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Charles Ninian Edmonston
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Birth: Jun. 25, 1903
Great Falls
Cascade County
Montana, USA
Death: Mar. 12, 1979
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA

Life and Times of Charles Ninian Edmonston 1903 - 1979

My father was so much of a 'bad boy' rebel that he couldn't seem to take the discipline of school. He left high school, it turns out, at 15 1/2 or 16 and lied about his age and joined the Marines at 17. After a year of service in the Philippines and in Vladivostok, Russia, he then left the Marines and returned to high school to graduate. His sister, my aunt Clara, was in college at the University of California nursing school and had an apartment in San Francisco. My father couldn't get a job in Montana, and he really suffered from the cold and had some frost bite damage on his hands So, with no money, he ''road the rails'' to San Francisco, in that he hopped trains like a hobo in those days, and got to San Francisco after many interesting adventures. He stayed with his sister, and lived on the fire escape as I recall the story, according to family lore, and was able to get into an apprentice program for electricians. He ended up for a number of years on work crews to install the telephone poles and electrical wires all across California and Nevada. The working conditions were terrible, and at night in work dormitories for the men, the legs of the beds had to stand in cans of oil to keep the bugs and such from crawling up onto the bed. My father said that the bugs got smarter somehow, and crawled up the wall and over across the ceiling and dropped from there onto the beds. It was here with the exploitation of the workers that he developed his lifelong love of unions. I think after he was done with that, he returned to the city, passed his exams to be an electrician, joined the union and looked for work. In the meantime, as this was developing, my aunt Clara told her school mate, Vivian Coats that she should meet her brother ''Baby Charlie". My mother thought that Clara had a very young baby brother to look after and went over to the house to visit. My mother took one look at my father and said to herself: ''I'm going to marry that man!''. My father looked like a young Humphrey Bogart with deep dimples in his cheeks. My mother was then working as a nurse and making pretty good money for those days, and my father was more or less out of work most of the time, but the depression was ending and things were looking up. My father got a job with the city and county of San Francisco in the Municipal Railway Department that runs all the buses and streetcars. The streetcars were electric and had lots of overhead wires, so my father was an outdoor lineman, installing, repairing and rescuing the lines when they fell down. The work was well paid, union wages with good benefits with health care when the HMO, Kaiser Permanente was invented. His retirement through the union and the city was excellent, so we had great security. He never went to college, but he read constantly, and took some night courses in creative writing, and tried to write some short stories. I don't' think he had any great ambition to be a published writer, but he enjoyed writing about his life and times, here and there. He also took classes in photography to learn how to develop the pictures and copy all the family pictures. He did that mostly after he retired. He read all the time, and seemed to have no other interests outside the home, except to go out every week end with the family to the "Coats Ranch" that my mother still owned, and they had a small cabin in the middle of an eleven acre English Walnut Orchard. He puttered around, built things, repaired things, rewired stuff, and seemed to really enjoy the time away from the city and the peace and quiet of the countryside. My mother quit her job as nurse, when they got married, she just wanted to take care of my father and have a couple of children. She had some volunteer positions as the Girl Scout camp nurse, and also had a Girl Scout Troop before I was old enough to join. She kept up her nursing license because, as she used to tell me, ''You never know what will happen and you always know that you will be able to support yourself if you have a profession, ''just in case''. So I took that to heart and always planned to do 'something' in college. Frances Ann Edmonston M.D. (so you can see that I took her wonderful advice to heart!)

The following is an auto-bio written by Charles Ninian Edmonston and to be found in his book "My Own Edmonstons and a Few More.":

Modesty dictated that I leave my own story until all the others had been written. As noted before, I was born, one of a pair of mixed twins, in Great Falls, Montana on 25 June 1903. I attended the public schools in Shelby as well as a brief period of time in a Catholic Parochial School in 1916-1917 which was run by Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. In 1923 I barely managed to graduate Shelby High School. My high school attendance was interrupted by some eighteen months service in the United States Marine Corps when I was fifteen and sixteen years old. Details are purposely omitted. Soon after graduation I was married in Cut Bank, Montana to Helen Kennedy, a schoolmate who was born November, 1904 in Graceville, Minnesota as were her parents, Joseph Lawrence and Hannah (Flynn) Kennedy. That marriage ended in divorce after we had one daughter, Helen Ireene Edmonston born 25 Feb 1924 in Portland, Oregon.
Helen was married a second time about 1928 to Herbert West and Ireene lived with them until 1940 when she came to San Francisco to live with us. She was married 4 May 1944 to Nick Athas, a native of the Island of Cyprus. He was born 15 Jan 1913 and is presently living in Cyprus. They were divorced in 1951. They had two children.
Paula Nicolette Athas, born in San Francisco 22 Sept 1947. She is living at the present time in Sacramento.
James George Athas born 4 Aug 1951. In school in South San Francisco.
Ireene was married a second time to Martin Edward Curtin, a member of the San Francisco Police Department. He was in the department before induction into the Army during the Korean "Police" action and served in a Military Police outfit. After his discharge from the Army he re-joined the Police Department. He was born 3 Nov 1928 in San Francisco, son of Martin David Curtin and the late Abigail (Horgan) Mullane, both born in County Cork, Ireland. They have two children:
Martin Edward Curtin Jr. born 21 Feb 1955 in San Francisco. He is presently in school in South San Francisco where the family lives.
Helen Claire Curtin born San Mateo County, California 5 Dec 1965. She attends nursery school or kindergarten and like all youngsters of that age lives most energetically.
I was married the second time to Vivian Coats in Reno, Nevada on 26 November 1932. She was born on a ranch in Contra Costa County California in the Tassajara area and attended the local schools in the country and later in Danville where she graduated from High School. Later, she went to the University of California Nursing School as well as taking a public Health Course in U. C. She worked at it in Willows, South San Francisco, Oakland, and in San Leandro before we were married.
She was born 9 Jan 1901, daughter of James Longstreet Coats and Fanny Maude Williams. We have two children.
Charles Ninian Edmonston Jr. born in San Francisco 21 Mar 1936. Received his education in the San Francisco schools and then served a four-year apprenticeship as an electrical wireman. He was married in August, 1959 to Catherine Janet McTaggart who was born 31 July 1934 in Sacramento, Calif. She is a daughter of John McTaggart and Janet Miller, both natives of Scotland. They are the parents of five children
Cristi Lynn Edmonston born 24 May 1960.
Celia Ann Edmonston, born 25 Jan 1962
Caryn Janet Edmonston, born 30 Jan 1963
Twins Catherine Vivian Edmonston and Charles Ninian Edmonston III born 1 Oct 1964.
They are all in School in Concord, Contra Costa County where they live at the present time. They moved there from San Francisco in 1965 and the whole family have become very much involved in a community organized swim program.

Our youngest daughter, Frances Ann Edmonston was born in San Francisco, California 21 October 1938. She too attended the public schools in San Francisco as well as San Francisco Junior College, Camino Junior College in southern California, then four years in Berkeley at the University of California where she majored in physiology. After that she attended the University of California Medical School in San Francisco from which place she obtained her M. D. degree and is at present practicing medicine in a public Heallth Clinic in Denver, Colorado.

Here ends the Edmonston part of this work. Theat it has it's faults, including many typographical errors is a (illegible) up point" as my great grandfather might have said it. I can be secure in the comforting thought that there will never be a perfect genealogy ever written.

Genealogies have one inherent quality in common, they are mostly dull as ditchwater. I have tried to make this one just a little bit interesting without resorting to scandalous behaviour by a few members of every generation (illegible) every family if a close enough scrutiny is made.

Again, I must express my sincere gratitude to all those who have patiently provided necessary information.
These include staff members of court houses, archives, libraries, and such places.

I believe that I could improve greatly on this work if I just took the time to rewrite it just once more.
As it has become almost an arduous and distasteful chore. I regret too the inability to include at least a few of the pictures which might tend to make this of more interest but costs of publication are prohibitive, as it is without adding more to the whole.


 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Ninian Edmonston (1871 - 1926)
  Anna Marie Zimmerman Edmonston (1872 - 1927)
 
 Spouses:
  Helen Pauline Kennedy West (1904 - 1983)*
  Vivian Coats Edmonston (1901 - 1987)*
 
 Siblings:
  Bertha Elizabeth Edmonston (1898 - 1904)*
  Clara Edmonston Royston (1899 - 1989)*
  Wallace Brook Edmonston (1901 - 1916)*
  Charles Ninian Edmonston (1903 - 1979)
  Violet Edmonston (1903 - 1903)*
  Mamie Evangelline Edmonston (1906 - 1907)*
  Ninian John Edmonston (1913 - 1965)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Olivet Memorial Park
Colma
San Mateo County
California, USA
 
Maintained by: Ernest Edmonston
Originally Created by: Carolina Grave Hunter
Record added: Mar 26, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 107344560
Charles Ninian Edmonston
Added by: Carolina Grave Hunter
 
Charles Ninian Edmonston
Cemetery Photo
Added by: countedx58
 
 
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Semper Fi Cousin! I've read so much of your work I feel like I knew you personally. You did a great job.
- Ernest Edmonston
 Added: Mar. 26, 2013

- Carolina Grave Hunter
 Added: Mar. 26, 2013
 
 
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