Monday Mystery

Which genealogical society in the state is in the most northwestern corner? The Clallam County Genealogical Society!

This little-but-thriving group, organized first in 1981, owns its own building, and boasts a library of over 3,000 books. The main thrust of their collection is Clallam County materials and boy-oh-boy do they have a gold mine of information.

Now you may think genealogy in this far-northwest county would be mostly of Native Americans. Hardly. A dear friend who is fourth generation living there told how her Civil War widowed great grandmother came from the Midwest to Port Angeles in 1896. Think of that journey! By rail to Seattle and then by boat to Port Angeles as there were no roads. One reason might have been that President Abraham Lincoln had established Fort Worden nearby in Port Townsend and had set aside land in Port Angeles for Civil War soldiers.

The GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) had a very active post in Port Angeles beginning in 1889. In 1892, a soldiers’ colony from Michigan relocated to the area to work in the timber industry.

The 1900 population of Port Angeles was nearing 2500 souls. And they came from somewhere else, mostly.

Next time you think to visit the Olympic Peninsula, stop in at the Clallam County Genealogical Society. It’s worth your time for sure.

Monday Mystery

The construction of Grand Coulee Dam was a boon for Washington and the entire USA. No argument. But did you realize that many little settlements along the river were drowned and many, many cemeteries and grave sites were buried beneath the water…..forever?

Quoting from a Spokesman Review article from 25 March 1939:

“Undertakers of the state will vie with one another this spring for the biggest mass burial contract in the history of the state. Bids will be called soon for the removal of a thousand graves of Indians and whites within the area to be flooded by Columbia River backwater above Grand Coulee Dam.

“The plan calls for giving the contract to a licensed undertaker. He and a crew of men (preference is to be given to Indian workmen) will dig up the remains along the river shore. Most of the Indian remains will be taken to main Indian cemeteries at Keller and Inchelium. Heirs of white people…..have been notified of the removal plans. The bureau will re-bury their relatives in graves near by, or if it is desired to move the remains to burial grounds far away, will deliver the caskets to relatives.”

Monday Mystery

There are three National Cemeteries in Washington. Know where they are? Tahoma, near Tacoma, is one. The next is near Medical Lake (Spokane). The third is tiny 1.7 acre Fort George Wright cemetery, established before 1900 when the city of Spokane gave land to the government to get the fort established.

Some 669 persons lie resting there, interred before the cemetery was closed to burials in 1959. At one time, there was a bitter fight between those wanting “urban development” and those wanting to preserve the cemetery. Lucky for Spokane, U.S. Rep. Thomas S. Foley spoke up and in 1965 plans to abandon the cemetery were changed. Now the Air Force, with personnel from Fairchild AFB, maintains the cemetery. A list of those buried there is available online.

It’s a lovely place to go walking. The cemetery lies on a bluff with a winding road, and various gravel paths, leading down to the Spokane River.

Monday Mystery

Is it a mystery to you what your grandmother’s kitchen might have looked like? Some of us are lucky enough to be able to still visit that ancestral home but many are not so lucky.

This is supposed to be a typical 1928 kitchen….. note the icebox, woodstove, two faucets for water (at least there was running water!) and the stool by the sink. And I read that pink and light green were “the” colors of choice.

Your public library has back issues of many womens’ magazines of the period. You can request them via your library and then page through all the “funny pictures.” How about Better Homes & Gardens of the 1930s? Good Housekeeping published from 1910? Sunset magazine which has been around since 1898?

Is yours today a retro kitchen? Do you have an icebox???????

Monday Mystery

Good last-Monday-of-March morning! The snow is mostly gone, the bluebirds are back and I-90 is open for east and west travel. The “mystery” today is how come you dear genealogists reading this post aren’t coming to Spokane to enjoy a day with Sunny Jane Morton.

Sunny is a 100% top notch, gold plated BigWig in the genealogy world today. Click to some of her YouTube videos and you’ll be taught and delighted. She is coming to Spokane on Saturday, April 6th, for an all-day seminar. Click to for more information and to register. She’s offering us four cracker-jack presentations that day.

Tiz an easy 5-hour drive coming west on I-90 and Spokane has plenty of motels available. Come over Friday morning and spend the afternoon in the genealogy section of our downtown Spokane Public Library.

Perhaps what you learn from Sunny Morton will help to solve a mystery in your genealogy. You think?

Monday Mystery

Mystery solved! At least for me. My mother used to explain to me that in days of yore, crawling babies were dressed in long dresses so that the bottom of the dress could be put under the bed post to keep baby safe while mother was outside fetching wood or hanging laundry. Made sense to me.

A post by Lisa Louise Cooke, penned by Allison DePrey Singleton, gives a parallel explanation. Initially, babies were swaddled, meaning they were wrapped tightly in cloth from head to toe so their arms and legs would stay straight. Once out of swaddling, parents dressed their children in long skirts to prevent their crawling about, which was considered “barbaric and unnatural.”

Really? Love Lisa Louise Cooke’s blog and podcasts…. so full of good information and wonderful tidbits of history.

Monday Mystery

Big question today: Were our ancestors smarter than we are?

Not talking about intelligence, but just plain ole smarts.

Reason I ask: Just got back from a trip involving air travel. Day after I got back I read this in my Sunday paper that the TSA folks just shared that 4,239 firearms were found in carry-on bags coming through airport checkpoints in the U.S. last year, an increase of about 7% over the number found in 2017. And nearly 9 out of every 10 of those firearms were loaded and more than a third had a round chambered!!!

Factoids like that do make me wonder. Yah, our ancestors went over Niagara Falls in barrels but that never hurt anybody but them.

Monday Mystery

It’s a mystery to me and perhaps to you too?

Last week, sitting in my home in Spokane, I listened to a live webinar where the moderator was in Texas* and the speaker was in Israel*. And we were all “talking” together!

It’s a wonderful “mystery” to me and I’m just glad I’m alive in these days to benefit from such advancements.

  • Geoff Rasmussen, Legacy Webinars
  • Daniel Horowitz, MyHeritage

Monday Mystery

Today is a Monday Mystery Solved….. most happily.

A bit in my paper for 13 Feb 2019 told of a remarkable find. While demolishing part of Jeffersonville High School in Jeffersonville, Indiana, workers found a little black purse. The purse contained a prom invitation, photos, a lipstick, and some Juicy Fruit gum wrappers. The purse belonged to Martha Everett and she lost it six decades ago.

Quoting from the paper: Greater Clark County Schools spokesman Erin Bojorquez said the district was able to track Everett ‘thanks to the power of social media’ after a Facebook posting about the purse. Now 82-years-old, Martha Everett, now living in Florida, received her lost little purse in the mail.

Imagine her surprise!

Monday Mystery

Know where the World’s Largest Egg Sculpture is?????

Did you guess Winlock, Washington, in Lewis County?

In the 1920s Lewis County was the second largest egg producer in the U.S. So they have this wonderful statue, which they often repaint as the mood strikes, to celebrate their “eggy” history.