Dawn has a gift for house genealogy and has very kindly put her skills to work for us, digging up lots of fascinating historical information about our home. On a recent trip to Portland’s Cental Library, she was able to discover the following:
First, as Dan (another house genealogist and Bungalow Insanity reader) had suggested, Edwin and Emma Burgan’s son’s name was Jesse, not James (or Jesse James, for that matter!). Dawn managed to find a photo of Jesse Burgan in a book called “Men of Oregon” which was printed for the Portland Chamber of Commerce in 1911:
Weirdly, despite the census record mentioned in our earlier post, there’s nothing confirming that Jesse actually ever lived in this house, although he did board nearby and was listed as having served as vice-president/secretary/treasurer of a Portland hat company from 1910 – 1911.
Dawn believes that the census information for 1910 was probably correct and the Burgan family did live here, but not for very long. It’s likely that they traveled back and forth between Oregon and Washington fairly frquently during the time that they did live here. And as there are no Portland records of the Burgans from 1913 onward, Dawn thinks it’s safe to guess that by that time they’d moved to Spokane.
Nellie Earsley and her family seem to have moved into our home in 1918, so there’s a big question mark as to who lived here from 1910 -1917. We do know that Nellie and family moved out in 1923 when Fred and Christine Inman purchased the house. The Inmans sold the house in 1930 to George and Mayme Skiff, but the trail then runs cold, as by 1932 George and Mayme had moved.
Dawn also forwarded some obituaries to us in hopes that we might be able to use them to track down descendants of the Earsley family. Her thought was that they would be the most likely to have old photos of the house as their family lived here longest.
Getting this glimpse into our home’s past has been both fascinating and fun. Many thanks to Dawn for all of her research!