|Notes for Frank Walter WILSON|
| Nettie Lansing was about five or six when her folks arrived in Iowa. They settled North of Atlantic, a little over a mile from the Wilsons across the fields. They went to school together. Frank attended school less than four years total. The Lansing girls were said to be somewhat afraid of the Wilsons. Family stories would have the Wilson boys to be the neighborhood terrors. |
One story (from both Ralph Sr & Walt Anderson) has Frank Wilson recalling that the worst lickin' he ever got from his dad was for telling at home what his dad had said to a saloon girl in town. (We might infer from this and other similar stories that David, Franks dad, enjoyed "an evening with the boys" and was a bit of a "Ladies man".)
As nature always has it, the Lansing girls and Wilson boys eventually saw one another in the proper light. Another family joke says that Frank proposed to Nettie "while they were sitting on a bed". They enjoyed going to dances and liked to waltz. Ralph Sr recalls his dad calling square dances in Southwicks old barn.
From their original marriage certificate we know that they were married in Audabin County Iowa at the brides parents home. Their names as on this certificate are Frank W. Wilson and Nettie Lansing. They were married on the 25th day of September A.D. 1889 by Horace Lynch, Justice of the Peace, in the presence of Wm Lansing & wife and Mrs. S.J. Wilson (witnesses).
During their first ten years, near Atlantic Iowa, Frank "worked out" and farmed some. He had a good seasonal job in "the packing Plant" in Atlantic. This packing plant was probably the cannery (vegetables) as the Iowa folks say that there has never been a meat packing plant in Atlantic.
Frank & Nettie and Fred & Em lived in one house while Frank and Nettie were still in Iowa. Fred and Nettie did not get along very well; they all had somewhat stubborn temperaments. It's said that Fred was very unsympathetic when Nettie had morning sickness while carrying Mable. All of which added to the decision of Frank and Nettie to move to Washington to join other Wilsons and Lansings who had already gone west. Uncle John Wilson had come back to Iowa for a visit and suggested that they come to Washington.
George Lansing, Wm's brother, had gone to Salem in the Willamette Valley to look things over. Wm Lansing Jr also went earlier. We have a letter from Wm to Geo saying in part " - - Please make it the best part of your work for 1 year to see what you can - do not get discouraged but wade through the whole thing till you are sure you are right! & act accordingly. Write often & let me know how you progress in your search in the intrest of us both."
The William Lansings and Frank Wilsons came west together in 1899 on the emigrant train; the Lansings to Salem, the Wilsons to Port Orchard. The story is told that Myrtle was fussy for the whole trip and Nettie held her all the way, no one else could hold her.
Frank and Nettie settled on a farm south of Port Orchard, 1/4 to 1/2 mile through the woods from Uncle Johns but 2 or 3 miles around the road. The 160 acre farm was in heavy timber. One couldn't see the sky except at the house. Grampa (Frank) used to tell that "you had to be danged carefull on the road with a team and wagon in the daytime to get through and not hit a tree; but at night you could turn the horses loose and they'd take their time but they'd take you in and never touch a thing." Ralph says they took a different road than uncle Johns' south from Port Orchard and the place is unrecognizable and hard to find now (1980). Frank worked in the Navy yard for a private contractor constructing buildings most of the five years that they were in Washington. At times he did work for the Navy (government).
In 1905 or 6 they moved to the Willamette Valley in the Eola Hills west of Salem. Ralph says he was told they moved 6 months before he was born (i.e. 1906) but Fred always said it was 1905. The deed is dated Jan. 11,1906 for the farm that Frank bought from J.A.Kremis west of Salem. Frank was 38 years old, Nettie 35, Grace (eldest child) was 15 and Ralph (youngest) was born the year after the move to Oregon.
All seven children attended and graduated from Popcorn Grade School. Grace and Blanche graduated in ____ with classmates Flora and Minnie Grice, Ora Cavit, Olive Porter, and Fred and Duane Gibson. Miss Rita Higgins was their teacher.
Frank was a road boss for Polk County for several years. Then, roads were built with horse drawn road plows, slip scrapers, fresnoes etc. and gravel was hauled by team and wagon, about one cubic yard to the load. While he didn't have much schooling Frank was not lacking in intelligence or common sense. One story has it that he would let the county road engineer set the grade stakes for a cut and fill with great patience. Then when the surveyor was through, grandpa (Frank) would comment "well, isn't that grade a little steep" or some such and then the surveyor would explain all the slopes, curves and grades. When grandpa had it all figured out he'd agree "wellll, I guess it's alright". Then, after the engineers had gone he'd ignore the stakes and build the road by eyeball. The engineers always thought he did a real good job, but they never did find out that grandpa didn't know what the stakes meant.
Ralph Sr. also recalls that many times while doing his high school algebra or geometry homework, he would read a difficult problem to his dad. G'mpa didn't know the formal math but he'd twiddle his thumbs for awhile (favorite passtime - twiddeling thumbs) and pretty soon he would come up with the answer. We grandchildren fondly recall watching him move his lips while he read the news paper to himself in a whisper.
Frank was independent and very intolerant of injustice. He quit the Summit Methodist Church (although G'ma still attended) when he thought the congregation had dealt unjustly with one of his neighbors. And, more than once disputed with the Popcorn School board about discipline at the school.
He was repeatedly and forever being accused by his family of pouting and sulking. However, at least one other has pointed out that his mood or actions could as easily have been that of wisdom in the face of bullheaded temperaments which knew not the difference twixt discussion and argument only for the sake of arguing!
Nettie is remembered as "independent & selfcentered" but a good cook and home-maker, and a very good nurse - Ralph Sr credits her with literally saving his life by force feeding him for several days during his diphtheria attact when he was fifteen. This writer remembers grandma as somewhat stern but loving, and one that could almost "draw blood" when washing our ears.
Ed. The forgoing is primarily the reminiscences of my father and from such family notes and records as indicated - RAWJr. The following are verbatum notes of comments by Mabel (Wilson) Smith as recorded by her daughter, Sarah Jane, Dec. 1979:
Nettie Lansing - she was a great worrier, mostly about things that never happened. A good housekeeper - excellent cook and seamstress. When she came to Washington she was busy having and caring for her children - lived in a log house in the heart of the forest - the house had a loft where the kids slept, a kitchen, 1 bedroom, living room - water was carried from a spring a ways from the house.
Three oldest children went to school. Grace was hired out at age 14 to a neighbor family and missed a year of school. Wilfred & Mabel were born in Wash. Fred (almost 11 years old) was kicked in the head by a horse while living in Wash. He was unconscious 21 or 23 days. Doctor didn't expect him to be normal. Mabel can remember running to the house screaming that "Fred's hurt". Fred was always slower after this but a very good worker.
Moved to Oregon summer of 1905 - lived with Lansings until house was found to rent. Lived there until the farm was bought. The farm house was built up off the ground. The pigs had run under the house so there were fleas everywhere; took 2 yr to finally get rid of them. House had four rooms, square with each room equal. There was a shed attached to the back which was Fred's room.
Nettie was called all over to help during childbirth - very good with both the mother and baby.
One summer the barn burned to the ground during the night - the cows were already out - they got the horses out but lost the pigs - no on knew why it burned. Mabel thinks she was in her teens at this time. They built a new barn and it had windows in it. Mabel recalls when Ralph and the Edgar kids threw rocks and broke every window in the barn. Grandpa warmed the seat of Ralphs pants. (Ralph Sr. says "I broke ONE window")
Grace had polio when she was 21. Very precise person - everything had to have a place - loved gardening - jewlery - was always trying to improve herself through reading, attending classes etc. Loved her nieces and nephews, was always sending them something when she & Doc had the Woolworth stores. Active in the Eastern Star, (went to the top [i.e. Matron of Salem chapter]) Church - supported a missionary for sometime. Very interested in others, she and Blanche both graduated from 8th grade the same yr.
[Uncle Doc was the amateur photographer of the family. He and his twin brother were named for the two doctors that saved them in childbirth. He was a retail store business man who worked for Woolworths in Missoula, Montana and Ft Collins Colorado, and
managed a farmers coop store in Salem before he retired. - RAWJr]
Blanche - had St Vitas Dance (Mabel thinks it was rheumatic fever). Very nervous and left with a leakage of the heart. She later had open heart surgery. She had a good voice. She and Grace used to sing duets. Blanche was an alto - after graduation Blanche and Grace went to town to live and work (Apt was where Sears store is now) Worked in a confectionary store. Good wife and
mother concerned for others.
Myrtle - self centered - never liked it because Fred always had his own room and she was stuck with all the girls. When she was small she didn't want any man to touch her (not even her dad) - loved to hunt, fish, travel - did her own thing no matter who it hurt. Died of cancer.
(SJS: Mom said maybe I shouldn't put some of these things in but I did - you can leave out what you want to.)
Mabel - got her only spanking from her Dad because she told him she didn't have to go wash before she got up to the table, 2 1/2 yr old. Very timid (I don't believe it, SJS) - - - - - - - - -
She never wanted to accept things from anyone because she was afraid her mother would make her give it back - - - Married at 18, lived on Wallace farm - working orchards - housewife
4 children - active in church work - missions - loved to travel - always helping others - cared for 63 foster children in her home, plus drop-ins. Had the Wilson stubborness but seldom surfaced. Had sugar diabetes which was generally under control.
Grace, Grandpa, C Frank, Marynette, Maxine [& RAWJr] all either had diabetes or borderline. Mabel can remember when her Dad was told to leave sugar alone he went out and bought honey instead. The doctor caught up with him & told him no way.
Wilfred - small man - but strong hard worker - quick tempered but over in a minute. Had long curls till 4 yrs old. He tried to keep Ralph out of mischief when they were little. He had mastoid infection after the flu, was very ill. They took part of the juggler vein out because of blood poison during last year of high school (Ralph says 1st yr of H.S., he was 15 yr old) - loved to dance.
Ralph & Wilfred had a pony and cart. The pony pulled them all around the farm. They hauled corn to the cows. Grandpa Lansing taught all the dirty words he could to Ralph. He tried to get Wilfred to say them but he wouldn't. Ralph couldn't talk very plain so some of the words came out rather funny. Mabel remembers cleaning up her little brother many times.
|Last Modified 11 May 1999||Created 14 Jul 1999 by Willi III (a Macintosh) & Reunion|