Cheney High School Honor Roll 1924 & Basketball

March 20, 2014

The Eastern Washington University has a great newspaper archive and I found these items about the students at Cheney.

The February 1924 issue features Jean under the Biology section. Edna is under the English listings.  Miriam has graduated but here are a series of 1924 photos of the sisters except Vivian.

Miriam, Jean and Eddie Winter 1924

Miriam, Jean and Eddie Winter 1924

Eddie, Jean Nellie, Miriam and unknown girl. Winter 1924

Eddie, Jean Nellie, Miriam and unknown girl. Winter 1924

Jean, Eddie and unknown friend, Winter 1924.

Jean, Eddie and unknown friend, Winter 1924. Eddie has a camera in her hands

The March article you will find Jean’s name under Biology and Modern History.  Eddie appears under the English students.

Honor Students Feb 1924

Honor Students Feb 1924

Honor Students Cheney WA March 1924 & Basketball

Honor Students Cheney WA March 1924 & Basketball

A close up of the March 1924 article on Honor Students has a little article tucked in at the end about the girls basketball team receiving the honor of letters.  Eddie is listed.

Basketball March 1924

Basketball March 1924

“Twelve members of girls’ basketball teams at the Cheney high school have been awarded honor letters as follows:  Clare Bemi, Adelia Bacharach, Vivian Harmon, Alice Ewy, Edna McDonald, Alberta Victor, Theresia Burke, Virginia Nance, Genevieve Johnson, Gertrude Bechtel, Elizabeth Andrews, Juanita Eads.”


Eddie’s Collection of Junk: Cheney High School Freshman Class 1921-22

December 12, 2013

There are many gems in my Aunt Eddie’s “Collection of Junk.” From this point on for many posts to come I will be featuring some of these gems.

One of them is the list of the students for the Cheney High School Freshman Class of 1921-22 and it looks like she wrote it.  The paper is tissue paper and it is very fragile.

These are the types of items that genealogists just go nuts over.  I was at the Tillicum Historical Society years ago in Cheney and they didn’t have much on the high school before 1925.  I believe they are now the Cheney Historical Society?

In the list below, Eddie is number 25 and Jean is 21.  Down at number 43, she lists the officers of the class: President Edna L. McDonald, Vice – Fred West, Sec – Roy Hughes, Tres – Alferd Eixson, Sergant at Arms – Pearl Ragan.  Class meetings 2nd Tues of every month. Class dues 35 cents a semester.  If only there was a photo. HA!

1921 to 1922 Cheney High Freshman Class list

1921 to 1922 Cheney High Freshman Class list

Cheney High School Freshman list 1921 to 22

Cheney High School Freshman list 1921 to 22


Eddie’s “Collection of Junk” – Brother Gordy early 1920′s!

September 12, 2013

Eddie’s Collection of Junk scrapbook had a few artifacts that featured her older brother Gordy.  He was formally named Ronald Gordon McDonald and get’s confused with his father Ronald Sandfield McDonald.  He was always “Uncle Gordy” to me.

While Vivian was graduating from Cheney High School and attending the Normal School, Gordon was also growing up. Vivian was the oldest and Gordon followed her.  They were older siblings of Keith the subject of this blog.

I love this picture of Gordy, his hat and his outfit in the following photograph.

Gordon in the Spring of 1921

Gordon in the Spring of 1921

Miriam writes about her brother:

Gordon and Geometry

Gordon and Geometry

The following photograph shows Gordy in what I would call a football uniform and it was probably Cheney High School 1921. Gordon and brother Keith were built almost exactly alike.  They were both about 5 feet 4 inches tall and about 150 lbs. so they were not big men; however, they were stocky built.  Here we see Gordon with a full head of hair.  It wasn’t going to last, eventually, both brothers would become bald but not till the mid 1930′s.  If you look at the shadow in this photograph in front of Gordon it looks like a girl took the picture?

Apparently he was on the football team at Cheney High School

Apparently he was on the football team at Cheney High School

Eddie writes about the Athletic Letter in the photograph below.  I am not sure she was happy about it, but apparently brother Gordon interfered? More about Eddie’s involvement in sports in a future post.

Cheney High School Letters

Cheney High School Letters

Below is what looks like a graduation picture of Gordon.  I lean toward it being his Cheney High School graduation picture because he is younger looking.

Gordon's graduation photo probably Cheney High School about 1921

Gordon’s graduation photo probably Cheney High School about 1921

Eddie had a rusty button that she kept among her memorabilia.  From what I can determine the Older Boys Conference might have a connection to church activities.

Older Boys conference 1922 - Gordon McDonald

Older Boys conference 1922 – Gordon McDonald

This is the page of honor, page 71, where the above pin was kept.  It had fallen out of the “Collection of Junk!”

Page 71 in Eddie's scrapbook

Page 71 in Eddie’s scrapbook

Below are two pages from the Kinnikinick Yearbook in 1923 for the Normal School now Eastern Washington University in Cheney.  I do not know what the Senior B Class means but Gordon is listed in the 3rd column eighth one down.  I do not see him in the picture.

Gordon is listed with the Senior B's in 1923 Normal School Yearbook

Gordon is listed with the Senior B’s in 1923 Normal School Yearbook

This other page from the yearbook for the Normal School dated 1923 shows Gordy with the track team. He is in the front row second from the left, seated.  He was so serious in those days.

Gordon was part of the track team for the Normal School 1923

Gordon was part of the track team for the Normal School 1923 – click to open and use back button to return

Eddie had this ticket for entrance into a track meet in 1923.  It is not listed on the yearbook page above but it might be one that Gordy participated in or maybe they attended together?  It does mention High School and he was out of high school by about 1921.

Track meet Ticket 1923 Eddie's collection

Track meet Ticket 1923 Eddie’s collection

Eddie saved her brother Gordy’s graduation envelope, announcement and cards in her “Collection of Junk.”  This is from Gordon McDonald’s August 1923 graduation from Normal School.

Gordon's Graduation from Normal School 1923

Gordon’s Graduation from Normal School 1923

Gordon's Graduation from Cheney Normal School 1923

Gordon’s Graduation from Cheney Normal School 1923

Here we have a photo of Vivian and Gordon with parasol’s.  These parasols seemed to be a big thing in the early 1920′s.

Vivian and Gordon 1925 with parasol's.

Vivian and Gordon 1925 with parasol’s.

This photograph was taken in about 1925 of Gordon.  He is with someone who he seems to be very friendly with for he is smiling.  I am wondering again if this is not Claude Penglase?  Claude Penglase was to marry Mary Helena McDonald, Angus’ daughter.  Angus was Gordon’s Uncle.

Gordon with a friend in 1925

Gordon with a friend in 1925

In 1926 Gordy was living in Seattle, Washington which sort of strengthen’s the theory that the boy above is a Penglase. Gordy sent this postcard to his sister Eddie and she kept it!  It is addressed to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, so it shows the transition of the family from Cheney to Spokane by 1926.

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Gordon to Eddie in 1926

Gordon to Eddie in 1926 – click on the photos and use the back button to return

Tracking my Uncle Gordy has been a challenge.  Single men move around and he definitely was on the move in the 1920′s and 1930′s.  Gordon did not marry till after 1950.  When his mother Grace died, Gordon became the older brother who watched over everyone.


Hilary McKanna’s Family!

June 20, 2013

There is definitely connection between the Angus McDonald family, the McKanna family and the Penglase family.

The story is that Vivian met Hilary at Uncle Angus McDonald’s home in West Seattle. Angus’s daughter Helena Mary McDonald married a Claude Penglase and had George Robert Penglase.  I have shared the information on the Penglase family when I posted about Angus McDonald’s family on this blog before. Angus is Keith’s uncle and Ronald’s brother.

Hilary’s parents were Michael Bernard McKanna and Katherine Rooney.

There is a blog that shares information on the McKanna family:

A Convergence of Families:  Willis and Hermsen, McKanna and Rooney, Steltjes and Fleming, Caldwell and Lynch at the following link

http://willisgene.wordpress.com/the-mckanna-family-pioneers-of-the-northwest/

There is more at this blog so take your time to explore.  I am not an expert on the McKanna’s but I do believe the writer is one.

The Convergence blog tells the story of the McKanna’s.  The spelling of the name was apparently McCanna in the beginning.

The blog also has a picture of the tombstone of Michael Bernard McKanna.

Robert “Mickey” McKanna, Michael and Katherine’s grandson, told me the story of how he and his kids hiked up to see the gravesite at Miner’s Cemetery, on top of the Chilkoot Pass, near Lake Bennett in British Columbia. This was no small feet to get to the cemetery.  I was visiting Mickey at his cabin in 2002.

“Michael came over from Ireland and settled in Stearns Co., Minnesota.  There were locust infestations for 4-5 years in a row and that is when they then moved onto Fargo, ND where they had a child.  In Miles City, MT they had Emmett and Phillip (Mickey’s dad).  They moved on to Douglas, Alaska where they had Hilary who was apparently the youngest of the clan.  Michael McKanna, the grandfather, was starting back to the US and became sick at Lake Bennett south of Fairbanks. 

Years ago Mickey took two of his sons on a hike to find this grave’s location.  A forest service person marked the trail for Mickey so they could find the cemetery.  It had 13 graves of which one was his grandfather Michael.  Michael died at 49/50 years old.  Mickey thinks that his aunt made it to the grave because of the style of the inscription.”  Spoken by Mickey McKanna grandson. 

Source:  Journal of Trip to Yakima and Spokane, July 2002, by B. J. MacDonald. There are Spracklins who live in the Miles City, Montana area.  The Spracklins are one of Keith’s older families through his grandmother Amarilla Spracklin Barclay.

Based on my notes from Mickey I have the following information about this family.

Please be advised that I only have this information that follows because I was curious. When I knew Mickey I was a munchkin so I didn’t pay any attention to this stuff.   This family of the McKanna’s is only related to my family by marriage.  So I have not taken the time to really dig and get the facts.  I refer you to the Convergence blog I listed above for the real story.

Michael apparently emigrated from Ireland per Mickey’s sharing, but I have no detailed information on him other than his death and there is a picture of the tombstone on the above mentioned blog.  Katherine was born about 1852 maybe in Canada and died about 1939.

NOTE:  Find A Grave has a tombstone for a Katherine A. McKanna buried in the Holy Trinity Cemetery in Goldendale, Klickitat County, WA.  The dates are 1852 to 1939.  Of course I would have to verify this information.

The children of Michael Bernard McKanna and Katherine A. Roovey

1.  Elizabeth McKanna 1875-1930.  She married a man named Robert Willis, and had a son names James E. Willis 1912 to 1930.  See the Convergence of Families blog.

2.  James McKanna – no further information on this child? Again check out the Convergence blog for more information.

3.  Emmett Joseph McKanna 1879-1958.  Emmett Joseph was born 8 Jun 1879 and died 15 Mar 1958 in Yakima, Yakima Co., Washington.  He is buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Yakima not too far from the McDonalds that I have been posting about.  I stumbled on this family when I was researching the Calvary Cemetery where Ronald, Nellie, Miriam, Gordon, Vivian and Eddie are buried.

He married Lillian Mary Penglase who was born 28 Feb 1885, and died 6 Dec 1975 in Yakima and is buried next to her husband.  Thanks to the Convergence blog for this piece of information about Lillian’s last name.

Private funeral services will be held Friday at 10 a.m. in St. Paul Cathedral in Yakima for Mrs. Lillian M. McKanna, longtime Yakima resident who died Friday in Seattle.  Mrs. McKanna moved to Seattle upon the death of her husband, Emmett J. McKanna, who was a longtime real estate agent in Yakima.  She moved to Seattle to live with her daughter.  Suvivors include a son, Emmett Jr. of California; two daughters, Mrs. Mary Dietzen of Yakima and Elizabeth McFadden of Seattle; two sisters Frances Barnhill of Los Angles and Rose Moran of San Francisco; 14 grandchildren and several great grandchildren.

Source:  Obituary for Mrs. Lillan McKanna (Out of Town), December 11, 1975, Yakima Newspaper (Unknown).  Found at the Calvary Cemetery office in Yakima, WA.

These are note cards copied by the Calvary Cemetery office showing information on the burial location of these burials:

McKanna, Vivian (Leola) Age 82 618 So. 3rd St. Selah, WA 98942
Blk D, Sect 84, E 1/2 Gr 2, Langevin & Mussetter 14 Nov. 1984, 6/18/81 $185.00 Buril $311.31) pd 12/3/84
McKanna, Lillian M. age 90 Blk D, Sec 26, W1/2, Gr 6 Dec 12, 1975 Fisher-Kalfus Funeral Home, Seattle, St. Pals $331.75 pg. 4/27/1976
McKanna, Emmett J., Age 78 Blk D Sect 26, W 1/2, Gr 5, Mar 19, 1958, St. Paul, Fr. McRath. S&S.
McKanna, Lt. John Willis Blk D, Sec 26, W/12, Gr. 7, Aug 14, 1943, Age 28 Shaw & Sons.

Emmett's tombstone in Calvary Cemetery, Yakima

Emmett’s tombstone in Calvary Cemetery, Yakima

JohnWillisMcKanna LillianMaryMcKannaTombstone

John Willis McKanna and Lillian Mary McKanna’s tombstone

They had:

a.  Lt. John Willis McKanna 1915-1943 was born 23 Jun 1915 and died 10 Aug 1943.  He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Yakima next to his parents.

b.  Emmett McKanna Jr.  b. ________ died after 1977 in La Jolla, California.  He married a Marjorie J. Young and she died 2 Nov. 1977 in La Jolla, California.  They had Susan who married a Humiston and Sarah who married Schneider and had John and James.

c.  Mary McKanna married a Dietzen

d.  Elizabeth McKanna married a McFadden

4. Philip McKanna 1896-1941 was born 1896 in Montana and died about 1941 in California?  He married a Kathleen who was born about 1898 in Washington and died in California?

A curious piece of information at Find A Grave has a Phillip F. McKanna born May 17, 1884 d. August 6, 1940 in the same cemetery at the Katherine above – Holy Trinity?

The children of Philip and Kathleen:

a.  Alice McKanna born about 1928

b.  William McKanna born about 1926 and died about 1970 and may be buried in Arlington Cemetery, VA?  He married Marilyn Jean Pebley and had about three children.  Bill was in the Navy and Air Force?

c.  Robert “Mickey” John McKanna born about 1930 in Alaska.  He married Christine Henschield on 9 Aug. 1958 in Spokane.  She died several years ago.  They had 6 children.   Mickey is the nephew of Hilary McKanna and came to live with Hilary and Vivian.  See below.

d.  Mary Jane McKanna born about 1933 may have married a Teratino.

Apparently Philip McKanna was married a second time to an unknown person and had 3 children a Hugh, Phil and a Francis.  I have very little information about this marriage.  Mickey said it was a prior marriage that gave him 1/2 siblings.

1940 Census – Linden Lane, Line 34, 629, 99, 12, 20.00, McKanna, Philip, Head,  M, W, 55, M, No., 44, 30, Montana, XOXO, No, No, No, No, O, 8, 13, 130, No. McKanna, Kathleen, wife, 1, F, W, 42, M, No, 42, 10, Washington, No, — McKanna, William, son, 2, M, W, 14, S, yes, H1, 9, Washington, McKanna, Alice, daughter, 2, F, W, 12, S, yes, 5, 5, Washington, McKanna, Robert, son, 2, M, W, S, yes, 5, 5, Alaska. McKanna, Mary Anne, daughter, 2, F, W, 7, S, yes, 1, 1, Alaska.

Source:  Philip McKanna Family, 1940 US Census, Long Beach, Los Angeles, California, Block 5, SD#18, ED#59-58, Sht#3A, April3-4, 1950, enumerator Randal W. Brooks.  Ancestry.com.

5. Robert McKanna  - This is Bob and Theo of which I have lots of pictures from Vivian’s photo album, loaned to me by Mickey McKanna.

Bob and Theo 1926

Bob and Theo 1926

6.  Hilary Michael McKanna born 11 Jun 1892, Douglas Island, Alaska and died 18 Oct 1957 in Medical Lake, Spokane Co., Washington.  He is buried in the St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Spokane.  He married my Aunt Leola Vivian McDonald 25 June 1924 in Cheney, Spokane Co., Washington.  I have posted about this marriage in past posts.  Vivian is Keith’s older sister as you will remember.

Note:  Internment has a listing for the St. Joseph Cemetery in Spokane, WA and there are McCannas and McKannas buried there including Hilary.

http://www.interment.net/data/us/wa/spokane/stjoe/st_joseph_mq.htm

Vivian & Hilary 1925

Vivian & Hilary 1925

When Philip, Hilary’s brother died suddenly, Bill the son was invited to come and live with Hilary and Vivian in Greenacres, Spokane, WA where they settled.  Mickey McKanna came to visit his brother and liked it and decided to stay.  Hilary and Vivian didn’t have children of their own so Bill and Mickey became very important to them.

Hilary with his nephews Mickey and Bill McKanna

Hilary with his nephews Bill on the left and Mickey McKanna 1945

Now you know why Keith, the subject of this blog, and his siblings all knew Mickey (Robert John McKanna) and his brother Bill (William).

Ronald S. McDonald, Bill McKanna, Vivian and Hilary 1940's.

Ronald S. McDonald, Bill McKanna, Vivian and Hilary 1940′s.

The photo above shows the connection to the McKanna’s.  Ronald (R.S.) McDonald is the father of Vivian and she is standing between her nephew Bill McKanna and her husband Hilary McKanna.

Again, for more details about the McKanna family and Hilary’s and Bill’s ancestors see the blog: A Convergence of Families:  Willis and Hermsen, McKanna and Rooney, Steltjes and Fleming, Caldwell and Lynch at the following link and take a look around for more information.

http://willisgene.wordpress.com/the-mckanna-family-pioneers-of-the-northwest/


Eddie’s “Collection of Junk!”

April 25, 2013

My Aunt Eddie, Keith’s sister, had a journal book filled with memorabilia that was titled:

A Collection of Junk!

A Collection of Junk

A Collection of Junk

In the post dated January 3, 2013, Ronald’s Story Continues! Revisiting Grand Prairie, Alberta and mention of Albany, Oregon, I shared a little from the collection in that post about those locations.  I was surprised to find that they were in Albany, Oregon before heading for Cheney.  At some point I will have to find additional records to show that the McDonald family was there.

The journal/ scrapbook is now 92+ years old.  It smelled musty, the pages had discolored, items were missing leaving blank spaces, things had fallen out and been stuffed back inside.  The scrapbook was filled with mementos of school, places, friendship, club activities, high school parties, graduations, and political leanings.  It was just a scrapbook using a cash journal for its home.

The journal's outside

The journal’s outside

Apparently this “Collection” was first owned by her sister Jean whose name was written in the back of the book, but most of the stuff in the book was about Eddie’s life experiences.

Jean claims ownership in the back of the journal

Jean claims ownership in the back of the journal

Eddie claimed ownership on page 67:

Eddie's claim to ownership in the front of the book

Eddie’s claim to ownership in the front of the book

Here is a picture of Eddie probably sometime around about 1918 give or take a few years.

Eddie at a young age

Eddie at a young age

This is an example of what the pages looked like in her journal scrapbook:

A example of a page of the journal.

An example of a page of the journal.

As I studied the items I began to see more categories or rather groupings of the information.  Eddie wrote notes describing the item but some items were missing or miss filed so I was not able to identify all.  Eddie didn’t necessarily put the memorabilia in date order and she mixed them up.

These are some of the groupings I came up with:

        • Basketball
        • Cooking Class or rather domestic science
        • Friendship
        • Gift from Grandma
        • Gordon
        • Grade School
        • Grammar book
        • Grand Prairie
        • Halloween
        • Holidays
        • Keith
        • Letters from Other Schools
        • Miriam
        • Movies & News
        • Newspaper Editor
        • Nurses School
        • Oddities and Missing things
        • Plays & Things
        • Politics and News
        • Pretty Things
        • Religion
        • School Memories
        • Stories Written
        • The Tea Room
        • Vivian

The journal covers several locations like Grand Prairie, Alberta, Albany, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; Cheney, Washington, and even a little of Seattle.

In the posts that follow, reference to Eddie’s “Collection of Junk” will appear on occasion or when it adds to the information that I already have about that topic or person.  We will start with her older sister Vivian.


Cheney Years: Ronald McDonald and Taxes!

April 10, 2013

The school census was suggested by the director of the Eastern Branch of the Washington State Archives when I was visiting the area in 2002.  She also suggested the use of the Personal Property Assessment Rolls.

Eastern Washington Campus

Eastern Washington Campus 2002

They were closing for the day so we had to leave quickly. She kindly did the research for me and sent her findings to my home.

Source:  Personal Property Assessment Rolls, City of Cheney, Spokane, Co., Washington 1922, R.S. McDonald, Eastern Washington Branch of the Washington State Archives.

1922:
Watches $30
Pianos $200
Musical Instruments $5
Sewing Machines $5
Household furnishings $300
Value of personal or real property $260
Jewelry etc. $20
Tax $130

1923 Line 35, no. 27
Full value of property $460
Real value $300
Assessible property $160
Tax $80

These documents are not real exciting to look at and mostly consist of the names on the right and then columns and numbers in the columns.  They are usually 2 page maybe more long.

Times were tough for my family.  I learned that they struggled and sent home money like most families of that time period.  It was not yet the 1930′s when the Great Depression hit and it got even harder.

At the very least it does place them in Cheney, Washington during the early 1920′s.  Still no address was listed for the house they lived at in Cheney.


School Census for Cheney, Washington

March 28, 2013

I know that Vivian, Gordon, Miriam, Eddie and Jean all went to Cheney High School but not my father Keith, he went to Gonzaga which was a combination college and high school located in Spokane.

HistoryLink.org has a short article about the Normal School

http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=8246

In 2002 when I went to Spokane to do research on my Dad and his family, I went to the Spokane Public Library and tried to find city directories for Cheney among the collection of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society.  City directories usually cover a large city.  As the city grows more areas are listed in what are called suburban directories.  I was unable to located any city directories that covered Cheney from 1920 to 1925.  I did find Spokane directories and thoroughly studied them. I was trying to find the address for the house they lived in Cheney but was unsuccessful.

A visit to the Washington State Archives on the Eastern Washington University campus opened the door to the use of School census.  My genealogy buddy had told me about them and found some good information for her search elsewhere in the state.

Census of Children, Spokane County, WA 1922

Portion of Census of Children, Spokane County, WA 1922

SOURCE:  Census of Children between 4/5 & 21 years, residing in School District #20, Spokane Co., Washington, May 1920-1926, Washington State Archives, Eastern Branch, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA.

1920: Vivian McDonald is listed as parent and signs:
Children listed: Vivian McDonald, Birth: May 12, 1902, Female, 32 wks at school, PO Address: Cheney, WA.
Gordon McDonald, May 3, 1904, male, 32 wks, Cheney, WA
Miriam McDonald, Jan. 15, 1906, female, 32 wks., Cheney, WA
Edna McDonald, Mar 28, 1907, female, 32 wks., Cheney, WA
Jean McDonald, June 30, 1909, female, 32 wks, Cheney, WA
Keith McDonald, Mar 28, 1910, male, 32 wks, Cheney, WA (date is wrong)

1922: R.S. McDonald is parent, Nellie signs
Vivian, Gordon, Miriam, Edna same as above

1923: Nellie is parent and signs as well. Vivian is not listed as doing any weeks at school, Gordon and Miriam did 36 while Edna, Jean and Keith did  35 weeks at school. The rest of the information is the same.

1924: Nellie is parent and signs
Vivian is not listed. Gordon, Miriam, Edna, Jean and Keith are listed with the same birth dates. Gordon is teaching at Big Timber, MT. with no weeks at school. Miriam and the rest did 36 weeks. Miriam is at “Normal.” Edna and Jean are in the 11th grade and Keith is in the 7th.

1925: Nellie is parent and signs
Both Vivian and Gordon are not listed. Mariam is at Normal, Edna and Jean are in 12th grade and Keith is in the 8th. All have done 36 weeks.

1926: R.S. McDonald is parent and signs
Vivian and Gordon are not listed. Miriam is listed as teaching, Edna has no school but is in Spokane. Jean is at Cheney with 36 weeks and Keith is in Spokane with 36 weeks.

These school census really shows the progression of Dad’s siblings lives during a short period of time from 1920 to 1926.  It gives the birth dates and that is good if you don’t have that information.  However, be careful they can be incorrect.

What is on these school census:  Names of Parents or Guardians, Names of the children, Date of birth, sex, no. of weeks at school, Address, signature.

Unfortunately, it does not give an address where they lived while they were in Cheney, WA.  So I have not been successful with the city directories nor the school census to find an address but I have learned a little about the movements of the McDonald children.

Cheney High School 1912

Cheney High School 1912

There was a society in Cheney that I visited called the Tillicum Society and I talked with a nice lady who told me that a great many of the houses in Cheney had been torn down.  This was disappointing news.  She also told me that the Cheney High School yearbooks also didn’t survive which would have been so wonderful to see if the McDonald children were in them.

I was given a handwritten name list of the Cheney High 1920-1925 graduates from the principal who was not identified. It was eight pages long.  I get the feeling this was from his memory.  It is missing Vivian.  Keith didn’t go to Cheney High School, he went to Gonzaga.  I was not given permission to publish but I am sure they would be helpful if you called them.  See link below.

1920:  no one listed from my family

1921:  Listed Gordon McDonald

1922:  Listed Marian McDonald

1923:  no one was listed from my family

1924:  no one was listed from my family

1925:  McDonald Edna, McDonald Jean

By the way I believe the Tillicum Society is now the Cheney Historical Museum:  http://www.cheneymuseum.org/index.html

Note:  The Photo of the Cheney High School was on a notecard given to me by the lady who helped me at the society.  Please go to their website if you had family in Cheney and  support them.

My Aunt Eddie, Keith’s older sister, is going to help us learn a little about what life was like for the McDonald children during Cheney High School years and a little more.  She had a journal book she filled with memorabilia from about 1915 to 1925.  She called it a “Collection of Junk.”


Nellie (Ellen Elizabeth) McDonald thru the Years!

March 14, 2013

Nellie passed in May of 1947 which was 12 months before I was born.  I never knew her.  It is well-known in our family that she took on the task of raising R.S.’s children after Grace’s death in 1911. Grace’s death was described as “things were never the same.”

My dad, Keith, really didn’t talk about her much although she was probably the only mother that he remembered.  Grace Barclay McDonald, his real mother, had died in December of 1911 when he was only 18 months old.  Eddie, his sister mentioned she died right at Christmas.  I really had not realized that because Eddie would celebrate that holiday along with the others.

I felt I knew more about the McD’ side than I did my Mother’s side.  Dad didn’t talk specifics but I did know some family history.  Technically my family was a what his sister, Miriam, would often repeat,  “dour Scotsmen.”

The Caledonian Mercury has a posting on the meaning of the word “dour.”  http://caledonianmercury.com/2012/04/18/useful-scots-word-dour/0032435

Nellie and a mystery cat!

The picture above is one of my favorites of Nellie.  The dress is rather fancy so maybe this was some special day?  The one below has her holding another cat with different markings.  She seemed to prefer wearing dresses even when she worked.  This is the one connection with her that I find, our love of cats.

Nellie with another mystery cat!

Nellie is sort of an enigma to me regarding her personality.  She was held in esteem by her niece, Miriam.  Miriam said that Nellie gave her whole life to her and her siblings after Grace’s death.  She never married, nor had children of her own.

By 1920 she is with R.S. (Ronald)., her brother and his children, in Cheney, Washington.  About 1925 she would follow her brother to Spokane so that Keith, my dad, could go to Gonzaga High School and Eddie could go to nursing school.  The move to Yakima was to take place about 1937 and it would be her final migration.  Nellie and Ronald  where aging by then so they followed Miriam to Yakima were Miriam took up teaching.   Nellie would remain in Yakima for the rest of her life.

Nellie will be mentioned in future posts and pictures, I just felt it was important to focus in on her because she became the “mother” to my dad, Keith.

In studying the photos in my Dad’s collection and his sister Vivian’s, I see a woman, Nellie, who wasn’t afraid of work, who was determined, was probably religious, was friendly to others, loved cats, read the newspaper, joined her family in many picnics and fun things.  Even though they didn’t talk about her much, she is featured in many many photographs by herself and with the family.

Nellie off to Church, maybe?

The photo above is another one of Nellie that I like.  She looks a little impatient but I love the coat and the hat.  She was probably very neat and tidy no matter what she was doing.

It was Nellie who wrote the original family history charts in 1932 followed by Miriam, her niece redoing them.  Here are the post dates and titles that feature Nellie’s charts.  They are what I used to try to find my family in Quebec.  Go to the Archives on the right of this blog and find the dates that fit.

July 21, 2011 – Nellie’s Charts – Her Mother Mary McDonell’s Family.

June 17, 2011 – Nellie’s Charts – Her Father Archive McDonell’s Family

Here she is in a lovely white dress with a hat.

Nellie in Summer

We have seen that she liked cats but here she is seated next to a dog:

Nellie with dog

This next photograph is very puzzling.  I do not know the lady on the left.  Nellie and the lady’s dress is of the same print material, although the style is different.  I am assuming Nellie must have belonged to a club perhaps associated with the church?  There is another photo with Nellie in the same dress, but I do not recognize the people and they are dressed very fancy.  I love the hat with the flowers.  Nellie is on the right reaching over to adjust a tea-pot?

Nellie and a friend dress in similar prints

Nellie is in the same outfit in this photograph and a man I do not recognize is on the right.  It was definitely some special gathering.  The location is probably somewhere near Mt. Rainier.

Nellie in the same outfit not in correct orientation

Corrected photo - flipped it and now the can reads correctly.

Corrected photo – flipped it and now the can reads correctly.

Updated:  March 15, 2013:  A comment was made about the photos and the mountain not being correct and so I examined the printed coffee can words and sure enough I had this photo reversed in the orientation.  My Rainier mountain family expert pointed it out to me and I am glad to get this fixed.  It is very easy to get a photo out of orientation when you do not know the subject matter.  So I do try to look for letters or something in the photo to help.  I missed this one.

The next photo has Nellie holding something in her hand.  If you zoom in you find a cigarette in a holder? She smoked cigarettes?  I do love the clothesline however which is very tidy.  The lady peeking out from behind is unknown to me.  (To enlarge the photo, click on it and then use your back button to return to this blog or close a tab.)

Nellie and a friend

Here brother and sister, R.S. (Ronald) and Nellie, work the wood pile:

Nellie & R.S. Work the Wood Pile

A little over the fence gossip.  I think this photo is wonderful.

A little over the fence gossip – Nellie and the Neighbor


Nellie McDonald becomes caretaker of Grace’s children!

March 1, 2013

Nellie or rather Ellen Elizabeth McDonald migrated with her parents from Chichester in 1900/1901 and lived with them in Bemidji till they moved to International Falls in 1905. She was living with her parents and brother Alexander in 1910 per the U.S. Federal census.

At the end of December 1911 Grace, the mother of Keith and his siblings, died of pneumonia and the effects of childbirth see the post dated July 18, 2010 “An Unexpected Tragedyhttp://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com/?s=Tragedy. Nellie became their caretaker.

Nellie on the porch

Nellie on the porch

Just exactly when Nellie joined her brother Ronald in bringing up his six children is unclear.  I have not been able to track her clearly from 1910 to 1920.  I cannot tell if she was with him in Grand Prairie, Alberta.   I  think Nellie did not became the caretaker of the children till just before 1920 but I might be incorrect.  Until I find more information that can pinpoint when Nellie was with them I will have to speculate.  Her niece Miriam implied that she took over right after their mother Grace died, but so far the facts are not agreeing.

Miriam writes that they all moved to the Riverside Drive house after Grace’s death which implies Nellie was involved from 1912 onward? ( Just click on the photo and it will open up for you, remember to hit your back button or close a tab to return to this blog.)

Miriam’s Notes about Nellie!

The parents of Nellie and R.S. where Archie (1912) and Mary (1913) who were living in 1911 when Grace passed, so Nellie would probably not leave them because they were aging.  According to the above paragraph they moved into the Riverside Drive house and that would make sense.

I did find Gordon and R.S. in the Edmonton, Alberta 1916 census.  I did a thorough search of the Canadian 1916 census to try to find  Nellie with the rest of the children but I was unable to locate her or them.

An Ellen McDonald appears in the International Falls city directory of 1917-1918.  This person was a civil servant on 421 1st St., pg. 19.  I ponder if that is her?

I do know for sure that by January 1920, Nellie had joined the family and from 1920 to her death in May of 1947 in Yakima, Washington, she lived with her brother Ronald (R.S.) and followed him wherever he went from that point on.

Her niece, Miriam, held Nellie in high esteem and wrote that she deserved a place in heaven for taking on the momentous task of raising six children that were not her own. Miriam was apparently Nellie’s favorite.

As far as I can recall none of my aunts, my uncle, nor my father talked about Nellie much.  There could be reasons for that.  It may have made them sad, or it was a long time ago.

NOTE:  Please don’t be like me and not ask questions, I wish I had regarding Nellie and the family.


A Scandal in Koochiching County circa 1918!

January 19, 2013

Koochiching County, Minnesota’s north boundary touches the Canadian border.

Koochiching broke off from Itasca County and became its own county in 1906.  Keith’s father, Ronald (R.S.) was there to help plat the town of International Falls and at one point he was acounty commissioner.

Here are past posts about R.S. McDonald and his involvement with International Falls.  You can go to the archive box on the right of this blog and search for May 2010.

  • May 15, 2010 “Commissioner R.S. McDonald
  • May 10, 2010 “Ronald S. McDonald – A Dam is Built!”
  • May 2, 2010 “Ronald S. McDonald or known as just R.S.”

My hubby and I have visited International Falls on several occasions in 2000 and 2001 enjoying the sights and doing genealogical research.

My cousin was born and lived there but passed in 2007, at the age of 94.  I met her when she was 87.  She was one of the reasons I went there to visit.  She was the daughter of John (Jack) and Sarah McDonald, Ronald’s brother and sister-in-law. She was my father, Keith’s, cousin.  I have shared in this blog several of Mary’s stories about her father and mother.  She didn’t have any stories to tell me about my family because she was about 3-4 years old when Ronald left International Falls and was too young to know them.

The first time we went to International Falls (2000)we flew from Minneapolis in an airplane with propellers and 3 seats – 1 on one side and two on the other.  I remember thinking as we flew over the wild landscape below:  “This is your fault Dad.”  Remember, my father, Keith was born in International Falls.  See the post dated March 13, 2010 “A Baptism In International Falls!”

If memory serves the plane landed in Grand Rapids, MN and then continued it journey to International Falls.  I spent the flight looking out the window and studying the landscape as we flew over and was fascinated by it.  The plane’s altitude was not the usual 32,000 feet.  It seemed we were very close to the ground.  I mostly saw trees, water and some open land.  It looked very wild to me.

The airport in International Falls was very small.  We exited the plane by walking down the steep stairs and across the field to the terminal.  It was interesting to see my hubby try to make car rental arrangements.

At the Falls International Airport there is a photograph of the airport with the airplane on the ground.  It is just like I remember:  http://www.internationalfallsairport.com/the-airport/  After visiting International Falls we headed south to Bemidji, Pine River and Brainerd and end the trip in Minneapolis.

The second time we visited in 2001,  we drove up to International Falls from Minneapolis.  Our route took us to Brainerd, to Pine River, through Walker, to Bemidji, passed Blackduck and then onto International Falls.  From International Falls we drove to Grand Rapids down Highway 71 and then we went east on Hwy 2.  From Grand Rapids, we headed over to the eastern side of Minnesota through Cloquet and Willow River and back to Minneapolis.  These were places that Ronald (R.S.) and Grace knew and lived.

Black Duck Park

Black Duck Park

On both occasions we have driven Highway 71.  The road is very very straight and there are no changes in altitude.  The two books I refer to below, written by Drache, were being read at the time and I know I read one of them as we drove along.

International Falls is a cool city.  I enjoyed my visits there.  Everything is easy to find and get too.  The second time were were there a big storm was brewing and someone was mentioning twisters.  I thought it was great but my hubby was not too excited and kept rushing me to the motel, as if that would help if one came.

You can go across the border over the bridge between the two big lumber companies and visit Fort Francis which is in Canada.  How much of International Falls my Dad, Keith, remembered is hard to say for he was born in March 1910 and left there when he was about 5 or 6 years old.

So, I do have some idea of what the county of Koochiching is like and some familiarity with International Falls.  The idea that my grandfather got caught up in a court case about land fraud seems amazing to me.  I am not saying he was innocent just very interesting and I wish I had more information about the events.  I have tried to piece together as much as possible but have not yet looked at court records.  So I have more do to on this subject.

Here is what I have found out so far:

If you want to learn about the region of Koochiching you need to read this book:  “Koochiching, Pioneering, Along the Rainy River Frontier,” by Hiram M. Drache, The Interstate Printers and Publishers Inc., 1983.  It has photographs which are very interesting.  I particularly like the Falls before and after the dam was built.  I also like pictures of the logging activities.  Mr. Drache wrote a very detailed book.

If you want to know more about the land issues in the area, you might want to read this booklet about the peat or muskeg swamps in the area.  At the time R.S. was there they were trying to do “ditching.” The idea was to drain the land for farming.  This booklet is at Google Books.

Bulletin Volumes 16-17 Minnesota Geological Survey, Bulletin No. 16 The Peat Deposits of Minnesota,” by E.K. Soper, United States Geological Survey, United State Bureau of Mines, University of Minnesota, 1919. page 172 “Koochiching County.”

There are approximately one million acres of wet or swamp lands in Koochiching County, and most of this area is covered with from 2 to 20 feet of peat.  The average depth of the peat in the county is about 7 feet, and there are at least 750,000 acres of muskeg swamps over which the peat will average 7 feet thick. 

There are several types of peat bogs in the county, but by far the commonest is a typical muskeg swamp, forested with tamarack, or spruce, or both.  

So why am I interesting in peat and muskeg swamps, well read on…

The second book is:  “Taming the Wilderness, The Northern Border Country 1910-1939,” by Hiram M. Drache, Interstate Publishers, Inc., 1992.  Mr. Drache writes:

“Chapter IX The Unyielding Wilderness – Much of the Northern Border Country was not attractive to settlers who were interested in farming.  Except for those who cut the trees and left, the homesteaders soon realized the futility of their efforts.  The tree-covered muskeg virtually prohibited farming and travel in the area.  To overcome the obstacles and provide the proper environment for agriculture, it was necessary to drain the land to provide roads. 

Mr. Drache goes on and on for pages about the ditching problems in the area.

“These problems were compounded as land was abandoned once the timber was gone and were intensified by corruption among those involved in ditching, road construction, and financing on the local level. Illegal activity in 1916 involving as much as $200,000 in public funds caused Governor J.A.A. Burnquist to suspend County Auditor L.H. Slocum and three county commissioners – R.S. McDonald, William Harrigan, and Harold Royem…The Rev. Thomas Howard headed a group of over 100 citizens who held a mass meeting before the commissioners, asking them to explain what they had done to bring about the suspension of county officials.  The group approved the governor’s action and passed a resolution condemning the actions of the Northwestern Construction Company, which had received funds improperly for work on State Highway No. 5, 9, 20, and 24 and had abandoned the jobs prior to completion…Commissioners McDonald, Harrigan and Royem stood trial for knowingly letting county bonds be sold at a 5 percent discount.  The investigation produced 13 indictments against Slocum; 5 against G.A. Elder, a broker; and 2 against R.S. McDonald.  The case against Slocum was dismissed for lack of evidence.  This undermined the county’s chance of a major recovery, because it was believed that this was the strongest case it had against any of the accused.  The verdicts totaled $64,744.22 of which slightly over $15,000.00 eventually was paid.  There was little hope of collecting any additional amounts, because most of the individuals being sued were not financially “responsible.”  pg. 247.

The Footnotes at the end of the chapter are also interesting, pg. 262:

…transcript of testimony on Case #21,492, January 19, 1917 County of Koochiching vs. George A. Elder, et. al.

Note:  The case number did not show up at the Minnesota Historical Society in 2007 but I believe they do have these cases now?

This reference in the Bibliography might be interesting to see:

 Bibliography pg. 349:  County of Koochiching vs. George A. Elder, Commercial Investment Co., John Nuveen & Co., R.S. McDonald, William Durrin, Harold Royem, and L. H. Slocum, Defendants.  Transcript of Testimony of Trial at Brainerd, District Court, 15th Judicial District, commenced January 17, 1919.  

The International Falls Press and Border Budget report on Thursday June 13, 1918 several articles about the county investigation (Vol. 12, No. 17). In the article on the left “Fake Reports on Cost and Result of Investigation,” my grandfather’s name appears four times.

Land Troubles in Koochiching 1918

Land Troubles in Koochiching 1918

Here is the continuation of the front page county investigation which overlaps some of the first photograph:

Land problems Koochiching lower page

Land problems Koochiching lower page

I found this online just recently:  The Bemidji Daily Pioneer, 1904-1972, Sept. 9, 1916 page 8, Image 8, Library of Congress, Chronicling America. Provided by the Minnesota Historical Society.  Has an article “Governor Promises Full Inquiry into Koochiching Affairs – More Officials of Koochiching County Removed by Gov. Burnquist.”  The article is on the front page last column and page 8 not page 4 as it says at the bottom.

I also found this tip at Google books referring to State cases?

The Executive Documents of the State of Minnesota for the Year, Forty-Seventh Annual Report of the Commissioner of Insurance of the State of Minnesota to his Excellency the Governor, Part I 1918, Syndicate Printing Co., Attorney General, pg. 21, District Courts of Minnesota, Criminal Cases:

915 State vs. Slocum.  Auditing and allowing a fraudulent claim against Koochiching County. Found guilty. Paid $2,000.00 fine.

920 State vs. George A. Elder. Auditing and allowing fraudulent bills to be paid out of county funds.  Found guilty. Fine $5,000.00

917 State vs. R.S.  McDonald, Indicted. Auditing and allowing fraudulent bills to be paid out of county funds.  Koochiching county.  Party left country.  Extradition requested. 

Again, I have a lot more research to do on these court cases.  It would be interesting to see what they reveal about R.S. and his involvement and the final outcome for Keith’s dad.


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