29 December 2010

California Quotes: Pleasant Odors

"In California the happy New Year comes without the wishing. Balmy air, golden sunshine, refreshing showers, pleasant odors, verdant landscape, and attractive blossoms, charm the eye and please the senses, leaving no yearning for a happier New Year, if the physician is absorbed in his calling, for he will be deriving sufficient pleasure from its study to supply all other lackings."

From: The California Medical Journal, Volume 10, No. 1, p. 29. Published 1889.

28 December 2010

Tribune Tuesday: Thieves are Busy

From: The Oakland Tribune, 13 December 1910


During the absence of the family last night, between 6 and 10:30 o'clock, burglars broke into the residence of Mrs. R. Walters at 422 Twenty-eighth street and stole jewelry valued at $124. The thieves worked carefully and the burglary bears the mask of habing been committed by professional v[?]gmen. The front door was forced open by using a jimmy, and the rooms were thoroughly ransacked, every portable article of value being taken.

A room thief entered the suite occupied by Miss May Mullender at 915 1/2 Washington street yesterday afternoon, and stole a purse containing $32 in gold and silver coin. A $25 automatic revolver was stolen from the B[?]ain company at 908 Broadway yesterday.

Mrs. AR Baldwin of the Associated Charities of 808 Broadway reported to the police this morning that a small purse left on a bookcase at the headquarters was stolen by a man who visited the place. The purse contained $38.

27 December 2010

Life on the Victorian Farm

We spend a lot of time reading about, studying and researching people who were farming during the 1880's, but it can be difficult to truly appreciate the details of our ancestors' lives, when the minutiae are so easily overlooked.

I spent a few hours last night enraptured by the BBC series "Victorian Farm" which originally aired in 2009. (Luckily for those of us stateside, it is available in its entirety on YouTube. Link below.) Along the lines of Frontier House, Colonial House and 1900 House, the series takes some historical scholars and plunges them into the day-to-day life of a farm in 1880's Shropshire. The result is a very detailed and fascinating recreation of a tumultuous yet sincere era.

Anyone with agricultural roots (and in the US, that is most of us) will find lots to appreciate in this series. Apparently the BBC is currently airing a related series, Edwardian Farm, video for which is not available to anyone in the US who isn't spoofing their IP. (Again, that is most of us). In the meantime we'll have to enjoy Victorian Farm and hope some kind soul shares more of the ongoing agrarian drama with us in the future:

22 December 2010

California Quotes: Christmas in California


When little children in the East
Are playing in the snow,
I live in California
Where winter roses grow.

While they are sliding on the ice,
And snow is on the land,
I am playing in the ocean waves.
And digging in the sand.

No sleigh bells ever tinkle,
There are no snowbells here,
But oranges grow on the trees,
And flowers all the year.

Yet Santa Claus remembers us
He brings us pretty toys,
And puts them in our stockings
For little girls and boys.

Our Christmas tree with gifts and lights
Is trimmed so fair to see,
And a little silver Christ-child
At the tiptop of the tree.

-M.S. Hosmer

From: Recitations and Dialogues for Special Days in the Sunday School, Number Two, p. 150. Published 1919.

21 December 2010

Tribune Tuesday: Jumps Out of a Wagon

From: The Oakland Tribune, 06 December 1910

A. Alvis, Business Man of Oakland, Seriously Injured and May Die

Leaping from a milk wagon directly in the path of a speeding automobile, A. Alvis was hurled twenty-feet through the air and alighted at the side of the boulevard on his side, suffering injuries which may prove fatal. The accident occurred about noon today on the boulevard near Fiftieth avenue, Dr. J. M. Shannon of 28 Orange street being the driver of the automobile. Alvis is a business man and lives at 420 Thirteenth street, and has been taken to the Shannon sanitarium by order of the physician.

An investigation was made by the police, and according to their findings, it is not thought that Dr. Shannon is to blame for the accident.

Little is known concerning the injured man other than that he was well dressed. He is a married man. The injuries consist of bruises and lacerations, and possible internal injuries which may prove fatal.

15 December 2010

California Quotes: We Roll Upon Our Lawns

"A California Christmas is all good. The earth rejoices, the skies give thanks and are glad. We do not have to be happy between shivers, nor imprison ourselves lest Nature slay us. All is joyous together. The rains have come, and with them the Resurrection. There are new heavens and a new earth; a turquoise arch above an emerald floor. The birds can keep Christmas, too--and a winter which even a goose has too much sense to inhabit is not fit for christians.

We roll upon our lawns, or swing in hammocked verandas, or gather roses from the bushes that over-run the house, and sniff the breeze across the orange-blossoms--while above the dark-green orchard the ieffeable snow-peaks of the Sierra Madre climb twice and tall on the blue sky as the loftiest mountain in the East. And in the air is such a tang of freshness and strength and inspiration that to drink it is like breathing champagne.

We sit out and read out, we ride, drive, walk, take a swift plunge into the Pacific surf and out. The children do not need to be burglar-proofed against colds, or croup, or pneumonia. Day-long they are are out of doors, undeterred from God and Nature, and so with better bodies and minds, and hearts--but the same old child-faith in Santa Claus."

From: Out West, Volume 3, p. 68. Published 1895.

14 December 2010

Tribune Tuesday: Secret Wedding

From: The Oakland Tribune, 06 December 1910

Secret Wedding Revealed By Bride's Chance Remark

As a culmination of a romance which began during their school days, Miss Hazel E. Reid and Francis W. Edwards slipped away to San Rafael October 26 and were married by Rev. Griffin M. Cutting of St. Paul's Episcopal church.

The news of the marriage had been kept a secret from the families and friends of both young people, but it was revealed yesterday by a chance remark dropped by the bride.

The youthful bride has been living with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Reid of 1224 Twelfth street, who had no suspicion of their daughter's secret marriage.

Both young people declare that "they did it for a lark" and that there was no opposition to the marriage from either family.

08 December 2010

California Quotes: The First Christmas Tree Ever

"I will give you a little story of two Christmas days in Los Angeles. One the first of these Christmas days, I have reason to believe, was held the first Christmas tree ever prepared in Southern California. In 1857 Los Angeles could boast of but a limited residence section. The plaza formed the center of the city. North of it were the adobe homes of the native Californian population, while south of it were the few business houses of that date and the homes of the American residents. Los Angeles street marked the eastern boundary, and beyond large vineyards and orchards extended toward the Los Angeles river. First street, open only to Main, marked the southern limit of population, except, perhaps, a few homes just the other side of it.

On Main street, between First and Court, there was in those days a long row of adobe houses occupied by many of the best families of primitive Los Angeles. This neighborhood was often designated "the row", and many are the pleasant memories which yet linger in the minds and hearts of those who lived there in "good old days" and who still occasionally meet an old time friend and neighbor. In "the row" lived an Englishman and his wife-Carter by name. Their musical ability was often a source of great deligh to those about them, and they possessed the faculty (well called happy) of bringing to a successful issue matters pertaining to the social entertainment of others. So it was that about the year 1857, when it was proposed that a union Christmas tree be prepared, Dr. Carter and his wife were prime movers in the affair.

Where not stands the McDonald block was the home of Dr. Carter, and it was there that many Los Angeles families enjoyed in common the gaily decorated tree which had been so lovingly prepared by the many willing hands of friendly neighbors. The childer were, of course, the honored guests, for the thought of the littles ones had incited the work of preparation.

Los Angeles, into which no railroad came, was in those days far away from the world, and the limited resources of the time would restrict even Santa Claus' possibilities. But on that Christmas eve no limitations were felt, for the true spirit of the Christmastime illuminated each and every heart. Dr. Carter officiated as Santa Claus, while music and songs, dancing and games and the pleasant chatter of friends completed the evening's festivities. That night the children of Los Angeles, than whom none of their successors are happier, did not retire until the wee small hours of Christmas day."

From: "Olden Time Holiday Festivities" by WH Workman, as found in the Publications of the Southern California Historical Society, Volume V, p. 23. Published 1901.

07 December 2010

Tribune Tuesday: Missing License

From: The Oakland Tribune, 05 December 1910

William V. Bryan Gives Up Hope of Marrying When Paper Shows Up.

Driven to distraction by the disappearance of a marriage license from his pocket at Sacramento, Saturday night, William Vose Bryan, a wealthy real estate man about to give up hope of marrying Miss Mary Dennison Mitchell of this city that evening, when he thrust his hand into his pocket for the last time and discovered that the document had reappeared. Mystified, Bryan and his fiance, left their hotel in an auto and were made husband and wife, and it was not until their return that they were made aware of a prank that had been played upon them.

Bryan was in Sacramento with the Mystic Shriners conducting the ceremonies attending to the taking of a number of initiates at the capital over the [?] sands. He had arrived on the Western Pacific hours in advance of his bride, who reached the capital with her prospective mother-in-law, Mrs. W. J. Bryan, and Mrs. H. P. Booth, on the Eldorado flyer of the Southern Pacific.


Bryan was at the station to meet the party, and after taking them to the Capital hotel spent more than an hour in locating the deputy of the county clerk's office, who looks after the issuance of marriage licenses. The license was finally obtained, however, and Bryan returned with it to the htoel, where several Shriners were waiting to greet him in the lobby.

During the congratulations, one of the Shriners filched the license from Bryan's pocket. Unaware of the theft, Bryan was about to escort Miss Mitchell into the waiting automobile a d drive to the home of Rev. A. R. [?]tton of the Congregational church, when he suddenly discovered the loss of the license. Bell boys, clerks, and maids about the hotel were kept busy searching for the license, while the waiting automobile was chugging outside.


Bryan was on the point of going in search of another license, when he thrust his hand into his pocket and found that it had reappeared. It was not until then that he was aware of the prank that had been played upon him.

The marriage ceremony was brief, and Bryan and his bride returned to the hotel, where the gathering of Shriners and other friends were waiting to congratulate them a second time.

Mr. and Mrs. Bryan returned to San Francisco last night and will take up their home at the Bryan home, 2002 Buchanan street. They will leave shortly for a tour of the South.