Thursday, January 9, 2014

Julia Ellen Barrett (Part 2)

This is the second post in a series about my maternal great-grandmother, Julia Ellen Barrett. The first post can be found here.

Julia Ellen Barrett Rutherfurd, 1918

 After meeting at Pacific Telephone and Telegraph, where they both worked, George Rutherfurd was smitten with Julia Barrett, whom he always called by both her first and middle names, Julia Ellen. By the time they met and began dating, however, war was on the horizon. On April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I. George joined the 411th Telegraph Battalion and was sent to Monterey, California for training. Julia joined him there, and on August 18, 1917, they were married in nearby Salinas.

After George shipped out to France, where he would serve the duration of World War I, Julia returned to Los Angeles. She again lived with her mother, Nellie Barrett. On August 10, 1918, Julia and George’s only child, LaVerne Rutherfurd, was born. George learned the happy news via telegram in France.

The telegram George received informing him of his daughter's birth.

When George returned from the war, the family settled at 4322 Denker Avenue in what is now known as South Los Angeles. By 1930, they had moved to 3910 West 59th Street, just around the corner from Julia’s mother and younger siblings, who lived at 3429 West 60th Street.

Julia wanted to have more children, but for unknown reasons, this did not happen. LaVerne was her only child. My Grandma told me that her mother was very close with her family, and spent a lot of time with them. Since Julia was the eldest child, and her father had died young, Julia helped to support her mother and raise the younger children.

Julia with her brothers Bernard and Stephen Barrett in Los Angeles.

 She was good natured and well-liked, with a wonderful sense of humor. While her sister, Magdalene, was seen as the beauty of the family, Julia was known for her sweet disposition. My Grandma also described her mother as being very practical, and a take-charge sort of person. She wasn’t one to sit on her hands.

Julia with her daughter LaVerne

Julia was a reader, as was her husband, George. She loved to read. My Grandma told me that Julia had a favorite book when she was a child, called “Traits and Stories of Irish Peasantry” by William Carlton. She’d hoped that the book had stayed with the family during their move to Los Angeles, but it has never resurfaced. George gave Julia a number of books as gifts during their marriage.  I am glad to now own several of these, including a copy of "The Path to Home" by Edgar A. Guest, inscribed to Julia from George on Christmas, 1925.

On June 30, 1941, Julia died suddenly of a stroke. My Grandma told me that she believed strokes and high blood pressure ran in the Barrett family. Julia was only 46 at her death, and her loss was a great blow to her husband and daughter. She also died before her mother, with whom she was extremely close. Nellie Barrett died seven months later, on February 6, 1942.

Julia is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. George lived nearly twenty years after her death, but is now buried beside her.

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