Only a little progress so far on this project. I sent a request by mail (email not accepted) for the archived military record of Smith Larson. I got a phone call from the archive, saying they found a Smith Larson that is *possibly* the one. No guarantee, as the info I gave them is a little vague, but I am reasonably confident. They mailed me an invoice; I returned it today with $60 (uff da!), they will send the record. I have high hopes for that, but I don’t really know how much is in it.
A “bolt from the blue” came from cousin Carmen Stifstad. She has about a dozen picture postcards from Smith Larson to her mother, Mabel Johnson. Mabel was in turn the granddaughter of Kari Larsdatter Nesseth (who was sister to Ole Larson, but whom Aline and the rest of us had not known about until the 1980’s).
This is hugely interesting. It is the first I have heard of any contact between Ole Larson’s family and that of Kari Larsdatter. Also the first I knew about Smith writing to anyone. Smith and Mabel were first cousins, once removed (Mabel’s mother, Randine Nesseth Johnson, was his first cousin). The cards were sent between 1906 and 1910, when Smith was 30-34 years old. Here is what Carmen said about them:
She would have been a young girl of 10-12 years of age and must
have been thrilled to get mail from such far away places. They don’t
reveal much, but do give us an idea of where he was from 1906 to 1908.
March, 1906 Nevada
July 1906 – Mare Island, CA
March, 1907 Mare Island and Riverside, CA;
April, 1907 Santa Barbara May, 1907 will be leaving Santa
August 1907 Punta Arenal (not sure of spelling on that one)
April, May 1908 Bremerton, WA
July 1908 Honolulu – leaving for Panama
Sept 1908 due to arrive in ‘Frisco’ (card mailed there)
1910 ( not sure of location in Washington) 18 days before leaving
There isn’t much room for personal notes, so he doesn’t give a lot
of info about what he’s doing, etc.
Thought you might find this interesting.
The locations he sent the cards from certainly suggest he was in the US Marines at this time, not the Merchant Marine, as Mare Island, Santa Barbara, Bremerton, etc. were important military, rather than merchant, ports at that time. And Panama: a quick pass-through for commercial vessels, a destination for only military personnel. Punta Arenas is a little port on the tip of Baja California (Mexico), possibly a resupply or refueling stop between California and Panama.
I have asked Carmen for copies of the cards for the archives. Meanwhile, since Smith wrote to Mabel, maybe he wrote to someone else? Chime in if any of this rings a bell, and stay tuned.