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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Sympathy Saturday – Grandma Wilson

Of my 8 great-grandparents, the only one I ever met was Grandma Wilson: Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. Had she not lived to the age of 97, I might not have met her either. As it was, I only met her once, when I was three. I have dim memories of that meeting, of visiting the nursing home where she lived, and the fact that she gave me a dollar.

Sophie was born November 5, 1881 in Boone County, Nebraska, the daughter of Anders and Agnette (Lien) Roberg, who were both born in Norway. On March 13, 1907 Sophie married Carl Ozro Wilson in Boone County, and they had a total of 10 children: Anders Clarence, Blanche Agnes (my grandma), Ozro Willie, Pearl Jeanette, Clarence Salmer, Woodrow, Mildred Genevieve, Irene Sophie, Maude Lucille, and Lester Laverne.

About 1915 the family moved from Nebraska to South Dakota; in 1920 they were enumerated in Cody, Mellette County. By 1930 Sophie and Carl had separated; that year’s census finds Carl living as a boarder in a hotel in Wood, South Dakota, and Sophie and her children in Witten, South Dakota, where she is employed taking in washing. Carl died in 1939, and in 1940 Sophie and those children still left at home are again in Witten, though the information she provided indicates that five years earlier she had been living in rural Tripp County.

Beginning in 1964 Grandma Wilson resided at the Winner Nursing Home in Winner, South Dakota; she suffered from diabetes. She died at McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls on September 24, 1979, a little more than a month shy of her 98th birthday. She was buried September 27 in the Winner Cemetery, near her estranged husband as well as her infant son Woodrow, who had died more than 60 years earlier.

Carl and Sophie Wilson and Family
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Amanuensis Monday – Iran the Place Unknown

Sometime around 1942 Clarence Salmer Wilson wrote to his older sister Blanche (my grandmother) during his enlistment in the Army. He had been born August 29, 1915 in Wood, South Dakota, fifth child of Carl Ozro and Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. He appears with his parents and siblings in Cody, South Dakota, in the 1920 census, and with his mother (now separated from his father) and siblings in Witten, South Dakota, in 1930. Clarence obtained an eighth grade education, and in 1940 appears as one of several laborers in the home of Paul and Jennie McDill in Riverside, South Dakota.

On December 9, 1945 in Wood, South Dakota, Clarence married Addie Peacock, who had been born in January 1924. Together they had three children: Lana Dell, Larry Dale, and Loren Carl Wilson. Clarence died July 29, 1992 in Irrigon, Oregon.

[no envelope; written on stationery with United States Army logo]

How are you Folks? Did you have the flue at your house very bad? We are still in the same old place. Have been stationed here a little over a year now. Have a fairly nice Hospital & everything is fixed up quite nice considering what we have to put up with being over here. Go the Shows & basket ball games right now & see a USO Show every once in a while also. We can’t complain to much after all. Have a chaplin here to so I go to Church as often as I can get away. I wish we could get this War over with so all we boys could come home. Won’t that be a wonderful day. I get so lonesome at times don’t hardly know what to do. I can’t think of any more to say so believe I will close. Happyness to all the Family & Gods blessings at all time. Love & kisses to all.

Brother Clarence.

P.S. Give my best regards to all the Family from me in Iran the place unknown ha.

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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.

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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.

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Wednesday’s Child – the Second Wilson Loss

Recently I wrote about the death of my Grandma Montgomery’s older brother Anders Clarence. She was less than a year old when he died, so of course would have no memories of this particular loss. Tragedy struck again eight years later, and this loss Grandma would certainly remember.

In July 1917 Grandma was 8 1/2 years old. After the death of Anders, three more children had been born: Ozro Willie, born June 9, 1911; Pearl Jeanette, born November 15, 1912; and Clarence Salmer, born August 29, 1915. On July 21, 1917, another son was born to Carl Ozro and Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson in Wood, South Dakota. He was named Woodrow Wilson after the current president. Eventually four more children were added to the family: Mildred Genevieve, born April 16, 1919; Irene Sophie, born June 2, 1921; Maude Lucille, born June 23, 1923; and Lester Laverne, born June 11, 1925. Baby Woodrow, however, would live only two days. His death certificate lists his cause of death as “colick.”  He was buried in the Winner Cemetery in Winner, South Dakota. Many years later his parents were laid to rest beside him.