Friday, March 27, 2015

Hester A. McClanahan

There is so much that we don't know about Hester, whose family called her Hetty. Thanks to an old Bible record, we do know that she was born on 27 March 1824, in Tennessee. We also know she had a sister named Hannah who was born in about 1818, also in Tennessee. They lived near the Tennessee River, where it meets the Hiawassee River in Meigs County.

There is an interesting history of Meigs County, Tennessee here. Organized in 1836, Meigs County is in the middle of the Tennessee Valley and lies along the Tennessee River, which makes up its western border. In the south, it is divided by the Hiwassee River. The Bouchers and the McClanahans lived near the Hiwassee River. This area belonged to the Cherokee Nation and was not available for settlement until 1836. It is the scene of the tragic Trail of Tears that displaced this people from their ancestral home.

Image credit for Trail of Tears by Robert Lindneux, 1942, to the Granger Collection, New York.

Hester and Elisha Boucher were married on 6 March 1845, probably in Meigs County or a nearby county in Tennessee. They had four children: Anna Jane, born 23 August 1846; William Robert, born 21 February 1848; Amanda Malvina born August 1852; and Samuel White, born 22 April 1854. Samuel is our ancestor.

Our first encounter with Hester is on the 1850 U. S. Census for Meigs County, Tennessee, as the wife of Elisha Boucher. The other McClanahan families living in the area were Mason and John, who were probably brothers to Hester and Hannah. In 1850, Elisha and Hester were living next door to his parents, William and Anna. It is interesting that he named his first two children Anna Jane and William. On the 1860 Limestone, Meigs County census, Elisha was still living next door to William. Elisha's personal property was valued at $375, while William had property worth $2000 and personal property of $942. It appears that William owned the land and they worked together to farm it.

They were still living in Meigs County during the Civil War. Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, although East Tennessee where they lived, did not favor the decision. There were few slaveholders in their area. Many men from Meigs County, like Elisha Boucher, enlisted in the Union Army. Elisha served from 1862 to 1865. Meigs County was not the scene of any battles, but it was the route used by both armies as they moved back and forth. Since it was located along the Tennessee River, and the river with its steamboats was important to the war, there was always an army marching through and camping in the area. Elisha's decision left Hester to care for the family and their home. It was a difficult time in that county, and when the war was over, the land was worth nothing, having been trampled down by both armies, every available piece of wood used for camp fires and not much of value remaining. The good news was that Elisha returned home to his family when the war was over.

On 24 February 1867, daughter Anna Jane married Joseph Romine in Bradley County, adjacent to Meigs County. Amanda and Harrison Hickman married on 20 March 1870. Harrison was from Bradley County.

Like many other Meigs County families who struggled after the Civil War, the Bouchers decided to move west. On 26 April 1870, Elisha deeded 135 acres of land in Meigs County to Robert Boucher. Then he took his family who were still living at home and joined a wagon train to Missouri. They started their trip on May 2nd. Along the way, he wrote letters to his children in Tennessee, telling them of the trip and encouraging them to also move to Missouri so that the family could remain together. He had a good team and wagon, and the resources, probably from the sale of his land, to pay the necessary fees and costs along the way. Their destination was Howell County, Missouri, where Joseph and Hannah McClanahan Bracket lived. One such letter was written on 15 May 1870 from Sumner County, Tennessee and is included here. Punctuation and capitalization have been added for easier reading, but the spelling is as he wrote it.
Dear son and daughter, with pleasur I take the present opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we are well at present, hoping these few lines may reach you and find you all well and doing well. We started the 2nd day of May. We have been hindered some on the way. There is 7 waggons in our train. Miller has 4 and George Russel one, Martin Turner one and me one. We are 9 miles past Galiton on the Red River road. My expences has been more than I expected. Turnpikage cost me 25 cts evry 5 mile. I paid 435 turnpikes, feed for my team cost about 125 cts per day, beside the family. We travel from 14 to 18 miles a day. The fore part of las week was very wet. We got our thing wet. We are resting to day and suning our things that is wet.
Well I want you to write us and direct your letter to Joseph Brackett, West Plains PO, Howel Co, Misouri so we can hear from you as soon as we get there. We expect to stop in Howel Co and look at the country. If we like and can get land to suit us we will stop there. If not we will go further.
Well Jo, I want you and Jane to not go to any expence to fix for housekeeing untell you find out how things is in Misouri. If I like in MO I want you to come. Billy will come. Harry and Manda says they will come next fall. I want all my children together where I can see them once more. That is one cause of my sellout and move. It is ahard toil on me and Hetty.
We have 2 good yoke of young steers and a good waggon. We are getting along tollerable well. Will rest evry Sunday if we can get feed for our stock so we can stay. I wrote to Mandy last Sunday.
Well Jane, your mother is taking a great toil on herself to try to get to her children. Says she don't know how she can stand it tell fall and not see you and the children and Billy, but I don't see any chance for her to see you before fall. I will not have money enough to bear my expence further than Misouri. I will write to you when I get to MO and I will tell you what I think that country.
If I have no bad luck and you want to come to us I will come after you with my waggon. I have a good cover and tent cloth so we can sleep dry of a wet night. Write soon as you get this. I want to hear from you as soon as we get to Jo Bracket's. So I must close for this time. I have to write a letter to Billy to day.
Elisha & Hester Boucher to Jo & A. J. Romines-
Show this to Fate and Frank.
On the 1876 state census for Texas County, in South Central Missouri, Hester was living with her son, Samuel. Elisha got his family to Missouri, where he died on 14 March 1871. All of their children had come to Missouri as well. Joseph and Anna Jane Romine had six children and eventually settled in Willow Springs, Howell, Missouri. Amanda and Harrison Hickman were also near Hester on the 1876 census for Texas County. They had a large family of nine children and settled in Crawford County, Missouri. Samuel married Rossea Whitlock Wellington on 27 May 1877 in Texas County where she lived with her father, George Whitlock. She was a divorced woman with a daughter named Pearl. They had three sons together, one who died; and they also ended up in Willow Springs. Samuel and Rossea are our ancestors. William married Alberta Moore on 17 March 1878 and they had three children.

Hester lived to see all her children married. She died on 23 May 1879. Both she and her husband were Methodists all their lives.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

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."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

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.