Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pedigree Ornament No. 6, My Maternal Grandfather.

Charles Anthony Gailliot, born 1894, Braddock borough, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; died 1948, Alexandria, VA; buried St. Mary’s Cemetery, Alexandria, VA.

My maternal grandfather worked as a pattern maker, as did several others in the early Gailliot Line. He married the former Margaret Austel at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Braddock, PA, in August 1917, and within a few days, received his induction notice to be drafted into the Army in the Great War, also known as WW I. At the same time, he also received notice that he was approved by the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, to work in the Pattern Maker Department. Since the job was part of the War effort, Charles was not drafted into the Army. Thus, in short order, Charles married; moved to the City of Washington; and began his career in the Navy Yard. Charles and Margaret’s first child, Helen Rose, was born in 1918.

Since my grandfather died when I was only 6 years old, I did not have an opportunity to talk much about what he actually did as a pattern maker. From what I gather, a pattern maker is sort of like a draftsman and they design and make molds for machine parts. I imagine some of the parts which Charles drafted were used in weaponry for the War or for building the Navy’s battleships. On the other hand, I had a hunch of what Charles was able to do by looking at the bookends he made during his “spare time” at the Navy Yard. They were made out of solid brass and one design in particular was the bust of an Indian (see image above). He also made a few brass doorstops which were in the shape of dogs- German Shepherds. Grandpap’s house had two large double doors that separated the living room from the foyer. The brass Shepherds were used to prop these doors open.

One of my favorite activities as a kid was to place the Indian on a sheet of typing paper and trace the outline of the figure’s head. Then I would use different colors of crayons to draw and color in the feathers. By the way, I keep a folder in my file drawer in which I place the scribbles and art work of my grandkids. I sure wish I could see some of these colorings that I made when I was so young.

Shown below is a vintage picture of my grandfather with some of his fellow pattern makers at the Navy Yard. They are grouped together on the steps of the Nation’s Capital. I hope that someone, somewhere, someday, might comment below that, yes, that is probably my grandfather in the group. Similar things have happened in the past. Charles Anthony Gailliot is the third man from the right, standing in the back row (click to enlarge).


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