Updated: Feb 4, 2019
Percival "Percy" Daniels was born, supposedly, in Olympia, Thurston County, Washington, on Dec. 5, 1881. He has proven difficult to trace, but through paper trails and ship records, we are able to see the extent of his travels, and how by some miracle he ended up in the rural center of New York State to start his family.
The following is an aerial view of Olympia's location and terrain [Alternate Link]:
You can use GoogleMaps Street View to tour the city. One interesting feature I noticed was the Port of Olympia log yards, which Percy's father was probably familiar with. [Alternate Link]
When or how he left Olympia has yet to be determined, but my guess is that Puget Sound had something to do with it.
Percy was a sailor at the turn of the 20th century and he kept an address at South Street Seaport in New York City. [Alternate Link]
He gave his address as 27 South Street, New York, when he traveled on the S.S. Oscar II from Copenhagen to New York in March, 1907. His age was given as 25. The ship records are shown here.
In 1920, when he was traveling on the S.S. Italia, from Gibraltar to New York, his age was given as 39 years, 2 months. It states he was born on December 5, 1881, in Olympia, Washington. Seaman's Card 12857 NY, address: 542 St Peter St. New Or, La. Also, 27 South Street, New York. This map shows his Louisiana address. View larger map and zoom to street view to see the historic building still standing at the location and the streets Percy walked. [Alternate Link]
Located at that address are the historic Pontalba Buildings, in Jackson Square. The Parisian style "row-house building" was built in the 1840s and is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Still standing today, the lower level features restaurants and shops, while the upper level contains apartments. According to Wikipedia, these are said to be the oldest continually-rented apartments in the United States. Some people debate this, claiming they were originally row homes and were not used for apartments until the 1930s. Based the fact that Percy used this address in 1920, I would assume it was a small apartment or more likely a room he was renting for the little time he was on land and in the area, which wasn't much. Or maybe it was a girlfriend's address? His daughter did mention a French woman in his past. I'm still trying to identify the woman photographed with him in the only photo I have of him.
Shown here is 542 Saint Peter's Street: [Alternate Link]
Perhaps some digging into who was renting the unit in 1920 might shed some light on the mystery.
On April 22, 1929, Percy married Vena Dykeman in Cortland, New York. The marriage certificate is posted here. On the certificate, his address is given as 137 Port Watson Street, which appears to be the home here: [Alternate Link]
In 1930 when the census was taken, he was living nearby on Tioughnioga Ave. in Cortlandville, New York. The exact location is unknown, but it is shown here, beside the Tioghnioga River. [Alternate Link]
Percy's home in 1940 was discussed in a previous blog post. Click here.
See the Daniels page for more on this family.