18 November 2012

Reese Howe Peery

In 1828, in Tazewell County, Virginia, George Catlett Peery - two of whose great-grandfathers had moved from Northern Ireland to Virginia in the 1740s - was born.  George's great-grandfathers had settled first in Augusta County; both Augusta and Tazewell County are in the western part of the state, and, in the 1740s, must have been pioneering territory.

By 1828, however, the area may have seemed to tame - or too limiting.  George's father Archibald moved his family to Grundy County, Missouri, where George was born.

Perhaps George was afflicted with the wanderlust.  For his son Leslie Thomas appears to have been born in Minnesota - but his son Reese Howe Peery was born in Grundy County.

Leslie died in Multnomah Village, in Portland, and thus one infers that he took Susan's young grandfather there.  And about 1900 - when Reese was about 18 - Lois Parker, 14 years old, moved to Portland.

What is striking is that her grandmother Lolo and her grandfather Reese had lived some 10 or 12 miles apart in Missouri - and now lived 2 or 3 miles apart in Portland.  It seems likely to me that  this connexion is not purely coincidental.

Moving to a place like Oregon at the end of the 19th Century may have smacked somewhat still of pioneering to the intended emigrants.  I recall, in 1964, when I was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, talking with a co-worker in the language laboratory.  Roy was from Alabama.  He had experienced something of the relative ignorance of persons from that time of 'The West' when his great-aunt - who had never been out of her small town in Alabama before - came to visit him in Berkeley.  The lady - who had probably been born about the same time as Susan's grandmother - arrived in the evening on the train, and was taken by Roy to the apartment building where he lived.

The next morning he was awakened by a very worried great-aunt.  Had there been, she wanted to know, trouble with Indians recently?  She was very serious about it.  She took him downstairs to the tiny backyard of the apartment building.  Someone's child had apparently shot an arrow into a tree.

We laugh, but the changes from that time even to mid-century have been very great.  Jesse James was killed, at age 35, in 1882, the year Susan's grandfather was born.

Susan knows little of her paternal grandfather.  Somehow he married Lois Parker.  Perhaps they had known one another before moving to Oregon, perhaps not.  On 16 October, 1914, Sue's father, Edwin Parker Peery, was born.  Reese's and Lolo's marriage did not last long after that.

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