Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Carnival of Genealogy's100th: There's One In Every Family

Every one should have an Aunt Aggie.  She wasn't really my aunt, but rather my great-aunt.  The only name I ever heard her called was Aunt Aggie.  I met her once, in the summer of 1946,  when she came out to Oregon from Minnesota.  I was eleven years old and she was 64 years old.  I was enthrall with her -- she was so full of life and laughter.  I knew why every one always talked with wonderment about Aunt Aggie.

My Uncle Ralph often talked about his Aunt Aggie;  Here is an except from one of his letters in which he told his younger sister about their aunt:

Dad wanted to come back to Minn & Mother was willing so Dad & I took the train from Madison to Monticello & walked the 4 mi to Aunt Aggies [Fiske]. Dad left me there & went on up to Little Falls. I stayed with them for two or three weeks, meanwhile Dad went to work for the Pine Tree Lbr Co hauling wood around town. After he got a pay day he sent for Mother & the rest of the family to come to Aunt Aggies & then he would come down after us (60 mi).While there everyone went to town except Ralph Fiske, Olive [Fiske] & I. Ralph was a couple of years older than I & Olive was a year younger. It was raining that day, Clive Fiske had about 30 hogs & the hog waller was only ½ block from the house. The 3 of us got to throwing corn cogs at each other & pretty soon we were in the dirty old hog waller & of course it was mud slime & what have you & we were covered from Head to food. We all 3 got what we had coming. Aunt Aggie just whaled the tar out of Ralph & Olive & got mad at Mother because she didn’t whale me as hard as the other two got it.

Olive was only 17 when she died & it was in her last year of high school & was boarding with a family in town while going to school. Her appendix broke one day & she didn’t know what to do so caught a ride out home & her folks wasn’t home so she just stayed there till they come home. As soon as they got home he rode horseback the 4 mi into Monticello for the doctor. (No telephone) The Doctor operated on her right on the kitchen table but they were too late, gangrene had already set in. They found out Ralph Fiske had a bad heart while he was in his early 20s. He loved to chase around & dance all nite but for awhile he took it easy. Meanwhile [their sister]Myrtle had got married & lived in town & one Sun morning after being out all night Ralph showed up for breakfast. They were eating & Ralph was talking about Olive when he just slumped over the table & was gone. I think nearly all of the sickness was on the Fisk side of that family. He died of cancer. He was a good farmer & a fair sledge hammer mechanic. He was about one of the 1st to own a car he bought a 1914 studebaker. When they would take a trip to visit his folks in Iowa or up to Little Falls they spent about 3 weeks getting ready for that 60 & 80 mi trip. On the other hand Aunt Aggie was the last of Dads sisters & brothers to pass away & I think she was 96 then. They were also the 1st farmers to have a modern bathroom out in the country, as he build a high water tank so he could gravity the water into the house. They had to wait awhile to put coils in the stove for hot water as those old ranges had a water reservoire built on the back that held about 5 gal, in addition to that for baths & washing also had to heat a couple boilers of water, on the stove or outside.

Of all Dad’s sisters and Brothers I believe Aunt Aggie was the bombastic one of the family. She loved to be on the go all the time. When I was small I was afraid of her as she could be a task master if she wished but for her to take all the hard knocks & live to be 96 she was the stuff our pioneers were made of.

My Aunt Olive, to whom the above  letter was written, said that she only knew Aunt Aggie as an old woman --- 64 years old.  So she was quite surprised when I showed her my favorite picture of Aunt Aggie.  The year was 1918 and thirty-year old Aggie was playing barefoot in Crow Wing Lake.  I dinna know her then, but I wished that I had.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2010 WASP Exhibit Featuring Memorabilia From Gail Sigford Family Archives: Panorama of Case 1 and Margarete McGrath Armstrong

Photo,  courtesy of  Diane Johnston

The panorama of Case 1 shows that the focus of the exhibit was on the five WASP that were associated with Klamath County, Oregon; left to right,  Blanche Osborn Bross, Margaret DeBolt Christian, Peggie Parker Eccles, Margarete McGrath Armstrong, and Gail G. Sigford.

Courtesy of Texas Woman's University
Margarete McGrath Armstrong received her WASP wings as a graduate of class 44-W-7. She had attended Sacred Heart Academy in Klamath Falls, and returned to Klamath Falls after attending business training in Portland. She was associated with Southern Oregon Hardware and the Lorenz company. After receiving her wings she was assigned to Douglas Army Air Base. She flew BT-14s, AT-8s, UC-78s and B-25s.

NOTE:  I have been searching for more information regarding WASP Margarete McGrath Armstrong  - but to no avail.  If anyone has more information about her, please post and share with us.  Thank you, Joan Hill