Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Albert Friddles - An Admirable Person!


There are a lot of mysteries for me about the life of Albert Ananias Friddles and no one around to clear up any of those mysteries.  He was an incredibly significant person in the life of my great grandparents and what I know of his life signifies him as admirable person.

Albert pictured with his youngest daughter Elvia - who he raised  on his own! - Probably taken about 1920.
Albert was born on 22 May 1854 to Moses S. Friddles and ? Munday in North Carolina (at a guess I would say Lenoir Co., NC) His death record doesn’t supply the name of his mother and his sister’s birth record only supplies a surname.  Albert married Cordelia A. Vaught on 15 Mar 1883 in Johnson Co., TN.  She was the daughter of Joseph Leonard Vaught and Louisa Jane “Lou” Mast.  Albert and Cordelia left their home in Vaughtsville, Johnson Co., TN in 1888 and came west and settled at first in Garfield Co., WA and then got a homestead up on Grouse Flats, Wallowa Co., OR.  They had had three sons back in TN and added three daughters to their family.  One of those daughters died at about a month old in 1898.  Cordelia had either pneumonia or consumption and died on 20 Oct 1901 and is buried at the original home place on Grouse Flats.  Albert was left alone to care for his 5 children ranging in age from 6 months old to 18 as wells as take care of his property and provide for his family.  This would be a difficult task today…but at the turn of the 20th century – it must have seemed almost impossible.

When Albert left Tennessee, he left behind his family and even some siblings who he never had met.  David Carl Friddle or Pop Friddle as our family calls him was 34 years younger than his brother.  Unless Albert made a few trips back to Tennessee, I’m sure the only way they had communicated was probably by letter.  Albert encouraged his younger siblings to come west.  His sister Julia came early in the 1900’s and his youngest brother, David Carl Friddle came out in 1910.  Both of them established homesteads up on Grouse Flats and I’m sure they relied a great deal on their brother.  Pop Friddle (David Carl Friddle) never knew his father and I suspect that Albert became the father figure who he had never had.  A few months after Pop Friddle came out, his young wife, Sophia Dollar Friddle joined him with their year old son Jasper “Jack.”  Pop Friddle had a small shack built to house his young family while he worked at the railroad during the week.  It was up to Albert to supply the guidance and advice that Mom Friddle needed to survive on her own.  Geneva Hansen (Albert’s granddaughter) told me that many times Albert came home from visiting Mom Friddle and told his daughter in law that she really needed to go over and show that girl how to cook.  Albert also supplied her with lessons on how to build and do carpentry as well as an attitude that “can’t” should never be part of her vocabulary.  Mom Friddle took his lessons to heart and when her husband returned one weekend from working on the railroad he found the house that he had built moved to another location that was closer to the water and more convenient.  It might have taken her dozens of trips and extraordinary hard work…but she accomplished her goal.

Albert was also the local midwife.  When Mom Friddle went in to labor with my grandmother Capitola, it was Albert who delivered her.  Mom and Pop Friddle left Grouse Flats in the early 1920’s and moved to Pomeroy, WA so their son Jack could attend high school.  Albert left the old homestead to his son, Joe and he too went to Pomeroy to live with his youngest daughter.  He died there in 1928 at the age of 74 years old.  Albert was mourned by Mom & Pop Friddle as well as all of Albert’s descendants.  He had made an impact on a lot of people.  

Albert's grave up on Grouse Flats, Wallowa Co., OR at Bartlett Cemetery.
It is interesting to note that Albert was buried back up at Grouse Flats at Bartlett Cemetery.  This is interesting because there really is no short way during October to make it over the mountain between Pomeroy and Grouse Flats.  If there was much snow - the quickest route would have been impossible.  He was buried two days after his death, and I am sure the trip to take him over to be buried had to be long and arduous especially in whatever transportation they had available at that point.  Let me explain – I have taken the route by car from Bartlett Cemetery to Pomeroy, WA in the middle of the summer.  The road is a dirt road with a lot of ruts and some areas that would be very rough to traverse.  The drive probably took me about 2 ½ hours in good weather.  If there was snow, then that route would have been impossible.  If you drive from Pomeroy, WA to Lewiston, ID – that is 40 miles but it is another 60 miles or so to get to Troy, OR.  Today that trip would take at least 3 hours because of the rough country – back then with dirt roads, poor equipment, etc – it probably took three times that long.  Nevertheless, he is buried at a small country cemetery near the home that he loved.  I don’t think he ever regretted coming west because there was no opportunity for him to own land or be prosperous back in Johnson Co., TN.  Albert was a pioneer who forged a new life in a difficult land and helped his family make new lives for themselves as well.  All in all…an admirable person!