Monday, January 27, 2014

When One Wife Isn’t Enough (52 Ancestors #2 Frank’s 1st Family)

Like many people, my  father was married twice. Frank Morrison Gill was very young when he started his first family.  He was 21, living in Salt Lake City with his parents in 1925.  One year later, 1926, he was 22, living in Ruth, Nevada, and married.[1]  Jennie “Peggy” Holmquist was 20.  By 1930 they had two children: One-year-old Ora was named after Frank’s mother and 4-month-old David was names after Frank’s father.[2]  Peggy was back in Utah in 1935.  Daughter Ora Eleanore Gill died in Park City, Utah, May 7, 1935, of “septic sore throat, tonsillitis”.[3]  Their son, Richard David Gill, lived until 1998.  He was married and divorced; served as PFC in the Korean Conflict. 

Frank lived in Ruth the rest of his life, through his second marriage to my mother, through the change from steam locomotive to Euclid dump trucks, and through the death of his nephew (Uncle Bunny).  And he was rarely any fun.  Frank's mother warned his women "Don't marry him.  He has a terrible temper.  He was in reform school.  He's a drunk and a wife beater.”

Ruth is a copper mining town in White Pine County in eastern Nevada.  In its heyday, it was the largest open pit mine in the world.  Frank drove steam locomotive in and out of the open pit for Kennecott Copper. 
After work, it was off to the Commercial Club, a mine town saloon.  Frank drank Sunny Brook whiskey; there was always a quart in the fridge. 

Frank is buried in the Ely Cemetery, on a hill overlooking the town.  The date on Frank’s grave marker is wrong.  The original interment record states, “9 Dec 1895 (1905) SLC, UT – 2 Jul 1971.  In WP for 46 years. KCC locomotive engineer”. 
Ely has a steam locomotive museum.  The Nevada Northern Railway Museum runs the old train on the original tracks in the summer.  It’s about the most fun you can have in Ely.


[1] Western States Marriage Index, 1809-2011.
[2] 1930 United States Federal Census, Ruth, Nevada.
[3] Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1956, index and images, FamilySearch.

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