Saturday, May 23, 2009

Edward Henry Day USMC - Man In Motion, Memorial Edition

This photo is of my Grandfather Edward Henry Day. On the right Edward Henry Day and his younger brother on the left George Francis Day. My Grandfather lied about his age to join the Marine Corp in 1917. He stated he was born in 1898 but he was actually born in 1901. He would have been 16 years old when he enlisted in the Marine Corp. Grandpa Ed was born on a farm in Ft Collins, Colorado. His father George Washington Day, who served in the U.S. military from (1896-1897) worked as a switch hand for the Rail Road. George W Day's father Henry H Day also worked for the Rail Road. Henry H Day's father in-law John Jasper Stowers, served as a corporal from Indiana in the Union Army, during the Civil War. Through the Stowers family my Grandfather Edward Henry Day, descends from early Jamestown, Virginia settlers, Thomas Hatchett & Nathaniel Bass families.
From his mother's side of the family he goes back to well known English families Cooksey, Calvert & Fairfax, they resided in the Northern Neck of Virginia. George Calvert his direct ancestor, owned land near Quantico, called The Triangle. My Grandfather's paper work from WWI era service is from Quantico Marine Base, Prince William Co.,Virginia. Grandpa Ed, got his nickname "Dutch" because of his maternal Great Grandfather Oliver Owen Hogeboom. Grandpa Ed's maternal Great Grandfather Alexander Fairfax Cooksey, is buried in the National Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee he died during the Civil War.

I never knew my Grandfather but I have been told about his life from my mother, father, siblings, and his step children. My mother was his only child. When recounting memories of Grandpa Ed, the main theme, that is consistent through all the narratives: Grandpa Ed was a hard worker. In fact if the man had to be summed up in only a word it would be Work.

He began with a career in the Marine Corp, before he was old enough to serve. Grandpa served in Santo Domingo, Spain. He got out of the Marine Corp 1920 (Discharged from, 203rd Casual Co.,M.B. Quantico, Va.,).....He didn't exactly have a smooth separation from the Marine Corp, he got in trouble for drinking. I know that is a difficult mental picture to make jive because everyone knows what teetotalers the Marines are GRIN. Grandpa surfaced in a Bakery south of St Louis in St Francois County, Missouri, where he met and married his first wife Ethel Currington. This marriage didn't last long as his mother in-law had the marriage annulled. He went home to his Mom by 1920, he is living with his mother and her second husband Ray Hixon in Omaha, Nebraska. To this day we don't know why she divorced her first husband. It can't be that he lacked a sense of humor because in my Grandfather's photo album, he saved a letter from his father, post marked 1938 Cheyenne, Wyoming. The letter read: I sent your mother a photo I recently had taken of myself but apparently she didn't like it because she didn't answer me back. From Omaha Grandpa moved up to Montana, where he worked as a ranch hand for the Curtis Hugh Hutchins family in Bonita, Montana. He did have relatives from his mother's side of the family living in Florence, Montana at this time so maybe that's how he ended up so far north? Curtis Hugh Hutchins would die from tick fever, and his widow my grandmother Cornelia May McFarland, would marry my Grandfather a few months later. This isn't that uncommon she was left with a ranch and 6 children. My Grandmother was twelve years my Grandfather's senior. Unless you go by his math then nine years his senior. By the 1930s he worked as a Cook for the Montana Forestry Department at Bonita, Montana. By 1933 he is working in a CCC Camp in Lacroix, Wisconsin . By 1940s my Grandparents, had opened a restaurant in Eugene, Oregon, the West Lane Cafe. I have the wooden covered guest book from this restaurant, starting with the date 1943. By the mid 1940s they are back in Montana, my mom and dad meet while he is stationed at Ft Missoula. By the 1950s, my Grandfather and Father are laying the masonry of the east wing lobby of the hospital, I will eventually be born in. That hospital has since been demolished 1999 because the "Sisters Of Profit" decided they needed a parking lot. I went and picked out some bricks from the rubble, I still have two of them.

By the late 1950s my Grandfather, who apparently could take just about anything you loaded on his shoulders, lost his beloved wife Nelia. My Grandmother had been in the hospital for a heart condition, and had been home maybe a week. I was in a bassinet in the living room. My older sisters came home from school, and went into her room to check on her, where they found she had died apparently in her sleep. When my Grandfather came home from work that day, he saw all the cars people, and family outside of the house. My father did his best to go out, and get to him first to let him know what happened. My sister remembers, he was devastated, he was crying, and before anyone said anything to him he said "No, no, no, not my Nelie" He bought a headstone for the two of them. My Grandmother's information is complete, he had his name added, believing he would be buried next to her. Some of my family were even under the impression he was buried next to my Grandmother but he isn't. My Grandfather went back to Flat River, Missouri, and married his first wife again, she also had been widowed, and shortly there after he died of a heart attack. He is buried in his wife's family plot - next to his reluctant mother in law for all eternity.

My siblings have told me stories about Grandpa, how he liked to eat his peas with a knife, how our Grandmother didn't like it, she was a pretty classy woman. He let my eldest sister drive an old army jeep in our fruit orchard for fun, she had to be ten years old or younger. He had a temper, my sister remembers our Grandmother telling her to clean her plate, and Grandpa taking her plate cleaning it off into his own, and turning to his wife said, Happy Now? When doing dishes my sister would complain to him this ones still dirty. He would say, that's the person drying the dishes job. (Marine Training?) My sister would tell me, how he would wake her up before dawn on Saturdays, and they would go down to the kitchen, and make home made maple bars, then they would put them in paper sacks. They would get in the car, and stop at each of his step children's houses. He would start their coffee for them before they got up, and leave a sack of home made maple bars. We all got a keep sake from our Grandmother, and mine was a black onyx cocktail ring with a diamond in the center. This was a gift from my Grandfather, he bought it or won it on a visit to Wallace, Idaho. Wallace, Idaho was infamous for vice back in the day, any vice you could think of they had it, and as the story goes my Grandfather would go to Wallace to gamble. My mother relayed a story about Grandpa Ed, when they took a trip down to Hawthorne, California to visit his mother, this would be in the 1930s so depression era. My Grandparents went to the grocery store to buy groceries so their visit would not cause an undue financial burden. They went out again came back, and his mother had put all the groceries under her bed. So they went out again bought more groceries came back, and made dinner. My Grandfather's mother, like other people who were living through the Great Depression, spent a lot of time worrying about having enough food. My Grandfather's position, if it helped his mother feel better having food stored under her bed, so be it. God Bless You Grandpa Ed, hope you get Memorial Day off, from your mother in law ;)

blog comments powered by Disqus