Celestial Blackmail?

Week 23: #52 Ancestors – Going to the Chapel

By Eilene Lyon

There’s no question that Great-grandma Clara was a staunch supporter of the Methodist Church. Her father (God rest his soul) had been a lay preacher in the faith, after all. She was abstemious, and thought everyone else should be, too. (I do hope she isn’t observing my imbibing.)

Thwarted in her professional ambitions, she used her energy to accumulate a mini real estate “empire” in her home town of Moscow, Idaho. She took in renters in her own house from the University of Idaho and tutored them when they fell behind in their studies. She had nearly a city block filled with her tenants, according to family lore.

The basis for her accumulation of property began with a homestead claim near Orofino, but I’ll detail that another time. Suffice it to say, she had some property and used it to wield a little influence. That’s where the church comes in.

This is also a family story that I have not been able to confirm. But it’s just a little telling tale about Great-grandma.

Sometime around 1930, the Moscow First United Methodist Church was interested in procuring a pipe organ for the sanctuary. Clara offered to purchase the organ for the church, but there was a hitch (of course). The church would have to hire her daughter, Clare, to play it!

Well, I do have this photo of Clare (my grandmother) seated at a pipe organ. And the church’s music director confirmed that it matched the description of the placement of the organ at that time (it was later moved).

DavisClare3

He was also able to relate that the current organ (which may be the same one from 1930) was built by the famed Shoenstein Company, founded in San Francisco in 1877. The company has an archive that might shed light on this tale.

I remember Grandma playing the piano on occasion, but I had no idea about her history as a church organist, nor that her mother may have coerced the church into hiring her to play. But it doesn’t surprise me a bit!

StitchSCAN1629-SCAN1630

My grandmother, Clare Ransom Davis, in her Sunday best.

13 thoughts on “Celestial Blackmail?

Add yours

  1. We enjoyed the story and history. Wish I knew my great grandparents. My dad’s parents died when I was very young. Your story is one to be treasured. Aunt Judy

    Liked by 1 person

Please share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

The Chiddicks Family Tree

Every Family has a story to tell..........Welcome to mine

Crossed Eyes and Dotted Tees

Writing, Blogging and Books

One Woman's Quest II

Navigating life through grandparenthood, chronic illness, dream work, and other inspirations

One Woman's Quest

Passion for writing ignites my soul's momentum

Opening Doors in Brick Walls

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” ~ Alexander Graham Bell

Clio the History Muse

Thoughts about teaching and learning history

The Yoga Cowgirl

Live fully and have fun doing so...

tales from my typewriter

everyone has a story

Onward Ohio History!

Buckeyes from all Directions : by Kathy Warnes

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

Needles in a Haystack

Family history site where I can share my latest discoveries.

THE MEMOIR LIFE

"Nothing that happens to a writer -- however happy, however tragic -- is ever wasted." ~ P.D. James

Genealogy With Valerie

Genealogy..a journey to the past present and future.

Garden Therapy

Exploring the Past to Improve the Future

Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

Adventures in Genealogy

%d bloggers like this: