I am a big proponent of obtaining as much documentation as possible. You cannot verify information without it. When you are researching an ancestor, there are some records that I love.
This first record is my father’s birth certificate. As you can see, he was born on December 9, 1927 at 5:00 a.m. Also, my father obtained the copy of this record on March 1, 1954. His name is spelled out as Celestino Timoteo Jaquez. He is listed as the 11th child born to this mother and that upon his birth, he was the 8th child living. My grandfather Celestino’s occupation is listed as Odd Jobs, my grandmother Tonita’s occupation is listed as housewife. Interesting to see Grandma Tonita’s birthplace listed as Gobernador, NM which was located in Rio Arriba County. The county seat for Rio Arriba is Tierra Amarilla.
Celestino is listed as being born in Blanco, NM.
I know my cousin Tom Martinez is working on the records from the church, so I hope to be able to obtain a copy of those records as well.
The next record is a death certificate for Grandpa Celestino. This one is much easier to read. I like seeing who provided the information for the death certificate. This one was provided by Aunt Della and gives Grandpa Jacques’ address as her address, 1840 Charmeran, San Jose, CA. She reported that Grandpa Jacques had been in California for 38 years, bringing us back to 1935 when he arrived here. That fits with the information we know. He died of pneumonia and Arterial sclerosis heart disease. It lists his date of birth as November 15, 1886 and his date of death December 29, 1973.
The last record here is for Juan Nepomuceno Jacquez. I had a harder time obtaining this record and so I received a letter back, stating that they could not give it to me. They said only a child/grandchild could obtain it. I laughed and said, my Grandfather died in 1973 and my father died in 2003. I had to send them the death certificates for my father and my grandfather both in order to get this one. As you can see they stamped it for genealogical use only. Juan N. was born on April 8, 1856. His father is listed as Jose O. Jacquez and his mother listed as Franciquita Vigil. They were both born in Colorado. Interesting to see that this time, it is my grandfather Celestino providing the information for the death certificate. He died on May 28, 1943 and is listed as a widower.
I have been searching for a death certificate for one of my great-grandparents. My Grandma Flora’s father, Henry Carter Burgess. I have been searching for a long time. I don’t have his date of death, nor do I know where it occurred. I don’t know where he’s buried and it drives me crazy. I found a few people had a date of death for him on Ancestry.com. Now, sometimes you run across someone else who has pertinent information to your research. However, I felt like I had discounted those individuals and thought, shoot, I should revisit this information. I pulled the Find a Grave site and found this picture.
I still didn’t feel like this was correct. Then I found the death certificate online.
Okay, once I found this, I was certain. This is not my Henry Carter Burgess. The date of birth is wrong, the spouse name was wrong. Also, his father’s name was John W. Burgess and my Henry Carter was born in Kansas, not Indiana. This was not my ancestor.
One of the biggest lessons to remember when searching on Ancestry.com or any other site, is that you must know what you are looking for, or you will end up with incorrect information on your tree. The best source for you is to interview your relatives now. Now, before you lose the opportunity.
My grandmother was such a powerful force in my life. She was a hard worker from the time she was a young girl. She worked in lots of office jobs and in the credit department of a store. She used her initials so that no one would know she was a woman. Flora also had a gift. She could talk to anyone and everyone. Eventually, she went to work for a vitamin company. She left that company and went to work for Shaklee Corporation. She was sued by the company she left because the company knew they were losing a good saleswoman. Flora showed up to court in a housecoat and the judge had a hard time believing this was the person that companies were arguing over.
She became friends with Dr. Forest Shaklee, the gentleman who started the Shaklee Corporation. He started the Shaklee Company in 1951 and the first building was at 12th and Harrison Streets in Oakland, CA.
Dr. Shaklee adored Flora and he believed in nature’s ability to heal. When she first met him, she was reading an article about Royal Jelly. The article said that Royal Jelly was a cancer preventative and Dr. Shaklee told her, don’t you believe it. It was no more cancer preventative than any other good nutrition. Flora thought she had found an honest man.
Dr. Shaklee ran his business by the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This was a rule Flora lived by. When Dr. Shaklee honored Flora during a convention, Flora arrived on the stage wearing a beautiful red gown. He said she was wearing red and was always out scratching for business. Right there, he affectionately called her his “little red hen.”
Shaklee Corporation sold vitamins, diet and health products, along with all natural cleaning products. Grandma Flora became a driving force in the company. Dr. Shaklee started selling products in 1946 and by the 1950’s, the company was close to going out of business. Dr. Shaklee credited Flora as being the crusader who changed the course of Shaklee history.
Dr. Shaklee was trying to keep the business going and worried about paying bills. Flora said, “Those bills are going to be paid.” That month, she went out and sold half the company’s business. It had never been done before and has never been done since. My mother used to say that if Grandma got on an airplane, she would have sold to five different people and have three more wanting to sign up to be a distributor under her. She worked her truth and believed in her products with her whole heart. It was easy to see why she was so great at spreading her message.
Dr. Shaklee said that, above all, Flora True stands out as the leader of all other salesmen.
Flora earned the first car that was ever given away. It was a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air. She said it took her one month to earn that car. She earned a new car every year.
In 1981, Shaklee Corporation celebrated their 25 Anniversary with a Golden Jubilee. They paid to fly my grandmother, my step-grandfather, my mother and myself to San Francisco from our home in Stockton for the celebration. My grandmother had been ill but was determined to make it to the ceremony.
Dr. Shaklee paid tribute to Flora, as much as Flora paid tribute to Dr. Shaklee. She had suffered from breast cancer, had a mastectomy, had suffered a stroke and was in ill health. She forced herself to walk across the stage and Dr. Shaklee came out to meet her. You can watch the video here.
The next year, on the occasion of Grandma Flora’s 80th birthday, we held a celebration in Stockton for her. Dr. Shaklee and Dorothy came to Stockton for Flora’s party, along with the rest of her family. It was the last birthday the Little Red Hen would celebrate.
Flora died on May 22, 1982.
After her death, Flora’s reputation continued at the Shaklee Corporation and eventually, an award was established in her honor. They invited my mother Jubie and my Aunt Kay to attend the ceremony in Montreal, Canada in 1984. They were presented with the first award
Because we had grown up with the Shaklee products, my family had continued to use them. My father used Basic H (as a floor cleaner and a shampoo, because, you know, why not?) and so I needed to replace his bottle of Basic H and I simply looked up a sales associate in our area, called her up and went to retrieve the bottle.
When I arrived at her home to pick up my product, the lady gave me the Basic H and we spoke for a few minutes. I told her my grandmother used to sell Shaklee products and that perhaps she knew her? The lady assured me that she didn’t know anyone in the business as she had only been in Shaklee for a few years. I said, “Oh, my grandmother, Flora True, used to sell here in town.” The lady starts shrieking, “Flora True? Oh my god, are you kidding me? Never in a million years did I think when I got up today, I’d be meeting Flora True’s granddaughter.”
Haha, I didn’t realize being related to Flora was that amazing. I don’t think we really appreciated how they felt about her because she was just grandma. We knew she was an amazing person, but it was so nice to have others think of her in that way as well. I cry every time I watch the video of her, because it is such an accurate reflection of who she was, even though she was already very ill. She was damn determined that she would walk across that stage, and she did.
P.S. The picture of the Shaklee building was provided by and used with permission by the Dr. Forrest C. Shaklee Facebook page.
My Great Aunt Celia was a wonderful little lady who loved to laugh, tell a story and have a shot, if you don’t mind. She was great to us and I know how much my dad loved her. I can still hear her voice in my head. Some of my cousins have asked me to look for information on her husband, Fred Herrera. I have found a lot of documents that appear to be for him. This World War 1 draft card is one of my favorites.
She lost her husband in 1974, but I know their love endures. We see it very clearly in the faces of those beautiful babies like sweet Adeline and Ezra. Cousins, here is your list. As always, if there are any corrections, please feel free to shoot me a quick message and I will get it addressed promptly. Love you guys.
The beginning of my parent’s marriage was tough from the standpoint of others. I’ve spoken about my Grandma Flora and Grandpa Charles felt about my father. To be fair, my Grandma Tonia felt equally disdainful toward my mother. Truthfully, my father could have married a nun and my Grandma Tonita would have thought that the woman wasn’t good enough for her son. I’ve known people like that.
By the time my mother had Cammie, she and Tim were living with Grandma Tonita. Grandma Tonita might not have liked my mother much, but my dad had helped her buy that home and there was no way Grandma Tonita would deny my father anything.
One day, Grandma Tonita got mad at Jubie. She picked up infant Cammie, took her into the bedroom and locked the door. To say my mother was livid is an understatement. No cell phones in those days, so my mother went to Uncle Fred’s house to tell him. Uncle Fred was able to get ahold of Tim, who was on a job site. Tim came home right then, collected Jubie and Cammie and they went to stay at Uncle Fred’s until they could get themselves a place of their own.
Dad worked in underground construction and worked on job sites all over Northern California. They began moving from city to city, following his job sites. They started out in Tracy, CA then went to a million other little tiny towns, often staying at small motels. They ended up in Paso Robles, then Salinas, when they discovered Jubie was pregnant again. Jubie decided moving around was tough enough with one child, but the idea of two children was too much. They moved back to Santa Clara and bought their first home at 3481 Shafer Drive. In April 1955, they moved into their new home and Timothy James was born that May.
Their family was expanding quickly and Laurel Renee was born the next year. By 1958, they had a five year old, a two year old and an infant. Mom used to say she’d have her kids in bed by 7 pm because she needed to keep her sanity.
They had moved into a neighborhood in its infancy. Other families moved onto the street. Henry and Jeanne Hassman, our next-door neighbors, became friends. Henry worked as a machinist at Kaiser Aluminum. They lived at 3475 Shafer Drive.
The Purse family lived at 3474 Shafer. Candy Purse was the same age as Laurie and they ran the streets together. The Schmidt family, the Hildebrands, the Morgans. Gus Hildebrand and Henry Hassman were in the Navy together in WWII.
The Moon family lived at 3471 Shafer Drive. Rebecca Schmidt, Dave and Kitty Payne at 3488 Shafer Drive,. The Flocchini family at 3591 Shafer Drive and the Walker Family, including daughter Ila (Poky) Walker. After the husbands left for work, the wives would get together for a coffee klatch every morning, while all the children played at each other’s homes and in the streets. This is where their family life started. Jubie invited the whole kindergarten class for Cammie’s birthday and the entire class showed up, in costume.
One of our neighbors, Candy Purse, shared a story and I’m retelling it, with her permission.
“I can even tell you a story I’m not sure if you guys knew. It was the day I fell in love with your dad. I’m not sure if you were born yet, I don’t think so, but I used to go over there and play with Laurie and Tim and you had a picnic table on the back patio.
We used to always play dress-ups and pretend we were on stage and perform a little shows. I was up on the picnic table I’m not sure if Laurie and Tim were up there with me or if they were watching but I think I was dancing around and I tripped and fell.
I hit my head on the concrete and I heard from others, it sounded like a watermelon. It knocked me out cold and I must’ve been about 4-6 years old. Your brother or sister must’ve ran in and told your dad.
He scooped me up and ran across the street and I was still out cold. First thing I remembered was him standing at my door and my mom was surprised and he told her I fell. When I heard his voice my eyes opened and I looked up and he was crying and looked very scared. I was looking at my hero and I fell in love with him at that moment.
He used always tell me I was his favorite little girl in the neighborhood because of my pretty red hair.”
Candy Purse did go on to marry a Hispanic gentleman and credits my father with influencing her decision.
The neighborhood stores were Dicks Grocery Store, Baskin Robbins, Ben Franklin Five and Dime. The bar, Barber shop and Baskin Robbins are all still there. It was a bucolic, Mayberry existence.
They took many trips together, trips that mostly centered on camping. They would camp with Tim’s family including Fred and Alice, Dorothy and Sam and Angie and Tom.
The 1960’s left a big impression on my parents. Jubie said that when President Kennedy was shot, Jackie was just a baby and it was very frightening. Then, Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby were shot on T.V. too, one right after the other. It was difficult to leave the television, they were so afraid something else would happen.
When the moon landing occurred, Tim thought it was all bullshit, that it had been filmed on a sound stage. Dad was that way, it took a lot to convince him. He never ended up believing in the moon landing, incidentally.
In the 1960’s, the kids were attending Pomeroy Elementary, Curtis Junior High and Buchser High School. By 1961, Jacqueline Celeste was born and finally by 1965, me. Mother gave each of her children full names. I was named Yvonne Annette. Their family was complete.
By the 1960’s, the big kids were running with friends, and starting to live their own lives. By 1972, mom and dad decided to move. It ended a period of time in our lives when we lived as a whole family. By the time we moved to San Jose, Cammie had moved out, Tim and Laurie shortly thereafter and it was just Jackie and I left at home.
As the 1970’s took over our lives, we left behind our early selves and moved into a new phase. Grandchildren ahead!
Funny that Mom’s love-life story starts with Grandma Flora. In about 1974 or so, Jackie and I were staying at Grandma Flora’s house up in Nevada City. Mom and Dad would leave us at Grandma’s house and go to Reno for the weekend. Jackie and I were playing in the extra bedroom. Grandma used to keep a Noah’s Ark, a plastic ark filled with animals for us to play with, as well as all my Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy Mystery books. Jackie and I were playing one day, and Jackie found a photo album that was stuck under the bed. Jackie pulled it out and there was a picture of a bride.
She looked at me and I looked at her. It was Mom. She was wearing a bride’s dress and simply looked beautiful. We thought, wow, I’ve never seen this. Jackie opened it up and we found beautiful pictures of all of Mom’s family.
However, the last couple of pictures were shocking.
They weren’t dad. They were pictures of a tall, blond man. We were shocked. Jackie quickly put it away back under the bed. I really was confused. I knew my parents had been married in Las Vegas and that was definitely not my father.
As soon as mom got back to Grandma’s house and we got her alone, Jackie said, “We found something in the bedroom.” Mom went to the bedroom with us and Jackie pulled the album out.
Mom said, “Oh that. I was married before.”
What? Mind blown. Hahaha we were so shocked. But my mother, you have to understand, Momma figured if she didn’t make a big deal out of something, then it wasn’t a big deal. She said, “Oh, it was annulled. That’s like it never happened.”
We had several conversations after that about this marriage and really, lack of a marriage. So, I shall tell this tale.
To start at the beginning, mother had a ton of boyfriends she dated throughout high school. She dated Ramon Erradaberry, her first boyfriend as well as Bud Affeldt and numerous other guys.
After graduating from high school, she went off to a college to become a dental assistant. Her parents moved from the Fresno Area to Stockton, CA in approximately 1948. She lived with her sister Kay until she graduated in 1949.
She briefly lived in San Francisco while at Dental Assistant school then moved to Stockton.
So she met Tim first. They were out cruising and the guy that dad was cruising with knew the girl mom was with. They ended up all in the same car and mom was in the front seat with dad. The car was full of kids. Tim pulled the car over on the side of the road and he kissed Jubie the first night they met. Jubie’s friend shouted “Juuuubbbbbie” because mother had let him kiss her. Jubie fell in love with Tim that night.
Now, I only know vague details on the rest of the story. I asked my mother, “If you met Dad first, how the hell did you marry Ted before you married Dad?”
She said that her parents didn’t like that her boyfriend was a Latin, as Jub would say. So, at some point, she met Ted Kuchenriter.
I know she and Ted were no love match. She said she walked down the aisle knowing that all her parents’ friends were out there and that her father was waiting for her. They had spent a lot of money on her wedding and she couldn’t disappoint them. So, she walked down the aisle, knowing she didn’t love Ted and couldn’t stay married to him. She loved Tim. She said she was doing him a favor, she didn’t love him and they would have only ended up divorced.
She had a pretty wedding and stayed married to Ted “for about two weeks” before she had the marriage annulled. I am not certain how long that time was but she said she never consummated her marriage. He went off to the Korean War and was overseas.
When Jubie had their marriage annulled, Ted came back. She said he was standing in front of her when she told him that she was ending their marriage. She said that if he had a gun in that moment he would’ve shot her, but as it was he took off his wedding ring and threw it at her. She didn’t care. She was in love with Tim and that was what she wanted.
She and Tim threw her wedding ring from her marriage to Ted into the lake.
She went back to Tim and they eloped. They ran away to Las Vegas with their friends Don and Shirley Honeychurch and got married. So she didn’t have the big wedding, lots of flowers, gifts and friends.
On the occasion of their 35th wedding anniversary, my siblings and I threw them the wedding party that they never had. I felt that their celebration was long over-due. Don and Shirley Honeychurch who had already divorced, were both there and it was a great night.
I think the lesson here is great. Your heart knows what it wants. People know, deep down, what they want. Times have changed. I know my mother was desperately afraid of disappointing her parents. Fear is a powerful motivator. But I think love is an even bigger, more powerful motivator. I can honestly say my parents love was real and never wavered. They loved each other until the end of their days. But, Momma puts it best, so I shall let my mother tell you herself.
I have resisted the idea of including my parents in this blog because my blog was for relatives who had passed on, relatives that my children would never get to know. I knew this would be a difficult post. My parents stay alive in my mind and obviously, this post would be much more personal. I watched Prince Harry of England say that he avoided speaking of his mother for years, because he knew it would be painful, he couldn’t bring her back and thus what was the point. His was a point I understood well. He said that he had to talk about her, feel the pain and be okay with it. I don’t think I’ll ever be okay with my mother’s absence but here we go.
It is difficult to speak of my mother without being sad but our relationship was so filled with love. No one loved me like my mother. She made each of her children feel that way. She was not perfect. I am aware of this fact. She was simply good. My mother had a good attitude about life. She was a positive person. As children of Depression Era parents, we knew our parents had experienced struggles and tough times. Their love, however, was and is so encompassing, they only needed each other to be complete. So, to begin at the beginning.
Ruby May Hardin was born on February 9, 1930, to Flora and Charles Hardin. She was born in Borger, Texas and as you can see her listed on the 1930 U.S. Census as two months old and that the complex where they live is inhabited by people who worked, as her father did, for the railroad.
Her mother had named her Ruby May but her father nicknamed her Jubie. That name stuck and she was known as Jubie her whole life. Jubie was the baby of the family and babied by everyone. Her closest sibling was Aunt Jean and Jubie would say that Jeanie would make every chore fun, no matter what the chore. By the time Jubie was six months old, they’d left Texas and moved to New Mexico.
Jubie had blue eyes, alabaster skin, freckles and bright red hair. When she went to school, she was made fun of for her freckles and red hair. The kids in her class called her turkey egg (apparently a turkey egg is speckled, a reference to her freckles). A friend of hers wrote us a letter after she passed and she said my mother had a reputation of being able to beat up any kid in the 6th grade. Momma didn’t take a whole lot of shit.
Life in the early 30’s was difficult and her father thought they could have a better life if they moved to California. Her father drove them to California in his old Touring Dodge.
They moved to California with two other families, the Coates and the McDonalds. They arrived in California in approximately 1933-1934 when Jubie was about 4 years old. She recalled living under the Woodson Bridge in Corning, California as they had no home when they arrived and camped out with lots of other families. Her father had a first cousin, Jack Trapp, living in Cottonwood, CA. Jubie wasn’t raised with a lot of family close by, so the Trapp family was the only family they had in California. Jack Trapp’s sister-in-law, Cora and Carl Smithers also lived in the area. These became my mother’s family and she played with all of their kids, Onera and Imogene Smithers and Doris Jean and Dorothy Faye Trapp.
They lived in Corning while Jubie was in 1st to 3rd grades then they lived in Yuba City from the time she was in the 4th to 6th grades.
Then they moved to Fresno. They lived at 255 Mariposa Street in Fresno. Then her father wanted to have acreage so they moved to Riverdale and leased 360 acres to farm cotton and alfalfa. They lived there until Jubie was in the 8th grade and her mother managed a frozen food company. Flora decided that her husband wasn’t making a living on the farm so Flora went into town and bought a house. That was the first house they ever owned. They lived in that house from the time Jubie was a freshman in high school until she was a junior. Then her father moved to Stockton in 1947.
My mother used to say she wasn’t fond of cats because she witnessed one being drowned but she did have a lot of animals. Her favorite animal was a sheep she named Lambie pie. Her first boyfriend, Ramon Erradaberry’s parents had a bummer lamb, one raised away from its mother and fed with a bottle. This was when they were living in Riverdale. Her lamb was a very loving animal and it was the first time Flora ever allowed a pet to be in the house. Lambie Pie slept in the kitchen near the free standing stove. They had that lamb for at least two years. Every day, the lamb and her dog would go down to the end of the lane and wait for Jubie to come home from school. One day Jubie went to town with her mother instead of going home after school. Lambie Pie was hit out on the road by a truck. Jubie wouldn’t allow anyone to eat her lamb and thus they took her home and buried her in the yard.
Momma was very close and enjoyed a great relationship with both her parents.
Mother’s closest friend outside of her family was Maybelle Geiger. They did so much together and mother just loved that lady. Later in life, one of the only times my mother left dad at home alone, she went to see Maybelle in Fresno.
Another best friend was Jeanene Christensen and Jubie became friends with her in Yuba City. Here is a cute picture of them together, along with a cute picture of Jubie with Jeanene’s mother, Mrs. Christensen.
Jubie went to school near where she lived. However, when she started high school, her sister Kathleen thought it best that Jubie be sent to a boarding school. Now, if you knew my mother, you knew what a baby she was and I could tell from a mile away that wouldn’t be a great choice for her, but off to boarding school she went. Mother cried every day. She called her mother daily. Finally, after six miserable months at Lodi Academy, a 7th Day Adventist School in Lodi, Mother was allowed to return home. Momma said one day when she was at boarding school, she had kitchen duty. Mother got up and wiped up tables and figured she had to sweep the floor anyway so she wiped the crumbs and tossed them to the floor. Her teacher screeched at her that it wasn’t the proper thing to do.
Mother had a wide array of friends and they used to go downtown to the movie theater on Saturdays. You could get in for a nickel and there would be a cartoon, a 15 minute serial, a news reel, then a double feature movie. They would stay there all day. On December 8, 1941 when Jubie was 11 years old, she was listening to the radio and heard the bulletin come on that the United States was entering World War II. She picked up the phone to tell her mother and her mother asked her, “Jubie, are you sure what you heard?” She said she was and it turned out she was correct. The U.S. had entered WWII and life changed again.
They listened to radio programs including the 15 minute mystery called “I love a Mystery” and starred Tony Randle. They listened to Our Miss Brooks and Fibber McGee and Molly. Everyone spent their evenings listening to these programs.
Flora had joined the workforce and thus Jubie was the person who would make dinner for her family. Her mother taught her how to cook and she was a wonderful cook. I could spend a 10 minute diatribe on how wonderful her biscuits were and yet you simply could not appreciate them without having experienced them. She made so many dishes well and she passed those dishes on to her children.. Her potato salad was also heavenly. When I make a dish like that, I always enjoy it just a little bit more when I think, oh Momma would have been really proud of this dish.
When Jubie was 18, her girlfriend Jeanene Christensen and her mother went to visit Jubie and the Hardins. Jubie thought she was all grown up, certainly old enough to do her own thing. She and Jeanene took off for San Francisco. They took Jubie’s car and left a note for Flora and Mrs. Christensen. Needless to say, this episode gave Flora a migraine headache and Mrs. Christensen was very upset. The girls checked into a hotel, walked around town and then went to dinner. They went back to the hotel and spent the night. They really didn’t do anything to be upset about, but Flora was certain they were going to be kidnapped.
Jubie moved to Stockton in 1949 as she stayed in Fresno with Kay and Dick from 1947 to 1949, so she could finish high school. She worked during the summers in the frozen food plant and made enough money to buy her own clothing. Jubie was a responsible person and she babysat for children. She would be paid in silk stockings since they were not sold in stores, but if you were in the army you could buy them in the PX. When they announced that the war was over, everyone in their town went outside and celebrated together. People were kissing people in the street, regardless if you knew them or not. It was a very exciting celebration and they were all just thrilled to death to be alive.
My mother had so many friends. I could build a border wall with the pictures of all of the weddings in which she was a matron. When she was 19, she and her friend Ellen Schneider and Ellen’s boyfriend Ray (he later married Ellen) took his car and drove to Canada. Ellen had been raised by Ukrainian parents in Canada. They had a wonderful time until Ray got sick with trench mouth, a severe gum infection.
Jubie was a joiner. She was in clubs and had a large base of friends.
I will continue my story on my next post. I knew going in, there was a lot of information to cover and I don’t want to overload anyone. Not to put too fine a point on it, we’ve arrived at my mother’s love life and it was an interesting period in her life. I have so many details of her life because after hearing Paul’s grandparent’s tapes of their lives, I decided I would record mother telling her stories. These were stories she had told me my whole life. I wanted to make sure I would get the details correct. I started interviewing my mother and we talked for about 45 minutes before we were interrupted by someone visiting. We turned off the tape and never got to continue it. I am grateful for the information and the chance to hear my Momma tell her stories once again.
John H. Bennett was born on July 4, 1870 in New Harmony, Utah to Nancy M. Taylor and George Bennett. It is important to understand the circumstances under which he was born in order to appreciate who he was. I am not a member of the church of Ladder Day Saints and the only information that I knew was that my mother-law’s family were LDS but didn’t realize that my father in law’s ancestors were, too. John Harvey was Grandpa Bill’s father. We know that Grandpa Bill was born in Canada and retired in Utah.
I did not appreciate how closely his ancestors were tied to the beginnings of the LDS church. It is difficult to tell his story and leave out the church so I will include bits and pieces so we can make sense of his life. My children often say the people who lived a long time ago aren’t our family. However, without those ancestors, my children would not exist. That is huge to me. There is an Ancestry.com card that says “If you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”
Okay, lecture over.
John H. Bennett’s story really begins with his parents. His mother Nancy M. Taylor and father George Bennett were born in Leyland, Lancashire, England. His father was born October 10, 1810. They first heard of the Mormon Church after the first missionaries arrived in England and they made plans to join the Saints in Zion. They left England in 1841 to many trials and tribulations. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 10, 1852, five months after the arrival of Brigham Young.
John H. was the fifth child born to his parents. His father had been called to assist in opening a town called New Harmony. While living in a log house with dirt floors, a dirt and straw roof and no windows, John was born. When he was six, the family moved back to Kaysville. Interesting to note that George Bennett had more than one wife. His second wife was Sarah Bennett.
When he was a boy, John was expected to work in the fields and help with the stock. At nine years old, he was left in charge of a large flock of sheep and lived in a camp wagon, moving the heard to greener pastures, as necessary. It was a lonely life for a boy but he accepted the responsibility. He made decisions which he acted upon and was a lesson that he used throughout his life.
I feel a kindred spirit from my family to Paul’s family. My family were sheep herders too. Must have been a lot of sheep.
John was a lover of horses and worked with a team and wagon. When he was sixteen, he left Kaysville and went to Hooper, living with his brother George and sister in law Mary Ann. While living there, he met a friend by the name of Adam Russell. They worked together on a horse power threshing machine for three harvest seasons. One time, they went to Ogden the day before Christmas and got a “little teed up.” Now, I will assume that means they were drunk. Ha! He was a fun Mormon. “They returned to Hooper and went to Grandma Parker’s home and she gave them strong coffee so they would be in shape to go to the dance that night. This was when he was courting Lyd”.
Dancing was about the only amusement they had and a dance was held every Friday night. John was a good dancer and very popular on the dance floor. Music consisted of violin, mouth-organ or accordion and sometimes they used a jaws harp and a pitch fork.
John was a lover of sports, too. Adam Russell said of him, “He loved sports and liked to run foot races and horse races and play baseball. He was very popular and liked by everyone. In fact, he was a great leader and everyone respected his opinions.”
It was during this time that he lived in Hooper that he met Eliza Ann Parker. Her gracious charm and kindness to everyone appealed to him and he started dating her for dances, horseback rides and strolls in the evening after church. After a courtship which lasted about two years, they were married in Hooper, Utah. Eliza’s wedding dress was made by Mamie Williams of a tan, silky material.
The night after the wedding, they had a wedding dance (how apropos). Relatives and friends came to the dance to wish the couple well and they danced quadrilles, waltzes and two steps. Eliza’s sister Rye said of them, “They were very much in love and very happy together.”
Isn’t that wonderful? I can’t always say that about my ancestors. Not all were in wedded bliss. But it was apparent these two were in love. So sweet.
After they married, they lived with her mother and John ran the farm for his mother in law. His brother in law Adam Russell (yes, Adam married Eliza’s sister Maria) told John he had a stable that he could have in exchange for a few days work as payment. John and Eliza fixed this up for their first home. Their first baby was a girl they named Nancy.
The summer after they moved in, John and Adam went to Nevada to put up hay for a rancher. Adam said, “We got up one morning and John said to me, “Ad, our baby is dead”. Adam made fun of him a bit for making such a remark but two hours later, the postman came and John’s remark proved to be true. There was a letter from his wife telling him that baby Nancy had died.
About a year before he’d married Eliza, John had driven a herd of cattle from Utah to Canada.
The rolling hills, the fertile soil and lush grasses together with the beautiful Rocky Mountains to the west appealed to him. After they were married, John again thought of moving to Canada. Soon after the birth of their fourth child, Mabel, he asked Eliza if she would move with him and she said she would go anywhere he wanted to go.
They began making plans and started out in a covered wagon with Levi Wheeler. Levi was married to Lovisa, John’s sister. Lovisa was a very dear friend to Eliza. They left in September of 1898 and traveled to Camas, Idaho where they stayed for the winter with relatives. Early the next spring, they set out again over the long weary miles to the Canadian border. After their arrival in Cardston they took up homesteads on land southwest of Kimball.
John arrived in his wagon with his wife, family and $10 in his pocket. They lived in the covered wagon the first year while preparing the virgin sod for planting their crop of wheat.
That summer, they collected enough logs to build a one room home. The nearest center to purchase supplies was 14 miles away so trips were rare. Money was scarce so purchased items were done by exchange.
Soon they moved to the Kimball Valley, closer to a school and church. In June, 1900 their first Canadian child was born, Zelma and 1902 baby Marlin arrived. Then, 1904 was the arrival of baby William George, named for his grandfathers but the tragedy of Eliza’s death arrived as well.
After the death of Eliza, John had a difficult time. She was the love of his life and he was left with six children under the age of 9. Family and friends helped him until he was able to locate a woman to come in and help care for his family. Her name was Jane Powell Empey. She had two daughters from a previous marriage. They eventually married and had six more children.
John goes on to be a leading citizen of his town, well respected and profitable. William George comes to love his step-mother Jane and she treated him very well. That is comforting to me. He really loved her and while a step-parent has a difficult job, to know that Jane was able to come in and care for and love those children of Eliza’s is nice to think about. The fact that Grandpa Bill loved her so much shows her character too.
This is just the beginning of John’s story, but what a great legacy of John and Eliza’s love.
Paul’s Grandfather Bill not only kept written biographies of his ancestors, he also kept numerous photographs. We are so lucky we can weave his words and photographs to give a complex picture of his history. I, for one, am grateful my children will have such a significant amount of knowledge of their ancestors.
Aunt Kay was born on May 1, 1924 in Trinidad, Colorado. Her mother Flora had been pregnant with Kathleen when her son Charles Jr. passed away. Grandma Flora used to say she would walk to the cemetery, two miles a day, and cried the whole way. Aunt Kay must have been very welcome to a mother who had lost a baby. Aunt Kay was the oldest surviving sibling and two years later, Virginia was born. Ruby came along in 1930. This branch of the Hardin family was complete. Kathleen moved with her parents from Colorado to Washington to Texas to New Mexico and finally to California. If I asked my mother a question and she couldn’t remember something, she’d say, “Let’s call Aunt Kay”.
Aunt Kay was the first to go to school and she went to boarding school as a young lady. She loved boarding school. Aunt Kay was a superior student and she excelled at everything. She loved being away at boarding school. I know this because my own mother, at Aunt Kay’s urging, was sent to boarding school too. Lodi Adventist Academy in Lodi, CA. Only my mother didn’t last very long. She would call her mother every night and cry until Grandma Flora finally let Ruby go home.
Mother’s real name is Ruby. Aunt Kay always called mother that. She never called her Jubie, as all of her other family members did.
My mother’s favorite story to tell of Aunt Kay growing up was the time a bird pooped in Aunt Kay’s mouth. Mother used to say Aunt Kay was being sassy one day and had been standing under a tree. Grandpa Hardin said something to her and Aunt Kay looked up with her mouth open, just as the bird pooped. My Mom would laugh every time she told that story.
This is a picture of Aunt Kay at age 14. I love the writing on the back of it. It says, “Imagine you’ll appreciate this picture. It’s sure wonderful, isn’t it? You surely must have been mad!” That makes me laugh. Aunt Kay must have been a fireball as a teenager.
Kathleen met Richard Paulson and began dating him. Grandma Flora used to pick up Uncle Dick and take him to visit Kathleen while she was in college. Dick’s mother, Mary Azadian Paulson, had been born in Bulgaria as her parents were traveling to Italy or France. As I have been researching my entire family, I have found very few “this person immigrated from this country” stories but Mary Azadian Paulson was cool because I found her Naturalization records.
The current fervor of the immigrant coming to the U.S. today really raises my ire. I believe we, as Americans, need to stop thinking of them as “immigrants” and remember that they are people. Not everyone is out to harm us. Okay, I’m off my soap box. However, Mary Azadian Paulson was a family woman. She was married to “Garabed B.” George Paulson who was born on March 29th, 1888 in Bardijag, Turkey. Their ethnicity was Armenian. They came into the US via New York and ended up in Los Angeles. Their children, Vivian Paulson Surabian and Richard were born in Dianuba, CA, just outside Fresno, California. George Paulson was a cabinet maker in a cabinet shop, by trade.
Uncle Dick served in the U.S. Navy for four years from 1942 to 1946. Kathleen Grace and Richard were married on April 1, 1946. They lived in the Fresno area. My mom said that she was in high school when they married and Flora and Charles were moving to Stockton. Ruby didn’t want to leave her high school in Fresno, so she moved in with Kay and Dick so she could finish her schooling.
Dick earned several degrees including a Masters Degree in Speech. He went on to become a College Professor at the Reedley Community College.
Their first child, Cynthia Ann Paulson, was born on September 11, 1947.
While Cindy wasn’t the first grandchild, (she joined her sister Jeannie’s first born, Bobby) Cindy was certainly the first granddaughter and very well loved.
My Aunt Kay was a Ornithologist by heart if not by trade. She took bird watching to a new level. She took many trips, including to Costa Rica, and was absolutely brilliant at naming different bird species. My mother was a little in awe of her bird watching abilities. I, myself, am no student of birds, but do love catching sight of them now and again.
There was a gap between her children on but April 2, 1960 Kevin Paulson was born. This started a second wave of grandchildren in the Hardin family. In short order, Kathleen had Kevin, Jeannie had James in 1960, Ruby had Jackie in 1961, not to be outdone, Kathleen had Kendall and Jeannie had John, both in 1961. Those Hardin sisters had a hell of a run. I was the last grandchild born in 1965.
On August 26, 1969, Cynthia married James Wilkinson. I was asked to be Cindy’s flower girl.
Cindy and Jim have two children, Janene and Matthew. When Janene got married, she asked my daughter, Taylor, to be her flower girl.
As Aunt Kay and my Mom grew older, they became really good friends. I think my mother was a bit in awe of Aunt Kay and mother had a tendency to compare herself to Aunt Kay. Every holiday that we celebrated with Grandma Flora, Aunt Kay’s family always came and Aunt Kay would bring fresh, home-baked rolls. Aunt Kay’s rolls were legendary and we were always relieved when she would arrive. Aunt Kay stayed a member of the Seven Day Adventist Church and her family was raised as vegetarians. I may know of some of my siblings and cousins who would sneak turkey to Kevin and Kendall. After Aunt Kay left the SDA church, she took to buying jewelry. This was a hobby my mother could get behind.
Ruby and Kathleen were able to take a trip to Montreal, Canada together. They were being presented with an award from the Shaklee Corporation that was named after Grandma Flora so they made the trip together to accept it. They had a great time.
They also went together to a Hardin family reunion and were able to travel to Alabama and to visit the home where Charles was raised. Ruby and Kay had so many wonderful times together.
This is what Aunt Kay inscribed on the back of the picture.
Later in life, Ruby took Jackie on a train trip to visit Aunt Kay in Fresno. Kay and Dick picked them up at the train station and they went to a movie and out to lunch. They went back to Aunt Kay’s and she made a meal with Phyllo dough. It was the first time Jackie had ever seen someone use that type of dough and Aunt Kay showed her how delicate it was and how to work quickly with it. That night, Ruby and Kay told stories about Grandma Flora and how it was when they were growing up. Aunt Kay made a wonderful breakfast then they took the train back to Stockton. It was special for Jackie to spend time alone with Momma (family of five, didn’t happen a lot) but this was a trip she will never forget.
I took Taylor as a baby with Momma and Daddy to visit Aunt Kay.
After my mother died, I didn’t get to see Aunt Kay much. She was getting on in age. She had watched her mother and sister Ruby both die from the same dreaded disease, breast cancer. She felt very strongly that, as a preventative measure, she should have both breasts removed. This was a very radical idea when she did it. Now, her foresight was certainly proven correct. I was really longing to see her so in approximately 2005 or 2006, I went with my brother Tim, Paul and I and our girls went to see Aunt Kay. We had a wonderful dinner prepared by Cindy and it was good to just see Aunt Kay. Taylor said later, Aunt Kay’s skin reminded her of her Grandma Jubie. I could certainly appreciate that.
Aunt Kay passed away on April 7th, 2014, one week after her 68th wedding anniversary, one month shy of her 90th birthday. Uncle Dick is still going strong at 95 and says he is planning to live to 100. I won’t be surprised. Taylor and I drove to Half Moon Bay to attend Aunt Kay’s funeral. It was good to be with my cousins and I was so glad I did. My mother would certainly have appreciated that we did that.
Kathleen was the last of the little Hardin family to return home, to each other. I am sure she was well received.
I had completed most of my Grandpa Jacques’ siblings but I did not get an opportunity to complete one for my great-aunt, Aunt Lucy. She was the second to the last Jacques daughter born to Juan N. and Anna Maria L. Jacques (I do tire of trying to figure out how each person in our family spelled Jacques) on January 8, 1897.
Funny how each of Juan N and Anna Maria’s last three children were all born in January…Onofre on January 6th, Lucy on January 8th and Celia on January 23rd.
This is one of my favorite pictures of these two. I estimate this picture was taken in approximately 1915 or so. Their gowns look to be a heavy brocade, probably silk, and detailed. Aunt Lucy has a large cross on a necklace; Aunt Celia has a large round disc.
Blanco, New Mexico was their home. They were brought up on a ranch and everything that goes along with being raised on a ranch.
I love this picture too. These girls were fun, and bad ass!
Lucy met and married Joseph Melaquias Alire on August 12, 1925.
A year later, Herbert Alire was born, followed by Max in 1927, Rudy in 1931, Orlando in 1936, Alfonso in 1937 and finally, a girl, Ana Marie Teresa in 1939
I love doing research. I run across a lot of people who are often researching the same person that I am researching and it is so nice to find gems once in a while. I was doing research on Aunt Lucy and I came across a lady by the name of Esther Acosta. She is married to a man by the name of Jay Alire, one of Aunt Lucy’s grandchildren. She had this one picture of the Alire family and so I was able to take a copy of it. What a great picture.
So Aunt Lucy’s family was in Denver, Colorado. All of her children lived there but she did come to California to visit her sister Celia. My dad took us to visit Great Aunt Celia a lot as we lived in the same town. We saw Aunt Lucy a few times. Her reputation preceded her. A lot of people would say she was grouchy and to be careful around her. However, I can honestly say I never saw her grouchy with anyone and she was very nice to me.
I know Aunt Lucy’s life wasn’t easy and I know I am short on details.
I had started writing a manuscript that took place in New Mexico, so of course my character had two great aunts that lived with her. One was fun loving, the other, a little sour at times but damn it that was so much fun to write. Aunt Lucy probably had a bit of a tougher life than Aunt Celia and on the 120th anniversary of her birth, I , for one, will never forget her. Happy Birthday Aunt Lucy…gone but never forgotten.
Well a new year has arrived. 2017…Here is to good times with family, good days ahead and good stories.
When we left off with Bill and Bea, they were living in Canada and had at last adopted Miriam and had a very fine little family.
Lloyd worked after school during high school, making $25 a month. When they had finished building their home, Lloyd didn’t want Bea to put her old coal stove into the new kitchen that had been built so he gave her $100 toward buying a new stove.
When the time came for Lloyd to go off to college, he was accepted at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Bea took in sewing to help pay for Lloyd’s schooling. Finally, on very short funds, Bill sold his violin to help pay for college. Bea cried over that for years but when Lloyd and Maxine were long married, they purchased a new violin to replace it.
Lloyd had been gone to college for a bit when a woman came to see Bea. She didn’t know her but the woman was from Simpson Sears Mail Order Office and she said she had heard of Bea and wanted her to come work at their office.
She and Bill had difficult times in their marriage but the one thing they agreed on was providing an education for their children. She went to work there and Bill was working for the Cahoon Hotel…(spoiler alert, Aunt Miriam married Golden Cahoon).
Bea and Bill had a number of people live with them over the years. This included their dear friend Irene who moved with them from England and was a help to Bea when Bill was off in the army. Irene had a sister by the name of Hilda and she married a gentleman by the name of Haydn and they stayed good friends with Bea and Bill over the years.
In 1953, she and Bill wrote to her parents and asked them to come back and live with them for a year. She and Bill sent tickets to them and they arrived in Christmas. It had been a long time since she had seen her parents. It happened that Lloyd graduated from the University of Utah while they were visiting so they were able to attend. After Lloyd’s graduation, they drove her parents to the Grand Canyon then to Knotts Berry Farm and other places in California before driving Lloyd and Maxine back to Salt Lake. Her parents really enjoyed that vacation and after they left the Grand Canyon, her father said, “We are having a millionaires holiday, mom, and it isn’t costing us a penny.”
They returned with her parents to Salt Lake that August as Lloyd and Maxine were getting married. They were very happy to be at their oldest grandchild’s wedding.
Daughter Miriam also had her first child during that trip so they were here in time to see Wendy born in March of 1954 (sorry to out your age, my dear, hahaha). Bea was the first person to hold Wendy after the doctor. Her parents returned home to England and their life settled into a normal routine once again.
Eventually, Darlene, their youngest, became unhappy in Canada and she went to Salt Lake, lived with Lloyd and Maxine and went to high school there. She went back to Canada but was itching to finish school in Utah. In 1956, Bill got the idea of moving to Salt Lake, too, and was very serious about it. Bea wasn’t keen on starting over. However, she finally told Bill that if he was able to sell their home, she would consider it. She really didn’t believe that would happen. Their home sold in the fall of 1956 and Bill went to Salt Lake first, to look for a job and to get them settled. Bill went to the Board of Education and got a job and purchased a house for them. Bea wasn’t happy and she sure didn’t like that house one bit. Darlene’s friend had gotten permission to move with them to Salt Lake. Bea went back to Canada for a bit, then asked her employer to hold her job for her while she decided if she really wanted to go to Salt Lake. They moved to Salt Lake for good and Bea set out to make that tiny house her home.
Darlene got married in 1959 to Henry Watkins then Bea left that night for England to see her siblings. It had been so many years since she had seen them and missed them terribly. This was the first time she had flown in a plane. She was very nervous but really loved it.
While there, she was able to return to her folks in Northampton, able to see her Aunt Poll who was in a nursing home by this time, saw her Uncle Sid and Aunt Frances and her dear friend Betty Cook Wilson who now lived in Gloucester.
Bea was walking with her parents by the railroad station when she asked her father if he had ever been to Wales, where his family originated. He said he hadn’t. She told him, “Well, today is the day.” She bought them three tickets to Abergavenney, Wales. It was a lovely valley, hilly and so beautiful. Bea asked her father if he knew anything about his family, but he said he only knew that his grandmother was named Phoebe and nothing else.
They found a place to stay for the night then visited the old church of St. Mary. When they arrived at the church, the organist was playing, “Praise My Soul The King of Heaven” and the sun was shinning. Her father said, “Girlie, I wish I could tell you something about my family but I only know that my grandfather, Emanuel Jackson married Phoebe but that was it.” As they stood there looking down the aisle where his grandparents had been married, a book fell open and there on the right side of the book were the names of his grandparents, along with the year they were married and the names of the witnesses to their marriage.
They walked over to Mill Street and found the house that her great-grandparents had lived in and where her grandfather was born. They went up to an old castle which was mostly in ruins. There was a ceremony going on and when she found out it was for a Mr. Jackson and that he was a Freeman of the Borough (Okay, Yvonne again. So, I am unclear on reading Grandma Bea’s words if, in fact, it was a direct relative or not but that is how it goes.)
She finally returned to Salt Lake after the most wonderful trip home. Bill was waiting for her at the bottom of the plane steps. She was glad to be home.
Bill and Bea lived happily in Salt Lake until about 1991 when they moved to Stockton. Lloyd had the annex turned into a room for them as he knew Bill’s health wasn’t great and that he couldn’t have Bea there taking care of Bill alone. Bill died on December 2, 1992. Taylor was just two months old and we all traveled back to Salt Lake for his funeral. Miriam Bennett Cahoon suffered from ALS and had died on August 8, 1973. She is buried in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. Darlene and her family arrived for Grandpa Bennett’s funeral, as did his Canadian grandchildren. A couple of nights after the funeral, Paul and I went with his cousin Rodney, Darlene’s only son, and his wife out for a few hours. My mother in law kept Taylor and Aunt Darlene kept Rodney’s little boy who was about two. Cousin Bill had driven us downtown and when he returned for us, he said, “Boy, your baby has been crying since you left.” I kinda freaked out and said, “My baby?” (Taylor was a good infant and I was so shocked) and he said, “No, theirs.” Turns out poor Darlene’s grandchild didn’t appreciate being left. That Taylor Bennett, however, was a trooper. Good as gold, her Grandma Maxine said.
Grandma Bea moved back to Stockton for good. Her Salt Lake home was sold and she lived with Lloyd and Maxine. My children all got to know her well. I spent many hours with her. One time, I took her and Grandma Maxine (after Lloyd had passed away) to a Thanksgiving dinner in San Francisco at my brother’s home. It was a really great night. I would take her shopping and to lunch and we would talk. She would tell me stories of her life and especially about her baby that she had lost. She still mourned his loss after all that time. In her ancestry book, she pasted a picture of Paul in the place where his picture would have been. She had nothing to remember him by, just his memory.
On December 18, 2005, Beatrice Mary Jackson Bennett, at the age of 96, went home to the people that missed her the most: her husband Bill, her parents Harry and Bea Jackson and her sons Lloyd Bennett, Baby Boy Bennett and her dear daughter Miriam.