AND GENEALOGY RESEARCH
MARY LEE EGENHOFF'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY
I know very little of the hinter-land of my father's people. I think they came originally from Georgia or North Carolina, but how long they had been in this country I do not know. I know they trekked West (as it was then called) to Arkansas in '26 or '27, for my father was born on the way, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, January 27, 1828.
They came on to Arkansas and settled near Sabine [Saline] River. There must have been several brothers and sisters in the party. My grandfather was Harris Rowland. I am not sure about the sisters, but my paternal grandmother was Frances Wills and some of her people must have been in the original party for there were relatives of the same name B Uncle Ben Wills in Cathey's Valley was my grandmother's brother.
My father, James Harris, was the oldest of the family, and there were three brothers B Lloyd, Thomas and Birdine, the baby. I can remember three sisters B Lurana, Mary, and Martha. I think there were enough relatives to own a lot of land in the Sabine [Saline] River Bottoms.
When the Mexican War broke out, my father and a cousin Tom Rowland ran away and enlisted, giving their ages wrong , they were both under 18. They fought under Zachary Taylor, were in the Cavalry. I can remember my father telling us stories of a balky mule he had to ride sometimes, it never balked when advancing but always when the order to retreat was given. They fought around Vera Crus in a number of battles, but did not get to Mexico. He saw his cousin Tom killed by a Mexican Lance. When he came home he met my mother (she and his sister Mar-tha were great friends) who was only 15, and he a little past 20. Her people objected to the mar-riage mostly on account of her youth. However her brothers wanted her to marry Gordon Peay, the Governor's son. [Arka-nsas never had a Governor by the name of Peay. Gordan N. Peay was listed in the 1850 Pulaski Census as Clerk Circuit Court]. Her brother William had just married Juliet Peay, the Governor's daughter. The Hammond's came from Pendleton, South Carolina, but I know very little of the circumstances. My grandmother often talked of her family to me, but I cannot remember just why they decided to come to Arkan-sas. My grandfather was a scotchman, John Boyd Hammond, and his father fought in the Revolutionary War and was one of General Washington's aides. He was considerably older than Frances Grisham (the American version of Gresham) but I gathered from Grandmother's tales of her youth that he fell very hard for her. Her brothers Joseph and Eled-zar (I think) were inclined to object, but Frances was not the kind of girl to be bossed by brothers. Her mother, Nancy, had died and her father had married again, so she felt free to marry John Boyd Hammond and follow him to Arkansas. She was extremely well educated for those days and must have had a very brilliant mind. It seemed to me that she knew a lot about everything B botany, astronomy, etc. I sup-pose she read everything she could get. I think my grandfather adored her. Both my grandmothers were named Fran-ces.
I do not know where the Hammond children were born, but I'm sure that Susan Mary, my mother, was born in Arkansas, and all the children may have been. The boys were William and Andrew and the girls, Martha, Eliza, Amanda, and Susan Mary. I do not know just what my grandfather's occupations were, but he owned land near Sabine [Saline] River, for I know he owned slaves who worked the land. But he also had a large Inn where stages stopped on the way to Little Rock. Knew Governor Peay [ Peay was never Governor] often stopped there and was a great friend of my grandfather. He took Andrew to Little Rock for his secretary and helped William to realize his ambition to become a doctor, and after-wards ac-cepted him as a sonCinClaw without demur. In the meantime Eliza died, and Andrew died very young. He seems to have been a brilliant fellow and great things were predicted for him. Martha married Jim Martin and died when her first child was born. Susan Mary had been sent to a school in Little Rock with the idea of stopping her marriage, but it did not work. She came home and my grandmother riz up and said Susan Mary should marry whom she pleased, so the men folks had no more to say. I think Doctor William grew to think a lot of his brotherCinClaw later. My grandfather did not believe in slavery and had freed all of his, but mother's nurse, Phyllis, and an old cook, Anna, still lived with them. My mother often told us children stories about "Aunt" Anna and "Aunt" Phyllis. When they left for California my grandfather ar-ranged for them to be taken care of.
It was about this time that gold was discovered in California and one of the neighbors, Captain Andrew Cathey, was just back from the goldfields and was raising a company to go back with him. He had several sons, Daniel, Bill, Nat, Curd, Jim, and John and two daughters, Amanda and Sarah. Amanda [Cathey] had married Ben Wills and Amanda Hammond had married a cousin of my father's Harris C. Rowland, so the families were pretty well mixed up. My father signed up to go and my grandfather and mother wanted to go with their daughters. Doc-tor William objected strenuously, but with no effect. They were really young people by today's standards B 54 and 60 B but in those days that was old.
They left Fort Smith, Arkansas, in March or April of 1852 [2 April 1852] and arrived in Califor-nia in about eight months, late in the Fall. Captain Cathey seems to have been an excellent leader, and a very careful one. Mother said everyone had to camp in the circle with the wagons enclosing the camp, and firearms were kept in good condition. They were fortunate for companies were attacked before and behind them, but the Indians they met were friendly. I do not know how many were in the company, but it must have been large for those times, for I know of a number of families who were not connected with our family who were in the company. The Ben Wills had two small children and my mother's sister, Amanda Rowland, had a little girl, Fan-ny. Sarah Cathey was a child of ten and became very much at-tached to my mother. She after-ward married another [James M.] Wills, a cousin, and we always called her Aunt. The women walked most of the way, I think, and my mother was young enough to get a good deal of fun out of the trip, but she grew pretty tired of it in eight months. At least, when we would coax her to go camping with us she would say she had a-plenty camping crossing the plains. They came the old Santa Fe Trail and had trouble crossing the Colorado River, had to make rafts of the wagons beds and fasten ropes to them to pull them back and forth. Think they had very little sickness, but I have a faint recollection of my mother telling of a death, and how sad it seemed to leave the grave, which they concealed as well as they could on account of the Indians.
They reached Los Angeles (what there was of it) in October, and a Señor Rowland, who had married a Spanish lady and owned a lot of land around El Monte, met them there and invited them warmly to stop there and make his place their home until they could settle near. The Ben Wills and my grandfather Hammond and his wife did stay there for a time, a month or so, perhaps, before they came on to Mariposa County.
It seems strange to me now that I was not more interested in my grandmother's account of their stay at Los Angeles. I do remember that it was a cattle ranch and very Spanish, but did not appeal to them, although the people were extremely kind. My father did not stop but a day or two, he was anxious to get to mines and get settled before the rains began. Mother told us of the women in the party walking down the mountain the other side of Bakersfield and running on to a grizzly bear stan-ding on his hind legs eating berries. He was just as much frightened as they were and ambled off in a hurry. They stopped at the old Fort [Tejon] on the mountain, it was fortified then and the soldiers were delighted to see them.
I think they went to the Sherlock's mining country first, and were in the vicinity of Mt. Bullion and Aqua Fria part of the time. My oldest sister Alice Frances was born in the mines, but they had moved to Cathey's Valley before the boys were born. The Wills and Cathey people had gone straight there and settled. Probably Captain Cathey had spotted it when he was in California before. It must have been on account of the relationship that my father decided to get a little land there. Then I think it was partly on account of my grandparents, who got a little place within a mile and settled down to a little far-ming. My farther's heart was always in the mines, but he knew he must have a home and place for his family to live. Lloyd was born in '56, and Charles and James came along in '59 and '60. I came along in '63. The family names were preserved in the boys' name B Lloyd Hammond, Charles Grisham and James Wills, but Gen. Lee was the idol of all Southerners at the time, so I was named Mary Lee. My father was a Con-federate sympathizer all right, but did not feel strongly enough to leave his family and join the Army. I suppose if he had been in Arkansas he would have had to join, but his Mexican experience had taught him a few things. Mother said if he had feared he would be drafted into the Northern Army he would have run away and found his way South. However, he was never as strong in the faith as my mother. Neither he nor my grandfather believed in slavery, and I think one reason they left Arkansas was because they feared there would be a war over it. About a year after I was born my sister, Alice Frances, who was about ten years old, had a fall at school and died from the effects.
In the meantime, my grandfather had been elected to the Legislature from Mariposa and Merced Counties in 1861 (Grandmother used to tell me stories of her experience in Sacramento. They lived in a small apartment and had to buy some furniture, I think, which they shipped home. They went by way of San Francisco and boat, but came back by way of Knight's Ferry. I had the impres-sion that Sacramento wasn't much of a town in those days.) When he returned they went to Visalia to make their home near the other daughter, Aman-da, whose husband Harris [C.] Rowland had gone back to join the Confederate Army and was killed. She married a blacksmith named David Allen and was living in Visalia. She had four Rowland children, Fanny, Juliet, Josephine and John. I think there were four Allen children, Margaret, Eva, Frances and James. So far as I know they are all dead. Fanny married a very well to do photographer named Harmon and had several children. Juliet married a Vickers, and Josie a Weisner. I lost track of them, but heard of most of their deaths before Mother passed away.
Mother found it hard to get over my sister's death, and my father thought a change would do her good, especially after her mother and father went away. He had some friends in Fresno County near Kings River, who encouraged him to come there and raise cattle and hogs. He sold in Cathey's Valley and moved in '66, I think, to a brick house on the Kings River not far from Centerville (the Caldwell house). My sister, Eleanor Jane, was born there February 14, 1867. I remember a little about the tiny baby and the brick house so close to the river. I also remember our old dog, Ponto, fighting another dog all over me and frightening me almost to death. I had hysterics for a long time if I saw a dog fight. Poor old Ponto thought he was defending me from danger.
I am not sure about dates, but I think my father rented the Island in Kings River that year and we moved onto it. He had a partner, Jim Durren (or Kerrens) and they went in heavily on raising hogs. We must have lived on the Island about a year for they said I was four when the big flood came. It was just about Christmas time, and I can remember the men measuring the rising water on the kitchen door. Finally they carried us out to the haystack, which was on the highest ground. I can remember that Currens carried me and my father, carried my mother. While Asbury Wills, a young cousin who worked for my father, carried the baby. They brought us a few clothes and something to eat B don't remember about the boys, but imagine they thought it a lot of fun and got around by themselves B they all swam like ducks. Cattle and hogs swept by us and lots of rabbits and other animals, and all sorts of household goods. We watched an enor-mous pumpkin that my father had brought in for Christmas trying to get out of the kitchen door, which it finally did, and the kitchen chimney fell in. It seems to me that I felt quite resolute when the chimney fell, suppose I realized a little of the finality of things, even at that age. The men kept saying neighbors would come for us, but I wasn't at all sure that we wouldn't live on that hays-tack.
As soon as it began to get light, we could see a big boat pulling away from the other side of the river and they were taking us off the stack, not a very easy job, I imagine. When we reached shore, the Coles were on the bank ready for us and took us to their home not far away to be fed and put to bed. They were awfully kind to us, and I can remember how delighted I was to see so many girls B I was accus-tomed to boys all my short life. Mary, Mame's mother a long time afterwards, was a longlegged girl of ten or eleven. I remember her chasing a tom turkey for dinner to celebrate our rescue.
Then there were others nearer my age and I was quite reconciled to being "flooded out", as it was called. We stayed with the Coles some days but finally moved into a small house that belonged to Currans, I think, until my father rented the "Edgar place" (the place we lived on in the "bottom" (my father rented it) was called the "Edgar place" and the "Slatham place" B it must have changed owners) on the river bottom. It was about a quarter mile from the river, but below the bluffs. Those bluffs were to me then what a moderate sized mountain is now. When a flood came the water filled the whole river bottom to the bluffs. I should have thought my father would have preferred to live on the bluffs, where the Coles lived, but perhaps no place was available, and the bottom land was, of course very fertile. He and Curren and Young [Asbury] Wills kept on with raising livestock, hogs mostly, I think, though they had some cattle, that was quite a cattle country then, for I remember there were good sized rodeos held near our place.
My grandparents were still living in Tulara County near their other daughter and my grandfather died there in the late sixties. My grandmother came to live with us after we moved to the Edgar place in the river bottom. I do not remember my grandfather at all.
My father and his partners drove their stock to the foothills somewhere above Centerville every year, and Lloyd was getting old enough to help so we were left alone. There were Indians scares often at that time; the Indians didn't like the reservations and often broke loose, sometimes even killed people. I had read about Indians massacres and think I was badly scared. I overheard my father tell my mother one day that if any Indians should come around when he was away she must take the children to hide in the field where the corn and wheat grew tall enough to hide us. I was terribly frightened and, I think, my mother was too, but she pretended she was not. I think one of the men usually stayed around if they heard of any trouble, but I often wondered how it would feel to be scalped.
My brothers went to school on the bluff B Doctor Ellis and Mary, his daughter, taught B but my mother said it was too far for me to go and she taught me at home. I do not remember when I learned to read, but they told me I read when I was three years old, and learned the alphabet from my grandmother's old hymnal. I know I read everything I could get my hands on when I was six, a good deal that wasn't at all suitable to that age, I suppose. The boys brought me books from the school library and I read all their text books, even to the arithmetic problems. Mother must have been a pretty good teacher for she gave me an excellent foundation in geography, spelling, history and arithmetic as far as fractions. I certainly learned my multiplication tables. When I entered school at nine in Cathey's Valley, I was ready for sixth grade work and found it very easy. We had spelling contest in those days and I could usually spell the whole school down. I remember how badly I felt when I went down on 'diptheria' B I hadn't dis-covered the extra "h".
To return to the ranch on the river, I suppose we were regular ranch children. The boys lived in and around the river, but my mother never would let me learn to swim. My sister and I did not see many other children as our nearest neighbors had none. We went to church occasionally but had to go on horseback usually. The Coles and Edgars came to see us sometimes, but not often. We went to Centerville once in a great while to "shop", but we usually shopped by mail, like everyone else in those days. My father would lay in supplies of flour and sugar, all hauled from a distance, and order by freight teams other things from Smith Bros. in San Francisco. In the fall of '71 my father came home very ill and in a short time was very bad with pneumonia. Doctor Ellis did all he could, but he died in less than two weeks. Lloyd was only fifteen, but the head of the family.
My father and Mr. Cole had been planning on going to Fresno and going in business of some kind there (I am not sure what kind) and Mr. Cole wanted Lloyd to move the family up there and try it himself, but my mother thought we had better come back to Mariposa County where she and grandmother had friends. Uncle Ben Wills had written her that he would be glad to help in any way he could. I think we stayed at Kings River until the next summer winding up affairs. I know young Asbury Wills stayed on the place and helped the boys. We had a covered wagon to move in, and we children rather enjoyed the camping, although it took only a short time to make the trip.
When we reached Cathey's Valley we lived for about a year in a small house near my uncle's place. I was delighted to find another large family of girls B there were eight in the Wills' family, one had died of diphtheria the year before. The only boy, George, was the oldest, then Mary, Sarah, Jane, Lurana, Emma, Eva Violet (who died), Virginia, Sophronia and Alice, the baby. We had a lot of fun together; there was also Martha Wills, the daughter of Aunt Sarah, mother's old friend, so we were really a bunch of girls.
My mother decided to take up some vacant land near the foot of Guadalupe mountains. Lloyd was still too young to take up land. They managed to build a small house on the land and added to it almost every year we lived there. It was a pleasant place to live, not too far away from neighbors and near the mountain, where we went for picnics and roamed it from it top to bottom. Lloyd took up more land as soon as he could; in those days there were pre-emptions and homesteading, so it was possible to get hold of a good deal of land. Later Lloyd bought the house place, which we knew as the "Clark place" and built another house there. It is the place all the later children remember as the "Rowland place".
Charley and Jim both married about this time and made homes of their own, but Lloyd was mindful of the promise he had made his father not to leave his mother, and he did not marry until I took her to live with me.
We walked to school from the little house at the foot of the mountain all the years we lived there (eight or nine years) and it was over two miles, but we picked up the Gann girls on the way and thought very little of the distance. Charley and Jim did not attend long, but went to work, either on the place or for others. As they grew older, they went every summer and worked on the harvesters around Merced. Eleanor, Bird and I were the school children, as Will was too small to go those first years. I think I did not mention that he was a posthumous child, born after my father's death, which made it still harder for my mother.
I was fortunate in having good teachers, two men who had attended collage, for in those days high schools were just being established and there was none in our vicinity. Mr. Hatch, a white-headed lively little man assured me that I could go far and that he could take me there. He did teach me a lot but the trustees decided that he liked alcohol too well, although none of us school children thought of such objections. Anyway, we lost him and Mr. Wilkinson took his place and stayed for a long time for he was a good churchman. He probable was not so good for the smaller grades but he took a great interest in the older ones, especially those who were at all bright, and as I am not being modest I include myself in that bunch. He took us through most of the regular high school work, including algebra, ancient history, and a little botany and geometry. Then I had, just at an impressionable age, for only one year, a very brilliant and educated young lady, Julia Jones, daughter of a well known lawyer and Judge. She gave me ideals and inspirations that, although never carried out, perhaps have always influenced my life.
There was only one Teacher's College in Califor-nia in my early days, and I planned to attend it but it was necessary for me to teach first. We got our teacher's certificates by taking examinations from a County Board of Education. It was com-posed of the County Superintendent of Schools, an experienced teacher or two and, generally, a lawyer. They gave us both oral and written exams and we dreaded the oral much more then the written. I became very conver-sant with all the various ways of getting rid of un-desirable applicants in later years, as I served myself on the board for a number of years. When I took my first exam it was in the old Court House in Mariposa and my husband (to be) was a member of the Board as he was Supt. at that time. He always said he fell in love with me then, although I was not aware of it for some time after-wards. Judge Jones and Judge Congdon, both lawyers, were also on the Board and were rather awe-inspiring to me at that time, although I became very fond of them both in later years.
My first school was short term at Jerseyville, called Buckingham (I boarded with the Bertkins when I taught at Buckingham. She was William's aunt, so he had a good excuse to visit. There were several boys; Dave, George, Willie, Bennie and Josie, the girl who married Charles Schlageter afterwards.) at that time. The chief thing I remem-ber was that so many of my pupils stuttered. I found out they had learned it from one girl who stuttered badly. We had summer school, usually six months. Beginning early in Spring and ending in the late Fall. The Winter school began early in the Fall and ended in the Summer. Most of the country schools were of the summer type, but they were gradually being drawn into the other class. My second term was in Hornitos, where I taught the four lower grades, and Newman Jones, a young Lawyer, taught the upper grades. He was a good teacher, I think although he was only teaching to make money to finish up his law education. There was a bunch of talented young men who were studying law in Mariposa County at that time; Jones, Goucher, Farnsworth, Gesforth and Egen-hoff. Judge Corcoran was a well known Judge (Superior) and Judge Jones was above average. The young men worked under them, I think, and most of them became noted lawyers.
In my last year of school in Cathey's Valley I became somewhat acquainted with most of these young men through a Debating Society which we organized in the valley. The young people from all over the county attended it and especially from Mariposa. Although I was not much of a debater, I was usually the secretary, and also read a little paper that was written by two of our bright young men in the valley B Hiram Cornett and Jim Cathey. I don't remember what it was called, but I know there must have been a lot of politics in it, besides neighbor-hood jokes and sly reference to many of our visitors. I read well, and only required a little coaching from the authors.
To return to Hornitos, my school must have been very hard work for an inexperienced kid teacher. I had about sixty pupils in four grades and most of them needed a firm hand at the helm. Think there is where I ruined my feet, for I never sat down in the schoolroom.
I boarded with the Arthurs and usually went home for weekends, but not always. We had a Music Club and Dramatic Club in Hornitos and gave enter-tainments in the funny old Odd Fellow Hall, built of adobe and partly underground. William and his sister were teaching in Coulterville and he came over some weekends. We weren't regularly engaged, for I still expected to go to San Jose for more teacher training. I went out with Newman Jones occasionally, and also with Tom Thorn, who, with his brother, was running the Red Mountain Mine (I think) near Hornitos. I remem-ber his taking me down in the mine, but when he became too serious I gave up going out with him. Guess I had decided on William.
The next year I was offered a smaller school at Indian Gulch, all grades, but a better salary B If you can call any salary of those times "better".
William came back to Hornitos that year, I think his sister came with him, and he rode over to see me every week and spent an evening with me, think it was ten or twelve miles. It is hard to recall distances when I compare horseback with automobiles.
The next year I taught in Cathey's Valley. They had built a new schoolhouse some distance from the old one. I had always disliked it because it was close to the old cemetery. Well, I had a new set of children, of course, belonging to my old friends, and I liked the school very well. Usually walked from the old place, about a mile, cutting through fields, and William was a regular visitor on weekends. He had decided to study law in earnest and had quit teaching and gone into surveying with a friend of his. He was gradually understanding my resolution to stay in the teaching profession. I gave up my school to cousin and special friend, Virginia Wills, and was married on August 30, 1881. I had insisted on teaching one more year so went back to Hornitos for the next year. William was always in demand as a teacher. Think he must have been extra good. We boarded at the hotel this year, a queer little place, run by the Williams', who were old people. The mines was shutting down around the town and it was not the lively little place I first remembered. We had a vary nice year, though, my husband helped me out a lot and I did better, but I never considered myself a very good teacher. I was much better as an executive B telling others what to do. Think I was good at that.
We went to Mariposa in the Spring and William worked at his surveying. We rented the Linn place, where I lived afterwards when I was Supt. of Schools. Rowland was born at this place on June 2, 1884.
A friend (Larew) of William's came back from Tuscaloosa, Alabama where he had gone to finish up his law studies about this time and William decided to go back there for his finish. It seemed to be a short cut to getting admitted to the bar. To add to his not large cash account, he decided to teach another term, so took a small school not very far from Mariposa, where a large mine had been operated but now was shut down. We lived out there in one of the deserted houses and I had for a neighbor Mrs. Larew and her baby. We had a very pleasant summer, as I remember it, except when our babies got sick. Then we were frightened to death, of course.
When the school closed we went to the ranch for a visit and then started on our trip. I think it was in January, but am not sure of the date. I know we took a train at Merced. We had sleepers, but not like the present day Pullmans at all, not so much privacy. However, it was not bad and Rowland made a great hit with the passengers. I could hardly manage to get him to bed. It must have taken nearly a week to reach New Orleans. We stopped over there to go out to the exposition. I don't know which one it was, but it was in '85. I remember how thrilled I was with the old buildings in the French Quarters, but Rowland wasn't well the day we went out to the Exposition and I was too worried about him to notice anything else. I remember the train trip across Lake Pontchartrain, at that time it seemed to be built on miles of levees. The moss in the swamps hanging in long festoons was something I had never seen.
When we reached Tuscaloosa Rowland was quite ill and we went to a hotel and summoned a doctor at once. It was a "family" hotel and I remember how kind the ladies were to me. When the baby was better, William looked for a place and found a little old fashioned two-story house. It had an outside "slave" kitchen with a "bridge" between it and the big house. We did not use it until we decided to rent part of the house.
We must have moved into the house about the first of February. There was a large yard and Wil-liam decided to have a garden and planted potatoes and some other vegetables. I forgot to say that he registered at the Law School immediately and was working hard at his studies.
The negroes seemed to exceed the whites in Tuscaloosa and they seemed to be thoroughly scat-tered through the town. I supposed because they did most of the work they had to be near the "big houses". Old Uncle John and Aunt Mary had a cabin not far from us and we could get them to work in the garden or do laundry. After William was born I had Katie, Aunt Mary's daughter to cook for me, and Aunt Mary took care of the baby a good deal.
About April we decided to let some people we met, Wm. Magee and his wife, rent part of the house as it seemed larger than we needed. He was a photographer and had an office down town. They had a little girl, just Rowland's age, named Hula. We let them have the downstairs rooms and we took the upstairs bedrooms and sitting room and used the outside kitchen. One day Rowland was in the kitchen playing around a tub of water. We were outside, when we heard a splash, and he was stan-ding on his head in the tub. His father snatched him out and after a few splutters he was anxious to get back to the tub. He could have drowned easily if we had not been near.
Tuscaloosa had wide streets and many magnolia trees and it was a beautiful sight when they were in bloom. I did not make many friends except the Magees (The Magees had another baby girl after we left Alabama. They named her Laura Lee and said the Lee was for me.) I am sorry I lost track of them; think Mr. M. died and she stopped writing B or maybe I did. B we became very much attached to them, they were unusually nice people. William became very well acquainted with one of his profes-sors at the Law School, Professor J. M. Martin; his wife called on me, I remember. There was also a Professor Lewis that William liked. He got along fine with his studies and would graduate in June B He was really pretty well read before he entered. His object was to get his degree.
I learned a lot about customs of the country from Mrs. Magee, and we had very good times together. The "crackers" from the hills would often come round with fruit, especially berries, to sell. Often the women would have their babies with them. Sometimes the negro women would come with their babies and Rowland would regard the little pickanin-nies with wide eyes, but would usually edge up and examine them closely.
As summer came on there were thunderstorms every afternoon, something I had never been accus-tomed to, at least not that kind of storm. There were heavy winds, too, and I was told that cyclones had struck in Northport, just across the river, but seldom in Tuscaloosa. William sometimes brought a classmate home with him for dinner and to study together, and Captain Martin, the professor, often came in for a short visit.
William graduated on the 17th of June and got home just in time to go for Dr. Foster. William was born just before midnight, and named "Wirt David". We had rather expected a girl and I had chosen Barbara for her. We were disappointed with a boy, however, and decided to keep him secret until we got home. Captain Martin had taken quite a liking to William and wanted him to go into partner-ship with him in Birmingham, which was just then coming into notice for the production of coal. Wil-liam hesitated for awhile, but knew I would prefer California, and I think he did himself, so he turned the offer down and began to make plans to settle in Fresno on his return. Rowland became ill about this time (July 1) and we had the doctor again. He said we must get him out of the climate as soon as possible, so we began preparations for the trip home at once.
It took a little time to get our finances ar-ranged. The Magees decided to move nearer his office and left us in July. One day William came home quite ill, but insisted he would soon be better, but he grew rapidly worse and I had some trouble getting the doctor. When he finally came William was desperately ill and Dr. Foster called another doctor and sent for Captain Martin (Captain (Professor) Martin wrote to me quite regularly until his death. He went to Birmingham and opened a law office. His son wrote to me from there of his death.), but it was too late to do anything for him. I supposed it was acute appendicitis, but they called it by another name. In those days they knew vary little about busted appendix. His last words to me were to take the children back to California. The Magees came and took me away and Captain Martin took charge of everything. I stayed with the Magees until Dave Egenhoff came after me. I remember Aunt Mary weeping over the baby and begging me to take her with me. She told me Uncle John died the next day after William's death. I don't remember much about the trip home, but it must have been faster than the trip out. I was just "numb" I guess. Rowland was sick all the time and Dave had to look after the baby. We were both busy, but people were very, very kind on the train.
We went to Travis first then to Cathey's Valley. Rowland gradually grew better. Billy was never ill, except when he pulled hot water off the table and spilled it down this sleeve, or stuck his feet in the beanpot on the hearth and took all the skin off his little feet. After the first wails he would hold his breath when the burns were dressed and, when finished, would breathe softly, "Now it's fixed."
We found the ranch a lively place. Jim and Lizzie with their two were just getting ready to move to their own place, but for a time we had all four kids together, and maybe they didn't keep us and Aunt Ella and Grandmother busy.
I taught the next term in Cathey's Valley, but I don't know when it began. They took care of the babies for me and they hardly missed me. Mr. Larew came to see me and coaxed me to run for County Superintendent for the next term. I though it a poor idea. I was only twenty-three and looked younger in spite of my efforts to look mature. Mr. Larew in-sisted. He said William had been so popular in the County that he knew I could be elected. Finally I consented; Mr. Adair, who was the other candidate, was very indignant to have a woman put on the ticket against him and said he would have withdrawn if he had known in time. However, there were quite a number who though a woman shouldn't hold office and voted for Adair, though I won by a large vote. It was funny, but I was never able to locate a single man who voted against me, in my trips over the County. When I was elected I lived the first year in Cathey's Valley, and drove to Mariposa (Will used to drive me to and from Mariposa but sometimes I went alone. Once a big coyote followed my buggy on the moun-tain for some distance.) every Saturday. I had an office in town and kept a man as deputy who had been serving in that capacity. During that first year I did stay in Mariposa for a short time, had some rooms at the Harris place. I was not strong and overworked, I suppose, and was taken ill. Went back to the ranch and the Drs. Reid, brothers. took care of me. My friends thought I was going into "ga-lloping" con-sumption and the doctors put me on cod liver oil and made me drank gallons of warm milk. After staying in bed a month or two I decided to get up, and did so. Then I rented a house in Mariposa (the Lind place) and moved my family up there, taking Eleanor with me. Mother stayed at the ranch part of the time.
I made Eleanor deputy (there wasn't much to do through the week) and took one of the schools in Mariposa, the Primary, as I wanted to have all the time I could get for the office.
All went well until I picked up a typhoid germ and mixed it with a malaria germ from the damp cellar under the house. That put me to bed again with a substitute in my school. My friends all said "we told you so", but after a six weeks siege I riz up and took my school again. I think I had one short relapse, but that finished my illnesses. I nursed typhoid cases after that, but picked up no more germs.
When I was County Superintendent I eked out my small salary by teaching most of the time, Sher-lock, Mariposa, Pea Ridge and Bear Valley. Sometimes I spent the weekend at the school, sometimes came home in the middle of the week. On Saturdays I caught up with the work. One of my chief duties was to cash salary warrants of the teachers who did not live near Mariposa and send them the money. I would go to the Court House, collect from five hundred to a thousand dollars, mostly in twenty dollar gold pieces, and walk down the street with the money in one of the Treasurer's canvas bags, take it to the express office, where my good friend Lucy Miller, née Jones, presided, and she sent it on its way. This was my regular Saturday procedure.
People who had business in the office in regard to employment of teachers, complaints, etc., also knew I would be in the office on Saturdays and made their trips accordingly.
I was supposed to visit every school in the County once a year, at least, though there was no criticism if the Sup't. failed to get to the Yosemite on time. That was one trip I never failed to make. I think I had about 32 or 33 districts, some of them joint with other Counties, in my time. Most of them have con-solidated since.
When visiting schools I made acquaintance of almost everyone in our rather sparsely settled Coun-ty, usually stayed overnight in the district. Of course, the districts near Mariposa I could visit and return home. I planned all my trips very carefully so as to visit as many schools as possible on one trip, as my time was limited when I was teaching myself. On the shorter trips I would sometimes take the boys with me, that is, if they were not in school, but on longer trips I went alone usually. When I went to Coulter-ville, Greeley and on to Yosemite, I would take a friend or have Will drive me, using two horses. Lloyd took me a few times, but it was usually Will. Bird was not at home a great deal in those days. I had favorite stopping places, of course, that I would strive to make at night. The Dexters in the Greeley district and the Dudleys were favorites. Some places I did not like at all but for diplomatic reasons thought best to visit them occasionally. In the small towns I always went to a hotel. I stayed at the two hotels in the Yosemite, alternately, and took trips from the stable, although they would not charge me for my "mount". We watched the fire thrown from Glacier Point and went to evening entertain-ments in the open, where we often listened to well known people who happened to be in the Valley. I sometimes had to pour oil on troubled waters. On one of my visits to the Yosemite some parents complained to me that their teacher, a woman near middle age, insisted on wearing pants to school on the days that she planned riding trips after school. They were accustomed to seeing pants on the riding trips, but considered them unseemly in the classroom. I promised to see what I could do. When the teacher came she complained that they were old fashioned and utterly unreasonable. I soothed her the best I could and suggested that she should take her pants with her and change them after school. This seemed to please everybody and I had no more complaints. Sometimes I had worse troubles, but ordinarily things ran smoothly. I had the advantage of being the widow of a very popular young man, who had known almost everyone in the County and had very few enemies. I dreaded the yearly Institutes somewhat, not only having to preside over them, but the arrangement of programs and the employment of some desirable educator who would interest the teachers. My funds for that purpose were limited, so I had to take someone who was attending some not to far away Institute. I was usually fortunate in my choice, but sometimes was "stuck" with a boresome person. However, my teachers sympathized instead of blaming me. The teachers' examination, held twice a year, were not so bad, although I always sympathized very deeply with the failures, especially if they were our own county girls B we had vary few boys who wanted to be teachers at the salaries paid at that time.
Judge Jones and Judge Congdon were my permanent associates on the Board and, looking back, I sometimes wonder why they were so nice to me. Perhaps they were sorry for me, and I was so very young and looked younger.
I had many good friends in Mariposa, among them Mrs. Reynolds (Kasson later) who edited the Gazette, and was always ready to give me a boost when it was needed. Then there was Mrs. Miller (Turner later) who ran the Express office where I shipped the money I collected for the teachers. Once she mislaid $20.00 for me and I had to make good, but later she found it in a corner of the safe and I was richer. I couldn't name all the friends, instead I don't recall any enemies. I worked hard on Ladies's Aid, helping build a church and taught most of the time. After a year or two I bought the old Bogan place and moved there. The two large rooms were built of adobe, and were old, at least thirty or forty years, and that was about 1890. It had many additions built on so was a large rambling house. It is still standing, but the adobe is covered. There was another house on the place, we called it the cottage, and I rented it sometimes. The Boys were five and six when we moved to the adobe, and began their school life from there. Dick Reynolds was always around and ready for mischief, and what those boys didn't find to do simply wasn't to be done. I was usually away and their poor Aunt Ella and Grandmother had to cope with them. Of course I laid down the law at night, or at the weekend and they always promised to be "good". Really, they weren't so bad, I guess, for their grandmother and aunt always stood up for them. In their eyes Dick was the ringleader, but I sometimes had my doubts about that. They had a good time roaming the nearby hills (we were afraid they would fall into some old mine) hunting for gold and playing 49'ers. I got them all the boys' books that came out in those times and they were read to from baby days until they could read themselves B and afterwards. They were fortunate in having good teachers at the begin-ning of their school life B my old teacher, Julia Jones, (the best in the County) and Rosine Stearns, another good teacher. My brother Lloyd had married and they sometimes spent vacations at the ranch.
By the time they were nine and ten I was begin-ning to think of leaving Mariposa County and going where they would have a chance for better schools. Perhaps I wanted to get away myself, also, for I had visited in San Francisco and Sacramento, and thought I would have chance for better salaries in a larger place. In 1895 I sold the place and went to Catheys, where I lived at the old Blatchley place, a mile from the ranch, and taught the school in Catheys until the first of July. I drove a daughter of my "Kitty" ("Kittie" was my little bay mare that I drove all over Mariposa County. She was like one of the family and helped me out of many difficul-ties, like getting around fallen trees across the road.) that my brother Charlie lent me to school, hitched to a cart, and took the boys with me. When we came to a hill Maudie would begin to back and I would tell the boys to jump out over the back. Then I would coax Maude to climb the hill. We finally trained her to take the hills without stopping. One day we saw a rattlesnake charming a bird at the side of the road. Of course the boys rescued the bird and killed the snake. In the meantime, I received an offer to go to Ventura and teach a Primary on the Avenue. I took Billy with me (left Rowland at the ranch) and went south to spy out the land. We were on the train one night, but had no berth as we expected to get to Saugus before daylight. I remember there were some salesman on the train who were very nice to me and contributed their overcoats to cover Billy when he went to sleep. They invited us to have a "quail" breakfast with them at Saugus, and I (rather doubtfully) accepted, thinking Billy would be proper chaperon. Guess he was for they were not at all "fresh" and we enjoyed the breakfast. Then they put us on a branch train for Venture. I found the County Superintendent and trustees quite favorably inclined toward me, partly I suppose because I was an ex-superintendent myself.
I was to teach about a mile up the Avenue at the "Avenue School". The principal was a young man (what was his name?) whom I found very pleasant. Billy and I stayed with the Bridges until the folks moved down, then I rented the Percy Place (When we lived on the Avenue B Percy Place B we adjoined the Willett Place, and they became our best neigh-bors. Mrs. Willett was a dear little woman and was always doing something for us. George and Muktar were in their teens, and were awfully nice to my boys. Mr. Willett lived mostly at his place on the Sespe [?] River where he had some Hot Springs. They went for a deer hunt in the mountains and I went along as far as a mess where they were or-ganizing a new school. Mr. W. was one of the trustees and had asked me to open the school and teach a month. We stopped at a Mr. W.'s place on the way overnight. His Hot Springs were grand and Will took me fishing. At the mess I stayed with the Lewis's. They had two girls, Mabel and Myrtle, about 12 and 14, and a boy 15. They were vary nice but Lewis drank too much. We rode over the country a good deal, Cuyama Valley, etc. I had ridden a large donkey on the way in but the Lewis's had horses. Don't remember whether I had my donkey coming out or not.) just across from the school. Mother, Eleanor and Rowland arrived with some of our household goods and Will came along to look out for them.
I taught two years on the Avenue, but the second year we moved into Ventura and I drove back and forth and put the boys in the Ventura schools. We lived on the hill above Ventura and had a fine view of the Channel and the Islands. The next year I decided to take off, and help Eleanor with dressmaking. We were kept busy, but the income wasn't much. The boys always had chores of various kinds for their weekends, but they seemed to enjoy them. In the spring one of the trustees of a two-teacher school near Santa Paula came to see me and asked me to take their school and straighten it out B as he said. The County Superintendent had sent him, I think. I decided to go if I could arrange to put the boys in High School in Santa Paula and live there. We found a pleasant place in Santa Paula and I arranged to drive with a teacher who was employed in a school beyond mine.
I found the school very hard work at first. The children had been allowed to do about as they pleased, and I had no assistant for the first few months. However, they were a nice lot of children and the parents supported every move of mine, so it did not take me long to get it in good shape. It was here I made the acquaintance of The Cum-mings, Faulkners, Hendersons, Andersons, Hedricks, Nicelys, Rolls, and a lot of others, all the "salt of the earth" as the saying goes. After the assistant came I taught 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th and had a graduating class every year.
The boys entered high school in Santa Paula at 13 and 14, rather young. The second year I bought a bicycle and the boys taught me to ride after one lesson from the dealer. I took some tumbles, one especially when I ran into a gate left open one night after dark, but became a very good rider. The boys and I even made trips to Ventura B 16 miles.
Billy thought he would like to enter a trade school, and I had planned when I came south to get to Pasadena and get them in the school there. I made one trip to Pasadena, but did not find a suitable opening, and then I heard of a similar school in San Francisco. By that time the Egen-hoffs were living in San Francisco, Anna in the Postal Telegraph, Elizabeth in the Western Union and Johannah at her dressmaking. So we decided to send Billy to stay with them and enter the Wil-mer-ding School, a trade school connected with the University and established by Wilmerding. Will had been in and around Ventura until '98 when he joined the army and was sent to the Presidio for training. After we moved to Santa Paula, he became very ill with typhoid and mother went to San Francisco to be near him and stay with the Egenhoffs. When she brought him home he was almost a living skeleton, but soon gained back what he had lost. I am not sure just where he went (to the ranch) but he was working in San Francisco shortly after Billy went up. We decided that Mother and Eleanor should go up there and be with Will and keep Billy, as the Egenhoffs were breaking up housekeeping.
I had taken Billy up by steamer the year before and he had come down for his vacation. They, Mother, Eleanor and Billy, went to Santa Barbara and took the boat from there. Rowland and I stayed in Santa Paula the next year, he in high school and I the same school. At vacation we went to San Francisco and moved the folks to Oakland on 7th street. Rowland entered in High in Oakland and Billy crossed the bay every day to his school. Nei and Beth were both in my upper grades.
The next year I gave up the school in Santa Paula and began my wanderings. First, I taught in Stockton at Fairoaks, but did not like the school or living in rooms or boarding houses. Then I went to Amador County and taught near Jackson a little while. I think I always had adventurer blood in me for I was always going to some crazy place to teach. Then when they would beg me to come back the next year I would refuse and find some other equally crazy place to teach. Anyway, I collected my Chinese attempted murder story up there and related it with relish on a good many ghostly Hallow'eens.
In the meantime, we moved to Magnolia Street in Oakland, and finally to 34th Street near Eichlers. I went to Bear Valley in Mariposa County about that time, and boarded with Mrs. Rice at the Oso House, another crazy place, but it was comfortable. I had taught in Bear Valley while I was County Superintendent, going home weekends on the stage and coming back Monday morning. So I knew the people and the surroundings. Mostly Italians, some of them wealthy; Trabuccos, especially. Joe Trabuccos was then a rising lawyer and became a well known judge. We had a diphtheria epidemic that year and I had a forced vacation. Went home to Oakland, and while helping nurse in a children's home in Oakland took flu and was very ill myself. Went back and finished the term, though. Somewhere during this time Will went to the Orient with a mining concern and was out there four years. Then came home through Europe B Germany, England, etc.
I am not quit sure of my schools at this time. After Bear Valley, while living at 33rd Street house, I went to a real crazy school near Glenn Ellen, but only stayed a few weeks. I had an application in at the Richmond schools and when they sent for me I prevailed upon the trustees to let me off. At first I went down town on the Telegraph car, took San Pablo to the Santa Fe Station where we took the train for Richmond. I say we, for a girl came from San Francisco who taught at Richmond. What times we had running for the train, while the engineer leaned out the window and blew his whistle. Finally, I realized that the Santa Fe Station was not too far to walk from our place on 33rd. After that I timed myself and did no more running, just watched my little friend run. By the time school closed I did not care much for Richmond, especial-ly the long trips, although in the meantime car service had been established between Oakland and Richmond.
Will had come home and was living near Merced on his almond place that Jim bought for him. Jim and Lizzie were living there at the time. Mother and Eleanor wanted to go and keep house for him, and I decided to try something more crazy B boarding young men, including my own boys. I took half of a double house on Grove, seven rooms, and took my three nephews and usually one other boy. Rowland was in his last year in Collage and Billy was finishing at Wilmerding. It was a queer year and we had quite a number of funny experien-ces, but the worst was the earthquake and the fire in April, 1906. I was sleeping in the hall bedroom, and when the quake began I sprang for the door and was met by a stream of water pouring from the bathroom at the end of the hall. I screamed for the boys and ran down the twisting stairs, out the front door into the street and as we stood there we could see the smoke rising from San Francisco. Water pipes were broken, but the boys got water somewhere and our gas was still on and we managed some kind of breakfast, dashing out into the street at every slight shock. Our mantel and chimney had fallen but the damage was slight.
The boys scattered in all directions returning at intervals with news. Rowland went to the Univer-sity and, I believe, had to do some guard duty. Some of them got to the city and came back with gruesome tales. We would go up on our roof and watch the burning city and weep, at least the women did. One of our boys who worked in the city at night B a linotyper B was ill that night and did not go. I think he said the building was destroyed.
The first time I went over I thought it must resemble the old ruins of Pompeii. Everyone said: It will be years before this can be rebuilt", and in two years, to look at the surface, you wouldn't know there had been an earthquake. We ate our meals for sometime with a little bag close at hand con-taining what we valued most, and every little quake sent us outside with the bag right there. Elizabeth E. was boarding with me at the time so was not in the worst of it. Lena Becker was in a children's hospital in San Francisco. I do not remember where Johanna was. Of course there was a good deal of damage in Oakland but it was so much worse in the city that we did not think much about it. They made a big camp at Adam's Point for refugees.
I am mistaken about Will coming home, for he was still in the Orient at the time of the quake. I know he said they heard that a tidal wave had destroyed everything around the bay. Mother and Eleanor went to Merced before he came home. After the quake I sublet the house and left the boys boar-ding there. I took another small school near the Round Valley Indian Reservation (I cannot remem-ber how many terms I taught at Catheys during these years. Some of them were probably quite short, for sometimes they closed the school in the winter for a month or two. I know I boarded at Lloyd's at dif-ferent times when the children were small.), just for a few weeks in the summer. I went as a substitute until they could get a permanent teacher, thought it would be a nice vacation.. And it was. I camped with some nice people, had a tent all to myself, had to ride horseback into the hills from the Reservation. A rattlesnake went through my tent one day, and we were always killing them at the log cabin school, but I had two big boys who were quite handy at that. One of them lent me his cayuse to ride into town, although a woman had never ridden him, and he didn't seem to mind. I had a very good time but was glad to come home.
I came back to Oakland and we took some rooms C I've forgotten the street. I helped Billy in his printing work, while Rowland finished his work at the University. The printing business finished up about June and the boys both went to the oil fields for a summers work. I went to Merced about this time, I think, am not so sure about the exact order of events, and took a school in Madera County, the Webster District. I boarded with the Lewis family a few months and then they moved into town and I went to McClellan's. Mrs. Mac was a sister to Mr. Lewis. I drove a horse and buggy to school and they would take me to a little flag station some weekend and I would go to Merced. Once, coming, the conductor forgot me and did not stop. I had to go on to Fresno and hire a con-veyance to get home. The conductor was nice and paid for the livery team. I think I taught the next year in a district nearer McClellan's but am not sure; also think I moved the folks to Selma at that time. I know I taught a year at Selma, but it may have been later. I taught in Maricopa (The year I taught in Maricopa was wildly interesting. It was a real "boom town" liquid gold, gushers, etc. People rushed in from everywhere. There was a one room school house, one large room, and they put up two small shacks. I had been visiting in Fellows but had gone back to Selma. The trustees sent for me and I decided I would like to teach in a boom town.) while we were living in Selma, while Bill Jr. was a baby. The next year I was called to Madera and taught in the "old Brick" with Celia Pepper. Afterwards, I had three teachers, Naomi Heiskell, Isabel McFadden and another girl. I was there until 1913 when I had a difference with the new superintendent and resigned. That was the year Mother was taken ill. Will was a practitioner in Merced at that time and we moved her there when school was out I went up there C Eleanor was with her B and helped nurse her until she died in October.
I had the school at Alpha District in Madera County engaged, but had a substitute for the first month. After Mother's death, Eleanor and I went back to Madera and I drove to my school with one of the teachers who lived in town. I had two teachers under me at Alpha and it was a very pleasant country school. I am not sure whether I taught there one or two years. The County Superin-tendent was a friend of mine and I was offered the new Pershing school in Madera. (Think I taught one year in primary in Madera, and had Eleanor (Lloyd's daughter) with us in high school. My sister Eleanor's health grew worse and she had to give up housekeeping and go to stay with Will in Modes-to. We had her in Oakland for awhile, but she lived only a few weeks. That was in 1921, and I think I went to Catheys for awhile and then to Billy and Mame in Maricopa. That fall I took a two-room school about 15 miles from Bakersfield B can't remember the name B and lived at teacherage. The school I had first was a oneCteacher school but they juggled districts and united some. They made me principal of another oneCroom school, took my school by bus to it, or rather my older pupils, while the primaries were sent back to me. It was a crazy arrangement, and my pupils howled a lot about it. I remember I had to soothe them down every day.
I had an application in for "opportunity" work at Fellows and the superintendent there wanted me to give up the school and come to Fellows. I refused, as I thought it not quite fair to the school I had.
The next year I went to Fellows
to live in
the Teacherage with about twentyCfour other teachers. I was made
of the primary work with what seemed then a very good salary. I taught
there thirteen years, really had classes the first two years;
acted as viceCprincipal, principal of primary and, for a time, I was
when Mr. BOWMAN left several months before school closed. I enjoyed the
executive work much more than the teaching, think it suits my type of
better, but also I made quite a reputation handling children who were
in their classes. I could diagnose the causes usually. I handled all
library work and did some testing also. I think this was the happiest
of my teaching because I felt at home in the Teacherage and felt that I
contributed a little to a home life for the young teachers. Also, I was
near Taft where Billy and Mame lived and I could see them and the
often. When the time came to resign on account of my age, I felt as if
I were leaving a home B almost B although in some ways it was a relief.
I was fortunate in having a home provided for me where I could hope to
be of a little use. I have enjoyed keeping house for Rowland in
for I have always liked house-work, especially cooking, and have had
oppor-tunity to gratify my taste in that line. Whether Rowland has
my cooking is always a question, for I have to compete with his wife,
is a super cook. However, he would have had to take hotel cooking if he
had not had mine In reading over these pages I find that I have not
half enough my indebtedness to my mother and Eleanor. If they had not
their lives so unselfishly to me and my boys, I could never have
on" as well as I did. I could not have hired anyone to do what they
did, even if I had been able to do so. My Mother was a most unusual
in many ways, and I did not realize until she was gone how much she
had to give me. I have always regretted that Eleanor did not have the
to make something of her really wonderful talent for drawing and
Mariposa County Family Chronicles
County History and Genealogy Research