Adah Gertrude (Hescock) Sannar

Adah and James Sannar

Adah was a tiny woman, standing less than 5′ tall, but with a big spirit.  She was my great-grandmother and I remember her as always smiling. So happy to see us when we would drive across the rickety wooden bridge in her driveway and pull up to the little white cottage where her and her son Jimmy lived.

Great-Grandma’s house was on the outskirts of Milton-Freewater, Oregon, up against a large grass covered dike.  Her husband, Frank, had been gone for many years before I was born so I only knew the place as great-grandma’s house.  She had an orchard, or at least quite a few apple tree’s that I remember and a large chicken coop with what seemed like to me as hundreds of white birds.  I always liked when she would get a basket and go out to the chicken coop with us kids to gather eggs.

Grandma had a little dog named Clementine.  I don’t know what breed she was but she was a little white dog with some black on her ears and face.  That little dog was old and blind but I loved her.  I remember being heartbroken when she died and was no longer there to greet us when we came.

There was an irrigation ditch that ran behind grandma’s house.  It was fun to play around the ditch in the summertime, betting each other to hop over it and try not to splash in.  It always smelled wonderful out there because wild mint grew all over the place.  We always picked some to chew on while we played.

Sannar, James Orval

Uncle Jimmy, James Orval Sannar, always lived with great grandma.  Like I mentioned, she was a tiny lady and had a hard time giving birth.  When Jimmy was born, forceps had to be used and the procedure caused brain damage. Jimmy was simple but I sure loved him.  He helped grandma around the place and raised his own flock of chickens.  When I think of Uncle Jimmy, I always picture him in his favorite old rocking chair. It was a wooden Mission-style chair with a leather seat.  In my mind, Jimmy is sitting there rocking with that wonderful grin on his face that he always wore.

Great-grandma baked quite often and would freeze the pies that she made from the fruit on her tree’s.  She always had a freezer full of pies and when we would come to visit, each of us kids would take turns picking the kind of pie that we wanted for dessert. What a treat that was!  Another thing I always remember from grandma’s kitchen was her green beans. I call that kind “cooked-to-death green beans” now and still love them.  They are cooked in a saucepan on top of the stove with bacon or even just bacon grease in them and boiled almost to death. So good!

My mom didn’t really like eating at great-grandma’s house because Uncle Jimmy was in charge of washing the dishes so they were never very clean. Jimmy also didn’t have very good table manners and would burp and fart whenever the urge took him.  I was a kid and didn’t mind at all. Of course in my eyes, Uncle Jimmy couldn’t do much wrong.

Great-Grandma’s full name was Adah Gertrude Hescock.  She was born on September 16th, 1895 in Nelson Township, Ohio to Ward Beacher Hescock and Ida June (Goodsell) Hescock.  Adah was the third of four children born to the couple, though her oldest brother had died at birth.  Her sister, Anna May was two years older.  In 1899, the girls welcomed another little sister, Mildred.

In the 1900 census, the Hescock family was living with Irad Goodsell, Adah’s grandfather, on the family farm in Nelson, Ohio.  Ward, Adah’s father was farming the land with his father-in-law.  There were two hired hands at the time, one 19 year old girl who was helping in the house and one 19 year old boy who was a farm laborer.

Very soon, the Hescock family pulled up stakes and moved West.  Sadly in 1902, Adah’s mother passed away.  She is buried in Dixie, Washington.

My oldest sister, Susan, went to stay with our great-grandmother for a couple of months in the spring of 1981.  Grandma was 86 years old, had suffered a heart attack and needed help remembering when to take her medications.  Susan had graduated from high school and was waiting for the job that she had taken in Wyoming to start, so she was able to go and help grandma out.  During this time, great-grandma shared a few stories with Susan.  One of them is about the time that her mother had passed away.  Grandma was six years old and sent back to Ohio to stay with relatives.  We’re not sure if her sisters were sent with her or if she went alone, or who she actually stayed with.

She talked about her aunts making picalilli, which is a relish of pickled vegetables and spices.  Susan remembers that great-grandma thought it was tart and didn’t care for it very much.

When Adah’s dad remarried about a year later, he sent for her to join them in Oregon.  She was seven years old and rode a train out, then her dad picked her up in a surrey from the station in La Grande.  They drove over Minam/Smith Mountain and on into Promise. She remembered there being fringe on the top of the buggy.

Adah’s father had married a widow by the name of Maryanne Swearingen Griffith.  Maryanne had three children of her own, so it would have been a large blended family of six kids right from the beginning.  When the couple had met, Maryanne told Ward that she would marry him if he would build a house big enough for all of their children and big enough for more kids to come.  He did, building it by hand and presenting it to her as a wedding gift.  Adah would welcome three half brothers as the years went by – Wilbur, Verne, and Glenn.  She was 13 years old when the oldest, Wilbur was born. 9 siblings in all!

On November 28th, 1912 Adah married James Franklin Sannar, “Frank”, in Wallowa, Oregon.  Just seven short months later — yikes! —- the couple welcomed their first daughter, Ida Ann, on the 30th of June 1913 in Promise, Oregon where they lived.

Several children were to follow – some dying in childbirth and one little boy, Woodrow, passed away from pneumonia when he was only 3-1/2 years old.  You can read more about the children and Adah’s husband, Frank, here.

I have mentioned that Adah was a tiny lady.  She said that each of her babies was bigger than the last.  When Jimmy was born the doctor advised them to not have any more children as it might possibly kill her.  She shared with Susan that there was one more baby after Jimmy but she wasn’t able to deliver it and the baby died in childbirth.  The doctor had to remove the baby after it died.  I can’t imagine what a terrible and heartbreaking experience that must have been.

Great-grandma also told Susan a story about a day that the dogs were chasing a grouse.  The grouse flew through the open door right into the house to get away from the dogs.  Grandma caught it and wrung it’s neck, then cooked it up for dinner. It was a blessing, because she wasn’t sure what they were going to eat that particular day.

The years passed and the children grew.  In 1944, Frank and Adah sold their home on Diamond Prairie Road in Wallowa and moved to Milton in Umatilla. This is the place that I remember and loved.

On the 16th of December, 1950 Adah became a widow at the age of 55.  Her father, Ward Hescock, lived in a small house on the same property, so Adah had help around the place.

My own personal stories of Adah take place in the 1970’s, when I was a child.  I remember at one point, when she was 80 years old, saying how she just wasn’t any good for anything anymore because she could no longer get clear up on the top rung of her old rickety wooden orchard ladders to pick fruit.  No one should have ever been on top of those ladders, especially an eighty year old woman!

Adah and Jimmy were both admitted to a long-term care center sometime in 1981.  Adah passed away on the 27th of December, 1982 at the age of 87.  She is buried in the Milton-Freewater IOOF Cemetery next to Jimmy and Frank.

Sannar, James Franklin and Adah Gertrude Headstone - Milton Oregon

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Please please share your memories and picture of Adah with us!  Either leave them in the comments here or send me a private message or an email.  I would love to add your memories to this story!

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Great Grandma Sannar would probably be the oldest relative that I remember. She lived in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. She lived on a small farm.  Her and Uncle Jimmy.  He raised Banty chickens and they had a fruit orchard with apricots and little fruit tree’s with an irrigation ditch running through the property with little bridges over it.  It was fun to go play on the farm. ”  ~ Stacey Sannar Roth

“Jimmy and his little wooden slat coops around the yard where he would pen his banties up every night. Grandma’s white house with the red trim, big flower beds in front and massive trees shading the yard was always a welcoming sight. And yes, grins on both Grandma’s and Jimmy’s faces a mile wide. Sweet Clementine was a little terrier of some sort. Grandma’s green beans were her own variety, saved from previous generations of green beans. I once asked Grandpa what type of beans she grew because i haven’t found any that taste so good. He didn’t know either as she’d always dried and saved some of the seeds back to plant again in the spring. And she really did have hundreds of white leghorn hens. Two chicken houses were on the property, but she cut back to only one house with 100 hens later on.
And Jimmy’s boxing gloves he’d gotten as a gift years ago. Always dug them out when we showed up – “Tommy, wanna fight?”.
Sweet, sweet memories.”  ~ Susan Sannar Pawley

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(Adah is my great-grandmother.  She is the mother of Charles Alvin Sannar.)

Sannar, Adah Gertrude Hescock Line

 

 

 

 

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Mary Ann Hulse Hovey

Hovey, Mary Ann Hulse

Mary Ann Hulse was born in an area of Manchester, England called Ardwick on the 26th of November in 1848.  Her parents were Charles Wesley and Ann (Smith) Hulse.  Mary had one big brother, Henry Edward. She was the second born of thirteen children.  The rest of Mary’s siblings would be born in the United States.

Ardwick was a factory town at this time, full of railroad’s, factories, and terraced housing.

Manchester Napier St. (2) - Ardwick

(This picture comes from the Manchester Photographic Archives and would have been very similar to the housing of the village at the time Mary Ann was born.)

Little Mary Ann was baptized on the 23rd of May. 1849 in the parish of St. Simon and St. Jude on Granby Row in Manchester.  This parish was part of The Church of England and was founded in 1842 but closed in 1906.

Shortly after Mary’s baptism, the family left England bound for the United States of America.  They landed in New York where they stayed with a cousin of Charles’ for a couple of weeks before moving on to Tiverton, Rhode Island where Mary’s dad had found work.  The Hulse family stayed in this area for five or six years.  It is my understanding that while here, they had joined the Mormon religion.  Around 1858, they moved to an area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania due to persecution of their religious beliefs.

In 1862, when Mary was 13 years old, the family traveled to Omaha, Nebraska and joined up with other Mormon pioneers traveling to Salt Lake City under the guidance of Henry W. Miller.

Mary got a new baby brother while they were on the trail, but a two year old little sister, Amelia Emma, died along the way.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to have to bury her and leave her behind.

The company reached Salt Lake City in mid-October of 1862.  The Hulse family settled in Millville, Utah, about 80 miles north of Salt Lake.

Mary was just 17 years old when she married Joseph Grafton Hovey II on June 8th, 1866 right there in the couple’s hometown of Millville.

A little over a year later, the couple’s first child was born, a daughter, Martha Ann.  Over the next thirty years, twelve children would be born. Two little girls would die while still small.  Mary Ann was 48 years old when their youngest daughter, Nesta was born. Holy cow! She had to have been exhausted by then.

joseph-and-mary-ann-hovey-family-photo

(The Joseph and Mary Ann Hovey Family)

Joseph and Mary Ann raised a large family.  They were active within their church and farmed their land.  Both Joseph’s and Mary Ann’s families lived nearby and were all active in their community.

On April 14th, 1908 Joseph passed away.  Mary Ann was a widow at 59 years old. The couple had been married for just short of 42 years.

In the 1910 census, Mary is now listed as a farmer, farming the land where the couple raised their family.

I can’t find her in the 1920 census, but she shows up again in 1930 at the age of 82.  Mary is now living in Hyrum, Utah with her daughter and son-in-law, John and Nesta Lauritzen.  Hyrum is just about 5 miles away from Millville, so she didn’t go too far.

Mary Ann passed away on the 15th of April in 1934 at the age of 85 years old.  Her cause of death is listed as bronchitis on her death certificate.

Hovey, Mary Ann Headstone - Millville, Utah City Cemetery

Mary Ann and Joseph are buried next to each other in the Millville City Cemetery in Millville, Utah.

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(Mary Ann is my 2nd great-grandmother.)

Hovey, Mary Ann Hulse Line

Amy Mae Hovey Dallas

walter-and-amy-dallas

Amy grew up in the heart of Mormon country.  Her daddy had traveled over the Mormon Trail in an oxen drawn wagon and arrived in Utah when he was only 9 years old.

When Amy Mae Hovey was born on the 26th of August in 1885, the Hovey family lived in Millville, which is about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City.  Most families in the area were farmers or worked at one of the two local sawmills.  Amy’s father, Joseph, was listed on various census’ as both “Farmer” and “Woodcutter”, so I think we can safely bet that he not only farmed the land but also worked at one of the sawmills to supplement the families income.

Amy’s parents were Joseph Grafton Hovey II and Mary Ann Hulse Hovey.  Amy was the 8th born of twelve children. It must have been a busy and bustling family!  They were part of the LDS faith.  Home life would have been centered around family, work, school, and church.

When Amy was 22, her father passed away from an enlarged heart. Her youngest sister was only 10 years old.

On December 22, 1909, Amy married Walter Clark Dallas in Clawson, Idaho.  Clawson is a small town in Teton county, Idaho.  Amy’s life would be full of excitement and adventure as Walter’s wife.  The first year of their marriage, the couple lived as boarders in Jackson, Wyoming where Walter was working as a government fur trapper.

On the 24th of April, 1911, Amy and Walter welcomed their first child, Irma Ann followed by a son, Walter Hovey in 1912.  All told, they would have twelve children.  My own grandmother, Leoma Nesta was born on April 28th, 1920.  She was the 7th of the twelve kids.

One family story is about the birth of the eleventh child, Mary Ireta.  Mary came too quickly and it seems that Walter helped Amy to deliver her right on the floor of their kitchen in Vinyard, Utah.  It was 1925 and Amy was 39 years old.

Their youngest son, Billy, was born two years later when the family had moved to Oregon.  The Dallas family was living in Jerome Prairie, Oregon and Walter was a gold miner.

By 1940, Walter and Amy had moved their family once again. They were living in rural Plumas county, California.  Walter was once again mining.

From everything we know, listening to my grandmother talk about her parents, it seems that Walter and Amy had a deep love for each other.  I’m sure that made it easier for her to uproot her family time and again to move on to the next adventure.  From Utah, to Idaho, to Wyoming, back to Utah, on to Oregon, and finally California.  They never stayed in one place for too long.

Walter died on June 7th, 1943.  They had been married for 34 years.

I remember seeing pictures of my great-grandmother Amy, pictures that I don’t have copies of, where the large goiter that she had was visible.  She was a beautiful lady, even with the goiter.  Grandma always said it was caused from an iodine deficiency, but knowing what I know now, Amy had severe thyroid problems.

Amy died on the 26th of November, 1944.  She passed away in the University of California Hospital in San Francisco, California.  I believe her death was due to complications of her thyroid disorder.  From family accounts, the doctors had wanted to remove it, but she was too afraid and did not have the surgery.

Dallas, Amy Mae Headstone - Oroville, California

Both Amy and Walter are buried in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Oroville, California.

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(Amy is my great-grandmother. She is the mother of Leoma Nesta Dallas Simmons, who is my own mom’s mother.)

 

 

 

Mary Berry Kenison

Kenison, Mary Berry

Mary Berry was born on September 30th, 1776 in Candia, New Hampshire, according to her obituary.  There are some people on ancestry that think she was born in Quebec, Canada though the only thing that I have to go on at this time is what her obituary says.  I haven’t yet be able to determine who Mary’s parents were, either.

Mary married Jacob Kenison, (the spelling of Kenison has changed several times over the years. It seems a second n was added in the next generation to make it Kennison, which is how my own Grandmothers family spelled it.)

The couple had twelve children. Most of them were born in Quebec, Canada.  That could indicate that maybe Mary was originally from Quebec.

From a letter to her son David in 1847, it seems that Mary was a very religious woman.  The letter is transcribed below.

From Mary’s obituary, we see that the family moved west.  They were living in Iowa when Jacob passed away on November 16th, 1855.  The couple had been married for over 60 years.

Mary passed away when she was just a few weeks shy of 81 years old, on September 15th, 1857.

She is buried in the Ion Methodist Cemetery in Ion, Iowa.

Mary Berry Kenison Headstone - Iowa

At the top of Mary’s headstone is a carving of a Weeping Willow tree.  The inscription reads:  Mary Wife of Jacob Kenison – Died Sep 15, 1857  Age 80 Yrs, 11 mos.

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Letter from Mary Berry Kenison to her son David

(Blank lines indicate where I couldn’t make out the word.)

Belmont New York
June 22, 1847

My Dear David,
I send you these few lines to inform you that I am well as is also your father.
Abraham & Wife & Children are well. Peter, Hariett and his family are well.
Jonathon, Wife and Family are well. Benjamin C.__ Wife and Family are well. William Collins Wife & Family are well and in good health. There are no distempers with any of our friends and neighbors only that of sin. I want you Dear David to send me word by letter that you may inform me what state your Uncle John is in and Country and Town, that I may write to him and inform him of your Aunt Doras death. I feel much in trouble of mis respecting her preperations for her Eternal State on accord of her being taken so suddenly. I warn you David and Polly to have __ the Wedding garments and Oil in your Lamps to go forth to meet Jesus at his comming for the time draweth near. Prepare to meet they god and if on this earth we meet no more, I hope we shall meet in the eternal state in Christs Kingdom. I want you to give my love to John and hope he will live close to god that he may reign here upon this earth with Christ Jesus our lord and his halo horse. And let John know he went away from here in a manner which caused me trouble of mind. I want you to gife my love to all _________ friends and to write me a letter as soon as you possibly can and let me know every thing respecting the family. Now Dear David I want you to be watchful and prayerful and look forward to a comming and ease all your cares on Christ who careth for all in the praise of god.
Mother Mary Kenison

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Obit appeared in “The North Iowa Times,” M’Gregor, [Clayton Co., Iowa], Wednesday, October 7, 1857. Transcription rec’d by MAK from Elaine Mershon, Grants Pass, OR; 17 Nov 2004.

“Died on the 15th inst., at Ion in Allamakee County, MARY KENISON, widow of the late Jacob Kenison, in the 81st year of her age; leaving numerous descendants in the State of Iowa, and followed to her last resting place by a large number of children and grand children. She was a native of the State of New Hampshire but removed with her husband to the State of New York at an early age, and from thence followed the tide of emigration to the West, from State to State until she has at length found a resting place on the Western bank of the Mississippi. Having ever preserved and maintained a constant religious character as well as that of a gentle and affectionate mother, a kind and forbearing spirit towards her neighbors, her loss at her extreme age, though not altogether unexpected, is deeply deplored and regretted, not by her connexions (sic) only, but by her acquaintances generally. In full possession of her mental facilities, to the last she lived amoung friends and died instantaneously. G.S.”

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Mary Berry Kennison was my 4th great-grandmother.

Kenison, Mary Berry Line

 

Chester Emery Dallas

Dallas, Chester Emery Headstone

Chester Emery Dallas was born on the 18th of November, 1850.  His parents were Dr. Leander J. and Nancy B. (Hood) Dallas and they lived in Belmont, Ohio at the time.  Chester was the sixth of eight children.

By 1860, the Dallas family had moved to Palmyra in Kansas territory.  It seems that Chester’s father had given up practicing medicine and was farming instead.  In January of 1861, Kansas became the 34th state in the union.  By the next year, the Civil War had started and Kansas was a really rough place.  It seems that one of the very first battles of the war was fought right here in the area that they lived.  Scary stuff.

When Chester was 20 in 1870, he was working as a laborer in Chetopa, Kansas, according to the 1870 census.  I have found that he had been a student at Baker University in Baldwin City.  Chester had gone to work on a newspaper in Chetopa that was owned an operated by a past president of the university.   Chetopa is down on the Kansas Oklahoma border and was in the heart of Osage country.  The first post office was established there in 1867, just a few years before Chester shows up in Chetopa on the census.

Chester’s father passed away in 1874 when Chester was 23 years old.  By 1880, he had moved back home and was farming.  He’s shown as living with his mother, so I’m guessing that when his father died, he went home to take care of things.

On the 24th of November, 1881 Chester married Margaret “Maggie” Harker.  He was 31 years old and Maggie was 24.  From notes that my grandmother left with my uncle, the Dallas family was Scotch-Irish and Maggie was French-Canadian.  I haven’t been able to find pictures yet of either of them.

The couple welcomed a son, Walter Clark Dallas, on the 25th of November, 1884.  They were still living in the Palmyra, Kansas area.

Sometime between 1885 and 1900, Maggie passed away.  In the 1900 census, Chester was listed as a widower and living in a boarding house in Mound City, Kansas.  He was a newspaper man, the publisher and editor of the Linn County Democratic Herald.

By 1910, Chester had remarried.  His new wife was named Helen Corn.  Chester was 60 years old,  still running the newspaper and the couple owned a home on Pine Street in Mound City.

By the 1930 census, right before his death, Chester was working as a real estate agent in Mound City.  Interesting!

Chester passed away on the 21st of May 1930 at 79 years old.  He is buried in the cemetery at La Cygne, Kansas.

There is so much more that I want to know about Chester’s life.  I feel a research trip to Kansas coming up.

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From:  Transactions of the Kansas State Historical Society, Volumes 1-2

J.W. Horner – The Chetopa Advance was started January 4, 1869, by Corey & Horner.  Mr. Corey retired in May, 1869.  January 4, 1870, S.A. Fitch purchased a half-interest and became joint proprietor and editor. John W. Horner was born at Harrisiburg, Penn in 1834; in 1855 graduated from the State Normal School of Michigan, and in 1858 at the Michigan State University; served in the army from May, 1861, till July, 1865 in all the positions from Lieutenant to Colonel of the Eighteenth Michigan Volunteers; came to Kansas in 1865; became President of Baker University, and in the fall of 1867 a professor in the State University; resigning after one year to engage in establishing the Advance. Of J.M. Cavanass, foreman of his office, Col. Horner says:  “He is a graduate of Baker University; a young man of excellent literary tastes, who never looses an hour, never swears, never smokes, never chews, never gets drunk, never loses his patience, never goes to see the girls.”  Chester Dallas, another employee, also a Baker University pupil, was equally virtuous. January 4, 1870, the paper took the name of the Southern Kansas Advance.

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(Chester is my 2nd great-grandfather on my mom’s side of the family.)

Dallas, Chester Emery Lineage

 

 

James Franklin Sannar

Adah and James Sannar

James Franklin Sannar was born on September 20th, 1883 to William Isaac and Eliza Ann (Carper) Sannar.  He was born in Fayette county, West Virginia.  Some records say Oak Hill and some say Mt. Hope.  These are both towns in Fayette county, in the heart of coal mining country, though his father was listed on the 1880 census as a farmer.

James, it seems, was known by Frank and was born the sixth of twelve children.  The family packed up and moved to Wallowa county, Oregon sometime in the late 1890’s, when Frank was between 12 and 15 years old.  I’ve always heard that they came by wagon and settled in the Promise area because some of their West Virginia neighbors had already settled there and wrote for the family to come.

In 1900, Frank was 16 years old when the census taker came around.  He had gone to school up to the 7th grade, could read and write, and was working as a farmer.  At age 26, in 1910, Frank was still living in the family home and working as a farm laborer.

On November 28th, 1912 Frank married Adah Gertrude Hescock, who was only 17 at the time.  Frank was 29.  The couple lived in Promise and welcomed their first child, Ida Ann, on June 30th, 1913.  That same summer, Frank’s younger brother Orval drowned in the Grande Ronde River while out fishing with friends.

Two years later, on October 3rd, 1915, Frank and Adah had a son, Walter Albert. Another son, Willard Woodrow, was born on February 11th, 1918.  Then came my own grandfather, Charles Alvin, on August 7th, 1920.

In the 1920 census, Frank own’s their home, which is listed as a “General Farm” and is working for himself as a farmer.  The land is mortgaged.  From the records, I believe that the Sannar family moved from their farm at Promise to somewhere closer to the town of Wallowa.

Tragedy strikes the family on November 6th, 1921 when little Willard dies of pneumonia.  He was only 3-1/2 years old.  I have always heard that the little guy fell in a creek and caught a cold that quickly turned into pneumonia.  He was buried the very next day in the Wallowa Cemetery.

Willard Woodrow Sannar Gravestone - Wallowa Oregon

(Gone But Not Forgotten, his headstone reads.  Willard Woodrow Sannar – Feb. 10, 1918 – Nov. 6, 1921)

On the 28th of January, 1925, Frank and Adah welcomed a baby girl, Julia Frances.  Two years later a baby boy was born on June 22nd, 1927.  He died at birth.  In 1928 Ruby Gertrude joined the family.

By the 1930 United States Federal Census, Frank was no longer farming, but working as a painter.

The last child, James “Jimmy” Orval was born the 29th of July, 1931.  It was a hard birth, one where the doctor had to use forceps.  Jimmy had brain damaged that was caused by his birth.  He would always live at home with his family.  Frank was 47 years old.

In the 1940 Federal Census, the family owned their home on Diamond Prairie Road in Wallowa, Oregon.  Frank was now working at the local sawmill as a foreman.  He made an income of $1,300 a year.

World War II began and in in 1942, Frank registered for the draft. At 58 years old, he would have been considered too old to serve.

About 1944, the family moved to Milton in Umatilla county.  The town is now called Milton-Freewater.  I’m not sure if Frank had retired by then or if he worked somewhere in Milton.

He passed away at the age of 67 on the 16th of December, 1950 and is buried in the cemetery in Milton-Freewater.  Years later, Jimmy and Adah were buried beside him.

Sannar, James Franklin and Adah Gertrude Headstone - Milton Oregon

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Sannar, James Franklin Obituary- from the La Grande Observer, December 27th, 1950

Frank Sannar Dies At Milton

Word has been received here of the death of Frank Sannar of Milton, who is a former resident of Wallowa county. James Franklin Sannar was born in Raleigh county, West Virginia, Sept. 20, 1883. His family came to Oregon while he and his brothers and sister were small. They lived north of Wallowa. He later homesteaded in the Promise area. On Nov. 28, 1912 he was united in marriage to Miss Ada Gertrude Hescock. Around 6 years ago, they moved to Milton. He was a member of the Christian Church. He is survived by his widow in Milton; three daughters, Mrs. Ida Scott of North Powder, Mrs. Francis Whitmore of Milton, and Mrs. Ruby Anderson of Walla Walla, Wash.; three sons, Albert and James of Milton, and Alvin of La Grande; a brother, Charles Sannar of Gridley, Calif.; three sisters, Mrs. Pearl Lively of Wallowa, Mrs. Lela Frank and Mrs. Letha Carper of La Grande; also 15 grandchildren,

(the rest of the obituary was cut off and unreadable. I’ll keep looking!)

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Like always, if you knew Frank, or even remember other folks talking about him, please share your memories!

(James Franklin Sannar is my great-grandfather.  He is the father of Charles Alvin Sannar, who is the father of my own dad, Thomas Alvin Sannar.)

Rolin Clay Simmons

Simmons, Rolin and dog

When I think of my Grandpa Simmons, I picture him coming home from work.  He’s wearing a white t-shirt and brown jeans, carrying his black metal lunchbox, his white hair shining in the sun and a twinkle in his blue eyes.  His name was Rolin Clay Simmons and I wish I had known him much longer than I did.

Rolin came into this world on the 20th of February in 1918.  He was born in Ontario, Oregon to Clay Taylor and Martha Alameda (Rowe) Simmons.  Rolin was the youngest of three children.  His two older siblings, Alta and Estel, were his half siblings.  Martha had been married to Thomas Sager previously in a marriage that ended in divorce.  After meeting and marrying Clay, Rolin was born.  I don’t remember there ever being any talk of “half brother and sister”, Alta and Estel were simply his sister and brother.

rolin-clay-simmons-age-7-july-4-1925-ontario-oregon

Here Rolin is 7 years old and eating ice cream on the 4th of July.  Look at those shoe’s!

The only thing that I know about his childhood years is that the family lived in the Ontario, Oregon area and his dad was a farmer.  By the 1930 census, the family had moved to Oroville, California and Rolin’s dad was doing bridge work.  Rolin was 12 that year.

Simmons - Clay, Martha, and Rolin

(Clay, Martha, and Rolin Simmons)

When Rolin was 21, he married Leoma Nesta Dallas in Reno, Nevada on December 23rd, 1939.  The couple made their home in Mineral, California where Rolin was working as a miner.

Simmons, Rolin and Leoma - California

Leoma and Rolin – I don’t have a year or a place on this picture, so if anyone else knows, please let me know!

Rolin and Leoma’s first daughter, Marvelene Jean, was born in Oroville, California on February 2nd, 1941.  A son, Philip Clay, followed the next year on June 14th, 1942, in Redding, California.

The family had moved to Redding and Rolin was working on the construction of Shasta Dam.  He worked in the rock quarry that was being used to build the dam.  Rolin was 24 years old.

The family was growing!  Next came a daughter, Janice Sharon on January 9th of 1944, (my mom!), then Judith Leoma on May 24th, 1945.  The youngest child born into the Simmons family was Randy Neal born on the 10th of July, 1946.

Around 1946, the Simmons family moved to the northeastern corner of Oregon, to Elgin.  There’s much that I don’t know about why they choose to move there and what Rolin did in their early years in this part of Oregon.

For a few years when my mom was a teenager, the family had moved to Wallowa and Grandpa and Grandma had a hardware store there.  I believe they only lived in Wallowa for about two years.

When I was growing up, Rolin was a contractor and they owned and operated Elgin Hardware, later known as Simmons Supply and Lumber.  I loved going in to the hardware store and helping grandma.  She would put us to work doing inventory, counting out the nails one by one.  It has only occurred to me as I’ve gotten older, that she was simply keeping young hands busy and out of her way.  Sneaky, Grandma, sneaky.

Simmons, Rolin House - Elgin Oregon

This is the house in Elgin where my Grandparents raised their family and the one that I have so many memories of myself.  Behind the house, there was a fire-pit with Grandpa’s great big fat hotdogs roasting away and long stone benches that were so cool to lay on on a hot summer day. So many cousins running around, so much love.

Leoma and Rolin Simmons

Que once again my grandfather coming home from work, his lunch box swinging in his hand and a twinkle in his eye.  His grandkids accost him, hoping for one of those special candies that he always has in his lunchbox.  He chases us a minute, affectionately tells all his “poopdecks” to simmer down, and goes inside to place a kiss on grandma’s cheek.

I remember him as a fairly quiet man with a dry sense of humor.  Gruff at times, but never really meaning it.  Grandpa was a collector of stamps, of coins, of books.  I loved going in his office and looking through his books full of the art of Charles Russell and Norman Rockwell.  The times when he would sit with me, his big magnifying glass in hand, and tell me about his stamps were some of my favorite times.

Those special candies that were always in his lunchbox were because Rolin was a diabetic and needed them for when his blood sugar would dip too low.  One of my earliest memories is getting up in the morning after having stayed the night with them, to find Grandma boiling Grandpa’s needle on the stove and then giving him his insulin shot.

Grandpa had a way about him, a special spark that made each one of us feel special. For me, he said he loved my biscuits and always asked that I make them for him.  Now, I know I wasn’t a spectacular cook, but Grandpa knew that I liked to do it, so he always made me feel like I was the best biscuit cook this side of the Mississippi, quietly, simply by asking me to bake them for him.  It was just his way.

Rolin passed away far too soon.  He had his health struggles;  carbon monoxide poisoning on a job in the 1970’s, a stroke about 1980, then he frostbit a toe and, being stubborn, didn’t go to the doctor until it was too late.  They were going to need to amputate, but before that could happen, Rolin suffered a heart attack while in the hospital and passed away.  It was the 17th of February 1982.  He was only 63 years old.  I still remember that evening like it was last week.  Forever missed.

Simmons, Rolin Clay Headstone - Elgin Oregon

Rolin is buried in the cemetery at Elgin, Oregon between his beloved wife, Leoma, and his daughter, Janice.   I remember standing at the graveside after my grandmother’s burial, when it was only the family left, and in a moment of lightness my uncle quipped, “Poor Daddy.  Now he’ll never get any rest.”

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Please please share your memories and I’ll add them in right here.

“The summer of 1980 I worked for my Grandpa Simmons. He was building a small shop just a few blocks from Grandma and Grandpas house. I was 15 at the time and had my drivers permit. Grandpa tried to teach me to drive his stick shift “Scout”. He had the patience of a saint. I killed it every time so we would walk the short distance to the job site.
One of my favorite Grandpa quotes is “You’ve got to get up early to get ahead of me.” ” – Stacey Sannar Roth

” He was a very caring and loving father. He worked very hard to support a family of seven. Sometimes we would not see him for one to two weeks at a time. He would be working out of town, doing construction. When he did return home, he would always have a surprise for us. One time it was a wild caught Badger, it was so mean. He wanted us to learn about it and then he took it back and let it loose. I was about 7 or 8 at the time.  He taught us so much. I truly miss him a lot.” –  Judy Simmons Hulse

“I remember Rolin as you aptly described him. He was a hard -working, soft-spoken man. He was very polite and helpful in his store.
I have fond memories of teenage years with Jan, Judy and Phil.
The greatest gift Rolin and Leoma gave me is a wonderful sister-in-law Judy, whom I dearly love. Such good memories!” ~ Elaine Hulse Durrer

 

Janice Sharon Simmons Photo – 1945

Simmon, Janice Sharon - Oct 4 1945

What a cutie pie!  This sweet picture is of Janice Sharon Simmons.  It was taken on October 4th, 1945 when she was 21 months old.  The family lived in Redding, California at the time so I think this picture was taken in Northern California, though it wasn’t much longer before they moved to Elgin, Oregon.

(Janice is my mother.  She is the daughter of Rolin and Leoma (Dallas) Simmons.)