Joaquin Carrillo died in 1911 following an illness, which was undoubtedly worsened by his death and burial twelve years earlier.

The Carrillos, as every Santa Rosa school kid knows, settled here in 1838 and the head of the family, widow María Ignacia de Carrillo, applied to the Mexican government for a land grant covering most of modern-day Santa Rosa. A few years later her eldest son, Joaquin, obtained a grant on an even larger tract of land between Santa Rosa and Forestville (roughly). Between the two of them, mother and son owned the equivalent of about 34 square miles. Doña María died before California statehood and her property was split amongst many of her other children; Joaquin kept his land holdings intact and when the Americans recognized the legitimacy of his Mexican land grant he was the owner of 13,316 acres of prime Sonoma County real estate.

His obituary in the 1911 Press Democrat was brief, noting his family and Vallejo in-laws "together owned a good part of Sonoma county in the later days of Mexican dominion," but didn't specifically mention the land grant at all or that he operated a hotel in Sebastopol. At age 19 he married in 1849 and moved to Sonoma County, living in Santa Rosa since then according to the PD. The Republican - which came out in the late afternoon - shamelessly plagiarized most of its obit from their morning rival, mainly adding just a paragraph about the land grant.

The first clue that both obituaries had serious errors was that this man was a little too young. Several county histories already published by that time had detailed the Mexican land grant was awarded to him in 1844, which was when he would have been fourteen, by the newspaper's "19 in 1849" chronology, and that would have happened five years before he supposedly even arrived in Sonoma county, according to the obits. An editor (both editors) should have noticed the dates didn't jibe - it was almost as if they had mixed up details about entirely different people.

In fact, they had scrambled together the life stories of two men who were close to the same age, lived most of their lives only a dozen miles apart, had nearly identical names and were both married to women called Martha. (You cannot imagine some of the eye-crossing mistakes found in amateur genealogies trying to construct Carrillo family trees from that period.)

Untangled details of both Joaquins follow but in summary, there was the son of Doña María, who was the land grant guy and Sebastopol hotelier: Joaquin Victor Carrillo y Lopez III (1820-1899). For the purposes of this article, we'll call him "Sebastopol Joaquin." The man who had just died was Jose Joaquin Victor Carrillo y Montano (1829-1911) who married a daughter of Doña María. Here we'll refer to him as "Santa Rosa Joaquin."

To be fair, it must be noted that someone at the Press Democrat did understand they were writing the obituary for Santa Rosa Joaquin; their version correctly noted that Julio Carrillo - the youngest son of Doña María and a colorful local character who had died a quarter of a century earlier -  was the deceased man's brother-in-law. Still, the PD confused everything else by devoting much of its obit to an appreciation of the "Carrillo family" (without being clear that meant his wife's family) and their role in local pre-statehood history (which all happened before this fellow came here).

But as muddled as the PD version was, the Santa Rosa Republican obituary was worse, with its paragraph about his having the land grant - and a few days later, the paper dug the hole deeper with an anecdotal story that was clearly about Sebastopol Joaquin.

Clearly, no one from either paper had bothered to contact members of the family, even though by 1911 the Carrillo clan had grown to a remarkable size - nine of Sebastopol Joaquin's 17 children (!) were still alive at the time as were five of Santa Rosa Joaquin's ten, not to mention all the grandchildren and cousins and spouses of everybody.

What to make of this? It speaks to the diminished prestige of the Carrillo name by that time, perhaps. The 1905 obituary for his wife (who was the last living member of the founding family) was also brief and padded with historic generalities; like the garbled 1911 obits, it was pretty much the boilerplate "old pioneer" death write-up. The papers didn't want to waste too much space because readers probably wouldn't remember that old-timer and besides, there probably wasn't much of a story to tell, anyway. In the case of Sebastopol Joaquin, however, the latter certainly was not true; some details of his unhappy life were never reported in any newspapers.

"Sebastopol Joaquin" Carrillo and "Santa Rosa Joaquin" Carrillo, dates unknown

"Sebastopol Joaquin," who called himself Joaquin Carrillo, came to Northern California with his mother and siblings when he was 16, sometime in the year 1837. Five years earlier an older sister married a rising star in the Mexican military named Mariano Vallejo, who was now Comandante General of the "Free State of Alta California" as well as having the enormous 66,000-acre land grant of Rancho Petaluma. Doña María and her nine unmarried children lived with them in Sonoma for about a year. During that time a smallpox epidemic swept through the Indian communities of the North Bay, decimating the population. (General Vallejo chose to vaccinate only fellow Mexicans and a few members of the friendly Suisun tribe.) When the Carrillo family embarked to build their own adobe in what would be Santa Rosa, they settled in the center of Bitakomtara Pomo homeland, newly laid waste by the disease.

Sebastopol Joaquin requested his own land grant in 1843. The Mexican governor wouldn't approve it because surveying hadn't been done by the adjacent ranchos but he applied again a few months later and this time his petition was promptly granted. That was very unusual; approval usually took up to a decade and his neighbor's land hadn't surveyed itself in the meantime. It was further expected that a claimant had already made improvements on the property - but he had not yet built a home there or planted a single crop. Likely his claim was pushed through by his brother-in-law, General Vallejo, for strategic reasons; tensions were high just then because John Sutter, who had purchased Fort Ross from the Russians, was blustering about raising a private army and taking over the northern part of Alta California. The road from the coast was mostly the same as Bodega Highway today and went directly through this land, making it imperative that it be in friendly hands. (The government was so worried about Sutter's threats that 300 soldiers were sent up from Mexico but according to a biography of Sutter, about half of them were convicts who looted and pillaged ranchos as they marched up the coast.)

There's not as much written about Sebastopol Joaquin as his famous mother and infamous brothers, Julio and José Ramón; there's a chapter about him in a handwritten Carrillo family history1 and he's always discussed regarding his Rancho Llano de Santa Rosa land grant. Unfortunately, most of this information is unsourced and usually incorrect. It's often claimed he took up arms during the 1846 Mexican-American War (that was his brother, Ramón), fought the Bear Flaggers at the "Battle" of Olómpali (no chance) and was held prisoner by the Americans (it was brother Julio). It's often said he was once the "mayor" of Sonoma (not really) and sometimes that he divorced his first wife (nope). Almost never mentioned is the single most noteworthy event in his life - that his son tried to kill him.

Skipping ahead a couple of years to 1846, Sebastopol Joaquin is now 25 and building a small adobe at the crossroads of what would become downtown Sebastopol. Like his mother, the spot he picks is right next to a Pomo village, where a few years before ten to twenty people were dying every day from smallpox. (Nothing can be found about his relationship with either Indian or Chinese people, the latter having a large community in the town from the 1880s onwards.) Unlike the rest of his family who seemed mainly interested in livestock, he appears inclined to farming, and is mentioned in county histories growing hundreds of acres of corn, barley and wheat.

At the start of that year he was also appointed second jueces de paz for the town of Sonoma, which meant he was secundo alcalde. In 19th century Mexico and Alta California, this was something like, "assistant general civil servant." The only specific account I can find in the Bancroft histories of California of someone functioning as 2º alcalde is a guy supervising roadwork.

That was also the year of the Bear Flag Revolt, when General Vallejo was famously arrested by the Americanos and held prisoner at Sutter's Fort, which was the home of his nemesis from just a few years earlier. After some debate, the Bears decided to also lock up Sonoma's primo alcalde José Barryessa. Seeing his boss arrested, Joaquin ran away.

And apparently that was the end of his involvement with the Mexican-American War.

He married Maria Guadalupe Caseres in 1849 just as Gold Rush Americans were starting to flood the Bay Area. He was still farming but began identifying himself as a hotel keeper in the 1860 census, also the year when the first mention can be found in local papers about his Analy Hotel, which was described as if it were already a well-established concern.2

Over two decades the Carrillos had ten children (11, according to some genealogists who say their first born was a daughter who died in childhood). These were prosperous years; according to items in local newspapers they owned two Sebastopol hotels (the Analy and the Pioneer), a saloon and a boarding house.3 The census reports between 1850-1870 show a net worth between $26-60 thousand, which would be the equivalent of $100-150 million today, adjusted for inflation. Even as he kept selling off chunks of his land, Sebastopol Joaquin remained one of the wealthiest men in the North Bay.

Then in 1865, his wife Guadalupe sued for divorce, asking the court to put their holdings into receivership until such time as she would be awarded a "suitable portion of his property."4

Her complaint was that her husband was a "habitual drunkard and almost constantly intoxicated," not to mention a man of "lewd, vulgar and indecent conduct" who should not be allowed to have custody or any control over their children's lives. Sebastopol Joaquin "has for several years been and still is squandering and wasting his property," she told the court. He was a man of "extreme cruelty" who had been "violently beating and kicking" her and threatening to kill her with a knife. She described specifically an incident a few months earlier, when he climbed through her bedroom window at night, pulled her from bed by her hair, and dragged her out in the middle of the street as she screamed for help from the neighbors.

Divorce was unusual at that time in America but not unheard of, particularly in California which had a divorce for every 355 marriages, close to double the national rate in 1870 (the first year statistics were collected). Divorce proceedings were rarely covered as news, however - a surprising glimpse of Victorian prudery in an era when the most gruesome details of suicides were described in loving detail. The silence of the newspapers was particularly unfortunate in the case of Carrillo vs. Carrillo because we don't know exactly what happened, except the case was dismissed.

And unless a scholar or Carrillo family member hand copied the original judgement, we'll never know the outcome: All of these hand-written documents were microfilmed decades ago and the originals destroyed. Some of the pages from Guadalupe's divorce case and her probate are clearly written and easily read on the film but about forty percent of all these pages are completely illegible. Presumably written in faded ink on yellowed paper, the negative images on film are black with scattered dark gray strokes - the technician photographing these documents didn't know (or care) the results would be unreadable. Of the six page court decision, the only words that can be made out are "State of California" which must have been written in a bolder hand or with better ink. Thank our previous generation of penny-wise county administrators for throwing away our collective history to save the astronomical costs of setting aside a few shelves of storage space somewhere. End of rant.

Sans the court judgement, we still can be certain the case was dismissed, however, because that is the notation in the civil case index. Perhaps they reconciled; two more children were born after the divorce suit was filed. It does appear he gave her the financial security she wanted from the suit; after she died her estate was appraised at over $48,000 and it all was property from his original land grant. The family history says the 1,200 acres Joaquin had retained was appraised at $46,000, although no source for that number was given.5

Guadalupe's death on May 15, 1874 apparently opened family scabs. One of the first documents filed with the probate court was his challenge to her last will and testament, where she had left most of the estate to her children. Joaquin's affidavit claimed it was not actually her will; that it was signed without witnesses; that at the time of the signing she was not in her right mind; that it was not really her signature and anyway, she signed it under duress after getting bad advice.6 (Talk about a scattershot assault!) His challenge to the will was apparently denied - see above, re: illegible microfilm - but the probate churned on for a year and a half. And, by the way, the probate documents confirmed there never was a divorce: He was always described as her husband.

Not long after the first anniversary of her death, Sebastopol Joaquin remarried. His bride was Martha "Mary" Caffera-Springer; her father was an Italian ship's captain who went to sea with his wife one day and neither returned. She was raised by James and Mary Springer, farmers in Bodega who had no children of their own. At the time of their marriage Joaquin was 54; she was 19.

Her age meant she was four years younger than his oldest living son, Henry (Enrique, actually) who was also administrator for his mother's estate. Henry was also guardian of his younger siblings, per Guadalupe's request - she still considered Joaquin an unfit parent.

(RIGHT: Analy Hotel at its most well-known location at the SE corner of Main street and Bodega Avenue, c. 1890. By this time Carrillo was living in Santa Rosa and had sold the hotel to John Loser. Photo courtesy Sonoma County Library)

About six weeks after the wedding, Henry tried to kill his father. "The cause of the shooting was a long standing family quarrel," the Petaluma Argus dryly reported in a small item on July 30, 1875. Henry was arrested and held on $2,000 bail. Nothing more ever appeared about the incident; possible reasons for Henry's anger at his Poppa might include (and probably isn't limited to) his remarriage to such a young woman, his insulting challenge to Guadalupe's will or his old habit of drunkenly beating Henry's Momma without mercy.

Aside from his gunshot wound, Sebastopol Joaquin had little complaint about the outcome; Guadalupe generously left him a third of her property. A month after the shooting he petitioned the court for immediate possession. It would be understandable for him to want a quick end to any dealings with trigger-happy Henry the estate administrator, but it might be because he badly needed the money. He probably wasn't actually poor but clearly his fortune was severely diminished. In the same edition of the Argus that mentioned his shooting there was a list of everyone in Analy Township who had been assessed at $10,000 or more; of the 27 names listed, Guadalupe's estate ranked #5 but Joaquin wasn't there at all.

In the next few years there were dwindling mentions in the papers of Sebastopol Joaquin or his hotel or saloon, and in the 1880 census he again called himself a farmer. Eight years later he was no longer living in Sebastopol, but at the modest house in Santa Rosa at 421 First st. (between A and B streets). It was not a nice part of town, just down from the smelly coal gas plant.

When he died on July 15, 1899 the Press Democrat gave him a nice but brief obituary (transcribed below). Hopefully he treated his second wife better than Guadalupe; she gave birth to seven children, all but two living to adulthood. He is buried in Petaluma's Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

"Santa Rosa Joaquin" formally called himself Jose Joaquin Victor Carrillo. He was born 1829 in Cabo San Lucas and his father was the brother of Joaquin Carrillo II (husband to Doña María and father of Sebastopol Joaquin). His wife was Maria Marta 'Martha' Juana Carrillo y Lopez (1826-1905), a younger sister of Sebastopol Joaquin. Thus besides having the surname Carrillo by birth, he was a first cousin to both Sebastopol Joaquin and his own wife. They married in 1855 and he had no involvement with building the Carrillo Adobe or the Mexican-American War or had any Mexican land grant. He might never have even met his infamous namesake cousin.

Most of we know about he and his wife comes from an article that may (or may not) have appeared in a 1900 San Francisco newspaper Sunday feature.7 Regrettably, almost every historical fact found there is dead wrong, but the author apparently did interview Marta and hopefully there's better accuracy where events of her life were discussed. The piece does have a slightly different Carrillo origin story that's worth mentioning.

The story usually goes that Doña María brought her large family to Sonoma County at the encouragement of her son-in-law, General Vallejo. In this version, the death of her soldier husband in 1836 left the family nearly destitute. A priest told her about the "...beautiful and fertile country, far to the north, where a home might be built and land in any quantity obtained for the taking." The article claimed the priest "urged the widow of his friend to go to this country west and north of the Sonoma Mission, picturing its beauties, its adaptability to cultivation, the docility of the natives, who, he said, could be employed at farming and herding." The priest was named "Father Ventura" in the article but details match Fr. Buenaventura Fortuni, who headed the Sonoma mission from 1826-1833 and certainly knew this area. After 1835 he was at Mission San Luis Rey which was not far from San Diego where the Carrillos lived, so a discussion of this nature certainly could have happened.

A newsworthy bit in the article revealed Marta inherited 1,600 acres "lying between Santa Rosa Creek and Matanzas Creek" where she apparently built a home. "One day Dona Marta was served with a notice of ejectment," the article continued, and "when she protested she was shown what purported to be a deed to the property, signed by herself," even though she was illiterate and "could not even scribble her own name." Salvador Vallejo, the husband of one of her sisters and the younger brother of General Vallejo, supposedly had faked her signature to sell the land. Even though it meant the theft of her birthright, "she would not bring disgrace on the family by making complaint."

(RIGHT: "Santa Rosa" Joaquin Carrillo and family, date unknown. Photo courtesy Sonoma County Library)

The article accurately stated she married her cousin, Santa Rosa Joaquin, in 1855. "Their early married life was one of many hardships and privations until the husband by hard work had accumulated a little fortune of three or four thousand dollars." With that nest egg they bought an acre of land and built a house at 1049 Fourth street, halfway between Brookwood and College avenues extending back to Allison Way. (That address is now an office building in the hideous "streamline moderne" architectural style better suited to Los Angeles.)

It is unclear how Santa Rosa Joaquin supported his family of ten children. In the 1860 census he called himself a vaquero, so perhaps he was a cattleman; after that he told the census-takers he was a farmer. Theirs was a modest life.

The only detail found about them was an anecdote from around the turn of the century, when children and grandchildren would visit their home on Sundays and holidays. Santa Rosa Joaquin had a parrot with had a vocabulary comprised entirely of Spanish cuss words. Joaquin and Marta were reportedly always terrified the kids, who only spoke English, would repeat what they heard the parrot squawk.

Marta died in 1905 after a marriage of over fifty years. True to form, the Press Democrat obituary confused her family with the Sebastopol Carrillos and stated, "Many years ago the deceased and her husband were very wealthy and owned large tracts of land in this county." Santa Rosa Joaquin died in 1911, of course, and together they are buried in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery at Santa Rosa Memorial Park.

And now the Believe-it-or-not epilogue: If having two Joaquin Carrilos in the immediate family wasn't confusing enough...there might have been a third.

The most notorious figure in early California statehood was Joaquin Murrieta, the leader of a Mexican bandit gang that terrorized 49ers and settlers in the early 1850s. He was later portrayed in dime novels as a heroic Robin Hood-like character avenging injustices on behalf of oppressed Mexicans, but he was a real person who robbed and killed and scared the Americans half to death. In 1853 the governor authorized a company of California State Rangers to capture or kill the "party or gang of robbers commanded by the five Joaquins." It was called the "Five Joaquins Gang" because the leaders were supposed to be all named Joaquin: Joaquin Murrieta, Joaquin Botellier, Joaquin Ocomorenia, Joaquin Valenzuela - and Joaquin Carrillo. (There was also a really vicious guy named Manuel, but "the Five Joaquins Plus Manuel" sounds more like a circus acrobat act than a paramilitary organization of fearsome outlaws.) A few months later the Rangers had a shootout with a group of Mexicans in the Central Valley and claimed they had killed Murrieta, sawing off the guy's head as proof to claim the reward money.

Chances are nil that the Joaquin Carrillo who belonged to the Murrieta gang was either Santa Rosa Joaquin or Sebastopol Joaquin (or for that matter, the Joaquin Carrillo who was a Southern California District judge in the same era). But at least one researcher has claimed it possibly might be another of Doña María's children: Sebastopol Joaquin's younger brother, José Ramón. Historian Brian McGinty wrote about this in an often-cited journal article on the Carrillo family:8

Most frequently he was referred to as "Ramón," following the not infrequent practice among Spanish-Californians of dropping the first given name. At other times he was confusedly called "Joaquin," the proper name of his brother. Because of José Ramón's constant activity during the years from 1846 to 1864, during which time he was often referred to as "Joaquin Carrillo" or "Carillo," it seems possible that he was partially responsible for the composite legend of Joaquin Murrieta.

It's not so impossible that José Ramón might have been involved with Murrieta. He was cut from a different cloth than the other Carrillo men; he was an adventurer and soldier who fought bears armed with a knife, using his horse's soft leather saddle bags as his only shield. He commanded Mexican troops in several important battles in the 1846 Mexican-American War including the Battle of San Pascual, the bloodiest conflict ever to take place in California. After the war that journal article mentions there were stories of him being a highwayman at the same time as Murrieta and rumors of buried treasure near his ranch in Cucamonga.

But using his brother's name as an alias (possibly while engaged in criminal activity, no less) seems unbelievable - although that article does acknowledge José Ramón's grandson assisted with the research, so perhaps there might be something to it. Had he died in Santa Rosa and the local reporters gotten whiff that he was AKA Joaquin Carrillo, however, you can be sure his obituary would have been a glorious swirl of confusion.


1Alma MacDaniel Carrillo and Eleanor Carrillo de Haney: History and Memories – The Carrillo Family in Sonoma County. Undated handwritten manuscript, 94 pp.

2John Cummings: Early Sebastopol Part 2. 2005, North Bay Regional Collection, Sonoma State University Library

3These all might be differing descriptions of the same hotel. Cummings (ibid.) suspects the Pioneer might have been a relaunch of the Analy c. 1869, as the two hotel names never appear simultaneously in period newspapers. The earliest Sanborn fire map (1891) showing the Analy Hotel indicates it had a saloon, and any hotel easily could be called a boarding house.

4Guadalupe Carrillo, Plaintiff, vs. Joaquin Carrillo, Defendant: July 22, 1865, District case number 493

5op. cit. MacDaniel Carrillo and Carrillo de Haney, pg. 36

6Probate for estate of Guadalupe Carrillo: Reel 19 #688

7"'Sonoma Valley Before the Gringoes Came,' written for the Sunday Bulletin, March 11, 1900": undated and anonymous, 7 typewritten pp. Gaye LeBaron Collection, Sonoma State University Library

8Brian McGinty: "The Carrillos of San Diego: A Historic Spanish Family of California," The Historical Society of Southern California Quarterly, March 1957


Joaquin Carrillo, one of the first white residents of what is now Santa Rosa, passed away at his home, 1039 Fourth street, at 1:30 this morning. He had resided at that place for the past 26 years and in Santa Rosa since 1849.

Mr. Carrillo was born in the town of Pabosa Lucas, Lower California, 81 years ago, but moved to Santa Diego when a child. He lived in San Diego until 19 years of age, when he married and removed to Sonoma county settling on the present site of Santa Rosa.

The Carrillo family were pioneers in San Diego under the old Spanish rule. Joaquin was a brother-in-law of Gen. Vallejo, one of the principal characters of California's early history. Both the Carrillo and Vallejo families were prominently connected with the affairs here in the time of the American pioneers, and in the time before the Americans came.

Both families were numerous and wealthy, and the two together owned a good part of Sonoma county in the later days of Mexican dominion. Julio Carrillo, brother-in-law of the man who died this morning, passed away in this city several years ago, and was likewise early identified with the town and county.

Mr. Carrillo had been feeble for several years, but had not been confined to his bed until about three months ago.

He is survived by five sons and three daughters. Albert Carrillo of Eureka, John Carrillo of Guaymas, Mexico, Eli and Andrew Carrillo of Santa Rosa; Abe Carrillo of San Francisco; Mrs. Phantry of San Francisco; Mrs. Olarlo of Guaymas, Mexico and Mrs. John Welty of San Francisco.

Preparations for the burial will be delayed until response is had from John Carrillo, in Guaymas, who has been asked by telegraph whether he can come to attend his father's funeral.

- Press Democrat, April 1, 1911


Joaquin Carrillo, one of Santa Rosa's first white residents, passed away on Saturday morning at 1:30 o'clock at the age of 81 years. Deceased was at one time the owner, under Spanish grant of Llano de Santa Rosa, the 13,336.55 acre grant stretching from a little west of this city to Sebastopol and south to the Cotati Rancho. Three square leagues in Santa Rosa and Analy township is called for in the grant, which was confirmed to Joaquin Carrillo by the District Court of March 24, 1856.

Mr. Carrillo was born at Cabo San Lucas, Lower Calif., but with his parents and their large family of children, moved to San Diego when but a small child. His parents were pioneers of San Diego. At the age of 19 Joaquin Carrillo came to Sonoma county with his bride and settled on the present site of Santa Rosa. He had been a resident of Santa Rosa since 1849 and had lived in his home at 1039 Fourth street for the past 26 years.

Joaquin Carrillo was a brother-in-law of General Vallejo and between the families of Vallejo and Carrillo nearly the whole of Sonoma county was owned. It was from this pioneer that much of what is known of the earlier history of this county was secured and chronicled.

Mr. Carrillo had been confined to his bed for the past three months, but for several years before that had been in feeble health. Arrangements for the funeral will be made when word is received from John Carrillo, a son residing at Guaymas who has been asked by wire if he can be present at the funeral.

Mr. Carrillo is survived by five sons and three daughters. Albert Carrillo of Eureka, John Carrillo of Guaymas, Mexico, Eli and Andrew Carrillo of Santa Rosa; A. Carrillo of San Francisco; Mrs. S. M. Shantry of San Francisco; Mrs. Olague of Guaymas, Mexico and Mrs. John Welty of Santa Rosa.

- Santa Rosa Republican, April 1, 1911

Mrs. Tyler Recalls Happenings of Early Days

Mrs. Flora E. Tyler of this city recalls some interesting events in the life of Joaquin Carrillo, the pioneer of this county, who passed away on Saturday morning.

Mrs. Tyler was then a girl and made her home in Sebastopol, and attended the school there with a number of his relatives.

At the time of the civil war Mr. Carrillo owned the hotel at Sebastopol, and there a fair and banquet was held for the benefit of the wounded soldiers. People for miles around came on horseback to attend the festivities and a gala times was enjoyed. Not long age [sic], when the old building was torn down, a paper bearing the date of 1864 was found, and it gave an account of the fair.

Mr. Carrillo owned considerable land, and it took in what is now Sebastopol, and reached nearly to Santa Rosa. The road leading from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol was lined with Castilian roses, planted there by Carrillo and when passing the young people would stop and gather bunches of them. They were a bright pink and very fragrant. They are seldom seen now.

Another interesting event related by Mrs. Tyler was the lassoing of a grizzly bear by Mr. Carrillo while returning from his honeymoon. As he neared the bridge at the laguna a big grizzly bear crossed his path and he started to lasso it. The bear was more than he bargained for, and had it not been for the aid of a man who was with him, he might have been killed. In those days all traveling was done on horseback and his bride rode beside him on her fine pony.

Mr. Carrillo and his bride first lived at Sebastopol and later moved to Santa Rosa.

- Santa Rosa Republican, April 4, 1911

Joaquin Carrillo's Eventful Life Is Ended
Was the Oldest Surviving Pioneer of Sonoma County and Was Well Known

A black knot of crape on the door of a humble little cottage on First street Saturday caused many people to stop and reflect over a life, which at one time in the early history of Sonoma county had a wide influence. The life called to mind was that of Joaquin Carrillo which had ended after a year and a half of incapacity through suffering. This morning at Petaluma from St. Vincent's church his funeral will take place at ten o'clock, the cortege leaving the residence on First street about seven o'clock.

The last years of the old pioneer's life were spent unostentatiously. His days were passed very quietly. He was about ninety years of age when the last summons came and his eyes were closed in death. He came to Sonoma county in 1838 and laid claim to being the oldest pioneer of Sonoma. After his arrival here he settled near Sebastopol where it is estimated he owned at one time many thousands of acres of land. His brother was Julio Carrillo, who also owned a great portion of the county.

The deceased was a native of California. He was known all over this section. He leaves six grown children, Andrew J., Lee A., Joseph, Jennie and Mary Carrillo, and also a number of other relatives. Mrs. General Vallejo is a sister of the deceased. By many a hearthstone in Sonoma county the old man's stories of early days were heard with eagerness and a reverence was felt for that white crowned head over which the clouds and sunshine of more than three score years and ten had passed. The funeral today will doubtless be largely attended by many of the deceased old-time acquaintances.

Among the children by the deceased's first wife are Mrs. Millie Miller of San Francisco, Lupe Carrillo of Oakland, Mrs. Lulu McCord of Hanford, Mrs. Kate Alpine of Duncans, Mrs. Agnes Perry of Occidental, Raymond Carrillo of Ferndale. His second wife survives his and also their five children first named.

- Press Democrat, July 19, 1899


Joaquin Carrillo, the oldest pioneer of Sonoma county, is dead. After a year and a half of constant suffering he passed peacefully away last Saturday at his home on First street, Santa Rosa.

In 1838 deceased came to Sonoma county and settled near Sebastopol. Here he resided for many years and at one time conducted a hotel on the corner of Bodega and Petaluma avenues. Many years ago he owned thousands of acres of land in this section, but, like many other pioneers, he dispensed hospitality with such a free and generous hand that he died in poverty. Many a man who to-day enjoys wealth and plenty can look back to the time when he was started out on the road to prosperity by Joaquin Carrillo...

- Santa Rosa Republican, July 19, 1899

There would soon be one less plate on the Comstock dinner table out at their Hoen avenue farmhouse; Cornelia was getting married.

Not much happened in the Comstock family during 1911, aside from the wedding. Hilliard was in his second year of studying law with James Wyatt Oates and eldest brother John had departed for medical school. Until Cornelia's wedding, five of the seven Comstock siblings were still living at home with their mother Nellie on their ten acre orchard. The most interesting news about them in the papers was the Press Democrat society columnist's description of the family's downtown store, which always has been something of a mystery.

To recap: "The Gift Shop" opened in 1908, a few months after the Comstock family moved to Santa Rosa. John, Catherine and Cornelia, all in their early twenties, had worked and studied at the Roycroft Colony in New York during their teenage years, and were accomplished in making artistic leather goods and jewelry. They arrived just as the Arts & Crafts movement was gathering speed on the West Coast and their handiwork was exhibited and sold alongside works by top painters and artisans in the style. John withdrew from the "Companeros" partnership in 1910 to study medicine, leaving Catherine in charge of the business with Cornelia working as an artist. The same year they founded an "Arts and Crafts Guild" in Santa Rosa to teach young women how to make items that could be sold in the store - a fairly subversive notion for the time.

From other descriptions we knew The Gift Shop sold the Comstock's award-winning leather goods as well as work from renowned Arts & Crafts studios. Problem is, "The Gift Shop" doesn't exactly sound like the name for a fine art gallery - it sounds like...well, Corrick's (which happens to be now directly across the street from The Gift Shop's location). The article transcribed below shows the Comstocks also sold geegaws and knicknacks, although they were the nicest geegaws and knicknacks you could find anywhere; the powder boxes and darning bags were French and the toys Russian - matryoshka nesting dolls, perhaps - and there were "Home Sweet Home" type mottos, but the insipid little axioms were nicely hand painted, probably by the local Guild women. You could go to The Gift Shop and pick up a tasteful curio for your rich and ailing aunt's birthday, or she herself could visit and buy a museum-quality vase you might someday inherit.

(RIGHT: Undated portrait of Cornelia Comstock. Courtesy Carmel Library Historical Archive)

Cornelia probably stayed connected with The Gift Shop until it closed, apparently in 1912 or 1913. She and her husband, Winfield Matthew Jr. ("Win" to family members) stayed around the area until 1917. His father, Rev. Winfield Scott Matthew Sr. - who is better known to Santa Rosa history buffs as the pastor at the First M. E. church on Fifth street 1915-1918 - married the couple at the "Sonoma avenue at the home of the bride." That must have been the place brother John had at 965 Sonoma Avenue (now the police and fire station) which suggests he was still around at the time or the family hung on to the property as a "city house."

Winfield was then a surveyor, and his marriage to Cornelia wasn't his only connection to the Comstocks; he was also in business with her younger brother, Frank. Together with another man they formed the Matthew Co. Their ad in the 1913 Santa Rosa city directory, shown below, promises they could build "buildings," as well as dams, bridges, sewers, sidewalks, etc. "Territory - Northern California." Golly.

Cornelia's first child, Raymond Hilliard (just called Hilliard by family) was born here in 1916. The following year Win registered for the draft and sought exemption: "Impossible for family to get along," he wrote as a reason. What he meant by that is unknown, as is whether brother-in-law Lt. Colonel Hilliard Comstock knew that he was trying to dodge military service.

Winfield took a job in the Santa Clara County assessor's office and the couple lived in San Jose, where daughter Barbara was born in 1918. After he retired they moved to Carmel in 1949, where they had purchased a house about twenty years earlier. There they joined siblings Catherine (still a painter), Hurd (a retired banker) and Hugh, the self-taught architect and builder known for the whimsical "fairy tale" cottages that are still a hallmark of the community.

Cornelia died April 15, 1966; they were married the longest of any member of the family - 55 years, beating even Hilliard and Helen's remarkable 49 years. Her obituary in the Monterey Peninsula Herald was a single short paragraph, much of it naming her famous brothers and sister. She may not have cut such a broad swath in the family legacy but she and "Win" are still remembered with great warmth. And that's no small thing, you know.

A betrothal that will interest many friends of the delightful young bride-to-be has been announced. Mrs. N. J. Comstock has given out the intimation that her daughter, Miss Cornelius [sic] Comstock, has promised her hand and heart to Mr. W. S. Matthew Jr. of Berkeley. The date of the wedding has not been set, but it will be an event of the sprint. Miss Comstock is a very talented girl and one whose attainments have counted for much. She has been a great favorite at many of the gatherings of the younger set in the past. Of course a few of her intimate friends have been anticipating the announcement Mrs. Comstock has just made and they with many others will now extend their felicitations most heartily. Mr. Matthews is a young professional man and is a college graduate and comes of a prominent family of the College town. The marriage will necessarily be one of much significance.

- "Society Gossip" column, Press Democrat, December 4, 1910

The wedding of Miss Cornelia Comstock and Winfield Scott Matthew Jr. is to occur Saturday, March the 18th, at the family home. The officiating minister will be the Reverend Winfield Scott Matthew. The affair, which is to be a very quiet one, will be attended by only the family and the most intimate friends. Miss Katherine Comstock will act in the capacity of bridesmaid while Raymond Mathews, brother of the groom will be best man.

Immediately after the ceremony the young couple will leave for an extended Eastern trip which will be of several months duration. Upon their home-coming they will occupy their country home near Healdsburg.

This popular and beautiful little prospective bride is being showered with wedding presents, as only a slight testimonial of the loving regard in which she is held by her many friends.

 - "Society Gossip" column, Press Democrat, March 12, 1911

As the clock strikes eight tomorrow night, Miss Cornelia Comstock will become the bride of Winfield Scott Matthew Jr., of Oakland. It will be a quiet home wedding and will take place on Sonoma avenue at the home of the bride. The father of the groom will tie the nuptial knot, and a sister of the groom, Miss Hattie Matthew, will play the wedding march.

The fair bride will wear a handsome gown of white marquesite over satin, trimmed with pearls, and will have a train. The veil will also be worn and will be held in place by a spray of orange blossoms. Her bouquet will be white roses and she will be attended by her sister, Miss Catherine Comstock as bridesmaid. Raymond Matthew will support his brother.

Following the ceremony the couple will start on their honeymoon journey, which will include a trip to the south, and then to Lake Tahoe, after which they will reside on Russian River in Alexander valley.

The prettiest of spring blossoms have been gathered for the decorations and the house is one bower of flowers. Daintily colored fruit blossoms, intermingled with greenery, were gracefully arranged and were set off here and there by huge bunches of daffodils. The large porch was also decorated and cozy corners were made.

Since coming here several years ago Miss Comstock has made many friends, who join in wishing her unbounded happiness. Many and beautiful were the presents that found their way to this charming bride, among them being cut glass, silver and hand painted china.

Miss Comstock will be missed from the social gatherings, but her friends are glad that her home will be near enough that she may attend some of them.

- "Many Social Events in City of Roses" column, Santa Rosa Republican, March 18, 1911

(by Dorothy Ann)

"The Gift Shop" had a most auspicious opening Saturday. The Christmas stock was viewed and admired by enthusiastic purchasers. Miss Katherine Comstock has shown rare good taste in the selection of the many beautiful things that are artistically arranged in the cozy little store. There are motto cards, hand-painted mottos, gift books and some clever selections in books. In the French novelties are sachet bags, pin cushions, vanity boxes, powder boxes and darning bags. Among the modeled leather selections are card cases, book covers, fire screens, table mats, music rolls, desk sets and blotters.

For one who admires fine pottery there are pieces in Van Briggle, Paul Revere, Rockwood and Marblehead metal work pieces, show book-ends, candlesticks, trays and bowls, desk sets, jardineres [sic] and lamps.

Aside from these are hard-woven rugs, decorative wall placques [sic], hand-wrought jewelry, Sheffield silver plate, finished and stamped needle work. Prints and photographs have been selected with rare judgment and include Japanese, German Maxfield Parish [sic] and art photograph prints.

Toys for the children have not been neglected as some quaint Colonial chairs, hand-woven wool rugs and Russian toys in the collection testify. The opening will continue all this week and the public are cordially invited to inspect the choice collection of beautiful things.

- "Society Gossip" column, Press Democrat, November 26, 1911

Another sign of progress in 1911: You could afford to use a lightbulb for a few hours each night. Maybe.

By walking around Santa Rosa's neighborhoods after dark you could easily tell who was financially comfortable - just find the houses with burning lightbulbs. The things weren't cheap; a 60W bulb cost about the equivalent of $18 today, and 100W would now be $26. Still, that was a big improvement of a couple of years earlier, when they were almost twice as expensive. (It would be a good idea to review an earlier article, "When we Leased our Light Bulbs.")

The better price - and related improvement in a bulb's longevity - was due to the discovery of how to make a bendable "ductile" tungsten filament in 1910. This was a Very Big Deal. Earlier bulb filaments were carbon (more heat than light and usually short-lived) or made from processed tungsten powder which was brighter and lasted longer than carbon, but had quality control problems and were significantly more fragile - see again the earlier article with its sidebar, "The Incredibly Interesting History of the Light Bulb Wars." Making problems worse, Thomas Edison's original lightbulb patents were expiring and his company, General Electric, was desperate to find a new product; even though the original tungsten bulbs were so delicate that they only worked when hanging straight down, GE pushed them anyway. The company's salvation was that ductile tungsten invented by GE researcher William D. Coolidge, who also later came up with the x-ray tube still in use today. Coolidge's lightbulbs, sold under the "Mazda" trademark became the standard for decades.

The ad at right, which appeared in the 1912 Santa Rosa Republican, showed how quickly the lighting situation had evolved. It was the first ad in the local papers that promoted lightbulbs available for purchase by the consumer; before, they were only available through the electric company or as part of a service. Yeah, it may seem expensive today to pay the equivalent of $18 for a 60W bulb, but hey, that light would probably last up to three whole months.

Then there was the price of electricity to use it. We can't be certain what PG&E charged per kWh back then, but a lecture on ways to economize mentioned it cost about a nickel a day to have a single lightbulb burning for twelve hours daily, helpfully adding that a dozen bulbs could be used for an hour at the same cost. Either way it would be now about $1.20 a day, adjusted for inflation. Today it costs about 11¢ to using the same (presumably 60W) lightbulb - in other words, electricity was ten times more expensive back then. Yet they might have viewed it as a bargain; just a few years earlier in 1905, electrical service was more than 25 times what we currently pay.

The same lecturer demonstrated how using the right kind of globe over a bulb could increase light output dramatically. Although the article doesn't mention the type of cover being used, from the description that a lightbulb's glow was made sixteen times brighter suggests it was undoubtedly Holophane.

The Holophane Glass Company brought a scientific approach to the problem of lighting, and patented its unique shades and globes designed for maximum reflection and almost no absorption of light; depending upon the model, Holophanes could focus light downwards or splash it broadly over a ceiling, or both. (This collector has a remarkable photo gallery of the many different styles.) The patterns of the ribbed, prismatic glass controlled light with great precision but the other part of the secret sauce was the glass itself, which had a high lead content.*

The company's trade magazine from this period, Holophane Illumination, often can be found promoting the synergy between using those superior Mazda lightbulbs inside your Holophane globes for the best light possible. It will probably come as no surprise to learn GE had controlling interest in the Holophane Glass Company, and early in 1911 obtained exclusive rights to sell Holophane products in U.S.

The overall situation might have improved, but woe to PG&E's Santa Rosa manager, who apparently was fending off complaints about crappy lighting supposedly due to "weak current." Near the end of the year the Press Democrat printed his rant about otherwise "good housewives" neglecting to clean their globes, although it's unclear whether he is faulting them for buildup of horrible filth on the inside or outer. "They fail to give satisfactory light and the company is blamed," he griped. Anyway, he said some of those squeaky wheels would be given new lightbulbs (presumably, Mazdas): "To overcome this that we are making a partial installation of new lights free of charge to educate the light-users to the necessity of having globes changed regularly. It will take less current and give better light for less money."

*Although the dual gas-electric fixtures in Comstock House show the spare-no-expense Oates family considered good lighting very important, there is no evidence that Holophanes were originally used. The shades were not well known in the U.S. until they were exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, which took place just months before construction of the house began. When we remodeled kitchen and pantry lighting we designed it around three period Holophane styles that provide both superior general illumination and precision downlighting in the cooking areas.  Antique Holophanes are still widely available today and can easily be identified from later pressed-glass knockoffs by examining the inside of the shade; when viewed at a sharp angle, old Holophane glass will appear to be silver-grey and almost shimmers like a hot desert road.


H. W. Jacobs received a large shipment of wire drawn Sterling Mazda lamps Thursday morning. This style of electric lamp is something new in electrical lighting and is the first of the kind to be received on this coast. They are similar to the old style tungsten lamp, but different from them in that they can be burned at any angle and can be roughtly [sic] treated without the wire in the lamp breaking. They give a fine white light. Those who have seen them consider them to be the finest electric light yet put on the market. Mr. Jacobs beat all the other electrical houses on the coast in getting this lamp in stock. He is in position to get what is best in electrical supplies before most anybody else on the coast.

- Santa Rosa Republican, March 2, 1911


H. W. Jacobs, the local electrician, received a shipment of fourteen cases of the celebrated Edison Mazda electric lamps on Friday morning. The shipment contains 1200 lamps, and the candlepower represented by the shipment is all the way from 8 to 500 candle power. With the lamps a shipment of 35,000 feet of wire for use in electrical work was received. Mr. Jacobs claims these are the largest shipments of electrical lamps and wire that have ever come to the City of Roses. He finds a big demand for these celebrated lamps and is doing much work in installing electric wires and fixtures.

- Santa Rosa Republican, April 5, 1911

Plunged City in Darkness for Short Time

The burning out of one of the mammoth transformers at the sub-station of the Santa Rosa division of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company plant on Monday evening plunged the city in total darkness for a time. The lights went out suddenly and there was a search for lamps and candles in the residences and business houses that are not supplied with gas. The lack of light came near delaying the meeting scheduled to be address by Governor Hiram Johnson at the pavilion.

Fortunately there are a few gas lights in the mammoth pavilion and with these shedding dim rays the meeting was begun. Before the main speakers of the evening had begun their addresses the lights were again turned on and one of the speakers said it was particularly appropriate for the occasion that the lights should come on and lead the people out of the darkness, as that was the object of the meeting, to give additional and better light to the people that they might better govern themselves, instead of being governed.

- Santa Rosa Republican, October 3, 1911

Manager Maitland G. Hall of Gas & Electric Co. Having Voltage Tesed and New Globes Installed

Manager Maitland G. Hall of the Santa Rosa branch of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company has a force of men out making an inspection of the electric system and testing the current in residences to see that everything is working as it should be.

It has been found that many complaints relative to weak current are due to no fault of the company, but entirely neglect on the part of the patrons of the company. "No good housewife," said Mr. Hall yesterday, "would think of doing her morning work if she used coal oil lamps without refilling the lamp and cleaning it and the chimney thoroughly. But the same good housewife will put an electric globe into service and never think of it again until it breaks.

"Electric globes are not supposed to burn over 500 hours. They do burn in most homes for 1,000 hours or more. They fail to give satisfactory light and the company is blamed. They us [sic] more current and less results are obtained. Now it is to overcome this that we are making a partial installation of new lights free of charge to educate the light-users to the necessity of having globes changed regularly. It will take less current and give better light for less money."

- Press Democrat, December 4, 1911

Fagan Gives Splendid Talk on Illumination

Much interest has been aroused in this city by the splendid address recently given here by F. D. Fagan, illuminating engineer, at the Columbia theater. Mr. Fagan demonstrated to the people of Santa Rosa the possibilities of securing the maximum of light for the minimum of cost by the use of proper globes. Mr. Fagan took a two candle-power electric light and with the use of proper globes as shades he secured a far better light than was given by a thirty-two candle power lamp which was used in comparison for the purposes of the demonstration.

The speaker contended that one light could be used twelve hours per night or twelve lights an average of one hour each evening, and the lighting bill should not exceed $1.50 for the month. From this it is apparent many residents of the city must change their shades and globes if they wish to secure the best results for a small outlay. The demonstrations wer particularly interesting to business men, who were shown the best methods of displaying goods beneath electric globes. Residential lighting was also given an explanation.

The pictures shown on the screen gave an insight to the making of the electric lamps, and showed in detail every portion of their manufacture. The first plant of Edison was depicted, as was the later plants of the wizard of electricity, and the tremendous output of the factory, together with others, was stated. The annual manufacture of electric lamps seems almost incredible. The address of Fagan and the pictures shown were highly interesting and entertaining.

- Santa Rosa Republican, October 3, 1911

By 1911 the new, modern century had fully arrived in Santa Rosa, but apparently not everyone had received the memo.

Continuing the theme of the past few articles, in 1911 Santa Rosa was catching up to Bay Area cities; downtown was looking more cosmopolitan with its paved streets, electric trolley and several movie theaters. Here's another example: The new modernity was also reflected in the kinds of ads that began to appear, and that was presumably because shoppers reflected Santa Rosa's expanding middle-class.

Compare the men's fashion ads at right; the lower one appeared in 1909 and the top ad was from 1911, both from the Press Democrat. The 1909 ad emphasizes price (twice!) and the man in the drawing seems as average looking as possible - not to mention appearing uncomfortable, maybe even itchy in his ill-fitting wool suit. In the 1911 hat ad the price isn't mentioned at all, featuring instead a man with chiseled good looks smoking a cigarette (the first appearance of smoking in any PD ad). The emphasis on value was a hallmark of ads aimed at farmers or working-class guys who only bought Sunday suits; the stylish hat ads were aimed at men who wanted to look suave around town.

The local newspapers were also becoming overall more urbane; better graphics, more cartoons and improved reproduction of photographs made both the Santa Rosa Republican and Press Democrat look more on par with a daily paper from Berkeley than one from a country town such as Ukiah, where stores were still pushing discount duds. But that modern look to the papers makes it all the more jarring when you stumble today over a story that's a throwback to Santa Rosa's wilder and woolier (and sometimes weirder) times. Several examples from 1911 are transcribed below.

Sometimes it's not that the events are remarkably peculiar - people always do damned peculiar things every day - it's just that these were odd bits to get written up in the newspaper. Take the story about Mrs. Patterson, a "prominent resident of Rincon Valley." One midsummer morning she reached for her jar of epsom salts - a popular choice as a laxative in the day - but instead grabbed her bottle of sugar of lead (lead acetate), then used to color hair but also a mild poison.

Who on earth would keep a bottle of poison next to their similar-looking health remedies? Surprisingly, it must not have been that unusual back then because a year before the town's veterinarian swallowed a "digestive tablet" after dinner, then realized in horror it was actually a mercury bichloride pill, "enough to kill several persons." Reaching into our great-grandparents' medicine cabinet was like playing russian roulette. (For those curious about "sugar of lead:" Yes, it was historically used like sugar and the Romans consumed great quantities of it in sweetened wine - read this thorough discussion.)

Also hard to comprehend today: Why carpenter Clayton Shockley and attorney Peter Schlotterback got into it on Fourth street over the ownership of a handsaw. It seemed Schlotterback accused the workman of stealing it from him a couple of years earlier, and before you knew it, the carpenter was beating the attorney in the head with his hammer and the Schlotterback was trying to saw off a portion of Shockley's noggin. Both ended up bloody from the fracas. Okay, maybe it was a really, really nice handsaw, but honestly: Two middle-aged men in 1911 trying to kill each other over a handsaw? It was as nuts as the story a few years earlier where two men were fighting in court over ownership of "a valuable varmint dog" - which had actually died.

Then there's the odd 1911 story of Otto Ulrich, a sausage maker who proved remarkably flammable. It seems he was going about his sausage making when he happened to catch fire, due mainly to his apron and clothing being so soaked in grease that he was something of a human candlewick. He ran to a large tub of water but was unable to get in, due to "the mammoth boots which he wore in the sausage making room" (go ahead and Google for "sausage boots" - you know you want to). His co-workers saved his life by turning a hose on him but his head was burned, along with all of his hair.

It's also interesting to note the disgusting details of that story only appeared in the Republican, which was Santa Rosa's afternoon newspaper; it was probably wise for the morning Press Democrat to go easy - many PD subscribers were probably having breakfast as they read their paper, and would not be happy to contemplate how much of that smoky flavor in their eggs and sausage might be essence of Otto.

This wasn't as gruesome as some industrial accidents reported in years before, but given this incident occurred five years after publication of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" and the wide public outcry over horrific working conditions in the meatpacking industry, it's appalling that nothing apparently had changed since the Nineteenth Century over at the Noonan Meat Company, Santa Rosa's slaughterhouse. Let's hope a clipping of that article turned up on a desk at the state health department.

Another item right out of the previous century: A guy on Fifth street began shooting at a Chinese man he suspected of wrongdoing, then formed a mob to hunt him down in Santa Rosa's two-block Chinatown.

Frank Munday claimed the man was prowling around his house and thought the man intended to kidnap his three year-old daughter. Munday's fears were pulled straight from the pages of lurid dime novels and sensationalist yellow journalism stories; 1911 was near the peak of the national white slavery mania, and a common plot described Chinese men snatching young women off the streets to smuggle them to Asian brothels. Munday took a sniper's position overlooking the front of his house and later told a reporter he began shooting when he saw the prowler trying to open a window. As this was all happening early Sunday evening as church services were getting out he attracted much attention with his rifle fire. At no point were the police notified, according to the Press Democrat story.

Finally, the PD made its own contribution to the list of 1911 oddities with a new warning to naughty children. Not seen in the paper since 1908, these items once appeared often - a sample can be found here, and is best read imagining the voice of Simpsons' character Mr. Burns - always warning that a dire fate awaited little rapscallions who trampled flowers or dropped slippery orange and banana peels on the sidewalk. (Yet curiously, when a former Santa Rosan actually did die in 1909 from slipping on a banana peel in San Francisco, the PD reported it with a couple of terse paragraphs and no sermonizing. Go figure.)

In that new item, PD editor Ernest Finley railed against misbehaving whipper-snappers with slingshots, and the big cudgel this time was being arrested by a game warden for shooting at federally-protected songbirds. "So if the fathers and mothers of exuberant young hopefuls wish to avoid trouble of having to go down and bail the young hopefuls out some of these fine mornings, they would better see to it that their young hopefuls carry no sling shots, and that they let the birds alone." The boys were also shooting at people, and the paper cautioned "there is danger of grave injury if boys are allowed to possess these things and use them." Hey, kid, here's a buck if you can knock the cigarette out of the mouth of the guy with the snappy hat.

(Follow these links to articles on similar 1910 peculiarities and odd crimes.)


Complaints are frequent that Santa Rosa boys are amusing themselves and tormenting other people with that devil's device known as the slingshot, an artillery-like contraption made of a forked stick and two rubber bands. Several persons have been struck by missels [sic] from these weapons, and the results have been painful. And always there is danger of grave injury if boys are allowed to possess these things and use them. Their possession is forbidden by city ordinance, and it is threatened that the ordinance will be invoked against some of the youthful offenders if the offense continue.

Also it is said that the boys with slingshots are making targets of the birds in the old college park. That constitutes another offense against the law, for many of these birds are songbirds of the species that the law protects. So if the fathers and mothers of exuberant young hopefuls wish to avoid trouble of having to go down and bail the young hopefuls out some of these fine mornings, they would better see to it that their young hopefuls carry no sling shots, and that they let the birds alone.

- Press Democrat, March 11, 1911


Mrs. Patterson, a prominent resident of Rincon Valley, made a mistake Friday morning in taking a dose of medicine, and swallowed a quantity of sugar of lead instead of Epsom salts. The woman noticed her mistake at once and a hurried call was made for Dr. Jackson Temple by phone. Dr. Temple made a rapid trip to the Patterson residence in his automobile and soon had the woman out of danger. Mrs. Patterson is still quite ill from the effects of her mistake, but will recover.

- Santa Rosa Republican, July 29, 1911

Clothes Catch Fire When in Smoke House

Otto Ulrich, sausage maker at the Noonan Meat Company, was severely burned about the left arm and had the hair singed from his head on Thursday morning.

The man went into the smoke house to attend to some of his duties there, and his apron and other clothing caught fire. He ran from the smoke house to a large tub of water and began splashing water on himself to quench the flames.

Not succeeding as well as he had expected, he shouted for help and fellow employees turned the hose on him and extinguished the flames. Just how the blaze was communicated to the clothing of the man is not known.

Ulrich was unable to get into the tub of water because of the mammoth boots which he wore in the sausage making room. After the fire was extinguished the man was taken to Dr. J. W. Jesse's office to have his burns dressed and the pain relieved. His overalls were burned from his body and his head was burned, the hair being consumed rapidly. The grease which had collected on the clothing worn by the man made them inflammable.

- Santa Rosa Republican, September 14, 1911

P. L. Schlotterback and C. P. Shockley Mix Things With a Hammer and Saw as Weapons

A hammer and a saw, with a man behind each, clashed in a bloody combat in the new Hahman building on Fourth street on Thursday afternoon, and for the time being there was considerable excitement. Both men came out of the combat with real wounds, bleeding wounds, too, which had to be patched up by physicians. The men in the mixup with the impromptu implements, usually devoted to placid forms of labor, were attorney Peter L. Schlotterback and C. P. Shockley, the latter a well known carpenter employed on the building.

 Schlotterback strolled into the building Thursday afternoon and seeing a number of carpenter's saws picked up one, so the story goes, and inquired the name of the man who was using the particular saw he had in his hand, saying that it belonged to him. Shockley stepped up on hearing claim being laid to his saw, and demanded to know whether the attorney meant that he had stolen the saw, adding that it was his saw and that he could give the name of the man from whom he purchased it. He also stated that he could buy saws and was not bound to take tools that did not belong to him, and had not done so.

 Some angry words were exchanged between the two and a suggestion from Schlotterback that probably Shockley had not come honestly by the saw was resented by the carpenter, who smote his accuser over the head with a blow from a hammer handle. Quick as a flash Schlotterback struck the carpenter over the head with the saw, following it up, so other workmen present say, with other blows. Shockley turned to run and the lawyer pursued him and when Shockley stumbled and fell another blow with the saw was aimed at him. Then the combat ended.

 Blood was streaming from the wounds on Shockley's head and from the wound on Schlotterback's head by this time. Officer Ramsay came and Schlotterback walked away with him toward the police station. No complaint was filed, however.

 Shockley was taken to the office of Dr. G. W. Mallory and the blood was washed from his wounds. One cut on the top of his head required four stitches to close. Another cut on the back of his head required a like number of stitches. Another deep cut was made on the carpenter's arm.

 In the meantime Schlotterback had sought the assistance of Dr. J. W. Jesse to have his wounds treated. Dr. Jesse found he had sustained a big contused wound on top of the head, evidently caused by the hammer handle with which Shockley admits he first struck Schlotterback. He also received a nasty gash in the hollow of the hand.

 Both men had the fronts of their shirts covered with blood, evidence that something had been doing.

 Shockley was employed by Schlotterback in making some repairs upon a house about two years ago, and then a saw was missed. While Schlotterback had his suspicions aroused, he says it was not until Thursday afternoon that he discovered the saw which he says is his. On the other hand, Carpenter Shockley says the saw is his, and not Schlotterback's, and that he bought it from a man whose name he can furnish. And there you are. There is no mistaking the fact that for a few seconds there was a lively fracas over the disputed ownership.

It was not known Thursday night whether there would be any legal proceedings growing out of the dispute. After the wounds had been dressed Schlotterback inquired at the building for the saw and was told it was being detained at the police station. When Shockley was being led away to Dr. Mallory's office his parting injunction to his fellows was, "Don't let Schlotterback get that saw. It's mine, and not his."

- Press Democrat, November 3, 1911

Frank Munday Believes Chinaman Was Bent on Kidnapping His Little Daughter

Frank Munday , who resides on Fifth street, near E, took several shots with a rifle at a Chinaman who had been prowling about his residence for several hours Sunday night. He opened fire when he detected the Celestial on the porch endeavoring to open a window.

Neither of the bullets took effect in the Mongolian's anatomy and he fled like a scared wolf to the inmost researches [sic] of Chinatown, and despite a [illegible microfilm: there was a search aided by Munday].

At the time of the rifle fusilade [sic] great excitement prevailed as many people were on their way to the different churches. The Chinaman had followed Mrs. Munday and her little three-year-old daughter when they were returning from a walk on Sunday afternoon. From then on until dusk he hovered about the Fifth street residence and was noticed by a number of the neighbors of the Mundays. The object of his attention seemed to be the little girl, and in the absence of any other reason for his presence and an attempt to enter the house, Munday believes the Chinaman was bent on kidnapping the child.

When he returned home shortly after seven o'clock on Sunday night Munday found his wife considerably alarmed over the Chinaman's actions, and taking his rifle he stationed himself at a point of vantage and when he discovered the uninvited visitor making for the window he opened fire.

- Press Democrat, April 25, 1911

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