Santa Cruz County History - People

My Early Childhood Memories
by Sarah Hinton Gourley

Edited by Keith and Dee Kraft

Photo of Sarah Hinton Gourley, August 1899
Sarah Hinton Gourley, 1899


Sarah Hinton Gourley (1849-1940) was seven years old when she arrived in Santa Cruz in 1856. Her memories about the trip to California and other early childhood experiences provide an interesting and sometimes humorous look into what life was like in those early days.

Keith Kraft, a great-grandson of Sarah, and his wife Dolores (Dee) reside in the Gourley family home in Santa Cruz. Dee's enthusiasm in researching the Anthony - Hinton - Gourley family histories is well known by members of the History Museum. Submission of Sarah's journal is largely due to Dee's efforts.


In June 1933, Sarah Gourley, at the age of 84, dictated her most vivid early childhood memories to her daughter, Jessie Gourley. The journal contains numerous references to people, places and incidents and provides glimpses of life in early Santa Cruz. Following are excerpts from the original hand-written journal. Some changes in punctuation and editorial additions in brackets were made to improve reading clarity.

Sarah Elizabeth (Hinton) Gourley was born near Fort Wayne, Indiana on May 27, 1849. Her Uncle, Elihu Anthony, had crossed the plains to California in the spring of 1847. Influenced by Elihu's lectures, Sarah's parents, Lewis and Harriet (Anthony) Hinton caught the "California Fever," and began the long journey from Indiana in 1856. Surviving the misadventures of the trip across the Isthmus of Panama, Sarah and her parents arrived in Santa Cruz in July, 1856.

On October 11, 1866, Sarah, at the age of seventeen, Married Adam Fulton Gourley. They had four children: Edna H. (Gourley) Smith (1868-1960) m. George G. Smith 1890; Grace M. (Gourley) Scofield (1870-1945) m. Reuben L. Scofield 1888; Jessie H. Gourley (1875-1962) - she never married; Asa A. Gourley (1881-?) m. Leola B. Faust 1920.

The Gourley family moved to Calaveras County in 1879, where Adam owned a candy store and a gold mine. Sarah returned to Santa Cruz in 1913, the year following Adam's death. Sarah lived with her daughter, Jessie, at 326 (later 1111) Broadway, until her death in 1940.

Sarah is buried at Evergreen Cemetery, plot #110. Also buried in this plot are: Sarah's mother, Harriet (Anthony) Hinton, and her brother and his wife, Charles Hinton and Mary (Bunting) Hinton; and Jessie Gourley.

>>To Sarah Hinton Gourley's account: My Childhood Memories: Part One.

Copyright 1996 Keith and Dee Kraft. Reproduced by permission of the editors, Keith and Dee Kraft. Photographs courtesy of Keith and Dee Kraft.

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