Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Wagner Bros. Logging

This is a picture of one of the lumber trucks from my great-grandfather Charles Wagner's lumber mill. See the Wagner Bros on the door? He and his brothers owned and operated their own lumber mill in Monroe, Washington during the 1940s. One of these days I need to go searching for records of the business, or look him up in some city directories, and try to get an idea of how long they ran the mill. The mill is long gone, there are houses built on the site now. But it was located near the house Charlie built for them. I think the house was even made of lumber from the mill. Imagine being able to build your own house from scratch!

52 ancestors in 52 weeks - week 1 - John H. Gibson

I know I'm late jumping on the 52 ancestors bandwagon, but better late than never, right? I'm starting my 52 weeks with my oldest documented Gibson ancestor - John H. Gibson, my 2nd-great-grandfather.

What I know about John's life before his marriage doesn't amount to much. He was born April 10, 1849 in New Brunswick, Canada. I'm not sure who his parents are, but the only candidates I've found so far are Henry and Ann Gibson, Irish immigrants who were both supposedly from the town of Pettigo, but on different sides of the Donegal-Fermanagh county border. John married Catherine Cain, daughter of Dennis Cain and Catherine Mulhearn, on 8 Sep 1879 in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Cathedral chapel where John and Catherine were married
Catherine was from a Catholic family, while John professed membership in the Church of England. This required them to get a dispensation from the local Catholic leaders in order to be able to marry, which they did. They were married in a Catholic church called Cathedral, pictured above.

John and Catherine had three children in New Brunswick - Annie (1880), Thomas (1883), and John Frederick, who also went by Frederick John (1884), and then moved to Helena, Montana. Their fourth child, David Henry, was born in Helena (1889). According to the 1900 census, they had a fifth child that died, but I haven't been able to find a record of that lost child yet. My guess is that the child who died was born between Frederick and David, as there's a five-year gap between them. 

A family story passed down from my grandpa (who heard it from his cousin Jack Condon, Annie's son), told how Catherine continued to attend Catholic church services in Helena. John wouldn't attend with her, so he would wait outside the church and go home with her when church was over. 

John and his family lived on Phoenix Ave. in Helena for many years. He worked in various jobs over the years - policeman (pictured below), teamster, clerk, laborer, jailor for the Lewis and Clark county jail, and in various positions with the Northern Pacific Railroad. 

John Gibson, far right, with Helena police force, 1891

Catherine's father Dennis Cain (known in Montana records as Dennis Kane) moved to Helena after his wife died, and lived with John and Catherine until his death in 1906. Catherine died the next year of pneumonia. John moved in with his daughter Annie Condon after Catherine's death, and probably lived with them until his death in 1914 at the age of 64.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In memoriam - Jim Crawford

My grandpa Jim Crawford passed away on January 6, 2014. He was cheerful, quiet, happy, always reading, and always greeted me with a friendly "hey buddy". He had a rough childhood, which I sadly don't know as much about as I should, being family and a genealogist. Sometimes it's hard to ask personal questions, even (or maybe especially) of people you're so closely related to. But I do know that he served his country in the Navy shortly after World War II, that he was a fireman, and he made my grandma happy in the 20 years they were married. When I bought my truck from my grandparents a couple years ago, it had grandpa Jim's retired firefighters of San Jose sticker on it. I thought about removing it at the time, but I figured grandpa Jim had earned that, so I'd leave it on there for him. Now I think it should stay there as a tribute to him. We'll miss you grandpa Jim.