Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

James H. Madden - Fair Oaks

Picture with Gemini Astronauts
There are no books for the rest of my Dad's story, but life certainly didn't stop in 1958 when the family left China Lake and traveled north to Rancho Cordova, just out side Sacramento.  There he took a job with Aerojet General Corp as a reliability engineer.  Over the next twelve years he worked on various propulsion projects for missiles and rockets including the Gemini program.
Aerojet - Rocketdyne Company History
Aerojet - Wikipedi

After a few months in Rancho Cordova the family moved to Fair Oaks, settling on four acres including an almond orchard and a one acre iris garden.  Now, if you didn't grow up on a farm you probably don't know how much work it can be for everyone in the family.  The iris need to be weeded, separated dug for customers and trimmed down before winter.  Almonds need to be knocked, picked up, hulled and sometimes shelled.  A lot of work, but a wonderful place to grow up.

With long hours at work, and some chores only he could do there was no more time for vacations in the Madden household for quite some time.  After some time the Iris were sold off and a neighbor grew vegetables on part of the land. The family quit hulling nuts and workers were hired for the majority of the knocking.  Dad did find time for his great love, autos.  He took up auto-crossing, and many a weekend was spent at a fairground, race track, parking lot and on at least one occasion a hospital, as he pursued the hobby.  When he wasn't racing he was often fixing the cars.  I remember many a broken U-joint along with other lesser problems.  Most of the family ran the other way as he worked on the cars as he wasn't the most patient mechanic.  But I often stuck around and as a result learned a bit about servicing cars and a bit more about the words one probably should say.

Mirella from Rio de Janiero
Life was never dull in the Madden household, there was always something going on. The family took in an exchange student from France and then one from Brazil and then an unwed mother who needed a place to stay. Dad an Mom were active in the Christian Family Organization at St. Mel's Church (or sometimes in spite of the church as the pastor was not fond of the group...or for that matter any of his associates).  They would go off on retreat weekends leaving various daughters in charge.  The whole family seemed to pick up guitars and you'd often hear strumming from one end the house or another sometimes accompanied by Dad's great voice, or whistle.

The family grew changed again.  Two of us married in winter 70-71 and Aeroject moved their propulsion program to Florida.  Dad transferred to the Surface Effect Ship program and in June 1971 the family was off to Washington State leaving two daughters in California and one half way between on Oregon.

 Jim and Colleen - Jan 1971

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

It's Christmas Time....

Merry Christmas 

To all my family and fellow Madden research enthusiasts!

"For a faithful picture of past history you need a time exposure." anon

Or perhaps an triple exposure....Here you have an interesting glimpse of the Madden Family Christmas circa 1946.

China Lake 1956

Fair Oaks 1967

South Bend 1949
And A few other family shots over the years.  
Gig Harbor 1979

Wishing you all a fabulous 2015!   
And a little free time to check out your family history here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

James H. Madden - China Lake

Burke Rd. 1958
In 1952, my Dad scooped up his growing family and transported them to the barren lands of China Lake Naval Ordinance Test Station.  Located in the middle of the Mohave Desert the nearest town of Ridgecrest had a population around 2500 in 1952.  It was incorporated as a city in 1963.

Out in the middle of nowhere the family enjoyed the privileges of the officers club...often traversing the short distance from home in a vintage Ford Model A.

Today the house we lived in on Burke Road no longer exists....we think!  Google maps show a vacant street.  No buildings exist.  Is that true?

I arrived in China Lake about the same time as the rest of the family, so this volume of Dad's Story takes on additional voices.... Maura's, mine, and even an apostrophe from Sean who was just a year when we moved on to the next adventure.

Unfortunately, this is as far as we got with Dad's Story, the next chapters will not have his voice, but perhaps his spirit !!

Dad's Story - China Lake.

Mediterranean - Suez Crisis 

China Lake - Official Site
China Lake Museum
A Photographic history of NOTS
The Sidewinder Story
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis 1956
The Suez Crisis - Oxford University
Historical Weather - London Dec 1956

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

James H. Madden - Notre Dame

Some thirty years ago, Dad contacted Notre Dame asking for verification of the fact that he had been an instructor there.  They responded that they had no official documentation of the fact.  I was therefore very pleased when I found a notice in the school newspaper announcing his appointment as a part-time instructor.  How could a University lose the documentation.  Did they ask the archives?  There must be class lists that show the instructors.  

I'm guessing Dad was not a really "popular" instructor.  He firmly believed that if you wanted an "A" you needed to earn it.  None of this grading on the curve where 50% right might earn an "A."  He felt that the students coming on after the war veterans didn't know how to work.  

I remember hearing this many many times as I grew up. It definitely served as an impetus to achieve that "A", without either Dad or Mom stressing that we needed to.  Imagine my surprise when I found my Dad's report cards one day and found more C's than A's.  

Struggling to feed his growing family, Dad not only earned his Master's in Aeronautical Engineering and taught part-time, he also drove a taxi and occasionally played a game of golf with a bit of a bet!  The family struggled a bit but thrived.

Here is the 3rd installment of Dad's Story - The Notre Dame Years.  This volume is heavily annotated by my Mom, Jean Ann English, as it is also her story.  Here my sisters Maura and Colleen first appear in the family story and I am there "almost", arriving less than a month into the next adventure.

The Notre Dame Years

Notre Dame Archives- Vetville
Vetville Revisited
University of Notre Dame Archives on Facebook
Hesburg: A Biography

White Sands - 1950 Missile Launch
White Sands - Missile Range History
US Navy at White Sands

Bendix Corporation - Wikipedia
Center for History - Bendix

Sunday, November 9, 2014

James H. Madden - The War Years

My Dad was eager to join the war effort.  He had hoped to be able to fly, but his eyesight was not good enough.  So...he enlisted in the Navy and left Duluth as soon as he had finished his final class...before graduation.

He was immediately put in officer's training, going from Marquette in Milwaukee, WI to Notre Dame and then eventually ended up in Midshipman School at Fort Schuyler.

After finishing training he was assigned to "Codes" supervising a department of women.  Now, many of these women were probably "much" older than their 21 year old supervisor and if you knew my father you would know how much he hated "cattiness."  Well, war is war.  You serve where you are needed....  So here it is in his own words the second installment of Dad's Story with a few additions from his "future wife".  I've added links to some of the places where he trained.  

Dad's Story - The War Years
V12-Navy College Training Program
Special Collections- Marquette - Navy Training
How the Navy Saved Notre Dame after WWII

Sunday, October 26, 2014

James H. Madden - Duluth

My father was born in Flint Michigan on the 2nd of September 1924. He has three birth certificates to prove the fact, one from the state of Michigan and two from the city of Flint.

A few years before his death, we started working on his life story. The result was a series of hand done books put together for family members after his death.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I have turned those books into pdf files which can be read online.

The link below is to the first of those books, Dad's Story: Duluth. The two links following are to pages from his Jr. High year book and the newspaper that replaced his high school year book during the rationed War Years.

Dad's Story: Duluth
The Birch Log -1940
The Hilltopper- 1943

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fun Finds

While my ultimate goal is to publish my family genealogy on this blog I also continue to explore other other Madden families.

This is the first in a series of Fun Finds.

Don Madden  on his blogpost Fully Flummoxed
"I did a job I hated for 32 years. I was very good it at. I didn't want to be a quitter so I kept doing it. Now I make art.  Now my life is good. Very good."

I'm sure you will enjoy his slightly irreverent view of art, films and life as much as I did.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Francis Madden - pt. 3

After leaving Stanford, probably in April of 1920, Frank returned to Bay City.  In Dec. of that year he had an emergency appendectomy as noted in the Bay City Times of Dec. 11.

 A year later on 15 Oct 1921, Frank married Isabel Louise Haffey, the daughter of Joseph Phillip Haffey, Esq. (dec) and Mary Murphy.

After his marriage in 1921, Frank  went into the fruit transport business with his brothers.  After a brief time in Bay City, where Thomas Joseph Francis was born in 1922 they moved to Flint, Michigan (2515 Kaufman Ave.) where James Howard (1924) and Jane Marie (1926) were born.  About 1928 the family moved to Duluth where in Jun 1929 Mary Patricia arrived.  A final child John Joseph was born and died on 13 Sep 1930.

1418 Vermillion
A new business with his brothers to ship cars saw them spread between Bay city, Minneapolis and Duluth.  The business proved profitable, from Duluth they shipped cars throughout Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Montana by rail and truck.   See Madden Brothers. 

During their years in Duluth Frank and Isabel never bought a house.  The lived first at 1418 Vermillion Rd and later at 2516 E 6th St.

With the onset of WWII, all steel was commandeered for war work, so there were no new cars and the business became defunct.  The Poker fleet was commandeered and all the ships were sunk in the war. This was not a loss to the Madden brothers who had only leased the boats, but it did put an end to the shipping business.

Frank became the assistant manager for distribution of rationing in Duluth, spending the next four years at the task.  He did not like his immediate boss, however, so after the war he left his government job.

5636 Abbot Ave. S. Minneapolis
Taking a job as a design engineer with Northwest Airlines, Frank moved to Minneapolis,  There in 1947 they purchased their first house at 5636 Abbot Ave. S. in Minneapolis with the help of Jim's Veteran's fund.  Frank continued with Northwest Airlines to the end of his working career.  Isabel taught art in Catholic schools in the area.

I remember Grampy as a quiet, kind, mild man who was rather overrun by my grandmother.  He would often turn off his hearing aid and remain oblivious to the world around him.  He was the type of person everyone finds it hard not to like.

Frank and Isabel with Maura
Colleen and Catherine
1953 China Lake
I remember well the death of my grandfather.  As he grew progressively more ill, my grandmother felt incapable of handling the deterioration by herself, so she packed him up and moved him to our house in Fair Oaks.  She then went back to Minneapolis to pack up their belongings for a permanent move to California where three of her children were living.

Grampy's health rapidly deteriorated and he was soon in a care facility.  He was gone before Grammy could complete the move.  Although he died in Sacramento, California on 25 Nov 1866, he is buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery in Bay City.  Less than two weeks later, 6 Dec 1966 my mother's father John Edward English died in Tuscon, AZ.  Needless to say it was a sad holiday season in the Madden household.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Francis Martin Madden - Student Army Training Corps - Stanford University

On 1 Oct 1918 at precisely 12 noon (ET) members of the  Student Army Training Corps at approximately 500 campuses across the United States were inducted into the Army.[1]  At Leland Stanford Jr. University ....  men in five companies stood at attention in the Quad.  Among them was Francis Martin Madden, a mechanical engineering student assigned to Company D.

Throughout the summer the university had been corresponding with the War Department in an effort to put the program in place.  In fact Stanford had made military training mandatory as of 23 April 1918, so returning students already had classes in military theory and tactics in their resume.  Those students over the age of twenty were to be inducted into the S.A.T.C. and treated as full time soldiers.  Their room, board, tuition and uniforms were all paid for by the government and they were to receive a $30 per month salary.  Stanford was to be reimbursed $1.498 per day per student to supply room, board and instruction.

On September 30, students were tested to determine their fitness for duty and given uniforms.  Charles J. Sullivan in a letter to Rene Gray of Chowchilla, CA, noted, “This morning I took my S.A.T.C. exam and according to all indications passed very easily. Then I got a uniform and went over to the Quad to Register.  All physical exams are given at the Gym, a half mile from the Quad.  ..... The uniforms are awful. Of course if I don’t (sic) swear into S.A.T.C. I will return the thing -- it is in itself enough to keep me out of S.A.T.C. .....” [2]

Those students in Companies A, B, C and the Naval Unit were to train for approximately 12 weeks and then be sent to regular training facilities to be readied for action.  Engineering students were assigned to Company D and were to complete their engineering courses before leaving school and joining regular troops.  Some of the most capable were identified early and sent to Officers Candidate Training. 

Stanford had been a little late joiningin the game of military training, so students were brought in from the University of California to provide leadership for the S.A.T.C.  The rivalry between the two schools caused Charles to note, “This is a different place now from the old Stanford of 1916.  All study as well as the courses taken will be under the supervision of the military geniuses who beat us by six months or so getting their commissions.  To add to the irony they have sent a flock of U.C. men down to drill the S.A.T.C.  Can you imagine the love those Lieutenants will get from their men?  It will be tragic.” [3]

Within days life for Stanford University, the Stanford SATC, the San Francisco Bay area, and beyond had changed.....Charles recounts "....the disease has made such inroads at Stanford that the whole place is under quarantine and all classes have ceased for the time being.  When they took me out last night over 210 (total) had been sent to the hospital and about 30 cases in first stages were confined to quarters.

"The disease comes on very speedily....

"Overcoats and rifles were issued to us yesterday, but I was unable to get mine.  The rifles are Russian models and awkward looking things with nasty little four edged bayonets on the end that undoubtedly were designed solely for use on the Germans..... [4]

This was the second round of Spanish Influenza.  The first, in the spring of 1918, largely missed the US West Coast.  The second and third did not. By the end of December  over 23,000 cases had been reported in San Francisco with over 3000 deaths.  The greater Bay area, including Stanford University had many more.

As the campus fought influenza, students were brought to hospital tents to isolate them from those who were not yet infected.  And life went on.  On Oct 10 Charles notes, "....bands singing and little children playing happily in the gardens on the campus one can scarce believe that only half a mile distant 40000 men are seriously intent on perfecting themselves in the art of killing and 2500 boys are training to lead them to the front in the classrooms hidden away under the warm red tiles peacefully giving forth their soft warmth of color among the oaks and pines of the campus...."  he goes on to talk about the house where  " The university will have a big bill when this house is finally vacated.  Never have I seen such destruction in all my life there are seventy five men in the house and between their boots and seventy five army cots the hard wood floors are ruined.  Every room has had plaster mared & dishes silverware etc are disappearing from breakage and souvenir fiends so fast that we can't keep track.  I caught one man setting on the Piano yesterday.  Oh! it makes my blood boil.  Our little white enamal guest room is so badly damaged it will have to be done over & some furniture refinished.  All this in one week....."[5]

Charles was referring to Camp Fremont when he mentioned 40000 men.  Between 1917 and 1919 over 43,000 men were trained in the camp which was located in the tiny town of Menlo Park, population 2300.  Charles exaggerated a bit as he claimed 40000 men, the highest population over the 18 months of it's existence was about 27,000.  But a teaming mini-city it was.  After the war thousands of soldiers were naturalized as they left the service.  

One last quote from Charles.... "What a cartoon one might make of the campus now.  I wish I had a few moments to put some of my impressions on paper.  .... even coeds must wear gauze masks at addition to all I have named we have K.P. to do, have to sweep our rooms, make beds, sweep halls, attend evening assemblies or lectures twice or three times a week and do any special thing for which we may be detailed by the Sergt.  We are also supposed by practice during spare time to perfect ourselves individually in the 'execution of commands positions of the soldier, manual of arms' etc to quote from orders."[6] 

Thank goodness for Charles, he gave a face to both Stanford and the Student Army Training Corps at the time Frank was there.  His letters have many cartoon drawings that depict life in in the SATC.

 My Dad did not remember his father ever talking about his experiences at Stanford or his WWI service. Was he infected with Spanish Influenza?  It seems unlikely, his often delicate health would have made that more traumatic.

The Stanford Daily, Volume 54, Number 17, 6 November 1918

Records for the Student Army Training Corps do not seem to be readily available.  Beyond a few lists of students, Stanford's collections are either more general or very spcific, like Charles's letters. The Stanford Daily had occasional articles. At the Federal level, many military records for this period were lost in the fire in St. Louis.  The truth is that the official SATC was formed on 1 Oct 1918 and on 11 Nov 1918 at 6 am, Germany signed the Armistice of  Compiègne. Word travels slowly in the world of violence but by 18 Jan 1919 the Great War was at a finish with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The SATC wound down with the end of the war.  Many Universities including Stanford had bought into training students for military service well before the official induction of SATC troops on Oct 1.  Frank's draft registration stated that he had six months of military service.  This indicates that Stanford was already training students by January 1918.  Those sources that I did find indicate that all classes had been geared toward military service.  The men were being trained to be officers and the women were learning nursing skills.  The National Archives has some records for SATC in RG 165.8.4, Records of the education and Recreation Branch of the Army.

Student records have not been found for Francis Martin Madden at this time.  The  Alumni Directory and Ten-year Book: 1891-20, Volume 3,  states that  Frank attended Stanford from 1915 to an unknown date. We know he was a Junior in 1918.  In the commencement issue of the Daily Palo Alto, 16 June 1919 he is found on two lists.  The first is a list of students and alumni who served in the military.  The second is a list entitled Class Role Names Nineteeners.  This appears to be


a list of those that matriculated in 1915 and should have been the class of 1919.  Some are on the graduation list, but the war seems to have taken its toll on  the class.  Many Nineteeners did not graduate in June.  Some are found on a lists of graduates for January and Apr 1920.  I did not find Frank on either of those lists.  I did not find a list of June 1920 graduates.  The 1920 census taken 18 Jan 1920 says that he was in school on or after September 1 1919.  At the time it was taken he was in Bay City.

[1] US Army General Order 79, Colonel Rees, General Staff 
[2] Charles J. Sullivan Letter to his fiancée, Rowena Gray of Chowchilla, CA,30 Sep 1918, Stanford Libraries Special Collections, Charles J Sullivan Letters 1918-1921 (SC0 962)
[3] Ibid 
[4] Ibid; 9 Oct 1918 Camp Fremont hospital - to Miss Rene Gray-Chowchilla, CA
[5] Ibid; 10 Oct 1918 Camp Fremont Hospital - to Miss Rene Gray-Chowchilla, CA
[6] Ibid; 23 Oct 1918 Stanford  - to Miss Rene Gray-Chowchilla, CA

1917 - Intensive Drill to Start at Once
1918 - Student Camp to Open in June

Monday, September 8, 2014

Francis Martin Madden

Part 1  - 1896-1919

No birth certificate has been found for Francis (Frank). According to a letter by cousin Mary, Frank was born at 1917 fifth Avenue.(1)   After his father's death when he was six and then his mother's when he was fifteen, Frank and his brothers Thomas and Charles (Carl) continued to live in the family home.  Their Aunt Mary Silbereisen Lynn moved in with her family and at times so did Aunt Lena Schramm.  Little is known about Frank's life before he left Michigan for California.

Frank attended Stanford University for approximately two years, returning to Michigan before the 1920 census was taken. He may have attended a university in Michigan as well, as he was listed as a student in the 1920 census but to date I do not have information supporting that fact.

The actual sequence of events of his young adult years is not known, but he did serve in the Student Army Training Corps, he did have tuberculosis and go to a special facility and he did attend Stanford.  It makes the most sense that he was sent to California because he had tuberculosis some of the best sanitariums were located in Belmont on the San Francisco Peninsula.  Most likely he improved with the climate change and ended up staying to attend Stanford University just a few miles south.

He was a mechanical engineering student living at 11 Salvatierra St, Stanford when he registered for the Great War Draft on 5 Jun 1918.(2)  Today Salvatierra Street that would have included #11 is called Salvatierra Walk and the building that Frank would have lived in doesn't appear to exist anymore.

Although I have not found any official school records to date, I did find Frank in the yearbook for the first quarter of 1919 as well as in the Student Training Corps records for Stanford.  See the next post.

  1.  Family Bible of Thomas and Elizabeth Madden, copied by Mary Lynn Scramm  from the bible in the possession of Aunt Lena included in a letter to Carl Madden and family 8/6/1951.
  2. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. M1509, 4,582 rolls.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Maura Madden Donovan Watercolors

For years family members have enjoyed the bounty of my sister Maura's wonderful watercolors. We
knew she should be showing and selling her workand often urged her to do so.....but at the same time happily accepted new offerings to grace our walls.

This spring Maura finally created a blog highlighting some of her works.  Maura Madden Donovan Watercolors.

This month she had works accepted in two juried shows in Sacramento and has won a Special Award at the Wash, Inc Open Show at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center.  

We are VERY PROUD!!!  Check out the blog and don't neglect the portrait page where you'll find artistic renditions of many Madden family members.