What a different world it was in 1908; when word spread that a homeless family was living in a tent by the creek, Santa Rosans were tripping over each other trying to be the first to offer them help. Ignore the cynics who note that the outpouring of concern and generosity didn't start until a few days before Thanksgiving, although this family apparently had been homeless for some time.
A newspaper mention of the Dougherty family's plight caused the mobilization of "near to a dozen relief expeditions," according to the Press Democrat, that went in search of the 11-member family living near the E street bridge. Carrying "baskets and bundles of provender," the rescuers turned up nought. The PD reported, "Far into the night the good Smaritans [sic] tramped the streets, ringing doorbells and looking for tents full of hungry children, but none was found. Some of the earnest workers were making calls nearly a mile away from either E street bridge, and said they had covered all the territory between"
The destitute Doughertys turned up in the following days and were moved into a vacant home, as was another homeless family of eleven that had been camped south of town.
SEEK IN VAIN FOR THE DESTITUTE FAMILY
The published report that a destitute family of eleven persons was living in a tent near the E street bridge caused the formation of near to a dozen relief expeditions Tuesday evening, each expedition bearing baskets and bundles of provender to the supposed scene of the suffering. But no destitute family was found, and the relief expeditions resolved themselves into peripatetic indignation meetings. There are two E street bridges and every house near either of them was made the subject of inquiry. Far into the night the good Smaritans tramped the streets, ringing doorbells and looking for tents full of hungry children, but none was found. Some of the earnest workers were making calls nearly a mile away from either E street bridge, and said they had covered all the territory between. But they all carried their bundles back home again, unless they are hunting yet.
Tom Butts went home at 9 o'clock. He was serving on one of the impromptu charitable committees having been impressed.
It was learned Wednesday that a family who had been residing on the Cotati road two miles south of town, with nine children, the youngest 8 months old, with father and mother both sick, had been taken to the Sampson Wright farm Monday where they are being cared for.- Press Democrat, November 26, 1908
WHO WILL HELP FAMILY WHOSE NEED IS GREAT?
The Dougherty family, which was located on the creek bank here some time since, and whose needs were published in this paper, are still in distress. The family has been moved out into a little house just opposite Willow Grove station, on the electric railroad, and have insufficient clothing and bedding to keep them comfortable. They also need provisions and fuel. Any one having clothing, particularly for children, and some bedding which they can spare, will do a great kindness by sending it to the family. Any parcels left at the Peniel Mission, at Fifth and A streets, will be taken to the family at once. The mission will be kept open all day Saturday to receive articles from the people.- Santa Rosa Republican, December 4, 1908