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


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!


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


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

Sannar, Adah Gertrude Hescock Line






Ward Beacher Hescock

Ward Beecher Hescock - Dixie WA

Ward Beacher Hescock was born on June 3rd, 1867 to Austin Clarence and Harriet Elisabeth (Hurlburt) Hescock in Bristolville, Ohio.  Like many families of this era, the Hescocks had a large family.  Ward was the second oldest of eleven children and their father, Austin, was a farmer.  Sometime in the 1870’s, the family moved to Prairie Farm, Wisconsin where Ward’s dad worked in a store as a clerk.

At the age of 23, on the 4th of July, 1890, Ward married Ida June Goodsell.  They had a baby son in October of 1891 who died at birth.  The couple was living in Portage, Ohio and welcomed three daughters while living in Ohio.  (One who would later be my great grandmother, Adah Gertrude.)  Sometime between 1900 and 1902, the family moved to Dixie, Washington where Ida passed away at the age of 34, leaving Ward a widower.

A year and a half later, in August of 1903, Ward married Mary Anne Swearingen in Walla Walla, Washington.  In 1909, Ward and Mary Anne welcomed a son, Wilbur, born in Promise, Oregon.  Ward had found his way to Wallowa county and the Promise area where he was listed in the 1910 and 1920 census’ as a farmer.

By the 1930 census, Ward was working at the sawmill in Wallowa as a log scaler.  As a log scaler, he would have measured the volume of the cut tree and determined the grade of the wood to be sold.

By the 1940 census, Ward had again changed professions and is now listed as a Warden for the Department of Forestry in Wallowa county.


From the July  14th, 1943 Wallowa County Cheiftan 

WALLOWA – Ward Hescock, Tad McCrae, Wilfred Royster and Joe Roush will serve as fire wardens during this season for the state department of forestry. The following lookouts took up their duties this past week: Kitty Minor, Tope Creek; Dorothy Conner, Howard Butte; and Ed Carper, Acres.


Ward Beecher Hescock

Ward lived a long life, passing away at the age of 90 on May 14th, 1958.

Ward Hescock Headstone - Washington

He is buried in the Milton-Freewater IOOF Cemetery in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.

(Ward is my 2nd great-grandfather.  He is the father of Adah Gertrude (Hescock) Sannar who is the mother of my grandfather, Charles Alvin Sannar.)


“I remember Grandad. He was living in a house by my Grandma Sannar’s. I was always told not to bother him, but I just had to run down the sidewalk to his house. I loved talking to him., cause he laughed with me. I was pretty young so I don’t remember much.” ~ Kathleen (Sannar) Tannahill

“I remember him and grandma . He was grandma Sannar’s father and, I think,  she was her stepmom. They moved to Milton after Grandpa Sannar bought the property at Milton. We have a picture on the old home movie’s of him chopping wood at Milton. They had a little house that sat on the right side after you crossed the little wooden bridge.  They had to tear the house down when the dike went in.  Uncle Harry (Kennison) worked under him (when he was in high school) building forest service trails in Wallowa county.  Harry says Grandpa Hescock was in his 70’s then and a spry old fellow.  He couldn’t keep up with him going up and down those hills.  I remember Grandpa Hescock talking about their house in Promise, how in the winter you could step out the second story window into the snow.” ~ Tom Sannar

“When Ward Hescock married Mary Ann (Annie) Swearingen Griffith, it was the uniting of two widows. Each had lost one of four children and their spouse. Annie said that she would marry Ward if he would build her a house big enough to hold all of their children and then some. So he did, milling every piece of lumber himself right there only a few feet from the homestead. He gave it to her as a wedding present. One hundred and three years later it would still be standing with a lilac bush off the front porch.”  ~ a note added on Family Search from Karen Reade