Robert Douglass Line – July 2005 Digest Excerpt

When I was trying to make sense of the information I was learning about the Cramer women in Iowa, I suddenly realized that they were living only a short distance from Emmetsburg. Where had I heard that name before? William S. Douglass, “President of the Emporium” in Yakima, WA, had married Marjorie McCormick “of Emmetsburg, Iowa”.

I had looked for Marjorie McCormick’s parents some years ago but I was looking in the wrong place, assuming that William had met her in Washington or Oregon. In the 1920 census listing, it is reported that she was born in Oregon. The census in 1930, however, says she was born in Iowa.

It is always fun to try and figure out how couples meet and get together. I had no clue at all how William would have met Marjorie McCormick before this. But now I know that William had two cousins of the Cramer family living in Palo Alto County, just a few miles from Emmetsburg. Obviously he had gone to visit them. How long he was there is not known. He and Marjorie married in 1906, but I can not find them in the 1910 census -anywhere. But at least I now have a reason for him to be in that area.

As for Marjorie, the Palo Alto county history, including some of their local census listings of the early years, pieced out some background for her. She graduated from high school there in 1902. Her grandfather McCormick was one of the earliest settlers of Palo Alto County (1870). Her father was born in Ireland and emigrated when he was ten years old. He married an Iowa girl and lived many years in Emmetsburg. He was in real estate, which suggests one more thing about William.

It was evident from the information I got in Yakima that William Douglass was the more aggressive businessman of the two brothers who lived there. His brother, Charles, married Pansy Holmes in Chicago, and moved with her family to Yakima by 1910. Richard Holmes was a bookkeeper. Charles was in a partnership with Fred Raymond for a couple years though I do not know what their company did. Then about 1913, it appears that William Douglass and Fred Raymond and Fred Moore bought the Emporium Dept. Store in Yakima and brought in Holmes as Treasurer. When Moore left, Charles became Secretary. By 1918 William was President. The business grew and expanded into the adjacent storefront. In the meantime William, perhaps with schooling from Charles McCormick in real estate, changed houses about every year for a while, each year to a nicer one. In or about 1927 the Emporium was sold.

William moved on but Charles stayed in Yakima the rest of his years, working as an insurance agent. When Peg Peyton told me Marjorie’s family had a real estate business in California and that is where William was living when he died, age 59, then it all fit. William liked to deal in real estate.

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