Saturday, September 14, 2013

K. R. "Lew" Lewis: Ladies in Wartime, 1917-1919

Pvt. K. R. Lewis
  Other young men fought and died in the trenches of Verdun.  For Lew, a California farm boy, military service was a social and romantic adventure.  By a stroke of good fortune, he got to see New York and Virginia, stayed well out of harm’s way, and met many young ladies.  He remembered them all, saving the photos they gave him, along with the pictures he took during the war.[1]

Elva (center), her sister (left), and mother, chaperones on
an outing to the coast with Lew
Before entering the service, Lew had been working for a fruit farmer near Sonoma, California, and courting Elva McCollum.  He was twenty-four; she was seventeen, lovely, and talented.  She was smitten. Lew was her first love.  Elva believed that if he hadn’t gone off to war, she and Lew would have married.[2]  On Tuesday, 5 June 1917, Lew registered for the draft.[3]  He had plans to continue his bachelorhood.

  Private K. R. Lewis joined Company C, 12th Infantry, U. S. Army and trained at Camp Fremont near Menlo Park, California.[4]  On 22 October 1918, Lew’s company boarded the Southern Pacific for the east coast before shipping out to France.  There were other ladies to woo, all across the U. S.  On the trip from California to New York, Lew couldn’t help noticing: “Right across from where I was [exercising] there was two girls[.]  one certainly was full of pep.  she had a pretty smile and beautiful hair  she sang three songs about soldiers and say they certainly were sweet.”[5]  That was on day two, and there were more ladies to come.

Grace Smith, New York
Grace  Company C was stationed at Camp Mills on Long Island, New York, for just over a month.[6]  During that time Lew struck up an acquaintance with a local gal, Grace Smith, whose address he noted in his journal.  He may have met her while out on pass, and they continued a relationship through photos sent through the mail.  Lew, it would turn out, was a good pen pal.

  There were other, unnamed, ladies in New York, too, and moments of spontaneous flirting and closeness.

  In November 1918, despite rumors of a German surrender, Company C packed up daily to go overseas, then unpacked again each night.  On 11 November the armistice was signed, and there was no need to go.  When Company C finally boarded a troop ship, they traveled south to the Army Supply Base in Norfolk, Virginia.[7]   Lew spent the remainder of his service working in the military post office there.  He was the first to know who got mail and who sent it.  Sometimes there was a letter or card for him from Betty.

Lew in the post office, Norfolk

Jeanette "Betty" Richofsky
“Betty”   Jeanette Richofsky of Richmond, California, immigrated to the U. S. from Hungary as a child. [8]  At age eighteen, she reinvented herself as “Betty,” used a friend’s address, and carried on a three-month correspondence in 1919 with Lew.  They probably never met, although “Betty’s” letter is familiar:[9]

            I received your letter on the 7th and was awfully glad to hear from you so soon.  My but it was a sweet.  I was awfully glad because I was so lonesome but I felt better after Postie came.  Dearie I sent you some postals.  Did you get them? ... Oh dearie I am awfully lonesome here.  I have no one to say sweet things to me like you say in your letters.  I wish you meant it.  I am glad you said you would like to see me personally because I thought my pictures scared you so that you would even be afraid to write anymore.  I am sending you a bit of my hair so you can judge for yourself whether I am blounde [sic] or not.  So you will not ask me if I like to lie once in a while.  Dearie I forgive you for that.  Must Close
                                                Your doll
                                                            Betty x plus 1000001
  The brief fling through letters provided excitement for both the flirtatious teenager and the flirtatious soldier.

  There were many other ladies in Lew’s photo collection, some with names, some unknown.  One wrote on her photo, “Your darling Genevieve,” but she may not have been Lew’s darling for long.  The next summer, 1920, he was back in Sonoma County, working in the orchards, and saving money for his own place.[10]  He drove his Model T out of the farmer’s garage where it had been stored, ready to take the next lady for a drive.  No more letters and photos; now he could pursue the ladies in person.
"Your darling Genevieve"

Lew in his 1917 or 1918 Model T Ford 

Genealogical Summary
  Kandido R. “Lew” Lewis, son of Candido Luis and Rosa Azevedo, was born 12 August 1893 in Jewell, Marin County, California.[11]  On 3 July 1932 he married Essie Jane Elizabeth Stewart at the Presbyterian Church in San Anselmo, Marin County.[12]  He died in Napa, Napa County, California, 20 August 1984.[13]  Lew and Essie had no children.

[1] K. R. “Lew” Lewis photo collection, ca. 1915 to early 1930s, about 350 photos; in possession of the author.  Alice Streeter Kellar, Lew’s niece, received his trunk and the photo collection from his widow Essie (Stewart) Lewis about 1994.  The photos passed to Alice's daughter Judy Kellar Fox on Alice’s passing in 2004.  The photos have been digitized and provide these illustrations.
[2] Velda Draper (Elva’s granddaughter), San Rafael, California, to Judy Kellar Fox, email, 4 December 2012, “Elva McCollum, yes yes”; files of the author.
[3] United States, Selective Service System, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, California, Sonoma County, arranged alphabetically by surname, for Kandido Lewis; Washington, D.C., National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), micropublication M1509; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 1,544,406.
[4] K. R. Lewis photograph, fall 1918, from K. R. “Lew” Lewis photo collection; files of Judy Kellar Fox.  The photo, 2 1/2” x 3 1/4”, is inscribed (recto), “ Camp Mills, L[ong]. I[sland]. N. Y.,” and (verso), “Pvt. K. R. Lewis, Co. C. 12th Inf.”  Also, United States, Army, Twelfth Infantry, Twelfth U. S. Infantry, 1798-1919: Its Story—By Its Men (New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1919), 366.
[5] K. R. Lewis, travel journal recounting his trip by troop train from Camp Fremont, California, to Camp Mills, New York, 22-30 October 1918; Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa, California.  Transcription made by Judy Kellar Fox in 1994 before her mother, Alice Streeter Kellar, donated the journal to the Museum.  All spelling, punctuation, and grammar are as written by K. R. Lewis.
[6] Twelfth U. S. Infantry, 1798-1919: Its Story—By Its Men, 147.
[7] Ibid., 150.
[8] Katka56 [Kathi, Farrell], comp., “Lucas Hall Family Tree 2013,” ( : accessed 2 September 2013), entry for Jeanette A. Richofsky (1901-1970), citing Jeanette’s passport.
[9] Betty [Jeanette Richofsky] (1321 Clinton Ave., Richmond, Cal.), to Mr. Kenn Lewis (Co C. 12th Inf, Army Supply Base, No 3652008, Norfolk, Va.), letter, 8 February 1918, 1, 4.  The letter, inherited by Lew’s niece Alice Streeter Kellar and passed to her daughter Judy Kellar Fox, has been forwarded to “Betty’s” granddaughter Kathi Farrell, Durham, California.  Letter and photo used by permission.
[10] 1920 U. S. Census, Sonoma County, California, population schedule, Sonoma, ED 162, sheet 2A, dwelling 29, family 3, Frederick A. Lowell household, line 15; digital image, ( : accessed 3 September 2013); from NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 150.
[11] Marin County, California, Delayed Certificate of Birth no. 098589 (1957), Kandido Rufus Lewis; County Recorder, San Rafael; FHL microfilm 1,295,780, item 5.  Also, 1900 U.S. Census, Marin County, California, population schedule, Tomales Township, ED 63, sheets 1-2 (penned), dwelling 16, family 16, C. Lewis household; digital image, ( accessed 3 September 2013); from NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 93.
[12] Marin County, California, Marriage License no. 4175[?] (1932), Kandido R. Lewis-Essie Jane Elizabeth Stewart; Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk, San Rafael.
[13] Kandido R. "Lew" Lewis, funeral card, 23 August 1984, printed by an unidentified Napa, California, mortuary; photocopy in possession of the author.  Also, Tulocay Cemetery (Napa, California), Kandido R. Lewis marker; photographed by Jack J. or Alice M. Kellar, 1980s; photocopy in possession of the author.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Chimney Fell off the House, and Mama Died. 1906.

As Rosa lay dying she could see Julia, eight, peering through the crack in the doorway.[1]  Her youngest, Rosie, three, was too little to understand, but Julia knew.[2] 

They called the boys in from the barn, Louie, twenty-one, her first-born, and the three boys in the middle, Joe, fourteen, Candido, twelve, and John, ten.[3]  They would have been helping their father feed and milk the cows.  But they needed to come in now and be with their mother.  They would probably not see her alive again.

Rosa (Azevedo) Luis and her children, ca. 1895.  Left to right: Mary, Marion, Louie (on horseback), Rosa holding Candido (known as Lew), Joe, and Lilly.  Detail; full photo below.

Rosa was too ill for housework, and the older girls were already managing on their own: Mary, twenty, Marion, eighteen, and Lilly, fifteen.[4]  They could cook and bake, take care of the garden and the chickens, prepare meals for the family, and see that Julia and the younger boys got to school, that Rosie was cared for.  At forty-seven, Rosa could no longer be the wife and mother. 

With Candido, her husband, she had shared so much, their language and culture, the children, the moving from ranch to ranch, improving their herd of cows, saving for their own land.  Now they rented a farm in the country between Petaluma and Tomales about sixty miles north of San Francisco.  They brought with them their language, Portuguese, and the customs and occupations from home, the Azores Islands.  They had been sweethearts in Fajã dos Vimes, the village in Ribeira Seca on the island of São Jorge where they were both born.  Candido left first for the U.S. as a teenager, and Rosa joined him in California seven years later when she was twenty-five.[5]  They married the following year, and then Louie and the other children came.[6]  Now Candido would be alone with their nine children.

For a time during her illness Rosa had lived with her sister in the town of Novato, about twenty-five miles from the ranch toward San Francisco.  From there she could take the train to San Francisco for treatments.[7]  Marianna could speak a little English, so she could tell Rosa in Portuguese what the doctor said: breast cancer.  But Rosa knew already. 

The most common treatment for breast cancer since the 1880s, called a radical mastectomy, removed her breast, the lymph nodes under her arm, and her chest wall muscle, too.  Perhaps Rosa underwent the very new radiotherapy that had been tried on cancers for just a few years.[8]  Her treatments kept her from her family and the ranch, and then she went home, but she was not cured.  She understood.  Her own mother had died at age forty-three when Rosa was twelve.[9]

Rosa (Azevedo) Luis, 1880s-1890s; copy print from the Alice Streeter Kellar photograph collection, in possession of the author.  The whereabouts of the original are unknown.
Rosa lay in bed at dawn.  Suddenly she felt a terrible shaking.  The whole house shook, its wood frame twisting and creaking.  The ground moved the house on its foundation, up and down, side-to-side, jolting furniture and Rosa in her bed.  John and Candido, in their bed upstairs, slid against the wall, then the floor pitched, sending the bed to the window.  Through the window they could see the row of cypress trees lie down flat, and then jump straight up in the air.[10]  On and on the shaking went, rattling cupboards and doors, crashing plates, cups, and saucers into the sink and onto the floor.  The mortar in the chimney cracked, the bricks loosened, and the chimney fell off the house.[11]  Was it the end of the world?  Was this what it was like to die, to approach the Last Judgment?[12]

As the shocks subsided, they moved Rosa outside where she would be safe from falling debris, and Candido took the surrey to Petaluma, fifteen miles away, for Dr. Peoples.[13] He came two days after the earthquake, but could not cure Rosa.  The next day she was gone.[14]  The priest from the Church of the Assumption in Tomales probably presided over her funeral mass.

The boys had to put extra seats on the wagon so the whole family could go to the burial together. When they arrived at the Tomales Cemetery they found all the tombstones toppled over, shaken from their pedestals and broken.[15]  Even those monuments, meant to make permanent the memory of loved ones, were vulnerable to the earthquake.  Forever that violent shaking of the earth was associated in the minds of Rosa’s children with the loss of their mother.  The trees went to the ground and came back up again, the chimney fell off the house, and their mother was gone. Julia would go out of the room looking for her mother, and not find her.  Rosie didn’t remember her at all.[16]

Cypress trees at the Carmody Road ranch in Marin Co., just over the border from Petaluma, Sonoma County, where Rosa died.  Photo by the author, 2002.

Genealogical Summary
Rosa Azevedo was born 27 April 1857 in Ribeira Seca parish, São Jorge, Azores, to António Machado Azevedo and Maria Silveira do Coração de Jesus.[17]

As Rosa Faustina she was married Sunday, 21 October 1883 in San Rafael, Marin County, California, to Candido Machado Luis.  She was twenty-six; he was twenty-seven.[18]

Cândido Machado Luís was born 16 July 1856, also in Ribeira Seca parish, to António Machado Luís Mancebo and Marianna Rosa da Silveira.[19]  He died 9 January 1933 in Petaluma, Sonoma County, California.[20]

Rosa died 21 April 1906 in Tomales, Marin County, California.  Her name was recorded at death as Rosa Nones [probably Nunes, surname of Rosa’s paternal grandmother] Luis.[21]

Jewell Station Ranch, Marin County, ca. 1895. Left to right: Rosa's brother John and Mary (Espirito Gomes) Azevedo, Mary, Marion, Louie, Rosa (holding Candido), Joe, Lilly, and Candido Luis (on horseback).  In 1990 the photograph belonged to Millie (Azevedo) Ventura, descendant of John and Mary Azevedo.  Its whereabouts at present are unknown. 

[1] Floyd Streeter (Sacramento, Calif.), telephone interview with niece Judy Kellar Fox, 24 December 1997; notes privately held by interviewer (2013).  For Julia’s age, see Church of the Assumption of Mary  (Tomales, California), “Baptismal Register,” 3: 95, no. 3, Julia Lewis baptism (1900); parish office, Tomales.
[2] For Rosie’s age, see Church of the Assumption, “Baptismal Register,” 4: 39, no. 7, Mary Rose Lewis, conditional certificate of baptism (1921); parish office, Tomales.
[3] Alice Streeter Kellar (Santa Rosa, California), interview by Judy Kellar Fox, 24 December 1997.  For the boys’ ages, see Mission San Rafael Arcangel Catholic Church (San Rafael, California), Baptisms 1884-1901, p. 115, Aloysium Machado baptism (1884), and p. 109, Joseph Luis (1891); Mission San Rafael parish archives; FHL microfilm 909,236, items 3 and 4, respectively.  Also, Marin County, Delayed Certificate of Birth no. 098589 (1957), Kandido Rufus Lewis; County Recorder, San Rafael; FHL microfilm 1,295,780, item 5.  Also, John C. Lewis funeral notice, Sorensen Funeral Home, (Petaluma, California), April 13, 1982; and 1900 U. S. Census, Marin County, California, population schedule, Tomales, ED 63, sheets 1B-2A, dwelling 16, family 16, C. Levis household; digital image, ( : accessed 6 August 2013); from NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 93; FHL microfilm 1,240,093.
[4] For the girls’ ages, see Mission San Rafael Arcangel Catholic Church, Baptisms 1884-1901, p. 118, Maria Machado Louis (1885), and p. 129, Maria Anna Luiz (1887).  Also, Cher Nicastro (Tempe, Arizona) email to Judy Kellar Fox, 26 August 1996; and 1900 U.S. census, Marin Co., Calif., pop. sch., Tomales Twp., ED 63, sheets 1-2 (penned), dwell. 16, fam. 16, C. Levis household.
[5] 1900 U.S. census, Marin Co., Calif., pop. sch., Tomales Twp., ED 63, sheets 1-2 (penned), dwell. 16, fam. 16, C. Levis household.
[6] Marin County, California, Marriage certificates, vol. A: 581 (1883), Luis-Faustina; County Recorder, San Rafael.
[7] Lois (Mello) LaFranchi (Petaluma, Calif.), telephone interview by Judy Kellar Fox, 24 December 1997.
[8] “The Evolution of Cancer Treatment,” The Topeka Capital-Journal ( : accessed 15 July 2013).
[9] José Leite da Cunha Silveira, “Pedigree Chart of Rosa Faustino Azevedo,” p. 1; prepared for Alice (Streeter) Kellar, Santa Rosa, California, 1989; in possession of Judy Kellar Fox, 2013.
[10] Paul Lewis (Petaluma, California), telephone interview with Judy Kellar Fox, 15 July 2013; notes privately held by interviewer (2013).  Also, Lois (Mello) LaFranchi, telephone interview, 24 December 1997.
[11] Emma M. Burke, “ Comprehending the Calamity,” Overlook Magazine (2 June 1906); digital image, The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco ( : accessed 13 July 2013).  Also, W. E. Alexander, “W. E. Alexander Account of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire,” (manuscript 3456, about May 1906, California Historical Society, San Francisco); The Online Archive of California (OAC) ( : accessed 13 July 2013).  Also, Alice Streeter Kellar (Santa Rosa, Calif.), telephone interview by Judy Kellar Fox, 18 January 1996.
[12] The Luis ranch lay on the San Andreas Fault, about twenty miles north of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake epicenter and in the path of the most intense shaking.  See “1906 Earthquake,” U. S. Geological Survey, USGS: Science for a Changing World ( : accessed 12 July 2013).
[13] Lois (Mello) LaFranchi, telephone interview, 24 December 1997.  Also, Paul Lewis, telephone interview, 15 July 2013.
[14] Marin County, California, Duplicate Certificate of Death no. 5 (1906), Rosa Nones Luis; County Recorder, San Rafael.  Also, Lois (Mello) LaFranchi, telephone interview, 24 December 1997.
[15] Lois (Mello) LaFranchi, telephone interview, 24 December 1997.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Igreja católica, São Tiago (Ribeira Seca, Angra do Heroísmo, São Jorge, Azores, Portugal), Batismos 1854-1873, p. 51v, Rosa Machado d’Azevedo; Arquivo de Angra do Heroísmo; FHL microfilm 1,546,786, item 5.
[18] Marin County, California, Marriage certificates, vol. A: 581 (1883), Luis-Faustina; County Recorder, San Rafael.
[19] Igreja católica, São Tiago (Ribeira Seca, Angra do Heroísmo, São Jorge, Azores, Portugal), Batismos 1854-1873, p. 37, Candido Luiz; FHL microfilm 1,546,786, item 5.
[20] Sonoma County, California, Certificate of Death no. 33-006774, Candido Lewis (1933); County Recorder, Santa Rosa.
[21] Marin County, California, Duplicate Certificate of Death no. 5 (1906), Rosa Nones Luis; County Recorder, San Rafael.

© 2013 Judy Kellar Fox, 9395 SW 190th Ave., Aloha, OR 97007-6733;

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Heroism of Simple Service: Caleb Ward, 1775

Caleb Ward signature, 1833[1]

Caleb Ward, a twenty-one-year-old unmarried Massachusetts farmer, seemed a prime candidate to respond to the Lexington Alarm on 19 April 1775.  His home, Ashfield, a farm community in the far northwest of Massachusetts, provided men for Capt. David Cowden’s company of Minute Men.  The recruits marched some one hundred twenty-five miles to Cambridge and joined the Regiment of Col. Benjamin Ruggles Woodbridge.[2]  But Caleb was not among them.

He felt compelled to explain, years later, that he had been unable to go “on the account of bodily infirmity.” A couple weeks later, in early May, healthy and sound, he enlisted for eight months with the Massachusetts militia.[3]  Or maybe he enlisted on 17 June, as his muster roll reports, responding to word that the British were moving out into the country after the Battle of Bunker Hill.[4]  Caleb arrived in Cambridge about 20 June and joined Lieut. Robert Hamilton and Capt. Cowden in the newly designated Continental Army commanded by General George Washington.[5]

Boston Harbor [“Haffn von Boston”], lower right; Prospect Hill, upper left with diamond redoubt; and barracks of the American Army to the southwest of Prospect Hill[6]

Like most of the militia, Caleb had no formal military training or experience.  He was a farmer accustomed to shooting game for food and to manual labor, chopping, digging, hauling, and carrying heavy loads.  At Cambridge he learned the soldier’s regimen, described by a contemporary writer:
New orders from [Gen. Washington] are read to the respective regiments every morning after prayers.  The strictest government is taking place, and great distinction is made between officers and soldiers.  Every one is made to know his place, and keep in it, or be tied up and receive thirty or forty lashes, according to his crime.  Thousands are at work every day from four till eleven o’clock in the morning.  It is surprising how much work has been done.  The lines are extended almost from Cambridge to Mystic River…[7]

The soldiers building fortifications for the siege of Boston certainly included Caleb Ward.  He was stationed with Col. Woodbridge’s regiment at the foot of Prospect Hill, where entrenchments had already begun the night of the Battle of Bunker Hill.[8]  Prospect Hill’s defense continued in earnest with the building of impregnable ramparts.  Caleb’s regiment was one of the eight that provided a daily crew of half a regiment to work on the fortifications.[9]  These young men did not know the business of being a soldier, but they did know manual labor.

Prospect Hill fortifications[10]

Caleb was a sixth-generation American subject of the British crown supporting his fellow Americans in protesting the wrongs of a tyrannical government.[11]  They fought for representation in Parliament and reduction of the colonies’ burden of paying for the empire’s wars.  Freedom from Great Britain and establishing a new sovereign nation were not the issues at the time, only righting perceived wrongs.  Caleb joined the Massachusetts militia to protest tyranny over his colony and its effects on his family and friends, all American colonists.

Ashfield, a town of six hundred, supplied one hundred soldiers over the course of the war.  In 1775, the town voted to make the coats the town was assigned to provide and sent to Albany to procure guns and ammunition for the war effort.[12]  Caleb’s response followed that of his townsmen.  It was his duty.

Caleb marched, and he waited; he built earthworks, and he waited.  Everyone waited for action, but no further battles took place in Boston.  When Caleb’s military commitment ended at the end of 1775, the British still held Boston, and the Americans still held it under siege, all waiting.

The next year America declared independence from Great Britain, transforming the war into one for national sovereignty.  The war ended, and Caleb and his compatriots became citizens of the United States of America.  His marching and digging and building may seem insignificant acts in an endeavor remembered for valor and heroism in battle and diplomacy.  Joined with the large and small roles of many thousands of others, his actions contributed to winning the war.  Nearly sixty years later, recollecting his Revolutionary War service, Caleb Ward claimed no heroism but said simply, “I served my Country.”[13] 

[1] Caleb Ward (Private, Capt. Cowden’s Co., Col. Woodbridge’s Reg., Mass. militia, Revolutionary War), pension no. 30,775; Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D. C.; from NARA microfilm publication no. M804, roll 2487; FHL microfilm 972,487.
[2] Frank A. Gardner, “Col. Ruggles Woodbridge’s Regiment,” The Massachusetts Magazine: Devoted to Massachusetts History, Genealogy, Biography, 4 (January 1911): 29-42, 82-95, on 29, 32; digital images, Internet Archive ( : accessed 2 July 2013).
[3] Caleb Ward, pension no. 30,775.
[4] Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, microfilm publication M881 (Washington, DC: NARA), roll 045, index card for Calab [sic] Ward, no. 37099776, Woodbridge’s Massachusetts Regiment, 1775; digital images, Fold3 ( : accessed 3 July 2013).  Also, Richard Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, and of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, (1851; 6th ed., Boston: Little, Brown, 1903), 207; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 2 July 2013).
[5] Caleb Ward, pension no. 30,775.
[6] Chevalier de Beaurain, Carte von dem Hafen und der Stadt Boston mit den umliegenden Gegenden und der Lägern sowohl der Americaner als auch des Engländer [Map of the Harbor and City of Boston with the Neighboring Regions and the Encampments of the Americans as well as of the English] (Leipzig: Johann Carl Müllerischen Buch und Kunsthandlung, 1776?); digital image, Library of Congress, “The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789,” American Memory ( : accessed 29 June 2013).
[7] Gardner, “Col. Ruggles Woodbridge’s Regiment,” 221, citing Rev. William Emerson.
[8] Caleb Ward, pension no. 30,775; Gardner, “Col. Ruggles Woodbridge’s Regiment,” 33.  Also, Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, 210, 211.
[9] Frothingham, History of the Siege of Boston, 211.
[10] Plan of the Rebels Works on Prospect-Hill [bibliographic information unavailable at this writing]; digital image, Library of Congress, “The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789,” American Memory ( : accessed 4 July 2013).
[11] Charles Martyn, The William Ward Genealogy: The History of the Descendants of William Ward of Sudbury, Mass., 1638-1925 (New York: Artemas Ward, 1925), 3, 65, 77, 89, 112, 163; digital images, Harvard University Library, Page Delivery Service ( : accessed 28 June 2013).
[12] Frederick G. Howes, History of the Town of Ashfield, Franklin County, Massachusetts, from its Settlement in 1742 to 1910; also a Historical Sketch of the Town Written by Rev. Dr. Thomas Shepard in 1834 (Ashfield, Mass.: the town, ca. 1910), 227, 230; digital images, Internet Archive ( : accessed 26 June 2013).
[13] Caleb Ward, pension no. 30,775.

© 2013 Judy Kellar Fox, 9395 SW 190th Ave., Aloha, OR 97007-6733;

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wearing Courage

She hid a blackjack up her sleeve, it was said, in case a boarder was unruly.[1]  Of all that could have been remembered of Margaret, this story stuck.  It describes a fearless woman with a no-nonsense attitude and a willingness to wield a small club, if need be, to protect her family and its livelihood.

When her husband William Walker was crushed to death in a coalmining accident in England, she already had four children under ten.[2]  Miner’s insurance was not available in 1861,[3] and Margaret never remarried.  Supporting the family fell to her and her children. 

She may have sent her little boys into the coalmines to earn a few pennies a day. The older ones, eight and seven, could have worked in the mine as “putters” pulling baskets of coal to transport wagons or as “trappers” opening and shutting ventilation doors.[4]  Their small earnings would have been crucial to the family’s survival and worth the hardship of long hours in the dark underground and exposure to dampness and coal dust.

At the time of her husband’s death Margaret lived in a rough working-class neighborhood of Seaham Harbour, a port town about a mile from the colliery.  Her husband had been a mine laborer, not a miner, so they were not entitled to company housing at the colliery.[5]  She already had two boarders, also laborers.[6]  The blackjack story suggests that more boarders followed. 

After William’s death, she lost one child and gave birth to another.  In 1865 she gathered up her four children, ages thirteen to one, and, without known help, emigrated to the U.S.[7]  She left crowded, unsavory miners’ housing in England and went toward the Pennsylvania coalmines. [8]  Her sons would have work, and they could all live in company housing, two- to four-room houses of wood, unfinished, and cheaply built.[9]  It was probably an improvement over life at Seaham Harbour.

Margaret (Lauderdale) Walker
about 1900
 During the family’s time in Pennsylvania, two children died and another was born, leaving Margaret, always a single mother, with three sons who would survive to adulthood.[10]  Twenty years after coming to the U.S., the young men came out of the coalmines and took jobs in Cleveland’s steel industry.  Margaret shared a modest home in southeast Cleveland with one or more of them the rest of her life.[11]  

The need for her children’s incomes could have inspired Margaret’s fierce determination to keep her family intact.  They all worked for the common good, the widowed mother taking in boarders and the sons working in the mines or the mills, even as children.  Margaret kept them out of the workhouse and independent of parish relief.[12]  She taught them that by staying together and pooling their resources they could survive.  She offered them an example of strength and fearlessness, like the blackjack in her sleeve.

Margaret Lauderdale was born in October 1830 to William Lauderdale and Margaret Dove and baptized 13 March 1831 at Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, England.[13]  She died 3 October 1901 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.[14]  On 27 April 1851 in Gateshead, Durham, she married William Walker.[15]  The son of Thomas Walker and Mary Russell, William was born in 1827 or 1828 in Shiney Row, Durham,[16] and baptized 12 October 1828 in Penshaw, Durham.[17]  He died 20 July 1861 at Seaham Colliery, Durham, and was buried at St. John’s Church, Seaham Harbour, Durham.[18]

[1] “[S]he ran a boarding house at some time, and was a no nonsense woman - kept a blackjack of some sort up her sleeve in case anyone got out of line.”  Great grandson Russell Walker, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to Judy Kellar Fox, email, 2 August 2011, “another thought [re Margaret Walker].  For the image, see “Batong,” Nordisk familjebok (Stockholm: 1904), 2: 1070; digital image, Project Runeberg ( : accessed 3 June 2013).
[2] “North-Eastern News: Accident at Seaham Colliery,” The Seaham Observer, Seaham, England, 27 July 1861, p. 1, col. 4.  Also, England, death certificate (photocopy) for William Walker, died 20 July1861; citing 10a/167/20, Easington registration district and subdistrict; General Register Office, Southport.
[3] Richard Fynes, The Miners of Northumberland and Durham: A History of Their Social and Political Progress (Blyth: John Robinson, 1873), 201; digital images, GoogleBooks ( : accessed 4 June 2013).
[4] G. C. Greenwell, A Glossary of Terms Used in the Coal Trade of Northumberland and Durham, 3rd ed. (London: Bemrose & Sons, 1888), 5, 88; digital images, Google Books.
[5] George Turns, Seaham resident and historian (, to Judy Kellar Fox, email, “Record Office Lookups,” 7 June 2011.
[6] 1861 England census, Durham, Dawdon Parish, folio 71 verso, household 143, Willm Walker; PRO RG 9/3748, TNA; digital image, (; citing FHL microfilm 543,181.
[7] Manifest, City of New York, 6 December 1865, unnumbered p. 2, unnumbered lines 45-9, Mary Walker family; “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital images, (; citing NARA microfilm publication M237, roll 259.
[8] For the English housing, see “History of Seaham Harbour: 7. Events 1841-65” Durham Records Online ( : accessed 4 June 2013).  In the U.S., see 1870 U.S. Census, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Bloss Township, p. 2 (penned), dwelling 10, family 12, Margret Walker household; digital image, (; citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1496.
[9] Henry George, “Labor in Pennsylvania,” The North American Review, 143 (August 1886): 171.
[10] 1880 U.S. Census, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Town of Arnot, Bloss Township, p. 42 (penned), dwelling 335, family 335, Margret Walker household; digital image, (; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 1197.  Also, 1900 U.S. Census, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, population schedule, Cleveland, 27th Ward, ED 140, p. 10 (penned), p. 270 (stamped), dwelling 188, family 204, Mrs. Margaret Walker household; digital image, (; from National Archives microfilm T623, roll 1257.
[11] The Cleveland Directory, Margaret Walker entries, for year preceding date of publication: digital images, (, 1886, p. 630; 1887, p. 668; 1888, p. 705; 1889,p. 766; 1890, p. 784; 1891, p. 861; 1892, p. 928; 1893, p. 935; 1894, p. 982; 1895, p. 995; 1897, p. 1071; 1898, p. 1101; 1899, p. 1115; 1900, p. 1139.  Also, The Cleveland Directory for the Year Ending July 1901 (Cleveland: The Cleveland Directory Company, 1900), p. 1204 (FHL microfilm 1,376,758); The Cleveland Directory for the Year Ending August 1902 (Cleveland: The Cleveland Directory Company, 1901, p. 1282 (FHL microfilm 1,376,759).
[12] George Turns (Durham County Record Office), “Record Office Lookups”; report to Judy Kellar Fox, 7 June 2011 regarding Easington and Houghton-le-Spring Poor Law Union records and Ecclesiastical Parish Records of Houghton-le-Spring St. Michael Parish and Seaham Harbour St. John Parish.
[13] 1900 U.S. Census, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, pop. sch., Cleveland, 27th Ward, ED 140, sheet 10 (penned), dwell. 188, fam. 204, Mrs. Margaret Walker household.  Also, Houghton-le-Spring Parish (Durham), Baptisms, 1822-1849, p. 2, no. 946, Margaret Lauderdale.
[14] Cleveland, Ohio, Department of Health, Death Records, 1898-1902, alphabetically arranged by date, 3 October 1901, Margant [sic] Walker; Cuyahoga County Archives, Cleveland; FHL microfilm 1,977,438.
[15] Gateshead Parish (Durham), Marriage Register, 1851-1863, p. 4, no. 8, William Walker-Margaret Lauderdale (1851); St. Mary’s Church, Gateshead; FHL microfilm 252,798.  Also, England, entry of marriage (photocopy) for William Walker and Margaret Lauderdale, 1851; citing 24/154, Gateshead Registration District; General Register Office, Southport.
[16]  Censuses place his birth between 6 June 1827 and 7 April 1828. 1841 England census, Durham, East Rainton Township, folio 6 verso, line 10, William Walker; PRO RG HO 107/312, TNA; digital image, (; citing FHL microfilm 241,354.  Also, 1861 England census, Durham, Dawdon Parish, Seaham Harbour, f. 71v, household 143, Willm Walker; PRO RG 9/3748.
[17] “England, Diocese of Durham Bishops’ Transcripts,” digital images, FamilySearch, Durham, Penshaw, 1787-1865, Baptisms, 1828, no. 133, Willm Walker (image 416).
[18] England, death certificate (photocopy), William Walker, 1861.

© 2013 Judy Kellar Fox, 9395 SW 190th Ave., Aloha, OR 97007-6733;