Individual Record 7

Name}   Hancock, Wilfred Charles (Bill) Family History} Hancock              
  Title}   Race} White Sex} Male
Birth:   Date} Exa 27 Sep 1892 Place} Forest, Bosanquet, Lambton, Ontario, Canada
Marr.: Date} Exa   8 Aug 1911 Place} San Francisco, San Francisco, California     (Link)
Death: Date} Exa   9 Aug 1974 Place} Hy-Lond Convalescent Hospital, Napa, Napa, Calif.
Burial: Date} Exa 13 Aug 1974 Place} Tulocay Mausoleum, Napa, Napa, California
  Grave Marker} Yes
Source 1}   38 = Birth certif
Source 2} 182 = Birth notice
Source 3}   25 = 1910 USA cen
Source 4} 135 = Newspaper
Source 5}   84 = Town directy
Source 6} 183 = Citizenship
Source 7} 444 = Birth certif
Source 8} 127 = Interview
Source 9} 844 = Draft registr
Source 10}306 = 1920 USA cen
Source 11}746 = 1930 USA cen
Source 12}733 = Photographs
Source 13}  47 = Church dirct
Source 14}816 = Newsletter
Source 15}830 = Death certif
Source 16}817 = Obituary
Source 17}833 = Medical recs
Source 18}  30 = Cemetery rec
Source 19}    7 = Family notes
Source 20}  85 = Family hstry
Source 21}855 = Newspaper
Parents: } Frank Thomas Hancock & Mary Ellen Fisher
   Relationship No.}   6
1st Household No.} 65 = Lot 31 of SB Conc., Bosanquet, Ontario
      Occupation 1} Electrician
       Occupation 2} Telegraph operator
  Religion/Church} Presbyterian
Spouses:   Prime} Samuels, Nora Agnes
 Total Number of} 1
Notes:  Wilfred (Bill) was born in Canada in 1892 and thus was a British citizen.  He often mentioned his memories of ice skating on a frozen stream as a child in Forest.

Bill's father brought him at age 10 and his sisters to the United States shortly after his mother's death from Typhoid fever in September 1902.  They settled in Napa, California.

By 1908, Bill was working for Earl G. Wilson, a Napa electrician who had a store at 59 N. Main (Source 84), which also doubled as a Western Union
Click to enlarge Telegraph Office.  In addition to learning about gas lighting and the new electrical trade, Bill learned the Intercontinential Morse code and worked as a telegraph operator.  He enjoyed telling how he, while working for Earl Wilson as a young man, converted many wine cellers in Napa County from gas to electric lighting.

He married Nora Agnes Samuels when he was 19 — but their marriage license indicated that he was 21.

During World War I, since he was still a British citizen, Bill was afraid that he would be drafted into the British Army of George V, the King of Great Britain and Ireland.  But he never was.  On 20 Jan 1920, at the age of 27, Bill became a citizen of the United States.

During those early years while his children were young, Bill rode motorcycles, played a harmonica, and smoked a pipe.  However, he soon quit smoking.  Bill was the president of the Napa Motorcycle Club in 1911.  One time while he was on his way to Calistoga, he slid on gravel and hit a cow — which had to be killed.

Bill was 5' 4" tall, had blue eyes, light complexion, and light brown hair.  In his later years, his hair turned gray and he went bald on top.  He also wore wire-rimmed bifocals.  He was quiet and soft-spoken.

Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Bill was very active in the Napa IOOF Lodge No. 18 for 50 years.  He was their financial secretary for 15 years.  Everyone knew him as "Bill", but sometime he was called "WC" since he always printed his initials on checks.  He was involved in the work of several other Odd Fellow branches, the Rebekahs (of which his wife was a member), the Encampment, and the Uniform Rank.  Four photographs show Bill in his IOOF uniforms in circa 1922, 1922, 1928, and 1950, respectively.  He looked handsome in his black uniform with his sword.  The right photo is when Bill received his 50-year jewel in 1969.

Bill was also a member of the Old Timer's Social Club, which held meetings and a 'real old-time dance' once a month.  Bill and Nora Hancock and Duke and Viola Duhig attended many IOOF/Rebekah functions together.  Viola commented many times at what an excellent dancer Bill was.

Bill worked as an electrician for a total of 51 years.  He spent many years working for the Basalt Rock Company's steel fabricating and shipbuilding business next to the Napa River.  When he started at Basalt prior to the beginning of World War II, Bill was offered an assignment at Pearl Harbor.  After 7 Dec 1941, his family was very glad that he had declined that offer.
Click to enlarge
Bill became an employee of Kaiser Steel's Napa Fabricating Division when Kaiser bought Basalt's steel operation in 1955.  Bill retired from Kaiser Steel in December 1957.  He was well liked and respected by his superiors and fellow workers, and was known as one one of the best practical electricians ever to work at the facility.  His superintendent said "When Bill is sent out on a job, we quit worrying about it.  We know that somehow he will get the job done — and done right.  He may have to tear down a farmer's fence to get materials, but equipment will run when Bill finishes with it!"  Bill was proud that he routinely climbed the 90-foot electric poles at Basalt and Kaiser, while the younger electricians were afraid to do it.  Bill was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union.

At home, his garage or basement was always full of old tools and gas and electrical equipment.  Bill was an energetic handyman around the house.  He added additional electrical circuits for the various power equipment that he had, for Dan's electric train tables, and for the electric fans he installed in the attic (to provide some relief from the hot Napa weather).  If he felt that something needed to be done on the power pole feeding his house, Bill would put on his spurs and climb the pole himself — rather than calling PG&E to service it.  Bill converted his lawn mower to electric power.  Ironically, Bill always shaved with a straight razor — rather than an electric razor.

Bill began to suffer from emphysema in about 1964 — undoubtedly due to his working around ships and asbestos insulation for many years (i.e., unrecognized asbestosis).  His freedom ended when he had a stroke in December 1969 that kept him bedridden until his death on 9 Aug 1974.
Time of Birth}   Time of Death} 9:45 P.M. Fraternal/Social} Odd Fellows
Baptism Date}   Place}   Click to enlarge
Confirm. Date}   Photos} Bill & his son in 1917
Immigr'n Date} 1903 Port} Detroit
Education: Grade} Eighth
Military: Service} None
Health Condition} Stroke & emphysema
  Cause of Death} Heart failure
Last Updated
by} Dan Hancock
Date Updated} 29 Aug 2006
Date Created}  17 Jun  1994
Copyright © 2005 - 2006 by Daniel W. Hancock.  All Rights Reserved.

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