This has the feel of an overheard barbershop boast, with enthusiastic Mr. Apostolides proclaiming that he has a respected doctor as his "good Greek student," along with the loan of a fantastic machine that records his voice.

The graphophone was the first major advancement over Edison's primitive phonograph, invented and developed in the 1880s by Charles Sumner Tainter, an associate of Alexander Graham Bell. (The name "graphophone" was coined as a joke transposition of the word "phonograph," according to Bell family lore.) The investors in their company, however, thought the future of sound recording lay in recording business correspondence, not music, and research concentrated on making a portable machine that recorded on wax cylinders. With improvements, the same technology would continue to be used by Dictaphone until the 1940s. The full history of Tainter's graphophone -- including the precautions taken to prevent his technology from being stolen by Edison's spies -- is told here.

Although the sound quality was lousy and the volume barely audible, wax cylinder recordings by musical performers such as John Philip Sousa's Marine Band and "artistic whistler" John Yorke Atlee were favorites; an 1891 survey found one out of three phonographs and graphophones were being used for entertainment. In 1889, entrepeneur Louis T. Glass invented the jukebox using a modified graphophone that would only play after a nickel was inserted (and yes, the slug was apparently invented shortly thereafter). Only a single cylinder was available to be played, and patrons had to stand close to the machine, listening through one of four attached stethoscope-like hearing devices. The nickel-in-the-slot graphophone players continued to be popular through the turn of the century; a jukebox model was available as late as 1898, cost $20.00.*

*Jukeboxes: An American Social History by Kerry Segrave, 2002, pp. 5-8


Em P. Apostolides, the Mendocino street restaurant man, is an ingenious fellow and is never more pleased than when he finds any one who desires to be a Greek student. There is a certain learned medico in Santa Rosa who speaks English, German, French, Spanish, and other languages fluently and is also a good Greek student. The doctor has a graphophone and being desirous of getting the correct pronounciation of some Greek phrases got Mr. Apostolides to make him some records for the graphophone on Thursday so that in his home at night he could master his lessons. The restaurant man has promised to prepare other records for the man of medicine. It is no effort at all for him to talk Greek.

- Press Democrat, February 25, 1905

MGM could've made a 2-reeler based on this incident, with Edgar Kennedy -- AKA "Master of the Slow Burn" -- playing the soaking-wet policeman badgered into arresting himself for spitting on the sidewalk during a downpour.

The charges against Officer Lindley were dropped the next day, but methinks Fred J. Wiseman didn't hear the last of this.

The aggrieved Mr. Wiseman later became famous for his love of fast machines. He won third place during the California Grand Prize Race of 1909, which started and finished in Santa Rosa, and in 1911, earned a footnote in history for making the world's first airmail flight with a hop between Petaluma and Santa Rosa.

A Few Days Ago the Officer Filed a Complaint Against His Accuser For Speeding His Automobile on Fourth Street

Police Officer L. N. Lindley arrested himself on Wednesday afternoon on a complaint sworn to by Fred J. Wiseman, charging him with violating the anti-expectoration ordinance on Fourth street.

It will be remembered that Policeman Lindley filed a complaint against Wiseman at an early hour Sunday morning, charging the latter with speeding along Fourth street at a rate far in excess of that allowed by laws.

Policeman Lindley not only arrested himself but booked the arrest on the register at the police station. The arrest was made without any resistance on the part of the defendant. The hearing will be heard before Judge Bagley this afternoon. It was during the tremendous rainstorm Tuesday night that the alleged offense is said to have occurred.

- Press Democrat, March 30, 1905

Menu ads like this are treasures for anyone interested in social history, providing vital clues about things like prosperity, class, nutrition, the reliability of transportation, and how well that community was integrated with mainstream America. Almost everything listed here could be found on menus anywhere in the Eastern United States; there are no regional specialties at all. The selection of fresh fruit also reveals rural Santa Rosa had access to any produce on the West Coast, probably via the markets in San Francisco. Eating Hawaiian bananas and Southern California Oranges in early January must have seemed a luxury indeed, and proof positive of great progress.

Several dishes here centered on canned goods, which had no stigma at the time of being a cheap, poor quality substitute; to the contrary, canned food was expensive (spending 10¢ in 1905 for a can of vegetables would be the equivalent of $2.50 today), and prized because cans made available exotic and out-of-season items -- pity those who had to make do with only fresh, local, ingredients. The asparagus was surely from a can, and "Shaker Green Corn" was the name for canned young (green) corn. This is also very much a traditional Victorian America menu: Canned sardines then could be offered with any meal, including tea, eaten on buttered toast or available on the side as a condiment (if the St. Rose was truly a high-class dining establishment, they would have served it in a special sardine dish).

Some dishes are unfamiliar today. "Chow Chow" was a type of relish based on diced green tomatoes and cabbage, but there were many variations, particularly in the Southern U.S. Orange Fritters were just that -- slices of an orange battered and deep fried (cherry fritters were also popular). Celery Salad is a throwback to 19th century England and America's odd fondness for the tasteless sticks (search eBay for "celery vases"); apples, lemon juice, and other items were also sometimes added, but like all of the salads here, celery was probably just chopped, mixed with mayo and served over lettuce.

This menu is also notable for what's missing. Even though Bodega Bay is just down the road, there's no Dungeness crab, abalone, or salmon offered, even in one of those ubiquitous salads. No egg dishes, either, despite the city also being next door to Petaluma, egg capitol of the world. And why no wine?

The curiosities here are the "Smothered Sole" and "German Breakfast Cheese," again both items familiar in the Eastern U.S. As there weren't many German immigrants in the area, the Limburger-like cheese may have been brought in for manager Spier or another principal. A delicate Eastern Atlantic Ocean fish like sole couldn't be canned, so it's a mystery what type of fish would be served in a 1905 California restaurant -- presumably, it was well, well, smothered.

Hotel St. Rose

A.E. Chartrand - Prop.
S. G. Spier - - - Mgr.

SOUP - Wing of Turkey, Cream of Clam.
Sour Pickles, Olives, Sweet Pickles, Chow Chow.
FISH - Smothered Sole, Tartar Sauce, French Imported Sardines.
ENTREES - Breast of Chicken on Toast, Butter Sauce, Tenderloin of Beef with Mushrooms, Orange Fritters, Wine Sauce.
BOILED - Ham, with Apple Sauce, Tongue with Young Horseradish.
ROAST - Turkey with Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, Browned Chicken with Green Peas, Canvasback Duck with Baked Apples, Prime Beef.
VEGETABLES - Asparagus, Shaker Green Corn, Mashed Potatoes, Browned Sweet Potatoes.
SALADS - Chicken, Radishes, Celery, Shrimp, Large Oysters with Cracked Ice.
DESSERT - Hot Mince Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Lemon Pie, English Pound Pudding Hard Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream and Pound Cake.
CHEESE - Edam, Roquefort, German Breakfast, Swiss, American, St. Rose Crackers.
FRUITS - Riverside Oranges, Honolulu Bananas, Choice Oregon Apples, Bartlett Pears, Preserved Peaches, Mixed Nuts with Raisins, Dates.
DRINKS - Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Cocoa, Milk.
Music from 5:00 to 8:30.
Cor. Fourth and A Streets
Santa Rosa : : : Cal.

- Santa Rosa Republican

This survey of the 1904 Santa Rosa newspapers ends with 45 posts, 39 on them on distinct topics.

Two types of stories will never be included here unexpurgated: Suicides (at least, the successful ones) and bouts of insanity, although both were mainstays of the old papers. Sorry, but no one casually searching the web for their family surname deserves to stumble upon the horrific description of an ancestor writhing in pain after swallowing carbolic acid. That said, there were two stories from 1904 that lingered on my desk and deserve semi-anonymous mention, both for the poignancy of the tale and the writer's talent in the telling.

The first appeared in the Press Democrat Feb. 16, with the irresistible headline, "BRIDE OF WEEK A RAVING MANIAC." The poor woman really hadn't gone Freddy-Kruger, of course, but had become delusional. "...The attending physician could see no hope for her but to remove her to a place where she could be given the attention given persons who mental faculties have become shadowed...her friends are extremely sorry."

The March 6 PD sketched a story that intrigues: Only a few days after an Alexander Valley man committed suicide, a wealthy son from one of the earliest and most well-known white families in the county stood on his front porch and pressed the barrel of a rifle against his chest. He died instantly, even as his unsuspecting wife and a woman guest were inside the home. "...He was undoubtedly temporarily insane, as was the case with the other tragic death," opined the Press Democrat writer. "These seem to be days of suicides, days fraught with unbalancing of mentality."

There were at least 21 references of Mr/Mrs. Oates in the Press Democrat's "Personal Mention" column. Most were business trips by Wyatt to San Francisco, Healdsburg, or Sebastopol, but on Feb. 6 he was a "party patron" and on Nov. 1 he was "seriously indisposed with stomach troubles." The last mention of Comstock House in 1904 was Sept. 15, when the PD reported "good progress is being made with the foundation."

Some notes for future reference: Santa Rosa's 1904 population was about 9,000, with 725 telephones. 39 of 40 potential jurors listed their profession as farmer. A December vote for a $75,000 bond for the overcrowded Santa Rosa schools failed to pass.

I was dreading coming to the end of the 1904 microfilms, to tell the truth. Between the erratic electrical service and the 19th century practice of placing lighted candles on dead evergreen trees (!) I expected the Dec. 26 headlines to read, "TOWN IN FLAMES." Imagine my surprise when the holidays passed without incident -- except for the flaming Santas, of course (UPDATE HERE).

(The "Red Men" and "Council of Pocahontas" have nothing to do with Native Americans, but rather are one of the many white fraternal organizations, to be described in a later post.)

Man With His Head Enveloped in Flame Dashes Through the Crowded Hall -- Headgear Was Tied on With Rope Which Made Matters Worse -- Pleasure of the Evening Marred

Considerable excitement, a panic and almost a fatality marred the closing moments of the Christmas festivities at Red Men's Hall last night in connection with the tree and entertainment given under the auspices of the Council of Pocahontas.

Otto Seeman, who played the part of Santa Claus, arrayed in all the trappings of the time-honored visitor, whose flowing white beard and wig, added a thrill of realism at Christmas time to the tree [sic], came very near being incinerated. As it was he was shockingly burned about the head, face, and neck.

When the accident happened Mr. Seeman had mounted a ladder reared against the tree and the flowing wig and whiskers caught the flame from one of the candles. In an instant the flames encircled his head and face. He jumped from the ladder and ran through the crowded hall. Women cried out hysterically and men attempted to grab him to tear the burning mass from his head. He tugged at the cotton and hair himself, but kept on running. A few moments elapsed until some one threw his coat over the flames and smothered them.

What presented a worse aspect is the fact that the wig was securely tied on with a rope... While his burns are undoubtedly very serious it is a miracle that he escaped as he did when it is taken into consideration that the wig was so securely tied. At his home a physician attended to his injuries. The unfortunate happening robbed the occasion of its full measure of festivity and the suffering man was given full assurance of the sympathy felt with him.


- Press Democrat, December 24, 1904


Charles B. Duncan of Sebastopol had a narrow escape from fatal injuries while acting the role of Santa Claus at the home of J. E. Fornachon, where the two families had gathered to celebrate Christmas. He was dressed in a big overcoat covered with cotton, and wore a headgear with cotton beard and long hair in regulation style.

The cotton caught fire on his sleeve and like a flash he was enveloped in flame. Considerable excitement ensued. Before Mrs. Duncan and Mr. Fornachon could tear off the burning coat and head-trappings, Mr. Duncan was severely burned about the face neck and hands. His hands and arms suffered the worst. Mrs. Duncan was also burned about the hands and arms. Mr. Duncan is a brother of E. E. Duncan of the Press Democrat typographical staff.

- Press Democrat, December 29, 1904

The stormy 1904 election ended with Santa Rosa's two newspaper editors locked in intransigent battle, each fighting the good fight right to the bell. But the next morning a surrender was announced; the Press Democrat crowed that the rival Santa Rosa Republican was being sold post haste.

The PD didn't have it quite right. Allen Lemmon was indeed stepping down as editor, but he was leasing, not selling, the Republican to a pair of young out-of-town newspapermen. (It would also turn out to be more of a sabbatical than retirement, but that's leaping ahead.)

Today Allen B. Lemmon and his Santa Rosa Republican are footnotes as the town's "other"newspaper and its editor. Even intrepid genealogists rarely check its archives, obvious because Press Democrat microfilms always have far more scratches and other signs of wear; SSU's reel for the latter months of 1904 was even unopened until this project began.

The Republican deserves more respect from the history books. It provided an important counterbalance to the conservative Press Democrat (see posts on the 1904 elections) and stayed true to its party-of-Lincoln roots by keeping Southern lynchings and other racial violence at the forefront. It also provides a much-needed way to verify the accuracy of the PD's reporting; even in the small sample of 1904 items examined here, a case was found where the Press Democrat omitted a key detail that changed the story entirely.

While its reporting and writing were always first-rate, the Republican was looking a little frayed at the cuffs by 1904. Ad revenue was clearly down; sometimes a two-column hole would appear -- on the front page, no less -- reading only, "This space reserved for" (a local merchant whose ad would appear up to several days later). Lemmon regularly filled space by inserting over-sized advertisements to sell building lots in his own "La Rosa Place" subdivision, apparently between modern-day Juilliard Park and the highway 101/12 intersection. And at least twice, the recurring slot for "Cremo" cigars presented hand-written copy, probably scribbled at the last minute when the expected ad art didn't arrive in time. As the example here shows, a copy writer Lemmon wasn't.

Lemmon certainly deserved a rest. Besides editing the Republican and peddling real estate (available on the installment plan for $10/mo), he was also the town's postmaster. It must of been a wrenching change on the morning of November 11 to awake and realize that he only had two full-time jobs demanding his attention that day, then later that evening opening "his" paper to find other names on the masthead for the first time since 1887.


Report Has it That the Change Will Soon Be Made But Editor Lemmon Says Not Just Yet

For some time there have been persistent rumors to the effect that the Santa Rosa Republican has been purchased by Mr. James, business manager of the Sacramento Bee and W.B. Reynolds of the Oakland Enquirer., and that the ownership would pass into their hands after the election, or about the twentieth of November. Last night, Mr. Lemmon was seen by a reporter in regard to the matter.

"There is a story afloat, Mr. Lemmon, that you have sold the Republican. What have you to say?"

"The Republican is not sold," declared Mr. Lemmon emphatically, "there have been a number of stories told regarding the matter but I own the Republican and may own it forever. I have not sold the Republican."

It is understood as stated above, that the agreement to sell takes effect at the date mentioned, and as Mr. Lemmon says the paper may not technically be sold at the present time but the formal transfer will soon be made. Mr. James is now in this city but could not be seen last night.

- Press Democrat, November 9, 1904


Today the management of the Republican passes into new hands. Mr. W. H. James and Mr. W. B. Reynolds have leased the paper, and, under the agreeement entered into, may eventually own the same. Both are practical printers and young men of ability and extended newspaper experience. For several years Mr. James has held a responsible position on the Sacramento Bee and Mr. Reynolds has been similarly connected with the Oakland Enquirer. They should prove a very strong newspaper team and we commend them to the many good friends of this paper.

For nearly seventeen years the writer has been responsible for the editorial and business management of the Republican. He is a bit tired and has considerable other business to attend to. Hence the change.

- Santa Rosa Republican, November 10, 1904

Catching criminals was often the easy part of law enforcement in 1904; hanging on to them proved trickier.

Convicts broke out of jail with astonishing regularity. Even at San Quentin, security was lax; in August, two men assigned to drive the garbage wagon from the prison to a nearby farm didn't return, instead buying tickets for the train north. The fearless fugitives were last spotted in front of Von Tillow's news stand in Santa Rosa, probably reading the latest about the rather indifferent pursuit by authorities. A few days later another convict followed (see below), also taking the train. And again, there seemed to be little surprise or upset -- hey, after all, it's only prison.

Bert Short Boards Train at Prison Station Without Capture

City Marshal George Severson received a message at 8:15 Monday morning from warden Tompkins of San Quentin that Bert Short, an escaped convict, was northbound on the evening train. It developed later that the telegraph had been filed Sunday afternoon but had not been forwarded promptly.

On vestigation [sic] Marshal Severson found that the convict had boarded a train at Green Brae for Tiburon and on arrival at that latter place purchased a ticket for San Rafael and boarded the northbound evening train, where he took a seat on the left hand side, drew the curtain and made believe he was asleep while the run was being made to San Rafael. At this point he left the train and has not been heard of since.

The nerve of the convict astonishes the officers. He was not two miles from the prison where he escaped several days ago, at Green Brae, and not satisfied with that he doubled on his track and passed the place an hour later. Short is described as a man about 25 years of age, light complexioned and partially paralized [sic].

- Press Democrat, September 6, 1904

Man Who Stole Hulbert's Wheel Broke Jail in San Jose and Is Under Sentence to Serve Five Years

At Healdsburg Sheriff Grace and City Marshal Parker Arrive In Time to Find Prisoner Sawing Down Last Bar

The man arrested in Healdsburg on Thursday, who stole a bicycle from H. E. Hulbert's cyclery in Santa Rosa, as stated in yesterday morning's Press Democrat, is J. Porter, alias Potter, one of the most desperate criminals, the officers say, in the state. Late Thursday evening the man's identity was established and yesterday morning Deputy Sheriff Starrberg of Santa Clara county accompanied Sheriff Frank Grace to Healdsburg, and on the afternoon train went south with his prisoner.

Some weeks ago Porter, who plead guilty in the Superior Court in San Jose to a charge of highway robbery, and assault to murder, was sentenced to serve five years in the State's prison at San Quentin. While awaiting transportation to the penitentiary, Porter sawed his way out of jail. He cut the iron bars of the cage in which he had been placed and left a note for the jailer saying in it among other things, that he was sorry that he had to leave in this manner, and imparting words of advice to the jailer to be a little more careful in his methods of searching prisoners. Although the country was scoured by officers Porter managed to elude them and got to Sonoma county.

Yesterday he tried to escape from the Healdsburg jail by the same route that he adopted in San Jose. When Constable Haigh arrested him on Thursday afternoon he searched him, as he thought very carefully, but somewhere about his person the convict had managed to secret his faithful saw. Shortly before train time yesterday afternoon Sheriff Grace and City Marshal Parker of Healdsburg strolled leisurely up to the jail. Deputy Sheriff Starrberg, having gone to get a vehicle to haul his prisoner to the depot. Their surprise can be imagined when they came upon the prisoner sawing away with all his might at the iron bars across the window in the room in which he had been placed. But one more obstructing bar remained to be sawed through. The others he had bent back and, as Sheriff Grace says, ten minutes more and he would have gained his liberty. Porter was in a fever of excitement when Grace and Parker came upon the scene. The perspiration was pouring and trickling down his face. When he saw that his plans had been foiled he told the officers that he wished they had stayed away for a few more minutes and then they would have had to catch him again.


- Santa Rosa Republican, December 3, 1904

Wm. Cameron Holds Up Sheriff Grace While Prisoner in Custody

William Cameron earned the distinction of being entitled a desperate man Wednesday morning, and that he is in jail on a charge of robery [sic] instead of murder is not due to the fate that failed to kill one or more of three men at whom he shot that morning.

Cameron shot twice at Sheriff Grace and then attempted to hold him up for $60 in gold which he had seen on the latter's person and held the sheriff in subjection for many minutes at the point of a loaded rifle. William Murphy and John Underhill, two well known Santa Rosans, who had joined Sheriff Grace in an attempt to capture Cameron and a companion, were shot at, Cameron evincing a desire to exterminate all who participated in his capture. He finally surrendered when Murphy shot at him, believing that he had no more ammunition with which to carry on the encounter.

Cameron and a boy named Cormen, each of whom is about seventeen years of age, held up and robbed William Holtman at the Sportsman's Headquarters saloon near Melitia Tuesday evening. On the morning train Wednesday Sheriff Grace went south in expectation that the youths would board the train to escape from the county. His expectations were realized, and at Kenwood both men attempted to board the train and were placed under arrest. On their persons was found a gold watch, two rifles and a quantity of money stolen from the saloon man.

In order to have Holtman identify the men arrested Sheriff Grace hired a team and drove with them to the saloon en route to this city. At that place Holtman identified the men without being questioned.

Between the saloon and the old Captain Grosse place Corman pleaded to be permitted to leave the vehicle in which they were riding momentarily and when this privilege was granted him he started to run away. Sheriff Grace ordered him to halt, but the prisoner answered by running. The officer drew his pistol and fired two shots in the air, at the same time leaping from the vehicle in pursuit. The second prisoner was left in charge of the driver of the vehicle , and he picked up one of the guns taken from him when he was captured and throwing in some shells started in pursuit of the sheriff. When the officer clambered up on the bank of Santa Rosa creek he was confronted by Cameron with a rifle. The sheriff did not believe the weapon was loaded as he had taken all the cartridges found on the prisoner and had them in his possession. Subsequent events disabused his mind in this respect, as the prisoner shot at him twice to persuade him to use more caution.

When the demand was made on the sheriff by the prisoner for money, the officer came near complying forthwith. He began to argue with the prisoner, and finally compromised by giving the latter $1.25, which he threw on the ground for the prisoner to pick up. The prisoner later demanded that the sheriff give up his revolver, but he was dissuaded from carrying out this request. All this time the official was being confronted with the rifle in the hands of the prisoner, and was himself held under subjection.

Finally the prisoner walked rapidly up the road, and when Murphy began pumping lead at him decided to surrender. He was brought to this city and lodged in jail without further trouble.

The escape of the men shot at from serious injury is due to poor marksmanship of the prisoner, as he readily admitted he intended to kill them. In leaving the wagon where he was a prisoner he swore to kill the sheriff, believing the latter had shot his companion. The experience is a new one to Sheriff Grace, that of being made prisoner by a man under arrest.

- Santa Rosa Republican, November 9, 1904

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