Thursday, March 30, 2017

Julia Jerisich VanWaters (1884-1961)

Julia Jerisich VanWaters (1884-1961)

I was looking at some old Metsker maps of early Gig Harbor, well perhaps not that old 1930, 1936, 1941, etc., and noticed an area identified as Nesika.  This area includes the property at the intersection of Soundview Drive and Harborview Drive.  Metsker Maps had identified the owner as A. Jerisich in 1930 although Annie Jerisich had died in 1926.  I can only imagine that the property title had not yet been transferred due to the settling of Annie Jerisich’s estate.
Ken Babich Personal Collection

In 1936, owner was shown as L & M Kavanaugh  1941 J. VanWaters; and 1951 J. VanWaters.  So a search was begun.  Who were the L & M Kavanaughs (could this be Leo Michel Kavanaugh a telephone lineman whose father was a farmer at Wollochet?); and the J. VanWaters?  I haven’t yet found the Kavanaughs but I found J. VanWaters.

J. VanWaters turns out to be Julia Jerisich VanWaters, Annie’s daughter.  Although we know a fair amount about Annie and Samuel Jerisich, I thought it would be interesting to discover a few things about one of her daughters, especially the one child who apparently was the beneficiary of the real property.

Julia was the seventh of eight children born to Samuel and Annie Willits Jerisich;  Caroline Jerisich Dorotich, John J. Jerisich, Michael Jerisich, Samuel Jr. Jerisich, Melissa Jerisich Skansi, Catherine J. Sellen, Julia Jerisich VanWaters, and Mary E. Jerisich.
Annie Willits Jerisich, C. Julia Skansi (Babich) and Julia Jerisich VanWaters (Harbor History Museum)

Gig Harbor was suffering the effects of the Spanish Flu epidemic and a TB epidemic during the early days of the twenty century.  The Jerisich family was affected with the deaths of Melissa and Catherine in 1902; Michael and Samuel Jr. in 1904; and Mary E in 1909.  I cannot say for certain which disease caused their deaths but in Mike Jerisich’s (John J. Jerisich’s son) oral history, he mentioned the three girls died of TB.

When Melissa died in February 1902 just short of her 23th birthday, her daughter was just a few months old.  However there is a disagreement on stating Julia Skansi Babich was born in 1906.  Impossible if Melissa died in 1902.  I believe Clementina Julia Skansi was born July 1901.  However too many sites:; find-a-grave; etcetera are showing her name as Julia Jerisich, only adding to the confusion.

Whether C. Julia Skansi Babich was named for her Aunt Julia VanWaters, it is another mystery.  However Aunt Julia became very close with Julia Babich and the relationship lasted until the elder Julia died of dementia while living at the Babich home.  (Julia Van Waters lived with the Babichs from the death of her husband, Mark, in 1941 until her own death in 1961.)

But let’s back up a little bit and see what we have been able to piece together about the Julia Jerisich VanWaters.

Samuel’s oldest son, John, married Maud Stella September 1905 just a short two months before his father died on December 21, 1905.  Samuel’s survivors besides his son included only Annie, his wife, Caroline his oldest daughter who had married Joseph Dorotich in 1884 and had 8 children.  And Julia, age 21, and Mary, age 15, who was to died in February 1909.

Little is known of Julia’s life or activities during this time.  One can only assumed that she helped her mother manage their various properties and business dealings.  Annie and Samuel had homesteaded the full allotment of 160 acres.  But the time of Annie’s death in 1926, the business section of South Gig Harbor occupied a portion of said property.  Earlier Samuel had sold Miles Hunt 5 acres where Frank and his brother, Arda, built the Hunt mansion on Soundview Drive.  Before Annie died, she had also gifted a tract of land to the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) where they build St. John’s Hall and their meeting rooms.
Archives-Puget Sound Region, BLM records

The property from the mouth of the harbor on Harborview Drive  to the intersection with Soundview Drive belonged to Samuel.  He divided the ownership up as follows:  Lot 3, overlooking the mouth of the harbor and Puget Sound - Peter Skansi 7 acres, and next to that 13.6 acres to Julia Jerisich VanWaters; Lot 4:  20 acres to Julia Jerisich Van Waters and 11 acres to Annie Jerisich; Lot 5 Wickersham* 25 acres, Julia Skansi Babich 20 acres, Sam kept 3 1/2 acres, and 15 1/2 to Peter Sellen (Catherine Jerisich’s husband).  *Judge James Wickersham was attorney representing Samuel Jerisich regarding the eviction of squatters on Samuel’s right of pre-emption in 1901.  Mike Jerisich, John’s son, mentions in his oral history that John, his father, built the houses for the family members on those properties.  Ken Babich, Samuel’s great-grandson mentions that the property running all the way to Fred Meyers was part of Samuel’s homestead.  
Archives-Puget Sound Region
Archives-Puget Sound Region

In 1916 at age 32, Julia married Mark VanWaters in Snohomish.  Little is known how they met, or exactly when.

Mark was born in North Dakota in 1879, and moved to Seattle when he was 13 with his father, mother and sister.

In 1918 when he registered for the WWI draft, he was employed by Albert Zbiden, Tacoma Interurban Depot in Seattle.  The Tacoma-Seattle Interurban ran from 1902 until 1928.  So perhaps it is this connection that brought Julia and Mark together.  Mark and Julia had been married for 2 years when he registered for WWI Draft, and were living in Seattle where they continued to live until Mark’s death in 1941.  From the 1920 US Census until his death, Mark continued to report report his occupation as clerk in a cigar store.  This might indicate that he was laid-off from the Tacoma-Seattle Interurban Depot; or perhaps he worked two jobs.

Following her marriage and moving to Seattle, Julia continued to return to Gig Harbor to spend time with her mother, Annie, and her niece, Julia Babich.  Annie, her mother, following Samuel’s death moved to Seattle where she lived with Julia and Mark.  It was at their home in Seattle, Annie died.

In 1941 after Mark died, Julia moved back to Gig Harbor where she lived with Spiro and Julia Babich until her death in 1961.  During the later part of those 20 years, if became difficult for the Babich family as Julia developed dementia as mentioned earlier.  

Julia was a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, and is buried at Artondale Cemetery along side Mark.  They had no children.  She was survived by six nieces:  Hannah McCarthy, Portland; Katherine Dorotich, Marie Gustafson and Mattie Skansi, all of Gig Harbor; and Anne Skansie, Santa Barbara, CA. and a nephew, Mike Jerisich of Gig Harbor. 
The mouth of the Harbor,Peter Skansi's House in upper right corner - Harbor History Museum Collection

Mike Jerisich Oral History - Harbor History Museum Resource Room
Randy Babich Oral History - Harbor History Museum Resource Room
Tacoma Daily News Obituary - December 26, 1905
Peninsula Gateway Julia Van Waters Obituary - No date shown 

Metsker Maps 1930,1936, 1941, 1951, 1965 - Gig Harbor

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry June 13, 1888

A trifle rainy too.  Steamed up to tow piles for Q.H.L. but they not being ready we put in the day visiting.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry June 6, 1888

Fine weather.  went to town in AM and something happening just before we get there, go on beach for repairs but find nothing wrong.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 18, 1939

March 18, 1939

As many of you know, the blogger gets inspiration for the subject matter of the blogs from many sources, walks, books I’m reading, pictures, and so forth.  This blog originate when I came across a “In Memory of card”.  The only information was a list of ten men.  Would I be able to add some background story to this card?  Well, the search was on…

All I had were the names of ten men  …  But fortunately for me, or for anyone doing research, the internet came to my rescue.  No need to spend hour after hour in a library searching through encyclopedias, State newspapers for 1939, or other forms of materials.

What follows is what I discovered, and the resources where the answers were found.

Their report was last updated on 21 December 2016 with a Final Status on a Boeing S.307 Stratoliner prototype which broke up during a test flight.  All ten men aboard were killed. 

There were only 10 Boeing S.307 planes built and this was the worst accident at the time; and as of the date of this report, the 4th worst accident currently for this type plane; but for the USA, is was the 8th worst accident at the time, the 331st worst accident currently.

“The aircraft took off from Boeing Field, Seattle at 12:57 on test flight no. 19. The captain occupied the left hand cockpit seat, Mr. von Baumhauer occupied the right hand seat. Mr. von Baumhauer held a private pilot's license and his total flying time as pilot amounted to 116 hours. He had no experience as pilot or co-pilot of four-engine aircraft, but had been observer in trial flights of four engine Fokker F.22 and F.36 aircraft.”

“After takeoff the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 11000 feet. At this altitude longitudinal stability tests were made. The next tests, as outlined by the flight plan, were side-slip tests.
The aircraft went into an inadvertent spin subsequent to a stall at an altitude of approximately 11000 feet. It made two to three turns in the spin, during which the engines were used to aid recovery. In recovering from the dive subsequent to the spin, the wings and horizontal tail surfaces failed upward apparently due to air loads in excess of those for which the aircraft was designed.

It goes on to tell us  the probable cause stated as:  "Structural failure of the wings and horizontal tail surfaces due to the imposition of loads thereon in excess of those for which they were designed, the failure occurring in an abrupt pull-out from a dive following recovery from an inadvertent spin."

Eatonville to Rainier, A History of Eatonville, Alder, Ashford and Elbe has an article which was published on August 20, 2014 and submitted by dimettler.  Following his posting the article, he received an email from a Ronald Dijkstra, a researcher in Holland writing a book on Albert von Baumhauer.

So, perhaps we should pause here while I attempt to reconstruct the accident for you.

On March 18, 1939 Albert G. von Baumhauer was test co-pilot on this S.307 Boeing Stratoliner prototype when it broke up during the flight over Alder, Mt. Rainier, WA.  All those aboard were killed in the crash.

The aircraft was being tested for the Dutch Air Ministry even though they (Holland) did not enter World War II until August 1939..

Von Baumhauer held a private pilot’s license with only a total 116 flying hours, few than commercial pilots were required to have.  He was also inexperienced in handle this large of a plane, and as it went into a spin during the maneuvers, he was unable to handle the aircraft.  Other factors that hindered von Baumhauer were most likely the sensitivity of the elevator and rudder control system, possible elevator flutter, and insufficient vertical tail surfaces to give adequate control to the craft under all conditions of flight.  These might even be a potential problem for an experienced pilot but for someone without experience as pilot or co-pilot of a four-engine aircraft…

The Sandusky Register, Ohio reported the accident in an article posted by the AP (Associated Press).    “STRATO’ PLANE CRASHES KILLING TEN.  LINER FALLS TO GROUND ON TEST FLIGHT.  2 OFFICIALS OF DUTCH FIRM PASSENGERS ON GIANT SHIP.
Alder, Wash., March 19 (AP) — At least ten persons were killed, including two officials of Dutch Airlines, when a four-motored, 33 passenger airplane, designed to operate through sub-stratosphere plunged to earth near here today during a test flight.
Witnesses said the plane appeared suddenly out of the clouds and that the sound of its motors died down momentarily.
The motors then seemed to speed up and the plane began a long, crazy spin earthward.  The tail assembly apparently broke away during the fall.  It stuck in a narrow ravine in logged-off land.
“It traveled toward the earth at tremendous speed,” said Mrs. L. W. Gilbert of LaGrande.  “There was an exceptionally loyd noise, not like an explosion but more like a roar.”

“It was terrible to stand there and watch it fall.  The noise was terrific, even though we were some distance away.”

Seattle headquarters of the Boeing Airplane Co., which built the $500,000 “Stratoliner.: ($8,447,321.43 in 2016)

The victims of the crash are:
JULIUS BARR, Boeing Test Pilot
EARL A. FERGUSEN, Boeing test pilot
JOHN KYLSTRA, Boeing Engineer
RALPH L. CRAM, Boeing flight engineer and aerodynamics expert
HARRY WEST, Boeing flight engineer
P. GIULONARD, assistant general manager of Royal Dutch Airlines
A. G. Baumauer, Dutch KLM line
HARLAN HULL, chief test pilot for Transcontinental and Western Airways
The company said an 11th man, E. R. KINNEMAN, may have been aboard the plane. The stratoliner was the first four-engined transport designed and equipped with cabins and facilities for high altitude, operation 20,000 feet or higher, above storms on the earth’s surface.
It was to carry 33 passengers by day or 25 in luxurious night accommodations, with a crew of four or five, and had a capacity of two tons of mail and air express.
This plane was the first of ten to be built.  It had a wing span of 107 feet, length of 74 feet and overall height of 17 feet, three inches.
One of its innovations was a “super-charged cabin,” to provide passengers and crew with “sea-level” air pressure while flying 20,000 feet in the air.  This was a sealed cabin, into which air was pumped, creating and automatically maintaining air pressure comparable to that at sea level. Essay 2230 provides us with another essay on the crash as written by David Wilma, posted on 1/01/2000.  This article explains some of the miscalculations of the test flight that von Baumhauer wanted to try.  The maneuver the inexperienced co-pilot, von Baumhauer wanted to try was “to test the Stratoliner at low speed with the engines on one side shut down.”  It goes on to say “According to the findings of the accident investigation, the aircraft was at 10,000 feet when the maneuver was attempted.  The airplane stalled and went into a spin.”  “…Boeing test pilot Julius Barr and von Baumhauer attempted to recover from the spin, but their struggle against the control column resulted in the wings and tail section separating from the fuselage.

And so back to our card “In Memory of …

Julius Augustus Barr
1906 - 1939

Albert G. von Baumhauer
1891 - 1939

Ralph L. Cram
1906 - 1939

William C. Doyle
1911 - 1939

Earl A. Ferguson
1908 - 1939

Pieter Guillonard
1896 - 1939

Harlan Hull
1906 - 1939

John Kylstra
1896 - 1939

Benjamin J. Pearson
1906 - 1939

Harry T. West
1903 - 1939

Note:  Benjamin J. Pearson was the son of Oliver Warren Pearson and Mary Pearson.  He is buried at the Cromwell Cemetery.  Ben was employed as an Engineer at Boeing, in Seattle, WA

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary entry for May 30, 1888

The same except a shower in eve.  Painted the other side got our shaft straightened - heater made, etc. but the engine still is not done.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Nicholas Castelan Family

The Nicholas Castelan Family

Last week I shared with you Pauline Castelan Stanich's story of Gig Harbor which she prepared in April 1988. Pauline was my neighbor when I first bought the house that is still, to this day, referred to as the "Scrivanich's," although they purchased it in 1909. But that is not important, let's get on with Pauline's history of her family...

"Nicholas Castelan (1874-1921) came to the United States from the Isle of Mljet in Croatia. At that time, Croatia was a part of the Austro-Hungary Empire.

"Nicholas joined his half-brother, Frank, who was established in the fishing industry in Gig Harbor. Although Frank decided to go back to Yugoslavia, Nicholas stayed in Gig Harbor and became a successful fisherman, business man and an active civic leader. He also delivered local farmers' produce to the markets in Tacoma.  The name Castelan was often misspelled and/or mispronounced as Costello. It was legally documented as Castelan during World War II.

"In 1896, Nicholas gained his American citizenship. He then sent for his bride-to-be, Ella [Jela] Markovich, from Croatia. He was married in 1903 and had seven children, five daughters and two sons. Pollie Castelan, the oldest daughter was burned to death in an accidental fire at the young age of five in 1910. His other four daughters, Mary Castelan Jerkovich, Ann Castelan Stancic, Rachael Castelan Plancich, and Pauline Castelan Stanich all had houses within three blocks of each other on Harborview Drive. His son, Mike Castelan, resides on Soundview Drive and his other son, Nick Castelan Jr. lives in California.

"Often, Nicholas would bring home surprises. The most memorable were those of a red wagon from which Mike kept a wheel, and the first Victrola brought to Gig Harbor. The victrola became a highly prized possession.

"Nicholas did well despite of the fact he lived only 47 years. He and his wife generously donated a statue of St. Nicholas to the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Gig Harbor. The Castelans first home sits on the waterfront with its roof just above street level. It later became known as the "honeymoon cottage" in that the little house was rented by many newly wed couples of Gig Harbor. Their second home, a two-story house, was built in 1914 for $475. (The structure was razed a few years ago.)

"Fishing was quite an event in the beginning of the 20th century. Nicholas Castelan rowed out in a skiff to seine for salmon in the nearby waters of the sound before investing in a motored launch introduced in 1905.  He and other "openboat" fishermen would hire a Foss tug to tow them to Steilacoom and return for them after their catch was made. With the introduction of the engine, he built and owned the boats, Union 1909, Monarch 1913, St. Joseph 1913, and the Editor 1914.

"When Nicholas died, Ella's brother, Marko Markovich, helped raise the family. Ella never recovered from the loss of her daughter and husband. She always wore black and very seldom left her house. The love and support of her children and brother made it easier to cope with her loss.

"After the children married, a daily three o'clock social hour spent at Ella Castelan's house became tradition.  Coffee and a variety of each ones favorite dessert were served. And of course there was local gossip. In the evening, the men had coffee and dessert after dinner followed by fishing gossip.

"Ella adored her grandchildren. She had her son, Mike, go to the bank once a week to draw a pocket full of nickels. When the grandchildren came to visit to listen to her favorite stories, she presented them with a nickel and a big hug. How they loved and respected their grandmother.

"The remaining waterfront property that was once owned by Nicholas Castelan is used for fishing by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"Mike and Nick Castelan, Marko Markovich and John Jerkovich were investors in the purse-seiners, Pacific Raider 86', built in 1945, and the Corregidor 82', built in 1942 and sold in 1954 to a Canadian family. Mike continued fishing as far North as the Bering Sea and as far South as the Mexico boarder for sardines, mackerel, bottom fish and salmon. In 1952, Mike also worked for the University of Washington tagging seals in Pribilof Island, Alaska.

"Mike Castelan and Marko Castelan, Mike's uncle, were partners in the boat Two Brother 70', later named Corregidor II. After the death of his uncle, the boat was sold. He then seined the Sara B and Pillar Bay, and built a small marina. Illness forced him to sell in 1980.

"Nick Castelan ventured to California and invested in a fish market.

"Mike Castelan donated to the Gig Harbor Historical Society the heavy 14 foot oar once used on local fishing boats. [The oar is permanently displayed in the Harbor History Museum lobby.] It is distinguished by a "monkey fist" made of hemp. The "monkey fist" was later replaced by a leather cuff that stops the oar from sliding through the oarlock. The oars were made of ash which wore well without being painted. The "tar pot" and a net tarring description were also donated by Mike. Local and family tell the story that Nicholas Castelan's "tar pot" was used by many fishermen to tar their nets until 1980.  It was also used as a cooking pot for the army during the Civil War. Nicholas Castelan purchased it at the army surplus store.

"Mary, Rachael and Annie are deceased, but Pauline, Mike and Nick can share great stories about the life in the early 20th century."

Please remember Pauline Castelan Stanich recorded this story and all the information contained therein in April 1988. So several of the family members are no longer with us. But that should not prevent your enjoyment of the history of one family and their life in Gig Harbor.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for May 23, 1888

Very Fine at 3:30 AM started with our boom and reached Pt. Defiance at 9:15PM  Run ? and be in Gig Harbor overnight.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Emmett Hunt's Diary Entry for May 16, 1888

Beautiful day.  Got up in time for dinner and in PM ran down to Hong's camp.

© 2012 Harbor History Museum. All rights reserved.