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  • ID: I09841
  • Sex: F
  • Birth: 9 APR 1896 in Nebraska
  • Death: 27 FEB 1993 in Spokane, Spokane County, Washington
  • Change Date: 7 FEB 2009
  • Note:
    Probably named for her father's sister - CLARA DE NORMANDIE ABERCROMBIE.
    1910 United States Federal Census
    Name: William R Abercrombie
    Age: 52 Estimated birth year: abt 1858
    Birthplace: Minnesota
    Relation to Head of House: Head
    Father's Birth Place: Charhesto
    Mother's Birth Place: Pennsylvania
    Spouse's name: Lillian H
    Spokane Ward 3, Spokane, Washington
    Marital Status: Married
    Race: White Gender: Male
    William R Abercrombie head age 52 b. MN father b. Charleston mother b.PA occ: US Army - Lie ut. Col.
    Lillian H Abercrombie wife age 42 m. 23 yrs. ch: 3/2 b. MD parents b.NY
    Frances K Abercrombie dau age 20 b. NE
    Clara D N Abercrombie dau age 14 b. NE
    Emma Johnson servant age 29
    Elma Pearson servant age 35
    From her father's obit
    Daughter survives - Mrs. Alan Paine at W 2509 Summit Blvd. Alan Painewas an attorney

    Allen G Paine and Clara D Abercrombie - Spokane County (Historic)Historic Marriage Record

    ID: easpmca24607
    Groom's Last Name: Paine
    Groom's First Name: Allen
    Groom's Middle Name: G
    Bride's First Name: Clara
    Bride's Middle Name: D
    Bride's Last Name: Abercrombie
    Marriage Date: Aug 24 1918
    1930 United States Federal Census
    Name: Glan (ALAN) Grant Paine
    Spokane, Spokane, Washington
    Age: 35 Estimated birth year: abt 1895
    Birthplace: Washington
    Relation to Head of House: Head
    Spouse's name: Clara A
    Race: White
    HOUSEHOLD: res: 2509 N Summit Blvd
    Alan Grant Paine head o-$10,000 age 35 m@23 b. WA parents b. MN occ:Lawyer
    Clara A Paine wife age 33 b. NE father b. NE mother b. DC
    Harriet Paine dau age 10 b. ? Panama
    Sarah Paine dau age 9 b. Washington
    Evelyn Baxter servant age 19
    Louise N Paine sister age 67 b. MN parents b. OH
    Social Security Death Index
    Name: Clara A. Paine
    SSN: 535-44-5024
    Last Residence: 99203 Spokane, Spokane, Washington, United States ofAmerica
    Born: 9 Apr 1896
    Died: 27 Feb 1993
    State (Year) SSN issued: Washington (1962 )
    World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
    Name: Alan Grant Paine
    City: Spokane
    County: Spokane
    State: Washington
    Birthplace: Spokane, Washington
    Birth Date: 5 Jan 1895
    Race: Caucasian (White)
    Roll: 1992106
    DraftBoard: 4
    Age: 22
    Occupation: member of HARVARD ROTC - HARVARD Reserve - Officer's TrainingCorps
    Nearest Relative: single
    Height/Build: med/med
    Color of Eyes/Hair: blue/light

    Allen G Paine and Clara D Abercrombie - Spokane County (Historic)Historic Marriage Record
    ID: easpmca24607
    Groom's Last Name: Paine
    Groom's First Name: Allen
    Groom's Middle Name: G
    Bride's First Name: Clara
    Bride's Middle Name: D
    Bride's Last Name: Abercrombie
    Marriage Date: Aug 24 1918
    1961 city directory shows Clara Paine Wid Alan G,
    Directory of the National Society of the Daughters of the AmericanRevolution - Page 176
    by Daughters of the American revolution - 1911 - 1574 pages

    1368 55930 Abercrombie, Clara de Normandie (Miss) The Toronto, 20th & Psts, nw,
    Washington 78812 Abrams, Cornelia (Mrs ...
    Full view - Table of Contents - About this book

    The Disgrace of Col. Abercrombie

    In my research, Sally's grandfather William Ralph Abercrombie, known as"Puppy" in the family , came across my radar as a colorful character ofhistorical significance to the Pacific North west. His life also deeplyimpacted his daughter Clara, Sally's mother. Here's an abstract o f hiscareer that I gleaned from interviews with Sally and a couple dozen oldnewspaper clip s I found in her family albums. --JL

    As a teenager Sallys mother, Clara Abercrombie Paine, assumed adifficult mission to recou p the honor of her family.

    Claras father, William Ralph Abercrombie, came from a long line ofmilitary men nine genera tions of generals. One ancestor, JohnAbercrombie, was a famous English general. After the Abe rcrombies sidedwith the Revolutionaries, another ancestor served under GeorgeWashington. Th e future first President of our young nation showed hisappreciation to this particular Abercr ombie with a handsome velvet-linedwooden bowl, in which are nestled two small silver cups , a memento stilltreasured by present-day family members.

    Ralph, as he was known, was one of thirteen children and grew up in ahuge house on a prospero us avenue in Philadelphia. Perhaps all thosegenerations of military medals weighed too heavil y on the boy. Whateverhis reason, in 1874 fifteen-year-old Ralph ran off to sea, signing up a sa cabin boy on a ship headed to foreign ports. It was an inauspiciousbeginning for what hi s family assumed would be another distinguishedmilitary career. Rebellious by nature, Ralph d idnt even bother to writea letter home informing his parents of his whereabouts.

    So when he suddenly reappeared after four years at sea, announcing, NowIm ready to be in th e army, there was a slight problem. A person wouldneed some kind of powerful advocate to b e accepted into West Point at theadvanced age of nineteen. Fortunately, Ralphs older siste r Sally (ourSallys great aunt) saved the day by writing to her friend. Ralph hasreturned t o the family fold, she wrote, and he wants to attend WestPoint. Can you help?
    Her friend was President Ulysses S. Grant. The Commander-in-Chiefresponded favorably, somethi ng along the lines of, Ralph doesnt have aproper education, so we couldnt send him to th e Point, but I will givehim a lieutenants commission. Well send him out West. Hell be kill ed,and no one will be disgraced.

    What luck!

    In 1877, the second lieutenant was the first soldier to enter Spokane, asettlement of about t hree shacks. His commander, General Wheaton, hadgiven Ralph permission to ride ahead of the r egiment in order to do somefishing. A handsome but haggard white man called out to the soldie r.

    Are you alone? he asked. His name was James Glover. For a week thelocal Indians had been da ncing and drumming and showing signs ofincreasing hostility toward the white settlers. Glove r hadnt been ableto sleep, and he worried this particular day he was worried he mightnever s ee the sun rise again.

    No, answered Ralph, explaining that in two days another 700 soldiers ofthe Second Infantr y would arrive.

    Glover was overjoyed.

    Instead of being killed in the Indian wars, Ralph survived. In that Ralphlacked the respect f or authority he would have gained from West Point,however, his military career progressed i n fits and starts. Overall, hewas earning the approval of his superiors. He happily lived i n tents,fished, built army forts in the Northwest. When he returned home toPhiladelphia on fu rlough one time, he was captivated by Lillian Kimball,belle of the regiment, evolved from ano ther long line of generals.Despite mismatched ages he was near thirty and she was sixtee n theymarried. Their daughter Francis arrived, and a few years later anothergirl, Clara D e Normandy Abercrombie.

    In 1898, when Clara was just two years old, the family was forced toprepare for the deprivati ons of Ralphs new marching orders. The wardepartment was sending him into the wilds of Alask a. The older child,they reasoned, could survive a primitive lifestyle, but it was deemed tooh arsh for little Clara, who was left in the care of the nuns of theMadams of the Sacred Hear t Convent in New York. It must have seemed tothe child a terrible abandonment.

    Her family would not return soon.

    With a natural feel for engineering problems, Ralph was perfectly suitedto his new assignment , commanding an expedition to build thetrans-Alaska military road from the port of Valdez t o the Copper RiverValley in the Yukon. In two previous seasons he had already ventured intoPr ince William Sound, seeking a route into the mineral-rich Yukonterritory that didnt involv e traversing foreign (British or Russian)land.

    The need for such a route became urgent in 1897 when three to fourthousand fortune-seekers po ured into the region seeking gold, spurred onby misleading ads of transportation companies. A n estimated one hundredmen died and scores suffered scurvy, frostbite, snow-blindness andfrus trated hopes when gold was not readily found. When the U.S.government tried to send help acro ss Canadian territory, one newspaperreported, United States troops were not permitted to pas s either as anorganization or with arms. As a result of that situation the Secretary ofWar wa s directed to have an exploration made with a view to establishingthe all-American route.

    In April 1898, Ralph Abercrombie left Seattle with an outfit of 157Norway reindeer with sled s, equipment, supplies and 113 Laplanders asdrivers and herders. This became known as the Re indeer Train, and theunusual creatures pulled sleds until the snow was gone, and then Ralphwa s forced to return for pack animals. Horses were found to be the mostefficient. While briefl y in Seattle on this errand, he complained to areporter that he regretting missing the actio n of the Spanish-Americanwar. I tell you, he said, its hard luck to be stationed up in Al askawhen all this war is going on. My regiment is now down in Mobile, and islikely to go to C uba anytime, while I have nothing in sight but a winterof hard work in the interior of Alaska . Not a single line of fighting inprospect, unless the Swedes and the Indians start a war.

    But with his horses in tow, the captain headed for Valdez, where he foundthe stranded miner s in a most pitiable condition, crowded in miserablehuts like sardines in a box. As later r eported in the SeattlePost-Intelligencer, There were no facilities for bathing; most of thes ufferers had scurvy, and not a few frostbitten hands, faces and feet.The tops of old rubber b oots and strips of gunnysacks made shoes andsocks for many of them. The stench was intolerabl e, and 70 percent of theinmates of the huts were mentally deranged.

    Captain Abercrombie, with the blessing of the war department, promptlyhired upwards of 300 me n, whom he fattened up and employed in startingwork on a four-foot wide trail along an estima ted 385-mile route to theCopper River Valley.

    Lillian and little Francis, as well as the chief engineers wife,remained in Valdez while th e men threw themselves into their hazardousassignment. Several times Ralphs life was in dang er. In September 1899,when they were eighty miles into the interior of Alaska, Ralph and hism en experienced major earthquakes.

    Both shocks came on Sunday, Ralph later told a reporter, just a weekapart. It was a terrif ic trembling. We were in a cottonwood grove. Someof the men were badly scared, particularly w hen the dead trees began totopple over. Great rocks came tumbling down the hillsides, reallye ndangering life. But the grandest sight was that of Mount Wrangel ineruption. We were 150 mil es from the lofty peak, yet we could distinctlysee her belching forth great volumes of dens e black smoke. No doubt shespit fire, too, but the flames we could not see. The smoke was den sestand blackest just after the shocks. It was a thrilling scene I assureyou.

    The earthquakes caused the Miles glacier to release a mile-long chunk.This created another pe ril. We found the icy straits full of submergedice, recounted the captain, and our expedit ion boat, the Dora, wascaught in a floe one night and had a hole smashed in her bow. We signa ledby rockets and torchlights, and the Indians built fires ashore, whichserved as beacons an d enabled us to reach shore and beach her. TheIndians helped us put in a plug, and then we pr oceeded down to JuneauĆ

    Another time, when Ralph was fording a glacial stream on horseback,officer and beast were tu rned over and over in it, and could not makethe passageĆ

    Stock were killed by snow slides, officers were stricken snowblind, sixfeet of snow fell onc e in five days.

    Incessant rain and fog stalled the group at the approach to the Valdezglacier at Bates Pass i n July, when Ralph experienced the most desolatenight of his twenty-two-years service at th e Western frontier. Thehumidity was so pronounced, Ralph wrote in a report, and so continu ousthat bacon and ham became one mass of mold; the water of crystallizationin the sugar bein g liberated, the sugar wasted away in the form ofsyrupĆ

    Horses and men were roped together, twelve miles onto the glacier, asthey were pummeled by ra in. The night was black, the rain continuous,and occasionally the mighty glacier would crac k as it settled in itspassage to the valley below, with a vibration that would cause the me n tostop in the tramp, and the horses to quiver with apprehension; then wouldfollow a deafeni ng crash as some thousands of tons of ice detached fromone of the hundreds of glaciers that f ringe the mountainside would comecrashing down on to the main glacier, and bounding from wal l to wall ofthe canyon, the echo would die out down the valley many thousand feetbelow.

    The journey across the glacier, at a time of year when it was consideredimpassable, was compl eted in twenty-nine hours, without sleep orshelter.

    Hardships notwithstanding, Ralph came to know Alaska like the back of hishand, and for some y ears he was the only one who extolled the mineral andagricultural possibilities of the Coppe r River Valley. He praised theblack soil that went down to a depth of four to six feet. Nati vegrasses, berries and flowers are found in great quantities, he wrote inhis government repo rt, and of a most luxuriant growth. Some of thefinest currants I have ever seen grow in th e greatest profusion.

    Farmers would find fertile land, he insisted, and miners could harvestgold, copper, silver, c innabar, galena, quartz, iron, coal, lignite andmarble.

    Ralphs efforts paid off. The government responded, the road was built,and 2,600 miles of tel egraph line were laid down. The captain was chosento guide Teddy Roosevelt when the 26th Pres ident ventured into theNorthwest wilderness to hunt bear.

    Still, the officer was more independently minded and less tractable thanwas good for a milita ry man. Hints of this are found in the news clips.One copper mine owner was quoted as saying , The talk that is beingindulged in against Captain Abercrombie, I should judge, is the resu lt ofsome differences. Some time ago he had a disagreement with the whalingcompany. What it w as over I am not informed, but he has done wonderfulwork, no matter what anyone says.

    Another news account referred to a heated conflict between Ralph and anAlaskan post office of ficial. Ralph wrote to government authoritiescriticizing the fellow, who was called to Washin gton D.C. from hisdistant station, where he denied the accusations.

    The Postmaster General asked Ralph for more information, and his refusalto provide such cause d a stir. He was informed that his position in thematter was unworthy an officer of his repu tation and rank, and that hisconduct was far from commendable.

    Although this tempest blew over, no one could say that Ralph wasntwarned of the scandal tha t would follow some years later.

    It was two years before Ralph and Lillian returned to New York to collecttheir daughter Clara , who had lived from age two to four with the nuns ofthe Madams of the Sacred Heart Convent.

    Ralph advanced in rank to colonel and commanded such promising young Armyofficers as George C . Marshall and Omar Bradley before moving to Spokanein 1910 and becoming commander of Fort Ge orge Wright.

    At one point he was punished by being assigned a battalion of blacksoldiers. These men displa yed such professionalism and effectiveness inaiding Spokane police during an I.W.W. labor str ike that the city councilissued an official resolution expressing its gratitude. Ralph encour agedhis men to form an enviable, crack baseball team that whipped all thewhites.

    One summer, while Clara at age seventeen was touring Europe with herwell-to-do classmates, he r fathers good fortune was arrested. Laborstrikers from town approached the commander for he lp. Ralph sympathizedwith the workers and offered them food and supplies. City officials andb usiness owners were scandalized.

    Dont help the strikers! they told him.

    Ill help them if I want to, responded the colonel.

    Not surprisingly, the conflict did not end with angry words alone.

    The War Department in Washington D.C. was notified by irate cityofficials. Your colonel ou t here is interfering with Spokane.

    Col. Abercrombie received an order: You must apologize to Spokane andstop helping these peop le. Its none of your business.

    Ralph, the career military man, responded unequivocally. Ill begoddamned if I will.

    By the time Clara returned from Europe, her father had been relieved ofhis command, booted fr om the Army, and her parents suffered the indignityof being forced to move to a small house o n Spokanes South Hill.
    The family was utterly disgraced.

    an imprint of The Printed Word, Inc., Email
    P.O. Box 31166, Spokane, WA 99223
    2nd cousin, 3 times removed - JSR.

    Father: WILLIAM RALPH ABERCROMBIE b: AUG 1858 in Fort Ripley, Crow Wing County, Minnesota
    Mother: LILLIAN HARRIET KIMBALL b: ABT. 1868 in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland

    Marriage 1 ALAN GRANT PAINE b: 5 JAN 1895 in Spokane, Spokane County, Washington
    • Married: 24 AUG 1918 in Spokane, Spokane County, Washington
    1. Has Children Living PAINE
    2. Has Children Living PAINE
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