I’ve had some challenges researching long lost relatives, but the mysteries and myths in and around my grandfather, Howard W. West Sr., continue to amaze as I dig through his history. The following is what I have at the time this was published. I will edit it and update it as I uncover more information.
Biography about Howard William West (senior) from interview by Lorelle VanFossen with father, Howard William West (Jr.), March 12, 2006, Mobile, Alabama. The biography includes notes from the Farlin-West Family Bible, the David West Descendants family tree, and family stories gathered over time.
- Howard William West (senior) was born circa September 29, 1905 in Michigan or Canada. Died June 1968, Bridgeport, Washington. Mother, Louella Pinder (?-c1930). Father, Walter E. West (1881-1965).
- Howard traveled with mother and/or father to Portland, Oregon, area. Walter worked in the camps. Possibly faked marriage to Pinder, so is considered illegitimate by family history stories.
- Circa 1909, he was abandoned by mother (Louella Brunner Pinder) and taken with half-sister, Carmen (of Pinder and Clyde Moorhouse), to Catholic Convent Orphanage in Portland, Oregon. Records from Rescued by father circa 1919, at age 14. Howard could not read or write.
- Circa 1919, Howard ran away from home in California and lied about his age and joined the Marines (according to family stories). Traveled the world including crossing the Panama Canal and traveling to Japan, Philippines, and other nearby areas. He was on the USS Arizona 1924-1925. He learned to read and write from his shipmates. He joined the Merchant Marines or Merchant Service which eventually became the Coast Guard in 1939.
- Married Faye Vaughn March 31, 1925, in California.
- Daughter, Reta June West, born July 4, 1928, in southern California (Long Beach?).
- Coast Guard duty (Light House Service) moved him to the Pacific Northwest Coast where he manned light houses in Friday Harbor, Washington.
- Son, Howard William West, born April 20, 1937, Everett, Washington.
- The West family lived at Sholtes, Washington. He was on a light ship, the Swift Shore Light Ship, with six weeks on the ship and three weeks off home. He lived next door to Madge (Smathers) McClure, his step-sister.
- Circa 1939, the West family moved to Friday Harbor, Washington, on San Juan Island, to supervise the lighthouse.
- In 1945, the moved family to The Dalles, Oregon, where Howard tended the river lights (aids to navigation), in the Coast Guard Ship, the Lollipop (possibly nickname). This is the only evidence we have from a story by my father that the family lived in The Dalles, but it makes sense as Reta June married and raised her children there. Currently seeking military reports to support this information.
- Circa 1947/48 transferred to Seattle to the ship, Watusis (Watchusus?), Destroyer Escort Class. Left family behind in The Dalles, Oregon.
- Wife, Faye Vaughn, died 1949 of heart attack, possibility of also compilations from obesity and diabetes. She was sick for at least one year before her death, and spent a lot of time in the Marine Hospital in Seattle, where she died. Death certificate credits death as Bilateral Massive Pulmonary Embolism, a complication of obesity and heart disease. Son believes they forced her to lose weight too fast, which put tremendous pressure on her heart, strained by polio as a child and too many years extremely obese. Body was buried in The Dalles, Oregon.
- Howard Sr. returned to duty in Seattle immediately, leaving son, Howard, with sister, June, and her new husband and baby, Rochelle.
- Met and married Ana Mae Larmar of Ritzville, Washington, in October 1949.
- In 1952, after three years of marriage to his new wife, returned for Howard Jr. and brought him to Seattle, Washington, where they lived on Valley Street, on Queen Anne Hill.
- In 1952, the family moved to Illwaco, Washington, to man the Northhead Lighthouse. Howard Sr. suffered several heart attacks, and the family moved back to Seattle, setting up home at the base of Queen Anne Hill, at one block off Mercer on First Avenue West (second house in from Mercer – a Safeway Grocery Store sits there now). Howard Sr. worked for Boeing for a short time and then applied for the Core of Engineers, and moved to Camp Hayden in Port Angeles, Washington, and then was moved to Hudson Point, Port Townsend, Washington, then moved to Whidbey Island, Washington, on various jobs. Ana Mae and Howard Jr stayed in Seattle so the teenager could complete his high school education.
- March 23, 1962, Howard Sr. and Anna Mae moved to Chief Joseph Dam, Bridgeport, Washington, where he worked as a guard. The date is remembered because his grandson through Howard Jr. was born on that date and they didn’t stop in to welcome the new member to the family as they passed through on their way to Eastern Washington. Howard Jr. had gotten special permission from the military hospital to permit his father to visit the newborn, and he was a no show.
- Most summers until Howard Sr’s death, Howard Jr and his family would travel to Bridgeport to visit Howard Sr. and Anna Mae in their mobile home in the desert, surrounded by cherry, plum and other fruit trees.
Timeline for Howard W. West Sr.
The following is a general timelines for the life of Howard W. West Sr. I’ve included a column listing his age at the time of the event, giving me a sense of perspective of where he was in his life at that time. The age is based upon his birth in 1905, even though there are reports and records indicating he may have been born in 1903. The timeline makes more sense if he was born in 1905 and matches more of the facts.
|1855-06-07||Birth||Perry Saville West||Raisin, Michigan||Possibly born in near Raisin in Palmyra. Parents were David L. West (Canada/US) and Mary M. Farlin (US). Father of Walter Ellsworth West and grandfather to Howard W. West Sr.|
|1876-10-07||Marriage||Perry Saville West and Adaline Rowe||Palmyra, Michigan||Grandparents to Howard W. West.|
|1881-01-10||Birth||Walter West||Michigan||Believed to be born in California. 1930 Census lists mother from Ohio and father from Michigan.|
|1883-03-10||Birth||Louella Brunner Pinder Moorehouse Parrot (Lula)||Canada||Rumor: She came from wealthy family in Canada but they disowned her. Possibly for marriage to Richard Pinder|
|1905-09-30||Birth||Howard William West Sr.||Michigan||0||Born of Louella Pinder and Walter West – unsure if Walter and Louella were married. Marriage Certificate with Anna Mae Larmar notes birthplace of Howard as Lansing, Michigan. Birth Certificate filed decades later stating birthplace as Michigan.|
|1905-02-02||Birth||Adaline Rowe (West)||Unknown||0||(1860-1933) Mother of Walter West.|
|1905c||Marriage||Louella Brunner to Richard (Dick) Pinder||Canada or Michigan?||0||Name on picture of Howard W. West Sr and his mother "Louella Pinder."|
|1907-05-23||Birth||Anna Mae Larmar||Spokane, Washington||2||Father, James Robert Larmer (farmer), Ontario, Canada. Motehr, Emma Jane Sheppard, Ontario, Canada.|
|1908-03-10||Birth||Carmen Moorhouse (or Perry)||Portland, Oregon||3||Child of Louella Pinder Moorhouse and Clyde Moorhouse or Ben Perry). Half-sister of Howard W. West Sr.|
|1908-12-12||Orphanage||Howard William West Sr. and Carmen Moorhouse||Portland, Oregon||3||Abandoned by mother, turned in by neighbor to Family Juvenial Court. Entered St. Agnes Baby Home.|
|1909c||Marriage||Walter West to Edna Metcalf||California or Michigan||4||Edna born in Michigan, mother from Canada, father from Michigan. Daughter, Madge A. Smothers, born in Washington, both parents from Michigan, according to 1930 census.|
|1910c||Marriage||Louella Brunner Pinder to Ben Perry||5||Source: Carmen Moorhouse Perry from interview in 1979 by Lorelle.|
|1912c||Orphanage Removal||Carmen Moorhouse (or Perry)||Portland, Oregon||7||Removed from St. Agnes Baby Home by father, Clyde Moorhouse. Believed to have contacted Walter West about Howard. Unable to remove Howard from home as he was not a blood relative.|
|1913-03-03||Baptised||Howard W. West||Portland, Oregon, St. Agnes Baby Home||8||From Catholic Services Records|
|1913-07-28||Orphanage Removal||Howard William West Sr.||Portland, Oregon||8||Removed from St. Agnes Baby Home by father, Walter West|
|1915c||Marriage||Louella Brunner Pinder to Moorehouse||Portland, Oregon||10||Source: Carment Moorhouse from interview in 1979 by Lorelle.|
|1920c||Census||Louella and Lewis Parrot and Howard West||Portland, Oregon, Multnomah County, District 177, Enum #3, house # 303||15||Census shows Louella (?) married to Parrot (“55″y). Name shown as Lula B. Born in Michigan, father English, mother Canadian. Parrot listed as born in Illinois and currently an Electrician. Howard West listed as single white male, stepson, 14y, born in Michigan with both parents born in Michigan.|
|1924c||Resident||Fay Vaughn West||R.F.D. #1 669, Long Beach, CA||19||Address in Entry from Howard W. West Sr. USS Arizona Log book with notation of marriage March 31, 1925.|
|1924-03-01||Resident||Fay Vaughn||1853 Gardinia Avenue, Long Beach, CA||19||Entry from Howard W. West Sr. USS Arizona Log book as address. Shows she was living with Miss Ruby Bird at the time.|
|1924-05-30||USS Arizona Pay||Howard W. West Sr.||19||$12 a month Private Howard W. West US Marine Corp, USS Arizona % Port Master, San Francisco, California|
|1924-05-30||USS Arizona Pay||Howard W. West Sr.||19||$12 a month|
|1924-06-03||USS Arizona||Howard W. West Sr.||Bremerton, Washington||19||Navy Yard for refitting|
|1924-06-15||USS Arizona Pay||Howard W. West Sr.||19||$11 a month|
|1924-07-17||Resident||Madge West||Box 245, Marysville, Washington||19||Entry from Howard W. West Sr. USS Arizona Log book as address. Mentions visiting sister in Marysville and calling it "home"|
|1924-07-30||USS Arizona Pay||Howard W. West Sr.||19||$12 a month|
|1924-08-15||USS Arizona Pay||Howard W. West Sr.||19||$11 a month|
|1924-08-25||USS Arizona||Howard W. West Sr.||Arrived at Tacoma||19||Brig Watch|
|1924-08-30||USS Arizona Pay||Howard W. West Sr.||19||$12 a month|
|1924-09-11||USS Arizona||Howard W. West Sr.||Tacoma to San Francisco||19|
|1924-09-29||USS Arizona||Howard W. West Sr.||San Francisco to San Pedro, California||19|
|1924-10-06||USS Arizona||Howard W. West Sr.||Opera tetilakkhome||19||Notes in log book: 400 miles L.B. Hatch|
|1925-03-31||Marriage||Howard W. West Sr. to Fay Vaughn||Long Beach, California||20||Noted in Logbook by Howard W. West Sr. on USS Arizona|
|1925-03-31||USS Arizona||Howard W. West Sr.||San Pedro, California||20||Log book Notes: USCGC Haida|
|1928-07-04||Birth||Reta June West||?||23||Daughter of Howard W. West and Fay Vaughn West|
|1929-11-10||Death||Perry Saville West||Everett, Washington||24||Age 74. Grandfather to Howard W. West, and father to Walter Ellsworth West. Died in home on Wetmore in Everett, Washington. Buried at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Everett, next to son. Believed to have been brought by family from Illinois to Washington less than 10 years before his death.|
|1930c||Census||Walter West||Oakland City, California||25||Census lists him as Wholesale Salesman, age 48, not a vet, and married to wife Edna Metcalf (49y). Shows step-daughter listed as Madge Smothers (20y).|
|1930-04-12||Census||Louella Brunner Pinder Moorehouse Parrot (Lula)||Portland, Oregon, Multnomah County, District 26-436||25||Census shows her as wife of Lewis S. Parrott – Listed as Lula. Parents from England and Canada.|
|1930-04-12||Census||Lewis S. Parrot||Portland, Oregon||25||Census shows him as husband of Lula Parrot, Inspector at Postal & Telegraph Company|
|1930-05-03||Death||Louella Brunner Pinder Moorehouse Parrot (Lula)||Portland, Oregon, 303 Cook Avenue.||25||Death Certificate. Name Lula. 46 years old. Married at age 32. Parents from England and Canada. Notes born in England though US Citizen. Died at Mt. Tabor Home (Cook Avenue?). States lived in Portland for 19 years. Cause: Cardio Vascular Disease, arterial sclerosis due to high blood pressure. No autopsy.|
|1930-05-06||Burial – Cremation||Louella Brunner Pinder Moorehouse Parrot (Lula)||Portland, Oregon||25||Death certificate notes cremation at Portland Cemetary.|
|1930-05-11||Death||Louella Brunner Pinder Moorehouse Parrot (Lula)||Portland, Oregon||25||Death listed in H.West Sr. Journal, USS Arizona (in address book section)|
|1930-09-30||Pay||Howard W. West Sr.||25||Pay $6 a day|
|1937-04-20||Birth||Howard William West Jr.||Everett, Washington, Everett General Hospital||32||Son of Howard W. West Sr. and Fay Vaughn West. Source: Hospital Receipt, Birth Certificate, In Person, Witnesses.|
|1933c||Death||Adaline Rowe (West)||California||33||(1860-1933) Mother of Walter West.|
|1939c||US Coast Guard Created||34|
|1949-05-06||Death||Fay Vaughn West||US Marine Hospital, Seattle, Washington||44||Death of Fay Vaughn West in hospital due to Pulmonary Embolism, Bilateral Massive, obesity, and possibly complications from diabetes.|
|1949-04-28||Hospitalization||Fay Vaughn West||US Marine Hospital, Seattle, Washington||44||8 days in hospital prior to death in hospital. Cause: Pulmonary Embolism, Bilateral Massive. Obesity.|
|1949-05-06||Death||Fay Vaughn West||US Marine Hospital, Seattle, Washington||44||Death certificate confirms diagnosis. Lists birth in Kansas. Mother: Lettie Winchell. Father: George W. Vaughn. 43 years old at death.|
|1949-10-14||Marriage||Howard W. West Sr. to Anna Mae Larmar||Seattle, Washington||44||Marriage certificate notes Anna Mae was a resident of Spokane when they married.|
|1953-03-01||Retirement - Military||Howard W. West Sr.||Seattle, Washington||48||Rank at retirement: MM1|
|1953-03-12||Paperwork||Howard W. West Sr.||524 1st West Avenue, Seattle 99, Washington||48||Certificate of Dependency of Retired Personnel for Medical Relief, paperwork. Lists dependents as Ana Mae West (45) as wife, and son, Howard W. West Jr. (16). Rank MM1. Notes retirement official as of March 1, 1953|
|1953-05-29||Resident||Howard W. West Sr.||524 1st Avenue West, Seattle 99, Washington||48||Post card from the VA confirms address.|
|1953-09-30||Resident||Howard W. West Sr.||524 1st Avenue West, Seattle 99, Washington||48||Post card from the VA confirms address. Address crossed out and says Joyce, Washington, as a forwarding notice.|
|1962-06-20||Resident||Howard W. West Sr.||Bridgeport, Washington||57||Post card from the VA confirms address. (Queen Anne). Confirmed by son, Howard in person.|
|1963c||Correspondence||Howard W. West Sr. and Anna Mae West||Bridgeport, Washington||58||Letter from Ramona Anderson West, wife of Howard W. West Jr. Discusses her mother”s death, worries over why these grandparents "ignore" their grandchildren, and attempt to "heal" relationship between them and their daughter, June. Thanks them for clothing and toy gifts for the children and canned food items. States the gifts are better than they get as they are poor and shopping at Goodwill and the Salvation Army.|
|1964-06-18||Correspondence||Howard W. West Sr. and Anna Mae West||Bridgeport, Washington||59||Letter from June”s husband, Joe DesRochers, requesting apology and defending his wife against their accusations and assumptions. Includes information on their children and life in The Dalles, Oregon, where he was a fireman.|
|1965-10-24||Death||Walter West||California||60||Died in California and body shipped to Everett, Washington. Buried at Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Everett, Washington, next to his father, Perry West (1855-1929) in lot 206 block 37. Buried by step-daughter, Madge McClure.|
|1967-01-09||Social Security Report||Howard W. West Sr.||Bridgeport, Washington||62||Informed not qualified for Social Security Benefits as did not meet 17 years of coverage. He had 12. 1937-1950 $178.32. 1951-1962 $6,109.94. 1963-1966 $0. Total: $6,287.26.|
|1967-12-18||Pay||Howard W. West Sr.||Bridgeport, Washington||62||Letter of notice of pay increase to Howard W. West Sr. from $5,896.00 to $6,157.00 by order of US Army Engineers District Seattle Field Office for NPS Chief Joseph Dam. Lists date of birth as Sep 30, 1903.|
|1968-04-02||Purchase||Howard W. West Sr. and Anna Mae West||Bridgeport, Washington||63||Purchase Reciept of time payments for Hoover Spin Washer in Copertone Color from Crescent store in Spokane, Washington. $182.95 to be paid in installments.|
|1968-05-31||Death||Howard W. West Sr.||Bridgeport, Washington||63||Heart attack and fell into water while on guard patrol duty at Chief Joseph Dam. Pulled out of the water by fellow guardsmen. Died enroute to hospital in vehicle. Death Certificate lists cause: Acute Coronary Insufficiency, Coronary Athereosclerosis. Death 10-15 minutes from onset.|
|1968-06-04||Burial||Howard W. West Sr.||Bridgeport, Washington||63||Funeral arrangements handled by Wm Barnes Funeral Home. Estate Plan $1,310. Paid $1,191.49 for casket and vault.|
|1968-06-12||Bill||Howard W. West Sr. and Anna Mae West||Bridgeport, Washington||Second notice sent for payment of casket and vault from Barnes Funeral Home.|
|1968-07-16||Purchase||Anna Mae West||Brewster, Washington||Purchase of 1968 Chevy Malibu. Traded in 1965 Chevy Pickup Caribou with 10 foot camper. Credit of $3,000. Car purchase $3333.87.|
|1968-08-24||Death Benefits||Anna Mae West||Bridgeport, Washington||Death Benefits from Retirement Pay as MM1 US Coast Guard Retired was $252.91.|
|1970c||Resident||Anna Mae West||Seattle, Washington||Official government documents and reciepts list her living in Seattle. Step-son, Howard, and step-daughter, June, and other family members confirm.|
|1970c||Military Reimbursement for Head Stone||Howard W. West Sr.||Bridgeport, Washington||Request from attorney and wife for reimbursement of cost of Howard W. West Sr. head stone per military. Lists rank as MM1 USCG Service #221-071.|
|1974c||Surgery||Anna Mae Larmar West||Seattle, Washington||Artificial Hip Replacement to correct deformity.|
|1977-11-01||Death||Anna Mae West||Brewster, Washington||Death Certificate. Was near Bridgeport, Washington, and went to Brewster Hospital where she died of Stroke and Cerebreal Hemorage, arteriosclerosis. Entered Hospital Oct 31, 1977. Occupation listed as Beautician and owner of Beauty Parlor, retired.|
|1978-11-28||Inheritance||Anna Mae West||Seattle, Washington||Attorney Rodney M. Reinbold, attorney for estate of Anna Mae West, lists Howard W. West Jr. as successor and inheritance of $497.68 after expenses paid to be split to two heirs, presumed to be Howard West (step son) and June DesRochers (step daughter).|
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