Friday, November 25, 2016

Welles and Ray

The two youngest sons of John H and Amanda (Walker) Callin were born about a year apart - and what a difference a year makes.

Their eldest brother, Byron, got his teaching certificate when Welles and Ray were infants; they would have been young men when Byron left his wife and headed west to the "Badlands" to teach in South Dakota. Their war hero father surely influenced them to pursue their educations; their brothers enticed them to seek adventure; their mother sought to keep them safe. And each chose to go their own way - for the most part.

Welles Monroe Callin (1889–1921) was born on April 19, 1889 in Bowling Green, Ohio. He grew up there until 1902, when the family moved to Fostoria. Welles attended Fostoria High School where he was the captain of the Ohio State Championship football team in 1907.

After his high school graduation on November 10, 1908, Welles married Florence, daughter of a local Fostoria city councilman, George B. Stone. They eloped to Windsor, Ontario, Canada and moved to Detroit. Welles’ brother Prentice was living there also, and they may have moved in with him. This marriage didn't work out and they were divorced shortly thereafter; they had no children.

Welles and Prentice then seem to have left for Edmunds County, South Dakota where their brother Byron was living.  He held a number of degrees, including at least one in theology, and had been a traveling preacher for a time in South Dakota, as well as teaching school at nearly every level.

It was around this time that Byron began calling himself “Herbert”, his middle name. Welles evidently thought this was quite elegant and is listed in the 1910 census as “Monroe Callin”, though nobody ever seemed to call him that. In Baker, Montana, he met Marion Elizabeth Silvernale (1892–1972), the daughter of Baker's blacksmith, Charles Silvernale. The couple eloped in 1911. It was quite a scandal, and there was even an article in the local paper.

Her family was not exactly smitten with the idea of their little girl seeing a divorced man, but after having a son in Fostoria, the young couple settled in Whitefish, Montana where Welles went to work for The Great Northern Railroad.

On September 21, 1921, one year and one day after the birth of his youngest son, Welles was on a short run from Troy to Libby, Montana. He was standing on the platform between the locomotive and the tender when a heavy coal rake, that was sticking out beyond the side of the locomotive, struck a trestle and knocked him off of the train and into the riverbed. He landed on his head and died instantly. He was 32 years old. He is buried in the Missoula Cemetery in Missoula, Montana.

Marion remarried on 6 October 1922. She married Roger Q Smyth (1892–1961), and they had three children together: Marion Ruth Smyth (1924–2012), Roger Q Smyth (1926–2014), and Faus Argo Smyth (1930–2009). (Since they are not descendants of James Callin, I won't lay out their details here, but if you're interested in learning more about their families, let me know.) This extended family ended up in Washington state around 1924, and later, Marion and Roger relocated to Hemet, California, where they lived out their days.

     I. Cameron Welles Callin Sr. (1912–1968) was born in Fostoria, Ohio, and arrived with his parents in Seattle around 1924. He graduated from Franklin High School in 1933 and was an all-city football half-back two years. He played three years with the West Seattle Yellowjackets, a semi-pro football team. He was with The Boeing Company for 28 years, rising to become a senior supervisor for the Airplane Division. He died of a heart ailment in a Seattle hospital at 58 years of age.

Cameron married twice, and had a child with each wife. He married Theresa L Taylor (1914–1996) on 14 April 1934 in Seattle. They were together at least through 1940, but Cameron remarried in 1944, and Theresa remarried in 1949. Cameron's second wife was Alyce Annetta Risdon (1921–2000).

       A. Cameron Welles Callin Jr (1936–1990) was a native of Seattle, and he moved to Salem, Oregon, in 1975 from Vancouver, Washington. He owned and operated The Ranch restaurant in Salem for many years, and owned the Tom-Tom and Cameron's restaurants in Albany, Oregon. He married his first wife in 1958; she and their two sons and two daughters survive him.

In 1981, Cam divorced his first wife and married Pamela Rae Dillon (1957–2004) in 1982. Cam and Pam owned and operated the Ranch Restaurant and Bar for seven years, but he died in 1990, just after they bought the Tom-Tom Restaurant and Westbrooks in Albany. Pam continued to own and operate the Tom-Tom Restaurant for about 15 years. She died at only 46 years of age.

       B. Linda Callin (1945–2013) was Cam, Jr.'s half-sister. She married David O Monton (1948–2013) on 11 November 1972, and they died only a few months apart in 2013.

     II. Charles Silvernale Callin (1913–1976) enlisted in the U.S. Army from 2 July 1943 to 18 March 1946, and after the war he married Golda Hrederig Thomsen (1910–2001) on 3 May 1948. Golda was an army nurse he met during the war. They had two sons, one biological and one adopted, both still living.

Chuck was a school teacher, and like his brothers, he died far too early from heart ailments.

     III. John Kenneth Callin Sr. (1920–1976) joined the Army in July 1943, and married Mary Ellen M Jacobsen (1925–1995) that December. Because he couldn't get the hang of  Morse Code, he washed out of radio school and was assigned to the Air Corps as a tail gunner. He never saw action, though, because he was hospitalized with pneumonia which turned into pleurisy. He needed tubes inserted into his back, to the pleural cavity to drain the fluids. After that, he had his wings clipped and was no longer able to fly. So he spent the remainder of the war in England, guarding POWs. He received disabled veterans benefits for the rest of his life due to the pleurisy and the surgery. (Not a large amount - about 28 bucks a month.) John worked as a mail carrier until his death in 1976.

They had three sons, two of whom are still living.

       A. John Kenneth Callin Jr. is a traveler, a maker, and a family historian. He and his wife raised a daughter and a son, and have four grandchildren. I credit him with providing the details about this branch of the family - of course, I'll claim any errors you find in the writing!

     i. Thomas John (Tom) Callin (1973-2002) was born in Sun Valley, California, and struggled with bipolar disorder. He lost that struggle in 2002, and died in Overland Park, Kansas, where he left behind a wife and young daughter.

In Memory of a Bluesman
       B. Jeffry Steven Callin (1951–2012) was born in Burbank, California. He was a true child of the 60s. When the Beatles hit the music charts, Jeff picked up a guitar and never put it down. He worked as a merchant, a candy maker and a miner, but his true calling was the blues. At the time of his passing, he was divesting himself of all but the necessities so that he would be free to roam the US in his RV and seek out the old bluesmen and learn their riffs.

He was predeceased by his beloved Dotti,
Dorothy Kay (Chamberlain) Delaney (1946–1994), and survived by their daughter. Jeff was cremated and his remains were placed inside of a guitar that his brother, John, built for him. They will be kept at home with Jeff's daughter.

Ray Callin (1890-1965) was born 26 August 1890, and unlike his brothers, he seems to have remained in Ohio and attended school rather than exploring the northwest of the country. Not to say he didn't have any adventures; he's one of our few ancestors who actually saw action during World War I.

Ray enlisted in the National Army from Sandusky, Ohio, on 1 October 1917, when he was 27. He served as an engineer, and was assigned to three units which were part of the American Expeditionary Forces from 4 March 1918 to 4 August 1919. He served in Company A, 308 Engineers until 20 May 1918; 116 Engineers until 21 June 1918; and in Company B, 2 Engineers until his Discharge. He was promoted to Corporal on 18 October 1917. He was involved in several major offensive campaigns: Aisne-Marne; St Mihiel; and Meuse-Argonne. He received his honorable discharge on 14 August 1919.

After the war, Ray lived with his widowed mother in Vermillion, and worked as a carpenter and woodworker. He did not marry until 11 September 1928, when he wed Mary Delcamp (1893–1974). Mary was the middle daughter of Emanuel J Delcamp (1862–1900) and Mary Ann Griffiths (1868–1939), of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Mary's father died abruptly at 37, and her mother remarried John Wanner. After John's death in 1915, the twice widowed Mary Wanner moved with her daughters to Cleveland.

Ray and Mary were both in their mid-to-late thirties when they married, and while had a son soon after their marriage, they also took in a few children over the years. One of these was Jack Hopkins, whose son came down with polio in 1950, when he was only four years old. Ray and Mary were reported in the paper as visiting their grandson, Jerry Hopkins, in the hospital, which shows how close they were to their foster children.

Another of these foster children remembered Ray's mother, Amanda, very well. He said she loved ice cream and would send him to the store to buy it for her. He recalled that she was a kindly lady, but stingy with her ice cream. (We researchers seem to share that ice cream gene.)

Ray farmed in the Sandusky area for many years, eventually selling the family farm in the early 1950s and buying a winter home in Florida, as his brothers Byron and John had done. Ray and Mary both died in Florida, and were survived by their son and four grandchildren - all of whom are still living.

 - -- --- -- -

That's going to do it for "my" branch of the family - we've finished our swing through the John H. Callin solar system, and when we pick things up again, we will start with his brother, James Monroe Callin. We've still got a long way to go before we have covered all of James Callin's descendants, so I hope you're in this for the long haul!

As I write this last post-script, it is Thanksgiving Day, 2016, and I've decided to give myself a holiday break for the month of December. I have some non-Callin research to catch up on, and may post some non-regular information between now and the end of the year, but I want to give the rest of the family my full energy in the New Year.

I'm getting better about reaching out to the surviving family members as I go, so hopefully more of them will start finding their way to the blog and to the Facebook group. If you're a member of this, or any of the families I've written about, and you have corrections to suggest, I'm happy to include them. I'm also happy to include your stories and memories, though I won't do so without your permission.

I hope you're all well, and I hope to hear from you in the comments below, at my "callintad" gmail address, or on the Callin Family History Facebook group.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Tales of a Prentice

The middle son of John H. and Amanda (Walker) Callin, Prentice George Callin was born in Middleton, Ohio on 22 September 1887.
Prentice & Hattie Callin
wedding - 1910

Prentice grew up as the middle child in a family that valued both learning and adventure. He grew up and attended school in Fostoria, Ohio, and he may have been a student in Detroit in 1910, when he and his bride acquired their marriage license.

Harriet Ellen "Hattie" Owen (1891–1991) was born in Fostoria, Ohio. She was the daughter of Joseph Russell Owen (1866–1941) and Grace Shoemaker (1871–1964). Her father was a railroad man who later ran his own seed supply business.

Hattie and Prentice were married on 15 June 1910 in Fostoria, and the next few years saw the birth of their two sons, Owen and David. In 1915, they moved to Otsego county, New York, where Prentice's brothers, Byron and John, were living and working as teachers. When John enlisted in the Ohio guard, Prentice did, too; and by 1920, he had moved his family back to Bowling Green, where Prentice established himself as a farmer.

Prentice farmed and did clerical work during the 1930s, and worked in the post office in the 1940s. Later in his life, Prentice retired from his farm, and he and Hattie moved to California to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Prentice died in San Diego in 1960, on his 50th wedding anniversary. Hattie followed David and his family when they moved to Washington state, and she died in Shelton, Mason county, Washington on 1 October 1991.

Owen, c. 1912 with
Prentice and Hattie
     I. Owen Prentice Callin (1911–1965) graduated from Ohio State University and began his journalism career on the Lorain (Ohio) Journal in 1936. Later he was employed by the Ohio State Journal in Columbus, the Tampa (Fla.) Times and the Toledo (Ohio) Blade.

Owen married Vivien June O'Hara (1912–1999) in 1937, and in 1943 they moved to California, where Owen worked for International News Service. He later joined the old Los Angeles Herald-Express, and moved to the Times in 1963. He was working as a Los Angeles Times copy editor and former wire service reporter when he died at the age of 53.

Vivien, also a newspaper editor, remarried on 25 October 1969 to Arnold Theodore Fitzmier Sr (1916–1985), and they lived in Long Beach.

       A. Thomas Owen Callin (1941–2008) made the newspaper as a toddler, notable for having grown in his adult molars at only 2 years of age. He was a lifelong resident of Long Beach, California, and left behind his wife, son, and two daughters; all of whom are still living.
David Warren Callin
c. 1935

     II. David Warren Callin (1914–1983) married Helen Ruth Grant (1911–2003) in Auburn, Indiana, on 10 April 1936.

Helen was born in Vermillion, Ohio, to William Graden Grant (1887–1967) and Estella E Westbrook (1884–1986). The Callins lived in Ohio and California before moving to Port Angeles in 1970 and Sequim in 1984. Judging by their frequent appearances in the Daily News of Port Angeles, the couple were adept bridge players during the 1970s.

       A. Michael Prentiss Callin grew up in Los Angeles, and lived for many years in Woodinville, Washington. He worked for Qwest Communications, and moved to Oregon after he retired. He and his wife had one son and one daughter, and as of this writing, they have four granddaughters.

       B. Helen and David's daughter lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.

       C. Grant David Callin is a science fiction author and retired Air Force officer. He published two novels in the late 1980s, Saturnalia and A Lion on Tharthee, as well as several short stories. During his Air Force career he set a record for human endurance as part of the U.S. space program's tests of human tolerance for designing spacecraft. In 1971, he appeared on a Flip Wilson TV special featuring "Record Makers" which included fellow guests Charles M. Schulz (creator of the Peanuts comic strip) and baseball legend Willie Mays.

Grant and his first wife raised three daughters. He retired to Sammamish, Washington, where he lives with his second wife.

Grant's daughter, Kari, was a public figure for a brief time, when she appeared on season 4 of the show America's Got Talent in 2009. She has several videos on YouTube performing some of her favorite songs (like My Immortal).

 - -- --- -- -

As you can see, we have some celebrities in this branch of the family! I'm still getting to know some of these folks, and I hope to be able to add to what I have here, but this was a fun start.

I'm reminded, though, of the over-arching theme of the blog - the idea that we are all minor celebrities in our own stories, and that every one of us is important to telling those stories. At a time when a lot of us are worried about the future, it's vital that we remember that - just being who we are and taking care of each other is at least as important as being famous, or being successful.

As always, drop a note if you spot any errors or omissions - as we get closer to the end of the two-year effort to document all of James Callin's descendants, the next step will be getting all of this information together for the book. I will need all the help I can get!

Friday, November 11, 2016

You Just Can't Matcham

This week, we will look at the descendants of the only daughter of John H. and Amanda Walker Callin to survive infancy, Emma Beatrice Callin (1885-1951). Born nearly six years after her brother, John, Emma would be quickly followed by three younger brothers born in the five years between 1885 and 1890.

George & Emma; 1907
George Delorain Matcham (1844–1923) was born in Pittsfield, Lorain county, Ohio, to Edward and Abigail (Tinker) Matcham, both of whom had come to Ohio from Massachusetts. Edward was born in Pittsfield, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, in 1812, and he arrived in what would be called Pittsfield in Ohio in 1830. He and Abigail were school teachers in neighboring townships. Abigail was descended from the Mayflower Tinkers.

According to a 1951 article in Elyria's "The Chronicle Telegram" on the history of schools in Lorain county:

"Pittsfield's first school was taught by Miss Minerva Loveland in a small cabin erected for educational purposes. In 1831 or 1832 Edward Matcham began his period of teaching which lasted 10 years. Miss Abagail Tinker was the first teacher in Rochester Township. She conducted her school in a log cabin during the Winter of 1833-1834."

Edward and Abigail were married 8 April 1835. They had a daughter, Mary, in 1841; their only son, George, followed in 1844. George was never a very healthy boy, and he had to drop out of his studies at the college at Oberlin because of his health problems. Still, he was a bright young man, and after he managed to complete a course at the business school at Oberlin, he took out patents on improvements he made in farm equipment, which helped establish him as a business man.

In 1871, George married his first wife, Marion Worcester (1840–1906). George served on the school board for a time, and kept up his patents for income. The couple continued to live in Pittsfield until 1895, when they moved to Oberlin. Soon after coming to Oberlin Mr. Matcham invested in land at Linwood park on Lake Erie and helped to develop the resort. He built several cottages there and had spent his summers there for several years. Marion helped run the 19 room inn they built there, until her death in 1906.

George D. Matcham II
with John H. and Amanda Callin
Emma Beatrice Callin (1885–1951) married George the following year. Emma was the fourth child of John H and Amanda (Walker) Callin. She grew up in a house with a Civil War hero father, a pioneer mother, five brothers and her grandmother, who died in 1903. They married when Emma was 22 years old and George was 63 - just two years younger than Emma's father, John H. Callin. (I suspect the two men were at least friends, if not business partners.)

In the 15 or 16 years they were married, George and Emma had five children. They continued to live off of their inn, and Emma hosted social life in the resort on Lake Erie. Sadly, George died in 1923, when their youngest daughter was only four years old; but Emma's mother, Amanda, had been living with the family for several years by then, and surely helped with the children.

After five years, Emma remarried, wedding Gustav Heimsath (1888–1963) on 10 December 1928. Gus was an engineer whose family hailed from Germantown, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. After Amanda died in 1933, and the children began to leave home, Gus and Emma moved to the Cleveland area, where Emma died in 1951.

     I. George Delorain Matcham II (1908–1994) may have been their third grandchild, but he had the distinction of being John and Amanda's first grandson. He worked as a mechanic as a young man, and at one point owned a TV repair shop. Over the course of his life, he worked at the Ridge Tool Co., General Motors Fisher Guide Plant and Bendix-Westinghouse, all in Elyria, and the Fruehauf Trailer Co. in Avon Lake.

On 7 August 1930, George married Emma Narelle Knepper (1910–1985). Emma was the daughter of Giles Allen Knepper (1878–1962) and Addie Kaiser (1884–1961). The couple had a daughter and three sons; their three eldest children are still living. They raised their family in Lorain county, and lived in Elyria until they moved to Punta Gorda, Florida, in 1965. Emma suffered from an unspecified long illness, and spent the last few months of her life in Elyria with her daughter. George died in 1994 in Punta Gorda, also after a long illness.

       D. James Allen Matcham (1943–1946) was the youngest child of George and Emma Narelle Matcham. He was struck by a car and killed at age three.

Eddie Matcham with mom
Emma Heimsath
     II. John Edward "Eddie" Matcham (1912–1965) served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II, and married Opal Estelle Hindman (1907–2001) in Peoria, Illinois in November 1945. They lived in Peoria and ran a restaurant near Bradley University. Eddie was severely wounded during the war, and was a member of Disabled American Veterans. He died at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Haywood, Illinois. He was buried on Christmas Eve Day in 1965.

     III. Marjorie Matcham (1914–1999) was 6 years old when her father died, and she was about 11 when her mother remarried. She would have grown up knowing her grandmother, Amanda.

Marjorie married Robert William Young (1913–1992) on 23 December 1934. His parents were Edward D Young (1874–1953) and Mary Elizabeth Barnes (1876–1940). Edward was not related to the Young family we talked about in the post A Sly, Young Girl; they were descended from a different Young family which had been in America since the 1700s. Edward was born in England in 1874 and came to the United States in 1881.

Robert and Marjorie had three sons, though only two survived to adulthood. She was the owner of Grange Mutual Insurance Agency in Youngstown, Ohio, until 1962, when the couple moved to Punta Gorda, Florida. She was a member of Peace River Shores Property Owners Association, Charlotte County Art Guild and the Arthritis Foundation. They left behind six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

       A. Lawrence William Young (1938–1948) drowned while trying to rescue his younger brother while they were rafting in an abandoned strip mine. Chester was pulled out of the water by two Boy Scouts, Richard Griffen (15) and Ronald Reese (15), but they were not able to rescue Larry.

       B. Chester Edward Young Sr (1939–1996) grew up and married in 1960. His wife, son, and two daughters survived him.

       C. John W. Young (1941–2007) was a graduate of Youngstown State University and in 1999 he retired from General Motors Powertrain of Defiance, Ohio. He left behind a wife, son, two daughters, and five grandchildren.

     IV. Truman Wallace Matcham (1916–2005) served in the United States Navy during WWII and graduated from Ohio State University in 1948. He married Martha Lee Rosencrance (1923–2003) on 19 June 1943, then served in the war from 22 April 1944 through 24 January 1946. They raised two daughters and a son, all still living.

Truman retired from General Electric Co. in 1980 after working 41 years as an industrial engineer and manager. He was a member of the Lawrence Park United Methodist Church, where he was a trustee and held other leadership positions. He served as a Lawrence Park Commissioner and Judge of Elections in Lawrence Park for many years. He also served on the board of the Erie chapter of Meals on Wheels.

     V. Ruth Ellen Matcham Heimsath (1919–2009) was so small when her father died, she only really knew her step-father, Gus Heimsath. She grew up and married Richard R "Zimmy" Zimmerman (1924–2009) in February 1946, and they had two children: a son, still living, and a daughter. Zimmy remarried in 1969, and judging from the dates of the records, his divorce from Ruth, his second marriage, and his younger daughter did not arrive in that order. Regardless of the situation, Ruth began using her step-father's name, and was known as Ruth Heimsath until her death in 2009.

     A. Sarah J "Sally" Zimmerman Pence (1947–2012) died suddenly on Sunday, March 11, 2012 in Chapala, Mexico. She left behind her husband of almost 30 years, six daughters, 13 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

 - -- --- -- - 

That seems like a lot of tragedy for one small post, but there are also a lot of folks who are still with us... and a lot of children and grandchildren! That motivates me to keep going, and finish this project - not just so you'll all buy the eventual book, but so we have something that ties us all together.

An even better way to tie us together is to drop a note; you can comment here on the blog, email my Gmail address - I'm "callintad" - or click on the link to visit the private Callin Family History group on Facebook. (Relatives of James Callin only, please; I will ask how you're related before I click "approve"!)

As always, if you spot any mistakes or omissions, or if you want to share a story about one of these Callin family descendants (whatever their surname) I hope you'll let me know.

Friday, November 4, 2016

My Place in the Queue

After the 1874 birth of their first son, Byron Herbert Callin, John H. and Amanda Walker Callin had a baby daughter on 11 August 1875. They named her Leota.

Leota died on 7 April 1876; we don't know what caused her death, but we can imagine how devastating the loss must have been to the young family. They must have remembered this little girl fondly, because Byron named his first child Opal Leota, even though he would have been too little to remember much about his little sister.

They would not have another child for three years after Leota, but when they did, another son was born.
Bowling Green High School

John Quincy Callin was born 11 July 1879 in Bowling Green, Ohio. In comparison to his scholastically precocious elder brother, John was more physical. He played football, a game that wasn't much older than he was; and he enlisted in the Army to support the American effort in the Great War.

That physicality didn't prevent John from following the family vocation, and like his father and elder brother, he became a teacher. Looking at the family and correspondence he left behind, he also seemed to have a wry sense of humor, and the "Callin luck" that my family jokes about to this day.

Bertha May Greenlee was born 5 December 1885 in Arcadia, Hancock county, Ohio to Allen and Ava Alice (Hales) Greenlee. Her father, Allen, died very soon after she was born, in 1887, and her mother remarried in 1889. Alice's new husband, George Cramer, adopted Bertha.
Bertha May Cramer
c. 1900

I wrote about the Greenlee family's origins in The Unknown and the Unknowable. Since writing that piece, I've learned a few new details - such as the date of Allen's death, and where he and his father, Robert, were buried. I've also learned more about Allen's mother's family, the Bollmans; but I'll save that for after the Callin Family History is done!

John and Bertha married in 1906, which may explain why he did not head west to South Dakota and Montana with his brothers. Instead, the young couple had their daughter, Yvonne, the following year, and in 1910, John was teaching in Fostoria. Their son, Norman, was born in 1912, followed by the death of John's father, John Henry Callin, the following year.

John (left) and Prentice Callin
c. 1918
The mid-1910s saw John and Bertha move to Lorain, near Oberlin, where John's widowed mother was living with his sister, Emma Matcham. John worked as an insurance agent for Prudential for several years. That's where they were in 1917 when John and his brother Prentice enlisted in an Ohio army unit.

From the scant documents I found, I don't believe the brothers were in the army for very long before the war ended; I don't think John went away, other than to complete basic training. He returned to insurance in the Fostoria area. John and Bertha had their third child, my grandfather, in Findlay, Ohio in 1920, and little Bobby was about a year old when John's brother, Byron, persuaded him to take a teaching job in Otsego county, New York.

John & Bertha in FL
with their dogs
John and Bertha weren't in New York for more than a couple of years, and they returned to Fostoria around 1925. But, once again, they seem to follow in Byron's footsteps and between 1931 and 1935, they moved to Orlando, Florida, with their two sons.

John & Bertha Callin
Over the course of the late 1930s and 1940s, John built several cottages, which he intended to sell as part of the real estate boom going on around Orlando. We have a number of letters to their son, Bob, during his enlistment in the Army, and almost all of them include an update on the troubles John was having with getting work done by contractors, or problems with tenants and prospective buyers. It's hard to read those letters and not think about how much more successful John might have been in Florida real estate if he had only waited twenty more years for Walt Disney to come along!

Of course, John would not live to see that day. He died in 1956, at 76 years of age; Bertha survived until 1971, though - and she died on September 20th, less than two weeks before Disney World opened. I'm sure by then she was well accustomed to the old "Callin luck."

Yvonne, Ginny, and Ed Weimar
     I. Yvonne W. Callin (1907–1974) was born in Fostoria, Ohio, on 9 May 1907. She was 15 or 16 when her father took the family to New York state, and she was attending Fostoria High School at the time, so she stayed behind, living in the home of her grandparents, George and Alice Cramer. About 1931, when her parents were preparing to move to Florida, Yvonne married Thomas Nathan Wirebaugh (1908–1971).

Yvonne and Thomas had a daughter in 1932, but soon divorced, and Yvonne moved down to the Orlando area so she and little Virginia could be closer to her parents. In 1939, Yvonne remarried Edwin John Weimar (1890–1958), a Purple Heart veteran of the First World War. Ed had survived the war with some lingering health problems, and spent his final days in the Soldier's Home in Brevard, Georgia.

       A. Virginia Ann Wirebaugh (1932–2004) was born in Fostoria, Ohio, but grew up in Winter Park, Florida. After her mother died in 1974, Ginny remained in Florida the rest of her life, occasionally visiting family in Ohio and Arizona. She never married, and never had children, but she loved her cousins.

I remember she always sent birthday and Christmas cards to my sister and me when we were growing up, and in the 1990s, after long distance phone calls became less expensive, she liked to call periodically and chat. After I started researching family history, I asked her about her grandparents, but if she talked about them much, I failed to save any notes. She didn't like to talk about her mother, who she missed, and I never asked about her father. She had a dry, dark sense of humor, and I was sad I never got a chance to take my kids down to Florida to meet her.

Norman Callin
     II. John Norman Callin (1912–1964) was born on 8 September 1912 in Fostoria, and when his family returned from New York, he attended Fostoria High School, as Yvonne had. Norman was the humor editor for the school paper, which doesn't surprise me in the least to discover. After he finished high school, his parents and younger brother moved to Orlando, and it appears Norman went with them.

Norman married in 1933, and by 1940, he and his wife had a son and a daughter. Their family remained in the Orlando area at least until some time after the end of the Second World War, and they had their second son there in 1946. But at some point, Norman moved them to Baltimore. He suffered from congestive heart failure, and died there in 1964, at only 52 years of age. His daughter is still living.

       A. John Richard "Dick" Callin (1933–1993) was born and raised in Florida, and moved with his family to Maryland in the late 1940s or early 1950s. He married Edna Mae Barkley (1938–2013) around 1961, and they had five children - a son and four daughters. One daughter, Barbara Ann, died in infancy in 1971.

       B. Michael Norman Callin (1946–1976) was born in Florida, and would have been very small when the family moved to Maryland. I don't know much about him, other than he appears in the Florida Death Index; my dad remembers his cousin Mike, as they would have been about the same age when the two families visited each other in the 1960s. Dad said after Norman died, the families lost track of each other, and he was sad to hear that Mike had died so young.

Bobby Callin
c. 1921
     III. Robert T Callin (1920–2007) entered the world in Findlay, Ohio, on 16 December 1920. One of my first posts on this blog, You Shoulda Seen the Other Guy, related a few anecdotes about him; he was my Grandpa Bob.

Bobby was the baby of the family, as Yvonne was 13 and Norman was 8 when he joined them. He was very small when John took his teaching job in Schenevus, New York, and he actually very nearly died there:

Schenevus, Nov 21--Little Bobbie Callin, the 23 month old son of Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Callin was severely scalded Sunday evening at his home on Main street.  Mrs. Callin, the contralto soloist at the Baptist church, was attending an evening service, Mr. Callin remaining home with the two children, Norman, a lad of 8 years and little Bobbie.  In some unexplainable manner the little fellow got under his father's feet when the latter was carrying a large basin of hot water, and the child was badly scalded on the right side of his body.  There are  two very severe burns on the torso and while the right side of head and face is also affected, it is hoped there will be no scar or disfigurement on face or head.  Dr. E. C. Winsor was quickly summoned and did everything possible to relieve the little sufferer.
The Callins moved to Schenevus from Ohio about 18 months ago and Mr. Callin is one of the teachers in the high school here.  Sympathy is expressed by a wide circle of friends and sincere wishes for the little one's speedy recovery.

Obviously, Bob survived - and lived a long life. If you read You Shoulda Seen the Other Guy, you will begin to understand what we mean when we talk about the "Callin luck" - but as bad as things may have gotten, he always seemed to bear it and bounce back with a joke.

A World War II romance
In 1939, Bob graduated high school, and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He started out at Camp Blanding, not far from home; but soon, he was assigned training out west, in Yuma, Arizona, where he learned how to be a mechanic on aircraft for the new Army Air Corps. When he transferred to Luke Field, near the little farm town of Glendale, Arizona, he met my grandmother, Nancy Gay Witter (1925–2004). I've written about that, too, in When Things Got Serious.

After the war, Bob decided to leave the military and attended seminary. He completed degrees at Arizona State University and at Grand Canyon College, and began a career teaching math in the Glendale Union High School District. They bought a home on Gardenia Lane, and stayed there for nearly 50 years. Nancy eventually got her degree at Grand Canyon, as well, and taught art in the Glendale schools until she retired.

Bob & Nancy, about 1985
in their house on Gardenia
with Sam (the cat) and Charlie (the dog)
Bob and Nancy raised two children, my dad and my aunt; they left behind five of us grandchildren, and we've managed to produce a crop of of eleven amazing great-grandchildren.

In her last few years, Nancy developed a condition that left her unable to form memories properly. We explained it to the kids by comparing it to Dory, the fish with short-term memory loss played by Ellen Degeneres in Finding Nemo - but the effects were nowhere near as harmless or amusing as simply forgetting things and repeating herself. If Bob left her sight for any length of time - to shower or make coffee, for example - Nancy would quickly panic, and try to leave, not remembering that she was in her own home and thinking that she was in a stranger's house.

They moved into a house two doors down from the house where their daughter ran a bed and breakfast in Peoria, and Bob patiently took care of her for several years until she died in 2004.

After that, Bob seemed determine to enjoy himself while he could. He made some new friends (Hi, Ruby!), found work officiating weddings at the bed and breakfast, and began taking long drives around the state - probably reliving the many camping trips and adventures he and Nancy had enjoyed over the years with their RV and motorcycles. Dad and the family worried about him, an 85 year old man out on the road by himself, but he seemed happy. He always came home safe.

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That's as up-to-date as I can bring this branch of the family without talking about living people - unless you want to read about me, in which case, I have a book for you on Amazon!

I hope you enjoyed it, especially if you're one of my cousins, however distant! Or nearby. I've lived within 10 miles or so of Norman's grandchildren for almost 12 years, now, but haven't managed to make contact with them.

If you're one of them - or if your family is related in any way to James Callin - drop me a note. You can use the comment section below, email my Gmail address (callintad at, or follow the link to the Callin Family History group on Facebook.