Monday, February 28, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Letter from My Great Aunt Cleo, Part 2

Dan, Sallie, Millie, Cleo, Chuck, Ray and Everett Proctor

Continuing from last Monday, a transcription of a 1990 letter written by Cleo Proctor Cavanaugh:

Since our dad was only nine at the time of his father's death, our Uncle Charley had a big part in bringing him up. Uncle Charley was nearly sixteen years older than our dad. 
Charles Campbell Proctor died May 19, 1932. He was superintendent of Foster Kleiser's advertising in Seattle. We kids benefited by getting many samples of food; It was our introduction to dry cereal. We also got tickets to circuses, etc. He had a job when he was seventy-some getting the outgoing mail from the post office and hanging it on a standard for the train to pick up as it traveled through South Tacoma. He fell doing this job and broke his hip. It was this injury that caused his death at eighty-one...Both he and Uncle Will were well educated. It's too bad their dad died young or I'm sure the rest of the children would have received the same education.
Uncle William Ephraim Proctor died December 21, 1921. He owned a butcher shop in Sidney, Iowa. He was very religious and wrote a book on the subject which was never found. He probably left it in Tucson, Arizona where he want to get cured of tuberculosis. He died a couple of weeks after he came home to Tacoma and is buried there.
John Martin died at birth.
George F. Proctor died of tuberculosis of the lungs Nov 24, 1945 at eighty six years and is buried in Tacoma.
Mary Proctor died at birth and her twin Sallie Proctor Fargo died in 1940 and is buried in Tacoma.
Daniel Hewitt Proctor, the only one to have children, died August 18, 1932 from a strangulated hernia. He was operated on for this, but he died in the Auburn Hospital and is buried in Renton. After farming in Iowa, he moved to Seattle with his wife Millie Travis Proctor and their two sons -  Ray two years and Everett six months. He built many houses there. If he didn't sell them soon, he rented them. Bennie and Cleo Cavanaugh moved into the first house he built when they were first married. Both Cleo and Roy had been born there. It still stands at 4221 Ferdinand St, Seattle. He built the houses west, east and south of the home place as well as several houses on forty-fifth and other places for different people. 

Dan and Millie Proctor

Namond Hewitt "Ray" Proctor died March 22, 1987. Ray was the leader of the children in our family. Of course, he was the oldest child. I remember when I was real young, Ray was organizing and putting on little plays, assigning the parts of Little Red Hen and Chicken Little. After rehearsing our parts behind the piano, we put the plays on for our parents. He also learned songs in the second and third grade and taught them to the rest of us children. One was Red and Golden Tulips, another Little Yellow Dandelion.
When Charles was born he had us hide behind a fence when the doctor came with his valise. Ray told us he had the baby in his black bag.
In the seventh grade in Seattle he was captain of the seventh and eighth grade ball team. They played other Seattle grade schools at Doug-dales Ball Park, later called Sic-Seattle stadium. 
He was very strong, especially in his legs. He did what we called the monkey dance when he was real young. I guess it was really a Russian dance. I've seen him put one of his small daughters on his shoulders and execute the dance when he was grown. 

Ray (center) with his brothers Chuck and Roy
Our mother canned many quarts of wild blackberries each year. It was Ray who thrashed around through the logged off brush and found new patches of berries for the rest of us to pick in. It was the same with the hazelnut bushes. We gathered many nuts and had several pillow cases of the nuts after the outer husks were removed. 
He only went one year to high school where he received all A's. The long walk to school was not easy, but he really quit to help my folks out I think. He and Everett helped their folks buy their first car and later in 1920 he and Everett did all the driving to Iowa in our seven passenger Buick. The roads were all gravel and I remember at one point the roads were so poorly defined, we ended out in a field. There were no motels along the way, so we all slept on the ground in a large tent and cooked on the campfire.  

Dan, Cleo, Roy and Millie Proctor

Before Ray was two mom took him to visit his uncle's hardware and grocery store in Sidney, Iowa. Uncle Al gave Ray a banana from a bunch hanging from the ceiling. Ray ate it and a second and asked for another. 
When Ray was about twelve, he got up in the late evening walking in his sleep complaining of an older friend stabbing him in the back. It was some time before my folks could persuade him to go back to bed. The doctor said that he had just played too hard all day and become too tired. It never happened again though Ray nearly always worked and played at a fast pace it seemed to me.
Our dad got a job at Fort Lewis, then called Camp Lewis, building barracks for the soldiers during World War One. He got work for Ray and Everett there as his helpers. Ray, I think, was just seventeen and Everett sixteen. The worked one summer until the war ended.
Ray and Everett worked in a small logging camp for awhile. It was about a mile from our place near Star Lake. It was here Ray got a desire to go into logging for himself later on, I am sure. 
Ray and Everett were very close through their growing up years. They kept their money and car together and built at least one house together. Everett tried so much to keep up with his older brother from the time he was real small. I think it was this that made Everett quite competitive.
A couple of falls, they hopped freight trains and rode to Wenatchee to pick apples. It was quite common for men to ride the rails at that time. Later, it became against the law.
Everett Herman Proctor who was Daniel Proctor's second son died May 1, 1974 of cancer of the lungs. He was a heavy smoker. He worked for the Seattle Water Department and became supervisor for the whole works from South Seattle to the intake at Cedar River. 

Everett's business card

Ray worked for the department too for years. There was only one person between Everett and superintendent of the Seattle Water department. He loved golf and became very good at it, playing the best golfers in this area. He is buried in Renton.

Everett and Cleo c.1925

Cleo and Everett, 1967

Charles William Proctor, the youngest son of Daniel and Millie Proctor died Feb 10, 1986. He was a very good pool player and loved playing the piano. He owned two chairs in a barber shop in the Venetian Pool Hall in Renton for years. His smoking probably caused the emphysema that was the cause of his death.  

Charles and Roy Proctor, c.1914

Roy Daniel Proctor died June 1, 1987. He owned three cranes at the time and operated one of them. He operated a huge crane in Todd's Shipyard in Seattle for a long time. He drove a truck when first married. He died of cancer of the lungs which had spread to his liver. He is buried in Renton.

Cleo and Roy Proctor, 1924

There is more about Daniel and Millie Proctor's children above mentioned in All In The Family written by our cousin Julia Travis...if you want more about the children, grandchildren and their wives, etc...

(To be continued next Monday...)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sepia Saturday: A Family Gathering and a Well Identified Photo, 1920

Heavenly to have a well identified photo of so many family members!

Back row: Florence Byram Travis and Joe Travis, Namond "Ray" Proctor, Thomas Riley "Ned" Travis, Millie Travis Proctor and Dan Proctor, Sicily Island Page Travis (Ned's wife).
Middle Row: Everett Proctor, Bess Travis Hayes, Grace Travis (Ned's daughter), Laura Fleming Travis (Thomas Perry's wife), Cleo Proctor, Thomas Perry Travis (Ned's son).
Bottom Row: Velma Settle, Charles Proctor, Roy Proctor.
The unidentified little boys are probably Thomas Perry's sons Everett Earl (with Thomas Perry) and Francis (in front of Ned). I don't see their older brother Thomas.
I wonder who the photographer was...?

This photo was taken at a Travis family reunion in Sidney, Iowa in 1920. My great grandparents, Dan and Millie Proctor had driven from their home in Renton, Washington to Sidney with their children Ray, Roy, Cleo, Charles and Everett (my grandfather). They had slept in tents off the side of the road on the drive out, sometimes having to clear the roads by hand as they progressed. A long, hard trip, but by all accounts, it was a grand time!

Please visit my friends over at Sepia Saturday for more posts like this.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Fred and Wanda (Allen) Moore and A Special Gift

Wanda (Allen) and Fred Moore, 1932
A funny thing happened when I started writing this post. After all the detailed research I've done (sometimes back to the 1500s), I realized I didn't even have the wedding date of my paternal grandparents! I don't know how I overlooked that all these years. 

That is one benefit to writing a genealogy blog. It gives you the opportunity to focus on and summarize all you know about one person or family. This exercise often leads to additional, more indepth research that I had never gotten around to before. This is usually especially true about ancestors who are not in my direct line and often do not have any descendants. I have a lot of interesting photos of ancestors who fall into this category, so this has prompted me to peer into their life a bit more than I would have otherwise. Everyone deserves to be remembered, so I am always happily satisfied to have gotten a bit of their life down for posterity.

Anyway, back to Fred and Wanda, my dad's parents. I knew they were married sometime after the 1930 Federal Census and before my aunt's birth in January 1934. When I realized that I didn't have their exact wedding date, I asked my aunt if she knew what it was. Since she didn't, I sent off an inquiry to the archivist for Washington State. Last Spring when I visited Seattle, I drove by both of my grandparents' addresses from the 1930 Census and realized that they only lived a few blocks from each other. From this I assumed that they must have met in the neighborhood, so I told the archivist that I was pretty sure that they were married in King County. I was quite surprised to receive a very quick reply with a link to their marriage certificate from Jefferson County dated September 12, 1932. I was even more surprised to see that they were both recorded as residents of Umatilla, Oregon at the time of their marriage. For me, this document has led to more questions than it gave answers: Why would they both be living in that small town just over the Washington State line BEFORE their marriage when I know they must have met each other in their Seattle neighborhood?  

My mother just told me that Wanda and Fred met in a library where Wanda was a librarian and that Wanda's family didn't approve of her marrying Fred, so maybe they ran away to Oregon together. But, then, why would they come back to Washington to marry? I don't recognize the names of the witnesses at all, so it appears they married at the Methodist Parsonage of Edmonds, Washington with neither of their families in attendance. 

Why did they get their license in Jefferson County, but get married in Snohomish County, causing the recorder to cross out "Jefferson" and write in "Snohomish" as the place for the marriage? 
Why is it marked "Unofficial"? When I inquired in this regard, the archivist explained: 

"I believe the reason it is 'unofficial' is that in 1932, marriage certificates were filed in the county in which the marriage took place, which was Snohomish County, and probably specifically Edmonds.  A copy of the certificate was filed in the county where the license was issued, which is Jefferson.  This particular record came from Jefferson County.  You might find a 'non-unofficial' record at the Snohomish County Auditor’s office.  (Marriage licenses are now file with the State Department of Health)."

It seems there is more of this story to discover.

The following is really more fitting for Treasure Thursday, but because of the serendipity involved, I will include it with this post.

Another funny thing happened today. As I was writing this post, my mom came over and gave me the fan that Wanda gave to me before she died, not knowing that I was writing about her today. It is very special because my father had given it to Wanda when he was in the Navy and then she gave it to me. On the outside of the box is his inscription to her and and hers to me: "For: Mom, From:Tony" and "For you, CeCe, now. Much love, Grandma"

The fan is made of pure ivory and purchased in Hong Kong during my dad's naval days, c.1959.  I had forgotten all about it and was pleasantly surprised to receive it today. Of course my favorite part is the writing on the box - first my dad's and then my grandmother's. I am so glad that she had the foresight and sentimentality to make this special gift. I will cherish it and, one day, add my writing to it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Letter from My Great Aunt Cleo, 1990

The author, Cleo Proctor Cavanaugh
In my possession I have an eighteen page letter written in 1990 by my maternal grandfather's sister, Cleo Proctor Cavanaugh (1905-1995). This letter has assisted me in solving many genealogical puzzles. My research has shown some of its content to be incorrect, but it has always provided hints and a starting place for my research. For that, I am very grateful to Aunt Cleo. I cannot transcribe the long letter all in one post, but I will make a start here [with my comments]:

Our grandfather Ephraim Proctor was born in Kentucky, Feb. 20, 1822 on his father's plantation. Ephraim's father owned slaves, but the slaves were freed before the Civil War. I understood however they never left the plantation having no place to go and also because they were well treated. [I sure wish I knew if this was true.]

Our Uncle Charley Proctor told us he remembered seeing his Great Grandmother Jane who was married to Dr. Martin Gillett [I have found wives Lura and Hannah], our Great Great Grandfather who was born before the American Revolution [actually 1776] . Uncle Charley was five years old at the time [born in 1851]. It was through Dr. Martin that we inherited our one-sixteenth French. [Dr. Gillett was not 100% French, but from a Colonial family whose origin could be traced to France many generations prior.]  It could have been here too that we inherited the thalassemia, a blood cell deficiency...Since it is a Mediterranean linked trait, it could have come from there. I would like to say here the body pretty much compensates for the thalassemia. [Cleo and her siblings were carriers of a rare form of dominantly-inherited beta thalassemia.] It's because of being born with it. Doctors have told me this and from things I've observed I believe this is true. However, if both parents have the trait, their children cannot live well or long. [25% chance]

Ephraim Proctor came to Equality, Illinois from Kentucky as a young man and started a livery stable business with buggies to taxi people around. He also had heavy wagons for hauling goods.
In Sept. 1875 someone came to his door after hours and wanted to be taken out in the country and as he couldn't get a hold of any of his men (no phones) he took them himself. It was a stormy evening and on the return trip, his buggy [got stuck] in a swollen creek. He was soaked and became very chilled and so caught pneumonia and died at age fifty-three Sept. 17, 1875 and is buried in Equality, Ill.
Ephraim Proctor and Mary Ann Hewitt were married Feb. 20, 1850. They had eight children, five of them living to adulthood.
Charles Campbell Proctor born April 9, 1951
William Ephraim Proctor born Dec 16, 1852
John Martin Proctor born July 29, 1855
George F. Proctor born Sept 20, 1859
Mary and Sallie Proctor born Jan 13, 1862
Martin Hewitt Proctor born Sept 17, 1864
Daniel Hewitt Proctor born Sept 17, 1866

Mary Ann Hewitt was born Sept. 21, 1827. Her ancestors came over on the Mayflower [true]. This is true because her brother my great uncle [William Martin Hewitt] had his ancestors traced and his daughter Zori Staples was a member of the DAR. [I think she means the Mayflower Society.] Great Uncle Hewitt was at our house many times and my Aunt Sallie took me to their beautiful home on Cascade Av, in the Mt. Baker area in Seattle. He had built and owned the first street railways in Minneapolis, Minnesota and operated them for many years. Uncle Charley and our dad both ran street cars there for him when they were young. Uncle Hewitt was a millionaire which meant something in those days. They had two children, Sylvester [actually Lawrence Scott] and Zori. Their family moved to Los Angeles where Uncle Hewitt died [William Hewitt died in Seattle on May 27, 1918].
Aune Proctor and I visited Zori in the largest department store in Los Angeles at the time. It was Robertson's. She was an interpreter for foreigners who came to sell their goods. She was highly educated and spoke many languages. [According to her descendants, some of this may be incorrect.] I wish now that I had gotten her papers on the ancestors. She had one son Ned Staples who died of TB at twenty-one years. He was married to his nurse first before he died. [Edwin "Ned" Staples died in 1923 at 28 years of age. He and his wife/nurse Dorothy Hope had a daughter together.] Sylvester never married [Lawrence married Josephine Ben Hoyen on March 18, 1907. They were divorced by 1910].

Mary Ann Proctor Hewitt died Dec 4, 1892, two months after being burned in a bonfire. She was burning rubbish her sons had gathered together in the backyard. The children [26-42 years old] had all gone to Sidney, Iowa on a Saturday afternoon to have some fun. They told her that they would burn the rubbish when they returned. She didn't wait and started the fire. The long full skirts worn in those days were a hazard around fire. She suffered terribly after being burned all up the back. Her daughter Sallie took care of her. Of course if antibiotics were in use at the time she probably would have lived. She is buried near Sidney, Iowa where the family had moved when our dad Daniel Hewitt Proctor was sixteen years old.

To be continued next Monday...

Benny and Cleo Cavanaugh

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sepia Saturday: School-boy Crush

When I look at the little boy in this photo, I see my sweet son; but this boy was born just over one hundred years earlier. He is my maternal grandfather Everett Herman Proctor, circa 1915. The back of the photo says that the woman with him was his school teacher. At this time, the Proctors had moved from Columbia City to the area around Star Lake in Kent, Washington, so this woman must have been the teacher at the one-room Star Lake School at 272nd Street and Military Road. (The school appears to still be there.)

It is funny how you can feel the mood in this yellowed photo, even after all of these years. Look at their expressions and body language. I think there was a school-boy crush at work here and I think it may have been a little bit mutual. (Obviously, Everett was very charming, just like his great grandson.) What do you think?

*If you like this post, please visit my friends over at Sepia Saturday for more great photos and thoughts.