Thursday, March 31, 2011

Washington State Archives

Washington State really does have an amazing service for us genealogists. Through their Ask An Archivist program, I have received so much valuable information about my family.  They recently photocopied and mailed me the entire file from my Moore grandparents' divorce in 1947, as well as the property records from one of the houses that my great grandfather Dan Proctor built - all for just the cost of photocopies and mailing ($8.50). In the past, they have located marriage records and death records that I was unable to find. For anyone who is doing family history research in Washington State this is a resource that should not be overlooked.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sepia Saturday #65 - The Pride of St. Paul

Cliff and Martha Purdy - St Paul, Minnesota, c.1940

This Sepia Saturday photo is of J. Clifford and his wife Martha (Block) Purdy. On the back of the photo is written, "The Pride of St. Paul" and it is stamped, "Ellsworth Purdy Photography". Without my knowledge of Cliff's ties to Minnesota (he was born there), the inscription would have been confusing since Cliff and Martha lived in Seattle, Washington. Many of Cliff's Purdy relatives were still back in Minnesota, so this may have been taken during a road trip out to visit them. I am not sure about the year it was taken. I would guess it is between 1935-1945. Does anyone recognize the car?
I love the unusual design of the photo and Cliff's "style"!
Cliff was the brother of my great grandmother Blanche Purdy Moore. Unfortunately, this much-loved couple didn't have any children, so I have inherited many photos of them. The uniqueness of this one makes it my favorite.

(Sepia Saturday is a blogging prompt to encourage bloggers to post their old photos with written commentary. The photos don't have to be sepia. Please visit the link for more fabulous SS posts.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Letter from My Great Aunt Cleo, Part 3

Cleo Proctor Cavanaugh, 1934

I am concluding my series transcribing a 1990 letter from Cleo Proctor Cavanaugh with the final pages [and my notes] below:

Millie Travis was born January 19, 1870 three miles out of Sidney, Iowa. She was baptized in 1883 in the Nishnabotna River, which I think bordered her father's farm. Later she became a Bablist and when she married Daniel Hewitt Proctor Oct 24, 1900 she joined the Presbyterian Church. She died July 6, 1929 in Renton, Washington and is buried there. 

Millie Travis Proctor, 1900

She learned to play the organ when quite young. Later her dad Abraham Travis bought her and her younger sister Bess the first upright grand piano in the Midwest. She became good on the piano and played very difficult music of all the old masters. I remember every Sunday when we were young, she played and sang for a long time.  She was a good worker, but in the evenings after the dinner dishes were done we had fun times. She read to us from the classics. We played checkers, authors and some dominoes. We spent a lot of time discussing the issues of the day. We were a close knit family partly due, I am sure, to living so far from neighbors and town. After we were grown, cards were her game. She was good at checkers. Mr. Pardee a friend of our folks from Iowa was a champion player in the Seattle area. He came to play with her to sharpen his skills for his tournaments. She always managed to win one out of three games with him. 

In the summers when we were small, we played baseball. Our mother and father played too. Our dad was a steady pitcher. [Ray Proctor went on to play in Seattle area leagues and was said to be a professional level pitcher.]

Ray Proctor, 1927

Our mother has a large repertoire of poems and songs which she recited and sang. We learned a great deal about life from them. She had a very good voice with lots of volume and I remember being in church with her when the minister and the choir director urged her to join the choir. Maybe it was the influence of the half Welsh ancestry she was that gave her a good voice.  [Millie was almost certainly not half Welsh. Cleo probably got this erroneous information from All In The Family.]  She was half Pennsylvania Dutch too. Her great grandparents came from the Upper Rhine in Germany. This is more of a farming area and not so military an area of Germany as the industrial North. Our great grandmother had red hair and its shown up in every generation since then. I don't know about the generation just starting however. 

Abraham Travis
When our Grandfather [Abraham] Travis died on Jan 5, 1914, his more than fifty acre farm sold for more than fifty thousand dollars. The money was divided between his twelve children. The land was some of the best in the world. I guess it was Neshna bottom land. Our mother said in the evenings that you could hear the corn growing.

Her grandfather Asa Travis was born in the late 1700s in Wales. It is not known whether he came to this country as an adult or whether he immigrated as a young child in the company of his parents. Sometime prior to 1809 he was married to a woman whose maiden name was Edwards. They had seven surviving children, Abraham M Travis being the sixth. [This information was copied word for word from Julia Travis' All In The Family (as Cleo references below) and is in great dispute by Travis researchers. One thing that is for certain is that his wife was not an Edwards. His first marriage was to Sophia Howard on June 15, 1800. His second marriage was to Susannah Roderick on April 9, 1807. She is believed to be the mother of all of his (at least 10) children. You can read more about the search for Asa's roots here.]

Millie Travis Proctor, her ancestors, brother and sisters and their children and grandchildren are written up in All In The Family. Joyce and I both have the hard-bound book. [I do want to note that this book, errors and all, was quite an accomplishment pre-Internet when it was written and I have a lot of appreciation and respect for it's author, Julia Travis.]

Milllie and Cleo
Cleo Ruth Proctor Cavanaugh, the third child and only girl, at this writing Feb 1990 is still living. All five of Daniel Proctor's children went to the Star Lake's one room school. It still stands at 272nd and Military Road. Ray was in the eighth grade and Charles in the first.

Star Lake School, 1920
 We learned a great deal listening to the older children in their classes. I remember in the eighth grade learning parts of William Cullen Bryant's poem "Thanatopsis". It was not more than ten years, I believe, before Ray died that I remember him reciting some of the lines.  They were probably not perfect or in order, but this was the way he said them:
I will live so that 
When the last hour is upon me
And the all beholding sun
I shall see no more
I will wrap the draperies
Of my couch about me
And lie down to pleasant dream.

Our dad was what was then called Clerk of the Star Lake School Board for four years. The three oldest children graduated from the eighth grade there after taking state exams. Cleo and Roy graduated from Kent High and Charles lacked only a couple of months.

Roy Proctor, Kent High School graduation

Cleo graduated from what is now called Western Washington University. She taught two years in a one room school on Badger Mountain, east of Wenatchee, and 31 years in Kent.

Cleo "teaching" Chick

[With a note in the margin, Cleo instructed this next part to be inserted into an earlier part of the letter.]

When Ephraim and Mary's children were small Dr. William Campbell, Ephraims' sister's son, took care of the younger children's health needs. [This simple sentence sent me on a very intensive search and provided me with the clues needed to solve quite a genealogical puzzle. Dr. William Campbell (1842-1912) was, actually, Mary Hewitt Proctor's younger half-brother. Her father William F. Hewitt (1806-1838) had died young and her mother Sarah/Sally Ann Gillett Hewitt (1810 - ?) remarried in 1842 to William Charles Campbell (1791 - ?) and had, at least, two more children with him. The oldest was William. Mary named her oldest child Charles Campbell Proctor in honor of her stepfather who helped raise her and her brother after their father's death.]

Charlie Campbell Proctor and Sallie Proctor Fargo

Our great uncle Sam and John Proctor were both Presbyterian Ministers. During the Civil War, they entered the war on the side of the South as chaplains. [Samuel Lampkin Moore Proctor actually fought for the Union. John was Ephraim's brother. I do not know on what side he fought or even if he fought at all.] They were from Kentucky. I guess chaplains fought too at that time. I know my dad always thought that he should have had one of their swords. Their names were engraved on them. 

I, Cleo, have original clippings and records to substantiate much of what I have written here. [I sure wish that I had the clippings to which she is referring, not to mention the swords!]

FR:Roy, Everett, Aune Proctor.B:Myrna, Cleo, Bennie Cavanaugh

This is the end of this letter from Cleo, but I do have more of her letters that I will transcribe at a later time.

Part One
Part Two

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sepia Saturday #64: The Finnish Cows

Courtesy Sara Grostick

This photo was sent from Lapua, Finland by my great grandfather's sister Sanna (Wiita) Honkaharju to her sister Josefina (Wiita) Kitinoja in the United States. On the back is written, "Tässä minä olen ja tyttärenpoika ja karjani pari vuotta sitten." This translates to, "Here I am and my daughter's son and my cattle a couple of years ago." (Translation thanks to Ismo Nuuja.) This is probably referring to Kalle Herttua whom, according to a letter to Josefina and Sylvia Kitinoja, was helping Sanna with her cows in the summer of 1947. I have another photo of Kalle with his family that looks very similar to this boy, so I think there is a very high probability that it is him.

Kalle Herttua, c.1943

Kalle was born in 1939 to Iska and Liisa (Honkaharju) Herttua, so he would be eight in the cow photo. Sanna was born in December 1874 to my great great grandparents Matti and Justina Wiita, so she is 72 here. It is so nice to see the young and the old working side by side.

This post is inspired by the Sepia Saturday blog. Please visit this blog for links to more great photos and posts.