Tag Archives: Lucas

THE Nazi Picture

Instead of going out Friday night (I’m told normal people my age do that a lot), I stayed home and went through some old pictures with my Dad. I literally have boxes and boxes of old pictures from his side of the family. Pretty much all of the are from the early 1900’s to the 1950’s. Pretty much all of the are just pictures of horses and cattle, but every once in a while I find some real gems. We found some gems on Friday.
As I was handing my Dad old pictures and having him tell me as much as he could about them, he noticed something that I never have.

Normal looking picture, right? Nice looking dude. Wait, what's that on the bottom of the frame?

Normal looking picture, right? Nice looking dude. Wait, what’s that on the bottom of the frame?

My Dad is a big WWII buff, he knows more than your normal cattle rancher about the topic. But he knew nothing about this picture, nothing. It is a form of torture for me, to not know stuff, I like to know stuff, especially about this family and these damn pictures (write on your pictures people! Generations of your descendants will thank you!). So I was forced to bring out the big guns, my friend Erin. Erin knows everything about history, I love e-mailing her because it is always a mini history lesson. I knew if anyone could help me, she could!
I sent Erin this picture hoping she would know SOMETHING!

I sent Erin this picture hoping she would know SOMETHING!

Sure enough, Erin knew stuff. First and foremost she calmed me down. My Dad didn’t seem to think the swastika was quite as interesting as I did, and that freaked me out a little. Erin explained that each generation has different view and reaction to that era, and there is a great deal of stigma attached to Germans of that time. She then went on the say it is easier for those of us farther removed from WWII to objectify the history. I agree.
Ok, now for the really interesting part. Erin said the swastika laying flat was used in the U.S. as a decorative symbol/good luck symbol on paper photo frames prior to WWII (more late 1800’s-early 1900’s). The Nazi swastika has a different orientation (turned to stand on one of its points).
Bad nazi swastika. See how it's oriented differently from the photo frame?

Bad nazi swastika. See how it’s oriented differently from the photo frame?

Erin told me to look through the rest of my old pictures and try and match his guy’s face with other pictures. I noticed that many of the formal Lucas pictures that do have writing on them mentioned Orient Street, which according to Erin, was where this photographer’s studio was at some point. This gave me hope that the man in the picture was a Lucas, which would make him a lot easier for me to identify. I looked back through the Lucas pictures and after searching through six shoes boxes of photos I found what could perhaps be an older picture of the same man. What do you think?
Look at the nose and add glasses.

Look at the nose and add glasses.

Add 20+ years  - it could be him? Maybe.

Add 20+ years – it could be him? Maybe. The hair is the same!

Well, Erin had much better luck finding out about the photographer than I did about the man in the picture. Turns out the photographer had a pretty interesting and relevant to Chico, life. Check out what Erin learned about him:
Charles Bruce Hemminger was born to a farming family in Pennsylvania on April 4, 1870. He grew up in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and married his wife, Laura Elwell, in approximately 1905 (exact date and location of marriage unknown at this time). Laura was born on April 2, 1872, in Iowa. Both the 1910 Federal Census and 1911 Chico City Directory show that the couple had settled in Chico, California, by 1910. Charles had established a photography studio in Chico, located at 320 Broadway Street, which he operated through about 1918.
This was his studio at 320 Broadway Street.

This was his studio at 320 Broadway Street.

Charles rented a home at 405 Orient Street from 1910 through 1913, then moved in about 1914 to 5 4th Street, where he remained through about 1918 (Chico City Directory listings). The Chico City Directory lists Charles and Laura as living on a rural route in 1920-1924, and the 1930 Federal Census lists them as owning a home and farm on Speedway Lane, where Charles is engaged in orchard work.
His rented home at 405 Orient Street.

His rented home at 405 Orient Street.

It appears Charles turned his career from photography to agriculture, voter registration records confirm this switch, but it is undetermined if Charles gave up photography completely during this time. A search at the County’s Recorder’s office may detail exactly where his orchard and property were located on Speedway Lane. In 1939 and 1940, Charles lists himself in the Chico City Directory again as a photographer with his studio listed at 218 West 3rd Street, but still residing at Speedway Lane. A listing in the Chico City Directory from 1937 lists Charles’ photography studio at 336 Broadway Street. The 1940 Federal Census confirms the duel livelihoods, photography and agriculture, with his wife Laura helping as an assistant in the photography studio. Between 1940 and 1944, Charles and Laura moved to Modesto, California, where Laura passed away on October 10, 1944. One of Charles’ brothers, Thomas Hemminger, had lived in Modesto and passed away in 1937. It appears two other brothers, William and John Hemminger, had also settled in Modesto by 1937. In 1948, Charles traveled back to Pennsylvania to visit his brother Dr. Robert Hemminger and other relatives living west of Harrisburg, whom he had not seen in over 40 years. The visit is mentioned in several articles in the Gettysburg Times in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Charles returned to Modesto and later passed away on October 3, 1959. He and his wife are both buried in Acacia Memorial Park in Modesto.

Even though I didn’t figure out who the man in the photo was, I still learned stuff. And I’m not giving up yet. Since the Lucas family is rather well documented I’m going to look through the Chico State Collection and see what I can find. And, who knows, maybe someone reading this blog will recognize him?! I’d like to thank my friend Erin for being so smart and always taking the time to answer my history related questions! Go follow her blog at http://knowledgeofourancestors.wordpress.com/


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John was my great, great, great grandfather. I think we would have gotten along fabulously. I love that he ran for a local office, something I plan on doing. I love that he was enterprising, and he started a meat company! Now I know where I get it! JOHN H. LUCAS. – A self-made native son who, thought those qualities so often predominatingly characteristic of the California pioneer, has been remarkable successful, especially as one of the wide-awake partners in the Chico Meat Company, and who is fortunate in having, in his talented wife, an able helpmeet who has contributed much to his attainments, is John H. Lucas, who was born on the Humboldt ridge, fourteen miles east of Chico.  His father was Paul Lucas, a native of St. Louis, who crossed the plains to California in 1849, and followed mining in different parts of the state.  In 1852, he returned to Missouri, and once more crossed the plains to reach the Pacific.  This was in 1853, and he drove his ox-teams into Chico Canyon.  There he went into the stock business, and soon made his brand, 24, well known and duly respected.  He bought land fourteen miles out, and started butchering on his own place; supplying his products to saw mills and mining camps where a good deal of meat was required, and those needing it and were willing and able to pay well for what they got.  He died on April 12, 1879. The wife of Paul Lucas was Ellen Callahan before her marriage, and she was a native of Ireland, who came to California by way of Panama in the early sixties.  She now resides on the ranch, and with her is the youngest living son.  Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Lucas, although only four have thus far survived.  The second oldest is Charles F., now at Laredo, Tex.; the next is Catherine, Mrs. R. L. Cameron, of Chico Vecino; and George W. who lives on the home ranch. The eldest of the children and born June 6, 1866, J.H. Lucas was brought up on the Lucas ranch, and rode the range from a lad.  He attended the public school, and when he had completed all the courses there, and his father had died which he was only thirteen, he remained with his mother and accepted the responsibility of looking after things. He took up stock and hay-raising with the aid of his mother’s capital, which amounted to some two thousand dollars; he helped her all he could until 1896. During this time he was married in Chico on April 12, 1889, to Miss Helen May Wilson, a native of Missouri, who came to California with her parents when she was five years old.  She was the daughter of James H. and Julia A. (Goodelle) Wilson, the latter a native of New York State, as was her husband, both having moved to Illinois, where they were married, when they were young.  Her father was in an Illinois regiment in the Civil War.  He married and moved to Missouri.  Then he came to California and settled in Ventura County, and there he ran a large dairy.  In 1886, he located in Butte County, on the Forest ranch, and at Chico he died, generally honored and a much respected member of the G. A. R.  Mrs. Wilson resides in Chico, the mother of nine children, seven of whom grew up. After his marriage Mr. Lucas continued at home until 1896, when he located on a ranch on the Humboldt ridge, buying the farm area and going for cattle-raising and butchering.  In February, 1906, while he continued the management of the ranch and stock, he located at Chico and bought an interest in the Cramer Meat Packing Company.  He ran a market at Second Street, between Main and Broadway, and thus continued for about fifteen months, when he bought the title and changed the name and managed the business alone. Later he took Ira R. Morrison as a partner and the firm was known as Lucas and Morrison, but after five years he bought him out and then tried the management awhile himself.  His next partner was K. D. Crowder, and for eighteen months the firm was Lucas and Crowder, but after that time they sold out the market to Lynch and Snow, and Mr. Lucas worked for the firm for three months and then bought an interest in it again.  It was now known as the Chico Meat Company, and he has charge of the buying and slaughtering.  He still attends to these departments of the trade, while he runs his stock-ranch independent of the company.  About 1896, when he acquired the ranch—about two thousand five hundred acres between Big and Little Chico creeks—he erected a house and lived there until moving into Chico.  Some of this acreage he devotes to grain and some to stock-raising, and here he has twelve acres of prunes. A Democrat in national politics, and a public-spirited citizen, Mr. Lucas was elected, in 1915, city trustee, to serve as the representative from the second ward for a period of four years.  He was chairman of the finance committee, and his experience and enterprising spirit have proven of much service to the community.  He was also school trustee for the Chico Canyon district, which he helped establish. Twelve children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Lucas; Hazel, Mrs. S. F. Brown, who lives at Susanville; Ella, Mrs. H. Cummings, is her neighbor; Nellie is Mrs. J. H. Smith, of Chico Vecino; John Henry, Jr. was on the home ranch until enlisted for service and is with the United States Expeditionary forces in France; Alice Julia and May are in high school; Paul James, Ernest B. and Carrie Pearl are on the home ranch; and there are Charles, Arthur and Helen.  This interesting family participates to the customary extent in the social life of the community.  Mr. Lucas is a member of the B. P. O. E., Woodmen of the World, the Independent Order of Foresters and Chico Parlor, No. 21, N. S. G. W. Transcribed by Joyce & David Rugeroni. Source: “History of Butte County, Cal.,” by George C. Mansfield, Pages 873-874, Historic Record Co, Los Angeles, CA, 1918.

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