Ernest Benjamin Gillis Family History

Mildred Elaine GILLIS[1, 2]

Female 1918 - 2016  (97 years)

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  • Name Mildred Elaine GILLIS  [3, 4
    Born 18 Feb 1918  Balaton, Lyon, Minnesota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5
    Gender Female 
    Address Mildred Elaine Gillis 
    4017 Hillcrest Avenue, SW
    Seattle, WA 98116 
    _UID 13B4887EDD644CE8B97010526857E9A51A48 
    Died 4 Jan 2016  West Seattle, WA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I26  tag3
    Last Modified 4 Jun 2017 

    Father Ernest Benjamin GILLIS,   b. 11 Jul 1888, South Royalton, Windsor, Vermont, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Mar 1976, Redmond, King, Washington, United States Of America Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Mother Della Mae EDWARDS,   b. 23 Oct 1895, Sioux City, Woodbury, Iowa, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 May 1983, Snohomish, Snohomish, Washington, United States Of America Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 87 years) 
    Married 16 Jul 1914  Walnut Grove, Redwood, Minnesota, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5
    • Ernest Benjamin Gillis was born on 11 Jul 1888 in South Royalton, Vermont. He died on 13 Mar 1976 in Kirkland, Washington. Ernest was the son of the Reverend William McNab Gillis and Mary Elizabeth Codville. He was one of five children ?   two boys (Ernest and William Hillery) and three girls (Winifred Martha, May Gertrude, and Edith Mabel).

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest as a young boy
      At age of 3, his family moved from Vermont to Minnesota, where they lived in the town of Plainview for 5 years, then Pine Island 6 years, Fairmont 2 years, and Rushmore 1 year. The family moved often because Ernest's father, William McNab Gillis, was a Methodist Episcopal minister, and as such, would be assigned different churches.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest as a young adult
      Ernest began attending Worthington High School when he was a junior and graduated from there. All his life, he loved the land and working with soil, tending crops and growing things. Ernest enrolled in the University of Minnesota Farm School to became a farmer. After graduation, in the spring of 1908, he rented and farmed the old Andrew Clay Farm northeast of Amiret, Minnesota.

      Photo of Ernest
      Della and Ernest
      shortly after their wedding
      In the spring of 1911, Ernest moved south of Amiret to a half-section that he farmed as a bachelor until he married Della May Edwards. Della was helping in a store in Amiret at the time. They married in 1914 on July 16th, and the ceremony was performed by Ernest's father, William, in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in William's home.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernie and Della's first farm
      Della was born on 23 Oct 1895 in Sioux City, Iowa, and died at her youngest daughter's home 01 May 1983 in Snohomish, Washington. Della was the daughter of Edward Edwards, a teamster, and Agnes Elizabeth Jardine.

      Photo of Ernest
      Grace and Neil in front of new house
      In the spring of 1924, Ernest and Della moved to a farm south of Tracy, MN. That fall they moved to the Kyle Farm, north of Tracy. In the spring of 1925, they rented the Curtis Farm. Later in March 1926, they moved to Balaton, Minnesota, where they remained the next 17 years.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest holding Grace
      Then in the fall of 1942, Ernest moved to Washington State, making a major change in his life and that of Della and the remaining children at home. He successfully found work out West thanks in part to the War effort and the many jobs in the Seattle area (such as the Boeing plant - aircraft construction etc.); and while there, he right away bought 5 acres of land in the town of Alderwood Manor, Washington, some 15 miles north of Seattle off Highway 99. He (of course) started fruit orchards, gardens, and began some farming while building a new home for his family. By this time, Ernest and Della had had 11 wonderful children, four of whom were still living at home and in July 1943, Della and their four girls who were still at home joined him via a long train trip. Once they arrived together in Alderwood Manor, the family lived in a cabin until the new home was ready for them to occupy.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest and Della, in MN
      Later on, in 1966 at age 78, Ernest completed a second home on the Alderwood Manor property, adjacent to the first home. He and Della moved into it and rented out the first one. This accomplishment of building a home at a somewhat advanced age -- much of it by his own hands -- speaks to the industriousness and tenacity of Ernest and his work ethic.

      Photo of Ernest
      Ernest and Della's 25th Anniversary
      House in Balaton, MN
      Over the years, Ernest and Della's home was often the site of many large family picnics and parties. Several of their younger childrens' weddings were held in their home. Many of their numerous grandchildren - some 56 total - can vividly recall spending days and days in the fields, climbing trees and eating fruit from the trees growing all over on the land. Their home was a wonderful place of gathering and family, a tradition not lost on their descendants.

      When Ernest was unable to keep up the land and home by himself in the 1970s, both the homes and land were sold, and he and Della then lived with family members. While Ernest eventually had to be cared for in a nursing home until his death in 1976, Della was fortunate in being able to live with her daughters in the Seattle area until her death in 1983. Both Ernest and Della are still missed to this day and are fondly remembered by all. [4, 5]
    Family ID F4  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Mildred Elaine attended banking school in Minneapolis then worked in the Northwestern Bank and Trust Co. there.  She started work there in April 1937.  Elaine finished high school in Balaton, MN at Balaton High School.

      In October 1941, Elaine moved to Seattle with a girlfriend she had worked with at the Minneapolis bank.  The got a job right away in Seattle at a large bank.  She met her future husband, Glenn, just one month after moving to Seattle and they knew right away it was serious.

      After she and Glenn married, the built a home overlooking Elliott Bay in West Seattle.  Elaine writes, "we married and raised our five children who were the most important part of our lives.  The last 40 years we have been into boating.  Our two youngest shared our love of boats.  We have cruised many thousands of miles".

      Elaine was the third child in what was to be a large family.  She was raised on a very small farm, on which her father Ernest raised a good part of their food.  They had a cow and chickens.  She said they were very happy just living; loving God was their first priority, being raised in a Christian home "was wonderful".  It allowed them to become responsible people, she wrote.

      Elaine further wrote that when she was 18 years old, she left home and took the train to Minneapolis, where her Uncle Will had a job for her (which she found out after she had arrived).  It was to be a maid in a doctor's home where there were two little boys.  Her Aunt Jessie told her to go to a big bank and apply for work.  Every Thursday afternoon found her reminding the employment manager that she wanted a job.  On April 12, 1937 she started at the bank at $52.00 a month.  She was overjoyed.

      In Seattle, she worked at the National Bank of Commerce until she had her son David in 1944.  She then resigned and stayed home to be a full time mother and homemaker.

      Her husband Glenn had graduated from West Seattle High School and worked for the Boeing Airplane Co. from 1939 until retirement in 1979.  He did well there, starting at the bottom and working up.  He became a supervisor one month after they married and was promoted many times during his career.  He built their beautiful home for his family on a 1/2 acre on a steep hill overlooking Elliott Bay.  They have lived in that home for 45 years. [3, 4]

  • Sources 
    1. [S92] .

    2. [S112] .

    3. [S2] .

    4. [S68] .

    5. [S89] .