Sunday, July 19, 2015

Grandpa's Story

My grandfather had always been interested in geneology. I remember visits with him when I was young where he'd pull out his notes, letters and charts to show me how far back he had traced the family. At some point in the 70's, he wrote down his own story which I thought I'd share here. I decided to leave in all the typos and misspellings. I'm not sure why, it just seemed more authentic that way.

I, your grandfather Samuel Francis Owen Grattan born 10 Jan 1903 in a small house on a farm known as the Vanderstilt 1 place located a few miles southeast of Wakefield, Clay County, Kansas.

My parents (renters) moved in 1905 to a larger farm known as the Conover place located in Sherman Township, Section #11, Dickenson County, Kansas.

I grew up on the Conover place, my school days were spent at a rural one room school house known as Praire Dell, District #70 2.

After graduating from the 6th Grade in 1915 my school days were over and I worked on my parents farm, our country was engaged in World War #1.

Sam 1922
A friend and I traveled in his Model "T" Ford to New Raymer, Colorado in the fall of 1923 and worked in the Sugar Beet harvest, Shucked Corn, and other general ranch work.

During that period my oldest brother William Martin Grattan lost his life while on the Police Force of Detroit, Mich.,3 I attended his funeral in Des Moines, Iowa. I moved to Cleveland, Ohio in Mar 1924 and worked on general constructions jobs in and near Cleve. during that period I worked as a common Laborer, house Painter, automobile Mechanic, truck Driver and eventually became an Operating Engineer on Steam Shovels, Steam Cranes, and etc.

The church is on the left. It was torn down and rebuilt in 1937.

Your Grandmother Sophia Josephine Bash and I were married 9 Apr 1932 in St Adelberts Catholic Church, Berea, Ohio., and set up housekeeping at 1594 Hayden Ave., East Cleveland Ohio, in later years we lived in several different locations in Cleveland.

Their first apartment

John William Grattan was born 1933 at St Johns Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, we were living at 1441 Gridley Ave., Lakewood, Ohio.

Nancy Kay Grattan was born 1936 in St Johns Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, we were living at [no number given] Bunts Road, (W 140 St) Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1937 we purchased and moved into our home at 14712 Westland Ave. Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1940 we sold our Westland Ave. home, purchase and moved into our home at 1253 Bell Ave., Cleveland, Ohio.

Working as an Operatind Engineer I was employed on a wide variety of Construction Projects i.e. Highway Grading, Buildings, Substructers, Steel Erection, Main Sewers, Steel Mills & Hospitals, Bridges & Power Plants, Ravenna Arsenal, and etc.

Went to Camden New Jersey 31 Mar 1941 for Merrett Chapman and Scott Corp.4 to work as Master Mechanic on thier New York Shipbuilding Yard expansion project.
Merritt-Chapman & Scott ad 1938

When the Camden job neared completion Merritt Chapman & Scott Corp. persuaded me to come to New York and Supervise operation of their Service and Storage Yard, located at Pier 22, Rosebank, Staten Island, N.Y.

We moved out household furnishings from Bell Ave. Cleveland, Ohio in early Dec 1941 to Staten Island, N.Y. After settling all furniture in proper place I connected up our only cabinet type Radio (power and ariel) and tuned it in, the broadcast was President Rosevelt announcing the Pearl Harbor Debacle, 7 Dec 1941.

My job also included inspections of all equipment damaged on active M.C. & S. Const. Projects while in progress and necessitated traveling and spending time at many other places e.g. Argentia  Newfoundland, Kingston & Toronto Canada and many other sites scattered over much of the United States.

In 1945 my position advanced to that of Equipment Manager of all of the Corp's Const. Equipment where ever located, thus my department husbanded the Corp's immense amount of heavy Construction Equipment (4.000 pieces), this necessitated mountains of detail and much traveling on my part.

Your Grandmother Sophia Josephine (nee Bash) Grattan died 15 Dec 1955, interned in St. Peter's Cemetary, Staten Island, N.Y.

Your aunt Florence Beatrice Bash and I were married 9 Jan 1957 in Our Lady of Good Coucil  Catholic church, Staten Island, N.Y.

Much of my time was spent calling on projects e.g. Gorge High Dam in Washington, Priest Rapids Dam in Washington, Cougar Dam in Oregan, Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona, Robt. Moses Hydro-Elect. in New York, Mackinac Bridge in Michigan, Chesapeake Bay Patapsco Tunnel in Maryland, Bridge & Tunnel was the Corp's last major construction Project on which I spent nearly three years full time.

Merritt Chapman & Scott Corp. disbanded their Construction Department in 1964, I transfered into the Corp's Derrick and Heavy Hoisting Department and supervised the remodeling of heavy hoisting equipment, construction of Coffer Dams used on Marine Salvage, and some Heavy Hoisting Operations.

Raymond International, Inc. Two Penn Plaza, New York, N.Y. purchased in 1966 the Derrick and Heavy Hoisting Division of M.C. & S. Corp. in it's entirety including all Personel and operation base.
Soon thereafter I became General Equipment Manager of Raymond's Construction Equipment where ever located, Many of Raymond's Construction Projects were located in Foreign Countrys requiring my travels to England, Italy, Malta, Libya, Senagal, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Greece and Venesuala S.A., Peru S.A., Port O Spain Carib., Paradise Island Bahamas, and many areas of the United States.

During the years following 1958 I hunted and fished and took big game in such areas as; Deer in Nova Scotia, Moose in NewFoundland, Cariboo in Quebec, Deer Elk Antelope in Wyoming, Elk in Washington, Elk in Colorado, Deer in Maine, Deer in New York fished for large Striped Bass in the surf at Montauk Point N.Y. and Sandy Hook N.J. and large Muskelunge in Lake of the Woods & Eagle Lake, Canada

Florence and I spent a month in 1973 visiting-sight-seeing-taking pictures in Zambia and Malawi, Africa.

I retired 10 Jan 1970, sold our home on Staten Island and moved 28 Feb 1970 to Dean Road, Mendham, N.J.

I hope that you will preserve and add your part to this family Biography in the years to come.

1. the name is actually spelt Van Der Stelt
2. Prairie Dell school opened 1874 and closed 1954 (
3. William died 15 Dec 1923, just shy of his one year anniversary to Anna Cavender
photo credit: "MerrittChapman 1938 ad" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

No comments: