Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fourth Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Today's letter marked the fourth anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, and on the letter itself Maj. Gillham double-underscored the date.  I tried to replicate that, but apparently there is no underscore, much less double-underscore, on this blog editor.

Maj. Gillham is still in a fog about the family's trip back to Atlanta, and we get the impression that Frances is not helping matters by being vague in her letters.  He comes pretty close to an outright scolding of Frances for this transgression, but he makes a nice save in the closing paragraph.

7 Dec 45
Tokyo, Japan

Dearest Love,

Well, just four years after they started it, here I am in Tokyo.  It was a long way off four years ago.

Received two nice letters from you today, one mailed the 26th and one the 29th of Nov.  Also got a clipping from Mr. Hay telling about his retirement, which was mailed from Jackson on 29 Nov.  The mail seems to bunch up a little, but I am well pleased with the way it comes through.  It seems definite that air mail is by far the best.  I had heard that before.

I am glad you got the Montague family together.  It was a fine thing to do, and one that couldn't be rushed.  You worked it just right.

I am very much in doubt as to what your plans are and I don't know if this will reach you before you leave Robles or not.  You said Father couldn't come, so I gave that up.  Now you talk like he might.  If he can that is fine.  I will have to get you to advance the money for the ticket as I have no funds to draw from now.  I sent $50 to you to Atlanta by F.O. check which you should get by Christmas, but that is for your Christmas.  I imagine a one-way plane ticket will be something over $100.

Darling, please remember the time element in our correspondence and try to think ahead.  Please don't make me have to pull answers out of you about vital questions.  It takes too long.

I know the children have had a fine time with their raft on the river.  I hate for them to leave there -- it is such a fine place for children of their ages.  Thanks for the other picture.  From the looks of your discarded proofs, your selected proofs must be excellent.  The proofs are a nice size to put in my wallet.

We are starting our busy period again now and will have to work straight through for about 10 days.

They are having a dance here tonight, the first one they have had.  I went down and looked on for a while.  There is an assortment of WACS, nurses, Red Cross workers, and a few Jap girls.  I don't think they would do so well in a normal competitive market.

I will try to write a note to Cousin John.

Thanks for the Coronet clipping.  It was a pretty picture and a well-written article.

My dearest darling, you are the one for me.  I love you more and more all the time.  The best thing here is being able to look forward to going home to you.

Much love,



I am not sure who all came to the Montague reunion, but there were quite a few in California at the time.  Just this weekend I have been doing some research into the Montague line, and I have determined that my grandfather and Cousin Ellen were second cousins.  This means they shared a common set of great-grandparents, the male half of whom was Young Montague, born near Durham, NC, and later settling in western Tennessee near the town of Ripley.  Young Montague (who got his first name from a family last name) had a son named Adolphus Wiley Montague and a daughter Henrietta Helen Montague (among 12 total children).  Henrietta, who was known as Helen (pronounced HEEL-en) was my grandfather's maternal grandmother, and Adolphus (known as A.W.) was Ellen's paternal grandfather.  And yes, you will need to know all this for the test.

Ellen had two brothers, Donald and John (known as Jack, the owner of the Gillhams' house in Robles del Rio), and she had two children at the time, a daughter Terry Jean and a son Montague, who is known as Monte.  Any and all of these could have been at the Montague gathering, including Ellen's father, who Maj. Gillham refers to in this letter as Cousin John.

The Gillhams' youngest child, Martha, was born February 2, 1945, in Chicago, but Maj. Gillham received his orders to report to Fort Ord in California before Frances was allowed home from the hospital.  Therefore, he, Emily, Monty and their English springer spaniel Flip Flop motored west, and Frances and Martha stayed with friends in Chicago for a while before taking the train out to California.  Before they moved into Jack Montague's vacant vacation house in Robles del Rio, Maj. Gillham and the girls stayed for a few weeks at the home of Jack's sister, Ellen Montague Upshaw, and her family in Piedmont, CA, adjacent to Oakland.

Ernest and Ellen Upshaw, on the lawn of the Gillham's house
on Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 1941

Top to bottom, left to right:  Ellen and Ernest Upshaw, Emily Gillham,
Terry Jean Upshaw, Monte Upshaw, and Monty Gillham,
at the Upshaw's house on Arbor Way, Piedmont, CA, 1945

Three children with names derived from Montague:
Monte Lang, Monty Gillham and Monte Upshaw,
Piedmont, CA, June 1945

Our family has stayed fairly close to the Ellen Montague Upshaw family over the years.  In fact, Monte Upshaw was in New Jersey for a business trip in 1974 and was at our home the night Hank Aaron hit his 715th homerun, as we all watched on an old black-and-white TV set.

 I have traced our lineage back to a Peter Montague who was born in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England, about three miles from Windsor Castle and Eton College.  He sailed to America on the Charles in 1621 at the age of 18, having to work on board to pay his passage.  He settled in Virginia near what is now the town of Suffolk, and he eventually married the daughter of Samuel Mathews, the Royal Governor of Virginia.  This makes us part of the exclusive First Families of Virginia, that include the names Mathews and Digges (Samuel's wife's maiden name) on their list.