Friday, June 7, 2013

John, The Lumber Jack and Helen, The Homemaker

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Part of a series of Family History and stories
John in the center, with his twin Fannie.

John was married to a woman I don't know her name,
but they had three children, Walter, Mabel, and John.
Mrs took ill and died with baby John being very young, perhaps under a year.

So, John met and married Ida Helen. (a family name)
Back row center
about 19

They, in turn had four children,
Helen Bernice, Harry, Ruth, and baby Fannie (who died in infancy)

Times in the early 1900's were tough.
John was a lumberjack, doing a job to feed his growing family.

I think this is baby Fannie with John and Helen

Cutting logs with cross-cut saws (huge things that had a man on each end), loading these
same logs onto horse drawn wagons and getting them out to rivers, was a hard job.
He worked in the California redwoods.
Somewhere I have a picture of the crew standing in front of a newly cut stump and tree.
The tree looks to be 40 feet higher than the men... redwoods.

Helen was ever helpful to keep the family fed.

in the desert

She cooked for the logging crew, canned meats and vegetables,
ran a sorta rooming house and moved to wherever there was work.
Sometimes it was camping for months on end.
She is highly regarded in my mind.

John and Helen did not always work with logging crews.
They were migratory fruit pickers.
That means that they traveled to where the fruit needed picking and worked long hours.
John, the son from the first marriage was sickly with some kind of lung complaint (as they used to say).
Winters the family would go to the desert for relief for John.
There, John the father started a lifelong hobby/business of rock collecting.
In later years he owned a "Rock Shop" in Oregon where he sold hand made items
such as jewelry, rings, pendants, and unique coffee tables with "slices" of
unusual rocks and minerals embedded in a clear resin.

My mother was Ruth, and she named me - Helen.

P.S. I have a grand daughter to carry on the name, too.


  1. Maybe we need to visit the dessert for the "lung complaint" in our family! ;-)

    Wasn't Ruth also a family name? I thought that Grandma was named after her grandma. And what a blessing for us to be able to pass on the name Helen to our sweet daughter.

  2. Anna was a another family name. I don't remember another Ruth. I am the one to be blessed to have a namesake.


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