#52Ancestors, Blogging Prompts, Family News, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Oral History

Start: High School Sweethearts

Mom and Dad, 1962

So it’s January 2. As usual, I’ve made about 45962 resolutions, one of which is to resurrect this genealogy blog. I’m trying something new this year; I recently came across Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Each week has its own prompt, intended to encourage selecting one ancestor or relative to share in some way.

This week’s post? “Start.” There are many ways to interpret that one (the system describes the prompts as “intentionally vague”), but for me, and for all of us, we get our start from our parents. So where did my parents’ shared story start?

For Theodore Richard (Ted) Montgomery and Linda Jo Hoffmann, that start was in the first grade. They were in the same class at Van Buren Elementary in Caldwell, Idaho, though both had been born elsewhere (Mom in Portland, Oregon; Dad in Scottsbluff, Nebraska). Both have very different memories of that first grade class, as well, and not much memory of each other at that time. Mom seems to have a fairly positive memory of the class; for Dad, everything was marred by the fact that during a fire drill on the very first day, he asked the teacher (who shall remain anonymous) if there was a real fire, and she slapped him. I don’t like that teacher much, but she is long since dead. I checked.

Mom and Dad continued through school together, but it wasn’t until they were in high school that they had much contact. If I have my story straight, they got to know each other as more than just vague acquaintances toward the end of their junior year. The following summer, while Mom visited relatives in Illinois, Dad wrote her letters. A lot of them. At some point in here, they had their first date, playing miniature golf. Mom won. It wasn’t until Homecoming of their senior year, however, that they became more serious – Mom was elected Caldwell High School’s Homecoming Queen for 1959, and Dad was her escort and crowned her during the game. At least I think it was during the game; a secondary goal for 2018 is to gather more oral history details from family….

Soon after Homecoming, Mom and Dad began going steady. They dated all through their senior year and graduated in May 1960. Both attended the College of Idaho for one semester that fall (both had scholarships to cover that much college), but they knew already that they wanted to get married and start their lives together and not just “soak up knowledge,” as Mom accused my brother and me of doing when we went on for impractical degrees in English/Classics (Matt), and Medieval Studies (me).

They were engaged in December 1960 (again, I’m waiting for Mom to correct me if I’ve got that wrong). Dad then went to work at The Crookham Company, and Mom took classes at a business school. They were married at Grace Lutheran Church in Caldwell on August 26, 1961, which was also Dad’s father’s 60th birthday. Dad was 19, and Mom was still 18; she would turn 19 in about 6 more weeks. They would wait more than a decade to start a family; my brother was born in December 1971, and I in April 1974. But I still consider that first grade classroom where their shared history first began.

One final postscript: Mom and Dad’s glamorous honeymoon was spent at the 7K Motel in Garden City, a suburb of Boise. Like their marriage, the 7K is still in existence, 56 years later.

 

 

Amanuensis Monday, Blogging Prompts, Montgomery, Montgomery Line

Amanuensis Monday – Flo Ought to Be Proud of That

 

Irene, Lawrence, and Flo Montgomery

In the fall of 1945, when she was not yet sixteen, my dad’s second sister left home.  Irene had worked as a babysitter for a family in Idaho; when they moved to Albany, Oregon, Irene went with them to continue babysitting and complete her high school education.

Dorothy Irene Montgomery (known by her middle name) had been born 11 November 1929 in Winner, South Dakota, the daughter of Lawrence Theodore (or Conklin) Montgomery and his first wife, Antonia Marie Jelinek. Irene was four months old, and the elder sister, Flo, only two years older, when their mother died in Yankton, South Dakota.  Later that year Grandpa married Blanche Agnes Wilson (my grandmother); Grandpa and Grandma would eventually have ten more children. Aunt Irene’s letters home provide a glimpse into the life she was living far away from her family as well as her pride in her older sister back home.

Albany, Oregon
April 2, 1946

Dear Mom, Dad & kiddies,

Received your letter yesterday and was I tickled to get it.
Yes, Mom, I am feeling fine now. Am so glad.
We have 2 days of Spring Vacation.

Flo ought to be proud of that because it really [is] a great honor. We had an initiation of the “National Honor Society” last Fri. You have to have real good grades, you have to have some qualities of a leader, and you have to be quite popular, I mean you should [know] most of the kids in school. No, she didn’t write me about it, yet.

Those pictures were awful, but I just sent them.

I don’t have to wear my glasses only when I read they are for close up work now, Mom.

I will find out when [I] get out of school because I want to be there so bad for her graduation.

This coming Saturday the Band is going to Salem for our contest. We compete against all of the cities around here.

I am glad the kids can have some fun like that. Have they learned to skate real well. I can waltz with skates now, but I can’t skate backwards.

I would write to Myrt, but I have so many notebooks, speeches and etc., to get in this week and the next. We have been rehearsing for the concert at nights. Tell Myrt to excuse me this time if she will.

We have had pretty fair weather lately. We are voting for Carnival Princesses & Queen for our big All School Carnival which they have every year. We vote 3 princesses out of each class and a Queen from the Senior. I was a candidate for princess in two rooms, but didn’t get it. Must close.

Lots of love
Irene

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Blogging Prompts, Census, Census Sunday, Military, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research

Census Sunday – Grandpa in 1920

Just in time for Memorial Day, here is Grandpa Lawrence Montgomery‘s 1920 census record. I still haven’t found him (or his father) in 1910, so this is the first record where he appears. In that year he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. His age is listed as 21, which is consistent with the (incorrect) birthdate Grandpa gave when enlisting in 1917. Grandpa was really only 18 in January 1920. Nebraska is listed as the birthplace of Grandpa (which is correct), as well as his parents (which is incorrect). His occupation is “soldier.” Grandpa’s military records give a little more information on his military service, though Grandpa also told some (as yet unsubstantiated) colorful stories about his experiences:

  • Being stationed in Hawaii
  • Being sent to climb up a pole to cut down an effigy of Kaiser Wilhelm
  • While operating the base movie projector (which his records confirm he did do), hollering at someone who came in to the projector room to put out their cigar, only to have someone tell him he had just yelled at General Pershing

Whatever Grandpa’s role, I’m grateful for his service.

Blogging Prompts, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Sympathy Saturday

Sympathy Saturday – Manhattan (the Kansas One)

 

My mom and I attended the National Genealogical Society‘s annual conference last week.  I’d never been before – what a great experience! I’m now determined to bring some semblance of organization to not only my genealogy files and records, but also to my genealogical searches. So now my genealogy tasks are threefold:

  1. Continue the never-ending census project (tracing all families in the “easy” censuses, from 1850-1940)
  2. Share my various findings through this blog
  3. Select one mystery or problem, and focus on trying to solve that in a structured and organized way

First mystery? Trying to trace the elusive Montgomery family’s origins in this country (or at least back another generation from William Montgomery, my 3G-grandfather, born 1802).

With this aim in mind I’ve been focusing more on those Montgomery connections, so Joseph (William’s son and my 3G-uncle) seems a logical topic for today’s post. Joseph S. Montgomery was born in August 1847 in Ohio, son of William and Mary Ann (Extell) Montgomery. He was the eighth of thirteen children and on New Year’s Eve in 1874, he married Sarah Ann Achor.  Joseph, Sarah, and their first child, Viola, then five years old, appear in the 1880 census, enumerated in Clarke, Clinton County, Ohio.

By 1900 the family had moved to Liberty Township, Geary County, Kansas.  Viola is no longer in the household, but two new children are listed – J.W., a son born in February 1882 in Ohio; and Vellah, a daughter born in August 1886 in Kansas.  In 1910 and 1920, J.W. is not with the family, but Joseph, Sarah, and Vellah continue to live in the same household. Sarah died in 1923; by 1940 Vellah, unmarried, is listed as head of the household in Lawrence, with Joseph enumerated as her 92-year-old father.  He would live six more years, dying in 1946 at nearly 99 years of age.  Vellah lived to be 87, dying in April 1974.  Joseph, Sarah, and Vellah are all buried together in Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan, Kansas.

Blogging Prompts, Davis, Gifford, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Thriller Thursday, Wilson

Thriller Thursday – Winston Churchill

There is always a thrill in discovering a famous relative. In this case, the relative in question is Winston Churchill – can’t you see the eerie resemblance?! Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, born November 30, 1874 at Blenheim Palace, was my half eighth cousin three times removed. I even visited Blenheim in 1994 while on a semester abroad program during my junior year at Sewanee (The University of the South). This was long before I discovered my familial connection to the Prime Minister through his American mother, Jeanette (Jennie) Jerome. Jeanette’s 6G-grandparents were William Gifford and Elizabeth Grant. William and his wife Patience Russell were my 10G-grandparents (William – Hananiah – William – Joshua – Ann – Joseph Davis – Cornelius – John – Lucinda Blanche – Carl Ozro Wilson – Blanche – Theodore Montgomery – me). Interestingly this means that Winston Churchill was also 6th cousin twice removed to another of my famous relatives: Lizzie Borden.

Blenheim Palace
Amanuensis Monday, Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research, Tombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday – Joshua Ousley Montgomery

One of many family graves seen during last year’s visit to Mansfield, Illinois, was that of Joshua Ousley Montgomery, a first cousin twice removed. Grandson of my great-great-grandparents John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery, he was born February 3, 1893 in Mansfield, to Thomas Milton and Frances May (Hoover) Montgomery.

His World War I draft registration from June 1917 lists him as “Joshua Oozley Montgomery,” age 24, of medium height and build, with light blue eyes and light-colored hair. In the four censuses in which he appears, he is enumerated with his parents. By 1930 he is listed as divorced. Cousin Janet Alvis indicates that his wife was a Leona H. Brooks, born about 1902, and that Leona and Joshua married May 6, 1922.

Janet has also provided the following obituary information for Joshua on the Find-a-Grave website:

Joshua O. Montgomery, 44, World War veteran and life-long resident of Mansfield was instantly killed at 10:50 pm Sunday, March 28, 1937, when he was struck by a car two mile east of Mahomet on Rt 150. Services were conducted in Mansfield Wednesday afternoon with burial in Mansfield cemetery. 

He was born on a farm near Mansfield, the s/o M/M T. M. Montgomery. He had just started construction of a home near his parents’ residence in Mansfield. Besides his parents he leaves two brothers: Fred of Chicago and Thomas of Mansfield; three sisters: Bertha Thomas, Stella McIlvain and Hattie Hannah, all of Mansfield. He was unmarried.

Amanuensis Monday, Blogging Prompts, Letters, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research, Wilson

Amanuensis Monday – The War News Is Sure Terrible

Blanche and Lawrence Montgomery

Sometime in the early 1940s Grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery wrote to her sister Mildred. The letter is partially lost now but somehow found its way back to Grandma in an envelope addressed to her mother, Sophie (Roberg) Wilson. This is the same envelope that contains a number of recipes from a “Mrs. Dickinson.” Grandma and Grandpa and their children were living in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where Uncle Gene (Alwin Eugene, born in November 1940) was apparently doing his fair share of tumbling and falling. The letter is full of family news and inquiries but touches on the horrors of war. It was also baking day – what I wouldn’t give for Grandma’s bread recipe!

[no postmark, return address, or stamp] Addressed: Mrs. Sophie Wilson, Winner, S.D. 628

[two pages missing; remaining pages labeled “3.” and “4.”]

…radio. I’m sure glad you write for Mamma as I know its hard for her to write. Hope she doesn’t have to work as hard as she did last winter. Yesterday was Pearl’s little girl’s birthday wasent it. I wanted to send her something but I didn’t think of it in time.

Do you still have the girls at your house. Am glad Herman has a new job.

Where did Monte fall from read it in Maude’s card. Alwin has fallen a lot he has a sore eye most of the time lately. I don’t know what’s wrong. He must have hurt it.

Be sure and tell Mamma & Lester hello from us all. Glad Lester likes school so well. What subjects does he take?

The war news is sure terrible. Even thinking about it makes you shiver.

We would like to take a trip up to Denver. Do you know if Clara is still there? Esther didn’t say.

I am baking bread today so must close & get busy. Am afraid it’s too cold in here as I let the fire go down.

With Love & Best Wishes May God bless you all. Blanche, Lawrence & children.

P.S. No we haven’t seen any of Carrolls. There are lots of S.D. cars but 14 or 15 thousand people in Scottsbluff, You seldom see many you know.

[at top of page 4:] I canned around 200 qts so that helps some.

Baptisms, Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Census, Census Sunday, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research

Census Sunday – William Montgomery, There You Are!

There is irony in the fact that the line I’ve had the least success in tracing is my own paternal Montgomery line. I currently hit the proverbial brick wall with my 3G-grandfather, William Montgomery. Born February 19, 1802 in Pennsylania, his parentage is as yet unknown.

That was the paragraph I had written earlier today. I probably would have continued on to talk about how a fairly common name like Montgomery, and no specific city for beginning my search, complicates matters. But in reviewing sources on Ancestry.com I discovered something brand-new (to me): baptismal records for Old Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia – and there is William – the February 19 birthdate that appears on his tombstone, and a baptismal date of March 21. These particular records still don’t list William’s parents – but this gives a whole new avenue for the search!

So, to continue with what I already knew before today…

William married Mary Ann Extell on September 27, 1827 in Pleasant Mills, Gloucester (now Atlantic) County, New Jersey; William was 25 and Mary Ann 18. According to their marriage record, William was from Batsto and Mary Ann from Pleasant Mills.

The 1830 census finds the family in Fairfield, Cumberland County. Their location in 1840 is uncertain (tracing census records prior to 1850 when each individual began to be enumerated individually by name is always trickier). By 1850 the family has moved westward to Clark, Ohio; William and Mary Ann are now joined by John, aged 20; Samuel, 18; David, 16; Thomas, 14; Mary E., 10; Susan, 8; William, 5; Joseph, 3; and Edward, 7/12.

William appears in only one more census, again in Clark, Ohio. Another child, Sarah (age 6) has been added to the family; other children had apparently been born but hadn’t survived. On October 6, 1868 William died in Lynchburg, Ohio. He is buried in Lynchburg’s Masonic Cemetery.

Amanuensis Monday, Blogging Prompts, Letters, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research, Wilson

Amanuensis Monday – Jobs Are Scarce

 

 

It’s interesting to note themes that repeat themselves in family history over time. This can be seen in the two letters I selected to transcribe, more or less at random. Grandpa Montgomery received a letter from Elta Grace, the youngest of his four sisters, in late August 1941. Though the youngest of the four Montgomery girls, Elta was thirteen years older than Grandpa. Both were born in August; when Elta wrote to him Grandpa would have just turned 40; Elta 53. Elta, with her husband William Gladstone Freeman, was then living in Van Nuys, California, and had just returned from a trip to Fort Collins, Colorado. Grandpa and Elta’s father was living there with his new wife (another letter written by Charles William Montgomery in July 1941 mentions Elta’s upcoming visit).

[Postmarked Van Nuys, Calif., Aug. 27, 1941; Addressed Mr. Lawrence Montgomery, Scottsbluff, Nebr.  Box 675; 3¢ stamp; Return address label on back flap:  W. G. Freeman, 14108 Victory, Van Nuys, Calif.]

Van Nuys, Calif.
Aug. 27, 41

Dear Lawrence & All:

We got home from our trip O.K. Everyone was well. Sure would like to have met you at Ft. Collins. There is lots of work around here now, especially at the Airplane plants. I don’t know about the pay. Some men get jobs at once; others are not so fortunate. I don’t know why. Will & Clyde have the same jobs as when we first came here. Once thing: here you can work outside the year round. Hope you are all well as are we.

Love
Elta

Of Will and Elta’s seven children, only four survived to adulthood. The Clyde Elta mentions is her only surviving son, Clyde Samuel Freeman, born November 29, 1911 in Brownell, Kansas. Her youngest child had been another son, William Emmett, born in 1930 but dying a year later. Twins Nina and Tina were Elta’s firstborn; Nina lived only 12 days, dying October 14, 1907, and Tina lived only three months. The four surviving children fell between the twins and baby William:  Laura Fern (b. December 6, 1908); Clyde; Maurine L. (b. October 4, 1913); and Dorothy Willa (b. December 21, 1916).   William, Sr., would live less than five years after his wife wrote to her baby brother, dying April 11, 1946. Elta lived another ten years after her husband and died April 4, 1956 in Northridge, California. They are buried in Inglewood Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Another letter, this one unfinished, focuses similarly on employment and on travel though it was written some thirty years later. It was written by Grandma Montgomery to her mother in March 1972. The Emma Satree Grandma mentions was her best friend while growing up and was two years older than Grandma. A webpage containing history on the Bad Nation District No. 19 school lists both Emma and “the Carl Wilsons” as early pupils.

Caldwell
March 1972

Dear Mother & Grandma; 

Just a few lines, I am feeling much better now. Spring has come at last. The sun is shining and the birds are singing again & I see some bees out. 

Mike & Linda Lea moved to Eugene, Oregon. Guess they haven’t got a job yet, but I sure hope they get one soon. Jobs are so scarce. Lots of people out of work everywhere.  

Pearl wrote and said she plans on going to So. Dakota in June. Sure glad if she can. We are planning on going through Montana and see Emma Satree (Seiverts). I haven’t seen her for 36 years. Do you remember when Mrs. Satree, Emma & you came up to our place when we lived in Winner and I was sick in bed before Marvin was born. Mrs. Satree said You take care of her, Montgomery.

Amanuensis Monday, Blogging Prompts, Letters, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research

Amanuensis Monday – Sister Irene

On March 8, 1966, Dad’s sister Irene wrote him a letter from her home in Sacramento. Dad was in basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Irene was the second of Dad’s siblings, born Dorothy Irene on November 11, 1929 in Winner, South Dakota, the child of Grandpa Montgomery and his first wife, Antonia Marie Jelinek. Irene spent part of her high school years living with and helping out a family in Albany, Oregon. In August 1948 she married Vern Jenness, whom she later divorced.  In 1961 she married a second time, to a man coincidentally named Robert Montgomery.  That marriage ended as well, and then Aunt Irene married a final time on July 20, 1969 to Hugh Myers. Irene was also the second sibling lost, dying of cancer on August 24, 1985 at age 55.

[Postmarked Sacramento, Calif., March 9, 1966; Addressed Pvt. Theodore R. Montgomery, RH 19882937 2nd Training Brigade 2D Battalion Co. B, Fort Polk, Louisiana 71459; stamp torn; Return address label on back flap:  Irene Montgomery, 1731 ‘N’ St. Apt. 10, Sacramento, Calif. 95814; envelope and signature handwritten; remainder typed]

                                                            Sacramento, March 8, 1966

 Dear Ted,

            Received a letter from Mom, giving me your address. I am happy to hear that you will be coming home to get Linda. Where in Texas will you be stationed and for how long?

           Do you ever hear from brother Gene? I wrote to him a couple of times, but I imagine he is busy and does write to the folks.

            Are you going to keep your house and rent it out, or sell it? It would be nice to be collecting that rent on it, but then there is the chance the tenants may not take good care of the house.

            I received a letter from Linda Lea last week with a picture of herself. It was very good. She certainly is a young lady and on the honor roll too. Of course that isn’t anything new, most of you were when you were going to school.

            I sing 1st Soprano in the St. John’s Choir in downtown Sacramento. I enjoy it very much. We are getting ready for Easter and of course we have special services for Lent—Wednesdays and Sundays. I have a music lesson on the organ every week. I am able to play some favorite songs, but I have to go to the church to practice, so I don’t practice as much as I would like to or should to progress more.

            We have been having beautiful weather here recently. A little crisp (which I like) but the sun is bright most of the time.

            It is Camellia time. They had the Camellia Show at the Memorial Auditorium Saturday and Sunday of this past week. Then next Saturday they have the parade.

            Will you by any chance be coming through Sacramento in your travels in the next few months? Would love to see you and I am sure Myrtle and children will be happy to see you also.

            I must say so long for now. Hope this letter finds you well and as cheerful as possible. 

                                                            Love

                                                            Your sister,

                                                                        Irene