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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Growing up, my parents would plant a large garden in our yard, and during the summer we would partake in various fresh vegetables. But like all gardens, it always seemed like we had an abundance of zucchini. I remember being sent to our neighbors, zucchini in hand, sharing our harvest.

We used to eat a lot of squash for dinner, but my mom would also bake delectable desserts, including the one I want to share today: Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

IMG_2507This is the easiest cake to make, and the pop of zucchini makes it so moist. Even my nephew, the pickiest eater I know, scarfs down pieces of this cake.

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And even though I put in four cups of grated zucchini, you can barely see it in the cake. This photo has the tiniest bit of zucchini present.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cup flour

4 Tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoons salt

2 or 3 cups zucchini (I used 4 cups — this recipe is very forgiving)

Directions:

Cream butter, oil, and sugar.

Add eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Continue beating.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add to moist ingredients.

Add grated zucchini.

Bake in a greased 9×13 pan, 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

The original recipe calls for topping with chocolate chips or nuts, or ice with chocolate icing. I top with canned chocolate icing, as my mom did. Tastes like my childhood summers!

This is a moist cake, and oh so good.

I hope you enjoy!

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52 Ancestors: Closest to Your Birthday

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This weeks 52 Ancestors prompt is Closest to Your Birthday. I was born on Memorial Day, May 31, and the closest event to my birthday would be the death of my paternal great-grandma Myrtle Edith Sanford Crowe. She died on May 29, 1978, four years and two days before I was born.

 

Myrtle Edith Sanford, circa 1918
Myrtle Edith Sanford, c. 1918. Myrtle would have been around 18.

 

The date of her death being so close to my birthday is something I heard about many times growing up. I was actually due on May 29, something that displeased my grandma.

As a history buff from a young age, I remember reading the book “If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake,” and my grandma telling me that to a matter of luck, her mother survived the earthquake, with a chimney crashing down at the end of the bed. If her bed would have been situated differently, she may not have survived.

 

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Walter (her father), John (uncle), Myrtle, Mabel (her mom), Eldon, Grace, Eva, and Lester Sanford in Sunnyvale, California, before the earthquake.

 

The Sanford’s moved back to Oregon by 1908, where Myrtle met my great-grandfather, Chester Crowe. They married in 1918 and had two kids: their son Merle and daughter Veva, my grandma.

 

Merle and Myrtle Crowe, 1944
Myrtle and her son Merle, 1944.

She died of a heart attack on May 29, 1978. She loved pansies, and as I got older, I accompanied my grandma to visit the graves of her parents and my grandfather. We always placed a tray of pansies on her grave.

 

Myrtle and Chester Crowe, Carol and Vickie Comstock
Myrtle, her husband Chester, along with my cousins Vickie and Carol Comstock, c. 1972.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52 ancestors posts by clicking the tag! There is also a new, handy-dandy search bar to help find posts.

Until next time,

Meredith

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52 Ancestors: Work

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My grandfather Captain William Gordon McCallum served in the Merchant Marines prior to, during, and after World War I, and when he was discharged, he could not find a job in Seattle.

William Gordon McCallum

He ended up moving to Portland sometime between 1950 and 1951 and living in a boarding house when he finally got a job working for the Portland branch of the Marine Underwriters of San Francisco (according to my mom). However, a blurb about him later, published by Brady-Hamilton, said he came from the American Hawaiian Steamship Company.

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He left the job after a few years (my mom thinks around 1955, but definitely by 1957) to work for Brady-Hamilton Stevedore.

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He told them how to load things on the ships, overseeing the loading of ships at various ports, including Portland, Astoria, and Longview. Towards the end of his career championed moving towards container shipping.

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He worked seven days a week in the beginning, and would often go back to work after dinner. My mom recalls many nights where her and my grandma would go and sit in the dark in the car, waiting for my grandpa to finish up work.

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He retired in 1973, as Brady-Hamilton celebrated their 50th anniversary. The photographs in this post are from a booklet produced by the company, celebrating their 50 years in business.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52ancestors posts by clicking the tag!

Until next time,

Meredith

 

52 Ancestors: Back to School

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I was looking at some of the boxes I have for my family history items and came across this stack of books. These books used to sit in our childhood home, in the family room on a higher shelf, out of reach of the prying hands of children.

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Each book is from a different ancestor, obviously important enough to hold on to and eventually pass down. Some even contain information useful to genealogy.

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The oldest book belonged to my great-grandfather William McCallum. “The Miner’s Son, and Margaret Vernon,” written by M.M. Pollard was presented to him from Carleton Place Public Schools in Ontario, Canada, a prize for “General Proficiency” in December 1883, when William was 11.

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The next oldest book is from my great-great-grandmother Louisa Jennie Ishmael, a copy of “Daniel Baker’s Talk to Little Children,” a present given to her on her 11th birthday, 20 December 1884.

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Interestingly, the book also contains notes from my grandma about her genealogy that are incorrect. Her grandmother was named Louisa but went by Jennie. Her mother’s name was actually Mary. (Always double-check information given to you!)

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The next book was a gift to my great-grandfather Chester Crowe on Christmas Day 1902, from his uncle Orvill Crow. The inscription in the book is a little odd, as the family has added the “e” to the end of their surname two generations before, but yet it is not reflected in the book.

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A worn copy of “Jack and the Beanstalk” is inscribed to my grandfather, William Gordon McCallum, but was known as Gordon growing up. This book was gifted to him on his fourth birthday (27 November 1911) by Dan William Drummond. As I type this, I realize I have not attempted to find out who Mr. Drummond was, but now I must!

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The final book is a copy of Shakespeares’ “Merchant of Venice,” which belonged to my grandma Veva Crowe. The inscription reads “Veva Crowe Salem, Oregon class of 1935-36.” This copy states “for use in schools and classes.” My grandma went to school in Salem but graduated from Monmouth High School in 1939.

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These books obviously held meaning to my ancestors, and they hold meaning for me as well.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52ancestors posts by clicking the tag!

Until next time,

Meredith

 

 

52 Ancestors: Non-Population

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This weeks prompt is non-population so I would like to share the story of my 3x great-grandfather, George Harvey Dyer, who is listed on the 1890 Veterans Schedule.

George Dyer was born in Arkansas on 10 March 1846. During the Civil War, George enlisted in the Confederate army and on 4 July 1863, was captured in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

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George H. Dyer listed on a Roll of Prisoners of War Captured.

He shared his memories in a 1932 letter to his granddaughter, LaVelle Sanford:

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Excerpt of a 1932 letter from George Harvey Dyer to his granddaughter, LaVelle Sanford.

George then enlisted with the Union troops, serving until 20 August 1865.

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George Harvey Dyer Union military records, showing his enlistment in the army for the north.
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George Harvey Dyer in his Union uniform.

After the war, George married and had six children. Sometime between 1888 and 1890 the family moved to Oregon. His son Harvey was born in Kansas in March 1888, and then George is listed on the 1890 Veterans Schedule, now living in Salem, Oregon.

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1890 Veterans Schedule, listing Geo. H. Dyer.

By 1918, George is living in Los Angeles, California at a home for disabled soldiers.

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George Dyer’s entry in a home for disabled soldiers, 1918.

By 1930, George had returned to Oregon, living in an old soldiers home in Roseburg.

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Old Soldiers Home in Roseburg, Oregon. George Dyer is on the right.

George died on 23 December 1932 in Roseburg at the age of 86.

George Harvey Dyer
George Harvey Dyer.

Thanks to George’s service, I was able to track his movements through the 1890 veterans schedule and his stays in veterans homes. He traveled quite a bit during his life, and having these records allows for a better understanding of what happened to him.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52ancestors posts by clicking the tag above!

Until next time,

Meredith

52 Ancestors: Family Legend

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This weeks prompt is Family Legend, so I thought I would share a family legend I have been working on solving.

A couple years ago, my mom’s cousin Bobbie had a genealogical inquiry she wanted to solve. She knew her dad had been married for a short time before he married her mom, but that was it. When Bobbie would ask other family members about it, they would say that it was the past or change the subject, so she could never get any answers.

I agreed to look into it but didn’t find anything. But a few months ago as I was searching through records, I found the marriage record from his first wedding. John August Gall, Jr. married Irene Francis Soar in Yuma, Arizona on 5 March 1939.

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The marriage license of John August Gall, Jr. and Irene Francis Soar, 1939.

At first glance, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But as I looked further into Irene, I found that it appears that she lied on her marriage license. I have not found her exact birth date, but I did find her high school yearbook. In 1939 she was a junior Coronado High School in San Diego, California. In addition, on the 1930 census, Irene is listed as being 8 years old, so in 1939 she was most likely 17.

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From the Coronado High School yearbook, 1939.

Bobbie believed that her dad and his first wife were both young, and was surprised to learn John was 25 when he married. Bobbie began to question if Irene was pregnant and that is why they ran off. When Bobbie asked relatives about this years ago, she was told the couple never lived together so there couldn’t be a baby involved.

I found no record of a divorce, and because John married his second wife Barbara Paprocki in the Catholic Church, Bobbie believes the first marriage must have ended with an annulment.

By the 1940 census, John is listed as single and not living with Irene. In fact, I couldn’t find Irene (either under Soar or Gall) on the census. So I began looking at marriage records again. Irene Francis Soar was once again married in Yuma, Arizona on 14 January 1940 to William Henry Zimmerman.

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On the 1940 census William and Irene Zimmerman are living in San Diego, and Irene is (once again) 18. After the census, Irene is listed with William in the San Diego directories from 1941 and 1943, and then the trail runs cold. They are separated by 1946, as William married Marie R. Simmons in Pima, Arizona.

I have yet to find any evidence that she gave birth to a child in either marriage.

Bobbie remembers Irene calling their house when she was younger, and her grandma Ida telling her to stop calling, that John was married now. She doesn’t remember her calling again, but years later found a snapshot of a woman in his things and believes it was a photo of Irene.

 

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John and Barbara Gall.

 

So now I am putting this story out in the world, hoping someone may stumble upon it who has some information to share. I will keep looking as well. At the least, I would like to find out what happened to Irene and help Bobbie have some closure on this family legend.

You can find all my 52ancestors posts by clicking the tag above!

Until next time,

Meredith

 

52 Ancestors: Youngest

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Last week I explored a memory of my grandma, and for this weeks prompt, I share more of my grandma’s journal.

My grandpa Gerald (Jerry) Eby was my grandparent who died the youngest, at the age of 51. He died before I was born, so what I know about him through stories and pictures. So I think the best way to share about him is through the memories of my grandma. From 1998:


Jerry was born on July 8, 1921, in Idaho. He had 2 older brothers, 3 older sisters, and 1 younger sister. His family was very poor. They came to Oregon when Jerry was six years old where they lived on a hop ranch. His father (Dallas Eby) worked at the ranch. When Jerry was about 10 yrs. old his father died from cancer. The family then was on welfare until Jerry quit school at sixteen to help take care of his mother and younger sister. The older children had all left home by this time.

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In 1942 after war was declared, Jerry joined the Coast Guard. He was in until 1945. After he came home from the service was when I met him. He was a customer at a restaurant I worked in.

Gerald Eby, Coast Guard

Jerry was a big man. About 6’2″ weighing 225-240 lbs. He never was fat but very strong. He had brown eyes, dark brown hair (lots of it) and his looks were almost Indian like. He used to kiddingly say, he was part Indian (He wasn’t).

He was definitely a family man. Before we were married he never got into any kind of trouble, drank very little liquor, and was a good friend to everyone. He did smoke cigarettes (as most people did at that time). He never quit and probably never would have if he had lived. This was his big vice.

 

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Gerald and Richard Eby, 1960.

 

This main concern was always for the family. At first for his mother and younger sister, then for me and our children. He always said he never wanted to “do things with the boys.” If he had he wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.

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Veva and Gerald Eby, 1972.

He was an auto parts salesman with the reputation of being the best in Salem. He did this all the years I knew him.

 

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Gerald Eby, c. 1970.

 

He died on June 24, 1973, of a massive heart attack. That part of my life died with him.


{One correction: Dallas Eby died in 1934 when my grandpa was 13.}

Sometimes it can be hard to put genealogy into words. A lot of family history is looking at documents and other pieces of paper, so having the written (or oral) memories about someone you never knew can be invaluable.

And I had been wondering lately where I got all my dark, thick hair, and it is apparently from my grandpa!

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This photo was always displayed in our house growing up. Gerald and Veva Eby celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, 1972.

Now go forth and record your memories so younger generations can have them!

Until next time,

Meredith