Finding Lillie in the 1930 census

My great-grandmother Lillie CHAMBERS became a widow when her husband John Leland “Lee” MILLER died in 1916 in Paulina, Crook County, Oregon. Her oldest son was 20 and took over running the general store in the tiny town of Paulina.

Her two other sons were 16 and 8 in 1916. She came to Oregon in the 1890’s to teach school and that’s what she did until she married my great-grandfather. After his death she started teaching again and taught in various schools throughout Crook County.

I found Lillie and her two younger sons in the 1920 census still living in Paulina (listed as the Beaver Precinct in the Census¹):

1920 Census
Lillie Miller and her two sons–Eugene and Joe–listed at the bottom. She’s 48 years old, widowed and teaching public school

If you look at the top of the census form Lyle & May Miller are listed. Arthur Lyle MILLER was Lillie’s oldest son. Lyle and May were my grandparents. His occupation is “Retail Merchant–Groceries” and May’s occupation is “Postmistress–Government.” Lyle and May got married in 1918.

I searched for Lillie MILLER in the 1930 census records, but she wasn’t living in Paulina. I knew she didn’t die until the 1950’s and that she stayed in Crook County, Oregon and taught in various schools, but I was unable to find her.

However, one day when I was searching for my grandmother’s brothers and sisters to add to my family tree I found one of my grandmother’s brothers in the 1930 census² (see below) and when I looked down the page there was Lillie! She was boarding in someone’s home and still teaching school. She was still in Crook County, but was living in the Maury area of Crook County.

1930 Census, Maury, Crook, Oregon
Lillie Miller is near the bottom of this page. Listed as a boarder with the Morris family, 59 years old, widowed, teaching public school

The household above the Morris family shows James and Viola McCULLOUGH and their daughter Maxine. James was my Grandma May’s brother.

Finding Lillie in this census record was just chance on my part, but it did remind me to check the rest of the census page to see if there are other people I recognize on the page. And I have found other census records which show two or more families which are ancestors. For example, I found a census record in the 1800’s  which showed two families living next door to each other and I realized that a son and daughter from each family married a few years later. That’s always nice to find…and a good reminder to keep my eyes open!

…………………

Source Info:

¹Year: 1920; Census Place: Beaver, Crook, Oregon; Roll: T625_1491; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 28; Image: 475.

²Year: 1930; Census Place: Maury, Crook, Oregon; Roll: 1939; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0015; Image: 465.0; FHL microfilm: 2341673.

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I thought I remembered a solar eclipse

I thought I remembered a solar eclipse from when I was a child. Of course, I thought it was a total eclipse, but there were no total eclipses in Bend, Oregon when I was a child! When I look at a site which shows all the solar eclipses in the twentieth century there were two that might have been the one I remember–in 1959 and 1963. Probably the 1963 one is what I remember. I remember we used a pinhole projection into a box, I think, to see a projection of the eclipse. Bend probably only had 50% of the sun eclipsed that year. So my memory of that past eclipse is not very accurate.

Thanks to the NASA.gov website for providing this map

My husband and I have decided to drive to Kansas City to see the total eclipse. However the forecast is for clouds and there even thunderstorms, but we’ll see what we see! We have two pair of solar eclipse glasses so we are prepared. (Plus there is a genealogy library I’ve wanted to visit in Independence, Missouri so I’ll have a chance to do a little bit of research while we’re there! Just a coincidence, of course!)

Since I didn’t remember too much about the eclipse from my childhood I decided to search for solar eclipse information from my hometown newspaper–The Bend Bulletin. I found a few very funny stories.

For example, there was a partial solar eclipse in Bend in 1923. The newspaper apparently announced that the eclipse would be the day before the actual event so the next day they published an amusing article stating that since it was Sunday and so many people were in church the eclipse was postponed a day!

So many people were engaged in church services and so many others out of town that Monday seemed a better time for the eclipse. Arrangements were made accordingly, although it was not possible to give notice to all, and the eclipse was held this noon with a high degree of success. (The Bend Bulletin, Monday, Sep 10, 1923, page 4)

Another funny article in 1959 talked about a television show on CBS which decided to follow a group of scientists who traveled to the Pacific island Puka Puka to film a solar eclipse. The CBS camera crew filmed the scientists. However, the scientists weren’t very entertaining.

Among the show’s duller pieces of padding, I would include an irrelevant trip to a Honolulu nightclub, a peek at the initiation ceremonies aboard a ship when it crossed the Equator, a group of speeches by natives in Puka Puka and a group of speeches by scientists in semi-scientistese. (The Bend Bulletin, Tuesday, Jan 20, 1959, page 8)

Parts of Oregon are on the total eclipse path for this eclipse and officials in Oregon expect up to a million people to travel to the path of the eclipse! There has already been bumper-to-bumper traffic in parts of Oregon. I’m glad I’m not in Oregon fighting that traffic.

My brother still lives in Oregon and he is in the path of the eclipse so I think I will probably have to depend on him for eclipse stories since the weather in Iowa and Missouri doesn’t look very good.

A book for Central Oregon history buffs

crooked-river-countryCrooked River Country: Wranglers, Rogues, and Barons (linked to Amazon)

by David Braly

Published by Washington State University Press, Pullman, Washington, 2007

331 pages, includes a Select Bibliography, Chapter Index of Personages and a separate map in a pocket in the back cover

Synopsis from GoodreadsCrooked River Country is a sweeping account of north central Oregon’s thrilling history, primarily the years between 1800 and 1950. Bordered by intimidating natural barriers, the rough country and harsh winters produced equally hardy inhabitants.

Legends include Billy Chinook, Chief Paulina, Elisha Barnes, James M. Blakely, Newt Williamson, James J. Hill, Johnnie Hudspeth, and Les Schwab. In the early 1800s, only Native Americans, fur trappers, military expeditions, and missionaries roamed the forbidding setting, but after mid-century, pioneer families discovered lush pastures nestled in the expanse between the Cascades and the Blue Mountains.

The homestead boom sparked deadly Paiute raids and conflicts over grazing rights. As land became more precious, Native Americans were forced onto reservations and Vigilante ranchers terrorized settlers. Moonshiners fought back. Dishonest politicians and capitalists exploited land claim laws and stole vast amounts of timberland.

Steamship and railroad lines further opened the region, and the territory gradually became less wild. Big eastern lumber companies arrived and constructed the largest pine mills in the world. The stock market collapsed, and citizens faced severe economic depression intensified by prolonged drought. New Deal programs, good rainfall, and World War II eventually spurred industrial and population growth.

Crooked River Country presents the captivating and thoroughly researched saga of the region’s astonishing transformation.

I bought this book last week on Amazon and so far I’ve only read a couple of chapters and browsed through the book. I looked through the Index of Personages for any of my ancestors who lived in that part of the country and found my great-grandfather Lee MILLER. He’s mentioned in a paragraph about Paulina, Oregon.

Paulina had been founded in 1870, and its post office was established in 1880 with John T. Faulkner serving as postmaster. Livestock baron Bill Brown sometimes listed himself as a Paulina resident. Cornett had a stage station there, but the big businesses in the early 20th century were the Paulina Cash Store, operated by Lee Miller and George Ruba, and the Hotel Paulina, built by Elmer Clark in 1906. The hotel had a lounge, dining room, and kitchen on the first floor, and eight bedrooms upstairs. While a few homesteaders filed for land in the vicinity, the Paulina area remained a ranching district. (from Crooked River County by David Braly, p. 187)

It’s always nice to see a name I know in print! The book starts with early history of the area and continues to the early 1950’s with the last chapter talking about the growth and importance of Prineville, Oregon after WWII when the post-war building boom created the need for more lumber. The first chapter explores the area as a whole and defines Central Oregon as a larger area than how it’s defined today.

I grew up in Central Oregon and my parents were born there. My Miller relatives came to Oregon in 1847 on the Oregon Trail so even though I don’t live in Oregon any longer I have deep roots there. And lots of relatives all over Oregon. I think I will learn a lot more about the history of the area I grew up in.

About David Braly

From the back cover: He’s a Prineville resident, a former journalist, is a popular author of numerous articles about the West. He was selected as a 2005 Spur Award finalist for best Western short fiction.

Peter Coleman VALLEY and family–what my Dad told me

The VALLEY family is my Dad’s Norwegian part of our family. My grandfather died when I was a little girl, but my Dad related what he knew about his father’s family:

My grandfather–Peter Coleman VALLEY–didn’t know too much about his parents. He was born in Wisconsin and he left home after his dad died because he didn’t get along with his mother. Peter said “my mother took up with other men.” After he left home, he lied about his age (he was 16) so he could join the Army in 1900. He was in the Philippines and later in the Boxer Rebellion in China during the Spanish-American War. [My father says his dad was born 28 August 1884, but military records when he joined the Army show 18 April 1882 and later military records show 28 August 1882.]

1900 Census showing Peter Valley in Puerto Rico with other military

Peter’s parents came from Norway and their names were Fred VALLEY and Katinka Pauline WALLISVERD (or WALLISVERG or WALLESVERD or WALLESVERDH or some other spelling!). Peter didn’t know where they came from in Norway, but he thought the family name was changed from Neseldolen [my brother tells me the spelling should be Nesledalen] (which might mean nettle valley–and maybe it’s a Norwegian farm name?? Because he thought they came from a place called Neseldolen. [Nesledalen]) He also thought there was a family connection in Trondheim, Norway (a harbor city on the west coast of Norway) who might have been a ship’s carpenter or harbor master, but didn’t know a name.

Peter had a younger brother named William VALLEY (born in 1886). They also had a younger half-brother named John HOOD (born in 1894). They were all born in Wisconsin. Peter moved to Minnesota after he left the Army and married my grandmother Olga Tekla Laura Nora JOHNSON. Her parents were Swedish. Peter worked in sawmills in Minnesota and moved his family to Bend, Oregon in 1919 to work in a sawmill there. My grandparents lived the rest of their lives there.

Some questions I have:

  1. I have found very little information about Fred VALLEY. I’m not sure when he died. This year I did find a state record for a Fred VALLEY who died in 1898 in Wisconsin. Is this my Fred VALLEY? I need to get a copy of the death certificate to find out what information it shows.
  2. I found a Lutheran church record in Stoughton, Wisconsin for the baptism of William VALLEY in 1896, but I haven’t been able to find any birth record for Peter VALLEY. Differing records show he was born in Gilman, Taylor County, Wisconsin, United States. Another record shows Pierce County, Wisconsin as a birth site.
  3. I found a New York Passenger List which shows Godfred Vallesvar and Katrine Vallesvar arriving in the U.S. in 1883 and planning to go to Stoughton, Wisconsin. Is this Fred and Katinka VALLEY?
  4. Is John HOOD Peter and William’s half-brother?

I am thinking of going on a research trip to Madison, Wisconsin to search for state records for the VALLEY family and also do research at the Naseth Library (a Norwegian American Genealogical Society) also in Madison.

Source info:

Year: 1900; Census Place: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Military and Naval Forces; Roll: 1838; Enumeration District: 0102; FHL microfilm: 1241838; found on Ancestory.com

Notes from my mother about Lillie CHAMBERS and Lee MILLER

This information is from handwritten pages my mother wrote in a notebook probably around 1954 (based on the other pages in the notebook). Her grandmother Lillie Marks CHAMBERS MILLER died in 1956. [I have seen Lillie also spelled Lily in different documents and at different times–even by my mother!]

I have added additional notes [using brackets] from things my mother told me when I was a teenager and first became interested in our family history.

John Leland “Lee” MILLER family, L-R: Gene, Lee, Lyle, Lillie–about 1905, in Oregon
Lillie Marks CHAMBERS
  • born in Bates County, Missouri 9 June 1870
  • Since Marks is Lillie’s middle name MARKS might be a family name
  • Two brothers–Arthur and John
  • Two sisters–Ida and Emma
  • Went to teacher’s college in Bates County, Missouri [later my Mom called this a Normal school–which I learned is the name for schools which taught teachers]
  • School was a private school at that time
  • Lillie and Arthur traveled to Oregon
  • Arthur had a mine at Black Butte in Grant County, Oregon & later homesteaded in Fox Valley
  • Arthur went to Portland, got sick there and died at St. Vincent’s Hospital
  • Lillie taught school [in Grant County, Oregon], met Lee MILLER and they were married 14 September 1895
  • Lillie and Lee’s children–Lyle–my grandfather–(born 11 July 1896 in Canyon City, Oregon), Gene (in 1900) and Joe–J.C. (in 1908)
Lee MILLER
  • Family came across the plains to Oregon
  • They were a pioneer family that settled near Creswell, Oregon
  • His mother’s maiden name was Douglas
  • Douglas County and Douglas Cemetery near Creswell was named for them
  • There were two brothers–Lee and Cyrus [I’m not sure if my mother meant there were two sons or that Lee MILLER had two brothers in which case she may have written down “Lee” instead of the other brother’s name]
  • Lee MILLER had a livery stable in Canyon City, Grant County, Oregon
  • Mom thought the livery stable burned down and the family moved to Izee, Grant County, Oregon
  • Later they moved to Paulina, Crook County, Oregon and had a store there that went broke at some point
  • Lee MILLER died when Lyle was 16
  • Lillie started teaching school again and taught for many years in rural communities in Crook County, Oregon.
  • Lillie thought one brother lived near Denver

Next I will write about the information in the notebook Mom wrote about Lillie’s grandfather and family.

I will come back to Lee and Lillie’s family with information I’ve found in records and try to prove or disprove these notes.