November 25, 2015

Honoring Dorie Miller – A True American Hero


"Above and beyond the call of duty" ...



Today, December 7, 2012 is the 71st Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As we remember those who we lost that day, we also remember the heroes who made a difference. One of them was Dorie Miller. I hope you will click this link to Angela Walton-Raji’s blog post and read about this wonderful man.  Remembering Dorie Miller, An American Hero.

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Death On The Tracks: 1903 Bordeaux Washington

Death On The Tracks: 1903 Bordeaux WA

It was an unseasonably warm spring day in April. Blanch Philby, a mother of two toddlers was on her way to the mill to meet her husband Charles who had just been paid that day. She intended to get his paycheck and then go on to the company store where she planned on buying some things for her baby that was soon to be due.

As was most of the homes in the town, Blanch’s house was perched on the hillside making it necessary for her to go down a flight of wooden steps, cross the railroad tracks and then on to the mill.

She got as far as the tracks when she was distracted by a yell from her friend who wanted her to pick up something at the store for her. “A lone engine operated by a fireman blasted around the bend from behind her.”

Glen Whipple had the sorrowful task of picking up what was left of Charles Philby’s wife and unborn child. [Source: The Tacoma News Tribune and Sunday Ledger – 05 October 1969; from an original story for the Tribune by Jeanne D. (Mrs. W. Ken) Adams, an Olympia, WA area freelance writer.]

As you can imagine, a mill town was a very noisy place to live with big saws running, men shouting, railroad engines and other vehicles all in operation at the same time.

Looking at the 1900 Federal Census District #224 for Littlerock, Thurston, WA we find “Charley” age 25, and Blanch, age 15, Philby (no children) residing in their own home. A few residences away is another Philby family, but there is no way to tell if this is a family connection. The head of household in that family was Amos Philby, age 55, so it’s possible he is the father of Charles/Charley Philby. In 1900 Charley was working as a “timber faller” for a logging company. [Source:]

Further research in the Washington State Archives Digital Records resulted in a different date for Blanch’s death: 1903. Her grave is in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, Thurston (Tumwater, WA). FindAGrave lists her memorial as Memorial# 38299156 and her date of death is also 1903 there as well.


© Carol Yates Wilkerson 2012





11 Years After 9/11

I’m not in the habit of getting up early in the morning. I don’t know what made me get up early the morning of September 11, 2001 either. Maybe it was my husband getting ready for work and making enough noise to creep in to my unconscious state. In any case, it was not my habit to get up and turn on the TV that early in the morning…but I did that day.

Jim was set to go out the door at 6 AM, but as we watched the morning news we could see that a terrible “accident” had happened at the World Trade Center: a big jet had flown right into the side of it. We were just beginning to take in the horrible sight of that when we heard the news announcer gasp and say that another plane was going to crash into the side of the second tower! It was one of those moments of instant shock and understanding when we both realized that it was no accident. Jim had to catch his work bus, so I was left to watch the remainder of the drama in the skies unfold.

I didn’t care what time it was, I called my brother and woke him up. I told him what was happening. We didn’t talk long. I knew he and I would talk later when we could absorb the whole event. Just when I was taking in everything I was seeing, excited network reporters began telling us that more planes had been highjacked and were heading for Pennsylvania and another point unknown. It was so unbelievable. Like watching a very bad “Towerin Inferno” Irwin Allen movie.

That whole morning, and rest of the day, updates came in minute by minute it seemed. We were watching as the first tower collapsed and I was consumed by this awful feeling of helplessness, despair and being alone as a silent witness to all that carnage. My mind couldn’t take in the enormity of it all.  Even to this day, I really can’t grasp it fully. I think it’s probably best that I don’t. May all those who died that day rest in peace. We will never forget you.

Many of us Geneabloggers are paying tribute to the victims of 9/11 on this 11th anniversary.

1983 Article By Mike Contris – Olympian Newspaper Columnist

Mike Appreciated My Dad’s Remembrances Of Old Bordeaux, WA

This may be a repeat post, but I couldn’t find a previous one in my blogs, so I’m sharing the article by former Olympia, WA columnist Mike Contris again. As you can see it was first published in 1983. The reason I’m sharing it is because the Bill Yates mentioned in the article is my dad. My dad passed away in 1996; Mike Contris passed away in 1985. © Carol Yates Wilkerson 2012

Clicking on the image should make it visible full sized.