July 27, 2015

1912 Washington State Gun Fanatics

George Martin, Will Yates, , Lem Yates

Gun Fanaticism Or Just Practicality?

Admittedly, I don’t really know what these men really felt about their guns and how ‘fanatical’ they might have been about using them. Anything I say here about them comes from my own views of how my family used their rifles, how they talked about them, and our family history with guns.

First, a little background on the people in this picture and where it was taken. From left to right is George Martin, obviously older than the other men in the picture. Next is William K Yates (my paternal grandfather, age 20), unknown man, and far right is Will Yates’ older brother Lemuel W Yates (age 25). On the back of this picture postcard is the postmark of “July 6, 1912 Union Mills, Washington.” I suppose it’s possible that the picture was taken somewhere else and then made into a postcard sent from Washington.

George Martin, Will Yates, , Lem Yates

All that said, I do believe it was taken near Union Mills, WA. I’m not showing the back of the postcard here, but I do have the original and it has been clipped along the edges, and the original message on the postcard was written in pencil and is now so light after 115 years I’m unable to read it. Union Mills, Washington was located in Thurston County near what is now the town of Lacey and was base for the Union Lumber Company.

Union Lumber Co. History

Source: Encyclopedia of Western Railroad History: Oregon, Washington

 By Donald B. Robertson

So, were they fanatics about their guns? I think they were in the sense that they felt they were a invaluable tool which they could always use to hunt game to feed their families. Or, at least supplement the larder at home. Considering there were no freezers of size at the time I assume they would dress their game in the woods if it was large like a deer, perhaps cutting it in smaller sections to be shared as they saw fit, and much of it eaten immediately. In this picture, I don’t think the men were actively hunting, but rather ‘posing’ for the photographer to make it look like an interesting tableau. The reason I say that is because it was probably taken and sent in July as the postmark indicates, and hunting season wasn’t until much later in the fall.

One thing I do know from my family history with my dad, “Never touch my gun” was law in our house and neither my brother nor I ever considered going against that edict. The men in my family (none of the women hunted, as far as I know) were fanatics about gun safety. I don’t think any of the hunters in the family ever used pistols because it just wouldn’t have been practical for their needs. I do know that when my dad hunted in he used a .30-06. I wonder what happened to that rifle. I bet my brother has it.

 

Alfred Smith Ruth – Washington State Senator 1865- 1915

AS Ruth 1909

AS Ruth 1909

Alfred Smith Ruth

Washington became a state in 1889 and we’ve had many notable politicians during the last 124 years. One of them was Alfred Smith Ruth, a native of Maine who settled in Thurston county. After doing some research on Alfred Ruth it came to light that he was a Washington state Senator as well as, in 1909, he was President of the Washington state Senate. Keep reading to see what I’ve found so far.

Biography of A. S. Smith (Please download this Word document).

 

USS Missouri – Then And Now

USS Missouri 1987

When I was growing up here in Washington state there were certain things we knew of about history and our surrounding area. One of them was that the famous ‘surrender’ ship USS Missouri was berthed here in Bremerton, inside (as it was then known) Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. You could see it from Navy Yard Highway as you came into town, and seeing it, you were impressed by its enormous size.

USS Missouri 1987

USS Missouri – (BB 63) 1987

I have a couple photos we took back in the mid 1980’s when Jim’s dad was here for a visit. He is a WWII veteran (see 

Low Moor, Iowa Honors WWII Vets

) and was anxious to take the tour of the old battleship. His ship, the Cape Esperance was a Casablanca class escort carrier. As with everyone of his generation, he knew well the name of the USS Missouri.

USS Missouri picture 2

Also in our party as we toured the ship was Loren’s daughter Lorrie and her son Brent, as well as our son Greg.  I doubt that the two young boys had as much interest in the ship at the time as their grandfather because they had no point of reference then.

USS New Jersey 1983

USS New Jersey – (BB- 62)

As an added bonus to this post, here is an additional photo, this one of the USS New Jersey as it looked in 1983. If my memory serves, it was stationed in California at the time at Long Beach. This Day in History – July1, 1985 the New Jersey was undergoing upkeep in Long Beach.

Sadly, the Missouri left the Bremerton area for good in 1985, but that wasn’t the last time she would see service in war time. She was reactivated in the early 1990’s to be used in the Gulf War. During one period of use her 16 inch guns fired over 800 projectiles. She was finally decommissioned in March of 1992. Her permanent berth is now adjacent to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The New Jersey is located in Camden, New Jersey

Sources:

USN Ships — USS Missouri

USN Ships –USS New Jersey

Original photos in this article are owned by Carol Wilkerson

James Breedlove – Survivor of 1952 Crash at Fairchild AFB Washington

vkmilitary_036

 

I think it might have been Pat Richley-Erickson of Dear MYRTLE fame who commented this week that it’s a good idea to check all local sources for historical documentation on a family line. As I was looking at HistoryLink.org today I decided to do just that and perform a search for one of my surnames that might show up in one of their articles. While I didn’t find a close direct relative to me in the story, I did find a Washington event that included a Breedlove.You just never know…!

The article is entitled U.S. Air Force B-36 Peacemaker crashes at Fairchild Air Force Base, killing 15 airmen and injuring two others on April 15, 1952.  In the list of two survivors was James Breedlove, Airman Second Class, Donora, Pennsylvania.  The other was Walter L. Campbell, Master Sergeant, Chetek, Wisconsin.

Source: HistoryLink.org Essay 9478

 

 

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