Humorous ads are swell, although not so much if the ads also come across as being creepy or outright disturbing. Take the cartoon shown at right; would you guess that it shows:
A) a young man enroute to deliver important papers, or
B) a maniac fleeing the scene of a gruesome murder?
Call me judgmental, but if that glowering lout with his snaggle-toothed rictus knocked on my door, I'd hide under the bed after calling the cops, pronto.
This ad appeared regularly in the Press Democrat during 1910 - and on the front page, no less. It's hard to imagine there was much demand for a "messenger service" in little Santa Rosa with its population of 10,000, but likely they also handled small deliveries of groceries, drug store items, laundry and whatnot.
Later in the year the ad copy changed to read, "The Rapid Messenger Service has produced the goods and will continue to do so. That is what has built up the business and made possible the success attained. The merchant and the general public have time and again expressed their approval, highly praising the services for its active and satisfactory work." Their only other ad was the cartoon strip shown below (CLICK or TAP to enlarge) which appeared only once. This time the messenger appeared less thuggish, thank goodness, although he kept shrinking over the course of his mission.
Set your time machine for Santa Rosa, 1910; there was no better time during the early 20th century to live here. Even now, it's an absolute pleasure to read the old newspapers and watch that year's adventures unwind.
It was an election year and that always charged the air electric, particularly over at the Press Democrat where politics was something of a blood sport. There were four sensational murder/attempted murder cases, one which occurred during the performance of a play and one which was dramatically reenacted in court (more on that later). It was the year for Halley's Comet and for a week or so it seemed that almost everyone was holding a "comet party," sprawling on their lawn after dark in their nightgowns (more on that later, too).
But more than anything else, it was the year when Fred J. Wiseman and his airplane mesmerized the town. Over forty articles about him appeared in the local papers that year alone, many to report that something was supposed to happen but didn't. When the public even wants to hear about what you didn't do, congratulations; you have achieved celebrity status beyond today's Kardashians.
Even without Wiseman's boost, Santa Rosa joined the rest of the country in going plane crazy that year. So wrought the brothers Wright that barely a week went by without newspapers reporting a flight record being broken or a plucky aviator barely escaping death by plummet. Sunday editions offered poems about flying, features about industrious children building gliders that were surely destined to break their limbs, photo spreads of dinky aircraft silhouettes flying in the distance and silly essays about impossible things, such as someday there would be trans-oceanic voyages by air (at 100 miles an hour!) or that wars would be fought by armies of bird-men.
Americans were hungry to participate by watching all that record-setting (and maybe plummeting) but opportunities were few. The first public West Coast flying exhibition came in Los Angeles during January, 1910. There French aviator Louis Paulhan flew for 35 minutes under ideal conditions, even bravely venturing out over the ocean. Others flying at that show included Charles Hamilton (more later) and aircraft designer Glenn Curtiss. Also: An Army officer in a dirigible tried to drop dummy bombs on a target, always a crowd favorite. The "air meet" moved to the Bay Area a week later, promoted by William Randolph Hearst - stop by an Examiner office for a half-price admission coupon - but Paulhan was the only pilot who flew. Weather was bad with 30 knot gusts; after a two day wait he finally made an eight minute hop when winds calmed at sunset, yet there were still 20,000 waiting to see that moment. Such was the fascination.
A few weeks later, the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce announced "initial steps were taken for holding a big aviation meet here at an early date...There will be at least three major flights scheduled for each day, one of which will be a cross country flights and back, with Petaluma, Healdsburg or Sonoma as the objective point. There will be at least three aviators present." It was just big talk by a couple of promoters and nothing came of it, but there are a few details worth noting.
First, Chamber of Commerce President Ernest L. Finley seemed enthusiastic about the idea, judging by the article in the Press Democrat, which was edited and published by Ernest L. Finley. Was he the same Ernest L. Finley who wrote a 1905 editorial declaring that "the so-called flying machine [will never be] useful for any practical purpose"? Why yes, he was.
The only aviator apparently contacted about participating in the Santa Rosa air meet was Frank Johnson, a portly San Francisco clubman who was just learning to fly - somewhat. Johnson had purchased a Curtiss biplane for $8,000 at the Los Angeles exhibition but sold it a few months later after dropping it into San Francisco Bay. The SF Call wryly noted he had "other harrowing adventures in which his aeroplane crashed into fences and chased crowds of spectators around the field." Perhaps it was a good thing that there was no air meet here for him to exhibit his skill at terrorizing audiences and general mishaps.
It's also interesting that the PD article did not include any local "bird-men." Charles Hamilton flew at the LA exhibition and elsewhere as the main demonstration pilot for Glenn Curtiss' biplanes, but he was well known in Santa Rosa as a parachuting balloonist in prior years and in 1910 bought a home nearby. More significantly there was no mention of Blaine Selvage, who apparently made the first controlled flight in California (and probably the West Coast) a few months earlier in Eureka, an event covered in the Press Democrat. Selvage was still in the area with his custom-built plane. And, of course, Wiseman was not named as a flyer; just a day before the PD mentioned the planned air meet, an item appeared on the front page of the paper noting that he had given up auto racing and "will henceforth devote his time and attention to aeronautics."
Fred J. Wiseman was already somewhat a local hero for his winning record in auto racing; as an exhibition driver for a San Francisco dealership, the 34 year-old Wiseman had raced the powerful Stoddard-Dayton automobiles sold by his boss throughout Northern California and Nevada to much acclaim. But his attendance at the Los Angeles air meet that January cemented his ambitions to take up flying and to build an aircraft with his long-time racing partner and mechanic, Jean Peters (AKA J. W. Peters, Julian Pierre and John Peters). Funding the venture was a $10,000 investment by Ben Noonan, an old Santa Rosa friend and former business partner of Wiseman's as well as a race champ in his own right, having won the California Grand Prize Race a year earlier (Wiseman came in third). If they succeeded, it would be a sound investment; there was lots of money to be made in exhibition flying in those days. Louis Paulhan was reportedly earning $250,000 a year for appearances, the equivalent of over $6 million today.
Working under a tent in a pasture - appropriately, about a mile northeast of today's Sonoma County Airport - they began assembling the flying machine the pair had started designing in San Francisco. About six weeks later their first test flight occurred.
|Fred J. Wiseman and Jean Peters working on their aircraft at the Laughlin ranch, 1910. PHOTO: National Air and Space Museum|
Again the PD jumped the gun and promised the plane would fly a few weeks later at the Rose Carnival and they did participate, of sorts - but that's getting ahead of our story. For this installment we'll leave Fred soaring over the fields of Windsor to the delight of neighboring farmers. "Frequently the humming of the motor which is attached to the propeller of the flying machine has been heard of recent days," reported the Press Democrat, "and the people there have been on the tiptoe of expectancy awaiting the time when the big machine would be lifted into the air." If not a single other thing happened in 1910 worth remembering, that alone made it a terrific year.
WANT AN AVIATION MEET IN THIS CITYSpecial Meeting of the Directors of the Chamber of Commerce to Be Held This Afternoon
Edward Foley and Archie Levy, two well-known amusement agents, are here trying to arrange for an aviation meet. If given the proper encouragement they will bring Johnson, who operates a Curtiss biplane, and at an early date give a meet lasting two days.
- Press Democrat, February 1, 1910
INITIAL STEPS TAKEN TO HOLD AVIATION MEET IN SANTA ROSA AT AN EARLY DATEThe Chamber of Commerce Appoints Committee to Make All the Necessary Plans and ArrangementsVARIED PROGRAM IS BEING PLANNEDThere Will Be Three Major Flights Each Day, One Being a Cross Country, and in Addition Efforts Will Be Made to Secure Dirigible Balloon
At a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce held Thursday evening, the initial steps were taken for holding a big aviation meet here at an early date. After a lengthy discussion of the matter, President Ernest L. Finley was authorized to name a committee to handle the proposition and sign all necessary contracts, when in its judgement, a satisfactory agreement with the aviators shall have been arrived at. The committee consists of...The committee will begin work at once, and unless something unexpected happens in the meanwhile, complete details will be forthcoming inside of the next few days.
Varying programs will be arranged for each day, and it is possible that prizes may be offered for special achievements. There will be at least three major flights scheduled for each day, one of which will be a cross country flights and back, with Petaluma, Healdsburg or Sonoma as the objective point. There will be at least three aviators present. In addition to Frank Johnson and his Curtiss biplane, an attempt is to be made to have Roy Knabenshue and his big dirigible balloon take place in the meet. The arrangements now under contemplation provide for a two-day's meet some time this month and as soon as can be properly provided for. The meet is sure to draw an immense crowd, as Johnson will not show at any other point within a hundred miles of Santa Rosa, with the single exception of Sacramento.
- Press Democrat, February 4, 1910
WISEMAN AIMS TO RISE IN THE WORLDWell Known Driver Quits Automobiling and Will Devote Time and Attention to Aeronautics
Fred Wiseman, well known in this city as a daring automobilists, [sic] has severed his connection with the firm of W. J. Leavitt and Company of San Francisco and will henceforth devote his time and attention to aeronautics.
In conjunction with a number of other enthusiasts, Mr. Wiseman is now engaged in the construction of a Farman biplane, which it is expected be completed inside of a couple of months. A new and improved motor is a feature expected to work wonders in connection with the machine now in process of construction.
Associated with Mr. Wiseman are several Santa Rosans, who have likewise become interested in the new form of locomotion. They claim to have a machine that will surprise all comers, and say their motor has many advantages over any now in use.
- Press Democrat, February 3, 1910
BIG AERO-PLANE ARRIVES TO BE FINISHED HEREThe Peters-Wiseman Machine Will Soon Be Used
The Peters-Wiseman aeroplane, upon which Fred Wiseman, Julian Pierre and M. W. Peters have been working since last October, was brought up from San Francisco yesterday by freight and unloaded at Mark West station, a few miles north of this city. There it will be re-assembled and its construction completed. The machine is housed in a huge tent that has been erected for the purpose on the Laughlin ranch, and when finished will be tested in the broad field adjoining which is admirable adapted to the purpose.
The machine is about forty-five feet long and thirty-six feet wide, and is of the biplane type. Accompanying the outfit are several mechanicians [sic], all of whom are enthusiastic in their predictions as to what the machine will accomplish. Julian Pierre is in charge and under no circumstances will visitors be admitted to see the aeroplane or even allowed in the field where the tent is located. As near as can be learned, the first test is expected to take place about two weeks from date.
- Press Democrat, March 2, 1910
SANTA ROSA'S BIRD-MEN SUCCESSFULLY TOUR THE SKY IN THEIR OWN AEROPLANETriumph of Flight Crowns Many Months of Labor, Experiment and Study by Wiseman and PetersTHEY'LL FLY AGAIN IN CARNIVAL WEEKBi-plane of Local Aviators Will Be Shown to the Crowds that Come to Santa Rosa in the First Week of May
Following several minor tests the Wiseman-Peters bi-plane made a perfect flight on Friday night in the big pasture field at the Laughlin ranch at Mark West, several miles from this city, where it has been assembled since the middle of March. Not only was the bi-plane built in Sonoma county, but the genius of Santa Rosa boys has achieved a triumph. They have a machine that won't stay on the ground, and in the air is perfectly under control of the aviator.
As stated Friday night was really the first big test, the others having been principally to tension the mechanism. Twice on Friday night Aviators Wiseman and Peters circled the big field, soaring to a height of fifty feet, not attempting to fly high, however. This is but a foretaste of what may be expected. People in the neighborhood saw something Friday they had never seen before, and are loud in their praise of the achievement of the energetic young men who have done so nobly.
Will Fly at Carnival Time
Thousands of people will be delighted and interested to know that the Wiseman-Peters bi-plane will fly here at Rose Carnival time, and will be a special feature for Sunday afternoon, May 8, the day following the fiesta. In the meantime other tests will be made, and it is especially requested that people refrain from going to the Laughlin ranch to see the machine as in doing so they will only be hindering the finishing touches. Naturally everybody is excited and interested but the aviators and designers say they cannot explain things to the people just now as they have no time. People will have plenty of opportunities to inspect the machine as it will be on public exhibition here during carnival week and all parts will be then explained.
It was on October 17, 1909, that Wiseman and Peters got their heads together and commenced the actual construction of the bi-plane, which is now an assured fact, and is claimed by experts to be possibly the most perfect one in existence. At the time both were employed in the automobile business of J. W. Leavitt and Co., of San Francisco, both fearless as auto racers, and both well skilled in mechanical art. From October until January 1 of the present year they worked with automobiles during the day and spent their nights evolving their ideas in connection with the bi-plane and in the manufacture of parts. In January they severed their connection with the automobile business to devote their entire attention to the construction of their airship.
They took in the aviation meets in San Francisco and Los Angeles, examined carefully and intelligently the mechanism of the machines used there, and upon a comparison of notes determined to manufacture a bi-plane which would eclipse any of the great machines used in flights in either of those cities.
Their knowledge of machinery and years of experience in the auto business was just the thing, particularly in the matter of engine construction. A San Francisco firm turned out the engine they designed. Then Wiseman and Peters rebuilt it and triumphed in the construction of an engine developing fifty horse power and weighing 148 pounds, including propeller, gasoline and dual Bosch system.
Some idea of the fine points of construction can be gained when it is stated that in the manufacture of the sockets the builders have sixty-three different patterns on them and own them all, and have applied for patents. The sockets are made of Macadamite, which is stronger and lighter and looks like aluminum.
The Wood Work
The woodwork is all laminated, two, three and four piece, and is cut tapered to the wind. The ribs of the bi-plane are three lamination making the ribs about a quarter of an inch thick and half an inch wide. Yet one of these ribs is so strong that a big man can stand on it and it will not bend.
The cloth is the best that can be procured anywhere in the world, and is manufactured specially for the purpose for which it is used.
The Wiring System
Three different styles of wiring have been employed in the construction of the bi-plane, similar to the network of wires one finds in a piano. In the network of wires in the airship there are 585 wires. The turnbuckles of different sizes are made of macadamite. The smallest turn buckle will stand a test of 1,150 pounds pressure; the middle one will not yield at a pressure of 1,940 pounds, and the largest one will not break at 4,000 pounds pressure. Before they got the kind of turn buckle they wanted for the machine Wiseman and Peters made hundreds of them and threw them away.
The wheels re manufactured after the most approved style of workmanship for the purpose for which they are intended.
In the rear of the bi-plane a light skid is used. The skid is of hickory which on the rear kite acts as wheels.
The plane in front works alternately with the plane in the rear kite. In case the driver wishes to rise he raises the plane in front and that drops the one in the rear and the machine ascends. In balancing on a curve or turn or in a current of air he manipulates the controls with his shoulders.
The seat is situated in front of the engine. There is an attachment in reach of the foot of the aviator by which he can control the height area of flight and speed.
The total weight of the Wiseman-Peters bi-plane is 670 pounds. Five gallons of gasoline and three gallons of oil are sufficient for a twenty-mile flight.
All California Material
In the construction of the Wiseman-Peters bi-plane all the material used is California product with the exception of the cloth and propeller. The cloth and propeller were secured in a foreign country. In the selection of the wood used over thirty thousand feet of lumber was gone over and the selection made. Fred Wiseman has had entire charge of the construction work. In conjunction with Mr. Peters, and with the assistance of Don Prentiss they have carried out their design to a triumphant finish and Santa Rosa can well be proud of the fact that a Santa Rosa boy has figured so prominently in the invention. Ben Noonan is the general manager and treasurer of the company, Wiseman and Peters are aviators, and Don Prentiss is the secretary of the concern. All are deserving of the warmest congratulations.
Wiseman and Peters are in San Francisco now selecting lumber for the construction of another bi-plane for use in case of accident.
Second American Machine
Another important feature about the Wiseman-Peters bi-plane is that it is practically the second American machine built outside of the Wright and Curtiss machines.
- Press Democrat, April 23, 1910
HUGE BI-PLANE MAKES SUCCESSFUL FLIGHTSWiseman and Peters Both Make Trips Into Air
The huge flying machine which was recently taken to the Laughlin ranch near Mark West station has been making successful flights into the air for several nights past. This is a great distinction for Santa Rosa boys Fred J. Wiseman, the racing automobile driver, is one of the aviators who has been making the flights and Peters, the mechanician, has also been seated in the big bird machine when it soared into the atmosphere.
Residents of the vicinity have been much interested in the maneuverings of the big flying machine, and have matched its dainty evolutions in the air. The flights which have been made have been extremely successful, and demonstrate that the activities of the young men connected with the trials have been along proper lines.
Don Prentiss, when seen Saturday morning, would not admit nor deny that flights have been made, but from the people residing in the vicinity it is learned that on Friday evening the big machine was frequently in the air with its burden of humanity, handling the levers.
Frequently the humming of the motor which is attached to the propeller of the flying machine has been heard of recent days, and the people there have been on the tiptoe of expectancy awaiting the time when the big machine would be lifted into the air and perform evolutions. On Friday evening the residents had the satisfaction of witnessing the flight and of seeing the macine in maneuvering and turning in the air, indicating how easily it is controlled.
From the descriptions given of the aerial flights, the machine is in every way an unqualified success, and much is expected of it in the future. It is most likely that the machine will be exhibited here during the carnival and probable that flights will be arranged for the afternoon of Sunday, May 8, the day following the carnival.
The machines is known as the Wiseman-Peters bi-plane, and the young men have been building the machine at the place where the flights were made since the first part of March. At that time the parts of the machine were packed in boxes and at the ranch the machine has been assembled and gotten into splendid working condition. It is one of the strongest flying machines on the market, and its dimensions are about thirty-four by forty-four feet.
Associated with Wiseman and Peters are Don C. Prentiss and Ben Noonan of this city. They have made a great success of their undertaking.
The huge bird-like machine was off the ground for quite a goodly length of time Friday evening, and this performance was repeated many times.
- Santa Rosa Republican, April 23, 1910
Who knew? The actors in those century-old silent movies were actually cussing up a storm. The lip readers knew about it, of course, and some were in high dudgeon as a result, demanding censorship. And who can blame them? While watching the hero profess his undying love to his maidenly ingenue, for example, it would be a bit disconcerting to discover he was actually swearing like a lumberjack on Saturday night.
Santa Rosa learned about photoplay profanity in a 1910 Press Democrat editorial, where Ernest Finley called it "one of the strangest stories of the year," apparently because he was astonished that such a thing as lip reading existed.
But it is a bit of surprise (at least to me) to find that salty language was common in films so early. Movie cussing was well known and acknowledged as a problem during the roaring part of the 1920s, and headed the list of "Don'ts and Be Carefuls" compiled by the studio execs in 1927. Some films - particularly "What Price Glory?" released the previous year - made no effort to rein in the actors; a review at the time noted, "Victor McLaglen takes the honors in acting and unbridled profanity, and the film leaves no doubt as to what words are being used." (Those interested in exercising their lip reading skills can practice on this clip, starting at around the 5:15 marker.) Movie controversy of the 1920s is off-topic here, but for anyone wanting more info there's a cinema blog that has an enjoyable discussion with clips from other movies. I'll only add that, wow, Gloria Swanson really had a mouth on her.
The PD didn't publish the original wire service story, but it's pretty easy to find in other newspapers, given its sensational nature. It seems Mrs. Elmer Bates of Cleveland, a "noted deaf mute instructor and lecturer," visited a half-dozen theaters and found "shocking language was used in all the shows visited."
Mrs. Bates made a tour of the downtown shows yesterday accompanied by a reporter who wrote down the picture talk, and at times the language was so vile that she had to stop...Curses, vile names and vile comments are indulged in by the performers while being photographed, often without the least semblance of relation to the play being performed. The profanity and obscene language seem to be addressed by members of the companies to one another on the spur of the moment.
Mrs. Bates tried to get the mayor to do something, but he passed the buck to the Humane society. (Meaning the American Humane Association, not today's Humane Society of the United States; the Association's activities include the protection of children as well as animals.) The Association told her it wasn't for them and she should take it up with the movie studios. Her protest presumably faded there.
Obl. Believe-it-or-not twist to the story: Mrs. Bates' husband was Elmer E. Bates, a famous Cleveland sportswriter. He was best known for covering the disastrous 1899 season of the Cleveland Spiders (later renamed the Indians) when the National League team lost 134 games, which still stands as the worst performance in baseball history. Had Mrs. Bates visited the ballpark with her husband during those games, I'm certain she would have heard language far, far more ripe than anything shown in one-reel melodramas and slapstick flickers.
One of the strangest stories of the year comes from Cleveland, Ohio. The deaf-mutes of that city have protested against certain of the moving pictures exhibited in the theaters there. None but deaf mutes can detect anything wrong with those pictures, but to them they are objectionable. By reason of their affliction, the deaf become proficient in what is known as "lip reading." This proficiency enables them to derive more enjoyment and profit from moving pictures than their neighbors get who are endowed with good hearing. That is, if the actors stick to the text of the play. But it has become a common thing for the performers whose "stunts" are photographed for the moving films to vary the text to suit their own moods and minds, and where the practice is allowed they have numerously lapsed into profanity and obscenity, meanwhile keeping up all the "stage business" so that to any but a lip reader their acting is correct. But to the deaf mutes the silent profanity is as real as vocal profanity is to the rest of mankind, and the mutes in Cleveland ask that the city authorities have the reels censored by a lip-reader before they are exhibited in public.
- Press Democrat editorial, December 25, 1910
Pity the Petaluma Adobe, the Rodney Dangerfield of local state parks; it don't get no respect. It was on the short list of parks slated to be closed in 2012 but even after a reprieve when the state discovered a hidden pile of cash intended for park operations, it's not clear whether it will remain open past June of 2014. Through its authentically boring displays, countless urban schoolchildren have learned all that they never needed to know about 1840s cattle farming and the life and times of General Mariano Vallejo, a man known for speeches so stultifyingly dull that he inspired the creation of the Squeedunks.
(RIGHT: The Petaluma Adobe, which was "falling into decay" when it was purchased in 1910 by Native Sons of the Golden West. This 1934 postcard created for its centennial shows the building in markedly better condition than seen in turn-of-the-century photographs)
To make matters worse, the venerable place is being slowly pecked to death by birds because the state stripped off the adobe plaster in the 1950s. Kids, there's your homework assignment: Describe what happens to a fragile historic property when decades pass without significant preservation efforts. Now let's get back on the schoolbus to visit Santa Rosa and the slightly later Carrillo Adobe, which has no preservation plan whatsoever and which the homeless are tearing apart for firewood.
The Petaluma Adobe is what it is, and that's a glimpse at the agricultural side of California's Mexican past. Nothing of note happened on the property; General Vallejo himself was only there occasionally, and when he sold it to a farmer in 1857, even that ho-hum link to history ended. Come about a half century later, the section of the property with the old Adobe - "gradually falling into decay," as a 1910 Press Democrat editorial noted - was bought by the Petaluma branch of the Native Sons of the Golden West, a fraternal lodge open only to men born in California. For them, something very important had happened there indeed: The birth of the first American in the state.
According to the account that appeared in their lodge magazine, The Grizzly Bear," in November of 1846, General Vallejo came upon a family of settlers camped by a creek during a rainstorm. Vallejo discovered the leader of the troupe was ex-governor of Missouri Lilburn Boggs and insisted they be his guests at the Adobe:
The next morning Governor Boggs' family were all moved over to the large adobe building on his Petaluma rancho, which was well stocked with horses, cattle and sheep. "Make yourself perfectly at home here," said General Vallejo, "kill all you want for beef and mutton, and ride all the horses you wish, and if there is anything more you need just let me know and you shall have it." Just the, or soon after, a wail and a cry from Mrs. William Boggs and general distress of the female portion of the family. A child had been born and apparently dying, if not already dead.
As quick as a flash, General Vallejo drew his knife, jumped into the corral, and killing a young ram, stripped off its hide while still warm and wrapped that baby boy, who was apparently dead, up in it. Asking the parents if they had any objections to the child being baptized, they said, "No!" "What name will you give him?" he inquired. "Give him your name, General," they replied, and so that baby boy was baptized by the General and named Guadalupe Vallejo Boggs, when all declared he was dead.
However, there was a spark of life remaining in him, and he revived, and the child had a second and miraculous birth from the spirit of God.
It's a ripping good yarn that was reprinted in newspapers over the years, including the paper in the town where Guadalupe Vallejo Boggs raised his family. Unfortunately, none of the dying-baby-ram-skinning part is true. In a 1910 letter to the Press Democrat, G. V. Boggs' father rambles a bit about the Adobe and mentions that Vallejo showed up a week or two after the baby was born and asked that the child be named after himself. (Baby Boggs got off lucky; Vallejo stuck one of his own kids with the monicker "Napoleon Primo.")
The claim that the baby was the first American born in California is also silly, considering California was then still part of Mexico and the Mexican-American War wasn't quite over. It is more truthful to say that this was probably the last child of American immigrants born in Alta California, but that doesn't have quite the ring.
But the Boggs' didn't need to photoshop their image to make themselves appear more interesting; theirs is a family whose trails criss-cross American history so often it is nearly unbelievable.
Patriarch Lilburn Boggs was governor of Missouri during the 1838 Mormon War, where confrontations between non-Mormon settlers and the growing population of Joseph Smith's followers led both sides to violence and vigilante terrorism. Boggs ended the conflict by declaring "Mormons must be treated as enemies" and ordering the estimated 10,000 Mormons in the state to abandon their property and get out, a directive so extreme that it outraged even Mormon opponents. Nearly four years later, an assassin came close to killing Boggs by shooting him the head while he was reading a newspaper at home. It was widely assumed that the gunman was the notorious Porter Rockwell, a personal friend of Joseph Smith who was called "the Destroying Angel of Mormondom," but he was acquitted at trial. Years later, son William wrote the family believed Joseph Smith had a death warrant out for him.
(RIGHT: Lilburn Boggs)
Completely recovered from his gunshot wounds, Lilburn and his family joined a wagon train headed west. Lilburn soon was recognized as the leader and the group became known as "Boggs Company." As they reached the Continental Divide there was disagreement on how to proceed; Boggs' faction continued following the well-marked Oregon Trail, but some of the others opted to try another route said to be shorter; that faction called themselves the Donner Party.
The Boggs clan settled in Sonoma and Napa Counties and Lilburn, who hoped to spend his senior years quietly as a merchant (and presumably under the Mormon's revenge radar), became involved with politics in the post-Bear Flag Revolt period when California was not yet a state. He was named Alcalde for all of Northern California, which made him the only recognized legal authority for the vast territory above San Francisco Bay. A story circulated years later that he broke the news about the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, but that's not true. (Many other examples of misinformation about the Boggs' family abound and continue today; a well-reviewed academic book published in 2011, for example, claims it was Lilburn who directed his grandson to be named after Vallejo in order to forge a strategic alliance and it was Vallejo - despite his shaky legal status after Mexico lost the war - who arranged to have his buddy appointed to the powerful position of Alcalde. Say what?)
Lilburn's children became notable figures in their own right. His son, Thomas, spent part of his childhood with his uncle, Albert Boone (did I mention Lilburn's wife was Daniel Boone's granddaughter?) who was an Indian trader on the Missouri River. Tom Boggs learned several Indian languages and struck out on his own at age 16, where he worked in the Southwest for the Bent brothers, who were also his uncles. Tom and his wife formed an extended family with Mr. and Mrs. Kit Carson and when the famous frontiersman died, the Boggs' raised Carson's five orphaned children. His is another adventure story but it has little to do with Sonoma County; you can read a detailed (if flawed) biography here.
William Boggs was also a kid when he joined older brother Tom and uncles in running their trading post on the Santa Fe trail, then returning to Missouri to marry and join his family in the famous wagon train. It was William, whose son was born at the Adobe, who apparently had the family's closest association with Vallejo (although the old general appeared in Judge Lilburn's court both as the accused and aggrieved). William was primarily a capitalist who made a good living buying and selling land. To promote local agriculture he and others incorporated a nursery to propagate and sell plant and seed, with Vallejo as VP and wine-making pioneer Agoston Haraszthy as President and nursery supervisor. William was also a neighbor of Haraszthy, and together they platted the vineyards for his Buena Vista winery.
But what makes William interesting is that he was also the author of letters and essays that are - or should be - priceless to historians who study that era. His short biography of his father reveals the family thought Joseph Smith personally ordered the attempted murder. He wrote a 1907 reminisce of life at the Petaluma Adobe that is often quoted as an important primary source, as well as the letter to the Press Democrat about the birth of his son transcribed below. (He may have been an important writer, but apparently his penmanship left much to be desired; in the PD item the name of the General's brother, Salvador, is misspelled as "Salvachons," apparently because the typesetter couldn't read the old man's bad handwriting.)
(RIGHT: Detail of photo showing William Boggs and General Vallejo c. 1885 at the Hotel del Monte in Monterey. Vallejo is extending a Mexican flag on a floral exhibit commemorating the soldiers who fought in the Mexican-American War. Photograph courtesy UC Berkeley/Bancroft Library; click here for complete image)
And that's just the well-known stuff. William also authored a book-length essay about his time with brother Thomas and their "life among the Indians," with an edited and abridged version appearing in the March, 1930 issue of The Colorado Magazine. Thanks to Google Books, I stumbled across a letter by William that states Vallejo betrayed Mexico and covertly aided the U.S. at a crucial juncture on the eve of the Mexican-American War. If true, this rewrites Vallejo's biography and history of the war. And finally, thanks to Bancroft, we know William wrote often for the Napa Register around 1872 concerning the war and the Bear Flag Revolt, suggesting there is likely still more to be found. Undoubtedly William M. Boggs deserves some serious attention from scholars. Any PhD candidates out there looking for a dissertation topic?
If you still don't have your fill of the remarkable Boggs family there's grandson Francis, who was born in Santa Rosa and became a pioneer of another sort. He was a theatrical actor who became interested in directing some of those new motion pictures, directing about 200 shorts between 1907 and 1911. He directed L. Frank Baum's "Fairylogue and Radio-Plays," a pastiche made from several stories from the Oz books performed in a two-hour stage production that mixed live action with color film and slides. But Francis' most notable contribution to the history of movies was his opening in 1909 the first production studio in Los Angeles over the objections of his boss in Chicago. Within two years almost all of the big East Coast studios moved to LA as well. If not for Francis Boggs, there may not have been a Hollywood.
PIONEER OF '46 WRITES OF THE PETALUMA ADOBEReminiscense of the Late General Vallejo
From W. M. Boggs, one of the earliest pioneers of California and Sonoma county, the Press Democrat has received a letter of particular historical interest at this time. It refers to the "Old Adobe" near Petaluma, which was built by General Vallejo as a summer home for himself and his family, on his big Petaluma Rancho. Mention was made a few days ago of an offer by its present owner, to present the old building to the City of Petaluma. No man is better qualified to speak of the old historic building than Mr. Boggs, as he lived in it in the early part of 1846. Mr. Boggs' communication is as follows:
222 Seminary street, Napa City, Jan. 18, 1910. Editor Press Democrat--Dear Sir:
In looking over the columns of the Examiner today I noticed an item headed "Old Fort Given to City," presumably to the City of Petaluma by J. A. Bliss of Washington, D. C., nephew of W. D. Bliss, formerly of Petaluma, a gentleman whom I remember well in the early history of Petaluma City.
I wish to correct a historical error in calling the old adobe building erected by General Vallejo on his original Petaluma grant. "An Old Fort." I am somewhat familiar with the history of that structure since early on 1846. My father's family and myself and wife were kindly tendered the use of the building by General Vallejo on our first arrival in Sonoma. It was the first shelter we obtained and it was then not completed. The carpenters were yet at work on the interior. The late Henry Fowler of Napa and his aged father, William Fowler Sr., were the men or carpenters employed to do the finishing work in the building which was a large square building with a court on the inside (the usual Mexican or Spanish style.) The wide verandas above were some twelve feet in width. The walls on the south and east side were not completed, but were covered with tule to protect them from the rain. The front of the main building had wide verandas, and round to the northwest corner of the building. The building was constructed by General Vallejo for his family residence on his Petaluma Rancho, and had been occupied by them before the General tendered it to our family to winter in. The lower rooms were used for storing grain, hides and other ranch products. Some of General Vallejo's family furniture and other household effects were still in the rooms above, where they were kept for use in the summer when the General and his family came from his town residence to spend the summer months.
On our arrival in the night at the ranch, General Vallejo had gone ahead of our worn-out teams. He had his Indian servants prepare supper for our families. The tables were spread with linen table cloths, sperm candles were in the chandeliers, and we had a regular Spanish-cooked repast prepared by his old family Indian cook. The General withen on the table, helping all the large family. After supper was served he handed my wife a large bunch of keys to the various rooms, and assigned one large well finished room to myself and wife, in which our eldest son was born on the 4th day of January, 1847. This was a month or two after our arrival. With a few volunteers I had crossed the Bay to enlist in the war with Mexico. While I was away the General came over from his residence in Sonoma to visit my father and family, and he found another young American emigrant only a week or two old, who had not yet been named. He expressed a desire to see the new arrival and on being shown the youngster, he enquired his name. My mother told him he was not named yet and requested him to name him. He replied, if you give me permission to name him, I will name him for myself--Guadalupe Vallejo Boggs. Everyone consented with pleasure. That young man is now in his 63rd year and lives in Oregon and claims to be the first white boy born under the American flag in California. One or two female children were born in Sutter's Fort probably before or about the same time of year. Mr. Fowler Sr., made a fine redwood cradle for Mrs. Boggs which was a very nice finished piece of carpenter work. The madame expressed her fears as to its durability, the work was so finely executed. The old gentleman said it would last to rock all the children she would have, and it was kept in the family until the baby it was made for grew up and had children of his own and they were also rocked in it.
Now, Mr. Editor, I did not intend to bore you or wish to occupy valuable space in your worthy journal, although I claim to be the first man to sign the petition to start the Sonoma Democrata when the blank was presented to me by my old friend, Thomas Thompson. My object was to correct the error that the Petaluma house was an old fort. It is so called on their pictorial post cards, and the press also speaks of it as the "Old Fort."
General Vallejo never build but one fort north of the Bay, and that was the barracks in old Sonoma, where the "Bear Flag" was hoisted, commonly called the Quartel, and the General told me that he worked on that with his own hands.
By publishing this you will correct an error that has been published time after time. Sutter's Fort and Fort Ross (built by Russians) and the Barracks in the northeast corner of old Sonoma plaza, were the only forts built by the Mexican authorities, except the old Presidio, at San Francisco, and the old barracks at Monterey. Don Salvachons' [sic] now large adobe on the west side of Sonoma Plaza has been called an old fort also, that building was not finished until after we came to Sonoma, and Don Salvachons, the brother of the General built it after we moved to Sonoma from the Petaluma Ranch. A frame addition was added to it on the north side or end facing the street that leads out toward Santa Rosa, and a hotel was made of it and kept by the late Hon. George Pearce and Isaac Randolph, his partner. This building has also been designated as an old fort by ye modern historians. Americans did the carpenter work on both of these buildings after we took the country from Mexico.
WM. M. BOGGS.
- Press Democrat, January 21, 1910
A HISTORIC LANDMARK
Although not as well known as some others, one of Sonoma county's most interesting landmarks is the huge adobe ranch house near Petaluma, erected by the late General Vallejo during the days of Mexico's supremacy--"before the Gringos came." This property, together with five acres of land, is to be presented to the city of Petaluma under an agreement whereby the municipality binds itself to care for and preserve the same. Many historic recollections are clustered about the old structure, which for several years has been gradually falling into decay, and it is gratifying to learn that the building is to be preserved as its importance so well warrants. With the expenditure of a little money, the proper amount of taste, and some energy, the old adobe could be made a great show place, serving as still another attraction for tourists and again emphasizing the fact that Sonoma county is one of the most historic portions of the state. Petaluma owes it to the county to do this now that the property is about to come into her possession, and can doubtless be depended upon to discharge her obligation fully and well.
- Press Democrat editorial, January 20, 1910
Oh, my stars; the Grace Brothers Brewery steam whistle has turned up. According to a Press Democrat article, a man who identified himself only as "Gary" dropped it off at the Sonoma County Museum along with a note that he had swiped it in 1966, when he and other kids were up to no good and sneaking into abandoned buildings (and a big thanks for doing that and rescuing this artifact as a result).
For generations, as Gaye LeBaron notes, it kept Santa Rosa on schedule, blowing to announce lunch time and quitting time. But in the years around the 1906 Santa Rosa Earthquake, the whistle had more important jobs as well.
Santa Rosa's water system was a mess until it was upgraded in 1907, causing the town to enforce severe conservation measures. Policemen, firemen and city inspectors became water cops, empowered to wake you in the middle of the night if water was heard running. You could be fined $2.50 for a dripping faucet and you were billed a monthly fee for every tub, toilet, and sink in your home. Lawns and gardens could be watered only at certain times and/or certain days depending whether you lived east or west of Mendocino Avenue; in the scheme used following the earthquake, the east side could use a garden hose between 4 and 8 o'clock, while westerners had the hours between 5 and 9. Starting and stopping times were announced by the steam whistle.
The Grace Brothers' whistle also became Santa Rosa's fire alarm for a few years after the earthquake, tooting out a code that alerted our volunteer firemen to drop whatever they were doing, jump on their bicycles, and pedal like mad to a specific neighborhood. (The alarm system and codes are described in an earlier article.) Anyone using water at that time was required to turn it off immediately to ensure the firefighters had adequate pressure.
If you're keeping track, all that meant the brewery whistle was sounding at 12, 4, 5, 8, and 9, plus any time it was needed by the fire department. When that thing started to blast off, I imagine people often just stood still for a moment with their heads cocked, like puzzled dogs, trying to figure out if they were supposed to eat, start, stop, turn off or go home.
There was also another steam whistle over at the power company used to summon the on-call lineman. In that era, light bulbs were somewhat of a luxury item in many homes, handmade and expensive; instead of buying them, it was more as if you leased them from the power company, or subscribed to its light bulb service. If a bulb burned out - even in the middle of the night - customers expected the company to replace it pronto. Ask nicely and their certified light bulb technician might even screw it in for you.
|(ABOVE: Grace Brothers Brewery, c. 1902. From the Santa Rosa Fire Department Souvenir, 1902)|
Just a dozen steps inside the cemetery gate brings you to the mass grave for some of the earthquake victims. Its nearness speaks to the urgency of the times; it was started two days after the disaster struck Santa Rosa on April 18th. By then, the downtown fires were finally out but exhausted volunteers clearing the piles of brick were still coming upon more dead. So when there was a call for volunteers to bury seven unclaimed (and presumably, unembalmed) bodies, a trench was dug at the easiest available spot.
The most likely explanation for the errors is that few, if any, cared enough to make sure it was right. There was no interest in commemorating Santa Rosa's worst disaster; it was almost two years before the small monument appeared at the site, with no ceremony held. There was no (known) documentation kept of who was in the mass grave; whomever gave the stone cutter the list of names must have cobbled it together from memories and some of the names painted on boards by a volunteer. The list maker certainly didn't bother to check it against death certificates and other records; if that person had, he would have discovered that Charles W. Palm was actually buried at the county cemetery on Chanate.
(RIGHT: Charles Palm, c. 1900. Image courtesy Pam Mortensen)
Historians trust tombstones to be accurate, so it was more than a century before it was discovered Mr. Palm wasn't there at all. While looking in 2012 for information about her great-grandfather, Pam Mortensen came into contact with cemeterian Jeremy Nichols, who noted that Charles Palm was in the Chanate database. His interment there was confirmed when researcher Sandy Frary found an image of his original certificate of death. Since Palm is not at the earthquake memorial site, who is there in his place? The concrete slab has impressed lines that supposedly outline his grave, along with the initials, "C. W. P." Was another man mistaken for Palm? As a "traveling man" (salesman) from Los Angeles, Palm might have been a stranger, and there apparently were a great many other traveling men in town that day.
Those "unknowns" present other confusing questions. The earthquake monument specifies "FOUR PERSONS UNKNOWN NOS. 1-4-6-7" with lines in the concrete slab outlining four suitcase-sized burials, each with a number. The coroner's records also lists four "unknowns" and where they were found, all with the notation, "nothing but burnt bones and ashes." Yet on April 30, the newspaper reported, "Coroner Frank L. Blackburn held inquests this morning over the remains of Joseph Woods, Smith Davidson, Mrs. Heath and child, [Robert] Richard[s], C. W. Palm, T. B. Ward and six unknown persons [emphasis mine] whose remains were found in the ruins..." Huh? Why did the coroner issue four death certificates for six unknowns? And what's with the "1, 4, 6, 7" ID system?
The solution, I believe, is that the earthquake monument is again wrong. There are not "four persons" there; instead, I think it's the cremated remains of seven, as the numbering scheme suggests.
"Unknown 1" must actually represent three people, which aligns with a death certificate for remains found at "Mrs. Ware's lodging house." The newspaper reported that "The bodies of three unknown persons were brought to the Morgue late Monday evening [April 23] having been found in the stairway of the Princess lodging house. Nothing could be learned of their identity. It is supposed to be a man, woman and child." (I'm presuming Mrs. Ware's place was also called the "Princess," but I can't prove that.)
"Unknown 4" has to be associated with the death certificate for remains found "near Moody's shoe store," and the numbering implies there were two people. No discovery like this was mentioned in the papers, however; perhaps they slipped through the cracks
"Unknown 6" and "Unknown 7" are both individuals and can be identified by the place of death. One of them was found in Dignan's Drug Store at 500 Fourth street and the other is a man whose bones were found in the ruins of the Eureka Lodging house on April 25, a full week after the quake. It would be another week still before the last reported body was found.
Not mentioned on either gravestone or slab is that there is also an "Unknown 8." Read again the account of the April 30 inquest and note that the coroner ruled on the death of Mrs. Heath and child. There is a death certificate for Ceile Heath (the vaudeville performer who called herself "Miss Excelsia"), but none recorded for the child.
Mrs. Heath and the girl appear to have been linked by a newspaper error. Two days after the disaster, the combined Democrat-Republican reported, "The remains of Miss Excelsa [sic], the Novelty actress, and a little girl, identity unknown, were found this morning and taken to the morgue. The body of the latter was taken from the ruins of the Ramona lodging house." In the casualty list that appeared in the same edition, there were separate entries for "Excelia, Miss, Novelty actress," and "Little girl (unknown), Ramona Lodging House." But the following lists counted the child twice - both as "Little girl" and as part of "Excelsa [sic], Miss, Novelty actress and child." (Note that the misspelling of her stage name reverted to the version used in the original news item.) Apparently everyone forgot that the only connection between the two was that they were found on the same day. Whether the child was buried with Heath or elsewhere is anyone's guess, but she is certainly another overlooked victim of the tragedy.
If you're keeping track, all of this increases the body count by five (presuming someone else is buried in Palm's grave, remember), bringing my total for deaths from the 1906 earthquake up to 82. For information on the estimated death toll, please see the "Body Counts, Part II" essay.
Labels: earthquake 1906
Looking back on it, James Wyatt Oates probably recognized the end of his world began that Christmas night in 1909, when his mother-in-law missed a step and fell. She would soon die as a result, and a few months later his beloved brother was gone. Next his wife's heart began to falter, leaving her a semi-invalid. By the time five Christmases had passed since the accident, Wyatt found himself with no family at all, except for a nephew in Alabama he didn't much like.
Until the accident, 1909 had been an uneventful year for Wyatt and Mattie Oates, marked only by his boyish enthusiasm for all things related to automobiles. There were no grand parties at the home that would become known as Comstock House, no anticipated trips away to visit friends in San Francisco or Southern California. When they were mentioned in the papers it was for a small dinner party or family outing, and it was almost always noted they were accompanied by her 75 year-old mother, Mrs. M. S. Solomon.
Maria S. Solomon had been a widow for 46 years and apparently had resided always with Mattie, her only living child. No photos survive and nothing personal is known about her except that she was very well liked. Both Santa Rosa newspapers gave her accident, fading condition and death the sort of coverage one would expect for a civic leader. In her honor the Saturday Afternoon Club canceled a meeting even though she was not a member. The Fork Club likewise postponed a get-together and when the card sharks of the Fork Club pass up a chance to win mismatched cutlery, you must be someone really special.
We know more about her husband, who died in 1863 when daughter Mattie was six. Perrin L. Solomon was a soldier at the very end of the Mexican-American War, serving as a Major in the Third Regiment of Tennessee Volunteers. They were in Mexico for six months and saw no combat. After that he joined the multitudes headed for the California Gold Rush, where he found a new career in law enforcement, taking in 1851 the role of marshal in a "people's court" vigilante murder trial. A couple of years later, he was the sheriff of Tuolumne County.
Perrin was described as "quiet, low-voiced man of easy and even elegant manners, whose coolness, tact, and desperate courage had proved equal to every emergency, and who had made several hairbreadth escapes" in a 1853 account of his capture of a desperado. Solomon and his posse of twenty men brought the man into the town of Sonora, where they were confronted by "...More than a thousand men, many of them drunk or half drunk...yelling like demons, [who] pressed close upon them." Through his "coolness and courage" Solomon saved the man from being hanged by the mob. In a similar incident, Solomon stopped a lynching by having a young lawyer distract the crowd with a grandiloquent speech as he and his deputies hustled the suspect away. From 1857 he served as the US Marshall or Vice-Marshall for the Northern District of California until he was removed from office in 1861, presumably because he was a Rebel sympathizer; Solomon was active in Tuolumne's Democratic party and even on the cusp of the Civil War, there was a contingent calling for compromise with the Confederacy and peaceful separation. He died in 1863 in San Francisco, where he was buried.
James Wyatt Oates never met Perrin Solomon, who passed away while he was still a 13 year-old boy in Alabama. But when his long-widowed mother-in-law died in 1910, the old lawman was probably much on his mind. The family owned a burial plot in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco, which presumably was by Perrin's side. Should she join her husband there, or stay in Santa Rosa, where he and Mattie would eventually be laid to rest?
Oates had Maria Solomon's coffin placed in the temporary receiving vault at the Rural Cemetery, where it would stay for the next six years. Her daughter's body would be likewise stored in the crypt in 1914 because no grave was supposedly ready, although Oates owned a large and prominent plot at the cemetery.
What he originally planned to do with them is unknown, but after Wyatt himself died the following year, he left instructions that the entire family - including the long-buried remains of Perrin and Mattie's siblings who had died in childhood - be cremated together and their ashes scattered. It seems to have been an impetuous decision made just a few months before his death, around the time he amended his will to disinherit that unpleasant nephew in Alabama. The man who had been left with no family must have decided to take as many as he could with him into the winds.
MRS. SOLOMON IS INJUREDFell From Porch and Tore Ligaments Loose
Mrs. M. S. Solomon, mother of Mrs. James W. Oates, met with a bad accident on Christmas night, which will cause her to be confined to her apartments for some time to come. The lady suffered a fall, and struck on her right hip in such a manner as to tear loose many of the ligaments of that member, besides severely bruising and contusing the limb. Mrs. Solomon and Judge and Mrs. James W. Oates were guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Blitz W. Paxton at Christmas dinner. During the evening Mrs. Solomon stepped from a slight eminence on the porch of the Paxton home and was precipitated heavily to the ground.
Dr. S. S. Bogle was called and attended to the injuries, and Mrs. Solomon was placed under the care of a trained nurse.
- Santa Rosa Republican, December 27, 1909
MRS. SOLOMON MEETS WITH ACCIDENT
The many friends of Mrs. M. S. Solomon, who sustained a bad fall while leaving the home of Mr. and Mrs. Blitz W. Paxton on Christmas night, will be very glad to know that she is not as seriously hurt as was at first supposed. She was resting nicely on Monday and hopes in a few days to be able to be out again. At the time of the accident it was feared that there might have been a fracture of the hip bone. Dr. S. S. Bogle was summoned and ascertained that there was no fracture. Mrs. Solomon, who has lived for many years with her son-in-law and daughter, Colonel and Mrs. James W. Oates, is one of Santa Rosa's most highly esteemed women, and at the Oates residence since the accident the home has been besieged with anxious friends and many messages of inquiry have been received. Naturally Mrs. Solomon suffered very much from the shock caused by the fall.
- Press Democrat, December 28, 1909
Mrs. Solomon Better
Mrs. M. S. Solomon continues to improve from the effects of the fall she sustained on Christmas night, and her many friends are delighted to hear of the improvement.
- Press Democrat, December 30, 1909
Mrs. M. S. Solomon has almost entirely recovered from the effects of her bad fall on Christmas night.
- "Society Gossip," Press Democrat, January 10, 1910
The many friends of Mrs. M. S. Solomon continue solicitous for her welfare. She is still quite ill from her recent fall and a specialist from San Francisco has been required. Hope for speedy recovery is held out for her.
- "Many Social Events in City of Roses," Santa Rosa Republican, December 30, 1909
MRS. M.S. SOLOMON CONDITION CRITICAL
The many friends of Mrs. M. S. Solomon will learn with much regret that her condition is very critical. A change for the worse occurred yesterday.
- Press Democrat, January 20, 1910
MRS. M.S. SOLOMON ENTERS INTO RESTGreatly Beloved Woman Passes Away at an Early Hour This Morning--Death Universally Regretted
Shortly after two o'clock this morning death came very peacefully to Mrs. M. S. Solomon at the home of her son-in-law and daughter, Colonel and Mrs. James W. Oates on Mendocino avenue.
The news of the passing of this estimable woman will be received with deepest sorrow by a legion of friends in Santa Rosa. To know Mrs. Solomon was to love her.
The esteem in which she was universally held was shown incessantly during his illness in the inquiries of friends and the great solicitation and hope that her life might be spared.
It will be remembered that on Christmas night Mrs. Solomon sustained a bad fall and injured her hip. At first it was hoped that the injuries were of a slight nature but later it developed that they were very severe. Intense pain manifested itself and it was soon realized that Mrs. Solomon's condition was serious.
Everything that human skill and loving attention could devise was done for her. Several days ago it was apparent that Mrs. Solomon long life was shortly to close. She relapsed into unconsciousness and the slumber that lengthened on into the final sleep which has its awakening in the brighter and better world and the perfect life for which she was so well prepared.
The death of her mother is a terrible blow to Mrs. Oates and Colonel Oates. The ties that bound them together were most affectionate. For twenty nine years Mrs. Solomon's home had been with her son-in-law and daughter, her husband having preceded her to the grave many years ago...In the hour of bereavement the family is remembered in tenderest sympathy.
- Press Democrat, January 21, 1910
MRS. M.S. SOLOMON'S FUNERAL ON SUNDAY
The funeral of the late Mrs. M. S. Solomon will take place on Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the residence of Colonel and Mrs. J. W. Oates, on Mendocino Avenue, and it will undoubtedly be very largely attended by her friends.
Temporarily the casket will repose in the vault at the cemetery and there will be no interment on Sunday afternoon.
Seldom has there been a more general expression of regret than that felt at the passing of Mrs. Solomon, and yesterday the Oates residence was besieged by friends desirous of extending their condolence with those bereaved.
- Press Democrat, January 22, 1910
The death of Mrs. M. S. Solomon has cast a gloom over everything of a social nature in this city. She was dearly beloved by all who knew her and there exists a general feeling among her hosts of friends that no pleasure can be experienced close upon her death. Owing to the love the officers and members of the Saturday Afternoon Club hold for her, although not a member herself, that club postponed the meeting it had scheduled for today. Mrs. C. C. Belden, for like reason, postponed entertaining the Fork Club from next week to the week following, and other affairs that were expected for next week, the week but one before the beginning of lent, will not occur. Many friends of the deceased and of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Oates have called at the Oates residence and offered their services in any way they may be used in this hour of bereavement, and they are thoroughly appreciated by Mr. and Mrs. Oates.
- "Many Social Events in City of Roses," Santa Rosa Republican, January 22, 1910
LOVING TOKENS OF DEEP SYMPATHYLarge Gathering of Friends at the Funeral of the Late Mrs. M. S. Solomon
Scores of magnificent floral tributes, each bearing its message of devotion and loving sympathy, surrounded the casket containing the mortal remains of the late Mrs. M. S. Solomon, as it reposed in the spacious drawing room at the residence of Colonel and Mrs. J. W. Oates on Sunday afternoon, at the time of the impressive funeral services.
There was a very large gathering of old friends of the deceased despite the heavy storm. In the company were those who had known and loved Mrs. Solomon for many years. Then there were those of younger years to whom she had been friend and counselor and always deeply interested in their welfare. It was a very sad afternoon for all.
The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. William Martin, and at its conclusion the beautiful casket was conveyed to the cemetery and there placed in the receiving vault. The active pallbearers were...
- Press Democrat, January 25, 1910