Boat trolley (tra la tra lee)

Well, these guys (except for the GG, who is only spectating) are building a boat trolley. My buddy Kev, who I have known since the Pleistocene, is the inventor here and not sure who the young whippersnapper is. Kev is and always has been an inventor. That is all. About that. Er, except that we could use a few more boyz around here. But it is not my job to recruit them.

Because that’s not what this post is about. This post is about history. Family history, to be specific. I have grown up knowing certain family stories in quite some detail. The best example is probably the story about how my fur-trapper/substitute Indian Chief great-grandfather Finlayson and his brother died in northern Saskatchewan in the late 1800s. They left a diary and that story is on my website somewhere but I can’t find it right now. Siighhhh… Anyway, there are other stories that I do not know. I came across a binder at The Commander’s house today with a lot of old obituaries and records and things and right in the front was a write-up about a great-uncle of mine that I never met. He died 29 years before I was born. I don’t even think Grandroobly (his nephew) probably remembered him much. Grandroobly would’ve been six when William D. Raeburn died. I can’t totally decipher everything in this obituary or whatever it is but, it sounds like William D. Raeburn was quite an interesting person. Aviation? My dad (his nephew) was an aviator. Hmmm. William’s young sister Anna, who is mentioned, lived to the age of 103. This is a branch of the family that I know very little about even though my grandma Margaret was William D. Raeburn’s sister. What have the Raeburns contributed to my DNA? Or not…

William D. Raeburn, age 41, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Raeburn of Brady Street, died at the U. S. Veteran’s Hospital, No. 81, New York City on Sunday, July 19, 1925, according to information which was wired to the family here by Dr. George F. Brewster, medical officer in charge of the hospital. Funeral services were held in New York City on Thursday, July 23 at 3. P. M., interment being made in the national cemetery at Cypress Hill, Queens County, New York.

In attendance at the funeral, representing the family, was Mr. Raeburn’s uncle, N. T. Lillie of New Orleans, La. Mrs. William Raeburn and her daughter Anna of this city visited the young man at the veteran’s hospital last September.

Mr. Raeburn left the Sault 13 years ago. In February 1924 his family was notified that he had arrived in Hoboken, N. J., on the steamer “America” from Paris, France, where he had been compelled by ill health to resign his position in the office of the American Consulate General and enter Sanatorium Charcot where physicians pronounced him suffering general paralysis, not curable.

At the outbreak of the World War he was on the staff of the “Brooklyn Eagle” in Paris and immediately severed his connection there and, enlisting with the United States Red Cross Ambulance Corps, was assigned Car 44, squad a. He received his twelve month’s service badge in October 1915 and was one of the boys receiving special mention from the head of the automobile war service department in France for five week’s service at Verdun, 1916, effeciently and rapidly transporting wounded. Later he spent some time in Versailles, instructing French to drive Ford cars at Headquarters Automobile Park.

Returning to this country after a course in Cornell University relating to Aviation on May 9, 1918, he accepted appointment as Second Lieutenant, Aviation Signal Reserve Corps and was assigned to active duty at Ellington Field, Houston, Texas, leaving for France September 4, 1918 where he was later stationed at Fouconcourt, Meuse with the 28th Aero Squadron 2nd Pursuit Group, APO 731a. In May 1919 he was with 41st Pursuit Squadron at Coblenz, Germany. On October 11 the same year, he was honorably discharged at Paris, and there became attached to the Peace Commission Staff for translation work. He learned the French language while a young man in this city being taught by the late Mr. Eugene Menard. From there he was transferred to practically the same work in the Consular Department.

It bears mentioning that my great-grandfather who died in Saskatchewan never set foot on Fin Family Moominbeach and maybe not even in Michigan or even the loverly United Snakes of America.

4 Responses to “Boat trolley (tra la tra lee)”

  1. Margaret Says:

    He does sound like an adventurous sort. l like his French connection!! Everyone has an elderly relative named Margaret. Soon I will be that person in my family. (if I’m not already) haha

  2. jane Says:

    I spent “some time” at Versailles. Probably about 6 or 7 hours I imagine. 😉

  3. gene Says:

    That William D. Raeburn was known as Darwin in the family and there was hush hush stuff about him which probably was because he likely died of an advanced case of syphilis.

  4. Karen F Says:

    I would have to say that Gene is correct about the syphilis infection – that would have been before antibiotics came into being and LONG before it was determined that syphilis was treatable/curable. Advanced cases of this disease caused “general paralysis” and was also termed “paresis”. I believe even Winston Churchill was said to have died from “paresis” (a bit of medical history trivia related by Dr. Dad).