Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Aunt Doodles


I used to call my uncle Claude to ask him questions about the past and old family members.  He used to always caution me that he really didn’t know all that much because he was so much younger.  Claude was the youngest of three children and was 15 and 13 years younger than his older brother and sister.  However, Claude was my only resource so I would continue to question him.  One day I called him and asked him if he remembered his Dad’s sister, Julia.  Claude told me that he didn’t remember and then we got into a discussion about where they lived at Pomeroy.  During this story, he mentioned “Aunt Doodles”  - I asked him who she was and he replied “Pop’s sister!”  Ahh…I had my answer!

Julia Friddles was born August 27, 1852 in Lenoir, Caldwell Co., NC to Moses Friddles and his first wife.  She was the eldest of the 10 known children of Moses Friddles with at least 4 wives.  She married Sidney Plaskia Prestwood on September 14, 1876 in Jefferson Co., TN.  They had three known children two of whom survived to adulthood.  I’m not sure if she and her husband divorced or separated but after 1900, she is no longer with him and he has remarried.  Her younger brother, Albert, came west with his family in the late 1880’s and he encouraged his sister to make the move as well, and she came west in 1901.  Julia and her son both applied for a homestead up on Grouse Flats, Wallowa Co., OR near her brother’s place.   However, by 1920, she had abandoned the home place and had moved to Pomeroy with her son.  She is in the 1920 census with her son and two granddaughters through her daughter Rosie.  That time period between 1910 and 1920 is somewhat hazy.  Rosie was molested at some point by one of her cousins and the case became fairly well known in the early teens and is listed online as an early court case for rape in Oregon.  Rosie married and had two children but left them with her mother and I haven’t as yet been able to locate her in 1920, although I think I have found her in California in 1930.  That is still something I am researching.  Julia is found in Walla Walla, Walla Walla Co., WA in 1930 and she passes away on April 5, 1932 at her son’s home.

Julia's grave at the Walla Walla Cemetery.
Somehow she got the nickname of Aunt Doodles…Mom remembered that her mother mentioned Aunt Doodles several times, but she was never quite sure who she was.  Once Claude realized who she was, he was able to give me information that became very valuable in locating her.  He told me that he and his mother had boarded a bus and had gone to Walla Walla when he was a little kid to go and visit her.  She was ill, and Mom Friddle thought they needed to visit her.  Claude said that it was around Easter time when they made their visit and he thought he was about 7 or 8.  Years ago, I went down to Walla Walla and located the cemetery and found out where Julia was buried as well as her son, Albert and his three wives.  There I found her death date and was pleasantly surprised at how close Claude was on the date of when she died.  I went to the library and got a copy of her obituary.  While it didn’t give me much in the way of further information, it did give me a location to look at more closely; Lenoir, Caldwell Co., NC.

Julia’s family continues to be a topic of research for me.  Every once in a while, I find something that somehow leads me into a new direction.  As I have never located in record concerning her father before 1858, I was anxious to get a copy of Julia’s death record.  Her brother Albert’s record had not given any further information on death location or the identity of the mother.  Julia’s death record lists a mother with the name of Munday.  I still don’t have the full name, but perhaps it is a clue.  It bothers me that I have never been able to locate Moses Friddles in the 1850 census nor anything else on his background.  I had always hoped that I might make progress by searching through these two older children.  While there are clues, I’m still not quite there yet.  However, I am much closer than I was years ago before I had the conversation with my uncle.  I am glad that we had that talk so long ago…he has since passed away and there is no one else to ask.  Aunt Doodles only existed in the deep recesses of his memory from his childhood – but after questioning him on other topics, he was able to remember quite a bit.  All I can say is if you have the opportunity to talk to your older generations about family members, take the opportunity and do it now.  You may never have the opportunity again!