Wednesday, February 5, 2014

 A Great Basin Cemetery (#52 Ancestors, #7)

Not all cemeteries are a green oasis.  Nevada, the central state in the Great Basin, is a land of high mountain ranges, wide basins, and scant rainfall -  about 13 inches a year.  Vast fields of alfalfa are irrigated from abundant basin groundwater supplies.  Not the local cemeteries.

Highway 50 passes through Dayton, Stagecoach, and Silver Springs in the western part of the state.  Each town has a small cemetery.  Desert Memorial Gardens is in Silver Springs.

I pass through on my way to my hometown and usually stop to enjoy the wide open spaces and the creativity of the memorials.

Cemetery guidelines call for a certain type of manufactured brick edging. There's little natural resources to work with.  White rocks, brown rocks, and sand are standard decorations.  And unlike many cemeteries, plastic flowers are allowed.  A single spigot is the only water source.  Feel free to take a load off on the wagon-wheel-themed bench.

Here's Roy William Franklin, "Beloved Son, Brother, Father, Uncle & Friend," with plastic daises and gold bowling pins knocked down like his last strike - his favorite sport and his final mark.

Nevadans are known for toting a special rock from a special place to a special grave.

Many Special Rocks!

- Side by Side in the Great Basin -

Desert Memorial Gardens is in the pink square.

Uncle David: Tall, Dark, and Handsome! (52 Ancestors #5)

My grandfather emigrated from Wales with his parents in 1878.  David Richard Gill and Ellenor Morrison had six kids—five boys and one girl.  My Uncle David Richard Gill (1894-1963) is one of this first native-born generation in my family.  He carries the family tradition of son with the same name as father, grandfather, and great-grandfather; his son and grandson.  All of the other sons have their mother’s maiden name as their middle name.

Uncle David Richard Gill was born February 25, 1894, in … Ogden?  Salt Lake City?  He lists Salt Lake on his WW I draft registration and Ogden on his WW II draft registration.

Six-year-old schoolboy David lives with his family at 147 7th West Street, Salt Lake City.  The 1910 census puts 16-year-old David at 824 Hoyt Ave, as an “apprentice tire maker” and “driver”.  A 1912 city directory lists 18-year-old David as chauffeur, living at 824 Hoyt Avenue, about the same time that John Jacob Astor went down with the Titanic.

Somehow, David makes his way to the Snake River basin – a country of wide, arid plains and rolling hills, bordered by high mountains.  The Snake River is the boundary between Idaho and Washington.  David lived in Lewiston and Nez Perce, Idaho; Clarkston and Highland, Washington.  Lewiston is in Nez Perce County; Nez Perce is in Lewis County, Idaho; Clarkston and Highland are across the Snake River in Washington.  Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery named these places.  The Lewiston ferry crossed the river until 1913, when the tolls were removed from the Lewiston-Clarkston bridge in 1913.

At the outbreak of World War I, the United States pursued a policy of non-intervention, but was eventually drawn into it.  President Wilson called for war and the U.S. Congress declared war on April 6, and passed the Selective Service Act on May 18, and 2.8 million men were drafted.

David registered for the draft, June 5, 1917.  His World War I draft card
23 years old; Home address City Hall, Lewiston; car tire repairman, Kaddatz Tire Vulcanizing Co at 311 Main Street, Lewiston; single, tall, slender, blue eyes, light hair. 
One week later, he marries local girl Mable Adams on June 12, 1917, in Nez Perce, Idaho.  The war ended in summer 1918, and David and Mable head back to Salt Lake City, where a 1919-city directory places them at 258 N 8th West, with his parents.  The 1920 census places David, Mable and their 2-year-old daughter, Geraldine, with his parents in Salt Lake City; he’s 25, a mechanic at Karl Winger auto shop.

The couple is in Clarkston, Washington, in 1929, where 11-year-old Geraldine dies January 18, 1929.

The 1930 census lists David and Mable on 8th Street in Highland, Asotin County, WA; he’s a Fireman. 

David marries Katherine Shepler on March 17, 1934, in Spokane.  He’s 40, she’s 30.  In 1940, they own a home at 301 5th Avenue with 2-year-old Richard David (aka Dee Richard Gill, 1938 - 2009).

As with WWI, the United States stayed out of World War II until the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.  Although he’s 42, David has to register for another draft.  His draft registration card:
Idaho; April 27, 1942; 301 5th Ave, Lewiston; telephone 292 R, 47 YO, spouse, Mrs. Kathryn S Gill; Employer, City of Lewiston, City Hall, Idaho.  5’11-3/4, 158 lbs, blue eyes, dark brown complexion; burn on inside left leg, scar on upper lip.  He signs the card “D. Richard Gill”.
David was a member of the Lewiston Fire Department for 38 years, retiring in 1959 as chief of the department.  A post in the local paper reports David in the ER for a "laceration on face", which could explain the scar on upper lip.

David died on May 25, 1963, 69 years old, in Lewiston, Idaho.  He is buried in the Normal Hill Cemetery, where he and wife Kathryn (1906-1994) share a red granite double monument along with Stacy Jean - wait, who’s Stacy Jean – haven’t found any information.  She was born after David Richard died.

Kathryn was a member of Order of Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, past president of Ladies Auxiliary of Western Fire Chiefs and secretary to the Idaho State Senators in 1965.  The two symbols above her name are the five-pointed star, the symbol for the Order of the Eastern Star (letters OES around the star); the scimitar and rose, the symbol for Daughters of the Nile - an International fraternal organization for women who are related by birth or marriage to a Shriner or Master Mason. 

David was a Freemason (square and compass with the letter G). I do not know what the little cross with rose and leaves represents.  

The single rose above Stacy Jean represents purity or death in childhood.

My summer road trip will be to Lewiston.  It's beautiful country with loads of history.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Plethora of David and Richard (52 Ancestors, #6)

My grandfather emigrated from Wales with his parents in 1878.  David Richard Gill and Ellenor Morrison had six kids—five boys and one girl.  My Uncle David Richard Gill (1894-1963) is one of this first native-born generation in my family.  He carries the family tradition of son with the same name as father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

There are nine men named David Richard on the paternal side of my family tree:  great-grandfather, grandfather, uncle, paternal first cousin, first cousin once removed, second cousin once removed, cousin Earl’s son, cousin David’s son, and a half-brother – five generations of Gill men.  And most of them have blue eyes.

If a boy isn’t named David Richard, he has his mother’s maiden name as his middle name.  That’s just how it’s done, and it’s how you keep the child-mother connection straight in cases of plural marriage or second, third, and fourth marriage.

This handsome guy is great-grandfather David Richard Gill (1838-1906).  He emigrated from Wales to Utah with five of his 13 children.