Preface: A New Collection of Historical Sources and Ed Pulaski’s Life and Times

Callahan picture - posted FB 101317.jpg

James Reid (far left) and Emma, with Elsie, Pulaski (far right), posted at the North Idaho History Facebook page on Oct. 13, 2017 by Heather Heber Callahan.

Aside from the story of his heroism and skill in the Great 1910 Fire relatively little has been published about Edward C. Pulaski’s life and times.  Recently, however, some new biographical source material has become available.  Heather Heber Callahan lives in Dalton Gardens, Idaho and manages – with considerable commitment and perseverance, it might be noted – the “North Idaho History” Facebook page.  There, she publishes an ongoing stream of interesting historical images drawn from a variety of sources.  In October, 2017, as it happens, she published a group photo which included Emma Pulaski holding baby Elsie and a man named James Reid – they are at both ends of the row of the image’s subjects.  Heather explained:  “James Reid was Ed Pulaski’s uncle, he was married to Ed Pulaski’s mother Celia’s sister Amanda” (North Idaho History Facebook page comment, 11/25/2017).  Seeing this photo led Jim See and Ron Roizen — both involved with the Pulaski Project — to ask whether Heather had more images of the Pulaski family.

She said she did, and she kindly directed us to a dropbox collection of files holding what turned out to be a treasure trove of source material, almost all of it new to us.  Heather informed us that she is Edwin Crockett’s great, great granddaughter and that she received the dropbox materials from her great aunt.  Edwin Crockett was one of Edward Pulaski’s mother’s older brothers.  It bears noting that he played an important role in Ed Pulaski’s life story.  It has been said that Edwin’s letters to Celia Pulaski, Ed’s mother, planted the seeds of Ed’s initial wanderlust and thirst for adventure out in the newly accessible American West.  Ed kept with him a collection of Uncle Edwin’s letters and other writings in his own travels.  Their relationship, nephew and uncle, survived until Edwin’s death, on April 26, 1907, in Coeur d’Alene.  Edwin is buried at Coeur d’Alene’s Forrest Cemetery – the same cemetery where Ed was buried; Ed died February 2, 1931.     

edwin-crockett-in-uniform straight

Private Edwin Crockett

One indicator of how much personal and historical value Ed Pulaski vested in Edwin Crockett’s letters and other writings lies in the fact that in 1921 Ed hired a man he knew in Wallace, one Daniel W. Greenburg, to edit Edwin’s writings into more accessible form.  By 1921, Greenburg, then in his mid-40s, had already had a varied career that included no little writing and editing experience.  In 1911, he was managing editor of the Lewiston Evening Teller; in 1913, he managed the Lewiston office of the Clarkston Evening Herald; and in 1916, he became city editor of Moscow’s Daily Mirror.  In 1917, Daniel and his wife Emma (Kube) Greenburg moved to Wallace, where he was employed as a “traveling examiner” respecting the Day Brothers’ several mining interests.  He and Emma would make their home in Wallace until 1923, when Daniel took a new post in Portland, Oregon.(1)  Two longer typescripts and other fragmentary narrative selections prepared by Greenburg survive in a compendium of family history materials prepared by Fred S. Vesser of Seattle, Washington, published in January, 1987.  We soon learned that Vesser’s 178-page typescript publication – titled The Crockett, Casey, and Vesser Families of North Idaho – represented one of the richest collections of source materials in Heather Heber Callahan’s dropbox stash.

Helen Gould Raffensperger

Helen Gould Raffensperger (1904-2000)

Though not mentioned in his compendium’s title, the Pulaski family’s history also figured prominently in Vesser’s publication.  Two included texts particularly bear mention, both by a woman named Helen Gould Raffensperger (April 21, 1904-February 28, 2000).  One is more complete, the other less so.  Raffensperger was the daughter of Oliver Wilbert Gould (1874-1950) and Isabel (Pulaski) Gould (1880-1952) – that latter, Rudoph and Celia Pulaski’s (Ed’s parents) fifth and final child.  Edward Pulaski was thus Helen Gould Raffensperger’s uncle.  Moreover, Raffensperger had personal recollections of her grandparents, grandpa Rudolph and grandma Celia, which she recorded for posterity.  The more complete narrative by Raffensperger in Vesser (1987) is a five-page text titled “The Pulaski Family,” dated 1953 (pp. 50-54 in Vesser); the less complete comprises fragments of text borrowed from a publication cited as Gould, Crockett and Pulaski Ancestors in Vesser (see pp. 36-38 in Vesser).  (It may be noted that a work titled I Remember: Gould, Crockett and Pulaski Ancestors, published in 1973 is cataloged in WorldCat online; we have ordered it via Inter-Library Loan at the Wallace Public Library but its rarity may make libraries holding it reluctant to share. (2))

A great deal more treasure resides in Heather Heber Callahan’s collection, both inside and outside Fred Vesser’s invaluable 1987 compendium.  We hope to explore, exploit, and recount the full collection’s bounty over a series of posts to this blog in the coming weeks and months.  Along the way, we trust that a somewhat fuller picture of “Big Ed” Pulaski’s life and times will surely also emerge.


Notes:

  1. On Daniel W. Greenburg, see https://binnardfamilyhistory.weebly.com/greenburg-daniel-w-1876-1940.html.
  2. WorldCat web address: http://www.worldcat.org/title/remember-gould-crockett-and-pulaski-ancestors/oclc/865601071
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