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Philemon D. Armstrong
(1849-1910)

Philemon D. Armstrong was born on Nov. 13, 1849 in Ohio, the son of William "Forster" and Clarissa Orilla (Conklin White) Armstrong. The year of his birth also has been given as 1850.  

He was age seven when his mother died and then age eight a year later when his father married Elizabeth (Miner) Wilson.

Philemon had blue eyes and light-colored hair. In adulthood he stood 5 feet, 10Ĺ inches tall and weighed 180 lbs. 

During the Civil War, on Sept. 7, 1864, he enrolled in the Union Army at Camp Thomas near Columbus, OH. He was placed within the 18th U.S. Infantry, Company F, commanded by Capt. Henry Hayward. Later he joined the 27th U.S. Infantry, Company F. While in the army, he contracted sciatic rheumatism in his right hip and leg. Writing many years later, he said:

I incurred the Rheumatism and disease of the right hip and leg while in camp in Louisville, Kentucky in the Fall of 1865, by sleeping on the damp ground; at the same time contracted Yellow Jaundice and Chills and Fever. Was taken to the hospital, I think it was called Brown's Hospital, where I was treated for Jaundice. Was in Hospital two or three weeks, after which returned to my Regiment. Within two or three days after returning to the Regiment, was taken with Chills and Fever for which I was treated a week or two, then obtained sick furlough for fifteen days and went home. Being unable to return to my Regiment, for about a month and a half, on account of continued sickness, with the consent of the Colonel of my Regiment I remained at my home at Cardington, Ohio, then reported to the Hospital at Camp Chase near Columbus, Ohio. Along in January or Frebruary of 1865, I left the Hospital at Camp Chase against the advice of the surgeon to join my regiment which in the meantime had been sent to the Plains. I got as far as Leavenworth, Kansas, where I was taken with Bronchitis and was sent to the hospital at Fort Leavenworth. I remained there till spring, then I joined my Company at Fort Kearney, Nebnraska. During all this time I was afflicted with the sciatic rheumatism in the right hip and leg, but was not treated for it while in the service.

Above: "Fetterman Massacre" at Fort Kearny, Dec. 1866, Harper's Weekly. Below: reconstruction of Fort Kearny today. Library of Congress

   

Jim Bridger (Google Books), Red Cloud (National Archives) 
At the close of the war, Philemon remained with the Army as his regiment was merged into the 27th U.S. Infantry. He was placed in Company F.  During this period of more than two years, he was assigned to military duty along the famed Bozeman Trail and at Fort Phil Kearny in Wyoming to provide protection against hostile natives led by Chiefs Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. Among the soldiers' duties was construction of forts in the Powder River region.

Philemon is said to have traveled with the famed Jim Bridger. Considered one of the nation's foremost frontiersman of the era, Bridger was a seasoned mountain man, scout, trapper and guide. Bridger also was stationed at Fort Kearny at the time and active in what today is known as Red Cloud's War or the Bozeman War pitting U.S. troops against the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho nations. In December 1866, the U.S. troops were ambushed with some 100 killed, known as the "Fetterman Massacre." To what extent Philemon took part is not known, but he could have seen action, or been part of the burial parties afterward.

Another fight took place on Aug. 2, 1867, in the vicinity of Fort Kearny, where 30-plus soldiers and civilians were attacked by Lakota and Sioux warriors. Known as the Wagon Box Fight, it was considered the "last major engagement" of Red Cloud's War, with the Army holding off their enemy with newly supplied, more modern weapons.

He is known to have been honorably discharged at Fort Kearny, WY on Sept. 7, 1867. He appears to have re-enlisted in the Army in 1869 at the Sabine River and may have deserted on Dec. 10, 1869. 

Philemon made his residence in Ford County, IL in 1875. 

Record of the marriage of Philemon and Jennie. National Archives

On Aug. 26, 1875, when he was about 26 years of age, he was joined in wedlock with 22-year-old Lucinda Jane "Jennie" Gollada (Nov. 10, 1852-1920), also nicknamed "Lucy," and a native of Marysville, IL. The nuptials took place in Paxton, Ford County, IL, after a whirlwind romance. Rev. Theodore Clifton officiated, and Philemon's brother Matthew is known to have attended the wedding. Their union endured for 35 years until cleaved apart by death. 

The backstory of the Armstrongs' marriage was told with humor a few days later on the pages of the Paxton Record:

"Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble," at least as a bachelor, now-a-days. Our city, at last, has her sensation in the form of love at first sight and marriage at second -- all in one short day. His name was Philemon D. Armstrong and on Thursday last, the 26th day of August, anno domini 1875. "He came -- he saw -- he conquered." They first met at the residence of Mr. George Wright, where she for a time had loved to dwell, and when they stood together it seemed to all the world, including Mr. Armstrong and Miss Jennie Galloda, that an All-wise and beneficent Creator had shook them out together. "For contemplation he, and valor formed, For softness she, and sweet attractive grace." He had come on other business... He saw her; he allowed his visual organs to feast upon her charms, as his auriculars tingled to the dulcet tones of her voice, and he immediately concluded as follows: "She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd, She is a woman, therefore may be won." He staked his soul upon the game; held a straight flush of hearts, and swept the board... All dull cares of the world were dropped, and he dropped to her and murmured. "Oh! were I severed from thy side, Where were thy friend, and where my guide? Years have not seen, time shall not see, The hour that tears my soul from thee." "Come live with me and be my bride," or words to that effect, your honor. Such eloquence, such pleading, was too much for her tender heart. She weakened at the first onslaught and ere he finished she wilted. Now if this had happened in Gibson he would have sung, "Oh! come with me in my little canoe," etc., but here they had to forego the romance of "moonlight on the water" and "sew up" in old orthodox fashion... Our sympathetic citizens, male and female, contributed their aid to render the occasion joyous, and it all came off the same day. At 11 o'clock a.m., he reared his manly form toward heaven, while she, softly clinging, gazed at him and cheerfully relinquished all her maiden freedom. The Rev. Theodore Clifton, than whom none better, gently hitched the loving twain, and they worked right off as though they had always knew how it was, and when he saluted her he lovingly whispered. "My latest found, Heaven's last best gift, My ever new delight." They did not remain long in our midst to cheer us with their presence, but tore themselves away to revel in the sweets of matrimony... P.S. -- A later report says they had seen each other twice before within two weeks; if so it robs us of our romance...

They together produced a family of eight children, born in four different states -- Charles Forster Armstrong, Matthew Philemon Armstrong, Oliver Victor Armstrong, Ida Estella Wright, Lilly "May" Bush, Elizabeth Adaline "Bessie" Holstein, Lucy Alice Johnson Wilson and Mabel Delilah Armstrong.

Federal census records for 1880 show the family in Attica, Fountain County, IN, with Philemon working as a plasterer. 

The Armstrongs eventually migrated to Nebraska and were in Indianola, Red Willow County, NE in 1888-1890. Philemon is known to have patented a tract of 160 acres in Red Willow County on April 24, 1888 in Sections 23 and 24, Township 2 North, Range 28 West. He conducted this cash transaction in the McCook Land Office. Then on Aug. 27, 1890, he also obtained a patent on another 160-acre tract in Section 14, Township 5 North, Range 29 West in Frontier County, NE.

They apparently did not stay long on these properties. As of 1891, he earned a living as an agent of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, working with colleagues Sanford N. Williams and J.F. Hiron. Circa 1892, they dwelled in Bloomfield, IA; in 1894 in Ottumwa, IA; in Waseca, MN in 1895, employed as a machinist; and at Fort Dodge, IA in 1898. While in Iowa, he held a membership in the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization.

Philemon was awarded a pension as compensation for his wartime service. [Invalid App. #1011.393 - Cert. #871.718] When examined by a military surgeon during the pension application process, he complained of sciatic rheumatism in his hips as well as back pain, itching hemorrhoids and loss of nearly all of his teeth which interfered with food digestion. In fact one leg was at least an inch shorter than the other. He also claimed he had suffered sunstroke in 1877.

Busy Yakima Avenue in Yakima, WA, where the Armstrongs moved ca. 1907

Circa 1905, Philemon and eldest son Charles were together in New Richland, MN, working as laborers. In October 1906, they dwelled in Iowa but are known to have traveled with daughter Mabel to visit with their married daughters Estella and Bessie in Yakima, Yakima County, WA. The trip was fodder for the gossip columns of the Yakima Herald. The Armstrongs' final move, in about 1907, was in fact to Yakima. There, they made a home at Shannon's Corner.

Philemon and H.L. Johnson, working for North Yakima Repair Company, placed an advertisement in the Sunnyside (WA) Daily Sun-News in 1907. It announced that for a few weeks, they would conduct sewing machine repair business in an office at the Globel Hotel, "Mr. Armstrong having had 38 years experience in the factories of the East. They warrant all their work for two years." 

In company with daughter Mabel, Jennie is known to have spent two months in Minnesota with her son Oliver, and to have returned to North Yakima in June 1908, with a short gossip item appearing in the Willmar (MN) Tribune

Burdened with heart failure, the 51-year-old  Philemon passed away in Yakima on July 17, 1910. Burial was in Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima. Son-in-law Claud Wright signed the official Washington State death certificate. An obituary said he was"survived by a brother in this city and other brothers in the east."

Jennie was awarded her late husband's soldier pension. [Widow App. #950.567 - Cert. 712.848.]

   
Certificate of Jennie's ill-fated marriage to Ferdinand Selle. National Archives

For just under two years, Jennie remained a widow. Then on June 27, 1912, she married again to Ferdinand Selle, also misspelled "Fred Sisley" ( ? - ? ). Rev. H.L. Boardman officiated. 

The second marriage was troubled. She accused him of being a habitual drunk, rendering him unable to transact business or control his spending, and of "riotous living." She alleged that he had treated her " in a cruel and inhuman manner, has frequently dursed her and stated ... that if she did not like his way of doing she could get out and go away." And thus on Sept. 29, 1912, after just three months as wife and husband, he said "in an angry manner, to get out of his presence and to go away and stay away." 

Evidence suggests that she continued to receive her first husband's pension payments during her second marriage, which was against government policy. In November 1916 she filed an application to have the pension discontinued. 

An anonymous letter from North Yakima, written by a disgruntled old soldier and sent to pension officials in Washington, DC dated Nov. 18, 1912, stated that there were irregularities surrounding the pension. He wrote that she had given up her pension with the marriage to Selle but that "now she has left her husband and sue for a divorce and half of his property. She says she got about four thousand from him. She got a nice hom in City of North Yakima she rents for 15 per month and has no small children, all grown up and married well off. One of her son laws has a interest in a mine, he says he not take a milion for his share." 

Jennie's divorce was granted by the Superior Court of Yakima County on March 21, 1913, and her first married name was restored. The pension also was restored as of July 3, 1917. Her address during that time was 610 North Fourth Street, North Yakima, with her brother-in-law Matthew Armstrong as a near neighbor.

Jennie continued to receive the pension payments up until her death. The final amount she received was $25 every month.

The government received a tip from May Norris of 1212 Stewart Street in Seattle that Jennie had perpetrated fraud in connection with the pension. Jennie wrote an impassioned letter to the Pension Department, saying:

Please read this letter and try and pardon a sad mistake in my second marrige. I thought I was doing the right thing but I have found out better as Mr. Selle was a drunkard. Now I was only a child when my father went to the CW and I remember when he came home it was on the day that Lincon was killed and my father lived 3 days after he died and left my mother with a big family of children. My oldest brother was a solger. Now I am sixty years old and not able to work. Can you bargin the mistake and keep me from the county. I beg and plead with you under the stars of heaven to help me only for a little while longer. There will always bee a prayer in my heart for the Pention department.

After a closer examination, government officials ruled that no fraud had taken place.

She died on Nov. 19, 1919. 

In 2006, Philemon's story was featured in depth in an article by his great-grandson, Dr. Robert E. Armstrong, DVM, MS, entitled "The Armstrong Family - Always to the West." The story was published in the Washington State Genealogist.

~ Son Charles Forster Armstrong ~

Son Charles Forster Armstrong (1876-1941) was born on June 3, 1876 in Pelville (?), IL. His middle name has been spelled a variety of ways, including "Forrester."

He achieved an eighth grade education in school. 

When he was 14 years of age, in late 1890 and early 1891, Charles and his brothers were involved in a series of misadventures that generated interest, sympathy and headlines in Iowa and Nebraska. They claimed that their father, unemployed, down on his luck and receiving government welfare, "practically drove them away from home before Christmas," said one news story.

The Dec. 29, 1890  Des Moines (IA) Register reported that Charles and brother Matthew "Philemon" had been jailed on charges of burglary. They were accused of stealing money, razors, shirts, rings and overshoes from two homes in the city. Law enforcement tracked them down in Chesterfield, IA and brought them for questioning to prison in Des Moines. As they were penniless, said the Register, they:

...applied for a night's lodging at headquarters. While in the pen they became acquainted with one Fred Rogers, who advised them to adopt thieving as a means of livelihood and said there was little danger of being caught. So they tried it with the above result. The boys claim that Rogers planned the robberies and was to dispose of the goods and they were on their way to meet him when captured. The oldest of the boys told his story in the police court yesterday morning in such a straightforward manner that there is little doubt that they were led into the trouble by Rogers, who was smooth enough to make his escape, but the police think they will catch him and he will have to suffer with his youthful dupes. Even the bystanders looked solemn seeing two such young boys committing offenses which make the liable to a term in prison.

Their father having been notified, Charles and Matthew "Philemon" were arraigned before a local justice. Matthew was dismissed to return home with his father, with the justice "talking to him in a kindly manner and bestowing upon him good advice," said the Altoona (IA) Herald. But not so with Charles. Considered by the father to be headstrong and beyond control, he was sent to district court with a recommendation that he be sentenced to a reform school. Added the Herald, "The father requested this action. He declares that Charles has bad tendencies and has influenced Philemon, who otherwise would be a dutiful son."

But the story did not end there. Once back at home, Matthew and younger brother Oliver soon ran away. Their destination was a rendezvous with eldest brother Charles. Once together, the trio was on the move once more. They made news headlines in Plattsmouth, NE on Jan. 15, 1891. The Plattsmouth Daily Journal gave the particulars:

When passenger train No. 5 pulled in from Pacific Junct on this morning, the little policeman [Fitzpatrick] noticed that three boys were ensconsed on the front end of the baggage car, which is generally called the "blind baggage," stealing a ride. A cold wind was blowing from the north and the prospect was good for a blizzard before the day was over. the officer noticed that they were thinly clad, and made up his mind that they would be very likely to freeze if they rode there much further, so he called to them to get off, which they did. They were brought at once to THE JOURNAL, where a good fire soon warmed them up, and they told their story. The eldest did most of the talking, the others saying nothing unless asked a question directly. They gave their names as Charley, Oliver and Philemon Armstrong, and aged 15, 13 and 11 years respectively. They said they had started last evening from Ottumwa, Iowa, for their home at Indianola, Red Willow county, Nebraska, where their parents lived. They were all uncommonly bright, well-educated boys, and had evidently been reared by parents who knew something of the rules of good behavior. The eldest boy, Charley, stated that some two months ago he had left home with a man in charge of some stock and had gone as far east as Ottumwa, where he obtained employment in a cooper shop, and had worked steadily since. Their father, he said, was a plasterer by trade, but the drouth in that part of the state had so destroyed business that he had little work since early summer. Added to this misfortune, in September he was attacked by rheumatism and confined to his bed for months, and they got so poor that the county was obliged to furnish them with food to live on, but he had partially recovered recently, and then their mother was taken sick. About ten days ago he (Charley) got a letter from his father saying that his two little brothers had run away from home, and if they came to him he must bring them home as soon as possible, as their mother was almost distracted over their absence. Sure enough, the two boys soon appeared, having beaten their way on the trains all the way from home. He said he kept them there some days but could not get work for them nor earn enough to keep all of them, so he concluded to return home with them and had got this far inside of fifteen hours. The boys looked decidedly as if there had been a scarcity of toilet articles in their vicinity, and were taken to the county clerk's office, where the use of a convenient sink, a hydrant, soap and a towel soon transformed them into respectable looking boys. While there a suggestion was made that the two smaller boys might better be sent to the poor farm while the elder might go back to his work at Ottuma, but to this they all dissented, the eldest saying the little fellows had never been from home before and they were very homesick to see their mother. At this the boys cried heartily, Charley said he was also homesick and preferred going home with them. [Others] asked him if he got a ticket for the others if he could make his way without aid. "Yes sir; don't be afraid that I can't get home as soon as they will. I haven't a cent, but I can travel, just the same." The kind-hearted policeman took the boys to his home and gave them a good breakfast, and seemed as much interested in them as if they were his own children. 

Nothing more seems to have resulted, at least that made notice in the public.

Charles was twice-wed. His first bride, joined in marriage on April 5, 1896, was Alma L. Johnson ( ? - ? ). They tied the knot in Kasson, MN. 

On July 28, 1905, at the age of 28, Charles was united in the bonds of holy matrimony with 18-year-old Jeanne Belle Brown (1887- ? ), a native of Lake City, IA. Their wedding ceremony was held in Rockwell City, IA.

The couple's offspring were Thora Belle Frey, Charles E. Armstrong and Robert Ralph Armstrong.

Their first child was born in Jeanne's hometown of Lake City in 1906. The family relocated from Iowa to South Dakota in the 1907-1908 timeframe. Federal census enumeration records for 1910 show the Armstrongs living in Madison, SD. Charles' occupation that year was as a machinist.. When required to register for the military draft in 1918, their address was 824 South Main Street, Aberdeen, SD, with Charles self employed as an "automobile & battery expert."

Circa 1930, Charles owned a service station in Yakima. Their residence in 1940 was in Fairview, near Yakima, where he worked as a carpentry foreman for a building construction company.

Yakima River, where Charles suffered a heart attack while fishing

Sadly, on a fateful day in August 1941, the retired Charles went fishing in the Yakima River. He apparently suffered a heart attack and fell, becoming seriously injured. He was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital where he died at the age of 65 on Aug. 8, 1941. An obituary in the Spokane Spokesman-Review said he had "lived in the valley 40 years and at one time was head mechanic at the county garage."

Daughter Thora Belle Armstrong (1906-1969) was born on July 13, 1906 in Lake City, Calhoun County, IA. She grew to womanhood in Yakima. She received her degree at Washington State University and was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. Unmarried at age 24, in 1930, she was employed as a stenographer in a fruit house. In 1931, she wed Arthur Frey Jr. ( ? - ? ). The groom was a teacher and track and field coach at Lewis and Clark High School. They were the parents of Arthur Kerry Frey and Gretchen Horne. The family belonged to the Manito Presbyterian Church, and she was a member of the honorary scholastic organization SPURS while he was a half-century membeer of the Masons. Circa 1967, their home was at 52319 South Jefferson in Spokane. Thora was employed over the years at Wilson School and Manito Primary School and later, when it opened in 1960, as a secretary in the office of Sacajawea Junior High School. Thora suffered a heart attack and died in a local hospital on Oct. 24, 1969. An obituary was published in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Rev. Dr. Raymond W. Moody, of the family church, led the funeral service. The remains were interred in Spokane Memorial Gardens. Arthur outlived his bride by 11 years and married her cousin, Beatrice Louise "Bea" (Armstrong) McNair Jackson. The pair moved to Lacey, WA. Death carried him away on March 12, 1980. 

  • Grandson Arthur "Kerry" Frey ( ? -2020) was born in Spokane. He was a 1960 graduate of Lewis and Clark High School. From there he earned his bachelor of science degree from Eastern Washington University and a degree in physical therapy from Children's Hospital in Hollywood, CA. In 1967, he entered into marriage with Valerie Little ( ? - ? ). Their marriage endured for a remarkable 53 years. Together they bore three daughters -- Neicy Frey, Julia Bytnar and Mary Hawk. Prior to having children, the pair lived in California and Europe and then moved back to Spokane. He spent five years as head athletic trainer for his alma mater, Eastern Washington University and then three years there as director of physical therrapy education development, using the opportunity to secure his masters degree in education. Preparing for a career in intrnational missions, both Kerry and Valerie in 1976 attended Fuller Theological Seminary and in 1978 made the wholesale move to South India in association with the Christian Medical College and Hospital and the American Baptist International Ministries. For seven years in India, he was director of a physiotherapy school and, with Dr. Paul Brand, created a type of orthopedic footwear to be used by people stricken with leprosy. Their next assignment was as dormitory parents at a missionary boarding institution, the Dalat International School in Penang, Malaysia for a period of four years. In time they returned to the United States, with Kerry pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership at Gonzaga University. His last position was as physical therapy director at Touchmark Retirement Community and in the role of clinician for Providence Visiting Nurses Association in Spokane. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and for the last three years of his life dwelled at North Central Care Center. The angel of death spirited him away on Dec. 17, 2020. An obituary said that he was known for "modeling integrity, kindness, and service to the greater good. As a colleague, Kerry was always a team player and gave himself wholeheartedly to the group mission. He was a faithful friend and mentor to many. Kerry committed his days to loving God and passing Godís love to others through prayer, words, and service... Kerry spread the fragrant aroma of Christ wherever his feet trod."

    Great-granddaughter Neicy Frey is the mother of Elie and Boaz.

    Great-granddaughter Julia Frey wed Brad Bytnar. Their two offspring are Zachary Bytnar and Georgia Bytnar.

    Great-granddaughter Mary Frey was joined in marriage with (?) Hawk. Together, they bore a family of two -- Levi Hawk and Lyric Hawk. 

  • Granddaughter Gretchen Frey wed Douglas Horne. Their residence in 1969 was at Moses Lake, WA. 

Son Charles Edward Armstrong (1908-1923) was born on May 28, 1908 in Lake City, SD. Sadness swept over the family when Charles died in Yakima at the age of 15 on July 24, 1923.  

Son Robert Ralph Armstrong (1911-1973) was born on Sept. 10, 1911 in Yakima. He stood 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighed 150 lbs., with blue eyes and brown hair. When he was 22 years old, on Feb. 13, 1934, he wed 17-year-old LaVerne Bernice Beddoe ( ? - ? ), also a Yakima resident and the daughter of Ernest and Josie Beddoe. Rev. M. McGinnis, of the Assemblies of God, presided. At that time, Robert earned income as a service station operator. They went on to produce a trio of children -- Robert Edward Armstrong, Sharon Lee Armstrong and Michael Charles Armstrong. At the age of 29, in 1940, the family lived at 305 West D Street in Yakima and he worked for the city's Street Department. Sadly, Robert passed away in Yakima on Aug. 18, 1973.

  • Grandson Robert Edward Armstrong (1935-2018) was born on April 22, 1935 in Yakima. He was a 1962 graduate of Washington State University. Death overtook him in Cypress, Harris County, TX, at the age of 83, on July 7, 2018.
  • Granddaughter Sharon Lee Armstrong (1937-2021)
  • Grandson Michael Charles Armstrong (1939-2021)

~ Son Matthew Philemon Armstrong ~

Son Matthew Philemon Armstrong (1877-1906) was born on Oct. 22, 1877 in Marion County, OH. Other sources give his place of birth as Cardington.

In young manhood he resided at Fort Dodge, IA and earned a living as a machinist. 

On Aug. 3, 1898, he was united in marriage with 21-year-old Nellie Marie Kent ( ? - ? ), a New York native and daughter of William and Minnie (Sprague) Kent. The wedding was performed by Rev. J. Milton Greene at Fort Dodge.

Searching the San Francisco earthquake wreckage, 1906, where Matthew Philemon Armstrong reputedly was among the victims. Library of Congress 

Two daughters born to this union were Genevieve Armstrong and Mabel D. Armstrong.   

Tragically, Matthew is reputed to have died in the great earthquake of San Francisco on April 15, 1906. His body was never discovered or identified. If so, his was among an estimated 3,000 deaths in the city and region, with 28,000 buildings destroyed and 225,000 people left homeless. His death in this manner needs to be confirmed.

The widowed Nellie and her daughters made a home together in Seattle in 1910, with her working as a cafe waitress. She also took in roomers to generate additional income. 

Daughter Genevieve Armstrong (1901- ? ) was born in about 1901 in Iowa.

Daughter Mabel D. Armstrong (1902- ? ) was born in about 1902 in Iowa.

~ Son Oliver Victor Armstrong  ~

Son Oliver Victor "O.V." Armstrong (1879- ? ) was born on March 21, 1879 in Prospect, Marion County, OH.

He received a grade school education as a youth, completing the eighth grade. Then in young manhood, he settled in Charles City, IA and worked as a machinist.

On Christmas Eve 1897, in Forest City, Winnebago County, IA, the 18-year-old Oliver entered into marriage with 21-year-old Frances Horton "Frankie" Knapp (1876- ? ). She was a resident of Forest City, IA and the daughter of T.C. and Katie (Baily) Knapp. Local Congregational Church pastor Rev. W.B. Sanford officiated.

Among the couple's offspring were Stella Belle Armstrong, Beatrice Louise "Bea" McNair Jackson Frey Amberry and Oliver Waldo Armstrong. 

Oliver stood 5 feet, 10Ĺ inches tall. He bore a scar on the third finger of his left hand.

The United States Census of 1900 shows the family living in Oak Valley, MN, with the 21-year-old Oliver working as a sewing machine agent, following his father's trade. 

The Armstrongs apparently remained in Minnesota as evidenced by the 1910 census listing them now in St. Paul, MN, on Aurora Avenue. At that time, Oliver continued his work as a sewing machine salesman.

Typical orchard in the Yakima region, early 1900s 

By 1915, the family relocated to South Dakota. Oliver was required to register for the military draft in 1918, and at that time worked as an electrician and dwelled at 921 South Washington Street in Aberdeen, Brown County, SD. They then pushed further into the Pacific Northwest and by 1920 put down roots on a farm in Fairview, Yakima County.

Circa 1920, in Fairview, Oliver's occupation was farming, while his unmarried daughters worked as office stenographers. He continued to operate a fruit and poultry farm in Fairview as of 1930, while son Oliver assisted on the farm. Census records for 1940 show Oliver and Frankie as empty-nesters in Fairview. 

Again in 1942, in registration for the military draft, Oliver revealed that he worked for the Old Union Irrigation Company of Yakima, with his place of employment at Armstrong Drive in Yakima. 

He died in Yakima at the age of 74 on Oct. 25, 1952. His remains sleep for all time in Terrace Heights Memorial Park.

Daughter Stella "Belle" Armstrong (1898- ? ) was born in Nov. 1898 in Iowa. At the age of 21, living with her parents in Fairview, WA, she earned a living as an office stenographer. She entered into marriage with (?) White ( ? - ? ). Her home in 1981 was in Yakima.

Daughter Beatrice Louise "Bea" Armstrong (1901-1983) was born on May 3, 1901 in Wadena County, MN. When she was age 19, residing in Fairview, WA with her parents, she generated income through her work as a stenographer in an office. Beatrice was married four times in her life. On June 15, 1923, at age 21, she was joined in wedlock with John McNair ( ? - ? ). They bore one known son, Daniel Warren McNair. In 1930, Beatrice and her young son lived under the roof of her parents in Fairview, with her marital status marked as "married," and employed in a lawyer's office as a stenographer. The marriage ended, and on May 3, 1935, Beatrice wed a second time to George Radbourn Jackson (June 16, 1894-1963). George was a veteran of World War I, having served with the 166th Depot Brigade. Sadly, he died on Feb. 22, 1963. Her third spouse, in 1971, was widower Arthur Frey (1907-1980). Arthur was a history teacher and athletics coach at a junior high school in Yakima and then Lewis and Clark High School. Oveer a 26-year track and field coaching career, his teams captured 10 city championships and the state title in 1962, winning 73 dual meets and losing only 25.. The pair made a home in Lacey, WA. Arthur surrendered to death at the age of 73 on March 12, 1980. Husband number four, whom she wed on June 27, 1981, was Ralph Amsberry ( ? - ? ). Their final home was in Lacey, WA. Beatrice died in Lacey, WA on June 12, 1983. Burial was beside husband Jackson in Terrace Heights Memorial Park.

  • Grandson Daniel Warren McNair ( ? - ? ) resided in Olympia, WA in 1983.

Son Oliver "Waldo" Armstrong (1907-1930) was born in 1907 in Minnesota. He grew up working on his father's ranch in Fairview, Yakima County. When both were age 18, on June 27, 1926, Waldo and Bernice Leona Jones (May 11, 1907-1980) tied the knot, by the hand of Rev. J.B. Creighton. She was the daughter of Richard and Ella (Johnson) Jones of Moxee, WA but originally from Napoleon, ND. During their brief marriage of four years' duration, the couple bore three daughters -- Dolores Ella Armstrong, LaVerne Armstrong and Doris May Armstrong. Sadness cascaded over the family at the death of infant daughter LaVerne in 1928. The family made its residence in Fairview. Tragically, in 1930, Waldo fell from a horse and fractured a leg. When the limb did not heal properly, he underwent surgery again, and then again. After the fourth operation, on June 4, 1930, Oliver died in a Seattle hospital at the age of 22. A one-sentence notice of his passing appeared in the Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review. The widowed Bernice outlived her first spouse by half a century. She married eventually to Kansas-native Clyde Emmett Cameron (1899- ? ) and produced four additional children -- Richard Cameron, Gerald Cameron, Charlotte Campbell and Thomas Cameron. The family dwelled in Yakima in 1950, with Clyde earning a living as a school bus driver and farm hand. Bernice died in Wapato, WA on Feb 24, 1980, with burial in Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima.

  • Granddaughter Dolores Ella Armstrong (1927-1981) was born in about 1927. Unmarried at age 22, in 1950, she resided with her mother and stepfather in Yakima.
  • Granddaughter Doris May Armstrong (1929-2009) was born on Dec. 3, 1929 in Cody, WY. On Aug. 14, 1948, in Yakima, she wed Robert David Ryan (1927-2017). Their two offspring were Constance Jean Ryan, Dale Ryan and Peggy Niebuhr. They grieved at the loss of daughter Constance in infancy in 1949. The couple divorced in Clark County, WA in July 1984. Doris went on in 1993 to marry again to widower Arthur Bruce Wigglesworth (1916-2001). He brought a stepson to the marriage, Edward "Ted" Wigglesworth. Over the years, beginning in 1955, she was very active with the Rebekah lodge, serving as a noble grand, district president and assembly president with responsibility for 160 lodges in Washington State. She also was a chief matriarch and grand matriarch of the Kent Ladies Encampment Auxiliary and president of the Ladies Auxiliary Patriarchs Militant in British Columbia. As well, she was involved with the Cascade Foothills Chorale, Eagles aerie and dartball leagues. Arthur passed away in Kelowna, British Columbia on Jan. 4, 2001, with burial in Kelowna Memorial Park. Doris lived for another eight years. She died in Puyallup, WA on June 19, 2009. Her memorial service was conducted in the Buckley Community Presbyterian Church. In a eulogy, her colleague Karen Hoylman remarked that "The golden chain has been broken. Our hearts are full of sadness. But as you can see, she was very dedicated to the Order." Her obituary and photograph were published in the Washington OddFellow. Former husband Robert surrendered to the angel of death on Aug. 21, 2017.

    Great-grandson Dale Ryan married Ruth. They have lived in Spokane.

    Great-granddaughter Peggy Ryan wed Richard "Dick" Niebuhr. Their home in 2009 was in Grandview, WA.

    Step-great-grandson Rev. Edward John "Ted" Wigglesworth was joined in marriage with Eloise Donna Agnew ( ? - ? ) and Orlene Ruby Bergstrom ( ? - ? ). He and Orlene were in Ferintosh, Alberta, Canada in 2009. 

~ Daughter Ida Estella "Stella" (Armstrong) Wright ~

Daughter Ida Estella "Stella" Armstrong (1881-1954) was born on Aug. 7, 1881 in Illinois.

When she was 16 years of age, in about 1897, Stella entered into marriage with 26-year-old Ohio native Claud Spangler Wright (Sept. 1, 1872-1965). He was a native of Plymouth, OH.

Claud stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall. He was an Army veteran, having served as a musician for a little more than six months, from Nov. 15, 1893 to July 2, 1894.

Heart of Yakima's mile-long business district 

The pair did not reproduce. They dwelled in North Yakima in 1910. Claud is known to have signed sworn statements in 1910 and 1917 in support of the Civil War pension owed to his mother-in-law. 

The family relocated to Seattle in about 1917, where Claud obtained employment in the shipyards. Three years later, the federal census enumeration showed the couple in Seattle, with his occupation marked as "painter - house" and working for himself.

In 1930, still in Seattle, he labored as a painter and paper hanger contractor. Claud may have retired in the 1930s as, at age 67, he had no occupation as shown in the 1940 U.S. Census. 

Death swept away Estella at the age of 73, in Seattle, on Sept. 12, 1954. 

The widowed Claud survived his spouse by 11 years. He succumbed to the spectre of death in Seattle on April 28, 1965.  They lie together in eternal repose in Tahoma Cemetery.

~ Daughter Lilly "May" (Armstrong) Bush ~

Daughter Lilly May Armstrong (1883-1964 ? ) was born on July 15, 1883 in Missouri.

She resided in North Yakima, WA in 1896 and earned a living as a milliner. 

When she was 25 years of age, in March 1909, she wed 29-year-old contractor Richard Stephen Bush (1878-1948).

One son born into this marriage was Richard Kenneth Bush.

The Bushes dwelled in the 1936-1944 timeframe in Prosser, Benton County, WA. They were owners and partners in the Serve and Save Grocery Store.

They eventually divorced. Richard is known to have resided in the Yakima valley for 40 years and in about 1941 relocated from Prosser to Yakima. He died at the age of 70 on Oct. 19, 1948, with an obituary appearing in the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

Later in life she wed again to widower Harley John Hursey ( ? - ? ). 

She died at age 81 on May 24, 1964. Burial was in Tahoma Cemetery, Yakima. 

Son Richard Kenneth Bush (1921-1972) was born on Sept. 17, 1921. During World War II, he worked at is parents' grocery store in Prosser, WA before joining the U.S. Navy. In 1942, he trained as a radio technician at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. After the war's end, on May 26, 1946, in Yakima, he married Pauline Marie Abbott (1926-1984). They produced a son, Ronald Bush. The pair made their residence in Yakima in 1948 and moved in about 1968 to 621 Brookshire in Richland, WA. He was employed as a Farmers Insurance agent, and the family belonged to the Yakima Presbyterian Church Sadly, likely stricken with cancer, Richard passed away at home in Richland on Oct. 22, 1972. His funeral was held at Sunset Memorial Gardens by the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, with an obituary appearing in the Pasco (WA) Tri-City Herald. At death he was survived by [half?] sisters Peggy Thomas of Seattle and Grace Bennett of Leavenworth.

  • Grandson Ronald Bush ( ? - ? ) 

~ Daughter Elizabeth Adaline "Bessie" (Armstrong) Holstein ~

Daughter Elizabeth Adaline Armstrong (1886-1953) was born on July 26, 1886 in Nebraska. 

At the age of 19, on Nov. 23, 1905, she married 45-year-old Hungarian immigrant and machinist Adolph Holstein (1861-1932). He was a naturalized American citizen who had come to the United States in 1869 (or 1889). 

The couple's three offspring were Estella Pearl "Stella" Holstein, David Leroy Holstein and Leon Holstein. 

The federal census enumeration of 1910 shows the family in North Yakima and Adolph running his own machine shop. 

During the decade of the 1910s, the Holsteins pulled up stakes and moved into Seattle, where Adolph had secured work as a machinist in an iron works. They made a home on Horton Street.

The marriage fell apart, by by 1930 Elizabeth and Adolph were divorced. Elizabeth and her son moved to a home on East Thomas Street in Seattle where they were included in the 1930 U.S. Census.

Adolph died at age 72 on March 30, 1932. 

Elizabeth outlived her husband by more than 20 years. After four decades in Yakima, she relocated in about 1943 to Cheyenne, WY where her married daughter was living. Elizabeth remained in Cheyenne for the last 10 years of her life.

In 1945, Elizabeth and her son Leon were named in a lawsuit in Yakima, making headlines in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. The matter involved an irrigation ditch which was providing water to the "Roza Project" and home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert S. Johnson, who accused the Holsteins of interference. Said the news story, "The complaint declares that, under the Roza project, water is delivered to the highest point on each 40 acres, and that water for the plaintiffs 35-acre trace is delivered to a point 170 feet from the property line. The Johnsons allege that the defendants permitted delivery of water by a 170-foot ditch, in 1943, but interfered with the delivery of the water in 1944 and 1945 by filling the ditch with dirt."

Sadly, at the age of 66, Elizabeth passed away in Cheyenne on March 12, 1953. The body was transported back to Yakima for interment in Tahoma Cemetery. Her obituary was printed in the Spokesman-Review

Daughter Estella Pearl "Stella" Holstein (1906-1963) was born on June 14 or 16, 1906 in North Yakima, a twin with her brother David. At the age of 18on March 28, 1925, she was joined in wedlock with 19-year-old Dallas native and printer Lauren Truett Pierce (Aug. 13, 1905- ? ), son of C.H. and Emma B. (Palmer) Pierce. Rev. W.A. Moore officiated. Lauren stood 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighed 170 lbs. They produced two known sons, Lauren Pierce and Charles Edgar Pierce. Grief cascaded over the family at the death of infant son Charles in 1928. By 1935, the family relocated to Wyoming, and in the 1935-1940 timeframe dwelled in Cody, Park County, WY. At that time, Lauren operated a timber sawmill and worked for the Public Roads Administration of Dubois, WY. The pair made a home in the mid-1940s and early 1950s Cheyenne, WY, with Lauren employed at an Air Force base as an instructor in the operation of large vehicles, while Stella was a substitute teacher of grades 7 and 8 in a local school. She died in February 1963.

  • Grandson Lauren David Pierce (1927-2005) was born on Jan. 2, 1927 in Yakima. He grew up in Cheyenne, WY. Lauren was joined in wedlock with Wyoma D. Rentz (1928-1978). The offspring born to the couple were Steve Pierce, Lorrie Darlene Kinnison Anderson, Leon Pierce, Charles Pierce and Betty Griess. The family lived in Cheyenne and Pine Bluffs, WY. Lauren passed away in Cheyenne on Nov. 9, 2005. 

    Great-grandson Steve Pierce ( ? - ? ) was deceased by 2015.

    Great-granddaughter Lorrie Darlene Pierce (1947-2015) was born on Sept. 27, 1947 in Cheyenne. Her childhood was spent in Pine Bluffs, WY. She was twice-married. Lorrie first entered into marriage with Robert Kinnison ( ? - ? ). Later she wed warren E. Anderson ( ? - ? ). Lorri was the mother of Tim Anderson, Robert Kinnison, John Anderson, Warren Anderson, Edward Anderson, Genevieve Staley, Barbara Kinnison, Sherry Baldwin, and Wanda Dunlap. At one time she dwelled in Burns, WY and in 1993 relocated back to the town of her birth. For fun she liked to play pinochle. She survived the deaths of both of her spouses. She died as a patient in Cheyenne Regional Medical Center at the age of 67 on July 9, 2015.

    Great-grandson Leon Pierce ( ? - ? )

    Great-grandson Charles Pierce ( ? - ? )

    Great-granddaughter Betty Pierce ( ? - ? ) wed (?) Griess. 

Son David Leroy Holstein (1906-1917) was born on June 14 or16, 1906 in North Yakima, a twin with his sister Stella. Death enveloped him at the age of 11 in Sunnyside, Yakima County on July 7, 1917. The cause of his untimely passing is not yet known.

Leon Holstein's workplaces in the late 1930s and early '40s -- above, Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, WA. Below, Grand Coulee Dam.

Son Leon Claude Holstein (1908-1960) was born on Sept. 3, 1908 in Yakima. When his parents divorced, Leon maintained a residence with his mother in 1930 in Seattle. He carried a slight scar on his forehead and stood 5 feet, 10 inches talll and weighed 184 lbs. Leon appears to have wed multiple times. His first spouse, in 1931, was Mae Ruth Cole (1910-1991). Together, they bore a son, Richard "Claude" Holstein. In 1933, a Yakima city directory lists the couple at 1304 Browne Avenue. The pair divorced on Dec. 23, 1934. Mae wed again to Fred Henle ( ? - ? ), who adopted the boy whose name now was "Richard Claude Henle." Evidence suggests that Leon resided at the site of the Grand Coulee Dam in 1939. The dam, one of the largest in the world, created an artificial lake between two to 10 miles wide and 150 miles in length stretching along the Columbian River to the Canadian border. The structure itself was 4,100 feet long and 450 feet in thickness at the base, with power stations on each side. On or about July 25, 1939, he entered into marriage with Rena Alice Perry ( ? - ? ) of Yakima, with Rev. C.W. Duncan officiating. In doing so, a judge waived the traditional three-day waiting period between a marriage license and the actual wedding. But as of 1940, he named his wife as "Marie" ( ? - ? ) when he registered for the military draft on the eve of World War II. At that time, he dwelled at Cabin City Camp in Renton, King County, WA and worked at the Puget Sound Naval Yard in Bremerton. The marriage apparently did not last, and a year later he was marked as "divorced" in the 1940 census and back in his mother's household. Circa 1940, he earned a living as a machinist's helper on a dam construction project, likely at Grand Coulee, and in 1941 returned to work as a machinist helper at the Navy Yard. The yard comprised 285 acres including three dry docks and three piers, supplied with electricity, steam, air and water, capable of simultaneously servicing a dozen battleships. Leon apparently was united in matrimony during the 1940s with Opal L. (1899- ? ), who was 10 years older. Their residence in 1950 was in Jefferson County, CO, with Leon engaged in carpentry work for building construction. Leon surrendered to the angel of death in Skykomish, WA on July 24, 1960. His body was laid to rest in the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery in Snohomish. Ex-wife Mae died in Pasco, WA on July 20, 1991.

  • Grandson Richard "Claude" Holstein Henle (1932-2015) was born on Aug. 29, 1932 in Yakima. After his parents' divorce, and his mother's remarriage, he was formally adopted by his stepfather and given the "Henle" surname. Claude was a graduate of a Yakima high school and then with the Korean War aflame spent two years in the U.S. Army. Claude went on to earn a bachelor's degree and master's degree, both from Washington State University. Claude's first bride was Joyce Still ( ? - ? ). They produced three children together -- John R. Ring, Steven J. Ring and Diane Henle. The family mourned at the death of infant daughter Diane. Early in his career, Claude taught high school mathematics. From there he was employed on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation until layoffs occurred. Needing work, he was hired at a fruit-packing business in Yakima and used his accounting degree as an educator at a community college and business school. Claude's second wife was Marlene McNamara ( ? - ? ) who brought two stepdaughters into the union. In retirement, Claude was treasurer of a senior citizen center in Pasco. Said an obituary, "He was known for a love of music, especially that of the old style crooneers and big bands. Without formal training in piano, he taught himself to read music and play. He could play almost anything he cared to; by ear if necessary." When time allowed he liked to bowl, golf and play tennis as well as duplicate bridge and other card games. His final years, starting in 2010, were spent in Mountain Home, ID. He succumbed to the spectre of death at the age of 82 on Jan. 13, 2015. An obituary was published in the Mountain Home News.

    Great-grandson John R. Ring wed Michele and in 2010 resided in Mountain Home, ID.

    Great-grandson Steven J. Ring relocated to Binghamton, NY. 

~ Daughter Lucy Alice (Armstrong) Johnson Wilson ~

Daughter Lucy Alice Armstrong (1888-1967), possibly also known as "Inez," was born on Dec. 21, 1888 in Frontier County, NE.

She resided in Lake City, IA as of 1906. 

When she was 18 years of age, on Christmas Day 1906, Lucy was joined in wedlock with 22-year-old Hilmer Leonard Johnson ( ? - ? ). He ws a native of Albert Lea, MN and the son of Charles and Hannah (Lindquist) Johnson. Their wedding was held in Lake City, officiated by Rev. A.L. McCord.

They bore a daughter, Thelma Elizabeth Johnson, and possibly also a son, Harry C. Johnson.

The federal census of 1910 lists Lucy and daughter Thelma under the roof of Lucy's parents in North Yakima. The whereabouts of Hilmer and son Harry at the time are not known, but she made her own living that year as a saleswoman in a dry good store.

Lucy's 1919 letter to the Pension Commissioner.
National Archives
Circa 1911, in North Yakima, she was employed as a clerk. 

Then at age 22, on June 2, 1911, she again entered into marriage with 42-year-old carpenter Alfred L. Johnson (1868-1940), also of North Yakima but a native of Minnesota. He was the son of Brent and (?) (Olsen) Johnson. Rev. M.L. Rose performed the nuptials, with Charles F. Armstrong and Estella Wright serving as witnesses.

Circa 1919-1940, the Johnsons made a home on a fruit farm in East Prosser, WA. Lucy was active in helping her widowed mother secure the Civil War pension and then communicating with the Pension Commissioner in Washington, DC following the mother's death.   

Census evidence suggests that Alfred was retired as of 1940.

Sadly, Alfred died in Goose Prairie near Yakima on July 23, 1940. 

Lucy's  home in 1944 was in Ellensburg, WA. She also may have entered into marriage with (?) Wilson.

Lucy died on Nov. 5, 1967. Her burial occurred in Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima.  

Daughter Thelma Elizabeth Johnson (1908-1988) was born o Nov. 24, 1907 in Washington. Circa 1930, she made a home in Portland, OR at 675 Everett Street. When she was 22 years of age, on Sept. 30, 1930, she was united in holy matrimony with 25-year-old dry cleaner Robert Earl Johnson ( ? - ? ), also of Portland and the son of Christian S. and Myra E. (Earl) Johnson, the father an immigrant from Norway. Their nuptials took place in Vancouver, WA, by the hand of Rev. L.W. Gade. The angel of death spirited Thelma away in Seattle on Aug. 11, 1988.

Son Harry C. Johnston (1909-1975) was born in about 1909 in Colesburg, IA. In young manhood he dwelled in Prosser, WA and was a laborer on a fruit ranch. On Jan. 23, 1932, he tied the knot with 20-year-old Ida Lorena Bryant ( ? - ? ) of Yakima, daughter of Elwood J. and Ida (Houston) Bryant. Rev. Mahoney, of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Yakima, presided. The witnesses to the marriage were Harry's first cousin Leon C. Holstein and his wife. By 1940, census records show that he had wed again to Helen (1919- ? ), who was a decade younger, with the family living next door to his parents in East Prosser. The second marriage produced two known offspring, Barbara Johnson and Donna Johnson. Sadly, Harry passed into eternity in Yakima in 1975. Ida survived him by a dozen years. She died in 1987.

  • Great-granddaughter Barbara Johnson (1938- ? ) was born in about 1938 in East Prosser, WA.
  • Great-granddaughter Donna Johnson (1939- ? ) was born in 1939 in East Prosser, WA.

~ Daughter Mabel Delilah (Armstrong) Pollock Leland ~

Daughter Mabel Delilah Armstrong (1890-1944) was born on Dec. 30, 1890 in Indianola, NE. 

Her first husband, circa 1910, is believed to have been (?) Pollock ( ? - ? ). 

Then on Aug. 2, 1916, in North Yakima, WA, she was joined in wedlock with Ole "Frederick" Leland ( ? - ? ). Officiating was Rev. O.C. Hellekson, with Mabel's brothers-in-law Claude S. Wright and Richard Stephen Bush in attendance and serving as witnesses. Fred was an immigrant from Norway who had come to the United States in 1900 and was a naturalized citizen at the time of marriage.

Three known sons born into this marriage were William Frederick Leland, John Henry Leland and Alfred Erling Leland. 

The federal census enumeration of 1920 lists the family on a farm in a logging camp in the College Precinct of Penwah County, ID. 

By 1930, the Lelands had returned to Washington and had put down stakes on a dairy farm which Fred managed in Redmond, King County.

The couple divorced during the 1930s. Mabel made a home in 1935 in Kirkland, WA and in 1940 by herself in Seattle. While in Seattle, circa 1940, she earned a living as a baker in a tearoom.

Mabel was living at 5407 36th Street Southwest at the end of her life. The 53-year-old surrendered to the angel of death in Seattle on Jan. 26, 1944. Burial was in Evergreen-Washelli Memorial Park. An obituary said she had lived in Seattle for two decades.

Ex-husband Fred lived for another three-plus decades. Death enveloped him in 1975.  

Son William Frederick Leland (1917-1949) was born in about 1917 in Yakima. He grew up in Seattle. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Air Force and received his honorable discharge in 1946 with the rank of first lieutenant. Circa 1949, William co-owned a twin-engine DC-3 aircraft and founded Consolidated Air Transport, billing itself as providing chartered flights from Pasco, WA to Portland, Seattle and Spokane. Unfathomable tragedy claimed his life among others on the fateful night of Jan. 2, 1949. Despite a light, icy fog which kept lifting and then not, and warnings from the control tower, he proceeded with plans to fly a group of 11 Yale University students back to school after Christmas break in Oregon and Washington. The aircraft caught fire and rammed into a hangar at Boeing Field, killing him, two crewmen and 11 students. Sixteen people escaped. The Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that "Witnesses said the big plane had barely risen from the ground when a wing dipped and scraped the concrete runway. Then the ship tipped the other way, dragged its left wing, and veered into a Boeing Airplane company experimental hangar at 80 to 100 miles an hour, and burst into flame. Relatives, sweethearts and friends, who had just bidden the students farewell after a happy holiday season, watched in horror..." A series of photographs of the horrific wreckage was printed in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. His widow was quoted in a news story saying that her husband called their doomed aircraft the "Sugar Stick" and said it was their "lucky ship." At a Civil Aeronautics Authority board hearing held a few weeks later, a pilot testified that he had refused to fly the aircraft that night because of unsafe conditions, and said he had warned William but had received the retort, "That is a hell of a time to pull that." The charred remains were placed into eternal rest in Acacia Memorial Park in Lake Forest Park, WA. Within the year, a court approved $115,000 in settlement payments paid to victims, covered by the insurance underwriter Lloyd's of London.

Son John Henry Leland (1919-1977) was born in about 1919 in Idaho. He made a home in 1944 in Seattle and was a U.S. Army veteran. John passed into the arms of the angels at at 58 in Redmond, WA on Oct. 18, 1977.

Son Alfred Erling Leland (1921-1995) was born on Sept. 21, 1922 in St. Maries, ID. He stood 5 feet, 6 inches tall as a young man, with blue eyes and brown hair. His residence was in Seattle in the mid-1940s, at the address of 5407 36th Avenue Southwest. Circa 1945, he worked for East Side Furniture Company in Kirkland, WA. Alfred was joined in wedlock the day after Christmas 1964 at Olympia, WA with Beatrice Stalker (1923-2018). The nuptials were performed by Presbyterian pastor Rev. Charles A. Loyer. Alfred died in Kirkland on Aug. 4, 1995. Inscribed on his grave marker in Carnation Cemetery is the phrase, "Till we meet again, Alfie." Beatrice outlived her husband by 23 years. Death reputedly carried her away in Seattle on June 9, 2018.

 

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