2. Wetherall-Baldwin-Van Houton
Children of William Riley Wetherall and Ida Mae Baldwin
Children of William Riley Wetherall and Nellie Marie Van Houton
William Riley Wetherall (WRW)
William Riley Wetherall was second child and first son of William Franklin Wetherall (WFW) and Laura Belle (Beaman) Wetherall. He thus inherited the name "William" that his paternal grandfather, William Edwin Wetherall (WEW), appears to have inherited from his own father. The "Riley" namesake is uncertain, though possibly it is someone on Laura Belle's side of the family.
But who was Willim Riley? His son, William Bascom, told this writer, his own son William Owen, very little about his father, except that he was a printer, was a good man, and did his best under the circumstances. The questions I should have asked my father didn't occur to me until after he died, when I discovered that Mary Wells, the oldest of his four younger siblings, was still alive in Carlisle, Iowa.
Born Mary Arleen Wetherall, Mary was Van Ryswyk when I met her and some other Wetherall relatives in Knoxville and Carlisle, Iowa in the summer of 1958, during the only trip the California Wetherall-Hardman family would ever make back to Iowa. My interests then, at 17, were not in family history. I remember being overwhelmed by all the unfamiliar names and places, which we had never heard of before, and would hear little or nothing about afterward.
Only in hindsight do I realize how difficult it was for my father to make that trip in 1958, three decades after he had left Iowa -- and how difficult it must have been for him to never make another.
William R. Wetherall the printer
As soon as I saw the above photograph, I knew I was looking at a composition table in a print shop. The father of a boy I ran around with in the last neighborhood I lived in when growing up in San Francisco had a print shop in his garage. I was enrolled in the printing class at A.P. Gianinni, the Sunset District, junior high school, at the time we moved to Grass Valley in the spring of 1955, and that summer I had a part-time job packaging Christmas cards at the print shop partly owned by my father's law partner. And in high school, I spent some time in the press room of the local newspaper, where a classmate worked. If you had asked me, then, what I wanted to be when I grew up, I well might have said a printer.
At the time, I knew nothing about my father's family, much less that his father had been a printer by trade. Even when sorting out the family photos the first time in the 1970s, and the second time in the 1990s, I wasn't sure who the man in this photo was. Could he have been my dad's father? My mother, who took the time to answer such questions, thought it might be but she wasn't sure. My father, when finally I got him to comment on the pictures of people on his side, said it was his father, probably in the early 1930s, but that's as far as he could speculate. My mother had never met her father-in-law, who had died a couple of years before she and my father married. And as children, we never met his family until 1958, and then only once.
If you wonder what those hammers are for -- the ball-peen hammer in the foreground, the mallet closer to hand -- they are for pounding, of course. Once the type has been locked into a chase, the faces of all the pieces of type need be leveled so that they are flush with the plane of the printing -- the plane where the paper and type, after inking, meet -- on a flat-bed press or letter press.
You begin with the text of the matter to be printed, and a design -- fonts, sizes, layout and the like. You select type from a case and set it in a composing stick, letter by letter, including spaces and punctuation, and you break and space lines as required. The type in the composing stick is then transferred to a galley to be tied up -- literally with a string after confirmation that everything is properly configured. At this point, proofs can be pulled from the tied-up type and changes made as required. The tied-up parts of a larger page are placed into a chase, the metal frame that is mounted on the press. When the page is laid out or made up in the chase, the parts or blocks of type are untied, and various kinds of spacers and locking devices are inserted between the blocks in order to lock up the type in the chase. At this point, too, proofs can be pulled and changes made.
Then comes the pounding. The proofs will show which pieces of type are too high or too low relative to other pieces. The compositor places a piece of wood called a "planer" on the type to protect the type faces, and a mallet is used to pound on the board until the faces of all the type are even. That's what I picture my paternal grandfather doing in this picture. And I imagine he enjoyed his work, in the manner that most tradesmen seem to derive a certain kind of pleasure from their vocation.
Mary Well's account of her father
Here is how Mary Wells, at 90, conveyed to me her recollections of her father, William Riley Wetherall, through Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, her daughter-in-law. Mary Sue and her husband, Robert Van Ryswyk, Mary's second son, have been caring for Mary at an assisted living facility in Carlisle, where they also live.
Mary's remarks, in Mary Sue's words, were in response to questions I had asked Mary about her childhood memories. What was her father like? Did he come home from work with ink on his fingers? What was her mother Nellie like? Where and how did William R. die? How did the family survive the Depression after his death? And what did she remember about her older brother, William Bascum Wetherall?
The following account is a slightly reformated and edited version of email received from Mary Sue on 28 August 2013. The [bracketed] clarifications are mine.
Early memories of William Bascom Wetherall
William B. Wetherall lived with his father and Nellie, and with three of his four younger siblings, while going to East High School in Des Moines from 1924-1928. Mary's recollections of "hearing from her older brother" refer to the period after Bill left Iowa to go to college in Idaho. during which he sent kept in touch with his Iowa family through letters and even photographs.
The well-worn photograph to the left survives in Mary's collection. It was probably taken during the summer of either 1935 or 1936 when Bill was working in blister rust control in a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) project in white-pine forests in either Idaho or Montana. In 2010 he recalled that he had been working in blister rust eradication in Montana when his father, William Riley, died on 4 July 1936.
On the back of photo to the left he wrote (Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, email, 19 August 2013):
(There's) charcoal (around) my eyes. It helps break the glare of the sun. No fooling'.
Did Mary remember the days they lived together? According to her daughter-in-law, Mary Sue Van Ryswyk (email, 9 August 2013):
Mary said she can still remember your dad graduating from East High School [in Des Moines in 1928] and the day he left for Idaho. She can still see his image as he walked down the lane and she cried to see him go.
Our earliest memories are likely to be separation experiences. I clearly recall -- more vividly than any other early experience -- the day my father left me with a toy truck and a bag of Graham Crackers in the play yard of Notre Dame des Victoires (N.D.V) on my first day of kindergarten. The school was at 566 Bush Street between Grant and Stockton, and he would drive me there on his way to work until the beginning of school bus service from the avenues in the Sunset district on the other side of the city where we lived. The year was 1945 and I was 4 years old. I don't recall crying, but I know I felt very tense and anxious.
My daughter Saori was delighted to be left alone at kindergarten. She was the sort that wandered off by herself at zoos and in department stores. But my son Tsuyoshi found the experience of watching his mother walk away and leave him to his own resources with a bunch of strangers a bit traumatic. Tsuyoshi, like his father, and his father like his father, has shown symptoms of sociophobia.
Landmarks of William Riley Wetherall's life
My object in charting events in the life of William Riley Wetherall (WRW), in the form of a timeline, is to collate elements of stories told about them by his children, beginning with William Bascom Wetherall (WBW) in 2010 and 2011, and then Mary Arleen Wells (MAW) in 2013, with details about his life gleaned from public records and other documents.
WRW frequently moved, especially while living in Des Moines from the early 1920s to the early 1930s. His various addresses are underscored in the following chronology to facilitate understanding his movements according to evidence in census reports, on selective service registration cards, newspaper articles, and local directories.
Events related especially to the life of Ida Mae Baldwin are also included in this timeline, as she is at the heart of many of the mysteries that remain to be solved about their brief time together.
William Riley Wetherall chronology
1890-05-02 William Riley Wetherall is born in Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa, to William Franklin and Laura Belle (Beaman) Wetherall. See Table 4 and following for details.
1891-03 Ida Mae Baldwin is born in Kentucky to Newton Bascum and Martha Ellen (Steele) Baldwin. See Table 5 and following for details.
Ida's son, William B. Wetherall, recalled in 2010 that she was born in Corbin, Kentucky in 1888. Her death certificate states she was born in Kentucky in 1888. Her tombstone states she was born in 1891, and the 1900 census gives her month and year of birth as March 1891. Both the 1880 and 1900 censuses show her parents to have been farming in Pond Creek, Jackson County, Kentucky at the time.
1900 census The June 1900 census shows William Riley, age 10, residing at 803 Pleasant Street, Knoxville, Iowa, in a mortgaged home owned by his father, while Ida Mae, age 9, is living in Pond Creek, Jackson County, Kentucky on a farm owned by her father free of mortgage.
1905-1906 Ida Mae Baldwin and William Riley Wetherall appear to have met in Knoxville while the Baldwin family was living there while making its way west from Kentucky. See Ida Baldwin below for my reconstruction of the boy-meet-girl story.
1908-1910 Ida Mae Baldwin attends vocational schools in Spokane. City directories show her at Northwest Business College in 1908 and at Blair Business College in 1909. In 1909 she is living with her parents.
The Baldwin family was residing in Spokane, Washington in 1908 and 1909, but by 1910 they had moved to St. Maries, Idaho. Ida, however, appears to have remained in Spokane for a while after her parents moved to St. Maries, presumably to finish her schooling at a business college.
WBW's recollections In 2010, William B. Wetherall, their son, recalled a number of things he remembered hearing about his parents in their early years. Considering that he must have heard about his mother's life when he was older, after her death, either from his father or later from Ida's older sister Sadie, his memory was remarkable.
Ida's parents WBW said that his maternal grandfather's name was Nathanial (he thought) Bascum Baldwin, the son of John Baldwin and Margaret Howard. He gave his maternal grandmother's name as Martha Ellen, the daughter of Jonas Steele and Elizabeth Grubb. All these names are substantiated by other evidence -- except that "Nathanial" turns out to be "Newton".
N. B. Baldwin WBW said that N. B. Baldwin ran a general merchandise store among other businesses. He had in his possession a business card which stated "N. B. Baldwin / Dealer In General Merchandise / St. Maries, Idaho / St. Maries at confluence of St. Joe and St. Maries Rivers".
Ida Mae's schooling WBW recalled that his mother had lived in Washington for a while before settling in St. Maries. He said that after moving to St. Maries, she graduated from Blair Business College in Spokane and won honors for her calligraphy. He added that she was a specialist in the Palmer Method of penmanship. The names of the places and school are substantiated by other evidence. But the same evidence suggests that Ida remained in Spokane to complete her schooling after her family moved to St. Maries. The two towns, about 90 minutes apart by car today, weren't commutable in Ida's time.
William Riley and Ida Mae WBW believed his father had been working as a printer in St. Maries before he married Ida Mae and knew her from that time. It's entirely possible. They had to meet somewhere. As a young man in Iowa, he would have had more reason to head west than she would have had go to Iowa.
Blair Business College An advertisment on the back (8th) page of the Thursday Morning, 1 January 1903 issue of The Spokesman-Review features a long description of the college below a picture of a 5-story building with large "Blair Buisiness College" signs along the parapets above the 5th-floor windows facing both streets. The description begins like this.
1907-1908 catalogue The 11th annual catalogue of Blair Business College, for 1907-1908, gives the address of the college as "Corner First Avenue and Madison Street, Spokane, Washington." Present-day descriptions of the 5-story New Madison Hotel, on the corner of W 1st Avenue and W Madison St. in the historic section of downtown Spokane, state that the building was constructed in 1906, and that Blair Business College occupied the top floor. The facades of the Madison Hotel, and the so-called "College building" in an 1903 newspaper ad, are different, but the buildings are of similar vintage and construction.
1910 census The April 1910 census for Ames, Washington Township, Story County, Iowa shows William Riley Wetherall as "William Weatherall".
Where do the twain meet? As of April 1910, William Riley, just 19, still single, is working as a printer in Ames, Iowa. And Ida Mae Baldwin, 18, presumably freshly graduted from a Spokane vocational school, is listed in a 1910 Spokane directory, though possibly it was compiled in 1909. So when and where do they meet?
1910-06-01 William Riley Wetherall and Ida Mae Baldwin marry in Seward, Nebraska.
1911-03-11 William Bascum (later "Bascom") Wetherall, first son and only child of William Riley and Ida Mae Wetherall, is born in Ames, Iowa. Presumably WRW was working there and he himself may have printed the cards announcing WBW's birth.
1911 William Riley and Ida Mae move from Ames to St. Maries when WBW is about 6 months old, to live with Ida's family because she was suffering from depression (according to WBW).
1911-1912 Ida Mae is hospitalized when WBW is about 8 months old (according to WBW).
However, Ida Mae appears to have been committed to the recently completed North Idaho Asylum in Orofino.
1915-1916 WRW takes WBW to Knoxville to visit his grandparents when WBW was about four years old. Presumably this was after WBW celebrated his 4th birthday in St. Maries. Guests were invited with cards probably printed by WRW.
To be continued.
1917 WRW moves his son WBW, then 6 years old, to Knoxville, where WBW lives with WRW's parents, WBW's paternal grandparents, William Franklin Wetherall and Laura.
1936-06-05 WRW registers for the draft in Benewah County, Idaho.
William Riley Wetherall as civilian
William Riley Wetherall "called to the colors" (1917-1919)
5 June 1917 The Selective Service Act of 18 May 1917 authorized the temporary increase of military forces through a draft system operated through local county boards. The first registration, on 5 June 1917, inclued all men between 21-31, residing in the United States, including naturalized citizens and aliens. The second registration, on 5 June 1918, included men who had become 21 after 5 June 1917, and a follow-up registration on 24 August 1918 included those who had turned 21 after 5 June 1918. A third registration, on 12 September 1918, included all men between 18 and 45.
College was a voting precinct within the jurisdiction of the draft board. Draft boards appointed registrars for voting precincts within their jurisdictions.
Benewah was established as a county in Idaho on 23 January 1915. Its county seat was St. Maries, where WRW was working as a printer.
It is clear from WRW's registration card that he was hoping he might be exempted from the draft on account of his being the father of a 6-year-old son who was soley dependent on him for support. Though stating that he was married, he does not elaborate about his wife's condition of dependency, which would have been a stronger argument for exemption -- but that would have meant disclosing information he may not have wanted to appear on a public document such as a Selective Service record.
1917-09-06 The 6 September 1917 edition of The Pella Chronicle, a newspaper published in a town next door to Knoxville, ran the following report, which apparently first appeared in The Knoxville Journal. for whom all the Wetherall patriarchs -- WEW, WFW, and WRW -- had at one time worked in various capacities (page 6).
The Pella Chronicle was founded in 1866 in the town of Pella in Marion County, Iowa. Pella is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Knoxville, Marion's county seat. The Carroll Times was a newspaper in Carroll, the seat of Carroll County in Iowa. Carroll county is four counties west and two counties north of Marion County; three counties west and one county north of Polk County (the home of Des Moines, the state capital); and three counties to the west of Story County, where Ames is located (the county seat of Story is the city of Nevada, proncounced NaVEYda). The paper was launched in 1897, according to one source, "as the outgrowth of differences arising in the ranks of the democratic party in the county." The population of Carroll at the time was about 4,000. Pella's population was over 3,000 and Knoxville had nearly 3,500 people. Knoxville was the home of the Knoxville Journal, founded in 1855, where WRW's father WFW had worked, and where WRW seems to have apprenticed as a printer.
Carroll, the seat of Carroll county, is roughly 200 kilometers or 125 miles from Knoxville, the seat of Marion County. The Carroll Times, a Democratic newspaper, was launched in 1897 amidst divisions in the Party as a rival to The Sentinel, which had been the county's dominant party voice. The Carroll Times absorbed the Sentinel in 1914.
returned home last Friday WRW returned to his home in Knoxville from Carroll on 31 August 1917. It would appear that he moved from St. Maries to Iowa after registering for the draft in Behad returned to his parents' home in Iowa and was working as a printer at Carroll.
called to the colors This implies that WRW was drafted, and that "enlisted" is a euphemism for "registered for the draft".
1917-10-12 William R. Wetherall begins service in U.S Army, entering the army in St. Maries, Idaho, with serial number 20116104.
The above events corroborate WBW's recollection in 2010 that his father, WRW, had taken him to Knoxville to live with his paternal grandparents when he was 6 years old -- apparently sometime between 5 June 1917 and September 1917. Whether WRW brought WBW to Iowa because he expected to be drafted, or because he had already been planning on relocating to Iowa, is not clear. Commenting on the "Germany or Bust" picture of WRW in uniform, WBW said he thought the war may have ended before his father got there.
WRW appears to have undergone the usual training followed by several months of waiting for deployment. His unit arrived in Europe about the time of the Armistice in November 1918, and a few months later, presumably after spending a few months in France, he was discharged.
1919-03-18 William R. Wetherall discharged from military service. He had been a Corporal in Battery "D" of 336 Field Artillery, which was the heavy artillery component of the 162d Field Artillery Brigade of the 87th Infantry Division of the National Army.
The 87th Division was organized at Camp Pike, Arkansas, in August 1917, transferred to Camp Dix, New Jersey, in June 1918, and deployed in France between August 1918 and September 1918, according to Brief History of Divisions, U.S. Army, 1917-1918 (Historical Branch, War Plans Division, General Staff, United States Army, June 1921). Apparently the entire division had arrived several weeks before the armistice in November 1918 and was used mainly as a labor pool.
The dates in some reports differ. See the annotations in the 28 July 2011 entry of Byron Graham's Graham Ancestry blog. Graham cites the following "detailed account of the [87th] division's First World War history" (viewed August 2013). The [bracketed remarks] are my digests of Graham's annotations. Graham attributes the account to U.S. War Department, Historical Branch, General Staff War Plans Division, Brief Histories of Divisions, U.S. Army 1917–1918, June 1921, which appears to be a manuscript.
Camp Pike was an army cantonment at Little Rock, Arkansas. It was established on 18 July 1917 to serve as a training camp for the 87th Division, which occupied the cantonment from August 1917 to June 1918. Construction began on 17 June 1917 and continued through 1918. From April 1918 it was an infantry replacement and training camp, from 21 August 1918 an infantry training center, and from 3 December 1918 a demobilization center.
1921 Wetherall Wm R Printer Peo Popular Monthly rms 1536 e Walnut (1921 Des Moines City Directory)
1921 William R. Wetherall marries Nellie M. Van Houton, judging from data in 1930 census (see below) and birth of their first child in 1922 (see below).
1922-10-13 Mary Arleen Wetherall (Van Ryswyk) (Wells), 1st daughter, born in Des Moines.
1922 Wetherall Wm R Printer Peo Popular Monthly res 1431 e 23rd (Wetherall Wm R Printer Peo Popular Monthly res 1431 e 23rd)
1923 Wetherall Wm R emp Peoples Monthly Co res 1431 e 23rd (1923 Des Moines City Directory)
1925 The 1925 Iowa census for Des Moines in Polk County, enumerated on 2 January but recording residence in the state by household as of 1 January 1925, shows the WRW family living at 1308 E 25 Court. Wetherall Wm R, Head, 35, owns the home, which is valued at and insured for $2500 but has a $2100 mortgage on it. Living with him are Wetherall Nellie, Wife, 25; Wetherall Mary A, Daughter, 2; and Wetherall Wm B, Son, 13. Wm R, Nellie, and Wm B completed 8 grades of grade school (Rural 1-4, Grade 1-8, High School 9-12). All three can read and write. Wm B attended 9 months of school in 1924.
The second page of the census shows the names and places of birth of the parents of each member of the houshold, and the names of localities where they were married. The data for Wm. B Wetherall correctly states that his mother's name was Ida Baldwin and his father's name was Wm. R. Wetherall, and that they were married in Seward, Nebraska but incorrectly says that she was born in Iowa, when in fact she was born in Kentucky.
Warren was born on 2 January that year, the day the census was evaluated, was was not included because the census was a record of residence as of 1 January.
1925 directory Wetherall Wm R printer Peoples Monthly Co h1308 e 25th ct (1925 Des Moines City Directory)
1308 E. 25th Ct. was described as of 2010, when it sold for $75,000, as a 2 bed, 2 bath, 1,008 sq ft home built on a 8,100 sq ft lot in 1920.
1925-01-02 Warren H. Wetherall, 2nd son (1st with Nellie), born in Des Moines.
1926 Wetherall Wm R compositor Peoples Popular Monthly h1308 e 25th ct (1926 Des Moines City Directory)
1927 Wetherall Wm R printer Peoples Popular Monthly h4152 e 32d (1927 Des Moines City Directory)
4152 E. 32nd St. was described as of 2013, when it was offered for $64,900, as a 2 bed, 1 full bath, 976 sq ft home built on a 0.58 sq ft lot in 1924.
1928 Wetherall Wm R printer Peoples Monthly Co h4152 e 32d (1928 Des Moines City Directory)
1928-01-11 Helen Anne Wetherall (Morrison), 2nd daughter, born in Des Moines.
1929 Wetherall Wm R printer h4152 e 32d (1929 Des Moines City Directory)
1930 Wetherall Wm R (Helen M) printer People Pop Monthly h4152 E 32d (1930 Des Moines City Directory)
1930 April 1930 census shows Wetherall William R as head of family living at 4152 East 32nd Street in Des Moines. He owns the home, valued at $4,500, and the family has a radio set. He was 39 at the time and "Age at first marriage" was 31. He was born in Iowa, his father in Iowa, and his mother in Pennsylvania. Family members included Nellie M, wife, age 31, age at first marriage 22, born in Iowa, father born in New Jersey, mother born in Ireland; Mary I [sic = Mary A], daughter, 7; Waren H [sic = Warren H], Son, 5; and Helen A, daughter, 2-2/12. William R is said to be a "Printer" working at a "Publishing Co". No" is written in the box under "Whether a veteran of U.S. military or naval forces / Yes or No".
Age of first marriage The ages when William R. and Nellie are said to have first married, and the ages of their children, suggest (1) they married each other in 1921 or 1922, and (2) this was the first marriage for both of them. Why didn't WRW and/or Nellie acknowledge that he had been 20 years old when first married? Did the stigma of his first marriage compel him/her/them to stretch the truth in what would be called a "social" or "white" lie?
Whether a veteran of U.S. military or naval forces / Yes or No Why, though, did WRW not disclose his status as a veteran of military service -- assuming the census takers asked and heard him say "No"? Did he not wish people -- the census takers, his children, perhaps even Nellie -- to know? This seems unlikely, yet there it is -- No, not Yes.
1931 Wetherall Wm R (Nellie) printer People Pop Monthly h4152 E 32d (1931 Des Moines City Directory)
1932 Wetherall Wm R (Nellie M) printer Register & Tribune Co h4152 E 32d (1932 Des Moines City Directory)
The People's Popular Monthly, which began publication in 1896, at one time boasted of having "the largest circulation of any home magazine west of the Mississippi-- Over 800,000 each month" (postcard). Aimed mainly at women, its early emphasis on current events shifted to household topics. Its articles and stories, which included some fiction, were vehicles for classified and mail-order advertisements, which kept its selling price low. It folded in 1931, two years into the Great Depression, thus forcing its employees, including William R. Wetherall, to find other work.
The Register & Tribune Company owned Des Moines two leading newspapers, The Des Moines Register, a morning paper, and The Des Moines Tribune, an evening paper, The Tribune ceased publication in 1982. Only the Register is still published today.
1932-1935 The WRW family moves to Audubon, possibly because the Register & Tribune job didn't last, or because it didn't pay enough to handle to mortgage on the Des Moines home.
1933/1934 Marjorie Jeanne Wetherall (Thomas), 3rd daughter born in either Des Moines or Audubon.
1935 1940 census shows that Nellie and the children were living in Audubon, Iowa as of 1 April 1935.
1935-1937 The WRW family moves from Audubon to Knoxville, after if not before WRW's death in 1936.
1936-07-04 William R. Wetherall dies at either Audubon or Knoxville, leaving Nellie with the four children to raise.
1938-01-14 Mrs. Nellie M. Wetherall applies to the War Department for an upright headstone for William Riley Wetherall to be sent to Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville. The copy of the application shows the following information.
1940 April 1940 census shows Wetherall, Nellie residing as head of household at 527 Robinson Street in Knoxville, Marion County, Iowa. She is renting the home for 20 dollars a month. Nellie, 41, widowed, a "Seamstress" who had worked in a "Sewing room" for 32 [52?] weeks the previous year and earned 475 dollars. The box for "doing public emergency work (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.) during week of 24-30 March" is marked "Yes". Living with her are Mary 17, Warren 15, Helen 12, Marjorie 6, and Garrison Emerson, Lodger, 73. The census notes that, as of 1 April 1935, Nellie and the four children were living in Audubon, Iowa. Garrison Emerson, however, was living at the same address, i.e., 527 Robinson Street. His occupation was described as "Old Age Asst." so perhaps he was receiving public assistance.
1942-03-15 On 15 March 1942 Mary Arleen Wetherall marries James Milfred Van Ryswyk, who was born on 8 November 1918 in Knoxville.
1943-05-27 On 27 May 1943, Nellie Wetherall remarries Carl Racine Riley Sailors, who was born in Derby, Iowa on 8 February 1885.
1945-06-01 On 1 June 1945, Carl Sailors dies at age 59 at his home in Knoxville. An obituary (of uncertain date and provenance) states that "On May 27, 1943, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Nellie Wetherall, who with the children, survive him." Surviving grandchildren include "James William Van Ryswyk of Knoxville". Among a number of surviving step-relatives were "four step-children, Mrs. Mary Van Ryswyk of Knoxville, Pfc. Warren Wetherall in Germany, Helen Anne and Marjorie Jean Wetherall at home".
WBW's memories of his father WRW and paternal grandfather WFW
My father WBW reported that his paternal grandfather, WFW, worked for The Knoxville Journal, a local newspaper, first as a sweeper, later as a collector. His son, William R. Wetherall, WBW's father, is said to have started working for the paper after graduating from the 8th grade. He became a compositor and did other work at the paper before working at print shops in various towns, including at Ames, Iowa and St. Maries, Idaho, before he settled in Des Moines and then Audubon, Iowa.
WBW recalled that WFW ran for the office of county recorder and barely missed it. Iowa was a stronghold of Republicanism, and his grandfather was an ardent Democrat. Bill said his father, too, was a Democrat and probably a socialist, as he supported Robert La Folette (1855-1925), the popular Wisconsin senator who ran for president in 1924 and captured 17% of the popular vote on progressive ticket opposed to corporatism.
Mary Wells' remarks
Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, a daughter-and-law of my late paternal aunt Mary Arleen (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells (1922-2016), reported to me the following remarks by Mary about her and my paternal grandfather (email, 28 August 2013, [bracketed remarks] mine).
William Riley [Wetherall] had dark auburn hair with brown eyes. He did [as you imagined] come home with ink on his hands which was extremely had to remove. He moved Nellie, Mary, Warren & Helen to Audubon [Iowa] in 1931. He loved the newspaper/typesetting work but had to leave the trade due to lead poisoning from the ink which resulted in heart problems. He did not pass away until after moving to a small acreage northwest of Knoxville where he began raising chickens. On July 4, 1936 after feeding the chickens he fell outside the back door of the house due to a massive heart attack. Nellie sent Mary, age 12, to the neighbors to call for the Doctor but to no avail as William was dead when he fell. Mary said it was a very hot & dry summer day. Mary remembers her dad struggling to walk home from work in Audubon and being out of breath when he did.
"Nellie" was WRW's 2nd wife, hence WBW's step-mother. Warren and Helen were Mary's brother and sister. They and Marjorie, a younger sister, were WBW's half-siblings.
I have not seen a death certificate and so cannot comment on the reported cause of death or contributory conditions.
Ida Mae (Baldwin) Wetherall (1890-1923)
William B. Wetherall said in 2010 that the Baldwins were from Kentucky but migrated to St. Maries, Idaho, and that Ida Mae had studied stenography in Spokane, Washington. He also said that some members of the family had lived in Nebraska. The 1910 census shows William Riley living in Ames, Iowa, not yet -- but very soon to be -- married. And city directories from 1908 to 1910 show that Ida Mae was attending business colleges in Spokane.
In 2010, WBW also said that by 1912 his parents had moved to St. Maries, and that Ida Mae was then placed in an asylum in Orofino, Idaho, where she would remain until her death in 1923. In 2011, however, he reported that she had been put in an asylum in Clarinda, Iowa, in late 1911, and was then transferred to the asylum in Orofino.
Most of what WBW reported to me, WBW, his son, turned out to be generally correct. He said he did not know how his parents had met, though in his box of treasured letters was one from his mother to an sister of his father, in Knoxville, Iowa, where it turned out Ida had met his father while going to school in the town while the Baldwins briefly lived there during their roughly 3-year migration from Kentucky to St. Maries via first Knoxville, second Lincoln, Nebraska, and then Spokane.
See Baldwin-Steele family page for photographs and Ida and stories about her as a member of the Baldwin family.
The N. Bascum Baldwin tombstone is surrounded by headstones of other family members. The front-left headstone is that of Ida Baldwin Wetherall, 1890-1923. The name reflects the maiden and married names of Ida Mae Baldwin, born in Kentucky, the youngest of 4 Baldwin daughters -- Sadie, Lydia, Meda, and Ida.
The Baldwins moved from Kentucky to Washington during the 1900s. They were living in Spokane in 1908 and 1909 at the time Ida Mae was studying stenography at local business colleges. Spokane city directories show her at Northwest Business College in 1908 and at Blair Business College in 1909. In 1909 she is living with her parents. In 1910 she, but not her parents, is still in Spokane. The 1910 census shows the Baldwins, but not Ida, in St. Maries, Idaho, and the 1911 St. Maries city directory also the family in St. Maries.
In 2010, WBW reported that the family had moved from Kentucky to St. Maries but that Ida had lived for a while in Washington and graduated from Blair Business College in Spokane. He added that she had won honors for calligraphy as a specialist in Palmer Method penmanship. His memory of such detail at times superceded his recollection of the order of events on a time line. He could not, of course, had known such details from personal observation, but must have heard stories later in life, probably from his Aunt Sadie.
How Ida Mae Baldwin and William Riley Wetherall met
My father WBW could not recall in 2010 where his parents, Ida Baldin and WRW, had met. I don't know if he had once known and forgotten, or if he never knew.
The problem of when and where they met nagged me until I discovered that Sadie (Baldwin) Williams, Ida's oldest sister, gave birth to her 3rd child, Faye (Williams) (Mathews) Rebenstorf, in Knoxville, Iowa on 4 October 1906, and to her 4th child, Claude Jennings Williams, in Lincoln, Nebraska on 28 November 1907. The 1900 census showed the Baldwins in Pond Creek, Jackson County, Kentucky. The 1910 census showed them in St. Maries, Kootenai County, Idaho. Other evidence supported the hypothesis that Knoxville, Lincoln, and Spokane had been stops on the family's westward migration, ending in St. Maries. And Sewald, in the middle of Nebraska, had to figure in the picture because that is where Ida's oldest sister settled, and where Ida and WRW married.
The clincher came after discovering a cache of letters my father had been given by his Baldwin and Wetherall aunts, later in his life, One of the letters was addressed to "Mrs. L.R. Masteller" in Knoxville, from "Ida Baldwin" in St. Maries. Ida addresses Mrs. L.R. Masteller as "Dear Friend Bertha" -- as that was the name of William R. Wetherall's younger sister. Bertha had married Masteller on 22 September 1909, 6 days before she turned 17.
Ida graduated on 22 May 1907 from the 8th grade of the University Place Public Schools, in University Place, which is now part of Lincoln, Nebraska.
On 15 January 1910, about half a year before she married William Riley Wetherall, Ida Mae Baldwin sent a letter to his sister Bertha (Wetherall) Masteller.
Ida Baldwin's 15 January 1910 letter to Bertha (Wetherall) Masteller
So the puzzle of where WRW met Ida Baldwin was solved. They met in Knoxville, Iowa, where WRW was born and raised, and where the Baldwin family spent a year or so on the first stop of their migration from Kentucky to St. Maries, Idaho. The second stop was Lincoln, Nebraska, where Lydia, while studying at a business college, met Charles Anstine, who was a railroad employee. Seward, between Knoxville Iowa and Idaho, became a Baldwin-Wetherall retreat.
Whereupon another mystery arises -- How did WBW end up with his mother's letter to Bertha? Bertha, who died in 1962, was at the 1958 Wetherall family reunion in Knoxville. A number of photographs in the Wetherall Family Collection are from her, and I suspect she gave them -- and the letter -- to my father at the time of the reunion, or possibly mailed them to him shortly afterward.
Ida and WRW married in Seward, Nebraska, on 1 June 1910.
Ida Mae committed to Clarinda Asylum
Not long after Ida gave birth to my father in Ames, Iowa, where WRW was working at a print shop, she was committed to the state hospital for people considered "insane".
According to an interview with WBW taped by Gregg Schiffner at the Wetherall home on 8 March 2011, Ida was first confined to a "sanitorium" -- or, as he added, an "insane asylum" as it was called in those days -- in Clarinda, Iowa. WBW said the confinement took place shortly after his birth, and that when 8 months old his father took him to St. Maries, Idaho, and moved her to an asylum at Orofino in Idaho.
However, in his 2010 reminisence with this writer, his son, he said that the family went to St. Maries when he was about 6 months old and that his mother was confined at Orofino when he was about 8 months old. He also dated pictures of himself with his parents as taken about the time he was 6 months old. WBW's memory of detail changed from day to day, and the fact that he would recall a place name like "Clarinda" and associate it with his mother suggests that the 2011 scenario is the truer version.
The 2011 scenario also means that the early photograph of WBW and his parents was taken just before Ida's first confinement. Presumably the object of their move to Idaho was for her to be closer to her parents, and to enlist the help of her parents in raising little Willie.
Ida Mae transferred to Orofino Asylum
Ida Mae was transferred to Orofino Asylum, on the outskirts of Orofino, Idaho when Bill was about 8 months old, according to all of his various accounts of his early life. In 2010, he said he thought she was admitted to the Orofino facility in late 1911 or early 1912.
WBW said in 2010 that his father had come to St. Maries to work in a print shop, and that his father had probably committed his mother, but I would guess that, after he brought her to Idaho from the asylum in Iowa, her parents also became involved in her care and the decision to commit her to the Orofino Asylum. Possibly her older sister, Sadie Williams, who appears have been working at the asylum in Medical Lake, Washington at the time WBW was born in Ames, Iowa, was also involved in the decision to commit her sister,
WBW's memories of his mother
Bill had only two memories of his mother. One was of seeing her sitting on a swing on the grounds of the asylum. Another was of himself walking ahead of her and Grandma Baldwin on the board walk between the asylum and the town of Orofino. He remembers hearing his mother call "Wait, Willie, I want to walk with you."
His expecting mother Ida Mae sent her sister Sadie a color postcard addressed "Mrs. Sadie Williams, / Medical Lake, Washington." and bearing a green One Cent Franklin stamp franked AMES, IOWA Mar 23 12-30P 1911. The message, in blue fountain pen, reads "Dear Sister: / All is well but expecting something everyday. Mother is here. Wish you were. Will write soon again. With love, from, Wm. & Ida."
In 2010, WBW said he might have been born in Des Moines rather than Ames, the above card, his birth certificate, and birth announcement card all point to Ames, in Story County, Iowa. about 30 miles north of Des Moines, the capital of Iowa, and 8 miles west of the small town of Nevada, the seat of Story County. It would be an easy 30-minute drive by car today from Ames to Des Moines, but in 1911 the going would have been a bit rougher.
The population of Ames in 1910 was around 5,000. That year's census shows William Riley Wetherall, still single, boarding in Ames while working at a job printing shop, presumably also in Ames. Where Ida Mae Baldwin was living at the time, and when and where she and William Riley met married, remain unknown.
Ida Mae appears in the 1920 census as a patient at the Idaho Insane Asylum in Orofino. At the time of her death in 1923, WBW was living with his paternal grandparents in Knoxville, Iowa. His fater WRW is living in Des Moines.
Bill's mother sent her parents an 8 x 20.4 centimeter sketch of their grandson. Above his head are the words "Forget me not". On the back are two messages: one, in blue-black fountain pen, reads "From Ida, To Papa & Mamma"; the other, in pencil, reads "I drew this to send to you when Willie was 6 months old. He's asleep on the couch. He went to sleep gnawing on a chicken bone."
Nellie (Van Houton) Wetherall (Sailors)
Nellie was in Des Moines in 1930, by then a 32-year-old mother of three. William Riley was still working at the People's Popular Monthly. He'd been working for the magazine for at least 9 years. She was a Des Moines girl and the story I heard in 2013 via Mary Sue Van Ryswyk from Nellie's and WRW's oldest child, Mary (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells, who was then 90, is that they met at the magazine, where she worked as a proofreader and he as a typesetter.
The 1920 census shows Nellie to be single and a file clerk at a magazine company. WRW is married and is a printer at a shop. I have not seen any documentation of their marriage, but given Mary's birth in October 1922, it would appear that they married around 1921. Ida Mae (Balwin) Wetherall, WRW's 1st wife, did not die until 1923. The 1920 census for the mental asylum at Orofino in Idaho lists her as a patient and states that she is single, meaning never married. I have seen no documentation of a divorce, but it would appear that, as late as 1920, WRW considered himself still married.
It is difficult to say when WRW became an employee of the People's Popular Monthly, but Des Moines city directories from 1921 through 1931 show him working at the magazine. It folded in 1931, and from 1932, the directories show him working at the Des Moines Register & Tribune (same company, two papers, one morning, one evening).
WBW, having graduated from high school in Des Moines in 1928, is living in St. Maries with a maternal aunt while going to college in Moscow. But he and his step-mother are in touch. In 1930, Nellile sends him a reference book to possibly help him in his studies.
Mary reported, as related to me by her daughter-in-law Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, the following recollections of her mother (email, 28 August 2013).
By all accounts, Nellie's 2nd marriage with Carl Sailors, his 3rd, was successful. For better or worse, it was short lived, as he died two years later.
The following obituary for Carl has been posted by Marion Obituaries (maintained by Allen Hibbard) on the IAGenWeb genealogy website.
William Bascom Wetherall (1911-2013)
See Wetherall-Hardman family page for biographical details and photographs of WBW.
Mary Arleen (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells
Mary was the first of William R. and Nellie Wetherall's four children. She married James Van Ryswyk and they had three sons. After Jim's death she married Jack Wells.
2.2 Wetherall-Van Ryswyk
Mary Arleen Wetherall and James Milfred van Ryswyk
I met Mary and Jim Van Ryswyk, and their three boys, and most other adult members of the immediate (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation) family of William Riley Wetherall, in 1958 at a family reunion in Knoxville and nearby Carlisle in Iowa. I don't recall being present on occasions when Mary or other members of the family visited my parents in Grass Valley (see below).
My only "contact" with my father's step-mother and half-siblings, after meeting his step-mother and two of his half-sisters in 1958, was through the photographs I examined with him two or three years before he passed away in 2013. I had organized the photographs several years before I was able to get him to sit down and go through them with me.
After my father died, I began to reach out and discover who among his relatives might still be alive, in order to send them news of his death. Using the little family history data I had compiled in the process of going through the photographs, I was already aware that most people had already died. He was the oldest of William Riley Wetherall's 5 children, and the others were from 11 to 22 years younger, and so might still be alive.
Using the Internet, I found that his three youngest half-siblings had already gone. But I found an article from a local Iowa newspaper, dated in the fall of 2012, which reported that Mary had celebrated her 90th birthday -- and it gave the address of the convalescent home in which she was living. I immediately wrote, and quickly received a reply from her daughter-in-law, Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, the wife of Mary's 2nd son, Robert, with whom she was taking care of Mary -- who was still alive, and all things considered not doing too badly.
In the course of some very intense email correspondence, beginning that summer of 2013, I nagged Mary Sue to nag Mary for as many stories about her life as she felt willing to share. Mary Sue was even more enthusiastic about family history than I was. She was already a veteran, and as I write this, she continues to flesh her own very extensive and elaborate family tree.
As thankful as I was that my father's closest sister was still alive, I was also a self-confessed "predator" who viewed her as a surrogate for a father who was no longer able to answer questions, even when pushed. And while Mary Sue was every bit as eager as I was to know as much as possible, she was also in the position of having to take care of Mary and make her life as peaceful as possible.
Mary (like my father) turned out to be a bit grumpy when pressed to answer questions about things that seemed to her (him) to be trivial, or which touch on sensitive subjects. I could practically hear her say to Mary Sue, "What does he want to know that for!", in the same tone of voice with which my father would say, "Why are you interested in that!"
If pressed to explain myself, I would simply repeat Mallory's retort when asked "Why do you want to climb Everest?" -- "Because it's there." Facts are what make family histories worth reading. The skeletons in all the closest are often more interesting than the carnated bones that keep them shut away. Studio-shot, blemish free portraits are nice, but unpainted faces with blackheads, pimples, warts, pock marks and scars, and wrinkles, also deserve to be seen -- as gossip of scandals needs to be heard along with stories of adventure and romance, joy and grief, tests of faith, promises kept and broken, dreams fulfilled and abandoned.
Mary Sue Van Ryswyk conveyed to me the following summation of her mother-in-law's life, partly paraphrasing what Mary told her, partly relating her own understanding of Mary's life (email, 2014).
Dutch roots of Iowa Van Ryswyks
The Wetherall-Van Ryswyk clan of Iowa traces its Dutch side back some 15 generations to a late-14th and early 15th-century progenitor in The Netherlands -- Glimmer Jansz. van Ryswyk [Rijswijck], born circa 1370/1380, died circa 1440/1441. A 13th generation descendant of the clan, Dirk van Ryswyk, born in Holland on 28 July 1839, migrated to the United States, settled in Pella, Iowa, and died there on 16 July 1921.
James Milfred Van Ryswyk was a member of the clan's 15th generation counting its progenitor, or its 14th descendant generation. He was also a member of the clan's 3rd American generation, meaning its 2nd American-born generation. Jim was actually a "2.5" generation descendant because, while his father was second generation (born to immigrant Dutch parents), his mother was a Dutch immigrant. Jim was born in Greenfield, Iowa on 8 November 1918, and married Mary Arleen Wetherall of Knoxville, Iowa on 15 March 1942. Their three boys are part of the clan's 16th generation and the 4th generation of the branch that migrated to the United States in the 19th century. He died in Carlisle on 13 July 1979.
Mary's obituary was published in shorter and longer versions. The shorter Legacy.com version is attributed to the 13 September 2016 edition of the Des Moines Register. The longer version, shown as a clipping, appeared on page 2 of the Thursday, 22 September 2016 edition of The Carlisle Times in Marion County, Iowa.
The photograph that accompanied the obituaries is a crop from a portrait provided by Mary's son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, of Carlisle, who wrote the obituary. I have paragraphed the shorter on-line version according to the paragraphing of the longer print version and transcribed the omission in blue. The (parenthetic remarks) are as received. The [bracketed remarks] are mine.
Family histories based on patrilineal surnames are deceiving. All the fuss about "Wetherall" this and "Van Ryswyk" that -- the focus on family or "clan" names -- glosses over the fact that neither "line" could exist without tens of thousands of other families with their own (usually but not always different) surnames. The surnames "Wetherall" and "Van Ryswyk" in, say, their 15th generation -- 14 generations down the line from their respective progenitor families -- each stands on the shoulders of over 32,000 families. Not necessarily that many surnames, but that many families -- each. And when people migrate, crossing borders, they generally mix. So the whole idea of beating the drums of a single name, and taking "ethnic" pride in the name itself, is the epitome of what I call "deceptive identity".
The outreach of humanity in an increasingly "borderless" age that remains full of territorial conflict, and the displacement and destruction of families that get caught in the vices of war, give some hope for the future of a civilization still learning to be civil. I'm speaking of adoption.
And the mixing and blending transcends blood when families adopt. Patrilineal succession is practically universal. Patriarchy and primogeniture have been losing their grip on families, but people in most countries today continue to idealize father-son biological ties in successive family generations. Countries differ somewhat in how they view adoption.
In Japan, you find the usual concern with biological lineage, within each family. But ultimately, families in Japan are defined by "continuity" rather than "blood". The continuation of a family name is more important than the continuation of a genetic line.
Today, families are very small. The fertility rate has been hovering around 1.5 child per child-bearing woman for over two decades. In the past, however, families had many children, and it was common for childless families, or families without a male heir, to adopt children to carry on the family name.
A family of girls might adopt a man who agreed to be the husband of one and succeed her father as head of household. When couples marry in Japan, one spouse has to adopt the other's family name in the process of becoming a member of the other spouse's household. Each formally defined household -- not a physical house but a corporate or legal house -- had a single name that was shared by everyone in the household. While households today are no longer defined as corporate entities, couples and their offspring continue to define a unit when it comes to inheritance. And so long as members of a household continue to be registered together, as a family, they must share the name family name household.
Women, when marrying, have generally adopted their husband's name and identified with his family. But husbands, in the past and still today, are free to adopt their wife's family name. And if a daughter becomes the keeper of her family keys so to speak -- the nominal "head of household" -- then her husband is likely to adopt her name and share the burden of succession -- which may involve the running of a farm or a vegetable shop, or a kiln, or the curating of manuscripts and other materials associated with an historically famous family.
In some cases, someone totally unrelated to the family by blood may be adopted as heir to the head of the family, and may marry someone unrelated to the family, thus ending its bloodline. But the ever-important family name will continue. And they will continue to pay respect to the ancestors, and carry on as though the family's line of descent is unbroken.
My children go by the name Sugiyama from their mother. People usually take granted that, within a name-defined family, there is genetic continuity, whether through a male or female biological heir. My children's mother was the daughter of a "bunke" (branch family), and the "honke" (main family) kept most of the family's older records, including older family registers. The registers show all vital events -- birth, death, alliances of marriage and adoption, and dissolutions of such alliances.
At one point in the not so distant the past, the main family of my children's Sugiyama family found itself in a position of having no successor heir -- meaning no child ready, willing, and able to succeed to the head of the family. So the family adopted a man from one family, and a woman who became his wife from another. They were all of the same social class, however -- "shizoku" or gentrified members of former samurai families. And the adopted couple assumed the responsibility of managing Sugiyama family assets and caring for Sugiyama family graves, in which their own remains were eventually consecrated.
In one of her first letters to me, by way of introducing her own family with my 1st cousin Robert Van Ryswyk, his wife, Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, wrote this about their children (email, 9 August 2013, [bracketed] amendments mine).
"Same blood" marriages have also been relatively common in Japan, where attitudes toward "incest" are more flexible than in some other countries. In the United States as well, marriages between 1st, 2nd, or 3rd cousins -- straight up or once removed -- have been more common than many people I have met -- under the spell of myths about the pervasiveness of "incest taboos" 00 seem to think.
My own maternal-paternal-maternal (great-great) grandparents were straight-up 1st cousins. And there were 2nd and 3rd cousin marriages in contemporary and later branches of these families.
See Cousin marriages on the "Hardman-Gallaher" family page.
Warren H. Wetherall (1925-1999)
Warren Henry Wetherall was the 2nd born of the Wetherall-Van Houton union. He settled in California and appears to have visited my father, his older half-brother, in Grass Valley, along with Nellie, who was living with Warren. And I believe my father visited them once while in southern California to deal with some legal matter.
Warren Henry Wetherall
A memorial service for Warren H. Wetherall, 74, of Banning, California who died November 3, at San Gorganio Memorial Hospital, was held November 11, 1999. Interment will be at Riverside National Cemetery in California.
He was born January 2, 1925 in Des Moines and graduated from Knoxville High School in 1943.
Warren served in the U.S. Army during WW II. He retired from the U.S. Postal Office in Banning.
He is survived by one daughter Kathleen Wetherall, one brother William B. Wetherall of Grass Valley, Conn [sic = California], three sisters, Marge Thomas of Banning, Helen Morrison of Waterloo and Mary Wells of Carlisle.
Knoxville Journal-Express December 1, 1999
Mary Sue Van Ryswyk had this to say about Warren, reflecting both from Mary's testimony and her own observations as a member of the family (email 2013).
Warren was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on 2 January 1925 and died on 3 November 1999 in Banning, California. He was buried on 15 November 1999 at the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California, as a World War II veteran.
Warren was 18 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Iowa on 21 May 1943. He began his military service on 28 May 1943, trained at Camp Dodge in Iowa, and was discharged as a PFC on 6 March 1946. On 5 May 1949, he applied to the State of Iowa, and apparently received, a monetary bonus of $357.50 a few hundred dollars 3-years of military service. The application states that he began a tour of foreign service on 23 November 1944 and returned on 1 March 1946, which was 5 days before his release from active duty.
Warren's foreign service was in Germany, according to a June 1945 obituary for Carl Sailors, Nellie's 2nd husband. His surviving relatives included "four step-children, Mrs. Mary Van Ryswyk of Knoxville, Pfc. Warren Wetherall in Germany, Helen Anne and Marjorie Jean Wetherall at home".
In her reply to my first letter to Mary Wells, Mary Sue Van Ryswyk said this in response to my query about Kathy Wetherall (email 8 August 2013).
As to Kathy Wetherall, we have no knowledge of her location. She lost her house and car and virtually began living on the streets and in shelters. We have no address, email or phone number for her. She did call Mary awhile back asking for money or help with a place to live but was using a pre-paid cell phone. It bothers Mary that she is unable to help Kathy but at 90 years of age is unable to do so either physically or financially.
The good new is that Kathy seems to be doing well enough to know what's going on in the world and within her own family. She posted the following remarks to an obituary about Mary that had been posted on Legacy.com on 18 September 2016, over a month after I had begun corresponding with Mary Sue Van Ryswyk.
Sorry to read about Aunt Mary, she will be missed by me. Having memories of the past, like times on the farm and the last time I saw her will always be remembered. Love to all of you, and God Bless.
Kathy -- If you see this, please contact me! -- Billy
Amateur radio buffs
Apparently Warren was an amateur radio enthusiast, and Kathy became one after his death. A list of FCC Registered Amateur Radio Licenses in Banning, California included the following information when viewed in August 2013.
Call Sign: KD6JDN
Call Sign: KF6DLD, Licensee ID: L01113159
The same link, viewed in January 2018, showed the same information for Warren but the following updated information for Kathy.
Call Sign: KF6DLD, Licensee ID: L01113159,
From this it appears that
I had asked my father about Kathy because I was aware that she had done a lot of work on our common family history. I had seen the packet of documents she sent my father with a cover letter, and had seen another letter in which she mentioned my name, because my father had told her that I, too, I was working on our family history. So I told him I would write her, but he advised me not to get involved. At the time I knew nothing about the situation that Mary Sue later reported to me. But I knew that my father not have given me such advise without reason. He did not elaborate but said only that "she has problems". And I surmised they were problems that he felt he himself could not, or should not, help her with.
In the late 1990s, I organized family photos for the second and final time, while going through them with my mother, who was always more than willing to talk about her family. This was between 1998 and 2000 or so, a decade before I finally got my father to sit down to go through his family photos and some of the detritus he pulled out of his closet. In any event, by the turn of the century, I was aware that Kathy Wetherall, my 1st cousin, who I have never met, had done a lot of work on the history of the 4 generations of the Wetherall in Knoxville, Iowa.
Under a cover letter dated 16 December 1997, in a Priority Mail wrapper, Kathy had sent my parents a very thick sheaf of family history documents. They consisted many pages of photographs, machine copies of death certificates, computer printouts of genealogical data, and copies of obituaries, and copies of biographical information on family members and related topics made from several publications.
Everything was immaculately organized and labeled, using yellow highlighting and post-its with information she had written with a ballpoint pen -- in a neat and confident hand. It is the work of a disciplined reseacher.
She included some family group sheets that she hoped my parents would fill out, to help her complete my father's branch of the extended family that she had illuminated with her research. She had done a lot of work, including leg work that took her to county offices in Iowa to obtain vital documents. And her work would form the nucleus of my own work on the Wetherall side of my family, which has also benefited from the work done by Mary Sue Van Ryswyk, and other near and distant relatives I have crossed paths with Ancestry.com and elsewhere on the Internet.
Bill Farley (see "Wetherall-Beaman" family page for details) shared with me many images of Beaman and related family photographs made by his Beaman father-in-law, some of them of photographs owned by Elaine Hunter, who he described as follows (email 29 September 2013)
There is also a picture with an Elaine Hunter with her parents. The picture mentions that she has originals. I'm not sure where she falls in the Beaman tree.
Kathy Wetherall, in the cover letter that accompanied the family history materials she shared with my parents in 1997, also credited Elaine Hunter and described her links with the family like this (letter dated 16 December 1997, see scan above).
Enclosed are copies of some of the papers I have on the family. Part of the information and pictures come from a cousin by the name of Elaine Hunter. She's the granddaughter of Samuel Z. Beaman, he was a younger brother of Laura Belle Wetherall.
Materials Kathy attributed to Elaine Hunter include some of the photographs and obituaries.
Laura Belle (Beaman) Wetherall (1866-1941) and Samuel Zacharias Beaman (1875-1944) were the children of George Washington Beaman (2838-1922) and Sidney (Shoemaker) Beaman (1839-1916). Their children were 1st cousins, and their children's children -- including William Bascom Wetherall (my father) and Warren Wetherall (Kathy's father) on Laura's side, and Elaine Hunter on Samuel's side -- were 2nd cousins.
Ergo -- to Kathy and I, and to other grandchildren of William Riley Wetherall, who was a 1st cousin of Elaine Hunter's father (a child of Samuel Z. Beaman) -- Elaine Hunter is a 2nd cousin once removed.
In other words, Elaine is "a" cousin.
Elaine Hunter's Beaman roots
The 1940 census shows Elaine as the 4-year-old daughter of Bernard and Mae Hannebuth, living in Inman township in Otter Tail County, Minnesota. Her parents were living at the same place in 1935. Several members of the Beaman-Shoemaker family settled in and around Otter Tail, and local cemeteries are full of Beaman and extended family graves.
Mae Hannebuth was born Mae Elsie Beaman in Deer Creek, in Otter Tail County, on 14 August 1909, a daughter of Samuel Zacharias Beaman and Hannah Elizabeth (Walter) Beaman (1880-1955). She died on 31 May 2010 in Wadena, which is also in Otter Tail County, and is buried in Inman Cemetery in Henning in Otter Tail County.
Elaine Ellen Hannebuth was born on 2 June 1935 and married Harry Earl Hunter. The Hunters settled in La Crescent, most of which is in Houston County in Minnesota.
Mae Elsie Beaman was a neice of Laura (Beaman) Wetherall, hence a 1st cousin of William Riley Wetherall, and a 2nd cousin of his children, thus once removed from their children, such as myself and my siblings, and our 1st cousins -- the Ryswyk boys, Kathy Wetherall, and Rae Jeanne (Morrison).
Helen Anne (Wetherall) Morrison (1928-2002)
Mary Sue Van Ryswyk related the following account of Mary's relationship with her 1st younger sister Helen (email 2013, [bracketed] amendments mine).
Helen was a hellion and caused Mary much grief throughout her life. While single she had a son out of wedlock and named him William Henry Wetherall (later to be named Morrison). She married Loren Morrison and while he was overseas in the [Second World] war she spent every dime he sent her that was intended to help support her as well as save for a down payment on a house. Helen lived with Nellie while Loren was away. Loren adopted Billy and together they had a daughter Rae Jeanne. They never told Billy that Loren was not his biological father until he was an adult and it was devastating to him. He became a mercenary soldier and died December 19, 1997 at the age of 51 years in Highlands, Harare Zimbabwe. He died of sudden coronary artery disease was cremated and his ashes disposed of in Zimbabwe. Helen had to pay $440.00 for his cremation & disposal.
Life's obstacle course
I met Helen, Loren, Billy, and Rae Jeanne at the 1958 Iowa reunion (see above). Those, of course, were the "happier" days for everyone, in the middle of their childhoods and marriages.
Stories like Mary's, about her siblings, remind me of how "normal" every family is in the variety of difficulties that parents and siblings contend with as they endeavor to accept the bonds of blood and adoption that fate has thrust upon them. In the end, all of us have our complaints. And all of us give -- and receive -- qualified praise from those who remain close to us, even as we drift apart.
William B. Wetherall's contingent of the extended Wetherall family that includes me was no different in this respect from the contingents of his half-siblings -- Mary, Warren, Helen, and Marge. Somehow, all of the Wetherall-Baldwin Van Houton siblings managed to navigate their grant of life's obstacle course.
In the end, all of us run the course of life our own way. That any of us are able to run it at all, without stumbling too many times, is perhaps the most we can hope for.
Marjorie Jeanne (Wetherall) Thomas (1933-2001)
Marjorie Wetherall is the most invisible of the Wetherall-Baldwin-Van Houton siblings in the history of the family that has come to my attention. She was born in 1933, hence was 5 years younger than Helen, 8 years younger than Henry, 11 years younger than Mary, and 22 years younger than my father, who moved away the year Helen was born, hence had no recollection of Marjorie other than the scant information he had heard from others, and all he could recall was that she had married a man named Virgil Thomas.
Marjorie was also born practically 3 years to the day before her father died, and so she may have had no clear recollections of him other than those created through stories she later heard about him, and through photographs.
Like her older Wetherall-Van Houton siblings, she grew up with dogs, and is shown to the right, when 2 or 3 years old, holding the lease of a dog more interested in the camera than she was.
Mary Sue Van Ryswyk related the following account of Mary's 2nd younger sister and youngest sibling (email 2013).
Marjorie married Virgil Thomas and they had no children. They also lived in Banning CA and both were content with having very little and living the "lazy" life. I believe Marjorie's was only married to Virgil -- must ask Mary about that. Marjorie died of pancreatic cancer.
As of now, this is all I am able to report about Marjorie.
Grass Valley reunions of Wetherall-Van Houton and Wetherall-Baldwin siblings
Chronology of Wetherall-Baldwin-Van Houton family through censuses
Wetherall-Baldwin-Van Houton graves
The graves of the Wetherall-Baldin and Wetherall-Van Houton familes are widely scattered.
Ida Mae (Baldwin) Wetherall
Ida Mae (Baldwin) Wetherall (1890-1923) is buried with her parents and a sister and brother-in-law in the Baldwin-Steele family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in St. Maries, Idaho. See Baldwin-Steele graves for details.
William Riley Wetherall
William Riley (1890-1936) is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Knoxville, Iowa. Photographs of his grave are forthcoming.
William Bascom Wetherall
William Bascom Wetherall (1911-2013), like his wife L. Orene (Hardman) Wetherall (1913-2003), was cremated. See Wetherall-Hardman and related families for details.
Nellie (Van Houton) (Wetherall) Sailors
William B. Wetherall's step-mother, Nellie Marie Sailors (1898-1966), half-brother Warren Wetherall (1925-1999), and youngest half-sister Marjorie Jean Thomas (1933-2001), all died in Banning, California. Nellie and Warren, are said to have been buried in Riverside, California, and perhaps Marge is also buried there. His 2nd half-sister, Helen Anne Morrison, died in Luck, Polk County, Wisconsin, and possibly she is buried there.
Van Ryswyk graves in Pleasantville Cemetery
Mary Arleen (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells, a great-great granddaughter of Simon and Magdalina Shoemaker, and her 1st husband, James Ryswyk, share a headstone at Pleasantville Cemetery.
Mary Arleen (Wetherall) (Van Ryswyk) Wells (1922-2016)
Mary's father was William Riley Wetherall, a son of Laura Belle Beaman, a daughter of Sydney Shoemaker, a daughter of Simon and Magdalina.
When James died in 1979, Mary erected a tombstone on which she had her own name and year of birth engraved, expecting to be buried with him. She later remarried, and when she passed away in 2016, her family replaced the first headstone with a new one, bearing the following inscription referring to them as simply the parents of their three sons.
Mary's 2nd husband, G.D. Jack Wells (1911-1990), is buried with his 1st wife, Irene R. Wells (1914-1982), Avon Cemetery in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.