Tag: Scottsbluff

Friday’s Faces from the Past – Who Is That Girl? And Which Uncle Is That?

Today’s “Friday’s Faces from the Past” may actually be a solvable mystery. Again this one comes from the Montgomery side of the family, from Grandpa and Grandma’s photos. I am pretty sure the baby is one of my uncles – does anyone know for sure?  As for the girl holding him, I don’t know, but again I suspect the answers may be within reach since this image is from a much less distant past. So, familial readers – chime in!

Census Sunday – Finding Grandpa and Grandma

When the 1940 census was made available to the public last year, naturally I began scouring its records to find relatives and bridge the gap since 1930’s enumerations. My parents are too young to appear in this census, so my first line of attack was looking for both sets of grandparents.

Finding my paternal grandparents’ record was fairly straightforward because I already knew where they were.  They were enumerated in Scottsbluff, Nebraska on April 18, living at 1710 Avenue F. They were paying $8 a month in rent, and the household consisted of Lawrence C., age 38, a common laborer doing farm work and earning $650 the previous year for 45 weeks’ work. The census taker indicated he had attended school until the 10th grade. “Blanch A.,” age 31, had gone through the 8th grade. Both had been born in Nebraska.  The following children were also enumerated: Florence M., age 12; Irene D., age 10; Myrtle C., age 7; Morris W., age 6; Marvin L., age 4; William C., age 2; and “DeAnna E.,” age 10 months. Deanna was listed as born in Nebraska; the other children’s birthplace was listed as South Dakota. Real estate records indicate the house at 1710 Avenue F is 868 square feet in size, has two bedrooms, and was built in 1915. On our cross-country trek last summer, Mom and I visited Scottsbluff and looked up the little house.


My maternal grandparents provided a bit more of a mystery. Married in 1938, they had not yet had my mom, their eldest child. I knew Grandma had worked for the Rock Island Arsenal from May 1938-September 1940 and had assumed she and Grandpa were actually living in Rock Island, Illinois. In the early days after the census release before the records were fully indexed, I scoured the Rock Island records to no avail. I even searched records for Boise, Idaho, since I knew Grandpa and Grandma moved there in 1940. Luckily it didn’t take long for indexing to be complete and for me to be able to search for Grandpa and Grandma by name – and there they were, not in Rock Island itself, but in Moline, about four miles east along the Mississippi River.

Apparently one of four couples living in an apartment complex at 1212 7th Avenue, they were paying $30 a month in rent. Joseph Hoffmann, age 32, having completed the 8th grade, is listed as an electric welder at a sheet metal factory. He had earned $820 the previous year but had only worked 24 weeks. Grandma, on the other hand, had worked 52 weeks and earned $1287 as a clerk/typist at the Rock Island Arsenal. She was 23 years old and had completed four years of high school. Grandpa was listed as born in Illinois, Grandma in Indiana.

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Moline…yet.

Amanuensis Monday – Wilson Family Letters

A series of letters were written in February 1942 to Irene Wilson, Grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery’s sister.  Irene was then 20 years old and living in DeSmet, South Dakota. Grandma Montgomery was 33 years old; she and Grandpa were raising 8 children in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, with a ninth (my dad) on the way.

[No postmark; Addressed Miss Irene Wilson, De Smet, S.D.; Return address Mr. & Mrs. L. Montgomery, [?] 675 Scottsbluff Neb.; several letters from various members of the family enclosed]

Scottsbluff, Neb. Feb. 18, 1942

Dear Sister Irene,

We rec’d your beautiful Valentine & letter. Thanks a lot. We love to hear from you. It’s surely been cold again. Everything in the house was froze up this morning. Course they don’t dare to report how cold it is. Glad you’re learning to knit. Florence was going to knit at school but they have to buy their own thread & needles & course it goes to Red Cross. I’d like to help them out but we have to look after ourselves first. Wish Clarence wouldn’t have to go. Course we never know. Slim had to register too last Sat. Do you know if they have a High School at Sioux Falls where they can take Nurse training, and do they have a dormitory. Florence wants to take Nurse training and I’d like to have her go to a good school as long as she’s spending the money. I thought of asking Rev. Webber but he’s sending his own girls here. Sure glad Mamma stays so well. Hope it won’t be too hard for her. I think it would be lots harder for her not to have the work tho. Too bad Maude was so sick hope she’s O.K. now. Soon time for Pearlie to go to the hospital. Glad she can. Course it’s hard to leave the children with some one else. I have a little box I want to send her. Well to-day is Sunday so I’ll try and finish this. Girls are all on the floor playing “Jacks” some game. It’s snowing out, but I believe it’s going to clear up. Hope so any how. I’ll be glad when Spring’s here. Deanna is reading the book Snow White & Seven dwarfs. She’s real studious. Wish I could see you all next summer, but we don’t plan any trips next summer as we have debts to pay. Hope some of you folks can come down and visit. Really I don’t know any news as I only go to town once a week for a few minutes. Hardly ever see any one we know. With love and Best Wishes for everything.

Love, Blanche & all.

Scottsbluff, Nebr. Box 675 Febr. 22, 1942

Dear Aunt Irene,

I can’t write much because Irene and Myrtle have told most of the news.
I go to Confirmation School every Saturday afternoon starting 1:00 and lasting till 4:00. I expect to get confirmed, but its going to be so early this year—Palm Sunday and I won’t hardly have time to get my clothes. Grandma Wilson offered to fix a dress for me and then I’ll have to get shoes, but that won’t be so bad. I’m getting along just fine in school, the best subject I like is “Math.” I’ve gotten five A’s on my report card in Math. I got one A in English. The rest of my grades were b’s but I haven’t gotten any c’s so far and I don’t want any. Irene, Myrtle and Morris get to eat hot lunches at school but Daddy and I have to take lunch and Marvin comes home on a new bus and eats dinner at home. Did you know that Maxine Crabtree and John Jelinek plan to get married about in May if he isn’t called to the army. Her school is out in ten weeks. We’ve got 12 more weeks. I wish I was older so I could be taking nurse training, I want to be a nurse in the future. Must Close—

With Love Your Niece—Florence Montgomery

Scottsbluff, Neb. February 22, 1942

Dear Aunt Irene,

How are you now days? I am getting along just fine. I am in the sixth grade. I like it just fine. My teacher’s name is Mr. Naylor. In the morning I have Mrs. Hills. In the afternoon we have Mr. Naylor. I get (A’s) in Spelling on my report card all the time. I take clarinet lessons. I take 1 lesson every Wednesday. I like them just fine. It has been quite cold in our country. We are going to have a blizzard, that was the report over the radio. It snowed almost all day yesterday. We went to Sunday School this morning, we got our new books for March. We live 2 miles straight out of Scottsbluff and 1 ½ mile north on the west side of the road. We have six rooms in our house counting the front porch, and a quite a big cellar. Geney is 15 months old. He can walk and talk a little. He sure is naughty. He crawls all over mamma when she writes letters. Deanna is 2 years old. May 11th she will be 3. Billy is 4 years old. Marvin is 6, Morris, is 8, Myrtle is 9, Morris is almost as big as Myrtle ¼ in. smaller about. I am 12, and Florence is 14. Marvin is in the Kindergarten. Morris is in the second grade. Florence the eighth. We eat at the school house (turn over) […] they serve hot lunches there. We only have to pay 5c a day 25c a week. The lunches are really good. Friday we had potato soup, bread, cookies, apples. How many valentines did you get on St. Valentine’s day. I got 12. Today is George Washington’s birthday. Did you celebrate it any? We didn’t. At School I wrote a biography about Geney and when the teacher read it to the class, they all said it was the best one, so I got the best grade. I had to write another one today for Miss Cook. I have to take it to her tomorrow. See she teaches for Mr. Naylor a few days and then he teaches again. Miss Cook is going to be in Miss Johnson’s room tomorrow morning, and I have to give it to her. Well I am getting tired. I’ll have to stop writing and say – (Goodbye).

With best wishes

Your Niece Irene Montgomery
[written in a heart:] You’re my Valentine To Aunt Irene
P.S. This is your Valentine if you didn’t get very many.

We didn’t send you a Valentine but we will try next year. Geney is swinging on the table now.

Box 675 Scottsbluff, Neb. Feb. 22, 1942

Dear Aunt Irene,

We haven’t heard from you for so long I thought I’d write to you. The weather is so cold. The report for tomorrow is a blizzard. I hope it isn’t that cold up there. We like our new home just fine. The bus comes past our house, but we have to walk down the road quite far. We’re on the bus before the sun is up. I like school just fine. I am in the third grade. I am sending you an English paper of mine. I have new glasses. I sure can see lots better. They make everything bigger. I wonder how Monte is now, Geney has sixteen teeth, big blue eyes, and ringlets all over his head, he can walk and almost talk he can say Myrtle already. Don’t tell Lester but Mama said he looks a lot like him. I haven’t written to Grandma since I came home, it seems like a long time but I get so tired at night that I can’t write any letters. I guess I haven’t written to you for a long time. We took Peggy home. She plays with the little kids. I interrupt the paragraph to tell you Geney is dancing on the table. Now I will go on. We took a picture of Peggy and Marvin last summer. I’ll have to close now as paper is scarce.

With love, Myrtle

Dear Aunt Irene

[various scribbles]
With love Deanna
[on the back:] Dear Aunt Irene;
[more various scribbles]