Saturday, September 13, 2014

52 Ancestors - #37 Edwin Monroe Tucker - A Little Brother Lost

When Franklin Harrison Usher and Georgianna Katherine Ragan Tucker ran off together on January 21, 1897 they took Annie and William Tucker’s baby Edwin Monroe Tucker with them (he was 8 ½ months old – born May 7, 1896) and left Henry (7 years old) and Alvie (5 years old) home alone. They left Silver Creek, Lewis County, Washington and headed to Del Norte County, California where they later married. William Tucker was awarded custody of all three boys but Annie never brought Edwin back. William Tucker did not see Edwin again until he had grown up.

In 1900 Frank and Annie Usher were living at Columbia City, Columbia, Oregon with one year old Sidney and four year old Edwin. Three sisters were also born but one died at six months, one at two and one at age three. Their fifth child and fourth daughter Clara Ella Usher was born on December 1, 1907 at Houlton, on the Yankton Road, Columbia, Oregon. Houlton is now part of St. Helens, Oregon. In April 1910 they are living on their own farm in Columbia County, Oregon. Ed is not listed with the Usher’s on the 1910 Census. Ed’s youngest brother George LeRoy Usher was born on August 4, 1910. Ed was raised as an Usher with the Usher name. Edwin did not find out he wasn’t an Usher until he was almost grown up and was very upset about it.

Ed Tucker on the left

On June 5, 1917, Ed was 21 years old and living back in Lewis County. He was working for the Onalaska Lumber Company in Onalaska, Washington as a logger. On his draft registration card he is listed as tall with a stout build, blue eyes, and light brown hair. He registered in Salkum (near Silver Creek), Lewis County, Washington. 

 Ed Tucker

Ed entered the service on March 2, 1918 and was part of 4 Company Casual Detachment of ASSC (Air Section, Signal Corps) until March 19, 19018.  He then went to the Headquarters Detachment (Stillwater, King County, Washington) 416 Aero Squadron Construction 1 BAP (Bureau of Aircraft Production which was part of the Spruce Production Division) until July 16, 1918 when it became Detachment 33 Spruce Squadron. While in the Spruce Division, Ed worked at getting out Spruce tree logs to be made into airplanes. It is very tough wood. According to Finn J.D. John of Oregon State University, “at least one out of three Allied fighter planes built during 1918 were made primarily with Oregon spruce. The wood is extremely rigid and lightweight. Furthermore, as it turned out, it wouldn’t shatter when hit with a rifle bullet. Early plane builders had discovered that old-growth spruce especially Sitka spruce was the best wood to use. Germany had access to Norway spruce and the Allies had massive stands of Sitka spruce on the Central Oregon Coast.” The second largest stand of Sitka spruce was located in Clallam County, Washington with other stands located throughout Washington, California, and Alaska.

In September 1918 the 33rd Spruce Detachment moved to Everett, Washington. On September 24, 1918, Anna Usher wrote Ed’s brother Alva a letter while he was stationed at Aviation Camp 2, 866 Aero Squadron at Garden City, Long Island, New York. Anna asks her son, “Did Edwin send you a picture of his sweetheart. She looks to be a dandy fine girl. They tell me she is a good Christian and that will help Edie to be a better boy as there is a lot in the company one keeps.”


 Ed was with the 33rd Spruce Detachment in Everett, Washington until October 1, 1918. He was made a Corporal on November 13, 1918 and was discharged on December 20, 1918. The 33rd Spruce Squadron had 11 officers and 206 enlisted men.  They were part of the Puget Sound area which had a total of 35 Spruce Squadrons, 140 officers and 4,736 enlisted men. There were also 27 Spruce Squadrons in Grays Harbor County with 173 officers and 5,251 enlisted men.  Oregon had 55 Spruce Squadrons with 193 officers and 7,388 enlisted men (a thank you to Bob Swanson for the statistics on the Spruce Squadrons.)      

Verna and Ed

In Spokane, Washington on the 3rd of November, 1921 Edwin M. Tucker and Violet G. Capiske both of Deer Park, Washington were married by Reverend Father Leo Simon. Ed was 25 years old and Verna, as she was called, was 24.

On November 20, 1921 Ed wrote his brother Alvie – “Dear Bro Alva –Will try to drop you a few lines to see if you are still on the face of the map. Today is Sunday and there is snow on the ground and twelve below. Last night Verna and I were out to a card party and while going I thought I’d freeze before we ever got there. Still plugging away at the Deer Park Lumber Company; firing on the night shift. Things seem to begin though to look better here although wage two forty low to three bucks but living doesn’t seem to reduce any. Our grocery bill is twenty five to thirty dollars a month just two of us – paying fifteen for a house.”

Verna and Ed 1924

At some point Ed and Verna move to 5704 84th SE, Portland, Oregon. They appeared in the 1924 City Directory where he is listed as a mechanic. Ed’s brother Alva died on May 27, 1927 when the tugboat he was on sunk during a storm. Alvie was just 35 years old. Six months later Ed’s eldest brother William Henry Tucker died November 30, 1927 of appendicitis during surgery in Seattle, Washington. Henry was 38 years old.

In the 1930 US Census taken on April 11, 1930, Ed’s occupation is listed as Hoisting Engineer in General Construction. Verna’s occupation is listed as a presser for a steam laundry. They are both unemployed. According to the 1930 Portland City Directory, they are living at 630 Brooklyn and he had found work as a labor foreman. Their only child Edwin Monroe Tucker Jr. was born on July 6, 1932.

Ed’s father William John Tucker died on March 1, 1933. His father’s obituary did not mention him. His half sister Calla Lilly Tucker was the only other child left.

Ed and Verna are still in Portland in 1935. In the 1937 Portland City Directory they are living at 1624 SE Brooklyn, Portland, Oregon.  He was listed as an engineer.

 1937 Verna and Ed

In the 1940 US Census the family is listed as having lived in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon on April 1, 1940.  Edwin does not have a job and is seeking work having been unemployed for eight weeks. He lists himself as an Engineer in a sugar refinery. He had worked for 26 weeks and made $400. At the time of the census on April 5, 1940 the family is actually living in Nyssa, Malheur County, Oregon. Nyssa is located on the Snake River on the Idaho border. The Amalgamated Sugar Company (White Satin brand) was the principal employer in Nyssa. In 1942, during World War II, Japanese Americans who had been removed from their West Coast homes worked in a farm labor camp outside Nyssa.
Ed and Verna

In the Fourth Draft Registration (old man’s registration) of World War II held on April 27, 1942 Edwin lists himself as 46 years old – he is now living in Pendleton, Umatilla County, Oregon and working for the Pendleton Police Department.

In the 1946 Pendleton City Directory, Verna and Ed are living at 100 SE 16th. Ed is listed as an engineer with Henry George and Sons, a construction company. In the 1948 Directory he is listed as a carpenter.

Verna died July 19, 1949 of cancer in Pendleton, Umatilla County, Oregon and is buried in the Catholic Section of Olney Cemetery.

On October 8, 1949 at Bothell, King County, Washington Edwin M. Tucker of County of Umatilla, Oregon married Marie S. Loy of the city of Petersburg, Alaska. Ed and Marie had known each other years before. They had fallen in love when they were very young and wanted to get married, but their parents objected so they broke up and each eventually married someone else. After Ed’s wife Verna died, Ed wrote Marie’s sister to check on Marie and to ask if Marie was still married and if she was married not to say anything to her. Marie was available and they got together and decided to get married. They lived in Seattle for some time and also in Pendleton, Oregon.

Marie and Ed
February 1950

March 12, 1977 – day after sister Calla’s 78th birthday
Calla, Marie, and Ed

My mother said that “Uncle Ed was great with us kids, always kidding us – he had such a beautiful smile.” My Uncle Arnold said, “Uncle Ed was another super guy, I was around him quite a lot. His first wife was Verna, a very lovely, soft-spoken woman. Ed’s second wife was Marie, a very good woman who was very good to Uncle Ed. She was killed in a car accident while out on an errand for them.”

Marie died on November 8, 1977 when the car she was driving collided with a second vehicle in an intersection about two miles east of Everett, Washington. On May 6, 1979 Edwin died in while in a nursing home in Seattle – he would have turned 83 years old the next day.  He and Marie are both buried in Seattle.

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