Charlie Walter Tracy1,2,3,4

(15 October 1899 - 15 July 1987)

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Charles (Charlie) Walter Tracy
1899 - 1987
RelationshipGrandfather of The 3 Tracys
Family Group:Tracy
Trees14 Generations of Our Ancestors
Our Tracy Family Pedigree
Our Descent From Lt. Thomas Tracy of Norwich Connecticut
Descent from Joseph Ohlhauser - c. 1757

Some Background

Charlie Walter Tracy also used "Charles" after he reached his teenage years.
     It took his family over eight months to settle on the name Charlie... his was a family that had nicknames for all of the children and he was called "Baby" for some time after he was born. His middle name, Walter, was in honor of a neighbor, Walter French. Among his siblings' nicknames were, L.N. - Lorraine Newton; Bey (not Boy) - Arthur William; Girlie - Florence; Lad - Harry Enoch; Lassie - Lizzie; Babe - Ada. Rarely he was referred to as "Chuck," by his sister, Babe.
     The 1910 census listing for his parents' family names him as Charlie W. and "Charlie" is how he was referred to by his family (including his wife) and friends. Charlie, when he had the need for a more formal appellation, named himself as Charles Walter Tracy. The earliest public record found to date with that name was on his World War I Draft Registration form completed in his own hand writing... though he signed his name at the bottom as "Chas. Walter Tracy."1,5,4,7,8
FatherHenry Tracy1,5,6 (15 Nov 1863 - 4 Dec 1943)
MotherFrances Ada Baugh1 (17 Jul 1859 - 5 Jun 1945)

Birth - Marriage - Death

ChildCharlie Walter Tracy was born on 15 October 1899, in his parents' home, Black Bear, Shoshone Co., Idaho.9,10,2,11,12,13
GroomHe married Claire Maxine Ohlheiser, daughter of William Joseph Ohlheiser and Catherine Mulvany, on 13 February 1932 in the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church Rectory, Palo Alto, Santa Clara Co., California.
     The marriage was solemnized by the pastor of the parish, Fr. Andrew J. Carroll.
     Because Charlie was not a Catholic, theirs was considered a "mixed marriage" by the Catholic Church and because of that the marriage ceremony could not be performed in the church itself.14
DeceasedHe died on 15 July 1987 in Kaiser Hospital, Santa Clara, Santa Clara Co., California, at the age of 87.15,12,16
InterredHe was buried in Madronia Cemetery, Saratoga, Santa Clara Co., California; Row G, Grave 13, Block 74.6,17

Children with Claire Maxine Ohlheiser:

Some Life Events of Interest

As a result of a logging accident in the woods of Idaho, Charlie lost the use of his left arm (and nearly his life) when he was 19 years old. In 1918, while waiting to be inducted into the U.S. Army for service in WW I, (he had earlier volunteered to join the Tank Corps but been rejected on account of having injured an ankle in earlier years) he went with his brothers, first Harry and later Art, into the pine timber forests of northern Idaho, above Coeur d' Alene. Initially he worked as a "swamper," limbing the trees the sawyers had fallen, and clearing brush from the "skid roads." When Art came up to the woods at the end of his military service in 1919, he and Charlie worked as a two man sawyer team falling the trees and sawing them into log lengths. The saws they used were six-foot long, two-man saws and it required a coordinated team effort to work them efficiently. The logs they cut were "skidded," i.e. pulled by a steel cable attached at one end to the log and the other end to a Catapillar tractor (at the time a recent introduction into the logging camps) down the "skid road" to a landing next to the railroad track spur. From there they were loaded onto flatbed rail cars and taken out to the one or the other of the lumber mills belonging to the Potlatch Lumber Company that owned the part of the timberland they were working.
     Being the junior member of their team, Charlie was expected to keep their tools well and properly sharpened. So after a day of arduous labor, before he could climb into his bed, he would use file and whet stone to prepare their saws and axes for the next day's work, using the techniques he was taught by his older brother. He was proud of his expertise at this job and it was largely due to his previous evening's work (so he said) that he and Art were one of the fastest of the felling teams... and since they were paid by the board foot for wood on the ground, they were among the top earners in the camp, collecting between $12.50 and $15.00 each, per day. (About $195.00 in 2012 dollars.)
     However, his career as a lumberjack was abruptly ended. One afternoon the top of one of the trees they were felling caught in the branches of one of its neighbors, a "punk" fir, causing the butt end they had just severed from the stump to fly back, swing up, back and forth in several directions, and catch Charlie in the left shoulder, breaking his left clavical and shattering the shoulder blade. He said he remembered trying to jump out of the way of the tree when he saw what was happening... but that he guessed wrong about which way the tree was going to swing next and jumped the wrong way. The only thing that saved his life was the fact that he was on the move and in the air himself when the tree hit him. Accidents involving the classic "Widow Maker" trees, like that punk pine, have been the most frequent cause of injuries and deaths in the logging industry.
     Charlie was taken out of the lumber camp later in the afternoon, having been laid flat on one of the rail cars, on the one train that passed through the camps each day. It was, not surprisingly, of some concern as to whether he was going to live, or not. He was taken to the company hospital in Bovill, Idaho, just north of the town of Moscow, Idaho, about 10 to 15 miles from the logging camp. He was in and out of consciousness for two weeks and was hospitalized for five months, from May to late October. He was finally discharged when the doctors felt there was no more they could do to repair the damage done by the tree.
     On his discharge, Charlie went to Spokane to live with his mother and his brother, L.N., and spent the following Spring in physical therapy sessions (and briefly attending business college). Initially he had no movement in his left arm and hand but one day he noticed a very slight movement in his left thumb, found an orthopedic surgeon who thought there was a possibilty he could restore some motion in the arm. There was an operation to reconnect some of the nerves in the shoulder by going into the nerve center of the shoulder through the clavical, but unfortunately the surgery was unsuccessful... the incision became infected and collar bone never healed. He lived the rest of his life with varying degrees of pain in his shoulder and arm... and without the use of that arm.
     Charlie received $2400 (about $32,000, in 2012 dollars) from the company as compensation for the loss of his left arm. In later years Charlie joked about how, as a 20 year-old, he had thought there was no bottom to his savings account... but that within a short time he found out that there actually was a bottom. When his compensation money ran out, he went back to Bovill, where Art and Harry had bought a house for their mother. Bovill was located on the edge of the woods where Charlie's brothers were still working, and they were able to get him a job, first as a "fire watcher" - walking about 20 miles a day, round-trip, behind the log trains (to extinguish any fires along the tracks caused by sparks thrown up from the rail cars' wheels). The next Winter he graduated from that job to be a "scaler," making estimates of the number of board feet in a log... the board feet determined how much the team that had fallen a log was to receive for the log. From there he moved up to be time-keeper and kept track of the pay for the various workers in the camps and handed out their paychecks. Later he went back into the woods as half of a sawyer team, first with Art and then with another fellow, but due to his reduced work capacity he said he was only able to get $8, $9, or $10 (around $125 in 2012 dollars) a day... which he said was still good money. But this was the end of his working in the woods.18


by the California State Division of Highways


WW I DraftCharlie Walter Tracy registered for the WW I military draft on 12 September 1917 in Spokane, Spokane Co., Washington. At the time he registered for the military draft he was working as a laborer for the Sperry Flour Company. He named his mother, Ada, who was living in Moscow, Idaho, as his next of kin. Charlie said that he had also been in the Home Guard in Moscow which mostly entailed taking part in marching drills (this was probably in 1916). He was drafted and ordered to report to the Army, but apparently there was time between the receipt of his draft notice and the date he was to report as he went with his brothers to work in the logging camps before reporting for duty. An accident while working in the woods ended his military career before it even started.4,19
WW II Draft RegistraOn 14 February 1942, in Eureka, Humboldt Co., California, Charlie Walter Tracy registered for the WW II draft. . He was incorrectly classified in Class 4-A, by the local draft board, i.e. a Registrant who has completed military service. The classification was moot, due to the injury to his left arm, and he would not have been acceptable for military service under any classification. Note that the back of his registration card regarding Description of Registrant indicates an obvious physical characteristic is his paralized left arm.20

Community Service

From 1942 to 1946,Charlie Walter Tracy. As his contribution to the War Effort, Charlie signed on as a volunteer for the United States Office of Civilian Defense. Taking part in the Citizens' Defense Corps, he served as an Air Raid Warden in Eureka during World War II. He had to initially overcome the skepticism of the local Civil Defense leaders... considering that he had the use of only one hand, they thought he would not be able to don the gas mask, arm band and helmet as quickly as was required. His daughter, Patricia, remembers that he was somewhat insulted by their skepticism and was able to show that he was actually able to be prepared more quickly than any of the other, two handed, volunteers. for Eureka, Humboldt Co., California.

Residences and Censuses

He appeared on the 1900 Federal Census of Moscow, Latah Co., Idaho, in the household of his parents, Henry Tracy and Frances Ada Tracy, named as "Baby" Tracy. The family apparently hadn't yet decided on his name when the census ennumerator was making his rounds... over eight months after Charlie's birth.7
He appeared on the 1910 Federal Census of Moscow, Latah Co., Idaho, in the household of his parents, Henry Tracy and Frances Ada Tracy.8,21
He appeared on the 1920 Federal Census of Spokane, Spokane Co., Washington, in the household of his mother, Frances Ada Tracy.22
He appeared on the 1930 Federal Census of Klamath Township, Del Norte Co., California, living in a cabin at the side of the Redwood Highway, enumerated 2 April 1930. Charlie listed himself as 30 years of age, single, living alone and paying $5 a month in rent. He was working steadily as a bookeeper for the contractor building the state highways in Northern California.23
He and Claire Maxine Tracy appeared on the 1940 Federal Census of Eureka, Humboldt Co., California, at 2338 C Street, enumerated 2 April 1940.
     Charlie and Maxine had lived in Nice, Lake Co. California 5 years previously but since then they had lived in several other locations. He was working steadily as a timekeeper for the contractor building the highways in Northern California - managing the payrolls for the construction crews - and relocated as the road work progressed, staying close to the location of the crew. By 1938, tired of being constantly on the move, Charlie changed employers and they settled in Eureka, where he worked for the California Division of Highways as office manager.24
He and Maxine Tracy lived from August 1956 to December 1963 in North Hollywood, Los Angeles Co., California.
     Charlie and Maxine reluctantly moved here from Eureka, California, for Charlie to accept a promotion within the Division of Highways. (They would have preferred to remain in Northern California.)
     Upon Charlie's retirement in 1963, after 35 years with the State of California's Division of Highways, he and Maxine relocated to Pacific Grove, California.
     In 1972 they sold their home in Pacific Grove overlooking Monterey Bay and relocated to Saratoga, California to be closer to their medical provider, and coincidently this was the town where Charlie's father had lived out his last years.


From 1937 to 1987, 50 years,Charlie Walter Tracy was a member of the California State Employees Association (CSEA), serving as president of the Redwood empire Chapter No. 8, in 1940.


27 May 1941Charlie Walter Tracy received his Graduate Equivalency Diploma on 27 May 1941 in Eureka, Humboldt Co., California. He had ended his early education at Junior High School in Moscow, Idaho. This Diploma was given in recognition of his having completed a course of studies (Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies) at the High School level. He was one of the first three graduates of the Eureka Evening Adult High School.25
1942He took courses in 1942, to further his understanding of the workings of radio... a hobby of his. He received certificates to show he had successfully completed the Engineering Science and Management Defense Training given in the Fundamentals of radio by Stanford University.
9 February 1945On 9 February 1945, Charlie Walter Tracy was awarded a diploma and the title of Authorized Radiotrician and Teletrician by the National Radio Institute, in Washington, D.C., after the completion of the Institutes's correspondence course in Practical Radio, Radio Servicing and Merchandising.
20 June 1958On 20 June 1958, Charlie received a Certificate of Training from the California State Personnel Board for his completion of a course in Organization and Management. This was a course offered by the State in conjunction with his employment as the Chief Clerk at the Division of Highways, Shop 7, North Hollywood, Los Angeles Co., California.

Sources - Citations

  1. [S674] Frances Ada Baugh author, Births of H.L. Tracy Family, Handwritten List, This is a handwritten listing of the names, birth dates and places for the family of Harry Lorraine Tracy as prepared by his wife, Fanny Ada (Baugh) Tracy and annotated (incorrectly regarding the birth place of the eldest son, Lorraine Newton Tracy) by their daughter, Ada (Tracy) Berry, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy (Tracy Home Office), Shows date, place and given name.
  2. [S311] Henry and Ada Tracy household, 1900 U.S. Census, Idaho, Henry L. Tracy Family, Latah, Idaho, population schedule, West Moscow Precinct, Moscow City, Ward 2, Enumeration District 91, Sheet no. 6, line nos.: 30 - 38, dwelling 122 - Lilly Street, family 122; Washington: National Archives. , Lists Charlie as "Baby," gives state, month and year of birth, parents and siblings names.
  3. [S313] Harry L. Tracey household, 1910 U.S. Census, Latah, Idaho, population schedule, 240 North Washington St., North Moscow Precinct, Moscow City (part of), Enumeration District 190, Sheet no. 3 A, lines 36 - 45, dwelling 53, family 53; Washington: National Archives. , shows: name, names parents; shows his age, birth state (and that of parents), that he could read and write and had attended school.
  4. [S324] World War I Draft Registration Card, "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917 - 1918"; For Charles Walter Tracy, serial no. 999 , order no. A1480, Local Draft Board , Spokane, Spokane Co., Washington; (Washington, D.C.:National Archives and Records Administration) microfilm publication M1905; no specific roll cited. Digitized by - subscription database.
  5. [S398] Recollections of Charles W. Tracy Sr. (Saratoga, California), information given to Libby Gragg. Recorded Oral History, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy (Tracy Home Office). Three recorded sessions.
  6. [S397] C. Maxine (Ohlheiser) Tracy, Compiler, "Henry (Harry) L. Tracy - Family Group Sheet", c. 1985 (Saratoga, California). Compiled from a variety of sources (few of which were primary sources); and from her personal notes and recollections of conversations with and family stories related to her by her husband, Charlie W. Tracy (over the course of their 50 plus year marriage), her father-in-law, Harry L. Tracy, and her sister-in-law, Ada Tracy Berry.
  7. [S311] Henry and Ada Tracy household, 1900 U.S. Census, Idaho, Henry L. Tracy Family, Latah, Idaho.
  8. [S313] Harry L. Tracey household, 1910 U.S. Census, Latah, Idaho.
  9. [S403] Charles W. Tracy, Delayed Birth Certificate, State File No. 375951 (19 July 1943), Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office.
  10. [S324] World War I draft registration card for Charles Walter Tracy, serial no. 999 , ORDER NO. A1480, LOCAL DRAFT BOARD, Spokane, Spokane Co., Washington.
  11. [S313] Harry L. Tracey household, 1910 U.S. Census, Latah, Idaho, shows: name, names parents; shows his age, birth state (and that of parents).
  12. [S68] Center for Health Statistics State of California Department of Health Services, California Death Index, 1940-1997 (Sacramento, California: State of California, unknown date) Digitized by - subscription database. Unknown comments California Death Index, 1940-1997.
  13. [S2] Social Security Administration, "Social Security Death Index," Master File; Accessed: 2012-2017, Number: 561-22-9045; Issued in State: California; Issued: Before 1951.
  14. [S332] Marriage License and Certificate Chas. W. Tracy and Claire M. Ohlheiser: Recorded by Santa Clara County Recorder's Office as: Filing No. K 2788, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office.
  15. [S404] Charles Walter Tracy Sr., Death Certificate, Local Reg. Dist. & Certificate No.04300-004950, (17 July 1987), Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office.
  16. [S2] "Social Security Death Index", Charles Tracy, Number: 561-22-9045; Issued in: California; Issued: Before 1951.
  17. [S405] Charles W. Tracy Sr. Cemetery Marker (Photograph), CWT3-TSI-405, Digital Files of Sean C. Tracy, Tracy Home Office; Sean C. Tracy, 1987.
  18. [S398] Recollections, Charles W. Tracy Sr., first tape.
  19. [S398] Recollections, Charles W. Tracy Sr., first tape - Home Guard in Moscow.
  20. [S406] World War II Draft Registration Card, "Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration"; For Charles Walter Tracy, Local Draft Board , Eureka, California; digital image accessed Jul 2012; online subscription database: Operations Inc., 2005; Original Publisher: NARA, microfilm publication M1939, no specific roll cited; Record Group Number 147.
  21. [S398] Recollections, Charles W. Tracy Sr., first tape - Schools in Moscow.
  22. [S315] Fanny A. Tracy household, 1920 U.S. Census, Spokane Co., Washington, population schedule, 2120 W. College Ave., Dillon Precinct, Spokane City, Ward 4, Enumeration District 228, Sheet no. 8 A, lines 33 - 36, dwelling 166, family 189; Washington: National Archives.
  23. [S322] Charles Tracy household, 1930 U.S. Census, Del Norte Co., California, population schedule, Klamath Township, Enumeration District 8.4, Sheet no. 3 B, dwelling 88, family 88; Washington: National Archives.
  24. [S316] Charles W. Tracy household, 1940 U.S. Census, Humboldt Co., California, population schedule, 2338 B Street, Eureka City, Ward 5, Enumeration District 12-15, Sheet no. 1 B, lines 55 - 59, dwelling 18, family Tracy; Washington: National Archives.
  25. [S398] Recollections, Charles W. Tracy Sr., first tape - Jr High School in Moscow.
Last Edited8 Dec 2017

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