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Isaiah Watson Tracy, known as “Watson” to his family and friends, was born October 14, 1865 in Mt. Hope Township, McLean County, Illinois, merely months after the end of the U.S. Civil War. Mt. Hope Township is located outside and Southwest of the city of Bloomington, Illinois. Watson was the first son born to John Edward Tracy and Maria Artlysia Boblett Tracy. According the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, John Edward Tracy was a farmer and Maria kept house for the family. At the time of his birth, Watson had four older sisters, Mary Maria, Rachel Rosanna, Olivia Ann, and Amanda Elizabeth.
By the time Watson attained the age of eight, the Tracy family had grown further with the birth of two more boys, namely John Wesley and Charles Edward Tracy. During that year of 1873, the family left Illinois and moved to Nebraska seeking a permanent home. By 1876, when Watson was 11 years old, the family settled in York County, Nebraska, where Watson lived the remainder of his life. The Tracy family farm was located west of the town of York in Brown Township according to the 1885 Nebraska State Census.
By 1880, at the age of 14, Watson completed his formal schooling through the 8th grade while still living at home with his parents, one sister and two brothers. His father, John Edward Tracy continued to farm and Watson, as the oldest son, farmed with his father. There is little information on the period from age 14 through the age of 28, at which age, Watson married Mary Alice Rayles on March 25, 1894, when she was only 18. Mary’s family had also moved from Illinois to settle in York County, Nebraska. According to Watson’s published obituary, the couple was married in Charleston.
Watson and Mary began having children soon after their marriage with the birth of their son, Claude Edward Tracy on April 14, 1895, their daughter, Myrle Anna Tracy on October 29, 1897, their son, Lloyd Ernest Tracy (my great grandfather after whom I am named) on March 20, 1899, and their son, Ora Chester Tracy who died the year he was born, and their son, and Earl Eugene Tracy on October 30, 1903. The family lived and worked on their farm in Baker Township, York County.
By 1920, the Tracy’s had one more son, Glen Watson Tracy born on June 11, 1912, and according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, at age 55 Watson was then employed as a public fireman in York. Also living with the family at this time was Watson’s brother, Lloyd Tracy and his wife Mary (although this could be a mistake and it could be his son Lloyd Ernest Tracy who would also be 21 years old that year).
At the age of 64, Watson worked as a gas and electric worker in York and he is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census as living alone (although there is nothing to indicate that he and Mary Alice were divorced). In fact, the 1940 U.S. Federal Census describes them as living together at the ages of 74 and 64 in York. A few years after 1940, Watson passed away at the age of 79 years old on December 3, 1944. Services were conducted by the Rev. Gardner R. Miller at the Metz Chapel in York. Watson was buried in the Council Cemetery in York near his parents and one son that had died in childhood.
Watson lived, farmed, and worked most of his life in York County, Nebraska during a period that saw the area grow from empty prairie to settled communities in the 20th Century. According to his published obituary, he was remembered as a quiet, unassuming man and a good father. He appreciated his family, friends and community.
Watson’s legacy was his family and children. His oldest son, Claude married Hazel Emerson and remained in Nebraska during his lifetime. His oldest daughter, Myrle, married Lloyd Kingsolver and lived in the state of Washington. His son Lloyd Ernest married Nellie Barker and lived in Long Beach, California, his son Earl married Helen Machovec and lived in San Bernardino, California, and the baby of the family, Glen, married Vera and also lived in southern California.
Amanda Tracy married a man with an entrepreneurial spirit. Granville Woolman was the sixth child of Benjamin and Lydia (Hobaugh) Woolman. Benjamin and Lydia were born in Ohio. They had ten children in all. Granville Benesot Woolman was born in Osceola, Clark, Iowa on February 24, 1859. The family lived in Freemont, Iowa during the 1860 and 1870 census and Benjamin was a farmer. By the 1880 census they were living in York, Nebraska. This is where Granville and Amanda met and were married in 1884. Their first child, Bessie Leona, was born in 1885 in South Dakota so I can only imagine they moved there soon after their wedding to start a new life. But by 1886 when their second child, Clarence, was born they had moved to Julesburg, Sedgewick, Colorado. Granville’s parents were living here and his father, Benjamin, died in Julesburg, July 5, 1890. The Granville Woolman family continued to live in Julesburg until around 1908. Granville operated a successful meat market and hide trading business and later was mayor of Julesburg.
One of Granville’s brother’s was a merchant in Lake Charles, Louisiana and by 1910 Granville had moved his family to Lake Charles. He immediately opened a general store. They owned a home at 1030 Pujo Street which is still standing and part of the National Historic Registry in that area. I will write another post about this house. By 1920 they had moved into a home at 430 Hodge and they ran this home as a bed and breakfast. This house was featured in an earlier post. (insert post link) Granville and Amanda lived in this home until their deaths, hers in 1952 and his in 1955.
Granville and Amanda had five children: Bessie Leona (1885), Clarence G (1886), Jessie May (1890), Charles Warren (1894), and Lee Wesley (1898).
Bessie was born March 9, 1885 in South Dakota. She married George Pridgen and they had at least one son, Robert Woolman Pridgen born 1910. Bessie died July 26, 1934 in Lake Charles and is buried in Orange Grove Cemetery there.
Clarence G was born October 7, 1886 in Colorado, probably Julesburg. Clarence married Pearl Doan in Louisiana in 1908. Pearl was born 1889 in Alabama. They had three children: Elizabeth 1912, Roy Lee (1915), and Butch (1917). By the 1920 census the family had moved to Beaumont, Texas where Clarence was an automobile salesman. Clarence died January 12, 1953 and is buried in Orange Grove Cemetery in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Jessie May Woolman was July 18, 1890 in Julesburg, Colorado. She married Ray F Harlan before 1920 but by 1930 they are divorced and Jessie lives with her parents. I don’t find that she ever married again. She died June 25, 1960 in Texas and is buried in Graceland Cemetery.
Charles Warren, born July 27, 1894 in Julesburg, Colorado was the fourth child of Granville and Amanda Tracy. By 1930 he is married to Effie C Trammel and they are living in his parents boarding house. Effie died March 6, 1933. Warren soon marries Gladys Dugas, born 1912, and they have a son, George. Charles Warren died in Lake Charles, August 25, 1969 but his wife Gladys is still alive (at least up to 2012).
The last child of Granville and Amanda was Lee Wesley, born in Julesburg, Colorado on December 13, 1898. By 1920 he is living in Jefferson County, Texas and working as a Chauffeur. In the 1929 directory he is a mechanic living in Beaumont, Texas and married to Hester Curry(1897). They have a daughter, Betty Lee. The family lived in Stockton, San Joaquin, California in 1935. The 1940 census lists Lee and his wife as proprietors of a tourist home in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The home is called “The Abbott” and is at 825 Broad. It seems Lee was following is his parents’ footsteps. Lee died April 30, 1970. Hester died October 1, 1975.
There are still a few Woolman descendants living in the Lake Charles, Louisiana and Beaumont, Texas areas. This family is mentioned in many records that talk about the history of Lake Charles as well as the history of Julesburg. They were instrumental in settling new towns and helping them grow.
Scanned these old pictures at Alice’s. I do not know where this clock is now but it would be pretty cool to get this info to the owner if it are still around. I love that Amanda was sharing with her sisters, Anna and Ray, the excitement she felt when her clock turned 100 years old.
The fourth and youngest daughter of John Edward and Maria Artlysia Tracy was Amanda Elizabeth Tracy. She was born June 16, 1863 in Ohio. She married Granville Beneset Woolman in 1884 in York, Nebraska. They must have immediately moved to South Dakota because their oldest daughter, Bessie was born there in March of 1885. By 1886 when their next child, Clarence, was born they were in Julesburg, Colorado. Most of Granville’s family was there already. The rest of the children were born in Julesburg as well; Jessie(1890), Charles “Warren” (1894), and Lee Wesley (1898). In Julesburg, Granville owned a meat market and traded in hides. He also became mayor of Julesburg at some point before 1910. Some of his family, possibly a brother, had moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and was asking Granville to move there.
The Woolman family was living in Lake Charles by 1910. The owned a large house at 1030 Pujo Street and Granville owned a Grocery Store at 1131 Broad Street. That home is still standing and is now on the National Historic Registry. Dr. Joe Cash and his wife bought it and renovated it in the 1980s. It was also featured on the HGTV show “If Walls Could Talk” and the story I heard, which I have been trying to verify, is that the upstairs has a mystery extra room with a window but no door or evidence of a door ever having existed.
By the mid 1920s the Woolmans’ had moved into a large home at 430 Hodge. This they ran as a boarding house. The 1930 census has their boarders listed. By this time their five children had grown up and moved out. Granville and Amanda lived in this home until their death. Amanda died April 18, 1952 at age 88 and Granville on April 3, 1955 at 96. They led a full and enterprising life.