Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hobert (Herbert) C. Hutson had a Big Green Truck (52 Ancestors #29)

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

His family nickname was Hobe[1].  Friends affectionately referred to him as Herbie or H.C. 

I remember calling him “Pop”.  He was my grandfather.
Herbert C. Hutson, November 1946.
From author's personal collection
I have no other memories of him as he died when I was very young. I asked my brother Martin what he remembered about Pop because he’s older than me.  He had vivid memories:

“He bought us our first bikes.  Pop took me for rides in his pickup truck for work and fun and let me shift the gears.  We went to downtown Baldwin Park for ice cream and to Carr’s Department Store.  He would just let me be with him and talk about what I was doing, school, etc.”

First bikes from Pop and Grandma Hutson,
Christmas 1955, Big green truck in background.
From author's personal collection
Pop’s given name was Hobart Clayton Hutson[2], the first child of Alva Leo Hutson and Ada Lurena Boruff Hutson.  On 23 Sep 1901 in Wayne Township, Mitchell County, Iowa he greeted the world.[3]  His boyhood and teenage years were spent in McKinney Township, Renville County, North Dakota in the uppermost region of the state very near the Canadian border.  His father homesteaded[4] there from about 1904 – 1920 and Herbert worked on the farm.[5] 

Herbert had many siblings as the Hutson family grew over the 15 year residence in North Dakota:
  • Lyle Kenneth Hutson (1904-1973)
  • Violet Olive Hutson (1905-1919)
  • Florence Ella Hutson (1906-1991)
  • Lawrence William Hutson (1909-1986)
  • Lillian Opal Hutson (1910-1998)
  • Esther Marie Hutson (1911-1995)
  • Alvin James Hutson (Jul 1914-Oct 1914)
  • Harold Alvin Hutson (1915-1987)
  • Melvin Milan Hutson (1923-2010) (born in Minnesota)
The Hutson family moved to Rochester, Olmsted County, Minnesota sometime after the 1920 U.S. federal census when they were last recorded in Grover Township, Renville County, North Dakota.  The 1921 Rochester city directory listed them renting at 20 8th NE.   In 1923, he was living with his parents at 716 Broadway N and was a laborer, possibly where his father worked at the W.L. Parkin Ice Cream Company.

Herbert married Bernice I. Eisenman about 1925.  They lived in Fillmore County, Minnesota when their first and only child was born on 26 Oct 1926.

His occupations included:  laborer[6], mechanic[7], and truck driver[8].  My Uncle B knew Herbie, as he called him, and recounted the story that he worked for a defense plant in Long Beach during WWII, probably Douglas Aircraft.  Herbie was of great value to the plant because he had a truck, a big, green truck that he drove to pickup and deliver mail and other items.  After the war, he would meet the streetcar and deliver the mail to the post office.[9]

Censuses, city directories, and voter registration lists helped track Herbert and Bernice. They lived with or very close to the Hutson family cluster until his father died in 1936.[10]
  • 1925 - 311 6th NW, Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota.  Herbert and Bernice lived here after getting married and when their first child was born.  Herbert’s parents, Alva Leo Hutson and Ada Boruff, lived here also, as did Herbert’s siblings Florence, Lawrence, Lillian and Lyle (and his wife Pearl).
  • 1930 - 912 South Central Ave., Marshfield, Wood, Wisconsin.  Herbert’s parents and brother Lawrence each lived in a house next to them.
  • 1935 to 1940 – 404½ East Bakerville Street, Marshfield, Wisconsin.  The Hutson family cluster seemed to have scattered after the death of Alva.  From 1935-1940, Lawrence, Harold, Lyle, their wives and mother had relocated to Phoenix, Arizona and Los Angeles, California.
  • 1941 or so – Betty, their daughter, got her Social Security card in Arizona so my assumption is that Bernice and Herbert lived with or near his brothers for awhile.
  • 1948 – 214½ Crickett Lane, Baldwin Park, Los Angeles, California.  Herbert and Bernice came to California during the war years and worked at a defense plants.
  • 1949 – 215⅝ N. Maine, Baldwin Park, Los Angeles, California
  • 1950 – 4147¾ N. Maine, Baldwin Park
On 27 Dec 1955 Herbert died tragically.  He was at a bar in downtown Baldwin Park.  An argument ensued between him and two other men resulting in Herbert being asked to leave the bar.  The two guys followed him out and hit him with a board.  An ambulance took him to a Los Angeles hospital where he died from severe head trauma a couple days later.  Nobody would talk to investigators so the assailants were never caught and the case was closed.[11]   

From various accounts I've heard about Herbert, he always dressed neatly, wore a large belt buckle and drove a big, green truck with lights atop the cab.  He was described as friendly and just maybe drank a bit too often.

Rest in peace Pop; it's a shame I didn't get to have more memories with you.

Future Research

  • Obtain birth and marriage records
  • Learn where they lived in Arizona
  • Contact defense plant archives, if available, for employment records
  • Research newspapers in Los Angeles and Baldwin Park
  • Contact living relatives of his siblings for more stories

[1] Source of nickname, Ron A
[2] Recorded in records as Herbert from 1930 forward
[3] Birth record from Mitchell County, Iowa
[4] 1906 homestead record of Alva L. Hutson  
[5] 1920 U.S. federal census
[6] 1915 and 1920 census records, family farm, North Dakota; 1927 city directory, Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota
[7] 1930 and 1940 census records, ice cream factory, Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota
[8] 1949 and 1950, unknown employer, city directory, Baldwin Park, Los Angeles, California-
[9] Remembrance of Uncle B
[10] Profile of Bernice Eisenman Hutson on Denise Digs Roots Blog 
[11] As told by Robert Hibsch, Herbert’s son-in-law, 26 Aug 2011.  A newspaper account has yet to be found.

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