Uncle Carey (Charles Carey Boyd)Uncle Carey was my father's uncle so when Grandpa Boyd died, Dad visited Uncle Carey fairly frequently, and being quite elderly and blind, he certainly could use any assistance that Dad could lend. We most often visited him in the evenings at his home at 700 Park Avenue in Prospect, Ohio. I only remember visiting in the summer, but we probably visited year round.
Uncle Carey was a big man as I recall, probably 6' and 200 lb. He is undoubtedly the ancestor of mine with the greatest reputation in the family. Such stories as when he went out to get a loaf of bread and never came back, his living around Indians out in Montana, and his walking down the middle of route 47 when he was blind are typical of the stories that I've heard about him.
The most impressive stories that Uncle Carey told took place while he lived in Montana. The story goes that he told his first wife that he was going out for a loaf of bread, and left for Montana. He later contacted her to let her know that he wouldn't be coming back.
He appearently went to Montana in about 1908 as an employee of The Marion Power Steam Shovel Dredge Company, who had sold several dredges to the Conrey Placer Mining Company. Conrey was started in 1899 to placer mine by dredge the Alder Gulch in the Ruby River valley of Montana. I've seen different references, but they had four or five gold dredges, some of which were the largest ever made. Carey was sent there to "lay the keels" as his daughter Wayve describes it. I imagine that he also worked constructing the entire barge on which the dredging machinery sat. One reference I saw said they were as large as ocean freighters. The same reference (A Roadside History of Montana) said that the barges were abandoned in the water and the equipment sold.
|Photo of dredge No. 3 constructed in 1904-1906. It is believed that Carey went to MT in 1908 so he likely did not work on this dredge, but it is exemplary of they ones he worked on (No.s 1 & 2 reconstruction).
Of course at that time, Montana was still a pretty wild place. This area had become a gold rush town in 1863 when gold was found there in the Ruby River. This particular area was noted as being notorious for outlaws and a band of vigilanties went to work to keep things safe. In Virginia City, Boot Hill has the graves of 4 "road agents". The vigilantes were in operation as late as the 1820s.
Carey owned a pocket
protection pistol, a little Ivers Johnson .32 caliber five
shot revolver that was made in the late 1800s. It has a bobbed hammer so that it can be easily carried in the pocket. Its not known if he owned this in Montana or how he used it, but it certainly could have been used there for personal protection.
Also, there were still Indians around, and Uncle Carey told a story about some white men molesting an Indian maiden, and the Indians caught them and skinned them alive. They were found dead the next day hanging in a tree outside of town.
He too was nearly killed several times, though not by Indians. He told of one occasion when he was working on a gold dredging machine in Montana that resulted in him being unconscious for several days. He had shinnied out the boom of the dredge in order to drill a hole in the side of the boom. He was wearing leather mittens and using a power drill of some sort. The mittens became entangled in a the set screw that secured the drill bit, and wrapped his hand up around the drill. This broke his hand and caused him to fall off the boom to the ground. He was unconscious for several days, and was fully expected to die, but did eventually recover.
In another incident, he was doing some carpentry work inside a dredging machine and somehow backed into some open electrical switches. He said, that again, he was knocked unconscious and assumed to be terminally stricken. The electrical shock that he received was said to have "blacked out the valley." But again, he did eventually recover.
He returned to Marion in 1938. I know that in 1945 he was
working for the Huber Company, appearently in the belt
|L-R: Ruth, Carey, Opal, Wayve
In 1945, he was hit by a car while on one of his walks along Route 23 in Marion, and Dad says that he thinks that was the only time Uncle Carey was ever in the hospital, although he was at death's door more than once.
He claimed to owe his good health to preventive medicine. He said whenever he started feeling bad, he would take Sloane's horse liniment - two tablespoons - despite the label stating "not to be taken internally." He said you could feel it tingle in your toes and work its way up your body. Dad witnessed him taking it.
When he reached his old age, he was accustomed to being active and even when he was blind he didn't stop at least trying to live like the bull of a man that he was. Dad tells of how Uncle Carey, even though he was blind, would try to help shovel snow and he tried to use his saw to cut a piece of wood out in his garage behind his house.
He did not care for his first daughter's husband, Lester Warwick, or for his third wife's brother, Henry Hygh. He stated on many occasion that they should be fed a steady diet of ground glass.
He apparently liked to walk because he would go for walks by himself along State Route 47 in Prospect and once the Police stopped him because he was walking down the middle of the road. When they asked him why he was walking in the middle of the road, he said so that the drivers of the cars would be sure and see him.
Dad also witnessed him try to shoot himself. One summer evening when Uncle Carey was living in the Haven Rest nursing home, he said that he was real home sick and really wanted to go back home. Dad consented to taking him back to Prospect to visit his house one evening. Dad noticed Uncle Carey trying to get away from him in the house and suspected that something was going on that Uncle Carey didn't want Dad to know about. Dad let him believe that he did not see him and watched as Uncle Carey sneaked out to the back porch. He then saw Uncle Carey pull a gun out of his pocket and then Dad knew what he was up to. Dad took the gun away from Uncle Carey and found that it was not loaded. Unbeknownst to Dad or Uncle Carey, the neighbors had discovered it in Carey's dresser and had previously unloaded it.
Anyone can understand the frustration life presented that Uncle Carey at that time of his life. He was, at that time, a fairly healthy man but he was handicapped by blindness and unable to take care of himself, so he had to stay in a rest home because Aunt Nora was in the hospital. When he compared what he was to what he had been, he must have felt worthless.
I have two personal remembrances of Uncle Carey. One summer I worked on the roof of his house. I scraped the old tar coating off the tin roof one day and painted a new coating on the next day. I distinctly remember being tired and hot, and Aunt Nora's tasty cherry pie. Dad says Aunt Nora always had a pie baked and insisted on us having some.
The second remembrance has brought many a laugh at my telling of it. Uncle Carey was going out to Montana to stay with his Daughter. Dad had to take him from the rest home to the Columbus airport. I was "volunteered" to go along and help. All the way to Columbus Uncle Carey kept saying, "If a feller just had a little something to nibble on. If a feller just had a fig bar to nibble on." He was hungry but of course we had not anticipated this and did not have any fig bars with us.
When we finally got to the airport, we were running a little bit late and Dad gave me some money and told me to get something for Uncle Carey to eat while he checked Uncle Carey in at the ticket counter. I found a vending machine and bought some peppermint patties and some other candy bars. So, as we went wheeling Uncle Carey down the concourse, nearly on a dead run because by this time, the airline was holding the plane for us, I was running backwards unwrapping candy bars and feeding them to Uncle Carey. We made quite a site I am sure.
When we got back out to the car in the parking lot, Dad said, "I feel like I've been shot at and missed and shit at and hit!" That was really shocking to me at the age of about 13, and made a strong impression about how nerve racking this experience had been for all of us.