MacKinnon & Judge

I found my first family Superior Court case! Woohoo! I've been to multiple Judy G. Russell lectures, thinking every time, "Man, I wish MY family had court cases, but they're all pretty recent American immigrants." Thank yooooou, Ralph!

Ralph McKinnon is one of my favorite relatives. Though we share no blood relation, he adopted my grandpa during a difficult time in his life (having just lost his own son), and seemed to be a beacon of warmth and kindness toward my blood relatives. DNA be damned, he treated his in-laws and adopted son as his own, and in turn I will treat him like my biological great grandpa until the end of time. 

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!

Check this out:


I stumbled across this article while trying to find out more about the short-lived Commercial Hotel (which burned down in 1917, by the way). From what I gather, Ralph and this J.C. Judge character were in some hot water for money owed to Annie L. Miller, on their mortgage of the Commercial Hotel.

I did some research on J.C. Judge. His full name was Joseph Charles Judge; an Irish immigrant and former professor of Marquett College, where he likely met Ralph, who was a former teacher himself.

I'd like to point out Ralph would have been about 25 years old at this time. If that doesn't sound young to you, let me share with you his baby face three years later.


Does this froofy-haired young gentleman look ready to run his own business? I guess the same could have been said about Zuckerberg.


I'm not sure what the outcome of this case was, but I can tell you that Ralph did more than alright for himself in the end. I'm very excited to finally start putting those court record lecture notes to use! I will share another update walking you through my investigation and hopefully we'll all learn something. :)

If you have interest in investigating court cases of your own, or really, if you simply enjoy reading genealogical articles written by a sharp, witty author, I highly recommend you check out Judy's blog, The Legal Genealogist. You won't be disappointed.