Friday, January 19, 2018

Cemetery Tales - Star Gap/Acre Field Cemetery

It was 2001 and my first trip to Mountain City, TN.  I was staying over in Ashe Co., NC with a Dollar cousin who loaned me her Ford Explorer.  She didn't want me taking the back road over and wanted me to drive through Boone, NC to get to Johnson Co., TN.  It was funny to me because I had driven more than my share of back roads...but she didn't know it.  I have to admit it was one of my favorite genealogy adventures.

Knowing that the my first stop should be the library, I wandered around the town streets of Mountain City.  I had a general idea of where the library was and this wasn't a big town.  I parked the car and walked into the library, set my stuff down and began to look around some of the books.  I picked a few up and walked back to the table.  Across from me was another woman looking through her own books...and naturally we started a conversation.  We began talking about the family lines that we were looking at (this is a great conversation starter for anyone research genealogy).  She told me her families and I told her mine...and when I mentioned Dollar and Friddle - she told me that I needed to contact Carmen Johnson.  I looked at her and pretty much said "That wouldn't be hard...as I am Carmen Johnson."  She then told me her "handle" on the Johnson Co., TN newslist (Back in 2001 - genealogy information availability on the internet and email contact was still in its infancy.  Genealogy newslists were a great way to make contact and get information.) and I immediately recognized her.  I didn't know her real name because I either hadn't paid attention or she hadn't mentioned it.  I learned that her name was Jenny and ironically she lived in Spokane, WA and here we were in Johnson Co., TN sitting in a library when our home towns were only 2 hours apart.

Jenny was actually a native of Johnson Co., TN and was just visiting family.  I decided to take advantage of her knowledge of the area and asked her if she knew where the Star Gap cemetery was.  I think the answer was no...but we got directions and we were on our way.  I will never forget going to that cemetery.  We turned off the road to go to Star Gap cemetery and it was probably a little more of a back road than my Dollar cousin wanted me to travel on.  It was a narrow dirt road but to me it seemed just fine...after all it wasn't on the side of hill climbing a steep road.  This was pretty simple compared to the Idaho dirt roads I was used to.  It seemed like we had been traveling for quite a while and it seemed as if the trees were closing in on us as the road was narrow and the vegetation was thick.  While I am not worried about dirt roads...there is one thing I don't like...when another car is coming from the opposite direction.  I had to back up about 20 or 30 feet to find a spot where I could pull over and let the other car pass.  I did roll down the window and ask how much further we need to go and was advised that it was in another few hundred feet.  It was really rather remarkable...we traveled on this narrow road surrounded by trees and it suddenly opened up in rather lovely meadow with a cemetery just off to the left.  We got out and walked around the cemetery and while I found a lot of familiar names, I didn't find the gravestone I was looking for which was my great grandmother's little brother, Charles Frederick Dollar.  I should have looked further because it was there - see FAG # 74609427 .

Bessie Friddles Cress - Phillipi Cemetery, Johnson Co., TN
Jenny and I then made our way to the Phllipi Cemetery where I was able to find my great grandfather's niece and her husband's grave quite easily (See above).  It was right along the road.  I think Jenny even remembered her.  I have at some point visited with her daughter.  She told me that when she was a baby, my great grandmother have traveled back to Tennessee and had stopped by to see her mother.  The cousin (Lois) was a baby at the time or at least quite young.  Lois said that her parents didn't have a lot of money and she was mostly dressed in hand-me-down clothes.  My great grandmother, knowing this, went and bought a few outfits to take along on her visit for the little girl.  I think Lois told me that they were still in her cedar chest and had always been treasured.  Just goes to show that one person's simple act of kindness can be remembered for a lifetime.

Moses Friddles - Hawkins Cemetery, Johnson Co., TN
We then attempted to find the cemetery where my great great grandfather was buried.  It was located at Hawkins Cemetery.  I know from what my Dollar cousin said that it was quite a trek to get there and was located across a field full of cows.  She had already gotten a picture (see above) Jenny and I never quite got that far...after a lot of driving we decided to give up as we couldn't find it and Jenny and I both had to make our way back to our respective "temporary" homes.

That few hours was over 16 years ago.  Neither one of us has ever forgotten that day and we never hesitate to remind each other of our adventure.  Life may never give us the opportunity to spend any other time together (I hope that isn't the case) but neither one will ever forget that meeting.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cousin Lowell

I received word last night that a cousin had passed away January 8, 2018.  I first “met” Lowell Johnson on the phone almost 20 years ago.  Back then we were using Family Tree Maker for our genealogy program and they had CD’s that what they called “World Family Tree” which was a collection of family trees that were shared by other members.  I found Lowell’s tree and was quite pleased to find a lot of similar information to my own.  This might seem shocking today, but they these files had the users’s name, address, and phone number on them.  I waited until after five o’clock (we did that then; long distance rates were cheaper) and called Lowell.  I still remember his deep voice as he answered the phone.  I explained who I was and who my parents and grandparents were.  We had quite a close connection as my great grandfather and his grandfather were brothers. 

My mother had gotten most of our information on the Johnson family on a long-ago conversation with my grandfather.  He had been pleased to share what he knew of his famly history.  I am not sure he thought there wasn’t anything terribly interesting about his family and he relayed much of the information that Lowell had, including an “unknown Johnson” who had married Nancy Mayfield.  It was just a few months before I made that phone call that a fellow researcher had sent to my mother the name of that “Unknown Johnson” …Moses Johnson.  I was delighted to spring that little piece of information on him and he was very happy to have that name.

Grace & Marian holding their sons
Lowell and Eugene - 1940.
During the next several years, emails and many phone conversations, we got a chance to know Lowell and his wife, Bonnie very well as fellow researchers.  We also found out that we had a lovely picture of my Dad and Lowell as babies being held by their mothers.  Lowell was three weeks older than Dad and was the closest in age to Dad of any of his cousins.  We also found out that Lowell had a bad heart.


In 2004, we decided that we wanted to go to North Dakota and meet a few of these cousins that we had met through phone and email.  We met up with some cousins from my Dad’s mother’s family (Pope) in Washburn, ND and then we traveled to the small town of Wahpeton to meet Lowell and Bonnie.  This was a big trip for my Mom.  She had had a lobe of her lung removed the previous year for lung cancer and was still on Oxygen.  Going over the continental divide was a bit hard on her as they had to turn up her Oxygen and Mom and Dad had to make arrangements along the way to fill her Oxygen tank.  Mom was determined to make the trip, and I am so glad she did.  Since they had to take more time than I did, I drove over a few days later to meet them.  The whole trip was so much fun for us as we were learning so much about Dad’s family and I am sure my Grandpa Frank was smiling down.  We then went over to Wahpeton and we finally got to meet Lowell and Bonnie.  Lowell had been outfitted with an LVAD (left-ventricular assist device).  Essentially Lowell was walking around with battery pack on his back to keep his heart going while waiting for a heart transplant.  For several hours, we set there sharing pictures and stories.  Mom with her Oxygen tank and Lowell with his battery pack.  We then went to dinner and shared a lovely meal. There was a bond between my Dad and Lowell and a definite family likeness. 
Dad and Lowell - 2004

Dad & Lowell - 2012

Several months later around Christmas, we learned that Lowell had gotten his heart transplant.  What wonderful news!  We lost Mom the next year (26 Dec 2005) to lung cancer.  Dad made another trip back to North Dakota on his own and he and I went back in 2012.  Dad and his girlfriend also saw them a few years ago.  In all this time, Lowell did very well.  His new heart had given him the gift of years.  Lowell still had health problems…but he and Bonnie were able to enjoy a little over 13 more years together.  Lowell was able to enjoy his children and his grandchildren.  He had been living on borrowed time for so many years, and when he received the gift of a new heart, he went about living to the best he could.

I will always be grateful to the family who donated their loved one’s organs.  They gave Lowell and his family the gift of life and time which is priceless.  I am so grateful that I and my parents had a chance to get to know the lovely man that was my cousin. 


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I've Never Had Green Bean Casserole


Thanksgiving at the Johnson household - circa 1969
I know it is a shocking statement to many: "I've never had green bean casserole" and really it doesn't really bother me.  It doesn't look all that appetizing and I certainly wouldn't want to give up any of our current Thanksgiving favorites.

I never remember a time where I didn't spend Thanksgiving with family.  I realize that I am very lucky and that it might not always be the case.  They are multi generational events with grandparents sharing the table along with aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews.  I can remember during my childhood listening to stories at the feet of my great grandmother's (Sophia Dollar Friddle & Nettie Moody Shearer) and Aunty Jones (my mother's godmother - Glenthora Stranahan Jones).  The three ladies were all of an age.  Mom Friddle (Sophia Dollar Friddle) was born in 1894, Granny (Nettie Moody Shearer) was born in 1890 and Aunty Jones was born in 1889.  They talked about riding the stagecoach to Waha, ID.  Granny lived down by the Snake River on the Joseph plains.  It was a two day trip to Winchester (this drive today takes about 35 minutes) and then another two days to where Granny lived.  Darn near a week to travel between home and the nearest larger town.  Their stories helped me gain a love for history and for family history.  They had memories that stretched back to the 19th century which seemed quite amazing to a little girl in the late 1970's.  The last time I really visited Granny was on Thanksgiving 1979.  Mom Friddle had died earlier that year and it was the first time that Grandma Cappy had her new home in Clarkston.  We spent Thanksgiving at her house that year.  Grandma Cappy was worried about her mother-in-law, Granny, getting too tired.  She insisted that Granny lie down for a nap.  I think Granny probably gave her equivalent of an eye roll...but she gave in and told me to come with her.  I think I was 12 years old.  I laid on the bed with Granny and held her hand.  She called me her "little Betty," because she said I reminded her of my mother when she was a little girl.  I wish I remembered more specific memories of that moment...but it is a sweet memory - laying on that bed and holding her hand while she told me stories and asked me about her life.

I think we only had a few holiday dinners at Grandma Cappy's but everything switched back to our house for Thanksgiving.  My mother (Betty Tannahill Johnson) never went easy on herself or us.  We were all put into action, peeling potatoes, cutting vegetables, doing dishes and setting the table.  Everything had to be just so...Mom didn't want to leave anything to chance.  My grandmother would bring the pies and after they arrived, my grandfather would adjourn to the living room for the easy chair, peanuts and football.  Grandma would sit at the chair at the bar and visit with my mother while she and the rest of us flew around to do her bidding or hide out so she couldn't see us.  That certainly didn't last long :) It wasn't too much longer, in fact the last years Grandma was alive when Mom took the pie duties back because it was too much for Grandma.  Mom did it on her own that first year, but by the next year, she involved me and the year after Grandma died, the pies became my job!  I was 18 years old!

The last year we had Thanksgiving with Mom was just about a month before she died.  We went over to my brother's house and had a lovely Thanksgiving.  Mom insisted that we do our own turkey the next day, so everyone came over to the house for a second Thanksgiving...Mom said that she wanted to the leftovers.  That was the first time I had ever attempted to do that large of a meal on my own.  Usually, I had had Mom's involvement and guidance - but her health simply wouldn't allow her to do too much.  It is funny, I think of that day with a smile...it has taken time to change that memory from sad to bittersweet!

We now gather at my brother's house.  My sister in law should have been my mother's daughter.  I see a lot of my Mom in her., especially on the days of these big holiday dinners.  I contribute the pies - the job I have done since I was 18 as well as family salads like Eggnog, Grandpa's Crappy Salad, and the candied sweet potatoes.  The Eggnog is a jelled salad that is a bit boozy and definitely not low fat.  My niece christened what I used to call Dad's salad, Grandpa's Crappy Salad.  It is lemon jello, whipped up with cream cheese and small diced celery.  It is not a family favorite...mostly my Dad - but he deserves a little spoiling.

It is funny, I have seen people list Green Bean Casserole as a staple at their Thanksgiving table...I have never had it.  I have had my share of the canned cranberry sauce...but I usually make it.  It tastes better.  So on this Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I will bake the pies like I have done for 30 years.  I will make the Eggnog that are special to my siblings and I, as well as the salad that my Dad loves.  I suppose you could say that those our Thanksgiving food traditions.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I think there are some family spirits who are with us and enjoying the sharing of memories, food, and family togetherness!
Aunty Jones (Glenthora Stranahan Jones) and my sister.  Probably around 1982 or so.
My guess is that was at one of our first holiday dinners at our house.  Granny is sitting on the end.  Dad is holding me with Chris and Bub sitting between.  Grandpa Gwen is at the end.
Dad and Grandpa most likely watching football.  Usually a container with nuts in a container between them.  They were comfortable companions.
I have a lot of pictures of my great grandmother - but not so many of the way I remembered her.  This was taken in the early 70's with her children. 
Claude on the left, Mom Friddle, Jack and the Grandma Cappy on the end.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

70 Years Ago Today!


Oliver Richard Tannahill
b. 27 Apr 1912 - Peru, Chautauqua Co., KS
d. 09 Nov 1947 - Near Webb Rd, Nez Perce Co., ID


I have been fairly fortunate in my life that I had my parents and most of my grandparents during my growing up years.  My Mom was not so lucky.  She lost her father when had just barely turned 6 years old.  The memories that she had of him were precious because they were so few.  I know that every years that she was alive, November 9th was a momentous date...because it was the day she lost her father.

My grandfather's name was Oliver Richard Tannahill.  I can make the assumption that he didn't really care for his first name as he never went by it.  Every document I have seen his signature on lists his name as O. Richard Tannahill...even his tombstone has that name.  I have always heard him referred to as Richard...so it was a bit of a surprise that his actual first name was Oliver.  Richard was twin and his sister's name was Olive Rachel Tannahill...she must not have liked the name either, because she went by Rachel.  My guess is that the Oliver/Olive name came from Richard's uncle, Samuel Oliver Tannahill.  Richard was born in Peru, Chautauqua Co., KS and spent some of his younger years in Pawhuska, OK and moved with his father to Idaho sometime around 1929.  I actually thought that date was much earlier, but that is time frame listed on his death certificate.  My grandmother was actually quite precise on the type of thing.  My mother grew up with a lot of questions in her mind.  Some she asked to her mother and step father (Grandpa Gwen was Richard's best friend), but there were always a lot of "what if's" in her mind.  Grandpa Gwen wasn't the easiest person to grow up with as a step father.  My mother loved him, but there was always her natural father out there to wonder about.  I don't think I have ever heard a negative word about Richard.  He was a hard worker, did everything well that he attempted, he was intelligent, and caring.  Richard was a good friend, son, brother, and uncle.  He was also a beloved husband and father.  My Mom used to say that he was the only one of his siblings who didn't swear, drink or smoke...so therefore he died at the youngest age. 
I hadn't seen the actual death certificate until recently.  I can see my grandmother's signature listed there as the informant...and it makes my heart ache for her.   Richard was the love of her life...I don't think she ever entirely recovered from his death.  She moved on because she had family to care for...her diaries really show her heartache.  I wrote a blog about Richard's death 5 years ago.  You can read it here:  Daddy's Gone!  Instead, I thought I would share some photos of Richard and his family!

This photo was actually two pieces that we put together.  It had been broken at some point.  I have no idea which one is Rachel or Richard.  Probably taken in 1913 in Kansas or Oklahoma.
My best guess is that this was taken around 1918 or so. This photo includes all of the children of John L Tannahill and Sarah Rachel Kelley. 
Top Left: John Theodore, William Sylvester, Samuel Ward, Earl Sylvanus 
Front Left:  Sarah holding Richard, George Carter, Elvina Amira, John Lyons hold Rachel.



Tannahill siblings at their father's funeral in 1945: 
Top Left:  John Theodore "Ted", William, Richard, & Sam 
Bottom Left:  Rachel, George, & Elvina "Viney"

A couple of views of the twins - I think the top one is around 1925 and the lower one is probably a few years earlier.


The two pictures below are the ones that I have seen my entire life on the wall in mother's bedroom.  These two were framed and in my mother's home while she was growing up and she got them from her mother in 1960.  They are still hanging in our today!




This might be one of my Mom's favorite pictures of her parents.  Probably because that was how she saw them day to day.  Her Daddy in his overalls and fedora and her Momma in her work dress.  This was probably taken not too long before Richard died in 1947.

One of the few complete family pictures.  This was taken in 1945 at John Lyons Tannahill's funeral.  My mother, Betty is the little girl standing while her older sister, Joan is sitting.

Sad to say that everyone has passed away who was in these pictures.  My grandmother died in 1985, my mother in 2005 and her sister, Joan in 2012.  That little family is all gone who were complete until they lost their father 70 years ago today!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ancestral Characters...

I enjoy watching programs like “Who Do You Think You Are” and Henry Louis Gates series “Finding Your Roots!”  I was bitten by the genealogy bug many years ago….probably even when I was a child because I loved listening to the stories of my grandparents and various other relatives.  The guests find that their family mysteries are seemingly solved with a short TV episode, although I must say they are missing out on all of the fun.

Genealogy is a journey!  There are a lot of interesting stops along the way, but always something new on the horizon.  There are even walls that may take years to tear down if ever.  Every few years there seems to be some new tools to add to the treasure chest.  Like those programs, I am picking and choosing some “interesting ancestors.”  My great great grandfather who had 17 children.  He was married to one sister, ran off with another sister and after she died, married a “widow” who turned out to be a divorcee.  In the early 1900’s, this was somewhat of a scandal.  Here are the blogs I wrote about George Christian Shawver:


My 10th great grandfather has all of the credentials of a hero and significant figure in history.  He was the first man to navigate Boston harbor.  That probably doesn’t sound all that important to today’s generations but to someone in 1630 it was significant.  Ships could navigate in a safe passage in and out of Boston, which could arguably be called one of the most important cities in Colonial America.  He really was one of the more important people of his generation.


I have Mayflower ancestors that came on that first ship. Elizabeth Tilley was a teenager whose parents died during that first winter and she ended up marrying one the two bachelors who made the trip, namely John Howland.  There are a lot descendants who can claim ancestry to John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley.  (Mayflower Ancestry - Part 1)

Then there is John Billington.  He was considered to be the troublemaker of the group causing constant tension among the passengers.  His two boys nearly blew up the ship during the journey playing with flint around gun powder.  John Billington also turned out to be the first man hung for murder in the new world.  (Mayflower Ancestry - Part 2)

William White was one of the nearly ⅓ of the passengers who died that first winter.  There is a lot to be admired anyone who undertook the journey on the Mayflower.  These people didn’t know what they would face and took the hazardous trip to be able to practice their religious beliefs without the interference of a government.  William White’s wife, Susanna ended up marrying the first governor of the colony, Edward Winslow..who turns out to be my 9th great grandfather’s older brother.  (Mayflower Ancestry - Part 3)  Kenelm was quite an interesting fellow as well…(Coffin Make in New England)

My father’s great grandfather (Washington Abraham Johnson) was a 1st cousin to Pres. Andrew Johnson which is interesting enough.  However, his younger brother Nicholas Johnson was interesting in his own way.  If you talk to his family members, Nicholas disappeared after the Civil War and ran off to California abandoning his wife and children as well as aged father.  I am not sure I will ever find what happened  to him. (Nicholas Johnson - Man of Mystery)

There are a lot more characters in my ancestry.  I had ancestors who were among the first settlers here and as far as I can find, I don’t have an ancestor who arrived any later than 1810.  I have been very lucky, I have known 3 great grandmothers, 2 grandmothers, 2 grandfathers, and a great grandfather.  Every one of these people have made me who I am.  I am not like most of those celebrities in those TV shows because I do know a lot about my history.  When I began doing research more formally, I did it with my mother. Mom was my best resource for stories about her family and many years ago she took the initiative on long ago conversation with her father in law to give us a great starting point on his family. We lost Mom back in 2005 - I know she is breaking down all those brick walls...sure wish she could tell me what she has learned. This is my favorite picture of my Mom...in her signature red, her favorite color.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Goodbye Uncle Karl

It was just about a month ago I was thinking that I needed to have my uncle over for dinner.  My plan was to wait until it cooled off as we were in the middle of a heat wave.  Uncle Karl was very fond of my meatloaf and that seems like a meal for fall rather than the hot summer.  However, it looks like it was not to be as he passed away on Aug 14, 2017.  Life had been harder for Karl the past few years.  For 56 years of his life, he was half of a pair, and when his wife Shirley passed away 2 years ago on July 1, 2015, it seemed that the light when out of his life.

Karl grew up in Moscow, ID.  I don’t suppose life was all that different than any other kid who lives in a rural area.  His Dad worked at the University of Idaho in the farm area and Karl and his siblings played around the various farm animals.  His sister, Paula, relates how they ran around as kids wearing only cotton overalls, cowboy hats with cap guns in their holsters.  Playing around as if they were members of the Jesse James gang.  They moved to another house that had a creek running through it.  The kids enjoyed playing baseball in the cow pasture.  As Paula relates it, they used cow pies as bases so when the game was done at the end of the day, big brother Karl would strip them down and hose them off before they were allowed to go into the house.

I can honestly say that those stories don’t surprise me but they were nothing like the Karl I knew.  That is mostly because I didn’t really get to know Karl until I was an adult.  I didn’t have time for adults when my cousins were around to play with.  In fact, it is sometimes difficult to see an older member of the family has a child or a young man.  I can remember Karl relating a story of he, my Dad, and uncle Bill taking a trip down to Mackay Bar (remote area along Salmon River, Idaho) Evidently it was quite a narrow and treacherous road – if you asked my Dad, he would tell you it was a good road.  Anyway, the three guys, all in the 20’s, were three abreast in Dad’s car and one of them was holding a bag of potato chips.  My Dad (Gene) was driving and kept reaching across to grab some chips.  Karl had the opinion that Dad should keep his hands on the wheel!  It was funny listening to Karl, Bill and Dad squabble about the relative safety of that road trip 50 years after it had happened.  Parts of the story never changed – Karl’s opinion that Dad needed to keep his hands on the wheel and the problem they found at the bottom of the road.  Somehow, they were out of gas and the only gas available was some old airplane gas at the bottom of the hill. 

Left to Right - Anne Johnson Bell, Shirley & Karl & Eugene
Anne and Eugene are Shirley's siblings.
Karl married Shirley on January 24, 1959 and he became a part of the Johnson/Gage clan, whether he wanted to or not.  My Dad was always closer with his two older sisters and they were geographically closer together than his other two siblings.   It was Gene and Betty (my folks), Karl & Shirley and Bill & Anne.There were a lot of shared memories with my Dad (Shirley’s older brother) and Uncle Bill (married to Shirley’s younger sister, Anne).  Karl, Dad & Bill essentially became brothers.  So, the three couples joined together for a lot of dinners and visits. They hadn’t had much time after they had been married a while.  Between 1958 and 1967 there were 13 kids born between the three families. However, when the kids were all out of the house, the three couples had many dinners together.


Karl was always willing to lend a hand and when you thanked him, he would reply “This is what you do for family!”  There were a lot of occasions when Karl & Shirley showed up to help out with one project or another.  I especially saw this the last 20 years or so.  The Karl I knew had a gentle smile.  He was a bit on the crochety side occasionally, but that was something Shirley could usually charm out of him.  Karl and Shirley spent a lot of years as camp hosts up on the Lochsa.  It appealed to both of them – Shirley enjoyed the social side of it and Karl enjoyed the camping and spending time wandering around the land.  The two of them went on many adventures on the 6x6.  Those wonderful adventures ended much too soon as Shirley passed away rather quickly two years ago.  It was though the light went out of his eyes, and I wondered how long we would have Karl.  Life wasn’t much fun without his life partner.  However, Karl made an effort – mostly because he knew Shirley would want him to.  I remember when I had some medical issues last year, I picked up the phone and Karl was on the other end.  I assumed he was calling for Dad, but he stopped me and asked me how I was feeling.  Then he told me to let him know if there was any way he could help.  I suppose in the end that is the way I will think about Uncle Karl…offering his help if he was needed!  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Early Tannahills & Jones in Idaho - Sam Tannahill

Brothers - John Lyons Tannahill sitting and
Samuel Oliver Tannahill standing behind.
Taken about 1930
I have always been interested in local history.  I knew that my mother's family came to the Lewiston, ID area in the 1920's and my Dad's family was in the Princeton, ID area in 1935.  However, if I look a little deeper, I find that I actually have family on my mother's family that was here much earlier.  If you work on the premise that one of the reasons an individual or family moves to an area because they relatives already there, I suspect that it is a significant connection.

My grandfather, Oliver Richard Tannahill moved to Idaho with his father in the mid 1920's.  I suspect it was around 1926 or so.  Why did John Lyons Tannahill (my great grandfather) decide on Idaho instead of another location.  It turns out that he had two full brothers and two half brothers who lived in the area, one of those is Samuel Oliver Tannahill.  

Almira Jones m. John Tannahill & Sam Pennell
Sam's mother

Samuel Oliver Tannahill was the second child of Almira Jones and John Tannahill. His older brother died at birth, so in essence he was the oldest.  Sam was born 10 Aug 1868 in Elden Wapello Co., IA.  He had two younger brothers, George William Tannahill (1871-1917) and John Lyons Tannahill (1873-1945).  Sam's father died in 1873 just before John Lyons Tannahill was born. Almira remarried a few years later on 8 Jun 1875 in Montgomery, KS to Samuel Wesley Pennell.  By all accounts, Sam Pennell treated his step sons well, but they all left home fairly early to make their own way in the world. Almira and Sam Pennell also had four more sons (Robert, Charles, Grover "Pat", Thomas Franklin) and three daughters (Maude, Mollie & Celia).   


The first record that I find on Samuel Oliver Tannahill in the general was in 1889 in Garfield Co., WA (likely close to present day, Pomeroy, WA).  Sam married his first wife, Alice R Cox on 6 Oct 1897 in Nez Perce Co., ID.  According to his obituary he was "a leading citizen of Lewiston and prominent as an attorney in central Idaho since 1905, practicing most of the time since in Lewiston, democratic national committeeman from Idaho and well known all over the northwest." (Obit published Lewiston Morning Tribune 31 Dec 1935)  All I really knew about Sam Tannahill was that he had been an attorney and had been fairly prominent in the Democratic party in Idaho until his death.  His obituary explains that he was elected as assessor in Nez Perce Co., ID in 1894 as well as serving on the city council.  He also worked in a store in Ilo (present day Craigmont, ID) and also worked as an abstractor.  He saved enough money to go to Valparaiso, IN for Law School.  This is yet another example of going somewhere where family is or was located.  I know from my own research that Sam Tannahill likely had Harrington relatives who lived near Valparaiso.  His grandmother's family (Hulda Harrington) grandparents had died in Valparaiso, IN.  It may be an interesting coincidence, but then it may not be either.  Both Sam and his brother, George William Tannahill went to Valparaiso and returned to Idaho to practice law.  Sam ended up being the prosecuting attorney for Lewis Co., ID (Nezperce) for several terms.  He actually had been in partnership with his brother in Lewiston, ID as well.  After George died in a car accident in 1915, Sam returned to Lewiston permanently.  

Sam was involved in virtually every capacity within the Democratic party in early Idaho including be a representative to the national committee.  While I think Sam Tannahill's business life was very good and impressive...I am not sure the same can be said of his private life.  Sam was first married to Alice R Cox on 6 Oct 1897 in Nez Perce Co., ID.  He was still married to her in the 1910 census, but they must have divorced between 1910 and 1917, because Sam marries again on 11 Sept 1917 to Ella Patterson in Spokane, WA.  Alice has not died and in fact remarries to Harry Lydon, the county treasurer sometime before the 1920 census when they are recorded together.

Ella died on 15 Oct 1923.  According to her death record, Ella died at age 46 of an embolism.  Sam marries again on 6 May 1925 to Josephine Krier.  Sam died himself of a cerebral hemorrhage on 30 Dec 1935 in Lewiston, ID.

I don't know as much about Sam from family stories other than a few tidbits I picked up from my mother.  I think that my great grandfather (John Lyons Tannahill) brought his two youngest children when he moved to Idaho, probably sometime around 1926-1928. (Oliver Richard Tannahill & Olive Rachel Tannahill) I can only guess that the reason John Lyons Tannahill came to Idaho was because his only surviving full brother lived in Idaho.  My grandfather, O. Richard Tannahill finished high school in Lewiston, ID.  I have often wondered if Sam had some influence on my grandfather finishing high school and spending a short time in college.  In 1930, life had to be pretty difficult because of the depression.  For Grandpa Richard to have completed his education makes me believe that Sam possibly helped his brother's family financially.  I also know from what my mother said that Grandpa Richard was very fond of Sam and that both my grandparents were quite upset when he passed away.  

Most of my information about Samuel Oliver Tannahill comes from an obituary and a write-up on early Idaho history.  He was a significant enough figure, that there was quite a bit written in an early Idaho history that was published.  I know that he was an important attorney in the area having been the first prosecuting attorney for Lewis Co., ID and was appointed by the governor of Idaho at the time.   In addition, Sam was quite active in the Idaho politics until his death in 1935.  Beyond his personal acclaim as a lawyer and local citizen, I suspect that he must have had an important personal connection with my grandfather and perhaps gave him the type of guidance and support needed to become a good businessman.