Today’s Notable U. S. Event
Fred and Elizabeth “Bessie” were my grandparents and the parents of my father, Ivan “Hap” Murray (he is the little guy in front of his Dad in the picture). Fred was born on a farm in Kansas on 21 Mar 1891. In 1900 his father was tragically killed in a farming accident and then his older brother drowned the following year. In the next decade the remaining family struggled to maintain the farm and his Mother remarried. Then in 1910 young Fred, and most of his family and neighbors, took off for the promise of Homesteading in central Montana.
Bessie was born on 9 Nov 1893 and raised in Iowa. Her family was also attracted by the apparent opportunities awaiting them in Montana, when Homesteading opened up, and around 1910 they also packed up and headed west.
Fred and Bessie met and married shortly after their families moved to Montana. They Homesteaded near the tiny town of Coffee Creek. Many of their family member’s descendants still live in the area. Both of my father’s grandmothers are buried in the small Coffee Creek cemetery. Fred and Bessie had 5 children in Montana and scratched out a living, mostly farming, but also doing odd and seasonal jobs to make ends meet. Finally, around 1930 as the depression closed in, they began to drift west. After stops in western Montana and Washington State they finally settled in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the early ’30s. My father finished High School there in the small town of Philomath.
But they couldn’t stay still it seems. As the depression wound down and WWII came to dominate American life they headed to California (along with most of their children and families) in search of new adventure. The rest of their lives Fred and Bessie wandered about, not pausing long in any one place and always seeking new horizons. The stayed mostly on the West Coast but lived in Wyoming, Oregon, Northern and Southern California among other places. They were happy in their comings and goings and always stayed close to one or another of their kids. They ended up spending their final years in Oregon, near their daughter Carmen.
World War Cycle – World War I / Prohibition Era – Third Turning, Unraveling (1910-1929)