Saturday, March 3, 2012

William Wallace Colby

Yesterday was the anniversary of my great-grandfather William Wallace Colby's death. There is some confusion about his name. Surviving papers bearing his signature, invariably are written W. W. Colby.
His youngest daughter Grace Colby stated William Wallace on his death certificate, however found in his papers are numerous letters addressed to Uncle Wallace.  The Colby side of the family lists him as Wallace William Colby. It's most likely that his staunchly Presbyterian Scots ancestry chose William Wallace as his name.
Things looked very bleak March 2, 1936. Widowed twice, W. W. Colby had provided a home at Pine Lawn Farm outside Newberg, Oregon for his widowed daughter Grace and her two daughters Betty and Helen Werst. They raised chickens and prunes on the 11 acre farm. The prune dryer on the property had burned down the year before so now he had to pay to have his prune crop dried. It was money that he did not have. Sometime that winter, W. W. cut a leg badly and knowing there were no funds to pay for a doctor, tried to take care of it himself not even seeking Grace's assistance. When he finally showed her the leg, gangrene had set in and it was too late to save him.
My mother remembers going with her Mom to Riverside Mausoleum in Portland when W. W. was taken their for cremation. His remains were then shipped to Kansas to be interred with the remains of his first wife Mamie Hugunin Colby.
W. W. Colby had died with just $12.00 in the bank and there were no funds to provide a headstone. My mother and I visited the cemetery in Phillipsburg, Kansas in 2000 and she made arrangements then for a headstone.
Her father's death was the second time my Grandmother Grace Colby Werst Branchflower had been left mostly penniless with two young daughters to support.

No comments:

Post a Comment