Raites in Iowa, Colorado and California
John Rait and his extended family do not seem to be in the later censuses for Cambusnethan - and it looks as though they emigrated to the United States before the 1881 British census, for in the 1880 American census for What Cheer, Keokuk, Iowa we have a John Raite, 44, coal miner, born Scotland (as were both parents); wife Margaret, 41, housekeeper, born Scotland (as were both parents); and children William, 18, coal miner; Robert, 15, coal miner; John, 13, coal miner; Daniel, 7, attending school; Margaret, 6; and Jenny, 3 - all born Scotland as were parents. Wife Margaret is probably an error for Mary and the ages of the adults are a little incorrect. However, this is undoubtedly the right family, with William and Robert being given their stepfather’s name. Whether their elder siblings Thomas and Mary went with them to America is not known - though there is a Thomas Shirlaw, age 22, born Scotland, day labourer, living as a boarder in Union, Mahaska, Iowa. Perhaps William and Robert were also still named Shirlaw and were only put down as Raite in the census. Interesting that the surname has changed to Raite. Also to be noted is that John and Margaret/Mary could read and write now.
In fact, although the various family history databases have them under different spellings (Reit, Reite and David and Dunl rather than Daniel, Mrs rather than Wm (William) and Jno rather than John), I am pretty sure I have found them emigrating! Arriving in New York on 15 September 1879 from Glasgow, Scotland via Moville, Ireland aboard the Circassia, we find Mrs Mary Rait, 34; and children: John, 14; Daniel, 11; Margaret, 4; Jeannie/Jennie, 4; and Robert Shirlaw, 14 - all born Scotland. It would appear that husband and father John had gone some six months earlier - John Rait is recorded as age 29, a miner, born Scotland, arriving in New York on 21 April 1879 aboard the Anchoria. Next to him on the list is William Shirlaw, 16, also a miner born Scotland - undoubtedly his stepson. Interestingly there were two other Shirlaws from Wishaw on the same ship as Mary and family, though not in the same family unit and not the eldest brother Thomas.
In the Iowa State Census for 1885, residing in North Oak Street, Washington Ward 3, Keokuk, we find John Raite, age 45, a miner; wife Mary, 48, keeping house; and children John, 16, miner; Daniel, 13; Maggie, 11; and Jennie, 7 - everyone born Scotland. It is not yet clear where William and Robert are or whether they were called Raite or Shirlaw. Nearby is John’s nephew Archibald Raite and family (see ).
Whilst looking in the 1940 census, I came across a Johnnie Raite in Colorado. That was a new family for me, so, of course, I had to have a look and trace him back in time.
The American backstory begins with John Rait, born about 1843 in Wishaw, Cambusnetham parish, Lanarkshire, who married Mary Haddow on 10 April 1868 in Wishaw. The marriage took place at 81 Marshall St, Wishaw where both John and Mary were living. John’s age was given as 25 and his occupation was coal miner. His father was named as John Rait, tailor, deceased and his mother was Margaret Johnston, also deceased. Mary, aged 32, was a widowed house keeper (interestingly her previous married name is not given) and her parents were given as William Haddow, green grocer and Mary West, who married in Barony, Lanarkshire on 8 May 1831. On the marriage extract, John’s surname was spelled (signed) Raite by the Registrar, since neither his parents John nor Mary Rait could write. Son John, however, does not seem to have used this spelling when registering his own children.
Regarding John’s parents - neither his father John’s birth nor marriage is yet found, however he died in Wishaw, Cambusnetham on 4 May 1859 aged 48, a married master tailor. The extract states that his father, also John Rait, (deceased) was a master baker. His mother, Margaret Johnston, was still alive at the time of his death and the informant was their son James. Margaret herself died in Wishaw on 24 January in 1861 aged 58 - her father was James Johnston, weaver, deceased and her mother was Margaret Johnston, also deceased. How amazing that both John Rait father and son should marry a woman named Margaret Johnston!
In the 1841 census for Wishawtown, Cambusnethan, we have John Rait, 30, (1811) tailor; wife Margaret, 45 (1796); and daughter Agnes, 1 (1840) - all born Lanarkshire. Son James, may be the James Rate, 5, found nearby in Carluke Bridgened, Carluke, Lanarkshire. The family is found in 1851 living in Low Wishaw, Cambusnethham. There we have John Rait, 39, tailor, born Lanark, Lanarkshire; wife Margaret, 47, born Lanark; and children James, 16, coal miner; Agnes, 10; George 8; and John, 6 - all born Cambusnetham. John died in 1859 and his wife Margaret died a couple of months before the 1861 census, in which we see that living in Main Street, Cambusnetham, there is James Rate, 26, coal miner, born Wishaw; wife Jane, 25, born Berwick, Berwickshire; and brother John, 15, coal miner, born Wishaw. Brother George had died in Cambusnetham in 1857 aged 15. Sister Agnes is not yet found - possibly she had married by this time. [The story of James Rate and wife Jane is continued on the .]
Getting back to the John Rait, born about 1843 in Wishaw, Cambusnethan, and wife Mary. It would appear that the couple had at least four children born in Wishaw: John Rait born 15 September 1868; Daniel Haddow Rait, born 22 May 1872; Margaret Rait, born 28 October 1873; and Jeannie Raite, born on 10 April 1877. On the birth extracts, John Rait, father, coal miner, made his mark (signature) with an X which was witnessed by the Registrar. On Jeannie’s, at least, her mother is given as Mary Raite, previously Shirlaw, maiden name Haddow and date of marriage 10 April 1868, Cambusnethan.
John Rait and his family are found in the 1871 census living at Berryhill, 1st Row, 7, Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire: John Rait, 28, is a coal miner, born Wishaw; wife Mary, 34, born Barony, Lanarkshire; and son is John Rait, 2, born Wishaw. Also in the household are John’s stepchildren: Thomas Shirlaw, 14, pithead labourer, born Barony; Mary Shirlaw, 12, born Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire; William Shirlaw, 8, born Dumbarton; and Robert Shirlaw, 6, born Wishaw. Also listed is lodger Daniel Haddow, 17, pithead labourer, born Shotts, Lanarkshire - Mary’s younger brother.
[Mary Haddow (given as Hadden) had married Robert Shirrlaw on 17 September 1854 in Shotts, Lanarkshire and their family is found in the 1861 census in the High Street, Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire - Robert Shirlaw is 32 and a baker, born Paisley, Renfrewshire; Mary is 25, born Glasgow; their children are: Thomas, 4, born Glasgow; Mary, 2, born Dumbarton; and James, 0, born Dumbarton. Also in the household is Robert’s older brother, James, 42, a brass founder, born Paisley. The family moved to Wishaw, Cambusnetham sometime after son James was born in 1861 and before 1865 when son Robert was born there. If Mary was a widow when she married John Raite, then her husband could be the misspelt Robert Shirley dying in Cambusnetham in 1867 aged 39.]
There is no 1890 census, unfortunately, but around that time the family had moved from Iowa to Colorado. In the 1892 Trinidad, Colorado, City Directory residing in Trinidad, Las Animas, John Raite, Sr., John Raite, Jr and Daniel Raite are listed.
In the 1900 census for Gray Creek, Las Animas, Colorado we find John Rait, 64, widowed, coal miner and a boarder. He was naturalized, was born in July 1835 in Scotland (as were both parents) and had immigrated in 1870. He still apparently could not read or write.
In the 1900 census for Starkville, Las Animas, Colorado, we have son John Raite, 30, mine labourer (coal), born September 1869 in Scotland as were both parents; wife Mary, 25, born November 1874 in England, as were both parents; and daughter Mary L., 2, born January 1893 in Colorado. John and Mary had been married for four years - in fact John had married Mary Richard in Starkville on 25 March 1896. According to the census, John had emigrated in 1876 and had been in the US for 24 years; Mary had emigrated in 1884 and had been in the US for 16 years.
Daughter Margaret Raite married John Neill on 22 September 1892 in Trinidad, Las Animas, however she died there on 11 April 1893 aged only 19. It would appear that daughter Jennie Raite, married her sister’s widower John Neill on 26 June 1896 in Starkville and she is found in 1900 living at North Starkville, as Jane Neil, age 23 with twins John and Martha, both aged 2. Her immigration date is given as 1880 and her date of birth April 1877. Husband John, 35, was also a miner and born in Scotland in June 1864 - as were both parents.
It looks like son Daniel Raite returned to Iowa at some point after 1892. In 1900 we find him in Jackson, Ward 2309, Lucas, Iowa - he is 28, a coal miner, and married. His wife is Maggie A., 23, born March 1877 in Iowa, with father born England and mother Ohio. Also in the household are three males and two females all with the surname Foster - these are Maggie’s siblings. The census gives Daniel’s date of birth as May 1872 and place England, as both parents (clearly an error) and his immigration year as 1878. Daniel and Maggie had been married only one month - in fact they married in Lucas on 2 May 1900 and her maiden name was given as Margaret Foster. Daniel’s parents are given as John Raite and Mary Haddin (sic) and he was born in Scotland. Margaret’s parents are given as Michael Foster and Nora Welsh.
In the 1910 census for San Luis Street, Trinidad Ward 4, Las Animas, John Raite Snr, aged 70 and still working as a miner, is living with his daughter Jeanie and family - given as son-in-law John Nill, 48; wife Gene, 32; and the twins John R. and Martha S., both 12. John and Jeanie had been married for 16 years and had had four children, two of whom were still living. John Raite’s date of immigration is given as 1869 and he could now read and write!
In 1910, now a stable boss living in Midway, Huerfano, Colorado we have John Raite Jnr, 40, with wife Mary, 35; and children Mary Lavina, 12; and John, 3 - both born in Colorado. John and Mary had been married for 14 years, and Mary had borne three children, two of whom were still living. Daughter Lavinia Mary married Joseph Jackson in 1916 in Trinidad, Las Animas and died in Denver, Colorado in 1951. John H. Raite is listed in the 1918 Trinidad City Directory living at 134 E. 1st Street with wife May and working as a janitor.
Soon after the 1900 census Daniel Raite and family had also moved to Colorado - possibly he had gone back to Iowa specifically to marry Maggie. The 1910 census sees him living in Goodnight Street, Pueblo Ward 8, Pueblo, Colorado. Dan Raite is 36, a teamster with a bridge company; he was born in Scotland (as were both parents) and he emigrated in 1887. Wife Maggie, is 31 - she was born in Iowa, with father born in Ireland and mother in Ohio; she had been married for ten years and had had four children, three of whom were still living. Also in the household are their children: Nora, 8; Robert, 4; and Edna, 1 - all born in Colorado.
In the 1920 census, living at 927 Atchison Avenue, Trinidad, Las Animas, we find John Raite, 50, coal miner; emigrated in 1878 and naturalized in 1880; wife Mary; 45; and children: John, 13; Ronald, 8; and May, 5. In the 1921 City Director for Trinidad, he is listed as John H. Raite, miner, living with spouse Mary at 1614 Garfield Avenue. Also living in Trinidad, Las Animas in 1920 on White Avenue, is Jean Neil, 42, widow (emigrated in 1879); and son John, 22. And also in the 1920 census, and residing at 3329 South Pennsylvania, Englewood City, Arapahoe, Colorado is Margaret Raite, 43; and children: Nora M., 18, sales lady in dry goods; Robert D.; 14; Edna, C.; 10; Blanche E., 6; and George F., 3. It is not yet clear where Daniel Raite was - the Denver Colorado City directory for 1917 lists him as a miner with residence at 3329 S. Pennsylvania. The 1910 directory also lists him at the same address as a driver.
Still living on White Avenue, Trinidad, Las Animas in 1930 is Jean Neil, 52, widow (emigrated in 1879); and son John, 32. Jean Raite died in 1940 presumably before the census was taken as only son John Raite Neill is listed aged 42, still single and living in the same house. Also in the 1930 census, residing at the same address as in 1920 is Maggie Raite, 52, widowed; and children: Robert, 23, labourer in an auto factory; Edna, 20, stenographer; Blanche, 16; and George, 13. Daniel Raite had died in Denver in 1927.
However, John Raite and his family had moved to California sometime after 1921 and before 1926, for in the 1926 California Voter Registration Rolls, listed is Mrs Mary Raite, a housewife, living at 1005 E. 55 St, Los Angeles and son Ronald Raite is enrolled in McKinley Junior High School in Los Angeles. The family is in the LA City directory in 1930 living in 61st Street, Los Angeles and in the census for that year they are found living at the same address. John is 60, working as a repair man for a gas company (emigrated 1879); wife Mary is 59; and also there are children Ronald R., 18, machinist in a grinding company; and May, 15 (as Mae Raite she was attending the Thomas J. Edison Junior High School in Los Angeles in 1930). Mary Raite died on 28 December 1932 in Los Angeles, aged 58, and John died there on 3 April 1940, aged 70.
John and Mary’s eldest son, John, married Ethel H. Wright on 24 January 1928 in Los Angeles. She was born on 17 December 1910 in Los Angeles. In the 1930 census living at 7422 Roseberry Avenue, San Antonio, Los Angeles, we have John Raite, 23, born Colorado (both parents Scotland), foreman in a carton warehouse; wife Ethel, 19, born California (father Kansas, mother Canada); and daughter Gloria Lee, 0. In the 1940 census the family is living at 6305 Lorna Vista, San Antonio, Los Angeles. John is 34, a bookkeeper in the glass industry; wife Ethel is 29, born California; and children Gloria, 10; and Johnnie 5 (the one who started this whole search off!). They had been living in the same house in 1935. The 1940 California Voter Registration Roll gives his occupation as a shipping clerk. In the 1957 City Directory for La Puente, California, John W. Raite is a clerk residing at 15513 E. Blackwood. He is still listed as such in 1960.
John’s World War II draft card (serial number 1376), registered on 16 October 1940, gives his full name as John William Raite, Sr., address 3743 Bell Ave, Bell, Los Angeles, tel. Los Angeles Jefferson 9443, age 34, date and place of birth 24 September 1906, Forbes, Colorado. The person who would always know his address was his wife Ethel Helen Raite at the same address. He was self-employed and working from home. He was 5ft 9in tall and weighed 175 lbs - he had brown eyes and hair and a light complexion. John died in Los Angles on 13 December 1965.
John and Ethel’s son John Gary Raite was born on 9 July 1934 in Los Angeles and died on 5 February 1990 in San Francisco. He attended Bell High School, Bell, California in the early 1950s. On 31 October 1956 he departed New York aboard the New York bound for Southampton. Aged 22, he was intending to spent one year in France as a student. He duly arrived on 9 November 1956 and was in transit to Paris, France and staying only one day in England. In 1958 he was residing at 1450 N. Hayworth Ave, Los Angeles and in 1960 he was living at 94 Hilldale Avenue, Los Angeles. In 1986 he was living at 310, Arballo Drive, San Francisco with a second address at 1030 Carolina Street, San Francisco.
As noted above, Daniel Raite had died in Denver, Colorado in 1927. Daniel and Margaret’s son Robert Daniel Raite was residing at 3329 S. Penn in Denver and working as an assembler according to the 1930 Denver City Directory. He was born on 12 September 1905 in Leadville, Colorado as noted on his World War II draft card, serial number 3477, order number 426, registered on 16 October 1940. He was self-employed and his address was 3329 So Penn, Englewood, Arapahoe, Colorado (Denver, Denver was crossed out) and his phone number was 678 255 Long Beach exchange. The person who would always know his address was his mother Mrs Dan Raite at the same address. He was 5ft 7¼ in tall, weight not given, blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. Robert D. Raite enlisted as a Private on 6 February 1943 in Los Angeles. He was born in 1905 in Colorado, was single with no dependents and in civil life was a semiskilled painter in the construction and maintenance industry. It seems that Robert D. Raite married Beatrice M. Brown in California on 15 February 1943 shortly after he enlisted. However, the Long Beach, California City Directory for 1942 lists Robert D. Raite, painter, and spouse Beatrice, living at 1403½ E. 10th Street. In the 1944 California Voter Registration Index, Robert D. Raite, painter, voting Democrat, is listed as living at 229 W 6th St, Los Angeles with wife Beatrice. Since Robert and Beatrice seem to have been living together in 1942, then it is strange that he gave his mother rather than his wife as the person who would always know his address in 1943. Interestingly I can’t find Beatrice in the 1940 census. Robert died in 1964 in Littleton, Arapahoe, Colorado. His wife Beatrice M. Brown was born in 14 December 1910 in Nebraska, and died 1 May 1991 also in Littleton. She is listed Polk’s Denver City Directory for 1965 as a widow living at Apartment 6, 1879 S. Broadway.
John and Mary’s son Ronald R. Raite married Janet K. McKim on 18 September 1933 in Los Angeles. They are in the 1940 census living at 8943 Wilton Place, Los Angeles. Ronald R. Raite is 28, a machine grinder, now married. His wife is Janet K., 25, born in Pennsylvania as Janet McKim - they married on 18 September 1933 in Los Angeles; and they have a daughter Janet M. aged 2, born in Los Angeles. They were living at the same address in 1935.
Ronald R. Raite was born on 6 July 1911 in Colorado and died on 30 September 1967 in Los Angeles. His World War II draft card (serial number 3035) registered on 16 October 1940 (the same date as his brother) gives his full name has Ronald Royden Raitt with the address of 8943 Wilton Place, L.A., Los Angeles, Calif. Telephone PL 12403. Age 29, date and place of birth 6 July 1911, Lester, Colorado. The person who would always know his address was his wife Janet K. Raite living at the same address. His employer was Coast Centerless Grinding at 761, E. Slauson Ave, Los Angeles. The card shows he had brown eyes and hair and was of a ruddy complexion. Height and weight are not given. Ronald and Janet seem to have had a holiday in Hawaii - they sailed from Honolulu on 8 October 1955 to arrive in Los Angeles Harbour aboard the Lurline. The passenger list gives Ronald Raite, 44, born Lester Colorado and Janet Raite, 41 born Sinissuale. PA.
Also in the 1940 census still living at the same address as in 1930, is May Raite, 63, widow; daughter Nora Powell, 38, widow; and Shirley Powell, 16 (May’s granddaughter, Nora’s daughter). Margaret Anna Raite died in 1953 also in Denver.
Daniel and Margaret’s son George Foster Raite was born on 19 April 1916 in Lynton, Kyson County, Colorado. At home in the 1920 and 1930 censuses, he is an employee with the GR Co. and living at 3329 S Penn in Denver in the 1937 Denver, Colorado city directory. In the census for 1940 George F. Raite is aged 24, born Colorado, and a stock clerk with WPA, married and living at 1619½, Burlington Ave, Los Angeles (residence in 1935 was Inglewood, Colorado). In the household are his wife Betty L. Raite, 19, born Colorado (living in Denver, Colorado in 1935); and twins Dorothy R., 1, and Robert S., 1, both born California. The family appears in the 1940 census twice: also at 1040 Burlington Avenue, George Raite age 24, occupation caddy on golf course, resident in Denver in 1935; wife Betty, 19, born Colorado; and two children: Robert and Dorothy, bot 9 months old and born California. The children Dorothy Rosetta and Robert Daniel Raite were born on 26 May 1939 in Los Angeles.
The World War II Draft Card serial number 1475, order number 1119 for George Foster Raite registered 16 October 1940, gives his age as 24, date of birth as 19 April 1916, and place of birth as Lyman, Colorado. He was living at 1619½ S. Burlington Ave, Los Angeles, employed as a stock clerk with W.P.A. at 1308 Factory Place, Los Angeles. His wife was Mrs Betty Raite living at the same address - telephone Ri 8431. He was 5ft 9in tall, weighed 155lbs, had blue eyes, blonde hair, and a light complexion.
Although the 1940 census and WW2 draft state that Betty was his wife, in fact George Foster Raite seems to have married Betty Louise Armbruster on 14 May 1944 in Council Bluffs, Iowa where they were both resident. George was 29 and a moulder and it was his first marriage. Betty was 24, born Denver, and it was her second marriage (her first married surname being Henry). In 1958 the couple were living at 1625 E. Carson St, Los Angeles. George died on 8 January 1962 in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles. Betty remarried in 1965 and divorced from her husband Frank C. Patino in Los Angeles in April 1968. Born on 6 December 1920 in Colorado, Betty Louise Patino (father Armbruster) died on 8 October 1995 in San Bernardino, California.
George and Betty’s son Robert Daniel Raite was resident at 4974a Oregon Avenue, Long Beach, California in 1962 with wife Shirley. According to the Index to Public Records, Robert D. Raite, born 15 May 1939 was resident in 1993 at 1316 W Maple. Skiatook, Oklahoma; in 1994 he was resident at 3500 S Hwy 66, Claremore, OK, also at 209 E Forrest St, Skiatook, OK. From 1996-2002, Robert Raite and wife Shirley were resident at W of City, Skiatook, Oklahoma. Robert D. Raite, born May 1939, seems to be living between 2002-2008 at 818 York St, Ottawa, Illinois, from 2004-2011 at 13005 E 16th St, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and from 2011-1019 he was living at 1207 S Carson Avenue, Tulsa. Robert Daniel Raite, born 26 May 1939 in Los Angeles died in Serenity, Tulsa on 16 January 2013. He is also recorded in California as dying on 8 January 2013.