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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Memorial Bridge and other recollections from the past . . .

I was not around when the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge was new some 90 years ago -- but I do drive over it almost every week. It serves as the south eastern entry to the city, the route we take when we are not in a hurry and just want to enjoy the scenery. The last few years there has been much discussion over saving the bridge or replacing it with a new structure -- there were arguments for both. The decision has been made to keep the bridge and bring it up to safety standards. I took this picture this week and when I arrived home I saw the local newspaper article stating that the bridge has been included on the National Registry of Historic Sites:

When I snapped the photo there was a complete family of ducks heading downstream -- the weather this week has been really spring/summer like and the water was moving just fast enough to keep the family together. I wonder where that family will wind up . . .

I wonder too where the families in the tree will wind up. The HILES family like many families in this country started on the East Coast and have migrated across the land. There are several of my branch here in the environs of Northern California -- we each took different paths to get here.

I am not sure why -- but for some reason many examples of  "memories from my youth" have been triggered lately -- I think Springtime generates those kinds of things. My Grandfather Dayton Bumgardner, whom I have talked about many times in these posts, owned and operated the Farnum Dental Laboratory in Chicago. As a treat we as kids would get to visit him there occasionally. One thing I always have remembered is that he had a sweet tooth, and in the top drawer of his desk he would open it and there would be a few of his favorite candy bars -- one of which became a favorite of mine and one that I guess is not being produced anymore or I would have found it by now -- I have even checked with Powell's without success:

I can still "taste" the marshmellowy texture and the peanuts covered in chocolate and remember my Grandfather enjoying sharing those candy bars.

Thinking back to my other Grandfather -- Lloyd Hampton Hiles Sr., while I don't remember any candy -- I do remember something just as "sweet" in my memory. For awhile he lived across the street from Wrigley Field in Chicago and once while staying there with them -- they took me to a performance of a favorite TV personality of mine -- The Cisco Kid -- Duncan Renaldo and of course Pancho his sidekick. They were performing in a rodeo held at Wrigley -- it must have been in the early 1950s -- and I sure do remember the great fun of that day:

As long as I am remembering events and gifts,  the first movie that I can recall seeing was one that I was taken to by my Uncle Stewart -- the movie -- Fort Apache with John Wayne -- I believe that it was in 3D too!

And lastly -- a favorite holiday gift that I still recall -- a Gilbert Chemistry Set received also from Uncle Stew:

So-- there you have it -- the 90 year old bridge launched me into a fond look back . . . go figure.

And now a look forward -- Slider Saturday Night! 

Be back with you in a few . . .

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Places from the Heart of the tree . . .

We live in this town -- Healdsburg -- which is about 85 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. In this picture off in the distance is the Sutro Tower a few blocks from where my wife and I lived before retiring here. We don't get back across the bridge very often since 1999:

It all started though for me in the Midwest -- Chicago and the Chicago Suburbs to be specific. My parents having married in the early 30s made the move from the big city to LaGrange in the mid 40s. My father's employer was General Motors and they had a large plant facility in LaGrange. Post WWII homes sprung up almost in walking distance from the plant. Many of our neighbors were employed at Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. Our first house was entitled "The Little House" as can be seen as a small brick home that sold for about $6000:

This picture was taken in 2004 when my wife and I made our trip there. The house and the neighborhood have maintained a nice quality. My father had completed the upstairs and the full basement and had a high producing garden in the back yard. It was on the front door of this home that held the "quarantine" sign for the polio outbreak in 1949 that struck our family -- along with a few neighbor kids as well. We lived there, a family of six (plus we had two foster sisters) up until I was in the 2nd grade.

We made a move -- the first of many -- to "The Big House" a mile or so away. This house was a favorite in my memory because of the many "secret" places that we could play in and hide out. When Gail and I visited, the current residents invited us inside and it was a real pleasure to go through that house. I was able to supply them with a couple of things of which they were not aware. This house too has maintained a quality as well and as a matter of fact is listed as an "historical home" in LaGrange:

One of the things that I remembered was packing those front and side stairways with snow and sliding down during the many weeks of winter.The interior had a front and back staircase  which was a real kick in making a smooth run through the house. The full basement also had many individual rooms as I recall. We lived in this house until I was in the fourth grade -- my third grade teacher, Mrs. Ide was a favorite of mine -- she sometimes gave me a ride to school in her Hudson.

From here we moved to "the house on Edgewood" though it was not named as such at the time. It was here that I was a witness to a fatal traffic accident on our corner -- I remember the authorities asking me questions about "what I saw" -- the collision was between two commercial vehicles -- one the local milk man and the other from a local rug company :

We only lived here while I was in the 5th Grade. The house was a nice solid bungalow and ran fairly deep into the lot. I remember the dog "Sparky" that we had while we lived there. Sparky was a black Cocker Spaniel like the red Cocker Spaniel "Rusty" (we had when we lived in the Little House). The neighborhood was then as now a quiet one not that far from the Burlington station that many of our neighbors used to commute to the city . . . I remember I broke my arm playing "king on the mountain" while living here.

For whatever reason,  we moved away from LaGrange and my parents bought a home in nearby Hinsdale. The house was actually another of my favorites (like the big house) but it was not my Mother's favorite. For one thing the previous owner had been a pipe smoker for many years and that aroma never left it -- though that did not bother me at all. But the main reason that my Mother was unhappy with the home was the fact that she was sure that it was not stable and would eventually "slide down the hill" . . . also the lot next door at the time was filled with large oak trees and the slightest wind sounded like a tornado which in fact was not out of the realm of possibility in the Midwest:

When my wife and I visited -- she wondered about the hill . . . coming from California this street looked like a very level playing field, but to my mom it was too "hilly" for her to be comfortable. Sadly I spent only 6th grade while in this house. I did have a morning paper route though which paid me $4.75 per week -- if no complaints -- and the one Christmas spent there brought a couple of hundred dollars bonus from the subscribers . . .as you can see the house as well as the neighborhood has maintained quality.

Again, my parents decided that a move was in their best interests --  I know that my father took great pleasure in "working" on each house and then reaping a benefit when they sold -- he would have loved to have seen the boom in real estate a few years ago. Never-the-less my folks found a new subdivision in which they decided they wanted to live. It was also in Hinsdale and built around a couple of lakes -- Ruth Lake was one of them. They selected a small house about a block from the lake -- I had really wanted them to buy "on the lake" but my father was concerned with flooding -- which did happen once to my recollection. The house was scheduled to be built in the coming year -- so when they sold that house on Minneola we moved to temporary housing for several months awaiting the completion of the new one:

This is the townhouse that we lived in while I attended 7th grade. It was small but we knew that it was temporary so it was fine. I did not have a bedroom but slept on the couch in the living room which suited me just fine.  By sleeping in the living room I had access to the television which was one of those ancient big wooden boxes with a little tiny screen. My father retired early to bed each night and I would turn on the TV, the problem was that I could make no noise or "he" would be up and my TV watching would certainly be over. Also the channel selector was very noisy and clunky, so if I was to change the channel I had to turn it little by little and of course keep the sound almost off . . . I remember in those days I loved watching Herb Phibrick in "I Led Three Lives".

In the summer just before going into the eighth grade we moved into our newly built home. It was just my younger brother, my sister and I, besides our parents and while the house was small, the neighborhood was filled with kids my own age and also the lake (I had a small boat) was a huge attraction. I lived in that house through high school -- which at the time was the longest I had lived in any one house since the "little house".

This is where we moved -- to a house similar to the one pictured here. The reason it is one that is similar is because our house -- along with many in the neighborhood -- were recently upgraded and our house was replaced with a very large brick home and one that I was just blown away by when I drove up to our lot. Over the years the attraction of the lake and Ruth Lake Country Club brought in the high rollers -- with money . . .

That is the my journey up through the high school years as it has to do with real estate. In future posts I will address other real estate "from the tree" . . . in the meantime -- It again is Slider Saturday Night.

See you in a few!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Around the Town and in Our Tree

Our town -- just a block or so west of the downtown plaza is a fairly new "trail" created a few years back. I had never taken the time to look at the trail or the "art work" that finds itself along the way. I drive by it all almost every day,  here are some of the sights:

This probably is the most eye catching display along the way and it is quite fascinating. The remaining benches and sculptures I have included in a collage highlighting their unique appeal and utility:

I have to say that the colorful pieces add a lot to the beauty of the area and make a statement. There are many areas of this small town that hopefully I can showcase in the coming posts.

And now to the "tree" part of the post . . . my paternal Grandfather, Lloyd Hampton Hiles Sr had three brothers.
I only met one of those -- Harold. I met Harold when I moved to California in the early 60s and found him to be a vary fascinating person and one who gave me a totally different "take" on my family. The other brothers were Charlie and Otto. I wish that I had met them. On the rare occasion that my father ventured into talking about his family I did hear a few stories about Charlie and Otto -- but very few. Charlie was a successful business man and had lived in Texas. He worked for the Pacific Fruit Express as an executive.

I was left to piece together some of Otto's life. He remained in Wisconsin and had a variety of occupations. One of those was that he managed a theater (or two) one in Neillsville and one in Greenwood. I thought that to be an interesting work -- especially shortly after the turn of the century -- in the 1915 time frame. Going to the movies in those days had to be so different from the way things are today -- no talkies and no color.

Someone sent me a picture of Neillsville taken around 1915 and in the background of the scene there is a theater -- that may be one of the ones that Otto managed. Otto eventually finished his career in farming.

Early in his career he is said to have been an engineer on the Wisconsin Central Railroad. He was an outdoor type person and in retirement he reportedly made fishing flies as a hobby. He married Lilla (Lillie) Bryan and together they had two children -- Gale & Merwyn.  Here is the tree showing Otto:

You may have noticed that I am writing this post one day earlier than usual -- that is because I am attending an all day genealogical seminar tomorrow -- the first one available in our area in a long time. It is sponsored by the Sonoma County Genealogical Society and is being held at the Luther Burbank Center -- I look forward to that. They are covering several topics that will be beneficial I'm sure.

And since it is Friday normally we would be enjoying 'fish-fry" Friday but instead we are having left-over chicken . . . so I look forward to Slider Saturday night . . .

Hopefully there are eggs and chocolate filling your Sunday -- see you in a few!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


This week has brought a mixture of weather and happenings including many connections with cousins and friends across the country -- so considering all, a very nice week! It was so nice this morning that I took a few minutes to photograph the many bright spots in the yard and landscape brought about by the lengthy March showers:

So this is a collage of around the yard -- so colorful -- those that still have snow, sorry . . .

But real life and everyday things go on including this week for me two full days off-line due to router/modem issues. I know how much I use and enjoy the web but was not prepared for the empty feeling of not being able to log on to my favorite sites and communicate with others. The good side to this though was I got a head start on Spring Cleaning -- the master bath is gleaming and a few other spots in the house that I have neglected got attention -- like my desk area. And as mentioned in earlier posts I have been trying to whittle down the huge inventory of screen shots that need to be filed or deleted and I actually worked through about 1000 of them. I could still use my computer just not go on line.

Now for the fun stuff -- this coming Friday would normally mean the LAST day to file one's income taxes before the deadline. But because April 16 is the anniversary of the signing of Emancipation Day by Abraham Lincoln and it falls on Saturday that holiday is moved to Friday April 15th -- good news for filers -- the deadline is moved to Monday April 18. Bad news to those who work in the tax prep business . . .extra days of work and the office where my wife is the manager has added even additional days to the 22nd . . .

Oh well, let's talk genealogy related things. Last issue two post Civil War groups were featured. The GAR and the SUVCW. The GAR my maternal Grandfather always talked about. Dayton Bumgardner though was not a member of either group -- but he was in fact a very active member of the Masons. Many of our presidents were members of those groups. The Masons are still very active as is the SUVCW though we see more about the Masons.

Dayton Bumgardner was born in Iowa but moved to Chicago as a young man. He owned and operated the Farnum Dental Labratory. He held several dental related patents (shown on and was involved with the Chicago Masonic Lodge during the WWI years and beyond. He was the Worshipful Master of that lodge in 1918:

Dayton is the man in the top hat in the above photo -- if you click on the photo it should enlarge. He is about 36 years old in this photo. Here is how Dayton fits into my tree:

Dayton Bumgardner had a very positive influence on those around him, including his children and grandchildren. In coming posts more will be shared about him and his family.

Now -- I am still taking the online class "Social Networking for the Wise Genealogist" and enjoying that. It is causing me to go further "out of the tree" via exploring so many different sites. One of those sites this week that I thoroughly enjoyed was the LibraryThing -- some of you I know are members but if you have not looked at this site -- it is worth investigating. I joined it and have started my library collection and look forward to collaborating with others to some degree. We have authors in our family -- you know who you are -- and there are currently almost 5,000 authors who are members of LT and share their books and libraries. Here is a feature from that site for today that I found interesting since I just read a book about Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the German theologian who was involved in the plot to rid Germany of Hitler and paid the ultimate price for his involvement at the hands of the Nazi's.

So that's some of my week. Again it is Saturday and that means -- Slider Saturday Night at our house.

See you in a few!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sun, Societies and Sliders

The major news in our part of the world this week was the weather! Was it different than the previous two weeks -- you bet. Monday started the 70s & 80s trend (degrees that is). There was a report that a special Spare-the-Air day was called as a result of the many BBQs brought out and put into use . . .

While our animals did essentially the same -- this pic was found on StumbleUpon and depicts life in the sun.

Last week two HILES ancestors were featured with their involvement in the Civil War. It is amazing how much reference there still is to that war. As I have mentioned when I was in grammar school we pretty much chose our alliances based on the colors Blue or Gray. But I also recall hearing my Grandfather, Dayton Bumgardner, talking about an organization -- a Society -- referred to as the GAR. I did not pay that much attention in my younger years as to what that was all about -- but since then I have learned a few things about that society and a couple of others:

The GAR was established April 6, 1866 in Decatur, Illinois. Membership was limited to veterans of the Union forces, honorably discharged. Posts were established throughout the country -- five U.S. Presidents were members. The organization was very politically active in addition to working to gain benefits for the veterans including soldiers homes, relief and pension legislation. The actual meetings and induction rituals were very much like the Masonic rituals. Because membership was strictly limited, the GAR encouraged the formation of other groups. The
last member died in 1956 at 109 years of age.

One of the subsequent groups formed was the  Sons of

Union Veterans of the Civil War. This group was 
formed in 1881 in Pennsylvania. It functioned much like the National Guard and actually served along side state mlitias in the Spanish American War.When first formed it was known as a Corps of Cadets. Later this group evolved into the actual Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). There was some involvement in WWI and subsequently the group became a "training company" of the U.S. Army. In recent years the mission of this society is one of historic, ceremonial and commemorative. Prior to disbanding, the GAR officially designated SUVCW as it's successor and heir to its remaining property.

The Masons  -- is another group that my Grandfather not only talked about but was very active in and I'll give more details in a subsequent post.

This week also kept me busy with my class on "Social Networking". I have learned a lot and have actually joined some sites that I had been reluctant to before.  And I joined the "Perry County, Ohio Genealogical Society" because so many HILES ancestors lived there.

Another exciting addition to my genealogy tools was obtained this week.

With this device I hope to add some videos not only to this blog but also to my family website. I have only had this for two days and I need to perfect producing the right quality of video for publishing. So far it is very easy to use and it takes great videos -- it is just that the user (me) needs to overcome the learning curve.

Thanks to cousins Elaine and Bruce for their newsy and interesting and informative emails this week! Elaine informed me of a book just coming out that may contain HILES facts -- and which I have ordered. Bruce related several  "squirrel" stories and revealed that he is the holder of some Hiles information that would be a welcome addition to the tree.

And now, as the sun is out once again (it might rain today) I am getting the pieces together for another Slider Saturday Night . . . here is what they will look like, mmmmm :

See you all next week!