Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Update: Gordon and James Waggoner

Thanks to Louella Stilley from the Kootenai (Idaho) County Genealogical Society, I've learned that my Grandma Mary’s brother Gordon Waggoner’s cause of death was pneumonia. Louella found this information in county cemetery records.[1] Now we know.
As for James, Gordon’s son, there was more to his life than a handsome face and many wives.  During World War II, he served in the US Army as a Tec 4. I had to look that up. According to Answers, Tec 4s were non-commissioned officers, usually with the rank of sergeant, who served as radiomen or mechanics or cook or tank drivers or in other special capacities, either combat or non-combat. His specialty is yet to be known and as far as we know, he never served overseas.
According to his granddaughter, Suzanne, her Grandpa Jim’s career was in real estate.[2] A couple of articles I found in the Seattle Daily Times add evidence to this. The first is an ad dated June 18, 1967, calling for young men wanting to “rise above ‘punching a clock’” to apply for training in real estate sales. The ad particularly focuses on opportunities for land development in Arizona and promises a salary of $200.00 per week while being trained. The name on the ad is James Waggoner, Holly Development Company of Washington.[3]
On a sadder note, an article in the The Seattle Times describes an accident in that city on May 7, 1964. A child named Vicki Lynn Nelson, age 7, ran out from behind a parked car into the path of an oncoming vehicle and was struck and fatally injured. The driver of the car was James Waggoner, age 45, real estate agent. That was the age and career of our James about that time.[4] What a tragedy this must have been for all involved!
At his death in December 1994, James was buried in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. I love the inscription on his tombstone: “I Am Not Contained Between My Hat and My Boots.” It seems to confirm Jacquie Mitchell’s characterization of him as happy regardless of circumstances.
James G. Waggoner tombstone, Willametter National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon. [5]

[1] Stilley, Louella, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho,  E-mail from [(E-ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE),] to Zola Troutman Noble, e-mail, 15 September 2013, “Kootenai Genealogy,” Research/Kootenai folder, privately held by Noble, [E-ADDRESS & ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2013.
[2] Hansen, Suzanne, Portland, Oregon,  E-mail from [(E-ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE),] to Zola Troutman Noble, e-mail, 20 September 2013, “Grandpa Jim’s Occupation,” Ancestry/Suzanne folder; privately held by Noble, [E-ADDRESS & ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2013.
[3] “Lake Havasu City: the Big Project,” advertisement, The Seattle Daily Times, 18 June 1967, p. 65, col. 6.
[4] “7-year-old Struck by Auto,” The Seattle Times, 7 May 1964, p. 6, col. 2, database and image ( : accessed 20 September 2013); search term James Waggoner. “Injuries Fatal to Girl 7 Struck by Auto,” 8 May 1965, p. 20, col. 4.; search term Vicki Nelson. “Vicki Nelson Funeral,” The Seattle Times, 8 May 1965, p. 37, col. 5.
[5] Raylene Lapierre Lehnhoff, photo used by permission, member number 47866810, Find A Grave ( : accessed 18 September 2013).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grandma Mary's nephew: James G. Waggoner, A Busy Life

About 1999, I started corresponding with Jacquie Mitchell, the family genealogist for Grandma Mary’s sister Ida’s branch of the tree. Ida’s family had eventually moved to Washington, too. In a letter from Jacquie dated Sept. 7, 2002, she filled me in on the life of Gordon’s son, James: 

            "James Grady Waggoner son of Gordon Grady married 9 times. I think he married one 3 times & had 2 girls. His Dad died when he was 3 & his mother when he was 11 & then he had a step dad & step mom & lived in Moses Lake Wa. & he left home & worked for various farmers. Got married to a girl called Frankie. He learned to cope with life by just leaving when things didn’t go right. Happy whether he was rich or poor. Good looking & good dancer."[1]

This little paragraph intrigued me. How much of it was true? As I researched James’ parents’ lives, I found that part to be true. But all those marriages? I sent several inquiries to owners of trees on that included James Waggoner.

One reply made my day—it came from Suzanne Hansen, a baby sleep coach and granddaughter of James. In an excited e-mail message, she told me that James, as a very young man on his own, had hired on as a ranch hand on her great-grandfather’s farm in Washington. There he fell in love with the boss’ 17-year-old daughter, Frances “Frankie” Carol Hansen, and the two were married in 1939. James , himself, was only 19 years old. They had two daughters, one born in 1940 and one in 1942. The latter was Suzanne’s mother.
Marriage Certificate, James G. Waggoner and Frances Hansen, 19 July 1939, Grant County, Washington.

Unfortunately, James left Frankie when she was pregnant with her second child, so Frankie moved back home to the big farmhouse with her parents. Soon, she remarried “a man fresh out of the War,” Suzanne writes, “and he adopted the girls and was not very nice to Grandpa Jim and basically said they are my family now since you pretty much abandoned them when they were so little (apparently he had a girlfriend on the side as my grandmother explains it) so he never got to see my mother and aunt grow up.” The girls reunited with their father in the 1970s, Suzanne continues, and they kept in touch the rest of their lives. Once Suzanne’s mother went to Arizona and visited Jim and his wife. Then in his older years, Jim came to Cottage Grove, Oregon, to live with his daughter and her family, and he died in a nursing home near them.[2]

Besides Frankie, the others’ stories are murky, but I was able to verify seven, possibly eight, names and dates. Click on the names to see an image of the marriage certificates. (Image link is on the right.)

Virginia Mary Kelgard, 1 September 1944[3] ; divorce granted April 1947.[4] Although I have not found a record of a second marriage to Virginia, I did find evidence of a second divorce from her in 1954.[5]

Barbara Elizabeth Hill Moyers, 11 Dec. 1949[6]; divorce date unknown. To this marriage, two sons were born: birth date 1951 for James Ellot Waggoner, who died 13 June 1951 when the family lived at Moses Lake, Washington[7]; the other son’s name and birth date are unknown.[8]

Joyce D. Harpel, 5 May 1956[9]; divorce requested 16 November 1959.

Vivian L. Blake, 1 July 1960[10]; divorce date unknown.

Viola M. Johnson, age 27, and James G. Waggoner, age 42, notice of intent to wed in Seattle Times on 30 June 1961[11]; no verification on whether the marriage took place. Divorce date unknown.

Linnea Sjolander, 27 March 1964[12]; divorce granted Oct. 1968.[13]

Leeta Myrtle Hartnett, 29 January 1980[14]; divorce date unknown.

[1] Mitchell, Jacquie, Seattle, Washington, to Zola Noble, letter, 7 September 2002, information on James G. Waggoner’s life; Waggoner, Eli & Rachel binder, Waggoner family; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
[2] Hansen, Suzanne, Portland, Oregon,  E-mail to [(E-ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE),] Zola Troutman Noble, e-mail, 6 September 2013, “James G. Waggoner,” Ancestry/Suzanne folder; privately held by Noble, [E-ADDRESS & ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2013.
[3] Washington, King County Department of Executive Services, Records and Licensing Division, Marriage Returns, 1891-1947, Marriage Certificates, 1855-1990, Office of the Secretary of State, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, ( : accessed 16 September 2013), Virginia Kelgard and James G. Wagganer [Waggoner], 1 September 1944.
[4] “Vital Statistics: Interlocutory Divorce Decrees Granted,” Seattle Daily Times, 19 April 1947, p. 12; database ( : accessed 1 September 2013) Virginia Mary from James G. Waggoner.
[5] “Divorces Asked,” Seattle Daily Times, 17 June 1954, p. 52, database ( : accessed 1 September 2013) James G. from Virginia Waggoner.
[6] Washington, Grant County Auditor, Marriage Records, 1909-2003, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, ( : accessed 17 September 2013), Barbara Elizabeth Moyers and James G. Waggoner, 11 December 1949.
[7] Washington Deaths, 1883-1960, database ( : accessed 16 September 2013) James Ellot Waggoner, 13 July 1951.
[8] Bflorentin1, “Durst Family Tree,” ( : accessed 16 September 2013), citing “private.”
[9] Washington, King County Department of Executive Services, Joyce D. Harpel and James G, Waggoner, 5 May 1956.
[10] Ibid, Vivian L. Blake and James G. Waggoner, 1 July 1960.
[11] “Intent to wed,” Seattle Times, 15 March 1964, p. ??, database ( : accessed 1 September 2013) Viola Johnson and James G. Waggoner.
[12] Washington, King County Department of Executive Services, Linnea Sjolander and James G. Waggoner, 17 March 1964.
[13] "Divorces Granted," Seattle Daily Times, Oct. 10, 1968, p. 65; digital image Genealogy Bank (, accessed 18 Aug. 2013), Linnea from James Waggoner.
[14] Washington, Kitsap County Auditor, Marriage License Application Affidavits, 1905-2005, Office of the Secretary of State, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, ( : accessed 16 September 2013), Leeta Myrtle Hartnett and James G. Waggoner, 29 January 1980.
(c) 2013 Z. T. Noble

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Grandma Mary's Siblings: Gordon's Family After His Death

What an amazing journey I’ve had while researching my grandmother Mary’s brother, Gordon Waggoner! Before I started, I knew only that he was a year older than my grandmother, that he was Grandma’s closest and dearest brother, that he went to the northwest, that he married, had one son, and died young. Now I’ve learned much more. I still haven’t solved the mystery of the cause of his death, so I’ll just add that later when I find it. For now, I’m focusing on Gordon’s wife, Ethelyn and his son James and what happened to them after Gordon died.
Records show that on December 23, 1922, about 22 months after Gordon died, Ethelyn married Clare B. Barrett in Coeur d'AleneKootenai County Idaho. [1]
Marriage Certificate, Clare B. Barrett to Ethelyn M. Waggoner, 23 Dec. 1922.

According to a 1923 City Directory for Couer d’Alene, Clare and Ethelyn lived at 1028 Lakeside Avenue, and Clare worked as an agent for Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad Company.[2]

Clare and Ethelyn Barrett, City Directory, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, 1923.

However, by 1930 when the census was taken, Ethel Barrett, age 48, widowed, is living at 2107 West Pacific Avenue, Spokane, Washington with her son, James Waggoner, age 11, and a 30-year-old “roomer” named Clarance Frick, from Missouri.[3]  Ethelyn’s daughter Erma is one of three roomers in a small “hotel” run by Aetna Lloyd in Adams, Washington.[4]  Where is Clare Barrett at this time? So far, I have not been able to find him, but he was named as a survivor in Ethelyn’s obituary in 1931 (see below), so Ethelyn’s widow status must have referred to Gordon. Years later, the Public Records Index, 1950-1993, places CB Barrett at 355 Morrison, Adams, OR, 97810.[5]
In 1931, for Ethelyn, Erma, and James, tragedy struck again. Ethelyn developed ovarian cancer and died on 03 October 1931 at age 51 in Kellogg, Shosone County, Idaho. Note below that place of death is Kellogg, Idaho, her residence is Spokane, Washington, and her occupation is nurse.[6]
Ethel [Van Wert Costello Waggoner] Barrett death certificate.
Ethelyn’s hometown newspaper in Malone, New York, carried her obituary:[7]
Ethelyn Van Wert [Costello Waggoner] Barrett obituary.

Unfortunately, there is no reference in the obituary to Ethelyn’s second marriage to Gordon Waggoner, and their son is referred to as James Barrett. Did Clare Barrett adopt him? I don't think so, but if he did, James reclaimed his Waggoner name later.
Ethel was buried in Forest Cemetery, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the same cemetery where Gordon was buried. This small plot marker seems to be the only identifier of her resting place. (See Ethel's memorial)
Ethel Barrett grave marker. Photo courtesy of Find A Grave contributor Michael Young.
This loss must have been especially difficult for Erma and James. Age 20 at the time of her mother’s death, Erma supplied the information on the death certificate, and you can see that she also lived in Kellogg, Idaho. Had she been taking care of her mother? It seems likely. By 19 April 1933, however, Erma herself has died in a mental institution in Orofino, Idaho. Prior to her confinement in the institution, she had been a student at a business college.[8]
Erma Costello death certificate.
At age twelve, with both of his parents gone and his sister unstable mentally, what became of James? My dad’s cousin Harold Mitchell's wife, Jacquie, in a letter dated September 2, 2002, told me that James was raised by his step-father, that he was very handsome, that he married nine times, and he may have married and divorced one of those women twice. This presented me with a big challenge. What facts could I find about James, Jr?
With the help of several researchers on the Internet, including one of James’ grandchildren, I’ve been able to piece together the life of James Gordon Grady Waggoner, Jr., as well. That’s for next week.

[1]  "Idaho, County Marriages, 1864-1950," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Sep 2013), Ethelyn M Waggoner in entry for Clare B Barrett, 1922.
[2] Coeur d’Alene City Directory, 1923-1924, Spokane, Washington: R. L. Polk and Company, 1915, U. S. City Directories, 1821-1989; digital image ( : accessed 27 August 2013), "Barrett, Clare B (Ethelyn)."
[3] 1930 U. S. census, Spokane, Spokane County, Washington, population schedule, supervisor’s district  8, p. 1994 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 32-55, sheet 9-B, dwelling 64, family 178, Ethel Barrett; NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2516.
[4] 1930 U. S. census, Othello, Adams County, Washington, population schedule, supervisor’s district  9, p. 9151 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 1-14, sheet 2-B, dwelling 39, family 39, John Lloyd; NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2484.
[5] U. S. Public Records Index, Vol. 2, database ( :  accessed 10 September 2013), entry for C. B. Barrett; citing voter registration lists, public record filings, historical residential records, and other household database listings.
[6] Idaho Department of Public Welfare, death certificate no. 77032, Ethel Barrett (1922); Bureau of Vital Statistics, Boise; found at Ethelyn Barrett memorial #71362870, created by Michael Young, Find a ( : accessed 10 September 2013).
[7] “Duane Native Dies in West,” The Malone Farmer, Malone, New York, database Northern New York Library Network ( : accessed 10 September 2013).
[8] "Idaho, Death Certificates, 1911-1937," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 Sep 2013), Erma Costello, 19 Apr 1933.

(c) 2013, Z. T. Noble.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mary's Siblings: Gorgeous Gordon, Part 2

After my grandmother's brother, Gordon Waggoner and Ethelyn VanWert Costello married on April 26, 1915, they stayed in the panhandle of Idaho. Piecing together the next six years of Gordon's life has been a challenge, but I have found a few significant clues. 

By 1916, a new city directory for Shoshone County, Idaho, records Gordon's name as J. Gordon Wagner. This is another piece of evidence that helps to confirm my conclusion that James G. Waggoner is the same person that I had thought was named Gordon Grady Waggoner.
1916-1917 City Directory for Shoshone County Idaho, see Wagner, J. Gordon.

This record states that Gordon was a miner. Maybe this was about the time the photo of the copper miners was taken. Also, this directory gives Gordon's address as "Riverside Av W," which I assume means Riverside Avenue West, in Kellogg, Idaho. I'm not sure what "cor Hill" means. Finding the abbreviation guide in this directory is difficult. I'm not sure why Ethelyn is not listed with him, as they were married by the time this directory was published.

During this time, Europe was embroiled in The War to End All Wars, and it wasn't long before the United States entered the conflict. For almost all young men of this era, you can find a WWI draft registration. Gordon is no exception. Interestingly, this document says that Gordon is a carpenter working for the Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mining and Concentrating Company.
James Gordon Waggoner, World War I Draft Registration. Note that Gordon is medium height and build, has blue eyes and black hair. This gives his wife's name, his occupation, and his address.
Taken two years later, 1920 census of Couer d'Alene, Idaho, offers more clues as to what was going on in Gordon's life. For one, his occupation has changed from miner in 1916, to carpenter in 1918, to laborer in a logging camp. For Ethelyn's occupation, it says "Rooming house." Did she work in a rooming house? In what capacity? Living with them is their 1-year-and-three-months-old son, James G. Waggoner, born in Kellogg, Idaho, and a nine-and-a-half-year-old step-daughter, Erma Costello, born in Sandpoint, Idaho, Ethelyn's daughter. They live at 202 Front St. and they rent their home.

Wondering where Ethelyn's two sons from her first marriage were living, I checked the 1920 census for William J. Costello and found him in Sandpoint, Bonner County, Idaho, at age 48, with his sons Earle, age 12, and Van, age 11, and a 31-year-old servant, named Lola Rood, probably a cook, housekeeper, and caretaker for his children.

The next major event in their lives was Gordon's death in February 1921. (Gordon's Find A Grave memorial.) What a great source of grief for my grandmother Mary this was, and  for the rest of the family, I'm sure! Gordon was the first of Eli's and Rachel's adult children to die, and the only one to precede both of them in death. And for Ethelyn, baby James G. and Erma, what would happen next?
One last photo of forever young and handsome, James Gordon Waggoner.
Frustration! I have not been able to determine the exact date nor the cause of Gordon's death. After making several contacts in Idaho and running into huge roadblocks--for one, Idaho will not release death records to anyone who is not a direct descendant of the deceased, even though he has been dead for 92 years--I have finally found someone in Idaho who is going to do some research for me. I'm hoping to be able to report the findings by next week, but we'll see what happens.
James Gordon Waggoner's tombstone in Forest Cemetery, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Note the Odd Fellows symbol on the gravestone.
Photo courtesy of Michael Young, Find A Grave contributor.
For J. Gordon Wagner in 1916: Shoshone County Directory, 1916-1917, Spokane, Washington: R. L. Polk and Company, 1915. U. S. City Directories, 1821-1989; digital image (, accessed 27 August 2013), "Wagner, J. Gordon."

“U. S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images (http://www., accessed 13 August 2013), card for James Gordon Waggoner, serial number 2654, Local Draft Board, Shoshone County, Idaho.

For James G. Waggoner and family in 1920: 1920 U. S. census, Coeur d'Alene, Kootenai  County Idaho, population schedule, Coeur d'Alene Precinct, p. 309 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 206, sheet 5-B, dwelling 15, family 15, James G. Waggoner family; database (, accessed 3 September 2013), NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 291.

For William J. Costello and family in 1920: 1920 U. S. census, Sandpoint, Bonner  County Idaho, population schedule, Sandpoint Precinct, p. 3181 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 30, sheet 4-A, dwelling 73, family 74, William J. Costello family; database (, accessed 3 September 2013), NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 289.