Saturday, May 17, 2014

52 Ancestors, Week 13: Frank T. Gleeson

I found a reference to a database being kept by Judith Irons on the construction workers of the Hoover Dam. I remembered reading that one of my grandmother’s uncles worked on the Hoover Dam. So I contacted Judith to inquire about the CD database that is for sale, wondering if he was on it. She had no reference to Frank but asked me to give her a biography and the source of the work for the Hoover Dam. So here is the story of Frank as I know it from research I have done.

Francis Thomas Gleeson, my great-great uncle.

Frank was born Francis Thomas Gleeson on 29 Dec 1878 in Carleton County, Ontario, Canada to John Gleeson and Margaret Tierney. He was the youngest of ten children who included 5 boys and 5 girls. His oldest sister, Anna was my great-grandmother on my father’s side. His siblings were all baptized at St. Phillip's Church in Richmond but there is no record for Frank.  The family arrived in the United States through Port Huron sometime in 1879. Perhaps they waited until later to baptize him.

Frank grew up in Mitchell, Davison County, until about 1893 when he and his sister, Margaret, moved to Anaconda, Montana where they lived with older sisters for a while.[1] Newspapers often give good account of social activities and Frank was listed in one in October 1899 where he was part of the floor committee at a dance at Turner Hall in Anaconda.[2]

He must have returned to Mitchell as he graduated from Mitchell High School in 1896.[3]  It is interesting though, he is one of many who were enumerated in more than one census for a given year. He and his sister, Margaret were listed with their parents in Mitchell, South Dakota, as well as living in Anaconda, Deer Lodge Co, Montana in 1900.[4] Frank was working as a clerk for the railroad office in Montana.

By 1910, Frank was found in the King Co, Washington census at Meadows Gardens precinct, working as the Superintendent for the railroad.[5] Many hired men were enumerated with him, covering the rest of the page and into the next page.

In September 1918, Frank filed his World War I draft card in Burns, Harney County, Oregon. It was interesting that he stated he lived at the Elks Club in Portland, but his occupation was ranching with the Gleeson Brothers in Lawen, Harney County.  His nearest relative was Mrs. John Gleeson, who was his mother.
WWI Draft - see the signature of Frank

However, the next time Frank appeared in a record I have found was the 23 Oct 1927 obituary of his brother, William C. Gleeson.[6] It stated that Frank T. Gleeson lived in Portland. A 1928 Portland city directory had Frank T. and wife Elsie listed at 1305 E. Davis and he was a contractor.[7] Here is the first indication of a job close to construction work. They appeared in the 1929 directory at the same place but were gone from Portland in 1930.

The 1930 Los Angeles County federal census however had a likely candidate for Frank and Elsie: Frank T. Gleason and Elsie Gleason.[8] He was 49 years old and she listed as 39 years. It appeared they had been married about 8 years previously. Although his birthplace was listed as Illinois, his parent’s birthplaces were correct and his occupation was a superintendent in construction paving.
1930 census in Los Angeles. For date of marriage, subtract age at marriage from age, making their marriage about 1922.

The 1940 census showed Frank and Elsie living in Redding, Shasta County, California.[9] There was a supplemental line for him and the occupation on that line read “Foreman construction work” for “contracting highway work.” They rented and lived with a few families at 1160 Trinity Street. In 1935, they were living in Los Angeles.

Two years later, he filled out the World War II draft card.[10] He was living in Redding at 1833 Grace Ave. The nearest relative who knew his address was his sister, Mrs. M.M. [Mary Martha] Gilbert, at 821 So. Lake Street in Los Angeles. He worked for Atkinson Kier Company in Redding as the foreman at Keswick Dam. This dam was part of the Central Valley Project.
WWII Draft Card - He worked at Keswick Dam
Frank died in his home at 829 S. Lake Street, Los Angeles, on 29 Nov 1942.[11] His obituary stated he “was a superintendent during the construction of Hoover Dam and more recently worked on the California Central Valley project.”[12] He left two sisters, Mrs. W.E. Gilbert and Miss Helen Gleeson. There was no mention of his wife, Elsie, just as there had been no mention on his draft card.
"Frank T. Gleeson.  Requiem mass for Frank T. Gleeson, 64, dam construction engineer, who made his home in Los Angeles for 24 years, will be celebrated at 9 a.m. today in the Church of Immaculate Conception.  Rosary was recited at the Edwards Brothers Colonial Mortuary yesterday.  Gleeson died Sunday at his home, 829 S. Lake St.  He was a superintendent during construction of Hoover Dam and more recently worked on the California Central Valley project.  He leaves two sisters, Miss Helen Gleeson and Mrs. W. E. Gilbert, both of Los Angeles."
Frank was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles on 2 Dec 1942.[13]
Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles, California
 I still have questions. I've ordered his death certificate from the Los Angeles County. Will it mention his wife? What happened to Elsie Gleeson after the 1940 census? I found her death 4 Feb 1966 in Bend, Oregon. Were they divorced or separated?

I still haven't answered the question of whether he worked on the Hoover Dam as the obituary suggested. He did seem to work on the Central Valley Project as the 1940 census and the WWII Draft registration suggested. But I still have nothing about his time between 1930 and 1940 other than his address in Los Angeles in 1935 (from the 1940 census). I hope I can find records of personnel who worked on the dam.

[1] "In Social Circles," The Anaconda Standard, 13 September 1893; online images, Chronicling America ( : accessed 22 June 2012), Historical American Newspapers; p 12, Margaret & Frank Gleeson.
[2] “Large Crows Attend at Turner and A.O. H. Halls,” Anaconda Standard, 25 Oct 1899, online images, Chronicling America ( : accessed 22 June 2012), Historical American Newspapers; p 5, Frank T. Gleeson.
[3] “Mitchell High School Graduation Classes, Davison Co, SD,” posted by the Davison County Genealogical Society, 2001, : accessed 15 May 2014. Sister, Maggie graduated 1892.
[4] 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Davison Co, South Dakota, digital images,, (, ED 112, Sheet 12a, p 45 (stamped), Mitchell Twp., household 173, fam 185, John Gleeson; and 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Deer Lodge Co, Montana, digital images,, (, ED 16, Sheet 5a,  Anaconda City, line 36, Frank T Gleeson as a roomer.
[5] 1910 U.S. Federal Census, King Co, Washington, digital images,, ( : accessed 15 May 2014), ED 17, sht 10b, dwelling 82, family 82, F.T. Gleeson.
[6] "W.C. Gleeson Was Active in Early State Projects," The Oregon Sunday Journal, 23 October 1927, William C. Gleeson.
[7] Polk’s Portland City Directory 1928, R.L. Polk & Co, publisher, digital image, ( : accessed 15 May 2014), p 677, Frank T. Gleeson.
[8] 1930 U.S. Federal census, Los Angeles Co, California, digital images,, (, ED 19-3, sht 22a, p 35 (stamped), Los Angeles City, block 30, household 158d, family 204, Frank T Gleason,
[9] 1940 U.S. Federal census, Shasta Co, California, digital images,, (, ED 451a, sht 5b, Redding, household 135, Frank Gleeson.
[10] “World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942” index & digital images, ( : accessed 15 May 2014), card for Frank Thomas Gleeson, citing NARA, Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration, Record Group No. 147.
[11] “California Death Records, 1940-1997,” database, ( : accessed 15 May 2014), entry for Frank T. Gleeson, 1942.
[12] “Frank T. Gleeson,” obituary clipping, Los Angeles Times, “Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, and Death Announcements, 1851-2003, Los Angeles Times,” ( : accessed 1 Jul 2012).
[13] Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, Section N, L76, grave 10, photo of tombstone, Frank T. Gleeson taken by author, 1 Aug 2008.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Book of Me, Written by You, Prompt 27: Cars & Transport

The Book of Me, Written by You is a blogging theme where one can write about their own life using blog themes posted each week.  More information can be found at Anglers Rest here.

This week's prompt is - Cars and Transport
  • Did you have a car in your family whilst you were growing up?
  • What methods of transport were there? And what did you & your family typically use?
  • Your Driving Test
  • Where Did you learn? - Can you drive?
  • Your first car?
  • Your Favourite Car?

I remember a few of the cars our family owned. We had an American Motors Rambler Ambassador which was a station wagon that could fit four kids. Here’s a shot of the car with my two brothers and one of my sisters standing in front.
Our Rambler
Later, my mother got her own car, a Pontiac Grand Prix, which I drove for my driver’s test. It had a big hood and a tight turning radius. I had to re-do the three-point-turn because I made a U-turn instead. I also remember being pulled over once in the car and officer telling me a tail light was broken. However when I got home my dad said it was fine--that he was just checking that I was old enough to drive. I could barely see over the steering wheel so I wasn't surprised the cop thought I was too young.

My first car was another Rambler that my father bought for me so I could commute to Cal State University, Hayward. It was also a station wagon and did pretty well for me the first year until BART opened up out to Walnut Creek and I could switch to taking the train and bus to school. Then my brother drove the car until the block cracked due to lack of checking fluids in the car. I think it overheated.

The first car that I bought myself was an used Toyota Corona. It was light blue and a four-door. With it, I could drive to school again and work evenings or Saturdays in the library. It wasn't really a great car—it broke down a lot. I was in an accident in it once, too, though it wasn’t my fault.

My first new car was a 1978 Ford Pinto wagon. I bought the car after the Toyota broke down one time too many. I went to the dealer looking for a black pickup truck and came out with the wagon instead. It was bright yellow with “wood” sides and looked like a miniature version of the Ford Country Squire. It was a good car—I just hated the black interior which would get so hot in the summer and the yellow color that attracted bees. 
All decorated on the day of our wedding.
 At some point I drove my husband’s 1970 GMC pickup for a while. It had standard transmission—a 3-speed on the column.  It was big and when I drove to San Francisco I would have to drive around looking for a parking space at the end of the block so I could park it!

After my first child was born, I purchased a new car—a 1990 Ford Tempo. It was white with manual transmission. I donated the Pinto to a high school shop class to use for parts. The Tempo lasted 9 nine years, traveling all over and even Girl Scout camping. In the meantime, my husband missed the Pinto and managed to find a low mileage 1980 blue wagon. He still drives the car.

In 1999, however, it was time for a newer car and I purchased a 1999 Ford Explorer, which I still own. With only a few thousand miles on it, I took my girls on a road trip around Montana and Idaho. This car has been to Colorado, Los Angeles and San Diego, and Oregon as well as many Girl Scout camping trips.
Our 1999 Ford Explorer
When the girls began to drive, we purchased used cars for them to use. First a 1988 Toyota Camry that ended up in a head-on accident with another teenage driver. We replaced that car with a 1989 Honda Accord, which was involved in an accident this year.

Now, the newest member to our family is a Nissan Leaf. Driving an all-electric car can be a challenge but it is nice knowing that we are not contributing to bay area pollution as we drive. 
All-electric Nissan Leaf
 Now this theme also included transports, so I felt I need to add the one transport that I did drive: a BART train (though I didn’t drive it, I operated it). I was a train operator for 15 years and then trained other operators for 17 years. 
Old BART console when I started in 1978
I left out this bit of trivia (updated info): My mother wrote that I could identify all makes of autos when I was 2 years and 8 months old.
From baby book for Lisa Susanne Hork, written by Lela Nell Hork

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Book of Me, Written by Me, Prompt 24--Favorite Color

The Book of Me, Written by Me is a blogging theme where one can write about their own life using blog themes posted each week. More information can be found at Anglers Rest here.

This week's prompt is - Favourite Colour
  • Do you have a favourite colour? and if so why?
  • Do you like vibrant colours or darker colours?
  • Do you associate anyone with a particular colour? If so who and why ?
  • Does your favourite colour reflect your personality?

My favorite color has always been blue. I like other colors, but when given a choice, I always chose blue.  
I love all sorts of blues but baby blue is my favorite.

My first two-wheeler bike was blue and my first 10-speed was baby blue. 

I had a blue car once: light blue 4-door Toyota Corona. My current car, a Nissan Leaf, is blue, as is my husband’s beloved Pinto wagon.

My work uniform was a light blue shirt and navy pants when working as a train operator at BART.  I sort of got tired of blue for a while after wearing that uniform for 15 years.
Me, at BART as a Train Operator
I was attracted to the Great Northern Railway as a railroad to model because at one time their locomotives and passenger cars were pale blue, white, and dark gray. Their freight trains had light blue cabooses, too! 
I painted my kitchen light blue and have hung blue and yellow curtains.
Great Northern Empire Builder,
Courtesy of
Blue just suits me best. I was never a pink girly girl, instead was rather a tom-boy, and today I still gravitate towards things that are not as popular with women: model railroading and trains, stories about the military or police detectives, and sports.

My grandmother liked blues and blue-greens with aqua as her favorite. She had an aqua Mercury four-door sedan in the 1960's. I think she continued liking blue though purple and pink became her go-to colors later in her life.
My grandmother in blue.
My go-to colors now have been pastels: pink, lavender, light blue, and light green because they look good with my darker skin color and hair.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

52 Ancestors, Week 12: Vincent Sievert (1823-1890)

This is week 12 of the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge” by Amy Crow from No Story Too Small.  I am a bit behind but intend to catch up.

I am writing about my great-great grandfather, Vincent Sievert. I have no photo of Vincent, so do not know what he looked like, but I have photos of his daughter, Julia, who was my great-grandmother.

Vincent was one of my German immigrant ancestors. He was born in Schneidemühl, Kolmar county in the Provence of Posen, which is now in Poland, to Christoph Siewert and Anna Marianna Ewald.[1]  It is thought that Vincent was born on 23 Jan 1823 because his obituary stated he died on his 67th birthday.[2]

He married Susanna Raduntz in Posen and they came together to America, arriving on 23 Jun 1852 aboard the Johanna Elise with one child, a 6 month old boy, named August.[3] 
Vincent Sievert, wife, susanna, and son, August
aboard the Johanna Elise, arriving in NY, 23 Jun 1852
Vincent wasn’t the only one in his family to come to America. He had one brother, John, and two sisters, Eva and Henrietta, as well as one of his wife’s sisters, Wilhelmine, who all arrived on the Bark Elida on 22 May 1854.[4] So Vincent must have arrived first and then sent word back home for the rest of the family to come.

Records were found for Vincent and his family in 1859 and 1860.[5] He was living in Joliet, Will County, Illinois. The directory stated he was a laborer, while the census record stated he was a farmer. His brother, John, lived next door.

Vincent and Susanna had 11 children that I have found:

  • August, born 2 Oct 1851
  • Julia Ann, born 31 Oct 1854
  • Peter, born 29 Jun 1857
  • John, born 23 Aug 1858
  • Maria, born 1 Apr 1861
  • Susanna Julia, born 20 Sep 1863
  • Teresa, born 23 Mar 1866
  • Elizabeth, born Sep 1869
  • Josephine, born 16 Oct 1871
  • Catharine, born 9 Jul 1875
  • Ida Elizabeth, born 21 Jan 1878
Eight of these children lived to adulthood. John, the only son who lived, did not marry, so the Sievert name did not carry on from this line.

The 1870 census listed Vincent as a stone mason.[6] This occupation continued with the 1872, 1875, and 1877 Joliet city directories and the 1880 census.[7] After that time, he was found in city directories as a farmer and then as a laborer.[8] He was also listed as a stone mason on several of his children's delayed birth certificates, so this was the occupation known to his children.
Here is an example of a quarry where he might have
worked. From Will County 1873 Vol 1, Thompson Bro's & Burr, 1873.
According to census records, Vincent stated he was a citizen but I have not yet found his naturalization records. The family lived on North Hickory Street in Joliet and Vincent's son, John, continued living there after the death of his parents.

What is known about the family was they were Roman Catholic and were members of the St. John the Baptist German Church.  Eleven children were born to Vincent and Susanna in Joliet and were baptized at the church. This church has the original records and it was from the marriage record of their daughter, Julia to John Anton Hork in 1872 that gave me the town where they had come from![9]

I wondered about whether Vincent and Susanna spoke German or English. The church wrote records in German and had German Masses up to the beginning of the World War I. The 1870 census had Vincent not being able to write.[10] This was not checked on the 1880 census, though there were none checked on the whole page.[11] Perhaps the census taker didn’t ask the question. The 1900 census record for his wife, Susanna, did state that she could speak English but could not read or write.[12]

Most of the family is also buried in the St. John’s Cemetery.  Vincent died 23 Jan 1890 and he was buried two days later.[13] According to the official death certificate he died of senility and gangrene.[14]  It also confirmed the occupation of stone mason.

[1] I do not have sources for the information in Posen. A cousin had a person research for him in German records but he only received the data but not the source of the information.
[2] I don’t have a copy of this obituary either, and plan to search for it. The same cousin told me about it.
[3] "Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1957" National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Record Group 36. Online images. (,, Johanna Elise, 23 Jun 1852, p 2, Winzent Sivert.
[4] "Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1957" National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Record Group 36. Online images. (,, Bark Elida, p 5, 1854.
[5] John C.W. Bailey, Will County Directory for 1859-60 (Willaim S. Sand, printer 1859), pg 55, Vincent Seever. 1860 Will Co, Illinois, pop sched, digital image, Ancestry, (, NARA microfilm publication M653, Joliet, pg 377, p 612 (penned), household 2791/2721, Vincent Sever.
[6] 1870 Will Co, IL census, digital image, Ancestry, (, Joliet 2nd ward, pg 19, p 211 (stamped), 133/159, Vincent Seivert.
[7] For the directories: W.F. Curtis & Co's, Joliet City Directory, (, 1872, p 91, Vincent Seavert; Western Publishing Co, Holland's Joliet City Directory, (, 1875, p 100, Vicent Seavert; 1877, p 176, Vincent Seavert; and for census: 1880 Will County, Illinois U.S. Census, digital images, (, ED 202, p 20d, Vincenes Zepert.
[8] W.F. Curtis & Co's, Joliet City Directory, (, 1884, p 198, Vincent Seivert; 1885, p 234, Vincenz, lab., res 1142 N. Hickory; 1887, p 299, Vincentz Sievert.
[9] St. John's Catholic Church, Marriage (Church) Record of Anton Hork & Julia Sievert, Joliet, Illinois, Marriages, p 13, Hork-Sievert. The church is located at 404 North Hickory Street, Joliet, IL 60435.
[10] 1870 Will Co, IL census, Joliet 2nd ward, pg 19, 133/159, Vincent Seivert.
[11] 1880 Will County, Illinois, Joliet, ED 202, p 20d, Vincenes Zepert.
[12] 1900 Will Co, IL census, (, ED 122, sht 2a, p 79 (stamped), fam 21, Susana Sivert.
[13] St. John's Catholic Church, Death Record (Church) of Vincent Sievert, pg 32. The record was about the funeral but does not state the cemetery name.  See also: Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave  (, Memorial# 82120618, St Johns Cemetery, Joliet IL - Vincent Seavert.
[14] County Clerk's Office, Joliet, Will Co, Illinois, death certificate, V. Seavent, death certificate 3419 (1890).

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past