Frank Erwin Claycomb – Part 3

Frank Claycomb’s wife, Anna Sarah Townsend, died in 1892 leaving him with five children ages 3 weeks to almost 8 years.  He had a housekeeper, Mrs. Hill, who must have been a huge help in those early years.  His son, Amos, kept diaries that mention Mrs. Hill.  The earliest we have is 1900 when he was 14 – the first one can be seen here.

frank e claycomb

Frank lives in Cortland Township, DeKalb county, Illinois.  He farms and invests in land.

On June 30, 1908, Frank’s father, George Washington Claycomb, died at the age of 80 in Monmouth, Warren county, Illinois.

geo w claycomb w g-dau eleanor

George Washington Claycomb with his granddaughter Eleanor. Eleanor was born in 1884, so perhaps this was taken about 1888.

In 1910 on October 27th, Eleanor, the oldest child married Arthur B. Gochenour.  On 13 October 1911, Frank Claycomb’s first grandchild was born and named Frank Claycomb Gochenour.

Four Generations: Sarah Goddard Claycomb, mother of Frank Erwin Claycomb who is the father of Eleanor C. Gochenour who is the mother of Frank Claycomb Gochenour (born 1911).

Four Generations: Sarah Goddard Claycomb, mother of Frank Erwin Claycomb who is the father of Eleanor C. Gochenour who is the mother of Frank Claycomb Gochenour (born 1911).

On 7 September 1911 Louise married Lewis Ray Love at “Anchorage” her Aunt Georgia Yates’ home in Boise, Idaho.  They later moved to New York.

In early 1912 – on January 12th – Frank Claycomb married for the second time – this time to Evangeline Shattuck, a teacher in the Sycamore schools.  She was born in 1873 in Colorado – her parents were Orville and Harriet Shattuck.

FEC Ve 1919

The only photo I have found of Ve. She’s holding granddaughter, Barbara. Her husband Frank is on the left. 1919.

She came to be Grandma Ve when the grandchildren and great-grandchildren arrived.  There is so much to Ve’s story that I don’t know.  In 1910 she lived with her two sisters, Edith and Ethel – none of them married and all were teachers.  Evangeline was born in Colorado, Edith in Pennsylvania and Ethel in Ohio.  That’s a lot of moving in the late 1800s and there must be stories there!

In the 1960s I wrote to her about family genealogy – I didn’t know she wasn’t my grandfather’s mother.  I just knew she was my great-grandmother.  She answered my letter that since there were no blood ties, her story wasn’t important.  Oh, what a mistake I made not asking her more.

Frank’s children continued to get married.  On 20 December 1913, George married Helen Virginia Quarles in Honolulu, Hawaii.  They made their home in Boise, Idaho.

On 27 February 1917 Edward married Isabel Peake in Kansas City, Missouri where they lived.

A photo from about 1919 shows the family (people are identified here).  All of Frank’s children have married and there are many grandchildren.


In 1922 young Frank Gochenour died on July 11th.  He was 10 years old.

frank gochenour June 1921 4th L

Frank Gochenour (4th from left) with friends. June 1921

And on 19 August 1926 Sarah Goddard Claycomb, Frank’s mother and the matriarch of the family, died.  She was 92.

sarah goddard

Sarah Goddard Claycomb – taken from the group photo above. 1919

Frank E Claycomb sr

On 2 August 1932, Frank Erwin Claycomb died at age 77.  From his will:  Petition of Evangeline S. Claycomb:  Frank E. Claycomb died at his home in DeKalb Township in DeKalb County, IL, 2 August 1932.  Real estate valued at at sixteen thousand dollars, personal property valued at three thousand dollars.  Surviving him: Evangeline S. Claycomb; Eleanor Gochenour, daughter, adult, Sycamore IL;  Louise Love, daughter, adult, Winnetka, IL;  Amas [sic] Claycomb, son, adult, Wayne NE;  George Claycomb, son, adult, Boise ID;  Edward Claycomb, son, adult, Kansas City MO.

Lists real estate owned in DeKalb County, 5 shares of stock, Ohio Oil company, 20 shares of stock, Club Aluminum, 2 bonds secured by mortgage in Pierce Bank Building, 4 shares of stock in the First State Bank, Maple Park IL, 1 note secured by mortgage.

I wish I had more to write about Grandma Ve than just her death date – 10 February 1966, but I didn’t know much.  Even the adult grandchild who gave information for her death certificate knew very little.  I know she lived on her own, quite independently, in a two-story house.  We visited her in 1956 and I remember those steep stairs.  Mom said she died while talking on the phone to a friend.  Gently slipping away.

Anna Sarah Townsend & Frank Erwin Claycomb – Part I

Anna’s Story

anna to fred pcAnna Sarah Townsend was born 9 February 1864 in Malta, Illinois, daughter of Eleanor Pierce and Amos W. Townsend.  She had an older brother, Frederick and an older sister, Jennie.  She also had two younger sisters, Georgia and Mary.

The family moved to the Daniel Pierce farm just west of Sycamore, Illinois in 1876 when Anna’s maternal grandmother, Phoebe Jane Brundage Pierce, died.  This allowed them to care for her grandfather, Daniel Pierce.

In 1879 when she was 15, she went to Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois, for a year.  This is where she met Frank Claycomb.  Anna’s mother was active in the Universalist Church and later on was on the board of Lombard College, a Universalist school.

Anna then spent a year in school in Jacksonville, about 100 miles south of Galesburg.  And then a further year at Rockford Female Seminary.  It’s interesting that about this time, Jane Addams also attended Rockford (Class of 1881).

In 1881 Anna’s sister, Jennie, married Charles A. Webster.

I have a postcard Anna sent to her brother Fred in 1881 (could be 1887).  It appears to be written in a foreign language, although I think it may be a secret sibling language.  What does it look like to you?  She has beautiful, legible handwriting as you can see by the front of the card.

anna to fred pc rev

Frank’s Story

When I sat down to write Frank’s story, I realized how little I know about his life.  A few basic names and dates, but not much else.

He was born Frank Erwin Claycomb on 6 May 1857 in Warren county, Illinois.  His death certificate gives a birth year of 1855, but the early censuses are pretty clear that 1857 is more accurate.  His parents were Sarah Ann Goddard and George Washington Claycomb.

He had an older sister Laura born about 1852 (she later married Patrick H. Shelton).  He also had an older brother Albert R. who was born in 1853 and died in 1860.  And Frank had a younger sister, Alta May, born in 1865 who never married.

As far as I know he lived in Warren county until a few years after his marriage.

On 27 December 1882 Frank E. Claycomb, age 27, married Anna Townsend, age 18, in Sycamore, Illinois.

Part 2 can be seen here.

Dad’s Anaconda Wire & Cable Notebook

journal sharedMy brother choses great gifts – this year he sent many of Dad’s work related items.   Note pads and pencils with the company name, a magnifying glass, and address books with electrical industry contacts.  Nothing very personal, but still good fun and wonderful subjects to photograph.  And the very best thing to me was a notebook in which Dad kept notes when he went to Hastings, New York in 1934 for an introduction to Anaconda Wire & Cable Company where he had just started work.  He was 19 years old and had been living in

From Dad's Diary 10/1/1934

From Dad’s Diary 10/1/1934
(Not from this notebook)

Sycamore, Illinois and working as a gas meter reader for the local utility.

Now the entries here are not at all personal, they deal with wire manufacturing and annealing and weights of lengths of different sized cable.  But there are lots of blank pages.  I have decided to make this book my journal for 2013.  I’m going to write on the open pages.  This feels a tiny bit sacrilegious, but it also connects me to him.  A shared journal.

Journal page fec 2Frank Claycomb (1915-1999) worked for Anaconda Wire & Cable from 1934 to 1945 as a salesman.  He worked in St. Louis, Detroit, and Los Angeles.  When Anaconda wanted to transfer him to Ohio, Mom and Dad opted to stay in California.  Dad left Anaconda and went to work for Pacific Wholesale Electric Company in San Diego, selling electric supplies.

journal fec text