Monday, January 14, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: McKenney (Part 3)

This final installment in the McKenney series was printed in February, 1962 by J. Wilson McKenney.  There were only 120 copies made.

J Wilson McKenney

Since producing this little booklet almost three years ago, I have received several letters correcting or amplifying entries in the McKenney story.  This addenda is offered as tribute for my errors.  But who will go on from here to produce a truly creditable genealogy?

Last summer Ruth and I drove across country, stopping to visit in Missouri.  At an ancient courthouse in Harrisonville, seat of Cass County, I discovered only two McKinneys (note spelling) in official records of births.  I was told a fire had destroyed records prior to 1883.

Berta McKinney is the name on the card.  Lavina is given as the mother's name and the birthplace is noted as Austin township, northeast of Archie.  The birth of Lawrence McKinney (without the Jesse) is recorded as February 1, 1886, about two months after the date in the family Bible.  The father's name is noted as Jonathan, age 42; the mother's as Luvina, age 30.  The attending physician in both cases was Dr. W.A. Tout, of Archie.  Apparently prosperous enough to purchase a Tout family history, he had no patience with small details like patient's names. [Touting his own horn?]

Dutch Corners is not a place name now known in Harrisonville.  But I learned that the town of Archie was laid out in 1880, three years after my grandparents returned to the Missouri farm from Colorado.  Cass County was named in 1849 for the Democratic candidate for President.  And that year about half the male population of the county went west to the gold fields, a trend which continued for 30 years.

I have no evidence explaining why the family name should be spelled McKinney in Missouri and McKenney in California; possibly a clerical error.

A nostalgic letter from Joe Hamm recalls his memories of a half century ago at the family farm on Magnolia Avenue:

I can remember the wonderful odors of wash day when the women folk started the fire out doors under the cast iron pot, where most things were boiled.  We were sent to gather loose brush from the cypress trees and bark from the eucalyptus trees along the car line.  What a heavenly aroma this combination of woods did make!

The irrigation ditch that bordered the front yard carried water that was wonderfully cool.  When the ditch was dry it was filled with cool interesting sand.

There was a pantry where you could almost always pick up a cold biscuit or muffin to munch on between meals.  The store room off the other end of the kitchen had a heady smell of smoked hams and whole roasted coffee beans.

Wakened in the morning, you could hear Grandma stirring about in the kitchen, where, on the old wood stove, she would put together a farmer breakfast of hot biscuits and honey, mush, ham and eggs....

It was a rich and rewarding lifetime exposure some of us have been priviledged to enjoy near the warmth and love of this unique and grand family, the McKenneys.

Yes, Joe, the sights and sounds and smells of that time and place are well remembered, leaving a taste of sweetness we were never to know again.  The trees on the Avenue were friendly giants -- how could they grow so small in another generation?  The limbs were kind to small climbers...the hay was so fragrant... I was told I could capture the crows by sprinkling salt on their tails.  Life's first great disillusionment came as I trudged home, salt dissolved in sweaty palm, bare feet sore from racing on stubble, and the laughter of the haying crew ringing in my ears.

Joseph, with the bright memory, was an actor in his youth, entered the Los Angeles county fire department in 1929, became its Safety Director, and retired in 1961.  His father, John F. Hamm, husband of Kate, died in 1957.  Son Laurence Manly Hamm, after Army discharge in 1919, engaged in the plumbing contracting business with his father in Alhambra, bought the business in 1927, and still operates L.M. Hamm, Inc.  He has three grandsons and six granddaughters.  His sister, Hazel Pruett -- my age -- lives in Baldwin Park.

Corrections in my original "McKenney" story are many; it will probably never be brought up to date.

Uncle Marion, known as 'Mame', died in 1905; he had four sons, three of whom are living.  Earl, born in June 1900, died in 1958.  He married in 1923 and fathered three sons: Francis, Earl, and Galen.  Allen, born October 31, 1901, married, has no offspring.  Willy, born July 14, 1903, married in 1929, has three children.  Lewis, born January 6, 1905, married Vyvan Smith in 1929, had two daughters, was divorced.  With the rank of Major, U.S. Army, ret., he married Patricia Swahn in 1954, made his home in Costa Mesa. His name is listed locally as McKenny.

Bernice married James Millikin, not Mulligan.  Her son, Gilbert, a resident of Costa Mesa, married Ruth Trapp in 1939, had a son named George.  He married Natalie Mathews in 1956 and they have three sons: Larry, Bruce, and Brian.  Bernice's son, Bruce, died in 1959.

Ten sons and daughters of Jonathan W. McKenney are shown here as they appeared at the 1938 family reunion.  Now, 24 years later, two brothers and three sisters are dead.  Shown, left to right, are Mildred, Grace, Emma, Kate, Bernice...

...John, Ralph, Birt, Joe and Al. 

Blanche's daughter, Addie, now living in Whittier, married John Marion Cain, who died in 1918.  Her brother, George Wilson Doyle, died in 1944.  His son, Joseph, born 1928, died in Veterans' Hospital in 1959.  George's daughter Patricia has five children; son Lawrence, who also bears the middle name of Wilson, is father of two.  George's wife, Irene, who lives now in Bowie, Arizona, says Lawrence flies jets and looks like an earlier version of me.

Uncle Al died in 1953 and his wife Jessie died in 1959.  She had lived with daughter Francis in Colton after leaving her Yucaipa home.  Cousin Richard, who had farmed with his father at Bloomington and Coachella Valley, moved to Costa Mesa, married Helen Allen, had a son, Richard Allen [1935], divorced.  He married Margaret McFarland in 1955, Ronald Allen was born the next year. [Actually, its McLaughlin and they had no children -Stachia]

Aunt Mildred, that wonderful spirit who taught in San Joaquin Valley so many years ago, died of cancer March 2, 1961.  Uncle Charlie, her companion for 41 years, spent Christmas with 11 grandsons and 3 granddaughters--and a great lonliness.  Betty Davy bore her Kevin James in 1959 and Alys Erickson mothered her Theodore Von in 1961.

Birt was buried February 6, 1961, a month before Mildred's death.  He had lived alone at the Maywood Hotel for many years but for some time he lived near Manly's home in Alhambra in order to visit Emma.

Emma still sews, a skill she has used since leaving her grocery store in Laguna Beach.  Her daughter Mildred lives at Laguna.  What fun Milly and I had in the summer of 1916 [she was only 5 but I was 8] as we searched for coffee shells and marine life on those unspoiled beaches! She is the wife of Ed Hobert -- not Hyatt -- whom she married in 1940.  Mildred's daughter Carolyn married Peter Burr in 1960, had a child last year.  Marian is a resident of Fullerton, Catherine of Garden Grove.

Aunt Grace and Uncle Dee have lived in Laguna Beach since the early 20s; Dee was a mechanic for the city for many years.  Ruth married Douglas K. Perrin in 1940 and Margaret married Lawrence W. Taylor in 1941; all live in Laguna.

Ralph, now 69, claims to be the "oldest active fireman in the Sixth Army."  Long a resident of Flagstaff, Arizona, he has become a senior warden in his local Masonic Lodge.

John, youngest of the 14, retired as an industrial electrician in 1960, now enjoys bowling, gardening.  Daughter Phyllis married Donald Pederson in 1946; they have an 11-year-old named Susan Lisa.

My father, Joseph W., will be 80 this year, the oldest surviving member of the family.  He has had a quiet retirement from cabinet work in Long Beach and San Bernardino, but rarely writes.  He is proud of his 58 years membership in the Masonic Lodge; he took his first degree in Buena Park in 1903, was enrolled in the honorary 32nd degree in 1958.

My sister, Jo, still operates a clothing store in Hermosa Beach; Husband Bob is a veteran executive at Northrup Aircraft.  Son Robert Neal is a father; Gary Arthur, 20, is completing his printing apprenticeship.

Since leaving Compton Junior College in 1930, I have been constantly engaged with words, type and paper.  From 1933 to 1950 I owned and edited four weekly newspapers, was co-founder of Desert Magazine.  Since 1952 I have been editor of CTA Journal for the California Teachers Association.  Daughters Pat Stewart (a beautiful girl, Jennifer) and Jody Lakner (two fine boys, Roger and Frederick) live near us.  Son Jon, a language specialist, left for Nurenburg in January for a two-year tour with the Army.  All of them were with us at Christmas time.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: McKenney (Part 2)

1.  MARION [farmer]     Born Nov. 23, 1872, in Arapaho County, Colorado Territory.  Died 1906 in California.  Married Caroline Jaeger 1899.
s  Earl          Allen          Willy          s  Lewis

2.  BERNICE     Born Oct. 7, 1874, in Arapaho County.  Died Jan, 1950 at Laguna Beach.  Married James E. Mulligan 1897; div. 1915
s  Gilbert, born Sept. 6, 1898
d  Jessie, born Aug. 2, 1901, married Charles Wheldon, died Sept. 3, 1936.
s  Bruce, born Apr. 1, 1906, married Florence Mitchell Aug. 1, 1938.
Married George Graham.

3.  SARAH BLANCHE     Born Aug. 24, 1876 in Colorado.  Died Nov. 7, 1899 at Buena Park.  Married Joseph Peter Doyle May 9, 1894.
d  Addie, born Aug. 22, 1895, married Jack Cain, div., Charles Prather, div.; Arthur E. Weatherwax. 
Son adopted by latter union.
s  George, born Oct. 1897, married Irene Crawford 1927.
d  Patricia Louise ~ 1928
s  Joseph Leland ~ 1930
s  Lawrence ~ 1935

4.  KATE     Born March 6, 1878 in Cass County, Missouri.  Married John F. Hamm Jan. 3, 1897.  Died Nov. 1947.
s  Lawrence Manly, born June 21, 1898, married Marguerite Walitzek, div.
            d  Joyce Louise ~ 1924
            s  Richard Lawrence ~ 1925
s  James Francis, born Dec. 4, 1902, married Faith Parker, div.
            d  Norma
            d  Marjorie
Married Rita Dods
            d  Catherine Louise
            s  Fred
Joseph Eugene, born Aug. 14, 1904, married Margaret Fultz
            d  Mary Linda
s  Galen, born 1906, died 1908
d  Hazel Irene, born Sept. 26, 1908, married Nels Haglind, div., married Lee Forrester, div.
            s  Lee ~ 1944
            d  Kate ~ 1948
Married Myron J. Pruett, May 1958.
d  Grace Catherine, born May 22, 1911, married Everett Davis, died July 12, 1957.
            s  Thomas ~ 1937
            s  William ~ 1940

5.  RICHARD ALLEN [farmer]     Born Aug. 15, 1879 in Cass County, Missouri.  Married Jessie Terry Aug. 6, 1908.  Died Oct. 15, 1953.
s  Richard, born March 12, 1911, married Helen _______, div.
            s  Richard, Jr.
d  Frances, born Nov. 23, 1913, married _______ Robinson, div.
            s  Marvin  and  d  Myra, twins ~ 1933
            s  Ronald  and  s  Donald, twins ~ 1938

6.  JOSEPH WILSON [carpenter, cabinet-maker]     Born June 9, 1822 in Cass County, Missouri.  Married Edna May Durfey June 5, 1907; div. 1943.
s  James Wilson, born April 7, 1908; married Lee Ruth Greer May 5, 1933
            d  Wanda Jo ~ 1936
            d  Patricia Lee ~ 1939
            s  Jon Wilson ~ 1941
d  Josephine Edna, born Aug. 22, 1909; married Robert A. Phillips Nov. 6, 1933.
            s  Robert Neil ~ 1936
            s  Gary Robert ~ 1941
s  Gordon Durfrey, born Sept. 7, 1914; died Feb. 11, 1942 as 2nd Lt., U.S. Air Fore.
Married Dolly _______, 1951

7.  BERT MILTON [mechanic]     Born Jan 1, 1884 in Cass County, Missouri.  Married Agnes Pohl 1916 (she died in 1918).
            s  Eugene Malcolm, born 1917.
Married Kitty Parrott 1922, div. 1934.

8.  JESSE LAWRENCE     Born Nov. 25, 1885 in Cass County.  Died in infancy.

9.  EMMA JANE [merchant, seamstress]     Born March 22, 1889 in Buena Park, Calif.  Married Arthur G. Pence in 1910, div.
d  Mildred Irene, born April 14, 1911; married Harlan Tinch, div.
            d  Caroline ~ 1936
Married Edward Hyatt 1939.
d  Marian Virginia, born Dec. 13, 1912; married Leland Montague 1936.
            s  Michael Blake ~ 1940
            d  Anne Louise ~ 1946
d  Catherine Louise, born June 19, 1915; married Paul Danforth, div.; married Ray Wagstaff 1938.
            s  Stephen Pence ~ 1942
            d  Jane Ann ~ 1945
            d  Laurie Rae ~ 1951

10.  FRANK     Born in California; twin of Emma.  Died in infancy.

11.  GRACE ESTELLE     Born Sept. 12, 1890 at Buena Park.  Married Robert Dee Woodward 1913.
            d  Ruth, born Oct. 30, 1914\
            d  Margaret, born Jan. 28, 1923

12.  RALPH LEE [fireman]     Born Nov. 18, 1893 at Buena Park.  Married Kitty Pfennighousen (she died in 1926).  Married Bernice Lavere 1937.

13.  MILDRED MAY [teacher]     Born Nov. 18, 1893 (twin of Ralph).  Married Charles W. Erickson Feb. 21, 1920.
s  Albert LaVern, born Nov. 7, 1921; married Bonnie Lou Anne Short Nov. 19, 1944.
            s  Richard William ~ 1947
            s  Scott LaVerne ~ 1949
d  Helene Estelle, born July 11, 1923; married George Wallace Barber Feb. 14, 1942.
            s  Curtis Wallace ~ 1947
            Rodney Douglas ~ 1948
            d  Wendy Susan ~ 1955
d  Betty Lee, born July 21, 1926; married Stephen Louis Davy April 7, 1943.
            d  Sharon Lee ~ 1943
            s  James Patrick ~ 1947
            s  Robert Stephen ~ 1949
            s  Thomas Charles ~ 1950
            d  Carole Lynne ~ 1957
s  Charles David, born Oct. 31, 1927; married Alys Patricia Brock Feb. 5, 1949.
            s  David Lee ~ 1954
            s  Joel Keith ~ 1956

14.  JONATHAN DAVID (John) [electrician]     Born July 21, 1895 in Buena Park.  Maried Lenabel Van Dorfey Dec. 1, 1919.
            d  Phyllis Marcelle, born Sept. 3, 1920.

This short summary, covering three generations, names 64 cousins I can trace.  But the name of McKenney will survive only through the sons of Mame, the son of Cousin Richard, and my son Jon.

This spring, in my 50th year, I became a grandfather.  I hope that this account may be of some interest to my grandchildren and to others of the third and fourth generation after Jonathan, even though they do not bear the name I have used with pride

Monday, December 31, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: McKenney (Part 1)

The following is from a small booklet written by J. Wilson McKenny in March, 1959. Two hundred copies were printed and bound. The one in my possession is number 18. This will be a three part series: the introductory part, the who-married-who-and-had-which-kids part, and the corrections (which came out three years later).

*          *          *

This little booklet, written and produced by the grandson of a Missouri farmer, is simply the partial record of a family. The real story is told in deeds and not in printed pages.

McKenney is a name with the sound of the Irish. I have no evidence that it came to America from the Emerald Isle but the family, without benefit of geneologist, has assumed that its origin was either Irish or Scotch-Irish.

A map of the Irish Free State shows the McKenna clan centered at the mouth of the Ulster River in County Monaghan. The principal town is Carricknacross, not far from the River Glyde. Across the river and to the south in Leinster, Louth County, is the clan McKenny. My research does not reveal the home grounds of a clan McKenney. Did the two clans of similar name have a feud which separated them by the river forming the boundary of Ulstermen?

Since I have made no search of geneological records, I do not know when the first McKenney reached America. There is a village in central Virgina named McKenney; could an early ancestor have left his name as he passed westward?

It is probable that the first McKenney came from Ireland during the "Great Irish Migration" of 1827-38, caused by economic distress in the north and increasing factionalism in the south. The Irish began to stream to this country immediately after the War of 1812 and were second only to the Germans in migration during the 19th century. The majority were laborers and mechanics, attracted by the westward movement of the railroads.

In the record available to me I find no evidence of professional status ~ no doctors, lawyers, or senators ~ but neither is there record of insanity or crime. Writer Ruth (My sister Eileeen) McKenney doesn't count; we do not know her.

My grandfather, Jonathan Wilson McKenney, was born October 5, 1843, in Jasper County, Missouri. His parents were Jonathan McKenney and Louisa Butts, both of whom were raised in Kentucky. Louisa had a brother, Wilson, owner of a big Montana cattle ranch, who visited his nephew's family in Buena Park in 1898. Jonathan's parents are said to have had 17 children; he, the eldest, bore the nickname "Bud" throughout his life.

Aunt Emma says there were two sets of twins among brothers and sisters of my grandfather. She recalls the names of Louvenia, Emma, Martha, Albert, Howell, Frank and Galen. She says the family was raised in Dutch Corners, Cass County, Missouri, and that most of the sons went to the Colorado mines in the 1870's. Louvenia married Frank Stetson and lived in Bisbee, Arizona. Uncle Ralph says that Lou's daughter, Mattie Stetson Atkinson, still lives in Bisbee but that her memory is inaccurate.

J.W. joined the 22nd Missouri Infantry in 1857 at 14 years, serving as a drummer boy for 18 months. When he returned home he found his parents had been killed. Escaping bushwackers, the boy reached the Missouri river, crossed by grasping the tail of a swimming cow.

He enlisted in Company K of the 9th Kansas Cavalry, served in the Union cause 3 years, received an honorable discharge in 1865 with the rank of corporal.

Returning to Confederate Missouri and Arkansas, he worked as a truck-gardener near Little Rock. He met and married Louvenia Frances Arnett in Missouri in January, 1872; he was 28 and his bride was not yet 17.

Louvenia Arnett was born in Benton County, Missouri, February 28, 1855. Her parents died when she was an infant and she was raised by her grandfather, Andrew Youree, a Welsh Farmer. Her grandfather and step grandmother also raised 2 other children, Ida and Charlie Barrett, and an adopted daughter, Elizabeth Ann. Louvenia's sister, Sally, married her step grandmother's son Jasper James. Jasper, who might have been related to the notorious outlaw Jessie James, was in the Oklahoma land rush, claimed a homestead, but lost it in exchange for liquor. Louvenia's brother, Edward Joseph Arnett, born in 1860, married Allie Hickox, had four daughters and a son, and died in 1908.

Jonathan and Louvenia left Missouri in a covered wagon, making their first home in Colorado Territory. Uncle Ralph remembers his mother's stories of Indians stampeding buffalo and how the wagon train narrowly escaped destruction by savage or beast.

They remained 5 years in Colorado, where their first three children were born. Jonathan operated a truck farm near Denver, had men selling produce in the city. There is no family recollection that he engaged in mining with his brother's, who were said to have arrived in the Colorado gold fields about the same time.

In 1877 they returned to Cass County, Missouri, where the next 5 children were born on a farm near Archie, Lawrence dying at 18 months. Jonathan operated a threshing machine and he prospered. Having seen some of the opportunities of the west, he saved his money until he could move his growing family to California.

On April 1, 1887, with his wife and seven children ~ aged 2 to 14 years ~ he started the tedious railroad trip to fabulous Southern California, clutching in his hand the glowing promotional brochure of one J.A. Whitaker. They arrived at a railroad station named Buena Park (a promoter's euphemism from Spanish and English) a few miles west of Fullerton. Jonathan bought 18 acres of black adobe soil a mile northwest of the depot. Whitaker wanted the site for town lots and traded Jonathan 23.6 acres of sandy loam. On the new land Jonathan built a large frame house, the second residence in the district, and in this place the family lived and worked for 17 years. To the original acreage Jonathan added the neighboring plots until he had 73 acres at the time he sold out in 1905.

Jonathan was a good farmer and a hard worker. He believed his sons should be equally industrious and the growing family labored early and late on the dairy farm. My fahter has told me little about his father, except that he was taciturn, a 'good provider,' thrifty, and a member of the Methodist Church. He suffered for many years from the effects of disease contracted during the War.

When the McKenney family reached California, the state was just approaching its first million in population. (This year it will reach 15 million). Much of the rich flat land in the vast alluvial fan had not been settled and there was an abundance of sweet artesian water. The year after the house was built the state legislature created Orange County by carving off a piece of Los Angeles County and drawing the boundary line a mile west of the farm.

Six more children were born on the Buena Park farm, two dying in infancy. Most of them attended the Centralia school. The head of the family was not a "joiner" nor did he believe in wasting time in idle amusement. He did not encourage his children to seek education beyond the elementary grades. My father did not have parental blessing when he went to USC. As Jonathan prosered with the dairy, he bought stock in a pioneer Fullerton bank, later the Security First National.

After most of the children had grown and left the farm, Jonathan sold the Buena Park property and moved in February 1905 to a house on West Seventh Street in Riverside. Nearly two years later he sold this house, bought a small farm at 549 Magnolia Avenue, 5 miles south of Riverside. In the big two-story house across the tree shaded avenue from famous Sherman Institute, my grandfather died July 3, 1908, three months after my birth. Cause of death was believed to be a service-caused kidney disease, combined with pneumonia. He was 65 years old.

Some years later grandmother ~ "Mommie" to all her children ~ sold the bank stock and the Arlington (Magnolia Ave.) property and my father built her a comfortable bungalow on the heights above Laguna Beach. Here she died April 9, 1927.

Of the 14 children born of Jonathan and Louvenia, two died in infancy, two in adulthood. The remaining 10, with 57 of their wives, husbands, sons, and daughters, attended a family reunion at Bixbee Park, Long Beach, September 5, 1938. On the 20th anniversary of that meeting I dug out my notes and with the aid of Aunt Emma's memory and her "Pa's" diary, assembled the data for this booklet.

Unfortunately, I am unable to guarantee the accuracy of my information and I regret the absence of names and dates on the fourth generation, now fast growing.