Thursday, March 19, 2015

David Day (1838-1912)

You’re standing in line at the grocery stores and while waiting, you can’t help but glance at the rack of sensational gossip magazines, or as I call them outlets for creative writing.  The more juicy articles are highlighted on the cover; things like 

When you read today’s blog, you might think it was excerpted from one of the magazines.  But no, it was.  It arrived in my email with a message that “it’s interesting to read a little about the old pioneer”.  Now, come on, doesn’t that catch your interest?  Sure got me intrigued, and of course I had to share it.

But before we started on the newspaper articles let me give you a little background on David Day, if you don’t already know it.

David Day and his family were one of the original pioneers who settled on Henderson Bay around the turn of the 20th century, and it was those pioneers who named the new settlement Rosedale.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding David’s birthdate with some documents saying 1840-1841 or 1838.  I am going to assume that the correct date is the one on his headstone: 1838.   Although both David’s parents were born in New York, he was born in Canada, and immigrated to the US in 1867 according to  David married Candace Moore (1839-1906) in Michigan in 1870; they had three children that survived.  Addie Isidore (1875-1934), Eugene (1877-) and Elmer Burton (1879-1964) all of which were born in Sanilac, Michigan.  By 1887, the family had moved to Tacoma, and in December 3, 1891, he received Homestead Certificate 4415, Application 7846 signed by President Benjamin Harrison.  His property was listed as:  Lot 3, the North 1/2 of Southwest 1/4 and Southeast 1/4 of Northwest 1/4 of Section 35, Township 2162 75/100 acres. (Rosedale” by Bob Crandall 1991).   
iPhone photo
iPhone photo "Rosedale" by Bob Crandall 1981

In 1908, Pierce County established a public County road in the Rosedale area, and David and his neighbors all donated a portion of their property to the County for said road.  The road was to be known as the Extension David Day Co. Road.  This road went north from the old Rosedale School and joined the Rosedale Purdy Road at Booster Hill.  (Rosedale” by Bob Crandall 1991).

iPhone photo of map from "Rosedale" by Bob Crandall 1981

All of the following information comes from three articles which appeared on June 10, 13 and 14, 1911 in The Seattle Daily Times. 

“When Cupid Wings Aged Man, Lands Go To Bow-Wows.  Veteran Gig Harbor Rancher, Although “Advised by Shade of His Wife, Meets Reversal in Lovemaking.  Now Suing Widow to Recover “Ranch.  

“Tacoma, Saturday, June 10 - Though advised from time to time by the shade of his deceased wife, David Day, an aged Gig Harbor rancher, has a poor business head.  He is a bad judge of horse flesh and falls down on some other tests, but when it comes to lovemaking, David, in spite of his years, his chin whiskers and bald spot on the crown of his head, has a way all his own.

Have I got your interest?  Shall I go on?  

“David avers (to formally assert; prove or justify [plea] - my note) he gave Mrs Waite the ranch on the condition she marry him, but that she failed to keep her agreement.  Mrs. Waite, who formally lived in Tacoma where she has the respect of a large number of friends, asserts that David gave her the ranch on condition she and her family look after him in his declining years.  David is a little thin man with an apologetic expression, while Mrs. Waite, who is middle-aged, is tall and of rather stately dimensions.

“Witnesses for the rancher testified that they saw him sitting on a sofa with Mrs. Waite, holding hands.  This was at a Christmas party.  David was so happy that he “teetered’ according to the testimony.  In other words, he bobbed up and down on the sofa’s springs as he sat holding the lady’s hand.  Thus he expressed his adoration.  David took the stand in his own behalf, and while not admitting that he ‘teetered’, told the court that he had a few drinks of whiskey that evening and might have been a ‘little bit along’.

“About a score of ranchers and ranchers’ wives are attending the trial as witnesses for one side or the other.  Associated with the aged rancher in the suit are his daughter, Addie Mardicott, and his nephew, James W. Anderson.  These relatives recently had a guardian appointed for him.  Associated with Mrs. Waite as defendants are her own two daughters, both young women.  The aged rancher charges that, in spite of the fact she has not married him, Mrs. Waite, with several of her nieces, nephews and other relatives, has taken possession of the ranch.

Day says he turned the ranch over to Mrs. Waite three years ago in a prenuptial agreement, but that she has always persisted in postponing the date of their wedding.  When he made the agreement he states he thought she would learn to love him, but she didn’t.

“The rancher’s heirs are seeking to show that he was incompetent at the time he gave the deed to Mrs. Waite.

“T. J. Fuller, an aged man who has known Day for fifty years, testified for the rancher.

“What do you know of Mr. Day’s business ability?” he was asked.
“Very poor.”
“Ever have any business dealings with him?”
“Well, not exactly, but he one time wanted to trade horses with me and I could have beat him out of $200 on the trade.  He was my friend and I did’t like to do it.  He got mad because I wouldn’t trade.”
“When did this happen?”
“Thirty-five years ago,” replied Fuller simply, and he added, “No gentlemen of the jury, he’s got poor business ability.  He’s no judge of horseflesh.”
“He was acting queer several years ago,” continued Fuller, “he told me his dead wife’s spirit visited him and advised him.  I reckon he was sort of foolish.  He told me once that he was feeding her favorite horse one day when her spirit appeared.  The horse stopped eating until the spirit went away.  That was funny.  Physically he looked all out of commission at that time.”

In testifying to his wooing, Day when he took the stand near the close of the session, giggled at the memory of some of his own exploits as a devotee of Cupid.”

Judge C. M. Easterly, Department 2, Pierce County Superior Court, gave the the jury a long list of question the next day, June 13, 1911, to be answered by them.  The jury was unable to agree, and some of their answers were contradictory.

“(The jury) It finds that Mrs. Waite did not agree to marry Day but allowed him to believe she would become his wife.  It also finds that at the time he deeded the ranch to her, Day understood she would not marry him, and that he knew he was giving her the property in return for caring for him.  In addition to all this, the jury finds that Mrs. Waite did not provide for him in a suitable manner. “

And on June 14, 1911, the newspaper “The Seattle Daily Times” continues to wonder how the suit will be decided.  Will David Day and his daughter and nephew be returned to them and the deed invalidated?  Or will the judge decide in favor of Mrs. Alfretta Waite,  J. E.R. Caldwell and her supporters?

It looks like Judge C. M. Easterday’s decision will remain a mystery.  Neither I or the staff at the Northwest Room, Tacoma Public Library, could find anything regarding his decision. As a last resource, I have contacted the Pierce County Superior Court Records Officer and asked if they have the ruling in their archives.  If they do, and advise me as to the outcome, I will add the information at that time.

However David Day died September 19, 1912 in Centralia and was buried at the Rosedale Cemetery on September 24, 191 next to his wife, Candace Moore Day.

See comment from Anonymous and here is the map:

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1 comment:

  1. From the homestead description you included in your blog today about David Day, I may have found his original property. In his history of Rosedale, I don't think Bob Crandall copied the legal description quite right. But considering that a homestead claim was usually 160 acres, and Crandall copied "162 75/100 acres," which I take to mean 162.75, that's close enough for a quarter section around here. Very few, if any, are exactly 160 acres, so 162.75 fits fine.

    While David Day homesteaded 162 acres, the newspaper accounts of his troubles says he was down to ten acres at the time, so where the last ten acres were of his original 162, I have no idea, but they were somewhere in the red square on the attached map. (I think this map is from 1965.) Notice that David Day Road used to be where Sehmel Drive/104th street is now. The green arrow shows the current 86th avenue that goes to Rosedale street. Back in the day, that was David Day Road too. The yellow arrow shows where David Day Road is now. Back then it was the Rosedale - Purdy Road. So David Day didn't live on the current David Day road.