Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gottlieb Stock Family

Last week we had a visitor at the museum interested in renting the Research Room for a possible event.  As we were talking, The woman asked me if I knew any about the Stock family and if a blog had been written on them.  I had to admit the answer to both questions was no.  She then turned to her companion and said, well tell her about the family.  Slightly embarrassed to be put on the spot like that, his reply was merely that the ancestor was Gottlieb Stock, and that he had spent most of his time in Rocky Bay.

We said our goodbyes and all went on their own way.  But, it left me with the distinct feeling that perhaps I needed to know a little bit more.  The past few days have had me searching all over the HHM Research Room, the internet, the Gig Harbor Peninsula Library, and what have you trying to find answers so the next time I see these visitors I can answer in the affirmative.

I still don’t know much, but I will share what little I have discovered.  

Gottlieb and Charlotte Stock immigrated Washington from Germany in 1904, and they settled at North Bay region across from Grapeview on Case Inlet.  Gottlieb did what he had done in Germany - he grew grapes and produced fine wine. He opened his winery in 1935 in Rocky Bay, and because his harvest was smaller, he also bought grapes from other growers in the area. They had seven children:  William, Julius (Julie), Fred, Carl, Anna Stock Baker, Edith Stock Turner and Henry.  Gottlieb (May 19, 1875-March 29, 1965) and Charlotte (October 11, 1881-1956) were kept quite busy raising a family and earning a living during two wars and the great depression.

Henry was born September 11, 1911 in Victor and remained a lifelong resident of the Vaughn area.  He attended the local schools in Victor and Vaughn and met his wife, Eleanor Basset, in Pullman where they married.  Eleanor was born in Washtuena and had lived the majority of her life in eastern Washington.  She was studying home economics, but the war started and Eleanor volunteered for the Army.  She went into the WACs and served in San Antonio in the Army’s physical therapy department.  

One of Eleanor’s many activities after she and Henry married was programing jukeboxes in many of the logging communities around Pullman, Moscow, and Lewiston. This was how she became known as “The Music Lady.”  

Prior to World War II Henry worked for Washington Electric and Gas Company in Tacoma.  During the war he served in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps as a Seebee in the South Pacific.  His unit (battalion) arrived shortly after the US Marines in Guadalcanal and Bougainville Island area where they built miles of roads and airstrips.  After the war, he worked as a commercial fisherman, and self-employed logger and homebuilder.  

Many people in the Gig Harbor area knew Eleanor because she opened a chiropractic center in Olympic Village which she operated from 1964 until 1969 when her health declined and she had to find less strenuous activities. 

Henry and Eleanor were very active at the Vaughn Civic Center and Eleanor became the community liaison for the Center’s Health Clinic.  They were avid bridge players and also taught bridge lessons at the Gig Harbor Senior Center. Eleanor was also active in the garden club and the Orthopedic Guild among other things.  She had, by 1981, four operations to remove malignant tumors.  Eleanor died in 1994; Henry passed away on September 14, 2003.  All Henry’s siblings had preceded him in death as well.
The Peninsula Gateway Peninsula Profile July 29, 1981 

Julius known as Julie was born August 19, 1916 in Allyn.  There is an excellent article about him and his wife Doris Loraine Lyons Morris in the Shelton-Mason County Journal by Mark Lee dated August 31, 1978.  And it is this article where most of my information on Julie and Doris originates.

After graduating in 1935, Julie attended Washington State University in Pullman, following his brother Henry’s example.  However after 2 years, he suffered severe appendicitis and was forced to return home.  Upon recovering, Julie tried to continue his education at the University of Washington but didn’t fit in - he felt it too large and impersonal.  So, he went to work at the Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.

In 1944, the 15 year old general store in Grapeview (originally named Detroit) was put up for sale, and Julie, age 28, decided to buy it.  The former owner had built up the business with a steady clientele and Julie wanted to keep all the existing customer base while trying to grow business.  Like all successful country or rural stores, he stocked just about anything a customer might want, perhaps not all brands, but definitely a very wide variety of items.  And that included chicken feed.  Part of the sale of the feed was the agreement that Julie would buy the eggs.  He wound up with so many eggs that he eventually had to start an informal egg distribution system.  Like almost all small stores across the country, his store also operated on credit; nearly 3/4 of his business was credit.  But just like Finholm’s, Novak Store or Stanich Bros. Store, Julie rarely had trouble collecting, people might be late, but they all paid in the end.

In 1948, Julie was exceptionally busy:  he expanded the store and moved the post office from Stretch Island to the back of the building in Grapeview.   He started a fund drive to build a fire station and the first fundraising event raised $185 - enough to pour a concrete floor for the building on land donated by Julie and Walt Eckert.  Within a year, the station was completed and shortly thereafter, they bought the 1st firetruck.  The station was used until 1965 when it was demolished and a new hall built.  

In 1952 Julie acquired a partner when he and Doris married.  This was the same year Reach Island changed its name to Treasure Island and developed mostly as summer homes for people from Tacoma and Seattle.  Eventually Julie and Doris moved there as well.  In 1954 Julie became postmaster after his sister-in-law, Madeline Stock, retired.  Julie served in that capacity until 1975.  Then it was 1955 and Julie had been contemplating the numbers of summer people in the community, and it seemed, they all had pleasure boats.  So naturally, Julie decided to build a marina.  In 1964 he and Doris sold the store.  Julie retired as postmaster in 1975 and became a real estate agent.
Shelton-Mason County Journal, "Grapeview Revisited, From vineyards to homes with a view"

Unfortunately, my search on this family hasn’t yet discovered the other family members.  But hopefully this is a start.

What made me chose this family?  The answer is simple.  The museum had some visitors who were asking if I knew anything about the Stock family.  As I said at the beginning, I didn’t and I believe it is our responsibility to do what we (HHM) can to answer our visitors questions about the Greater Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula.  I hope others will help fill in the blanks regarding this family.  


*Shelton-Mason Count Journal, August 31, 1978 “From Vineyards to Homes with a View”, Mark Lee
*The Peninsula Gateway, July 29, 1981 “Peninsula Profile”, Gladys Para

* Images of America The Key Peninsula by Colleen A. Slater

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1 comment:

  1. Edith Stock Turner was my grandmother very cool article thank you.