W. Edwin Wright, 1909

This is a studio portrait of William Edwin Wright. I imagine it was taken in White Lake, South Dakota when he was about six months old.

Edwin was born August 30, 1908, in White Lake, the fourth of what would become nine children. Sometime in 1909 (after this photo was taken, I believe), his family moved about sixty miles west to the homestead of Edwin’s Aunt Anna in Tripp County. They lived there with Aunt Anna until after April 1910. (Dad’s/Lloyd Wright’s recollection was that they left there after harvest in 1909, but the 1910 Census shows them still living with Aunt Anna on April 25, 1910.)

A lot happened between April 25, 1910 and May 2, 1911. Edwin’s family moved from Tripp County to the Seattle area by train, lived in Ballard and Snohomish, then moved again by train to a homestead in Alberta, Canada (in a grueling journey that took them the long way around through Saskatchewan and dropped them at Alsask, on the border with Alberta, from where they had to travel overland by wagon 28 miles west to their homestead with their belongings, farm equipment, and animals). The Canadian Northern Railway’s Goose Lake Line from Saskatoon to Calgary passed very close to the homestead when it was completed later. The station near the homestead was named Excel. Two and a half months after they arrived, on July 22, Edwin’s next younger brother Earl was born in the tent they were living in on the homestead. Edwin turned three the next month.

The family remained on the homestead for 11½ years, living in a sod house until 1918, then in a wood frame house until they left late in 1922. Edwin was fourteen when they left. They moved to the Albany, Oregon area, where Edwin’s Uncle Gerrit and family lived. They lived in several places around the Albany area during this period (covered in many posts on this blog), then moved to Jefferson in 1927.

At some point “Edwin” became “Ed.” (Evidently one or both of the parents objected to nicknames. Until their adult years, if not all their lives, Ed’s siblings seem to have gone by a full name—often a middle name, but a full middle name if so. Ed’s brother Lloyd retained that dislike of nicknames, and tried to name his children names that could not be reduced to a nickname. He succeeded on maybe three out of seven. ;–)

I believe Ed graduated from Albany High School in 1926, while his family was living on a farm on Goltra Road, east of Albany. He then attended Albany College for two years or so and played football there. (Ed was a tall, strong, broad-shouldered guy, so I imagine he made a great football player.)

In fall 1929, he and brother Lloyd drove to Richmond, California to join two other brothers and a sister there. Ed and Lloyd worked pipeline construction for Standard Oil. The siblings returned to the Willamette Valley in mid-1930.

Ed eventually became an Albany fireman, a position he held from before 1938 until 1943. Whether intentionally or not, he was following in the footsteps of his uncle Will Wright, who was a fireman in Hoquiam, Washington.

He met and married Helen Jongewaard in 1938. She had recently moved to Oregon from South Dakota. They had a daughter Joanne and sons Neal and Larry.

They moved to the Damascus, Oregon area in 1943, where they grew filberts (hazelnuts). They remained in that area for the rest of their lives. Ed passed away in 1994 and Helen in 2002.

9 thoughts on “W. Edwin Wright, 1909”

  1. As usual, and with clarity, you connect the myriad of dots that are our common history, some remembered clearly, and some from the dark recesses of my memory . Thank you. I didn’t realize dad’s aversion to nicknames; that my change from Arthur to Art was an act of rebellion. 😉 How muchof the 1958 trip to Excel by the 10 of us in the Pontiac do you remember, Lloyd?

    1. Thanks, Art. I remember only brief snippets of that trip: climbing Hat Rock, maybe something at Glacier, a swimming pool in Banff, barely the schoolhouse in Excel, trying to drive down the dirt (I guess) road from Excel to the homestead that was blocked with brush. That’s about it.

    1. Yes. “Kind of,” in my case, because I did have a nickname as a child (thanks to my older siblings, I suspect). But I don’t imagine Donna or Clara did. Even my siblings with “nick-able” names, I grew up calling “Kathryn,” “Arthur,” “Dorothy.” The only exception may be Dan. I don’t think he was ever “Daniel.” (But he may correct me on that point.)

      1. It’s funny, I don’t have a specific recollection of what dad called me. Probably Dan. I don’t ever recall him calling me Daniel. Mom always call me Danny or Daniel (If she wanted to be formal).

  2. Curious, however, that Dad, being adverse to nicknames nicknamed us all! Honeybun has, Libby cubby, tootsie Wootsie, Palsey Wolsey, SweetiePie! Then Littman and Big boy, right?

    1. “Nickname” is my term, of course, not necessarily Dad’s. I meant it in the sense of a shortened version of a person’s given name, which, as far as I know and remember, is what Dad (and apparently his parent or parents) didn’t really care for in regard to his children’s names. The names you are listing also fall within the definition of “nickname,” of course, but they are not based on given names. As you point out, Dad clearly did not have an objection to this sort of nickname or pet name. I could be wrong, but I think it was just an aspect of his “particular” nature. He wanted things to be a certain way, and that included the names he gave his children.

  3. Okay, so I must chime in here and comment that somehow I inherited that same gene because all of our children go by their given names, not shortened, but have many pet names. So I find your thought, Uncle Lloyd, about a “particular” nature to be quite interesting, as I never really thought of myself that way, but maybe I am.

    1. FWIW, my comment about “particular” nature was intended only in regard to my dad, not to everyone who might prefer given names over shortened versions. I imagine there are as many reasons for that preference in general as there are people who have it. I do not mean to denigrate that preference, either. And who knows? Maybe there is a genetic component to it, as you imply. Probably there is.

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