Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sean's Great Great Passport Project

Sean's fourth grade class had one of those "this is really for parents" projects this month. It was called the "Passport to California" and it was grueling trying find who our first progenitor was to come to California. With questions like, "how did they travel?" and "what did they do when they got here?" We were finding these challenging to answer. I can see where it would be easier for someone whose Grandma who immigrated and is still alive, but for us it was much different. We learned that Sean, his siblings and mother have quite the California heritage!!

Meet Charles Whittaker. He lived in Camden, NJ where salt water taffy, mason jars and Walt Whitman were born.

He visited California around 1900 and fell in love. He picked pineapples in Hawaii for a while, went back to NJ and then moved to California around 1903. He was the first to drive the electric trollies in San Jose around 1906. They ran for over 30 years and he was the last to drive the trollies as well.

Sean's Great Great Grandfather was friends with John Muir. He helped map the trails in Yosemite. He loved the outdoors (a little too much according to some of my family members). He was a daredevil. He probably loved trains and trolleys (because of all the photos and his son's future profession).

 Sean's classmates didn't believe that this photo was actually his distant grandfather, but it is and I think it's great! It shows what an adventurous spirit he had. You would think he died in some crazy stunt he was doing, but cancer got the last laugh I guess. I'll leave out the no-so-great stuff that I found out about him, nobody is perfect.

As you can see he was an avid photographer. His son, Wilbur Charles Whittaker was like a grandpa to me and was a pretty famous train photographer. I loved hearing his stories and looking at his train pictures.

Thanks to my mom, Aunt Tali, Aunt Nancy and Aunt Janet (for the photo CDs) for helping him on this project as well! Love love finding out stuff like this!

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