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Santa Cruz County History - People
Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson
CUSHMAN, PAULINE (1833-1893)
Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 14, 1874)
Major Cushman Wounded
Major Pauline Cushman met with an accident on the 26th. She was out driving with four gentlemen on the road between Santa Cruz and Felton on the day mentioned. Meeting a team coming in the opposite direction, the gentleman who was driving refused to make the attempt to turn out in the narrow space allowed him. Major Cushman thereupon took the reins from his hands to show how handsome the turn out could be made when an accomplished driver held the ribbons. The gentlemen held their breath as the fearless Maj. raised herself in her seat and urged the horses forward. They had not taken half a dozen steps before the carriage tipped over, spilling the Major and her frightened companions, and severely bruising the Major's arm. Mr. Eastman of San Francisco, who stumped the State for Governor Booth, was one of the party. He was the man for a critical emergency. He rescued the Major from her perilous position, carefully veneered her broken arm with splinters, and then carried her to a house where she could receive proper attention. The major's arm was subsequently treated for a fractured arm and for several days she carried her arm in splinters. The other day a physician asked her to move her arm when much to her own astonishment and pleasure, she discovered that no bone had been broken. The Major declares that she will exercise more caution next time she attempts to pass a team on a turn out on the Felton grade.
Santa Cruz Sentinel (July [?], 1874)
The Sentinel Editor has no reason to fear that there is anything in the above to which the Major could take exception. But it seems that he was grievously mistaken. As the Sentinel was being put to press a week later, a mounted messenger from Boulder Creek rode into town in hot haste, ascended the stairs leading to the sanctum and laid on the table a formidable looking envelope bearing the following superscription:
Messrs. P. Kooser, H.G. Shane, J. Hoodley
Proprietors of the Sentinel
Santa Cruz, Cal.
The cover of the envelope was hastily torn and from its folds was extracted the following document:
To the Santa Cruz Sentinel, - From the "Wounded Major."
An article published July 4th in your paper, giving an account of the accident which occurred between Boulder Creek P.O., and Felton, is not true as to fact, not enough in the reading of it, for me to recognize that I was really one of the party. But for the frequent use of my name, which flavors considerably of malice, I should not have supposed it was intended for me. Your state that there were "four gentlemen." That is lie No. 1. The party consisted of two (2) gentleman and three (3) ladies. That- held the reins, and was driving is Lie No. 2. That we met a team is Lie No. 3, and several others too numerous to mention. Whoever your informant may be, tell him for me that He is a liar. As to my "declaration" in regard to the caution for the future, that is another, as I never made any. Nor do I attach blame to any one, not even the gentleman who held the ribbons. Therefore you will please make a correction of the matter by giving both of the enclosed, a space in your next issue.
Pauline Cushman Boulder Creek, July 17th, 1874, Friday 3 o'clock p.m.
A War Cloud
This meant trouble ahead. The Major was evidently angry. Her communication was certainly forcible if it was not couched in strictly elegant terms. What was she going to do about it? These were serious questions, the solution of which sorely perplexed the editorial mind. The editor at first thought of engaging the services of a fighting editor, but not being able to think of any one bold enough to face the female spy of the Cumberland, he abandoned that idea.
Santa Cruz Sentinel (August 1, 1874)
The Daring Major!
The Perils of Journalism Illustrated
How Pauline Cushman Obtained a Retraction
Some Spicy Correspondence
Two Comrades of the Army of the Cumberland
Since the terrible Local Option campaign, the editor of the Sentinel has entertained a wholesome dread of the powers of womankind. Set a woman on the warpath after him, and he will stand ready at any moment to make an ignominious surrender. He thinks he could fight his own weight in wildcats when it comes to confronting a man, and that he would prove himself no mean adversary in the presence of a Cardiff giant gifted with combative powers. But it is impossible to emerge with honor from a conflict with a woman, and especially if that woman be celebrated in history for unexampled exploits in war, and who is in stature and courage, a female Hercules. Such a woman is Major Pauline Cushman.
Well known as the female spy of the army of the Cumberland. The Major is, and has been for a long time a resident of Santa Cruz County, having comfortably located herself in a charming retreat on Boulder Creek, occasionally visiting Santa Cruz. She has an eye as bright as Minerva's, a presence at once commanding and defiant, a form physically complete in all its proportions, and a face beaming with beauty and intelligence. The major is moreover reputed to be a crack shot with pistol or rifle, and accomplished horsewoman, and a woman who dares in every respect, vindicate her title to military rank. Some weeks ago news reached town of an accident, which befell the gallant Major while out driving above Felton with some friends from San Francisco. The accounts of the disaster were very conflicting, and in the line of his professional duty, the editor of the Sentinel, endeavored, though not without some fear of incurring the Major's displeasure, to chronicle the disaster in the news columns of this journal. From the various accounts the following report which appeared in the Sentinel published on the 4th inst.
A Letter That Meant Business
1 o'clock, from the St. Charles Hotel
Sentinel Office, Gentleman- Will you be kind enough to explain why my card was not published in this week's paper? I desire to know why I am not righted in this matter. At all events, I shall not be treated with silent contempt.
A Typographical Fiend
The foreman, who is somewhat of a sporting character, and who would rather witness a fight or a footrace than eat his breakfast, rushed down stairs. Finding the editor on the sidewalk, with an enthusiasm worthy of a better cause, he placed the startling communication in his hands, accompanying the act with the cheerful message that a boy was up stairs waiting for an answer. As the editor glanced at the letter, his face turned the color of an eggshell, and his heart thumped wildly against his ribs. There was no escape now from an inevitable conflict- a conflict, which could have but one issue. "T-t-tell the boy the editor is out of town," stammered the affrighted journalist to his subordinate, who was now mentally putting up his stakes on the results of the coming battle. The foreman returned and dismissed the red headed messenger with the information that the editor was out, but would return in the course of an hour.
Don K's Advice
Meanwhile the editor called a council of war on the curbstone. He begged Don K to advise him as to the best course to be pursued under such distressing circumstances. Would Don K kindly edit the paper for a few days during the editor's temporary absence, looking after his interest in the Munson Quicksilver mine? No, Don K wouldn't listen to such a proposition. He consoled his partner by reviewing the history of the various hand to hand conflicts in which he had been engaged during his checkered journalistic career, and urged his younger confrere to stand his ground like a man. "Send her a note," he said, "Tell her that if she wants to talk business to you, that your office is the place; if you don't want to do that, go up and have a talk with her at her room, and none will know anything about the fight but yourself." The editor then- with visions of cow hides, revolvers, metallic cartridges, woman's fury, fiery eyes, and war to the knife, and death- wandered up the street glancing with suspicion at every approaching woman.
Bearding the Lioness
Before he reached the Pacific Ocean House, he had made up his mind to beard the lioness in her den. He accordingly directed his steps to the St. Charles Hotel, on the steps of which he encountered Mr. Hascall, a local Insurance Agent. The editor asked him if Major Cushman was staying in the Hotel. "She is," replied the man of many policies, Do you want to see her?" Upon being told that he did, the clerk at once directed the boy to show the editor to the Major's room. He had not gone up half a dozen steps before he came near breaking his neck in attempting to retrace his steps. At the foot of the steps he hailed the neatly looking Insurance Agent: Say Hascall, how do you address her in conversation?" Do you call her Major, Miss Pauline or how. - Major, offered Hascall with a nod.
[The next portion of the article in which an interview with the Major began is illegible]
The Major's Courage
The Major- It was entirely false, and I think ridiculous. You know that I have no fear, and would hold a man personally responsible for making any false statements about me.
The Editor- (With a conciliatory smile) Yes Major; oh, yes indeed, and you are right too.
The Major- You see I have even brought you here today.
The Editor- You have indeed, Major; and I concluded when I received your last letter, that the sooner I came round the better.
The Major- Now I wish you would publish my first letter. Why did you not print it?
The Editor- To be candid, major, I though your language was a slight degree unparliamentary, and I didn't dare modify it, so I quietly laid it aside, hoping your anger would blow over.
The Major- No, that's not my style. I do not allow myself to be treated with contempt by editors or any other class of men.
The Editor- (With commendable suavity) I beg Major, that you will disabuse your mind of any intention on my part to treat you with contempt, or to even give you offence in the manner in which the report of the accident was written.
Not Vexed With Trifles
The Major- I am glad to hear it. But I tell you not a day passes that someone does not twit me on my horsemanship. If the buggy had overturned while I was driving, I should have made no complaint against the report. I do not allow myself to get vexed at trifles, but the light in which I was made to appear in that accident as reported by you, has given me a great deal of trouble. Your report was copied by the Chronicle and went all over the State.
The editor thought the best thing to be done now was to draw his chair up to the Major's table and write a graceful retraction, giving the Major the benefit of her contradiction. He did so and penned the editorial not printed in another column. The Major smiled when she heard it read and pronounced it as fully satisfactory to her. She then shook hands with the editor and kindly invited him to call on her whenever he wandered out toward Boulder Creek. The Editor thereupon retired, inwardly reflecting on the narrow escape he had had from an immanent peril, and more than ever convinced that discretion was the better part of valor.
We have been requested by Major Pauline Cushman to explicitly deny the truth in some respects of the report printed in the Sentinel on July 4th, detailing the circumstances of a buggy accident in which the Major suffered serious injuries. First it is untrue that the Major was holding the reins at the time of the overturning of barouche. This should be stated in justice to the Majors' good horsemanship, in which she naturally takes some pride. Secondly there were two ladies in the carriage besides the Major, and Mr. Lathrup was the driver, though the Major ascribed no failure to him for the accident. It is almost unnecessary to add that the Major has thoroughly recovered from the affects of the accident, and was in town Thursday last, when she made the (illegible) editor of the Sentinel walk the plank and explain his share in composing the history of the disaster. The (illegible) is fully described in another (illegible).
Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 26, 1876)
Warning to Tramps
One day last week an incident occurred in the vicinity of Boulder Creek that is worthy of being commemorated. W. A. Chandler, on going to his house in the evening, in which he resides alone, discovered that it had been forcibly entered, and numerous articles of wearing apparel, etc. carried off. Suspicion at once fell upon three tramps, who had been seen in the neighborhood that day, and Mr. Chandler determined to capture them. So arming himself with an old six-shooter (which could not be fired), and a lantern, he stared for the summit. Arriving at the toll house at a late hour, he told his story to the keeper, and determined to await the coming of the vagrants, feeling assured that they would pass in that direction, on the way to the San Jose Valley. After keeping watch all night, Chandler's industry and vigilance were rewarded by the arrival of the suspected parties. The big pistol in the hands of Chandler brought the two to a halt; their packs were searched by the toll keeper, and the stolen goods discovered in the rolls of blankets. Chandler declared his determination to march his prisoners to Santa Cruz, and they were securely pinioned with the assistance of the keeper of the toll gate, by the use of bailing rope, and started on the back track. Upon arriving within a mile or two of the scene of depredations, Chandler feeling hungry, and concluding the trio he was driving before him were in the same condition, stopped and had breakfast for himself and prisoners. This he managed by untying one at a time, letting him eat, tying him up again and freeing another, until all were fed. After breakfast another start was made and Chandler concluded he could not drive the tramps before him to Santa Cruz inasmuch as he was quite foot sore and weary. So he resolved himself into both court and jury to punish the rascals in his own way and then turn them loose. Then he proceeded to do so by tying the three securely to trees some distance apart. When all were tied he took a heavy rod and whipped one severely, turned him loose, and started him. The second and third were treated in the same manner, respectively, and warned never to show themselves again in that neighborhood, a request which will no doubt be heeded inasmuch as three men answering their description were met the same day far over the mountain in Santa Clara County.
Santa Cruz Sentinel (March 15, 1879)
-Major Pauline Cushman used to live in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. We think she horsewhipped a man at La Honda and made the boys stand around lively at Lorenzo, and from our exchanges we learn that, In Arizona, she married Jessie Frazer, and whom, in time we prophesy she will toss higher than Gilroy's kite.
Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 24, 1885)
An Interview with a Former Resident of the Territory
The Indians as They Are
On Wednesday C.S. Coolidge, foreman of the Sentinel Job Department, formerly a resident of Arizona, in reply to questions by a reporter, answered substantially as follows:
"For five years I was a resident of Arizona; I went across the Colorado River on the first passenger train that entered Arizona soil. When I arrived there the Territory was enjoying the golden heyday of prosperity; if a merchant's sales did not average five hundred dollars a day they would call business dull. Yuma was then what might be called a port of entry, as all the freight trains and stages started from there for all parts of the territory, with the exception of the northern portion. Ehrenberg was then the starting point for the northern part. Yuma then had a population of about nine hundred. To show the effect of a mining excitement in those days, I will instance the little town of Gila City, which at one time numbered 1,200 inhabitants, and all that now remains of the town are three or four brush cabins. As the railroad passed through the Territory this stage business decreased considerably, and business was almost driven away by the advent of the steam cars. Yuma is now entirely supported from the mines of Silver District, fifty miles north, and El Rio, five miles west on the California side.
From Yuma I went to Tucson, which I reached when the railroad terminus was at Casa Grande. At this time the famous spy Pauline Cushman (who is well known to many Santa Cruzans), and her husband Jerry Fryer, were running a lodging house. Pauline was a brave woman, as was evidenced by a scene of which I was an eyewitness. A company of soldiers were on their way to Fort McDowell, and had stopped at Casa Grande. Captain Smith was in command. Some of the soldiers during the night had sold their blankets for tarantula juice. In the 'wee small hours of the morn' the inebriated soldiers awakened the gallant ex-spy and inquired for Captain Smith. To the first party she said the Captain was not in. When the second party came after the Captain she began to get angry, but when the third party knocked at her door at four o'clock in the morning Major Pauline jumped out of bed and with a revolver in each hand stepped to the door, and in firm tones said; "Captain Smith ain't here, and I'll brain the first man who disturbs me again. They didn't disturb her again."
Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 5, 1893)
Ignoble End of a Life of Brilliant Adventure
Actress Spy, "Major" and Poet
She Served Her Country well, but Forfeited Her Womanhood and Died in Loneliness and Poverty
San Francisco, Dec. 3- A childless gray-haired, penniless, broken woman, almost without friends, died a lonely death in a San Francisco lodging house Saturday. It was Pauline Cushman, who as a spy thirty years ago risked life and health and placed her neck in the hangman's noose while serving in the Union cause.
Appearances indicate that she died by her own hand, though this a conjectured more from the sad thoughts which she had put to paper in rhyme than from the circumstances surrounding her death.
This handsome, daring woman, who during the war filled the country with fame, but died in obscurity, was born in 1833. Her life was a romance. Her claim to fame rests chiefly upon her services to the Union during the war and on those narrated in the sketch of her life which appears in Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography.
She was the daughter of a Spanish refugee who became a tradesman in New Orleans, and afterwards an Indian trader at Grand Rapids, Mich. After reaching womanhood she returned to the south as a variety actress, and attracted attention by her beauty. When acting in Louisville, KY., in March 1863, she was offered a bribe if she would give a toast to Jefferson Davis during the performance, and, on informing the provost marshal, Col. Moore, was induced to carry out the plot. She was afterward employed by the government as a detective to discover the southern sympathizers and spies in Louisville, and their methods of conveying information and medical supplies across the lines, and frequently also as a scout. Securing a theatrical engagement at Nashville, where she was welcomed as a secessionist she performed valuable service for the army police in detecting thefts from the Government stores, trade in contraband and the practice of guerillas. Thence she was sent beyond the lines in May 1863, ostensibly as a rebel sympathizer, in order to gain information of the strength of the Confederate forces and fortifications, the extent of their supplies and their contemplated movements. She was captured, taken to the headquarters of General Bragg and sentenced by a court-martial to be hanged as a spy, but she was left behind at evacuation of Shelbyville, where she was found by the Union troops. The fame of her adventures extended over the country, and after her escape from imprisonment she was given by the soldiers the title of Major, and was accountred as an officer. Her knowledge of the roads in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi was of great service to the Army of the Cumberland.
A chapter is devoted to her services in Frank Morris' Women of the War, and F.L. Sarmiento published an extended biography in 1865.
About twenty years ago Mrs. Fryer, then Mrs. Dickinson, visited California, and several newspapers endeavored to throw doubts on her identity with Pauline Cushman. Colonel Henry G. Shaw, at that time editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, spoke slightingly of her, and she threatened to horsewhip him. There seems to have been pages of Miss Cushman's later life that charity would leave unread. Stories are told of her that throw a gloomy tinge over the years she passed in California.
A Grand Army man tells the following tale in the San Francisco Chronicle.
"In 1872 Major Pauline Cushman, the spy of the Cumberland as she called herself, lectured in Watsonville, and there I got my first knowledge of her. She was selling pamphlets that gave a very thrilling account of her adventures in the war while on this lecturing tour. After the lecture she went to a saloon that was kept by Charley O'Neil and became inebriated. The saloon was fitted up with card and billiard tables and had private rooms, and it was a great resort.
During the night that Major Pauline was there the shutters were closed and the occurrences were unfit to talk about much less to relate in print.
The next I knew of her was in 1874 or 1875, when she was living on the San Lorenzo creek above San Lorenzo, with Bill Chandler, who owned one of the best timberland in the mountains. He could have got many thousands of dollars for it. Chandler went to ruin, and the blame of it was laid on the Major. He was living as a bachelor in his little house in the mountains when Major Pauline became his companion.
Bill had a rich brother-in-law living a couple of miles above, but his relatives would not have anything to do with him after he met her. She left Bill and went to Boulder, at the junction of the San Lorenzo and Boulder creeks. The she resided with an old man who kept the principal store in the place. Her reputation there was not different from what it had been above San Lorenzo.
I afterwards heard of her at Searsville, San Mateo County. She had a quarrel there with Bill Sears, the Postmaster and when she was about to leave the town on the stage she seized the whip from the stage driver, Bob Rores, and lashed Sears until the whip broke. She kept Sears from running away by holding a cocked pistol in her left hand threatening to shoot him."
Even in her age and poverty Pauline Cushman was singularly handsome woman. Some time after the Santa Cruz episode and her first husband's death she married Jerry Fryer, Sheriff of Pinole county, Arizona. A few years ago they separated, but were not divorced.
The Grand Army man above referred to is slightly off in his statements. Capt. Sausman, who was keeping a store in company with Wm. Sears, at La Honda, San Mateo Co., discovered Maj. Cushman in San Francisco. In connection with this store was a bar and post office. Sausman was an old "bach." A 49'er and a man of some literary ability. He brought the Cushman woman down from San Francisco to La Honda, a mere stage stopping and trading post for the line running from Pescadero to Redwood City, and in the heart of a dense redwood forest. Sears cast some reflections on the Cushman virtue, and the horsewhipping episode occurred. This led to the selling of the Sausman interest in the store to Sears, Sausman moving to where the town of Boulder Creek is now located, and where he opened a small trading post. The Cushman woman soon joined him, but for some reason shortly became the housekeeper of Bill Chandler. Sausman closed his store, moved to Gilroy, and there died three years ago.
Chandler was on the road to ruin by drink long before he saw the woman with whom his name is here connected. She probably helped him to get through his timber claim and to land in the Santa Cruz hospital as one of our indigent sick. After leaving the hospital he is said to have gone south.
We knew Major Cushman quite well. We had heard of her meeting Col. Shaw, a meeting greatly inflated in it's telling, and our acquaintance can be summed up as follows:
"On a stormy day we rode from Santa Cruz to Watsonville in a "mud wagon," the stage of the time. In the back seat sat a large, but not tall woman, with as handsome a pair of black eyes as we ever saw in a woman's head. The atmosphere was chill, and the rain fell in torrents. At Sandy's Corners we pushed aside the leather curtains and stepped out for exercise and warmth while the horses were being changed. As we did so the occupant of the back seat, speaking of how cold it was, asked for a glass of whisky. We secured it, "four fingers," and she turned it off without catching her breath. We knew that she was Pauline Cushman, a woman for any emergency, whose Eastern fame was made, but did not know that she was to establish a Santa Cruz Record.
The "Bob Rores" mentioned by the Grand Army man never existed. Bob Rawls did exist, but he never drove on the La Honda road. Had the Grand Army man said that NP Ingalls, now of this city, drove when the horsewhip was broken, he might, if our informant is correct, have told the truth.
Fame clearly was more important to her than family, and unfortunately for her, fame was fleeting. By 1872 she no longer held the public's attention in the East so she traveled to San Francisco. There she met and married August Fictner in December 1872. Within a year she was widowed again. She spent the next five years working among the redwood logging camps near Santa Cruz.
In 1879 she met Jere Fryer and moved to Casa Grande, Arizona Territory. They married and operated a hotel and livery stable. He became the sheriff of Pinal County. Her attempts at domesticity were dashed by the death of an adopted daughter. Grief over the death led them to separate in 1890.
Destitute, Pauline applied for a pension based on her first husband's military service. It was granted in June 1893. She spent her last days in a boarding house in San Francisco working as a seamstress and charwoman. During the night of the 1st of December 1893 she took too much pain medicine, and was found dead the next morning by her landlady.
In the end, playing her many roles had taken its toll. Her final moment of fame came after her death when members of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Women's Relief Corps conducted a huge funeral. "Major" Cushman's remains now rest in Officer's Circle at the Presidio National Cemetery in San Francisco. Her simple gravestone... the same as any Union soldier... is marked, "Pauline C. Fryer, Union Spy."
Internet Research Supplied by William Christen (January 25, 1999)
Pauline Cushman can be described as only a minor character on the 19th century American stage. It was a brief time in Kentucky in 1863, while a member of a theatrical troupe playing in Louisville that marked her name in the records of Civil War history. Her work as a spy for the United States became her source of fame, but was of little consequence to the outcome of the war. She left no legacy based on her acting ability on stage. She was a fascinating woman of the Victorian era who may have contributed more to the morale of Northern soldiers and the public by her on-stage efforts than her espionage work.
Ferdinand Sarmiento's 1864 biography, "The Life Of Pauline Cushman", has been the source of almost all published information on her life. My research into the contents of Sarmiento's book and a search for other primary material is the subject of my presentation. A few discoveries along the way that have added to the facts of her life and the excitement of visiting many of the scenes of her life have contributed to the enjoyment of trying to solve the puzzle of her life despite some still missing pieces.
The record of her life still remains more fiction than truth. This presentation relates a brief outline of her life and incidents during my search. It is supplemented by a collection of photographic images and visual reminders of her life. In addition to ongoing research for a published biography I am working with Lorraine Gray, a nationally known motion picture producer, as a consultant for a film about Pauline Cushman. Bill Christen 25 January 1999
Miss Major Pauline Cushman
Her early years are a mystery with few verifiable details. Her real name was Harriet Wood. [She was born in New Orleans of mixed French and Spanish parentage in 1833.] In the early 1850s she embraced the life of a theatrical performer as a member of Thomas Placide's Varieties. It was then that she took the name Pauline Cushman. She married Charles Dickinson, a music teacher and theater musician, in New Orleans in 1853. They had a son Charles, born in 1858 and a daughter Ida, born in 1860. Dickinson was a member of the regimental band of the 41st Ohio Infantry. Suffering from chronic dysentery during the Shiloh campaign he was discharged and sent home to Cleveland where he died in December 1862. The children were left with in-laws in Ohio and she was away when the son died in 1864 and the daughter in 1868.
During the spring of 1863, while performing in Louisville, she was approached by the Provost Marshal of the city to provide information regarding Confederate activity in the area. [It has been suggested that there was apparently an active southern spy and support network operating out of Louisville and Nashville which were funneling medical supplies to the south out of Louisville and robbing supplies out of Nashville]
Accomplishing little in Louisville, she was sent south of Nashville to visit General Bragg's headquarters. She was captured and sentenced to be hanged as a spy. The rapid retreat of Bragg's Army of the Tennessee left her free. Had she ever met Bragg or Morgan or Bedford Forrest? Her early biographers indicate that she did. No official records diaries or manuscripts provide verification. The only evidence of her being on the Federal payroll is a voucher (approved by James A. Garfield) paying a board bill. In December 1863 she left Nashville wearing a riding habit of military design with the insignia of a cavalry major on it. This is the sole basis of her claimed military rank.
P.T. Barnum promoted her as "The Spy of the Cumberland." She appeared at his American Museum in New York City in June 1864. Barnum's "generosity" gained her popularity and recognition. There is one newspaper report that she married James M. Ward, the Irish comedian. This may have only been a "cover" story as they traveled in together in 1865-1867 raising money for support of the Fenian rebellion in Canada West.
Fame clearly was more important to her than family, and unfortunately for her, fame was fleeting. By 1872 she no longer held the public's attention in the East so she traveled to San Francisco. There she met and married August Fichtner in December 1872. He may have died within a year. Not much is known of him except that he was an office manager, and that several other Fichtners lived with him. At this time there were stories of Pauline's engagement to a Dr. Samuel Orr. Orr, a Civil War veteran, was a contract surgeon for the US Army. He was stationed for a while at Ft. Bowie, AZ Territory, and later practiced medicine in San Francisco.
Pauline spent the next five years working among the redwood logging camps near Santa Cruz.
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