One of the most incredible occurrences as a result of this site was being reunited with a mysterious family chest that I didn’t know existed! If you’ve read my former posts about Ralph and Angela McKinnon, you may recall that their son, Ralphie, passed away from appendicitis when he was four. What I didn’t know, was that they kept a chest full of his belongings and letters related to his birth and passing. My Aunt Clare, his sister, kept it as well, until her passing.
...He was named for his father, a Skipper at the Luckenbach Steamship Company in Brooklyn, New York. Captain Ralph McKinnon was a gregarious tower of a man who made the papers from time-to-time for his various antics abroad. He had built a swimming pool for his passengers to play in as they awaited passage through the Panama Canal. He once dropped anchor mid-stream to stop a knife fight aboard his ship. But perhaps his most notable handiwork came just months after the death of his dear son.
As someone who can barely stand hearing their own voice played back to them, filming and editing videos of my talking head has been nothing short of a challenge. However, I feel like there's a real shortage of these types of videos on the web. When I was first learning how to conduct family research, I would have to resort to long, boring slideshow videos. My goal is to create mostly short, snappy, to-the-point tips and tutorials that will help people think outside the box.
I've been taking a creative writing class at the local community college to keep myself sociable. Our latest assignment was a Villanelle (poem). I decided to draw upon the letters of Captain Ralph McKinnon- my adoptive great grandfather- and create a poem in the spirit of his writing. He occasionally sent word via telegram, so I printed the poem on telegram paper for effect. I hope you enjoy.
I've known for quite some time that Ralph McKinnon held a myriad of jobs prior to his sparkling career as a Merchant Marine Captain at the Luckenbach Steamship Co.. One of those jobs was Proprietor of Commercial Hotel in Granite Falls, WA in 1914. He listed the reason for leaving this position as, "Too many lost accounts." Sounds a tad controversial, doesn't it? Well it turns out it was!
As I was sorting through my Flickr albums today, I came across an old letter I had forgotten about from a Marjorie, John, and Mary MacKinnon. They wrote a letter to Anne (Angela) with their concern for Ralph's disappearance during WWII. They mentioned they had recently heard the news from Aggie (Agnes Rose McKinnon nee Robb).