Walter C Amsden born 29 January 1865

Walter C Amsden was born 29 January, 1865, in Walden, VT, the sixth of nine children of Samuel Amsden, born in Walden, and Lucy Briggs Stevens, born in Montgomery VT.  Samuel was a joiner, a finish carpenter, someone who makes cabinets, furniture, or other fine woodworking.  Walter’s father had been previously  married to Elizabeth Briggs (unknown relation to Lucy) and Samuel had four older half-siblings. 

Walter’s mother died in 1869, just 2 ½ weeks after the birth of Elmer, her 9th child.  Cause of death was listed as inflammation of bowels. 

Some of the older Amsden children were married by 1870, but it appears that at least some of the younger ones went to live with other families.  Walter at age five was living with the Joseph Conant family in Hardwick, VT.  Conant was a well-to-do farmer, with real estate valued at $5000 and personal property at $2650. In 1880, Walter was still listed with Conants in Hardwick, now listed as a servant and farm laborer. 

Walter’s father and third wife, Edna Davis, lived in Manchester NH, and Walter moved there.  On 1 June 1889, in Manchester, NH, Walter married Alice Runnells, daughter of Joshua (or Joseph) Runnels and Elizabeth.  Walter’s occupation was teamster, and this was his first marriage.  Alice listed this as her second marriage, reporting that she was widowed. 

The 1890 Manchester city directory lists Walter C Amsden working at 44 Manchester, as a driver, and residing at 10 Laurel avenue.   Walter began working for the Concord & Montreal Railroad as a brakeman, and in 1891, 1892 and 1893, was boarding at 502 Manchester, in the town of Manchester.   Walter and Alice divorced.  She later married William Bruce Heselton, then John W Finn. 

In 1894, Walter’s father Samuel died of cancer in Manchester.  (Walter’s stepmother Edna lived until 1906.)  

Walter moved west, and in 1900, was counted in the census in Anaconda, MT.  He was a farmer, and listed his marital status as single, not divorced.  He had two boarders, Ruth Masters, a dressmaker, and John Tanner, a machinist. 

Walter returned to New Hampshire, and on 2 May 1901, married Carrie A Holt, daughter of Samuel Holt and Matilda Gray.  This was her third marriage, as she had previously been married to Arthur Vinica and Fredrick Gilman.  This record lists Walter’s mother as Isabell Stevens – I wonder if the person recording the information misunderstood “Lucy L” for Isabell.  Walter was a farmer.  He listed this as his second marriage, and it was the bride’s third.  He was divorced, she was widowed. 

Walter’s second marriage ended, but I don’t know if by divorce or death.  He moved to Melrose, CA, and the Oakland Tribune reported on 8 February 1908 that he and Sarah (Sadie) A Baker had taken out a marriage license.  Sadie, nee Sarah A Broadway, was born 23 November 1860 in England.  I do not know the name of her first husband.  Perhaps Walter was in the San Francisco area at the time of the 1906 earthquake, or thought that his vocation of carpenter would be put to use during the rebuilding of the area.

The 1909 Berkeley CA city directory lists Walter living at Harmon Avenue #2, east of Nutley, and he was a dairyman.  In 1910, they lived at 3307 E 14th, and he worked at a creamery.  The 1910 census lists his occupation as “creamery and confectionary shop”.  Besides Sadie, his 25-year-old step-son Harry Baker lived with them. 

The 1912 directory shows a new address of 247 Bacon Building, probably his office as a real estate agent, and residence at 1424 34th Avenue.   In 1914, they lived at 5720 Harmon avenue.  In 1915, they lived at 1510 51st Avenue.  In 1917, Walter and Sadie lived at 1000 39th Avenue, and Walter was a mill hand at National Mill & Lumber Company.  

The 1920 census shows Walter and Sadie at 2240 39th Avenue.  Walter’s occupation was builder, stage.  Perhaps he worked in the movie industry.  The 1921 directory lists him as a carpenter. 

The Oakland Tribune in 1922 had advertisements for different religious services.  One church, under the label of Spiritualist, advertised the Fruitvale Spiritual Church Inc, which met at the Carpenters’ Hall at East 12th and Fruitvale.  The pastor was Rev. Jennie Northgraves, and W. C. Amsden was the president. I cannot find that this church still exists. 

The 1924 and 1925 directories show that Walter and Sadie moved to 1033 35th Avenue, and he worked as a carpenter. The 1926 and 1927 directories have the same address, but a change of occupation, to mill man.  In 1928, he was working as a carpenter again. 

The 1930 census lists Walter and Sarah living at 1033 35th Avenue.  Walter was a laborer at a grain elevator.  They owned their home, which was valued at $6000.    The 1933 and 1935 directories list them at the same residence, with Walter’s occupation listed as laborer.  Walter was listed in the 1937 directory, but starting with the 1938 directory, the listing said Sadie A, widow of W. C. Amsden.  I do not have Walter’s exact death date. 

After Walter died, Sadie lived with her daughter.  Sadie died 2 September 1952 in Berkeley.  I did not find any records for children of Walter with any of his wives.


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