Death on the Highway

A view along Highway 530

A view along Highway 530

I’ve been horrified and saddened by the recent landslide on our Highway 530 near Oso in Snohomish County, Washington. I’ve driven on that highway a number of times going to places to hike. I learned a few years ago that our great grandfather Collins died there in a car accident just a few miles from the landslide that’s captured our attention on the news.

When A.D.L. Collins died, the news was on the front page of the Everett Daily Herald. One of his sons was a councilman and well known in the county. Several members of the family had moved to the Everett area from Wisconsin and Iowa, the first around the turn of the century. See his obituary in the earlier post about his Civil War service.

Evergreen Cemetery, Everett, WA May 2005

Evergreen Cemetery, Everett, WA
May 2005

A.D.L. wasn’t buried until the 22 of September, 1907. Notice of the funeral also appeared in the Herald:

The funeral of A.D.L. Collins, which has been postponed for some time to await the arrival of his son, Councilman Mert Collins, from the East, will be held tomorrow afternoon from Jerread’s chapel at 2:30. The services will be under the auspices of the John Buford post of the G.A.R. Rev. W.E. Randall will conduct the services at the chapel, after with the body will be taken to Evergreen cemetery to be interred with the ritual of the Grand Army.

A.D.L. Collins served in the 7th Wi. Inf. Co. “C” in the Civil War.

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The Sanders Brothers

We really don’t know why it was that three of the four Sanderson brothers decided to emigrate to America from Norway. It’s likely that it was due to the economic status of the times in Norway and that there was only one Family farm. They began emigrating in 1882.

Valley Ciy, Dakota Territory courtesy of Barnes County Historical Society

Valley Ciy, Dakota Territory
courtesy of Barnes County Historical Society

Asle and his wife were both in service to the King of Sweden and Norway, according to family legend. He was the first to son to emigrate; he and his Swedish wife Charlotte, also known as Lotta Johannesdatter, immigrated together in 1882 right after their marriage. Not sure what Asle did for the King, but once he arrived in America he obtained training and opened a photography studio.

Another brother Sander immigrated in the 1883 and is shown in the 1885 census living with Asle and Lotta in Valley City, Dakota Territory. He apparently went to Hoquiam, Washington Territory and died there, unmarried in 1948.

Ole Sandersson ca 1885

Ole Sandersson ca 1885

Ole (our great grandfather and the one in the wedding picture in the last post) immigrated on the ship the state of Pennsylvania, arriving in New York November 29, 1884. It appears that he stayed close to his brother and wife for a short time, working in a Nursery and Greenhouse, and filing his intention to become a citizen there in 1885. He then continued west to settle in Tacoma, Washington Territory for a reason we have yet to uncover. It may just have been the excitement of going to a new town in the midst of a boom. Here’s a picture, taken by his brother at his new photography studio.

Thanks to my beloved late cousin Barbara Roberts, we’ve gotten a great start on compiling this family’s history.

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Great grandparents – would that we knew ya!

Tacoma November 1890

Tacoma November 1890

I had a dream one night where all of my ancestors came to call. My great-grandmother–they called her “big Hilda” seemed so stern, like the picture above, until she smiled. It was like the sun breaking through the clouds and lit up her face with joy. I’m sure that smile got her through many a rough time.

The picture of their wedding speaks to me: still unsmiling they stand, so erect. She is beautiful in her long dark dress and white veil. Her waist is cinched to an unbreathable size. They both look quite formal and official. It’s a lovely old photo of two very attractive people; I think I see the resemblance.

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Letters of Remembrance

Owned by Art and Florry Sanders ca 1942-44

Owned by Art and Florry Sanders ca 1942-44

When our mother passed away in 1992, I received two items that were very special to me. One was a carved cedar chest that she had been given at my birth – I already had the one that was given to me – and a book of letters from World War II. I can remember as a child reading these letters under the stairs in the basement where they were stored. None were particularly racy, but I could evoke the time, some of the travails of war and the friends of my parents by reading these letters.

Many of the letters were written on airmail paper (very light and flimsy) and some had been cut by the censors, leaving large chunks of air. Most writers were quite circumspect in discussing their whereabouts and some envelopes were stamped “Idle Gossip Sinks Ships” just as a reminder. My parents were blessed with many friends, most of which were in the service as all were of an age to enlist at the time. My father enlisted one day on a whim, I was told, and luckily never left the state. The friends who joined up with him that day weren’t quite as lucky.

Now to my dilemma: I know most, if not all, of the people who wrote these letters are dead. Sadly, we lost one of the wives of these fellows just this month. It makes this feel more urgent. I know few of the descendants but being a genealogist I can trace others. Should I try to contact these folks? I am a little reluctant, as it would mean a lot of searching and then more work scanning the letters which are fragile and bound in the book.

I believe that the majority of these folks were schoolmates of my Dad’s from Cleveland High School in Seattle (class of 39) or may have been from Mom’s class at Federal Way, as well. That’s why I’ll include the nicknames.

I will list the names of the people who have penned the letters in this blog and perhaps one of the bots will pick up the names. Feedback would be appreciated from anyone who has had this dilemma.

Mogden, Walt (by far the largest number of letters and the gifter of the chests)
Lapham, Ralph
Talon, Ben “Zipper”
Wilson, Carl Edward
Nist, Jerry
Rude, Robert

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Off to do more searching!

I’m blessed with a husband who indulges my hobby (of course it is his family we’re researching, too), a motorhome and some extra time so we’re off to the east coast pretty soon to work on a long standing brick wall. I’ll be blogging on Kimbrough Genealogy, our other blog on our trip, so hope you’ll tag along.

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Digging for gold in Paradise

Last September on my trip to Salt Lake, aka Mecca, I was able to find the father of my paternal g-grandmother, Sophronia Chase Works Brooks. His name was Edward Chase and I learned quite a bit about him thanks to a poster on Ancestry and some additional research of my own. One of the most fascinating things about him, to me, was that he joined a group of people who moved west – all the way to the Sierra Nevada gold country in California, Butte County to be precise. I learned that he traveled from Wisconsin, where he had buried his daughter Sophronia and his wife, with three of his remaining daughters, and a son in law. Two daughters, one a widow and the other quite young, married after arriving in California and all three of the sons in law became quite prominent in the area. Although Edward gives his occupation as a miner, he doesn’t appear to have struck it rich. I learned a sad fact from his obituary, something not published elsewhere; he committed suicide. He was older, 86, but there was no mention of ill health.

Sophia Chase Pense

One of the reasons I was interested in visiting Paradise, Butte County, California, was to find out more about Edward Chase’s other daughter, Sophia Spaulding Chase Finn Pense. She was widowed before accompanying her father to California and met and married Manoah Pence there. She helped Manoah with his hotel and ranch and after his death became quite active as an advocate for women. At the Paradise Genealogical Society I found the mother lode, <grin> including pictures and numerous documents with information about the entire family, including the obituary for Edward mentioned above. A long time Society volunteer, Kathleen, was amazing. She knew just where to look for what I needed. Having knowledgeable local people saves so much time.

I’ll post a couple pictures I was able to copy and Edward’s obituary as it is so poignant and perhaps not commonly known how he died. I have a lot more information to share with family now. What a great experience – nothing is as exhilarating to me as finding information in the actual location where my ancestors lived.

Edward Chase Obituary from the Chico Semi-Weekly Enterprise transcription, Re-transcribed by Helen Gain Butte Co. Newspapers 1853-1883 PGS Library 979.404

1880 October 22

We are informed that Mr. Chase, an old man 89 years old, is said to be father-in-law of M. Pense committed suicide on Monday evening at Lovelocks by hanging. Our informant says that the old man went deliberately about the rash act by first adjusting the rope and then tied a handkerchief around his neck to keep the rope from hurting him, got up on  a box and when all was ready kicked the box from under him. He was the oldest voter in the Great Register.

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One of our Civil War ancestors

As a challenge, Bill West of has challenged genealogy bloggers to post information about their Civil War ancestors. I’m a new blogger, but thought that it would be fitting that I post some information about one of the first ancestors that I was able to find information on: Alphonso Delano Collins (or ADL, as he was commonly known), my great grandfather. Gotta love those mustaches!

Alphonso D. L. COLLINS was born on 6 Apr 1842 in Allegany, New York to TG and Rachel Wilson Collins. He appeared in the census on 18 Sep 1850 in Smelser, Grant County, Wisconsin and in the census on 21 Jul 1860 in Smelser, Grant County, Wisconsin. He was discharged from the military with an honorable discharge on 1 Sep 1864. He was both a farmer and a miner during his lifetime. Married twice, he sired 8 children who lived to adulthood. He died in a car Accident on 29 Aug 1907 at the age of 65 in Hazel, Snohomish County, Washington. Alphonso was buried on 22 Sep 1907 in Everett, Snohomish County, Washington.

Thanks to the Snohomish County <Washington> Civil War Veterans Project, for this picture taken around the time of his death.

Military Service:

Full Context of American Civil War Soldiers
Alphonso D. L. Collins
Residence: Jamestown, Wisconsin Occupation:
Service Record:
Enlisted as a Private on 12 August 1861
Enlisted in Company C, 7th Infantry Regiment Wisconsin on 12 August 1861
was Detailed on 08 June 1862
was Returned on 08 August 1864
Mustered out on 01 September 1864
Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion. (WIRoster) Published in 1886


Everett Daily Herald
A.D.L. Collins, father of Councilman Bert Collins, and brother of T.G. Collins was instantly killed yesterday while driving with his brother in law, James Stevens, also of Everett, from Darrington to this city. The rig in which the men were riding upset, pinning both between it and the earth. Stevens managed to liberate himself, suffering a sprained ankle, but Collins was dead. Stevens managed to reach a telephone at Hazel and called for assistance. Mr. Collins body was taken to Hazel and brought to this city this morning.
The deceased was about 59 years ols and leaves a wife and seven children. Councilman Collins is enroute from the East to Everett and an attempt is being made to reach him by telegraph. The two men were returning from a trip to the Bornite mine, whither they journed to drive a tunnel. Mr. Stevens retuned to Everett last night.

The funeral of A.D.L. Collins, which has been postponed for some time to await the arrival of his son, Councilman Mert Collins, from the East, will be held tomorrow afternoon from Jerread’s chapel at 2:30. The services will be under the auspices of the John Buford post of the G.A.R. Rev. W.E. Randall will conduct the services at the chapel, after with the body will be taken to Evergreen cemetery to be interred with theritual of the Grand Army.

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