Aileen’s Husband Verne Cahan Served in WWI

Verne Cahan, my Aunt Aileen’s husband, was a mystery to me.  I was very young and shy so I kept my distance. When he married Aileen he already had two children and so it may have been why Aileen and Verne did not have any children of their own.

I was told he was in the thick of the fighting in WWI and that sort of changes a man. He had a son and daughter from a previous marriage.  I knew his son Mel but don’t have much memory of his daughter.  I write this post to honor Verne for he was a Mason and he was my sponsor for when I wanted to enter into the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls in the early 1960’s.  Thank you Verne.

Carroll Verne Cahan was born 17 February 1897 in Tekoa, Whitman Co., Washington.  His father was Frank M. Cahan born December 1858 in Illinois and died before 1920 in Washington.  His mother was Lola Fenn born February 1873 in Utah.  Mrs. Lola Cahan is mentioned in the newspaper wedding announcement for Verne and Aileen so this means she was living in 1938.

The following picture was among Aileen’s photographs.  I recognize Verne, who is standing on the far left, but the others I do not know.  I am guessing they are his brothers?

Verne standing with two unknown men.

Verne standing with two unknown men.

Frank and Lola had the following children:

1. Ella F. Cahan b. Nov. 1890 in Idaho

2. Henry R. Cahan b Jan 1893 in Washington and m. Jessica R. b. 1896 in Illinois.  They had Francesco L Cahan b. 1904 in Illinois and Richard Cahan b. 1912 in Montana.

3. Fannie M. Cahan b. August 1893 in Washington.

4. Iona M. Cahan b. July 1895 in Washington

5.  Carroll Verne Cahan the subject of this post

6.  Linnie V. Cahan b. November 1898 in Washington.

7. Neil Cahan b. 1904 in Washington

8. Madge Cahan b. 1906 in Washington.

9.  Ray Cahan b. 1908 in Washington

10. Faye Cahan b. 1908 in Washington?

11.  Baby Cahan

The following photograph was also among Aileen’s possessions.  I do not recognize the man and he doesn’t seem to be one of either of the two men in the photograph above.

Verne and friend deer hunting.

Verne and friend deer hunting.

Most of this information on the family of Verne’s came from a U.S. Federal Census study for 1900 where the family was found in Murray Precinct, Shoshone Co., Idaho.   The 1910 U.S. Census had them living in Valley Ford Twp., Spokane Co., Washington.  The 1920 placed the family in Glasgow City, Valley Co., Montana.  The first marriage for Verne must have broken up around 1930 By 1930 most of Verne’s siblings were on their own.  Lola the mother appears in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census for Seattle, WA at age 57 but there are no children listed with her.

Verne is sitting on the left but the woman is not known to me.  A sister?

Verne is sitting on the left but the woman is not known to me. A sister?

Verne’s WWI Draft card reads:

Cahan, Verne C., 138,384 Whit, Residence Mica, WA. Enlisted NG at Walla Walla, WA Aug 2, 1920 6/1.  Born in Tekoa, WA, Org: Btry A FA Wash NG (Batry D 146 FA) to disch. Grade PVT. Served Overseas Dec 24, 1917 to June 15, 1919.  Hon. disch June 29, 1919. 

Verne was married first to Rosabel Blanchard b. 1900 in Minnesota on 3 December 1920 in Spokane Co., WA. #29024.

County of Spokane:  Verne C. Cahan residing at Valleyford, WA age 23 yrs, white, single, born in Washington, occupation Laborer, father: Frank Cahan born in Illinois, mother Lola Feun born in Illin.  to Rosabel Blanchard of Glasgow, Montana, age 20 years, white, single, born in Minn. Housekeepr, father Mel Blanchard born in [Maine] mother Mabel Ferguson, born in Ill.?.  Married at Spokane, WA on the 3 of Dec 1920.  Witnesses Hal J. Cole and [Junnie] C. Cahan signed by S. C. Hyde Justice of the Peace Spokane, WA.

They had Melvin Verne Cahan born 13 Aug 1921 and Carol Marie Cahan who may have married a Mr. Brauer.

Here is Verne’s obituary notice from the Seattle Times, Tuesday September 3, 1963, pg. 41.

Verne's Obituary Notice 1963

Verne’s Obituary Notice 1963

 Funeral services for Verne C. Cahan, 66, of 8261 Northrup Place S.W., a retired longshoreman, will be at 1 o’clock Thursday in the Howden-Kennedy Chapel.  Burial will be in Forest Lawn.  Mr. Cahan died Saturday in a nursing home.  He was born in Tekoa, Whitman County.  He came here in 1936.  Mr. Cahan was an Army veteran of the First World War.  He was a member of West Seattle Post No. 160, American Legion; West Seattle Lodge No. 287, F&A. M., the Nile Temple of the Shrine, and Local 19, International Longshoremen’s & Warehousemen’s Union.  Surviving are his wife, Aileen; a son, Melvin Cahan, Seattle; a daughter, Mrs. Carol Braner, Vallejo, Calif; three brothers, four sisters and five grandchildren.

There is a great deal more research to be done on Verne and his family so please understand that this is just a summary and that all the data here needs to be checked carefully.  I am not an expert on the Cahan family.

2 thoughts on “Aileen’s Husband Verne Cahan Served in WWI

  1. K. Lee Stark

    Thank you for publishing all this wonderful detail; looking forward to spending some time with it. We never met, but I’m a first cousin once removed to Verne Cahan through his mother’s family (Fenn).
    –K. Lee Stark, Albuquerque, NM, USA

    1. BJ MacDonald Post author

      Hello Hello K. Lee Stark: Thanks so much for stopping by. Unfortunately, I don’t known much about Verne’s family except the census work I have done. I have Lola Fenn as his mother. Frank Cahan as his father and a bunch of siblings. I posted photos that are probably Verne with his brothers and a sister but I don’t know the exact names. That is pretty much it. Verne (Carroll Verne Cahan) did marry my Aunt Aileen (Hazel Aileen), sister to my mother Marjorie and they had a long married life together. He had been married before and had a daughter and Mel. Verne and Aileen did not have any children so she, Aileen, sort of took over Mel’s children – all girls – under her wings. By the time I was born they were all in my aunts and uncles were all in their late 30’s and early 40’s so they didn’t talk much about their lives before. I was too young to know to ask questions. Aileen and Verne had a lovely home overlooking Puget Sound located in West Seattle. I spent many a Christmas Eve there when I was little. If you would like to chat off line just let me know. Thanks again Bonnie


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