Archive for September, 2013

celtic tree of life

While going through some old e-mails from my cousin, George Bosmajian, I found another of my grandmother’s (Edith Mary Coons) letters. This one is to her aunt,  Edith Coons White.

In it she mentions the birth of her latest grandchild, Mary Theresa. And it just so happens that this Thursday, September 26th, is the anniversary of Mary’s birth!

happy birthday bear

So Happy Birthday to my favorite sister!!!….named Mary!! =D  You’re one of the kindest, most loving people I’ve ever known. And one day, if I ever decide grow up, I hope to be half as amazing as you.

Love you Mare. =)

Dear Aunt Edith,

Forgive my having been remiss in not writing to you. Many things have happened in the past year. Opal’s husband died in March, and my husband is a semi-invalid. I have gone back seriously into my profession, and have forty piano students, and I am the Minister of Music at Marengo Ave. Methodist Church here. I have four choirs, and of course all the incidental affairs that go along with the job.

We have acquired a lovely new granddaughter, Mary Theresa, born September 26th of this year. This makes five grandchildren, and all of them lovely.

Beverly Barrett Ramsell, Roberta Ramsell, Annette Misner Ramsell, On Laps l-r Mary Ramesll, Kathie Ramsell, Anne Ramsell c1958 Los Angeles, CAOn Laps l-r: Mary Ramsell (looking seriously unhappy) Kathie Ramsell, Anne Ramsell
Back row l-r: Beverly Barrett Ramsell, Roberta Ramsell, Annette Misner Ramsell


We have a new address too as you will see by my card. I thought you might enjoy having one.

It was nice to hear from you, and I’ll try to improve my ways in the future.



Nanas Letter to her Aunt EdithLetter written by Edith Coons Barrett to her aunt, Edith Coons White

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celtic tree of life

My maternal grandmother Edith Mary Coons, was born 2 June 1909 in Boulder, Colorado. She was the oldest daughter of Marshall H. Coons (1872-1915) and Julia Etta Wellman Coons (1882-1955)

Julia Etta Wellman & Marshall Hartwell Coons Wedding PhotoJulia Etta “Etta” Wellman & Marshall H. Coons
Wedding Day, 15 June 1907
Sydney, Nebraska
(Photo courtesy of George Bosmajian)

Marshall Hartwell Coons, Matilda Weston Perry Coon, Edith Mary CoonsEdith Mary Coons, Marshall Hartwell Coons & Matilda Perry Coons
Fall 1909, Boulder, Colorado
(Photo courtesy of George Bosmajian)

Nana, as we called her, had black curly hair, blue eyes, very fair skin, and a petite build. She passed away on 11 March 1967 in Los Angeles, California, at age 57, from ovarian cancer.

Edith Mary Coons BarrettEdith Coons Barrett c 1936
San Gabriel, California
(Photo courtesy of Mary Hardaway Eylar)

One of things I love best about doing family history research, is when I come across personal letters written by my ancestors. The letters often give invaluable insight into the personality and life of the writer.

Edith Upton Coons White, who was my grandmother’s paternal aunt, passed away on 20 January 1965. Upon going through her personal belongings, Edith’s daughter, Mabel White Bosmajian, came across a photograph of Nana’s father, Marshall H. Coons, and sent it to her.

Edith Upton CoonsEdith Upton Coons White c 1920
Kelso, Missouri
(Photo courtesy of George Bosmajian)

Mabel White BosmajianMabel White Bosmajian c 1919
Fresno, California
(Photo courtesy of George Bosmajian)

The following is a transcription of a letter written by Nana to her cousin, Mabel White Bosmajian, thanking her for the picture. This is what my mother would have called a “wonderfully newsy letter”. There is a bit of family history information, along with the current events in my grandmother’s life.

Sunday, February 21, 1965

My Dear Mabel,

Are you always so prompt in arranging to do things for someone else? I think it especially thoughtful of you to send along the pictures, when I’m sure you must have many things to attend to at this time.

This is the first time I’ve have ever had any concept of my fathers appearance, for we found nothing among mothers things. I have a small New Testament that was hers, and in it was the place of my fathers birth, but that was all.

Also, my birth certificate showed the same thing, but my name is Edith Mary. I don’t know what became of “Floretta” which was in the birth announcement. (In 1910 Census, my grandmother’s name was listed as “Floretta E.” Coons. At some point they obviously decided to change her name.)

I’m going to see if the small picture can be enlarged, and if it can, I shall make one for you if you would like it.

Marshall Hartwell Coons with guitarMarshall Hartwell Coons c 1900
Rapid City, South Dakota
(Photo courtesy of George Bosmajian)

As I remember, you have a family near you, don’t you? It seems to me that mother told me something about them, but the details are gone from my mind. I’d love to learn of them, and your grandchildren, if you have some. Does Amy (Mabel’s sister) have a family? Gracious, what a lot of catching up to do.

Now, about my family. My husband has been a semi-invalid for the past ten years, but is better now than he has been for some time. We have one daughter, Beverly Jean, who lives in La Puente, which is about twenty miles east of here. I think she became involved in the population explosion, for she has a family of eight, 4 boys and 4 girls! The oldest boy has red hair. The next one, also a boy, has my coloring (black curly hair and very fair skin) and the rest are assorted blondes and brunettes. I will send you some pictures in the near future.

Red is going into technical high school next fall to pursue his interest in things mechanical, and the rest are too young to have found themselves yet. They are a wonderful family and we enjoy them in small sessions. I think I’m getting beyond the age to handle that many at once.

I handle 85 a week in my studio (she was a piano teacher) but I have them one at a time! I love my work and have the largest class in the valley.

I’m sure you know that Opal had two sons, one of whom is a doctor in Kansas City, and the other lives in Phoenix. I’m not just sure what he is doing there, a retail business of some kind I think. He married a girl with three little ones, and they’ve added two of their own. Dr. Glenn is not yet married.

It seems reasonable to believe that you have something to do besides read, so I will close this for now. I do hope to meet you and Amy in the near future.



Edith Coons Barrett Letter to her cousin Mabel White Bosmajian pg#1

Edith Coons Barrett Letter to her cousin Mabel White Bosmajian pg#2

Edith Coons Barrett Letter to her cousin Mabel White Bosmajian pg#3Letter written by Edith Coons Barrett to her cousin, Mabel White Bosmajian
21 February 1965
(Copy of letter courtesy of George Bosmajian)

My great grandfather, Marshall H. Coons, disappeared sometime after 1915, leaving behind his wife Etta and two young daughters, Edith age 5, and Opal age 4. The last record I have for him is documentation of his honorable discharge from the Army on 29 January 1915. I have not yet been able to find a death record for him.

Marshall Hartwell Coons military photoMarshall Hartwell Coons c 1912
(Photo courtesy of George Bosmajian)

Marshall Rachel Hartwell Coons Army Enlistment Roster 1912-1915 (3)Register of Enlistment, United States Army 1912-1916
(Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com)

Transcription of above record:

Name: Coons, Marshall H.
Enlisted: 30 June 1912 
Where: Ft. Logan, Colorado
Where Born: Olney, Illinois
Age: 39
Occupation: Cement Worker
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Dk. Brown
Complexion: Dark
Height: 5′ 8 1/2″
Regiment: Infantry 11 Co. M
Number of Enlistment: 2nd
Last Service
Regiment: Cavalry Co. 26
Date of Discharge: 26 April 1906
Honorable Discharge: 29 January 1915

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celtic tree of life

My father, John Weston Ramsell, was born 18 September 1932 in Los Angeles, California. He was the youngest of five children born to Grover Weston Ramsell (1884-1949) and Annette Marie Misner (1884-1967). He passed away 7 November 1970 in Alhambra, California, at age 38.

This coming Wednesday is the anniversary of what would have been his 81st birthday.

As I’ve stated previously, I don’t have many memories of my father since he died when I was so young. What I do have, are a few pictures, vital records and memorabilia, that document his all too brief life in this world.

My father was born into what  would have then been considered a relatively small, Irish Catholic family.

This first document is his certificate of baptism, which was performed on 9 October 1932, at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Hollywood, California.

John Weston Ramsell Baptismal Certificate 1932Dad’s Baptismal Certificate, 9 October 1932

My father’s maternal uncle, Paul Bergan Misner, was a Bishop in the Catholic church.  He spent many years serving in that capacity at a mission in China. The following is a transcript of a letter written by him to my father on the occasion of his birth. From the content of this letter I’m guessing my dad was a rather large baby. I absolutely love his uncle Paul’s sense of humor. =)

Catholic Mission
Linshwan, Kia nagi, China
24 October 1932

Dear Sir:

I have just received a long distance introduction to you, and I hasten to write, in order that we may become better acquainted.

According to the various descriptons furnished me, I cannot quite make out whether you are contemplating the acquisition of the heavyweight pugilistic championship of the world, the comissionership of police in Los Angeles, or the succession to Al Capone’s throne. Each of these has its advantages, from a material standpoint, but the outlook for the repeal of Prohibition Law, seems to make the last the least desirable of all.

I have known your father and mother for a few years, and if you inherit any of her characteristics, the heavyweight championship should be of easy acquisition. With your father’s coaching, you should soon be able to take all comers. As a first tryout, I would suggest a bout with Irene. (Dad’s sister who was age 4) If you can hold your own with her, there should be some promise. Then try Jean (Dad’s other sister who was age 6 ) but even if you do seem to have a little success in the first encounter, insist on a return bout, as she is an in-and-out fighter, and perhaps on the first occasion she may not feel like fighting, and so you can tell nothing from the results of the first fight. Once that obstacle is passed, you can try the harder succession of Ruth (another sister age 8) and Roy. (Dad’s only brother, age 9) If you can vanquish them, your future is assured. Let it be a fair fight and no quarter.

Your mother and father may try to interfere with your laudable ambition to conquer, but don’t let that disturb you. Keep a stiff upper lip, and go your way undisturbed. Little by little, all opposition will be overcome.

Give my regards to your parents, and tell them that I am backing you with my fortune as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

Your uncle,


Reverend Paul Bergan MisnerReverend Paul Bergan Misner c 1930

John Weston Ramsell Letter from his Uncle Paul Bergan Misner at his birthA letter written to John Weston Ramsell on the occasion of his birth from his uncle, Paul Bergan Misner, on 24 October 1932.

This next photo is of my dad and his father, Grover Weston Ramsell taken around 1938. My grandfather, who went by “Wes”, died in June of 1949, two months before my dad’s 17th birthday. It is the only picture I’ve ever seen of my grandfather Ramsell.

Grover Weston Ramsell & John Weston Ramsell c 1938John Weston Ramsell with his father, Wes Ramsell c 1938
(Photo courtesy of Jean Ramsell Brandenburg)

John Weston Ramsell c 1944John Weston Ramsell c 1944
(Photo courtesy of Jean Ramsell Brandenburg)

John Weston Ramsell c1948John Weston Ramsell c 1948
(Photo courtesy of Jean Ramsell Brandenburg)

John Weston Ramsell High School Diploma, Alhambra HS, Alhambra, CaliforniaJohn Weston Ramsell, High School Diploma, Alhambra High School
14 June 1951

Dad entered the military on 9 January 1952, as part of the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was honorably discharged 16 May 1953. He served as a First Aid Attendant at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Corona, California. Dad’s physical description is listed as: blonde hair, blue eyes 71″ tall (5′ 11″) and he weighed 160 lbs.

John Weston Ramsell U.S. Navy CertJohn W. Ramsell Certificate of Course Completion for Naval Reserves
14 April 1951

John Weston Ramsell Military Service Separation Papers 1953Report of Separation from the Armed Forces of the United States Department of U.S.Navy

John Weston Ramsell c1953John Weston Ramsell c 1953

My parents met at the doughnut shop where my mother worked as a cashier. They were married on 14 March 1957 in Pasadena, California.

John Weston Ramsell & Beverly Barrett Marriage CertificateJohn Weston Ramsell & Beverly Jean Barrett Smith,  Marriage Certificate

This picture was taken in Alhambra, California, at the home of my maternal grandparents, Charles and Edith Barrett.

Beverly Jean Barrett & John Weston Ramsell c1960  Beverly Jean Barrett & John Weston Ramsell c 1960

John Weston Ramsell c1970John Weston Ramsell  c 1969

 My father worked as an assistant manager at the Sav-On Drug Store located at Valley Boulevard and New Avenue in Alhambra, California, from 1964 until his death in 1970. My parents divorced when I was about 4, and while my older siblings went to live with my father, I stayed behind and lived with my mother. I didn’t get to see my dad very often, so my uncle would occasionally take me to visit him at work when he was on a break.

One Sunday evening, while I was visiting my dad at work, a fire had broken out in the stock room upstairs at the store.  While attempting to extinguish the fire before it spread to the rest of the building, my father lost his life.

It’s funny the things you remember when something like that happens. I remember I had been sitting at a table, playing with the paper dolls my dad had just bought for me,  eating an ice cream cone. Then I remember fire alarms going off and my dad hustling me outside and telling me to wait for him “right here” on the sidewalk in front of the store, and promising me he’d “be right back.” But he never made it.

There were huge plate glass windows all across the front of the store and all I could see when I looked through them was gray smoke from floor to ceiling. Then there were fire fighters and fire trucks with flashing lights everywhere, and so much water and even more smoke. I remember how kind the fire fighters were that night to a terrified six year old girl, and their continued kindness to my family in the weeks and months that followed.

The following article appeared in the Alhambra Post Advocate Newspaper around 10 November 1970.


Monterey Park

Firemen in two cities are helping see to it that the children of a Monterey Park man, who was killed while fighting a fire in Alhambra last week, will have a chance to go to college.

The fire victim, John Ramsell, 38, of 920 East Newmark Ave., was assistant manager at the Sav-on drug store 1485 E. Valley Blvd. He died from smoke inhalation while trying to extinguish a fire which resulted in some $25,000 damage there Nov 8.

The fund drive is being spearheaded by Sav-on’s area ___ office in Marina Del Ray, and the Alhambra and Monterey Park Firemen’s Association, to help assure the children of a college education. Contributions to this fund can be made at any fire station in Alhambra or Monterey Park or at the Alhambra Sav-on Drug Store.

In addition, the women’s auxiliary of the Alhambra Firemen’s Association, is planning a “Christmas Cheer Basket” sale. Tickets are available at $1 each from the Alhambra headquarters fire station, 301 N. First St., or from Mrs. Ralph Caputo 448-7276, or Mrs. Robert Childers, 448-4392. All proceeds from the sale go to the Ramsell fund, an auxiliary explained.

A fire official said, to his recollection, Mr. Ramsell is the first non-fireman to give his life while fighting a fire in Alhambra.

The Ramsells were married in June of 1969. They have been active in the Monterey Park Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Born in Los Angeles, Mr. Ramsell was a life long resident of the San Gabriel Valley. As a youth he worked at what was then the Kennedy Pharmacy in Alhambra. He was graduated from Alhambra High School and later served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps.

He had been employed by Sav-on for the past six years, and was at the Alhambra store all that time.

John Weston Ramsell Newspaper Article about his death 1970These news paper articles appeared in the Alhambra Post Advocate Newspaper in November of 1970, regarding my father’s death.

I wasn’t allowed to attend my fathers funeral because my mother felt I was too young to handle it. I had never even been to visit my  father’s grave-site until a few years ago. Being there turned out to be an incredibly emotional experience for me. He  had been dead for over 30  years, but kneeling  at his grave that very first  time, it felt to me as if it had just happened, and I couldn’t stop crying.

John Weston Ramsell Gravestone Whittier, CaliforniaJohn Weston Ramsell grave marker at Rose Hills Cemetery in Whittier, California.
(Photo courtesy of Louis Mata)

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Paul Weston Ramsell 1957-2004

celtic tree of life heart

My brother, Paul Weston Ramsell, was born 24 January 1957, in Los Angeles, California. He died 7 September 2004, in Monroe, Pennsylvania.  Yesterday marked the 9th anniversary of his passing. He is greatly missed.

090813_1401_PaulWestonR1.jpgPaul W. Ramsell
c 1961

Ramsell, Paul Weston 1976Paul W. Ramsell
1975, Baldwin Park, California

1975, South Carolina, Columbia Mission

Ramsell, Paul and Jeannette, Frances Wedding AnnouncementPaul & Fran Ramsell
6 April 1978, Los Angeles, California

Pauline&FranPaul & Frannie
(The beautiful long red hair belongs to our niece, Larisa Ramsell, who is hiding behind Paul in this photo, =))

Ramsell, James Weston, Ron, Ramsell, Paul WestonPaul with his sons, James & Ron

Paul & Jeannie Aug 2004Paul & me at our nephew Bodie’s wedding
21 August 2004, St. George, Utah

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Hearts of the Fathers

Prepare thyself to search their fathers....shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their hearts? Job 8:8-10

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Prepare thyself to search their fathers....shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their hearts? Job 8:8-10