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Family History for James Vass (1856 to 1933)

An interview with his granddaughter, Helen Manning Engstrom, about her remembrances of James Vass.


Photograph of James Vass about 1920

Table of Contents

1 Table of Contents
2 Interview
3 Genealogy program generated data for James Vass (1856 - 1933)
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Table of Contents

Interview

This interview was conducted by Linda Rehart asking the questions. Helen Engstrom responded with her answers from her memory of James Vass who was Helen's maternal grandfather. The interviews were recorded on a cassette tape and then later was transcribed and edited by Linda Rehart. That document was entered into the computer by Donald Engstrom in June 2007.

Question: What do you remember about your Grandfather, James Vass?

Answer: I remember Grandpa Vass. He was, sort of, well I was going to say calm, easy-going man. He was a quiet man and didn't have too much to say, but when something started bothering him, I remember as children when my sister and I would get into an argument or something and he would get mad, why he would go out in the kitchen and start banging pans around and when the pans started banging why we knew that we had better settle down or else or sometimes he would make, go out and start to make scones. He made wonderful scones. I've never had scones like them. I don't know why I can remember them so good.

Question: Were they baked scones or did he fry them?

Answer: He just fried them. And they were real good. And he lived with us and then one time for a while h and Isabel had an apartment and then he was back at my folks' home where we lived and during the winter months or sometimes during the summer months he would take trips and go down to Denver and spend several months at a time and come home. He, as I recall, every once in a while he'd give us a nickel or a dime for something. I can't ever remember a dime, seemed like a nickel. And I imagine he gave us Christmas presents, too, but I don't remember anything. The only thing I remember his giving me is a pair of beads when I graduated from high school, and they were crystals. I never remember getting other things. I probably got presents, but the only thing I can remember is crystals.

Question: Did he always live with your parents before you were born or did he move in with you after your birth?

Answer: Well, I don't know. He, --cause they were on the ranch for a while. He had the ranch out in Laramie and then I don't know, it seemed to be like he had been living with us from the time I was about 4 or 5 years old.

Question: Did he have any hobbies or things he liked to do?

Answer: Well about the only thing he liked to do was sit, he sat in that chair by the window and read. He didn't seem to talk too much.

Question: Did he ever play like golf with Gampie [his son, Cord Manning]?

Answer: I think he might have played a little solitaire. I don't remember him playing too much cards.

Question: What kind of conact did he have with his family, most of them were over in Scotland?

Answer: Well, I don't think he ever heard anything from his family in Scotland, but his twin brother, I believe.

Question: I don't think he has a twin brother.

Answer: What? Oh it was just a brother then. A brother that he heard about that lived in Canada and he went up to fish with him and his family and then he came back to Cheyenne and the following summer, mom, Isabel, Ruth, and myself went to Canada to visit these relatives. We went up to his daughter who lived in Vancouver and then we took the boat over to Vancouver Island where he lived and I might say when he first went up they missed connections to meet and they both passed each other on the street and didn't recognize one another because they hadn't seen each other for over forty years.

Question: How did you travel up there?

Answer: We drove a car. It's a lot different then now a days. The first night we left Cheyenne and we made Granger, Wyoming. We left about six o'clock in the morning and got there about 5, and we really thought we made great time. The next day we stayed at, what?

Question: Where is Granger, Wyoming?

Answer: At the other side of and right close to Little America. And then the next night we stayed at Boise; and then we drove up to Portland, and the next day we spent a day or so there and we got there in time to see the beautiful rosen parade that they have. And then we went over to The Dalles where we visited with a cousin's mother and father, mother and step-father and met his relatives and had a very enjoyable time. I might say that while we were in Vancouver Island we were there for the diamond jubilee which was quite a celebration and it was held on the fourth of July and they had like a fair and that evening they had the most gorgeous fireworks, similar to what we have now, but as a young girl, why, I hadn't seen fireworks quite like that before.

Question: Did he belong to any clubs, church groups or anything like that?

Answer: No, not that I recall.

Question: What was his occupation during his lifetime?

Answer: Ranching, and then when he sold the ranch he just more or less retired.

Question: Do you know if he ever became a citizen of the United States? I know that he put out an intention to become one. Do you know if he actually became one?

Answer: No, but I always assumed he was.

Question: Do you remember if he voted or anything like that?

Answer: I think he did; I think he did vote.

Question: Was he a pretty healthy man?

Answer: Yes.

Question: How did he die?

Answer: In fact he didn't seem he'd been ailing. Well, I recall, I'm not sure just what he had when he passed away, but I know he had trouble getting to the bathroom and there was a chair made for him by his bed and Mom was in ironing and I was home and Isabel came home from work and mom had just gone in and looked at him a few minutes before and she started to fix a little lunch and Isabel came in and went in to see him and he was gone.

Question: And so he had a very peaceful passing?

Answer: Right.

Question: Do you know about when?

Answer: When Isabel was already married. Oh a funny incident when Isabel got married. They were married in the pasterage and it was on a Saturday afternoon and as they were trying to get away, a group got them and took them on a chivaree. And on Saturday afternoon, the traffic was rather bad downtown, but they went through the streets and they had them handcuffed together in back of a truck and they made them both get our and walk. In fact, they weren't walking, they were more or less running. And I was with my grandfather and whoever else was driving the car - I think it was Dad probably driving the car, I don't recall - and my grandfather got very unhappy and one of his most famous expressions was, "Damn it to Hell" when he got mad, and he said "Damn it to hell, he didn't care what they did to Hap, but they couldn't do that to Isabel" and to take him home. He couldn't stand anymore of it.

Question: Did he ever tell you stories about his homeland in Scotland?

Answer: uh uh. He was walking down the street and the bells were ringing, and it was my birthday and the day that the armistice had been signed and everybody was stopping and praying. And later I don't know how many days or weeks later it was, but this one night we were all sitting around the room - we had a furnace heater and it was kind of in the middle of - well it was a floor-type furnace and we were kind of all around that when they received the message that my Uncle John was killed in action and everybody was crying.

Question: That was about the same time that Uncle Andrew died.

Answer: I don't remember anything about him. I remember seeing Uncle John, but I don't remember anything of Uncle Andrew.

Question: He lived in Laramie?

Answer: Oh yeah, I do vaguely remember, yeah. They had a ranch not far from Uncle Andrew and Aunt Elsie had this ranch not far from Grandpa Vass's and they would go visit them once in a while. I don't remember too much about Uncle Andrew.


Table of Contents

Genealogy program generated data for James Vass (1856 - 1933)

James Vass was born on 17 Sep 1856 in Pathhead, New Cumnock, Ayr, Scotland. He died on 25 Apr 1933 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States. He was buried on 27 Apr 1933 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States.

James married Alison Jamieson, daughter of William Jamieson and Elizabeth Gordon, about 1881. Alison was born on 20 Jul 1862 in Craighall, Inveresk, Midlothian, Scotland. She died on 26 Apr 1903 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. She was buried on 28 Apr 1903 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States.

They had the following children.

  1 M William Vass was born on 17 Jul 1882 in Streator, La Salle, Illinois, United States. He died on 27 Aug 1891 in Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, United States.
  2 M Andrew Vass was born on 10 Feb 1884 in Streator, La Salle, Illinois, United States. He died on 18 Nov 1918.
      Andrew married Elsie Crow on 1 Jul 1915. Elsie was born about 1884.
  3 F Lizzie Vass was born on 7 Jan 1887 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. She died on 4 Feb 1887.
  4 M James Vass was born on 7 Jan 1888 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. He died on 7 May 1889.
  5 F Elizabeth Vass was born on 20 Jan 1890 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. She was christened on 9 Jun 1890 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. She died on 6 Apr 1978 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States. She was buried on 10 Apr 1978 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
      Elizabeth married Emmett McCord Manning "Cord", son of James Manning and Ruth Anna Wymore "Annie", on 2 May 1909 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. Emmett was born on 26 Jul 1886 in Oskaloosa, Mahaska, Iowa, United States. He died on 30 Jun 1966 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States. He was buried on 2 Jul 1966 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
Cord worked as Shoe Salesman at Wasserman's Shoes in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
  6 M George David Vass was born on 22 Feb 1892 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. He died on 2 Oct 1937 in Evanston, Uinta, Wyoming, United States. He was buried in Oct 1937 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States.
      George married Jessie B in Feb 1910. The marriage ended in divorce. Jessie was born about 1892 in , , Colorado, United States.
      George also married Laura Clark about 1927. Laura was born on 5 Mar 1899.
  7 M John Vass was born on 15 Apr 1896 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. He died on 6 Oct 1918 in , , , France.
      John married Irma. Irma was born about 1896.
  8 F Isabel Marie Vass was born on 23 Aug 1901 in Laramie, Albany, Wyoming, United States. She died on 27 Jan 1996 in Sacramento, Sacramento, California, United States. She was buried on 2 Feb 1996 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
      Isabel married Roy Charles Anderson "Hap", son of John Olaf Anderson and Anna Mary Dahlman, on 2 May 1925 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States. Hap was born on 21 Sep 1900 in Haxtun, Phillips, Colorado, United States. He died on 9 Jan 1963 in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona, United States. He was buried on 14 Jan 1963 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.