  He was buried in Lebanon Cemetery in Lebanon, Warren County, Ohio, Plot: Section H.  Joseph was my third great uncle.

This can’t be the end of Joseph’s story.  I still have questions.  Where was three year old Joseph in 1870?  Did he have any interaction with his sisters?  Did he really not have any children?  Was he in the local newspaper?  There must be more records to be found.  Sigh.

Sources
1880, 1900, 1910 censuses
Marriage record on Ancestry.com
Death certificate courtesy of Steven Trudgeon Family Tree
Burial on Find-a-Grave
Steve Morse Relationship Calculator


Monday, October 13, 2014

George Bell Siders 1876-1965, my Clark Cousin - Ancestor #35

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

My plea, “Would Loreta Siders, Leone Siders, and James Siders, children of George Bell Siders whose mother was Drusilla Clark Siders whose sister was Jane Clark Brown, please contact me?  Let’s talk about your Grandma Drusilla.  According to my handy-dandy Steve Morse relationship calculator, your father, George, was my first cousin twice removed. You would be my second cousins twice removed.  But really, when you get down to it, we’re just cousins. Look forward to hearing from you soon.”

As of this writing, what I know about George Bell Siders was printed in the following obituary which I have transcribed:

George Bell Siders
    George Bell Siders, 89, of Hillsboro Rt. 2, died at 7:10 P.M. Sunday at Highland District Hospital.
    He was born near Belfast on Jan. 29, 1876, the son of John William and Drusilla Clark Siders.  He was a member of the May Hill Church of Christ.
    He is survived by his wife, Dottie B. Siders; two daughters, Mrs. Loreta Everetts, Hillsboro, and Mrs. Leone Shaw, Hillsboro Rt. 6; a son, James Siders, Chillicothe Rt. 6; a sister, Mrs. Lillie Smittle, Winchester, and a brother, Harvey Siders, Columbus; 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
    Services will be held Wednesday at 2 P.M. at the May Hill Church of Christ, with Rev. Jay Eastman officiating.  Burial will follow in the Dunkard Ridge cemetery under direction of Rhoads Funeral Home.
    Friends may call at the Rhoads Funeral Home from 2 P.M. Tuesday until the time of services.

Source: The Press-Gazette, Hillsboro, Ohio.
Tuesday, Aug 17, 1965
Gleanings from George’s Obit
Wow, the 143 word obituary was quite revealing.  Is it all true?  On the off-chance I don’t hear from Loreta or Leone, I have a lot of research to do.  (I know, it has to be done anyway!)

  • First, middle, last name of deceased
  • Age, location of residence, date, time and place of death
  • Date and place of birth
  • Name of wife and parents including mother’s maiden name
  • Names and residence of daughters, sister, brother
  • Quantity of grand and great-grandchildren
  • Religion, name of church and reverend
  • Funeral home name
  • Cemetery name

Locations
Hillsboro, Highland County, Ohio
Belfast, Highland County, Ohio
Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio
Winchester, Adams County, Ohio
Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio
Dunkard Ridge cemetery, Elmville, Highland County, Ohio

Sources

  • The Press-Gazette, Hillsboro, Ohio. Tuesday, Aug 17, 1965; third column from the right. via newspapers.com.
  • Steve Morse http://stevemorse.org/relation/calculator.html

P.S. The grand and great-grandchildren of George B. Siders can also contact me.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Robert M. Hibsch, Veteran of WWII Veteran (Ancestor #34)

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Robert M. Hibsch
7 Dec 1923 - 28 Sep 2014
Another veteran of America’s Great War has died.  Robert M. Hibsch died 28 September 2014 in Sacramento, Sacramento County, California. He was 90 years old.  The eldest son of Alba W. Hibsch and Ethel May Kendall Hibsch was born 7 Dec 1923 in Alhambra, Los Angeles County, California.   He was a 1941 graduate of Covina High School in Covina, Los Angeles County, California, and married Betty E. Hutson in 1946 following his military discharge.  He was my father.

At the time he entered the Army, he worked as a machinist at a tool factory. On his Separation Qualification Record (click to enlarge images), he provided the following occupational information:

Source: Separation Qualification Record excerpt, WD AGO Form 100
Private First Class Robert Hibsch served as a Military Policeman with the 417th Military Police Escort Guard Company from 8 Feb 1943 until his separation on 5 Feb, 1946 at Fort MacArthur, Los Angeles County, California.  He served in England and France. He was awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal, Euro-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Campaign Star for Northern France, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, and the Army Marksmanship Badge.  A description of his military occupation, shown below, was excerpted from his Separation Qualification Record;

Source: Separation Qualification Record excerpt, WD AGO Form 100

Source: Covina Argus Newspaper, Feb 1946; newspapers.com
After the military, he worked as a machinist in Monrovia, Los Angeles County, California until 1959. In 1960-61, the family lived in Williams, Colusa County, California on the 200+ acre Hibsch Family Ranch owned by his aunt and uncle.  Robert worked in a "Flying A" gas station in Williams and another one when the family moved to Sacramento.  In 1962, he became an owner of a 76 Union Oil gas station located at Florin Road and Lindale Drive. Later, he sold that station and bought the 76 Union Oil station at Florin Road and East Parkway.  In total, he probably worked for 76 Union Oil Company for 40+ years. His stations would be called “old school” today as they offered windshield cleaning, airing the tires, checking oil/water and handing out Green and Blue Chip Stamps, most of which are rare today.  His wife was the bookkeeper and his sons worked at the stations during their high school and college days.

Robert is survived by a brother, three children, two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.  He will be honored with a military burial at the San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Santa Nella, San Joaquin County, California.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Mrs. Mary Daulton Clark Identified Using Two Key Resources - Ancestor #33

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Using City Directories and the Census to Identify Relationships

The Covina Argus[1] newspaper is a treasure trove for stories about my ancestors who settled in the San Gabriel Valley of southern California.  Most prevalent were stories about my Kendall family which may not be so serendipitous.[2] 

On the 16th of November 1917 one snippet in the social column caught my eye:

Source: Covina Argus on newspaperarchive.com
“Mrs. Kendall” was my great-grandmother, Ida May Brown Kendall.   I've written previously about what a mystery her life is to me prior to her marriage to Henry Martin Kendall.  Consequently, any hint of her interaction with others, especially people with the surname Brown or Kendall, gives me hope of discovering details of her early life.  Bonus point if Ohio was mentioned.

Abundant Clues
Here’s a list of clues I gleaned from this two-sentence news item:
  1. Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Kendall lived on Orange Avenue in November 1917
  2. Mrs. Mary Clark had a daughter named Miss Daisy Clark.
  3. Daisy Clark was not married.
  4. The Clarks arrived on Wednesday.
  5. The Clarks were from Cincinnati, Ohio.
  6. The Clarks were visiting “relatives”.
  7. Mrs. Clark was Mrs. Kendall’s cousin.
Did I miss anything? 

What My Existing Records Show
·        Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Kendall lived on Orange Avenue in 1917.
·        “Mrs. Kendall”, nee Ida May Brown, was the daughter of Jane Clark and Thomas Brown.
·        Jane Clark’s father was Daniel Clark, second wife was Irena, and they lived in Adams County, Ohio.

The Big Question
Based on what I already know, I think this news snippet is worthy of further research. So, who was Mrs. Mary Clark and her daughter Daisy and how were they related to “Mrs. Kendall”.  Was Mrs. Mary Clark married or a widow?  Sometimes, newspapers would refer to a widow at Mrs. “Her Given First Name” followed by “Her Married Last Name” such as Mrs. Mary Clark.   I’ll need to verify all of this information.  Sorry Uncle Louie, just because you’re the newspaper publisher doesn't necessarily equate to accuracy.

City Directory Search
I like using city directories so that’s where I focused my initial search on Ancestry.com -- Mary Clark; lived in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio (filter set to county and nearby counties); keyword Daisy.  There were way too many results – Mary Clark was just too common of a name without more search criteria which I didn't have.  Switching the search to Daisy Clark with keyword Mary Clark was more promising.    The chart below shows the results for years 1917-1924.
  
Year
Names/Listing
Town
1917[3]
Clark, Daisy B. res. 2367 Norwood Av
------ Grant, blacksmith, res. (Mary)
Norwood
1919[4]
Clark, Daisy D. res. 2367 Norwood Av
------ Grant U. blacksmith, res. (Mary E.)
------ Mrs. Mary E., furnished rooms, res same
Norwood
1922[5]
Clark, Daisy, machine operator,  res. 2367 Norwood Av
------ Grant V. blacksmith, res. (Mary E.)
Norwood
1924[6]
Clark, Daisy B. forelady,  res. 5420 Carthage Av
------ Grant, blacksmith, res. (Mary E.)
Norwood

Now, my working assumption based on the city directory results was that Mrs. Mary Clark was not a widow but married to Grant Clark at the time of the newspaper article and that their daughter was Daisy B or D. Clark.  Note Grant’s middle initial in 1919 and 1922, and his occupation.  The next step is to determine whether there’s a relationship between Grant Clark and Jane Clark Brown, the mother of Ida May Brown Kendall.

Census Search
The census was just the resource I needed to establish a relationship between Grant, Mary and Daisy Clark, their residence and his occupation for comparison to the city directory listings.  The census search was extensive in order to reach Jane Clark’s parents.  Below are the findings from 1860-1930:

Year
Household
Location
1930[7]
Clark, Grant: head, born 1869, Ohio. age 61, blacksmith
-------- Mary, wife, age 58
Cincinnati, Ohio
1920[8]
Clark, Grant: head, born 1869, Ohio. Age 51, blacksmith
-------- Mary E. Clark, wife, age 49
-------- Daisy D. Clark, age 24, daughter
Abernathy, Charles, age 47, lodger
Wieman, John R., age 54, lodger
Norwood Twp Ward 4, Hamilton, Ohio
1910[9]
Clark, Grant U. S.: head, born 1870, Ohio, age 40, blacksmith
-------- May [Mary] E., wife, age 38
-------- Icie M., daughter, age 17
-------- Daisy D., daughter, age 14
Cincinnati Ward 23, Hamilton, Ohio
1900[10]
Clark, Gray [Grant]: head, age 31, born Dec 1868, farmer
-------- Mary, wife, age 30
-------- Icy M., daughter, age 7
-------- Daisy D., daughter, age 6, born May 1894
Daulton, Syvilla, mother-in-law, age 61
Huntington, Brown, Ohio
1890
Not found

1880[11]
Clark, Edward: head, laborer, born 1840, age 40
-------- Jane Clark, mother, age 30
-------- Mary Clark, daughter, age 14
-------- Grant, son, born 1869, age 11
-------- Raymond, son, age 8
-------- Nannie Clark, daughter, age 5
Jackson, Highland, Ohio
1870[12]
Clark, Edward C: head, age 29 ,
-------- Sarah J Clark, wife, age 22
-------- Mary E Clark, age 4
-------- W [U] Grant, age 2
Scott, Adams, Ohio
1860[13]
Clark, David [Daniel]: head, age 44
-------- Irena, wife, age 40
-------- Mary, daughter, age 23
-------- Adah, daughter, age 21
-------- Edward, son, age 20
-------- Martha, age 18
-------- Adam, age 16
-------- Jane, age 13
-------- Joseph, age 11
-------- Mahalon, age 8
-------- Sarah E, age 8
-------- Daniel, age 5
-------- Drousilla, age 3
Franklin, Adams, Ohio

Analysis
The city directories showed that Grant, his wife Mary and Daisy lived at the same addresses.  Grant was a blacksmith on each listing.  Grant’s middle initial was U or V.  Mary’s middle initial was E on three of the four listings.  Daisy’s middle initial was D or B.

The 1900-1930 censuses showed that Grant and Mary were married, Daisy was one of their daughters and they lived in Cincinnati (of which Norwood was a suburb) from 1910-1930.  Grant was a blacksmith during this period.  His middle initial was U or U S on a couple censuses.  Mary’s middle initial was E on the 1910 and 1920 census.  Daisy’s middle initial was D on the census years 1900, 1910 and 1920.

The 1860 census showed that Daniel Clark had several children, including Jane (my great-great grandmother) and her brother Edward.  The 1870 census showed that Edward was married and had a son named Grant with middle initial U.[14]   

Conclusion
City directory and census research results have reasonably convinced me that Mrs. Mary Clark was Mrs. Kendall’s cousin by marriage.  Mrs. Clark had a daughter named Daisy and they lived in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1917 at the time of their visit with Mrs. Kendall.   Mary Clark was married to Grant U. Clark, whose father was Edward Clark and one of Edward’s sisters was Jane Clark.  Jane Clark married Thomas Brown and one of their daughters was Ida May Brown Kendall. 

Grant Clark was Mrs. Kendall’s first cousin (blood relative).[15]  Uncle Louie’s newspaper article in 1917 was accurate.  I won’t pick at the absence of the precise cousin relationship – that only matters in genealogical research.

The visit by Mary and Daisy Clark intrigued me.  It inferred a level of interaction by my great-grandmother with her cousin Grant and Uncle Edward Clark.  Could one of the descendants of Edward or Grant hold more clues about who raised her after her parents were divorced?  More threads for future research.

I sure hope I'm related to someone reading the many names in this post.  Whether you are or not, add a Comment below or send me an email by clicking on the Contact Me tab above.  Thanks!

Sources


[1] Digitized editions of the Covina Argus newspaper included available on Newspapers.com.  The article of this posting was on newspaperarchive.com.
[2] Know that my grandma Ethel May Kendall was married to Alba Hibsch whose mother’s (Martha Bashor Hibsch) sister (Cordelia Bashor), was married to the publisher, James Lewis Mathews.
[3] Year 1917 - Publication Title: Norwood, Ohio, City Directory, 1917; Publisher: Williams; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
[4] Year 1919 - Publication Title: Norwood, Ohio, City Directory, 1919; Publisher: Williams; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
[5] Year 1922 - Publication Title: Norwood, Ohio, City Directory, 1922; Publisher: Williams; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
[6] Year 1924 - Publication Title: Norwood, Ohio, City Directory, 1924; Publisher: Williams; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
[7] Year: 1930; Census Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: 1806; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0411; Image: 671.0; FHL microfilm: 2341540.
[8] Year: 1920; Census Place: Norwood Ward 4, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: T625_1395; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 473; Image: 1177.
[9] Year: 1910; Census Place: Cincinnati Ward 23, Hamilton, Ohio; Roll: T624_1194; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0268; FHL microfilm: 1375207.
[10] Year: 1900; Census Place: Huntington, Brown, Ohio; Roll: 1242; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0009; FHL microfilm: 1241242.
[11] Year: 1880; Census Place: Jackson, Highland, Ohio; Roll: 1033; Family History Film: 1255033; Page: 335A; Enumeration District: 044; Image: 0050.
[12] Year: 1870; Census Place: Scott, Adams, Ohio; Roll: M593_1167; Page: 183A; Image: 372; Family History Library Film: 552666.
[13] Year: 1860; Census Place: Franklin, Adams, Ohio; Roll: M653_928; Page: 250; Image: 495; Family History Library Film: 803928.
[14] The transcriber identified the middle initial as W but I think it's U and submitted a correction to Ancestry.com.
[15] Relationship Calculator by Steve Morse  http://stevemorse.org/relation/calculator.html


Friday, September 19, 2014

Emma J. Ream Kendall, Mother of Many

This is article #32 for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

I wrote in a previous article that Emma J. Ream was married in 1884 to my great-great uncle James William Kendall.  All I knew about her was that she was born in Iowa in the 1860s, married James in Council Grove, Morris County, Kansas and had nine children.  Then, by happenstance, I found her obituary during a newspaper search for other Kendall ancestors.  The location of the newspaper caught my eye – California!  Looking further, I learned that other kin of my great-great grandfather Henry Martin Kendall came to California from Kansas, albeit well after he did.

Below is Emma Ream Kendall's obituary from the San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, California), Thursday, May 29, 1947, Page 11:

Source: Newspapers.com
(click to enlarge)

Much information can be gleaned from this notice for further research and verification:
  1. Full name
  2. Age
  3. Date of death
  4. Time and location of death
  5. Nativity location
  6. Length of residence in California
  7. Married names of daughter and grand-daughter
  8. Surviving children and where they lived
  9. Date, location and officiant of funeral
  10. Location of interment
Gotta love those lucky, "happenstance", search results!

Are you related to Emma J. Ream Kendall?  If so, please click on the "Contact Me" tab at the top of the screen.  I'd love to hear from you.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

James William Kendall, Kansas Farmer

This article is about Ancestor #31 for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Carter County in eastern Kentucky was the land of salt extraction, iron furnaces and coal mining when my Kendall family lived there, long before tobacco became the main cash crop.  The geography in this foothill region of Appalachia was forested with deep cliffs, gorges and underground passageways (caves).

Source: FamilySearch.org Wiki
(click images to enlarge)

In Aug 1860, three year old James William Kendall lived with his parents Lewis Henry Kendall and Sarah Jane Harris Kendall and little sister Celia Ann in Carter County, Kentucky.  James was their first child to live beyond infancy.  He was born in Dec 1857 according to the 1900 U.S. federal census. 

James, my great-great uncle, had at least six brothers and sisters:
  • Celia Ann Kendall, born 26 Aug 1859, Kentucky
  • John Allen Kendall, born 5 Jul 1861, Kentucky
  • Henry Martin Kendall, born 1864, Kentucky (my great-grandfather)
  • Rebecca Susan Kendall, born 1866, Kentucky
  • Elijah Kendall, born 1869, Kansas
  • Melvin Hayden Kendall, born 1872, Kansas

Sometime before 1870, the Kendall’s moved to Morris County, Kansas where kin of Lewis already had settled in and around Morris County.  Most of James’s farming skills were probably honed here by helping his father on the farm.  At 17, James had to assume more farm operation responsibility after his father died in 1874.  The family moved a bit over the next few years but staying in Morris County – to Highland Township in 1875 then to Ohio Township in 1880.

Source: Cutler's 1883 History of Kansas
Source: Kansas State Historical Society
Twenty-six year old James married 18 year old Emma J. Ream in Jan 1884 in Morris County, Kansas.  

They had nine children, all born in Kansas:
  • Lewis M. Kendall, born 1885
  • Arthur S. Kendall, born Jan 1888
  • Frank A. Kendall, born Nov 1889
  • William M. Kendall, born Jan 1891
  • Vera G. Kendall, born Jul 1893
  • Viola M. Kendall, born Feb 1895
  • James L. Kendall, born Oct 1896
  • Charles E. Kendall, born Feb 1898
  • Ivy M. Kendall, born Apr 1900

James was a farmer who purchased 160 acres of land in Ohio Township on 22 Jul 1885.  His crop was probably wheat, corn or both.  Seven of his children resided with he and Emma in 1910 as well as his mother Sarah.  James was 52.

James died sometime between 1910 (after the census) and 1915 (when Emma was listed as a widow in a 1916 Wichita, Kansas city directory).  A death record has yet to be found.

Future Research
  • Research his siblings and his children
  • Obtain records for farm schedules and death
  • Determine the disposition of his land

Sources
The Kentucky Encyclopedia by John E. Kleber
Family Search Wiki
Kansas State Historical Society
U.S. Federal and Kansas State censuses
Morris County marriage records
U.S. Bureau of Land Management records
Kansas City Directories

If these people are in your family tree, click "Contact me" at the top of the blog to send me a note  Thanks!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Joseph O. Richmond, Hobo'd from Nebraska to California (52 Ancestors #30)

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

Please welcome Guest Blogger and my husband, Scott Richmond with a remembrance of his father.

Around noon on Sunday, February 16, 1913 in Orleans, Harlan County, Nebraska, Joseph Otho Richmond, the sixth of nine children was born to John K. Richmond and Jane Irene Phelps Richmond. 

He was “Joe” to most who knew him.  I called him “Dad".

Joseph O. Richmond
Wedding Day 12 Jun 1937
From Author's Personal Collection

By all accounts, he was a very pleasant child.  My dad told me someone once said to his mother, “You’ll never raise that one, he’s too good”.

Much of his boyhood was spent on the family farm, located just outside of Alma, Harlan County, Nebraska[1].  There he performed a wide variety of farm chores, went to school, and did the kinds of things that boys do in a rural environment.  In these years, he likely developed his life-long passions for hunting, fishing and the great outdoors.  Family conversations left me with the impression that my dad was always quite close to his mother but not so much to his father.  Perhaps this was due to the fact that his father was often engaged in local politics, having served two terms as Clerk and two terms as Treasurer of Harlan County, Nebraska.

Little information is available regarding his school years except that he left school in the middle of the 10th grade, most likely in late 1928 or early 1929, and just prior to the beginning of the great depression.  From that point my father began a period of cross-country travel, primarily on freight trains that took him cross-country, notably Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and eventually California.

My father lived in California when he received word of his father’s unexpected death in 1932.  He returned home to the farm in Nebraska to help run it and then later, assisted his mother in its sale.  During this period, he had to shoulder a good deal of responsibility since his two younger brothers were still in high school and a younger sister only seven years old at the time.  Upon the sale of the farm, the family moved west to Oakland, Alameda County, California.  They joined a number of other Richmond family members, mostly his older brothers and sisters who had already relocated to Oakland and the San Francisco Bay area.

After moving to Oakland, he took up the watch-making and repair trade and became a certified horologist[2].  For a time, he plied this trade while working in a jewelry store owned by his brother-in-law Vern.

Marriage and Family
In May 1937 my dad met his future wife, Cecilia Caballero.  They met while in the company of his brother-in-law, Floyd, whose brother, Paul, was married to Cecilia’s older sister Connie.  Just five weeks later, they were married in a civil ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco, California.  This marriage would last just three months short of 40 years and produce three children: Donald, Ronald and me.

Early in their marriage, my dad studied refrigeration through correspondence courses and was ultimately able to obtain his certification as a journeyman refrigeration mechanic.  Unfortunately, WW II intervened.  He attempted to enlist in the Navy the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Since he had a wife and child, he was told that his service could wait until additional manpower was absolutely required.  As a result, his war-time service was limited to acting as an air raid warden in San Francisco during the early years of the war.

After moving back and forth across San Francisco Bay several times, the family moved to Alameda in 1943. They lived there comfortably, renting an upstairs flat on Alameda Avenue for over ten years.  During this period, both their second and third sons were born and an effort to establish and operate a refrigeration sales and service business was unsuccessful.  The business lasted less than a year, and probably failed, in part, due to the instability of the immediate post-war economy.

My dad’s mother died of heart disease in 1946.  Prior to her death, she had lived and worked as a seamstress in the flat just below my parents.  The flat had been configured to serve as a shop in the front, with living quarters in the rear.  Following her death, my father and several of his brothers took her back to Nebraska and buried her next to her husband. 

In 1953, the family moved again, this time to an apartment building on Central Avenue in Alameda.  Joe and Cecilia had agreed to manage the apartment house for Joe’s brother Don.  This proved to be a difficult time for a couple of reasons.  My dad was on the road in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys as a traveling salesman for the Hinshaw Supply Company.  He had also badly broken his leg after being thrown from a horse while deer hunting in the autumn of 1953.  As a result, the apartment management experiment lasted all of about six months.

More Moves
This time - to Modesto in Stanislaus County, California, then a small town in California’s Central Valley.  The move occurred in May 1954 and was intended to put the family in the middle of Joe’s sales territory.  It was during this period that their oldest son, Donald, graduated high school and joined the Marine Corps.  Eighteen months later, the family of four now moved again, this time to Sacramento in Sacramento County, California, approximately 80 miles to the north.

It was November of 1955 and Joe had accepted a promotion to manage the Hinshaw Supply Company store in Sacramento.  Another upstairs flat at 30th and C Streets became the family residence but was rented for only a little over four months because a significant milestone had been reached.  Joe and Cecilia purchased their one and only home located in the Tahoe Park neighborhood in what was then the east end of the city.  Both would reside there until their deaths in 1977 and 2012 respectively.

Joe’s time as a store manager lasted only about a year and a half.  He did not enjoy either office politics or inside work.  He returned to “working with the tools” as he said in the summer of 1957.  He would continue working as either a refrigeration mechanic or industrial pipe fitter until his retirement in 1973.

Joe’s life was defined in some respects by three health episodes.  He suffered heart attacks in both 1953 and 1962.  The second of these forced him to give up refrigeration work but he was able to continue working at the pipe fitting trade.  As a result, he was involved in the construction of two major oil refineries, a nuclear power plant, at least one nuclear missile site, and several test stands for the testing of rocket engines for the American space program.  Perhaps one of his less notable projects was the building of the Gemco store (now a Target) at Riverside and Broadway in Sacramento which happened to be constructed on the former site of Edmund’s Field, the home of the city’s first of three minor league, professional baseball teams.

Christmas 1963, Scott, Joe and Cecilia
From Author's Personal Collection
Joe’s other major health issue revolved around stomach ulcers that he developed while organizing a union of General Electric employees in San Francisco in the 1930s.  While living in Modesto, he began experiencing internal bleeding and it looked like surgery was his only option.  As a last resort, he consulted a Chinese herb specialist.  Miraculously, the ulcers were healed in approximately six weeks, and he never experienced any further difficulty with them for the remainder of his life.

Joe was virtually a life-long union member and believer in the labor movement.  He belonged to the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union and served for many years as a classroom instructor in the union’s apprenticeship program.

His experiences with the medical community also left him with certain skepticism of conventional medicine and some physicians.  Although respectful of medicine in general and certain physicians in particular, he was never willing to give doctors the god-like status that many in his generation gave to them, often without question.  This attitude probably both helped and hurt him in the later years of his life but it was based on real life experiences leading up to these final years.

A Fine Man
Those who knew him appreciated his many fine qualities.  He was a mechanic’s mechanic.  He could find a way to build or fix most anything.  He freely offered his mechanical skills to friends and neighbors, always without charge.  He loved helping people and always seemed to find time or ways to do so.

He made friends easily and these relationships seemed to last.  He was quietly proud of his kids and their accomplishments and equally reserved in his disappointment over their failures.  He was an extremely responsible husband and family man and although never aspiring to wealth or material possessions, always provided more than an adequate living for his wife and children.  He obeyed the laws, at least for the most part, willingly paid his taxes, treated others the way he wanted to be treated, and displayed a generous spirit often to strangers or people he barely knew.

Like so many in his generation, my father preferred to build things that were solid and lasting and of benefit to everyone.  Even though he never achieved fame or fortune in the broader sense, he definitely made significant contributions to the world in which he lived and more importantly, to those who had the good fortune to know him as a neighbor, friend or relative.

My dad passed from the earth on Sunday, March 6, 1977.  As he wished, his ashes were scattered a few days later on land where he loved to go deer hunting - a friend’s ranch located near Coloma in the California Gold Country of El Dorado County.


Sources:


[1] Alma is about 9 miles from Orleans according to Google Maps.
[2] Merriam-Webster: Horologist: a maker of clocks or watches.