Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Grandma Mary's Siblings: Gorgeous Gordon

According to my dad, Gordon was Grandma Mary’s favorite brother. It may have had something to do with their mutual interest in education, so Dad said. It may also have had something to do with the fact that they were so close in age, only one year apart. It may have had something to do with personalities that simply clicked.

Looking at photos of the family, I’d say that Gordon was the best looking of Mary’s brothers. Dark hair, square jaw, light eyes, his photos, even the ones of him in his work clothes reveal his good looks.
James Gordon Waggoner, c1908
Apparently, Gordon went out west at about the same time as Emery; most likely they traveled together all the way by train. Although I couldn’t find Emery in the 1910 census, I did find Gordon living in Opportunity, Spokane County Washington and boarding with a family named Harrington. His occupation is farm laborer. The name of that town must have promised good things to him, and he looked for opportunities beyond the farm. I'm not sure what year this next photo was sent home, but here he is with a copper mining crew. He marked his shoes with Xs so his family members could find him. This fabulous photo shows such a variety of men and expressions and poses that it's a delight to study.

Gordon Waggoner is center front, the one with the X marks on his shoes.
Love the rakish angle of Gordon's hat in this close-up of him!

Close-up of Gordon Waggoner from the Copper Mining Crew photo.
On 26 April 1915, Gordon married Etheline Costello in Shoshone County, Idaho. Who was Etheline Costello? I had to know more. The search turned up some interesting and puzzling information.

In 1905, Ethelyn B. VanWert married William J. Costello. In 1910, William, age 37, and Ethelyn, age 29, were living in Sand Point, Bonner County, Idaho, with two sons named Earle W., age 2, and VanWert J., age 1. William and Ethelyn were both born in New York, as were Ethelyn's parents. Wiliam's parents were born in Ireland. He was a lawyer. The census says it's the first marriage for both of them. However, with a little more searching, I found William J. Costello (age 28, born New York, parents born in Ireland) in the 1900 census living in the home of Thomas J. Hamilton, head of household. William's relationship to head of household in son-in-law. Listed after his name is Teresa Costello, daughter of head of household, and three Costello children, grandchildren of head of household. Interesting. Is this the same William J. Costello? Name, age, birth place and parents' birth places indicate so. If that's true, what happened to his first family? More investigation ahead.

When did Etheline or Ethelyn and William Costello divorce? A 1914 City Directory for Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai County, Idaho, shows William J. Costello and Ethelyn living at 410 Antone, Sandpoint, Idaho. He is a prosecuting attorney at the Court House. A year later, Ethelyn married handsome Gordon Waggoner. There's more to the story. Stay tuned.
Bonner County Idaho directory, 1914, "Costello, Wm. J. (Ethelyn)"
Note about Gordon's name:
In an earlier blog, I sourced a birth record that I believed to be Gordon, even though the name on the record was James. Based on information provided to me at that time, I thought this brother's name was Gordon Grady. Since I wrote that blog, I have discovered strong evidence that Gordon’s name was James Gordon, not Gordon Grady. Maybe his full name was James Gordon Grady—I don’t know. Whatever the case, when I searched for the records using the name Gordon Grady, another name James G. Waggoner, kept popping up. James G. was born in Virginia at the same time as Gordon, so I looked at him closer. I’d been told that Gordon had a son named James Grady; this James G. Waggoner also had a son named James G. Also, I knew that Gordon had moved to the northwest, and the location of this man in Idaho fit our Gordon. With five pieces of the puzzle fitting our Gordon—birth date, birth place, location, middle initial, son’s name—I’m reasonably certain I’ve found the correct records.

For Gordon Wagner in the 1910 census: 1910 U.S. census, Opportunity, Spokane County, Washington, population schedule, p. 7851 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 135, sheet 1-B, dwelling 20, family 20, Cornelius Harrington; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1699.

For marriage of James G. Waggoner and Etheline Costello: "Western States Marriage Records Index," database BYU-Idaho (, accessed 27 August 2013), entry for  James G. Waggoner--Etheline Costello, 26 April 1915, citing Shoshone County Idaho Marriages, Vol. 7: 208.

For marriage of Ethelyn B. VanWert to William J. Costello: "Western States Marriage Records Index," database BYU-Idaho (, accessed 27 August 2013), entry for William J. Costello--Ethelyn B. VanWert, 02 November 1905, citing Kootenai County Idaho Marriages, vol. 3, p. 447.

For William J. and Ethelyn Costello in 1910 census: 1910 U.S. census, Sandpoint, Bonner County, Idaho, population schedule, Ward 3, p. 2992 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 88, sheet 7-B, dwelling 160, family 161, William J. Costello family; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013); NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 223.

For William J. Costello in 1900 census: 1900 U. S. census, New York, Kings County, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn Ward 30, p. 859 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 555, sheet 17-B, dwelling 295, family 324, Thomas J. Hamilton family; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013); NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1068.

For William J. and Ethelyn Costello in 1914: Bonner County Directory, 1914-1915, Spokane, Washington: R. L. Polk and Company, 1915. U. S. City Directories, 1821-1989; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013), "Costello, Wm. J. (Ethelyn)."


  1. Very interesting! I love the photo of the mining crew. After all this time the images are very clear. It is also nice to see your sources listed. That does not happen often enough. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. The sources take a lot of time, but are worth it in the long run.

  2. Interesting post. How smart of Gordon to mark his shoes with an X in that photo. Copper mining certainly must have been difficult work.

    Welcome to GeneaBloggers!

    1. Thanks! I love the x-marks on his shoes. I don't know much about copper mining--more research needed. :-)

  3. Hi Zola,

    Welcome to Geneabloggers!! It's been about a years since I published my first blog and it has been an adventure. This is an awesome blogging group! Maybe we should follow each other.


    1. Thanks for your encouragement. I'm excited about being a part of this blogging group. Still can't figure out a few techy issues about Blogger, but I'll get there, and I will take a look at your blog.

  4. Nice. Welcome to Blogger land. Have you seen this post on message boards? If it is not you maybe a good contact. I did a ctrl F to get Waggoner to show. :)

    1. Thank you so much! I'd not seen that message board post. It does look like a good contact.

    2. Thanks, again, Fran. This post turned out to be a boon to my research.

  5. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  6. Very interesting! I am eager to hear more about Gordon and Ethelyn. Fantastic photos, as well.