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.

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