Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Uncle Harry with the Transposed Numbers (52 Ancestors, #4)

1896-1986, transposed or for real?  For real.  Harry Morrison Gill was born December 16, 1896[1], and died November 1, 1986[2], both in Salt Lake City.  Young Harry finished high school and worked a few jobs before becoming a mechanic and starting his own garage (Old Mill Garage) in 1922.  He was a garage owner and operator his whole life. 

Like most of the men in the family, he had blue eyes.  He registered in June 1918 for the World War I draft but was not called up.  His signature on the draft card is very stylish with flourishes on the “H”
Two months later, Harry and Chirl Edna Smith married on August 26, 1918.  Their first child, a daughter, was stillborn September 17, 1919.  They went on to have two more children: Lois Elaine (1920-1994) and Dee Morrison Gill (1924-2009). 

Chirl died from breast cancer in 1936, she’s only 34.  Chirl has a nice memorial page on Find A Grave (#119284059).  She is linked to her parents and son, Dee Morrison Gill, but not to husband Harry.  There is no grave marker.
I have not found any record of marriage, but the 1939 city directory lists Harry & Mary at 303 W So Temple, the address of the garage and home for the last seven years.  The 1940 census shows Harry and Mary renting at 342 West South Temple.  He’s 42, she’s 26.  The city directory lists them until 1960.  There are no further records for Harry until his death in 1986 in Salt Lake City.  No burial record has been found.  Ditto for Mary nee: ????.

[1] "Utah, Salt Lake County Birth Records, 1890-1915," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11708-27027-22?cc=1464677&wc=11059666 : accessed 28 Jan 2014), 004121037 > image 350 of 405.
[2] "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/J1BV-YMC : accessed 28 Jan 2014), Harry Gill, November 1986; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).

Monday, January 27, 2014

Where Did Uncle George Get Too? (52 Ancestors, #3)

My grandfather and grandmother emigrated from Wales in 1878.  David Richard Gill and Ellenor Morrison had six kids—five boys and one girl—the first native-born generation in my family.  My father, Frank (1904-1971), was the youngest.  His brother George Morrison Gill (1899-1992), was next to youngest.  As was the custom, all of the children have the mother’s maiden name as their middle name.

Uncle George was the family photographer and a professional shutterbug.  George was working by 16, as delivery boy, apprentice, and even as a reporter for the Herald.  He started his photography career as a printer at Lumiere Studio.  George and Einer Lignell started their own studio in 1933 as Lignell & Gill. 
George registered for the World War I draft in 1918.  Like many Welshmen, he had blue eyes. 

George married Faye Juanita Bunnell on March 2, 1922, in Bountiful, Utah.  There were no children and the marriage ended in 1928.  The next year, 1929, George married Inez Durkee in Price, Utah.  They were married until Inez died in 1987. 
George and Inez owned a home at 1552 Bryan Avenue, where we visited in the summer.  We lived in Ruth, Nevada, at 7,000 feet where it was never really hot.  I still remember the miserable heat in Salt Lake.  The three little mine brats wilted in it. 

I still have the framed set of photos from our first summer visit. George placed a dining room chair in the garden.  One after another, he “shot” us.  The three photos show Diane, the youngest at 9 months, held up to keep her from falling over; me and Patsy (the oldest) in matching pinafores that mother made.  
Years later on another summer visit, we went to the movies with some cousins.  We saw the original “The Thing” (1951), with James Arness as The Thing.  Diane would run out to the lobby when she got scared, which was often; she had nightmares for years!! 

And then the strangest thing happened – George disappeared.  I trace him to a death certificate, but no burial location.  Same with Aunt Inez. 

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.