Monday, January 6, 2014

Julia Ellen Barrett (Part 1)

Julia Ellen Barrett  (1917)

 My great-grandmother, Julia Ellen Barrett, was born on September 26, 1894 in Ridge Prairie, Illinois. She was the eldest of five children born to her parents, Albert Patrick Barrett and Helen Cecilia “Nellie” O’Hare.

The family lived in Illinois for much of Julia’s childhood. Albert and Nellie were married in Belleville, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis. In 1900, the census shows them living in O’Fallon, in St. Clair County. Julia’s siblings, Martha “Magdalene” Barrett, Stephen James Barrett, Charles William Barrett and Bernard Theodore Barrett were all born in Illinois.

In 1906, Julia’s father Albert moved the family to Pennsylvania. His sister, Ellen Barrett Evans, had been widowed there and Albert moved his family to assist her. Albert and his sister Ellen were close, and he had named his daughter Julia Ellen in her honor. Ellen had been married to William Evans, and they had six children. William and Ellen had run an inn together, and after William’s death, Ellen struggled to keep the business afloat. Her brother, Albert, came to assist. Unfortunately, Albert died of pneumonia on May 6, 1910, in Carrolltown, Pennsylvania. Widowed and suffering from severe asthma, Albert’s wife Nellie moved the family again, on her doctor’s advice, to the warm climate of Los Angeles, California.

Julia Barrett at her first communion in Carrolltown, Pennsylvania.   1906

Julia was sixteen when she arrived in Los Angeles with her mother and siblings. Without a breadwinner, the family needed income, and Julia went to work as an operator at the telephone company.

Julia (top) and her sister Magdalene Barrett on Venice Beach.  Los Angeles.

In 1910, there were two telephone companies servicing Los Angeles, Pacific Telephone and Telegraph (where Julia worked) and Home Telephone and Telegraph Company. These companies merged in 1916 and became known as the Southern California Telephone Company.

Julia Ellen Barrett, 1917

The Pacific Telephone Building at 716 S. Olive Street, Los Angeles.  Built in 1911.  Source

 It was at Pacific Telephone and Telegraph that Julia met her future husband, George Roscoe Oliver Rutherfurd. George had moved to Los Angeles from Douglas, Wyoming in 1913 with his mother and siblings after the death of his stepfather, Malcolm Rutherfurd. He also took a job at the telephone company to help make ends meet. He and Julia had come from similar situations, each being the oldest of five children and having lost their fathers.

To be continued...

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