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.
(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 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!)
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.)