Treasure Chest Thursday – 1930s West Virginia Yearbooks

While digging through my grandmother’s closet yesterday, I came across a plastic tote containing what we believed to be my uncle’s yearbooks. Upon closer examination, however, I discovered that it also contained my grandfather’s yearbooks from Charleston, West Virginia. I am now the proud owner of the 1931 Charlestonian, the 1939 Charlestonian, and the 1936 Lincoln Junior High “Searchlight.”

My grandfather, Fred S Greybill, Jr, graduated high school in 1939. He graduated junior high in 1936. But the 1931 Charlestonian is a mystery to me. I’m not sure who it belonged to, as my grandfather was the oldest of all his siblings. He would have been 10 in 1931, so it’s definitely not his. I haven’t had a chance to go through the whole book yet (it’s in pretty bad shape, and three pieces), but hopefully I’ll find an answer as to why he had it.

Anyway, it looks like I’ve got some fun stuff took look through. And if you want me to check for any names, just let me know.

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Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 12:46 pm  Comments (1)  

Mystery Monday – Greybill Children

One of the many mysteries in my family tree involves two children of John William Greybill and Tressie Gertrude Dodd (my gt-gt-grandparents.)

John and Tressie had a total of 11 children, all born in West Virginia. They were probably all born in Kanawha County.  John and Tressie were married on 09 Jun 1891 at the home of Tressie’s father, William Washington Dodd, in Putnam County, West Virginia.  On 1 Dec 1891 they had their first daughter, Ellen (or Ethel) J, in Kanawha County. Ethel was followed by Mary Maysel on 7 Apr 1893, James William on 28 Oct 1894, and Charles Carl on 09 Apr 1896.  It wasn’t until 13 Dec 1902 that Stanley Lewis was born, then Fred Staunton (Sr) on 03 Feb 1904, Harold about 1908, Mildred Irene on 15 Jul 1910, and John Franklin on 28 Dec 1914.

According to census records, Tressie had a child that was born and died before the 1900 census, and another that was born and died between the 1900 and 1910 censuses. I believe at least one of these children was born after Charles in 1896 and died before 1900. The other, I believe, was born either after 1900 and before Stanley in 1902, or in the gap between Fred (1904) and Harold (abt 1908) and died sometime before 1910.

I haven’t been able to find any birth or death record in the West Virginia Division of Culture & History online archive, but this doesn’t really surprise me, as I haven’t been able to find records for most of the children who I know existed.

If you’ve got any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! And if you’ve got unsolved mysteries, leave me a comment or a link to your blog. Who knows, maybe your mystery is in my tree.

Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 6:05 am  Comments (1)  

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Fred Jr, Jean and Jerry Greybill

l to r: Jean, Jerry, and Fred Greybill Jr

On the far right is my grandfather, Fred Staunton Greybill, Jr. The girl on the left is his sister Jean Gathalea Greybill, and the boy in front is their youngest brother Gerald Lee Greybill. There was almost 19 years between Fred and Jerry. This picture was taken in front of their house on Randolph Street in Charleston, West Virginia. I believe it was taken shortly after their mother died in 1944.

Published in: on September 1, 2010 at 9:35 am  Leave a Comment  

My grandfather

My maternal grandfather, Fred Staunton Greybill, Jr, was born in Charleston, West Virginia, in 1921. He was the oldest of nine children born to Fred Staunton and Helen Gertrude (Hicks) Greybill.  He graduated High School in Charleston, and attended the University of West Virginia. In 1943 he enlisted in the US Marine Corps and served in the Asiatic Pacific Area and China during World War II.  He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in San Diego, California, where he lived with his buddy Phillip Sawin, and Phil’s wife Nellie.

Phil was sent back east, as he was still enlisted in the Marines, and everyone was told that Fred was Nellie’s cousin, as it was inappropriate for a single man to be living with a married woman. Fred and Nellie packed up her two kids (Steve and Phyllis) and drove to the east coast to visit Phil. On the trip, Nellie rolled the car, sending them all flying. They managed to find Steve, who had been thrown clear of the wreckage and was uninjured. The searched frantically for Phyllis, who was only a few months old at the time. They found her, in the makeshift car seat in the backseat of the car, completely oblivious to what had just happened and perfectly fine. On the seat next to her was an old clothes iron that had been on the floor. It’s a miracle she was not hit and killed by it.

At some point along the way, Fred and Nellie fell in love. She obtained a divorce from Phil Sawin, and in 1949 my grandparents were married in Reno, Nevada. They lived in the San Diego area, where my mother and two more uncles were born, then moved to Junction City, Oregon, and finally on to Portland in 1964.

My grandfather, whom I called Papa, and I shared a very close relationship. I was the first of six grandchildren, and am the only girl. He took me everywhere with him when I was a child. The story goes that, when I was born, the floor above the maternity ward was for mental patients. My grandfather stood guard over me the entire time I was in the hospital because he was afraid one of the “crazies” was going to come steal me.

In 2007, Papa passed away from a stroke at the age of 85. He is buried in Willamette National Cemetery, about ten minutes from my house.

Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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