Thursday, July 9, 2015

George A. Magoon and Mary Etta Gray Magoon

Some things occur by happenstance and that is how this blog came about.  I had taken a picture of the house at 9017 Peacock Hill Avenue in Gig Harbor, WA which is being painted, having recently sold.  I had seen a picture one time of the main door titled ‘Frank Shaw’s new door’.  (Frank Owen Shaw was one of Gig Harbor’s most prolific and professional photographers during the 1940-1950s.)  So somehow it was fixed in my mind that this residence at 9017 Peacock Hill Avenue was Frank’s home before he moved to Seattle.

But while looking through some files at the Harbor History Museum Research Room, I ran across an article from The Peninsula Gateway, May 31, 1989, entitled “Work to Resume on Historic House” by Barbara Felver.  It was discussing plans by the new owners at that time, Sandra and Paul Westalls,  to renovate the building to house their beauty shop.  There had been a long delay due to city officials’ concern that it would allow commercial zoning to cross over Peacock Hill Avenue to the north.  (A residential zone)  And, a historic residence built in 1902 would disappear.  The Westalls promised the renovation would be in keeping with the historic architectural character.  What you see today is that renovation.  

But what was the history before the Westalls purchase of the property?  To clear up a bit of that history, what follows is an undated, unsigned document.

“A Short Talk About and Around the Scott House”

“The Scott house, as it is known, was built and lived in by George A. Magoon and his wife Mary.  They built the house sometime around 1902, as far as information and documents can tell us.  According to Mrs. Williams, the house is about 1890 style, which makes it out of style when built.

The Magoons were older people with grown children.  Mr. Magoon didn’t like the house because it was too near the water. 

A Quit claim deed, dated March 23, 1910, deeds the house to Mary Magoon, from George A. Magoon; and was executed before Joseph Goodman, Justice of the Peace for Gig Harbor.

The Scotts, Frank and Bertha with daughter Mabel, arrived in Dec. 1908.

Mr. Scott’s sister, Serena Scott Elmendorf, and husband Rufus, and three sons—Ray, Roy and Joseph were already here, living on the farm next to the Buckland place at the south end of Crescent Valley.  Mr. Elmendorf was a railroad man and not home much.  Because his sons were not interested in operating the farm, he asked the Scotts to come from Chicago to help out.

Mr. Scott acquired a team of horses—two—and with them and his wagon he hauled logs, did plowing, hauled wood, lumber, and moved people. 

About the time Scotts bought the Magoon place, April 1912, Mr. Scott bought a buggy and began a livery service in Gig Harbor.

The first horses were Barney and Dick.  Then came Dolly, who was pony-like; Lady, a white; and Ben and Frank, who were long and lanky and used as buggy horses.  All, except Dolly, were draft horses, but not large ones.

One could go into the barn at any time and the horses would not be upset.  All feed was purchased locally.  Mr. Scott didn’t like to sell his animals; he would rather keep them unless he knew they would be going to good owners.

There was one horse that only he could unharness—and harness, and that would give the other horses a bad time.

This was the livery service for the whole area, and was housed in the barn that stood until recently—winter 1969-1970—on the corner across from the Nautic Apts.  The building that was just torn down was remodeled from the stable to be a garage.

Gradually equipment was added to include wagons—probably two, one three-seated boggy, one two-seated buggy and maybe two one seated buggies.

Mr. Scott did all the driving, liking to be with his equipment.  Trips were made to Lakebay taking salesmen, and having to stay all night.

Mrs. Scott’s brother, Charley Dieball, worked in the livery stable for several years, and did some of the driving later.  He also worked for the Austin Mill.  He married Grace Johnson, and sometime in the 1920’s they moved to California.

Then about 1916, Scotts got one of the first cars on the Peninsula—a Ford with a fold-down top, either a 1915 or 1916 model.  Was it a Model T?

After this there were a couple of cars and one truck.  The first truck was a Traffic, then he bought a Dodge.  This helped him become a Dodge fan, and after he got rid of the Fords, there were only Dodges.  All cars were two-seater, touring car types.  At one time Don Edwards had a 1927? Dodge truck, the last one Scott owned.

Horses were kept until 1920 or so.”

It is not unusual for homes to be known as a specific family’s name other than the original builder/family.  And this is true for the “Scott House”.  We’ll leave Frank and Bertha Scott’s history, other than what is stated above, for a future time.  Not much is known of the Magoon family at the time of this writing, other than perhaps Ernest Magoon, the son.

What follows is the trail I followed on the internet:

George Albert Magoon was born  June 28, 1844 in Harmony, Somerset County, Maine.  He served in the Fourth Maine Battery Light Artillery during the Civil War.  He served from February 14, 1862 until June 17, 1865 according to tells us George mustered (enlisted) in the military on February 14, 1862 as a Corporal in the the Fourth Maine Battery Light Artillery.  He reenlisted on February 16, 1864 and was ‘mustered out” (discharged) on June 17, 1865 in Augusta, Maine.  They go on to state that in 1864 he was listed as hospital nurse according to

He married Mary Etta Gray in 1878, (b. ca1857) and, following the Civil War the family started west as so many other veterans did at that time. ( shows George’s parents both died in Minneapolis:  Matilda on January 4, 1872 at age 54; Joseph on September 7, 1872 also age 54.)  Their son, Ernest Elwood, was born March 29, 1884 in Beardsley, Big Stone County, Minnesota.  I found a Mary Gray Magoon on stating she died on April 29, 1910.  I also found Mary Gray on showing she was born March 1857, married to George Albert Magoon in 1878.  They had two children:  Ernest and Maud born August 7, 1878 in Wright County, Minnesota.  It also shows that Mary died on April 29, 1910.

The reason I’m so curious about Mary’s death is because remember, according to “A Short Talk  About and Around the Scott House’ they say George filed a Quit Claim on March 23, 1910 deeding the to Mary and executed by Joseph Goodman, Justice of the Peace.  All evidence points to Mary dying 37 days later.  But then there is more confusion on the US National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers 1866-1938 under “Domestic History Name and address of nearest Relative”, which shows Mary Etta Magoon living at 3539 Oregon, San Diego, CA.  Remember he wasn’t admitted to the Veterans Home until 1918 but she died in 1910.  In 1909 Mary was a member of The Fortnightly Club.

According to both and, the US Census of 1900 shows the family living in Gig Harbor and Mary’s father Nathaniel A. Gray living with them.  By 1903, shows Nathaniel had returned to Maine where he died on December 3, 1903 in New Portland.

In 1918, George was admitted to US National Home for Disabled Soldiers - Pacific Branch in Sawtelle, Los Angeles County, CA.  On the military History it shows his nearest relatives as Mary Etta Magoon, and she was living with him at 3539 Oregon in San Diego.  It was while he was in the Disabled Soldiers Home that he died on December 18, 1926.  His body was returned to Tacoma and he is buried at the Tacoma Cemetery, Tacoma, WA.

Maud, the Magoon daughter, married Nelson McGiffert Dewey (7/24/1864-2/24/1948) on July 11, 1908 in Tacoma, WA.  They had one son, Henry Wells Dewey born September 30, 1914.

Ernest, the son, first married Jessie Elizabeth Bale (1874-7/26/1951) on December 24, 1902, and they had a daughter, Hazel. Jessie is buried in the Artondale Cemetery. The marriage didn’t last and he married Adeline Anthony (1883-12/19/1954) December 6, 1921.  Adeline is buried in Puyallup, WA.  His third marriage was to Myrta A. “Myrtie” Proctor Peacock (2/1887-1974).  This marriage produced no children although Myrta had had five children with her first husband, Ernest Newell Peacock (1880-1935): Eva Belle, Gilbert Sidney, Beatrice Harriet, Francis Ronald and Stanford Newell.   Ernest and Myrta are buried in Gig Harbor Cemetery.

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1 comment:

  1. If you didn't already find this, attached is a clip from the Morning Olympian, July 2, 1904, noting that George A. Magoon had been appointed Postmaster of Gig Harbor.
    Magoon Gig Harbor postmaster, Morning Olympian, 7-2-1904 p1 .jpg