Santa Cruz County History - People

My Early Childhood Memories: Part Two

Edited by Keith and Dee Kraft

We took a boat to Alviso. Uncle Elihu Anthony met us there with two horses and a rockaway, [7] and brought us over the mountains by way of San Jose and Soquel to his home on Water Street.

We stopped with Uncle Elihu Anthony's family while looking for a house. We found one on Mission St. near where the Pope House [8]afterward stood. It was called the Hutchin's house, and stood until torn down to make room for the new Mission Hill school yard.

There were few houses on Mission St. other than farm houses. There were pastures on both sides. The road was bad in winter as the soil was adobe, and when driving over it the horses made a snapping sound as they drew their feet from the mud. The street in front of some of the farms served as a corral for the cattle over night.

My father, mother and I had arrived in Santa Cruz shortly before July 4th, 1856. As a result of the R.R. accident while crossing the Isthmus of Panama, my father and I were still on crutches. The celebration of the 4th in those days was a great event in Santa Cruz. The procession formed on the upper plaza in front of the old Mission. To the tune of Yankee Doodle, the citizens and school children marched to Willow Grove, near where the Garibaldi Hotel now stands. A.P. Jordan [Albion Paris Jordan] sometimes had five yoke of oxen hitched to one wagon. About two hundred children rode in the parade. Had to tie a yoke of cattle to the rear end of the wagon to turn it around. School girls, [who were] dressed in white, wore sashes bearing the name [of] a state. The exercises consisted of orations, singing and music by the band. One 4th, a lady singer came from San Francisco to sing the Star Spangled Banner. This was followed by a barbecue in which bread, meat and lemonade were furnished free for all.

There were a good many Indians in Santa Cruz at that time. They sat in the background and partook of the remnants of the repast after the citizens had finished. Something stronger than lemonade was freely indulged in on this day, and by night there was much evidence of its effects.

In a short time we moved to Plymouth St. to a large house. Uncle Elihu owned about 100 acres. My father and Uncle Dave Pringle farmed it for one year.

In going from Plymouth St. to town we went down what is now Franklin St. to the river, which had very high banks. We followed a path along the bank to where the Water St. bridge is now and crossed a foot bridge. A Spanish house stood near what is now Booth’s Grove. [9] It was the home of the boys who murdered the man in Sycamore Flat to obtain money to attend a circus. They were hanged on the bridge in 1877.

Charlie, Mary and I were returning from town one day and had reached the Frank Ball place on what is now Franklin St. His place extended to Water St. He raised many melons and much garden truck. He was a white man and wore a beard reaching nearly to his waist, and it was quite generously sprinkled with tobacco juice. He had a squaw wife and several children. He had been hauling in his melons, and we stopped to look at them as they were scarce and high in price. He turned to me and said, "Now Sarah, if you will walk up to me and kiss me, I’ll give you the largest melon in the pile." My brother was full of mischief and fun. He nudged me and said, "Do it. It will take only a minute." After some coaxing, I made a dash toward him and planted a kiss somewhere in the whiskers. He was as good as his word and gave us a large melon. We could not carry it and had to borrow a small wagon in which to haul it home. When we reached home and told how I earned the melon, mother gave me a severe talking to and said she was ashamed she had a daughter that would act in such a way. I was deeply humiliated and am to this day, but the family enjoyed the melon just the same.

The wagon road to town was down Ocean St., then called Sand Lane. [10] A stream ran down the street in the winter time. When Uncle George Anthony [11] was Supervisor, he had redwood bark put on the street but it was not satisfactory. Ocean St. had but few houses and was farmed on either side.

After leaving Plymouth St. my father bought a place in the Potrero. It contained eight acres. The house had three small rooms, hard finished, and a fancy [12] in the front gable. It was built by a bachelor named Foot. We soon enlarged the house.

In those days every one with a few acres raised their own bread-stuffs. The wheat was cut and put in shocks and then beaten out with flails. Deacon [William] Taylor was an expert at binding wheat. He would work all day for two dollars. The wheat was put through a fanning mill to remove the chaff. Buckwheat and corn were raised. Mother always looked the corn over very carefully.

We took our grain to the Major's Mill on High Street, near where the Hatch home is now [13], to be ground and [we] waited to take it home. The water that turned the mill wheel was the stream that ran by the Mission. Mary and I always went on this trip with my father.

There has been a great improvement made in the lighting system. We had small tin lamps with two wicks which burned whale oil. It was necessary to scrape and clean them every day to remove the gummy deposit. The lamp had no chimney. It was my task, when a little girl, to clean the lamps.

We made our own candles. [We] used wicking, tallow from the butcher shop, and candle molds. Then came coal oil lamps which gave a most brilliant light. Grandma said not to look at the light as it was too bright for the eyes.

As a child, I used to help my brother pick green peas and strawberries. We liked to pick peas near the [David] Gharkey fence as Mr. G. had peach trees. He would call us to the fence and give us windfall peaches which were a great treat.

My father took us one moon light night in a wagon drawn by Baldy and Jane, to a neighborhood prayer meeting at Brother [Giles M.] Ellingwood's on High St. beyond the grist mill.

We sat in the back of the wagon on the straw. My father was in the driver's seat. When we reached home, one of the horses, Baldy, [who] always ran away when he could, took fright and there was an exciting runaway. My father had set out a young orchard. The horses ran around and around over the trees. Father was thrown from the seat but held to the reins. We were all calling "Whoa!" at the top of our voices. He finally headed them toward a stack of straw where the horses had to stop. My father was scratched and his long linen duster [14] was torn into pieces. Our neighbor at the tannery, Billy Warren, came up early the next morning to see what had happened to the Hinton family the night before.

Photograph of the Hinton Children
The Hinton Children:
Charles Hinton, Sarah Hinton Gourley,
Mary Hinton Hopps, Alice Hinton Hunsucker.
(Photographed in Santa Cruz
by McKern & Ort, date unknown)

Charley, Mary and I were black berrying on the hills near the Renay [15] place. Mr. R. used to set figure-4 quail traps. He had told us that someone had been knocking his traps down. Mary said she had a notion to knock one of the traps down. We tried to stop her but she kicked it over. Just at that time Mr. R. jumped out of the brush to scare her. She ran down the hill, and in her excitement climbed a fence and jumped into a corral where there were wild cattle. She kept on running and climbed the fence to safety. Her sunbonnet was hanging down her back.

In those days all little girls wore hoop skirts. The hoop was held together by a little brass clasp which sometimes pulled loose. They were suspended in order to mend them. I was mending mine one day and caught my finger in the brass clasp and the brass infected my finger. It made a very bad sore. It filled with proud flesh [See endnote 6]. I went every morning for three weeks to Drs. Rawson and Bailey [16] to have Dr. Bailey dress it before I went to school. Among other things they did, my nail was peeled off. I suffered terribly, and the last time he dressed it he said if it did not look better the next day he would remove my finger at the first joint. I went to the office the next morning and Dr. Bailey was making preparations to take it off, when Dr. Rawson came in. He said it would be a pity to do it and I would feel badly about it when I grew up, so he took it in charge. There was quite an improvement in it by the next morning. It was a great disappointment to me and I began to cry and said "Oh Pa, I can’t have my new dress." Mother told me I could select a dress for myself if they cut my finger off. I felt so badly that my father said, "Never mind, I’ll take you down to Cooper’s Store and you can get a dress." I cried again and said, "Oh no, Ma won’t like it." I selected the goods for a dress and was very proud of it as it was the first one I ever chose for myself.

The Indian settlement was in the Potrero on the left side of the street by that name near Evergreen Cemetery, and was fenced in by a deep ditch so that their horses could not escape. Most of the [Indian’s] houses were made of [wooden] slabs with shake roofs.

They had a sweat house plastered with mud on the outside. A fire was built in the center with a small place for the smoke to escape. The Indians sat around the fire. When sufficiently sweated, they ran from the building and plunged into a hole of cold water in the creek.

They made their living by working for the white people. They were expert pickers of wild blackberries and got many where the golf links are now. [17] They were trustworthy and well behaved except when they indulged in coniac [cognac] then they quarreled among themselves.

Our nearest neighbors were Reverend Thomas [William] Hinds and his family. Amelia Hinds [18] came to call on me soon after we moved to the Potrero. She was three years older than I and about to quit playing with dolls. She was very generous and gave me many pretty scraps for my doll.

A creek[19] ran through their place and ours. We had happy times playing along this creek. The boys built little boats with sails. Amelia and I made little sacks and filled them with sand, and sent them by boat from their house down to our place.

Owing to the heavy rains, there were many wild flowers. In May, Amelia and I had one day for ourselves, and took our lunch and went to the hills above where the golf links are. It was then the Renay (Fr.) place. [See endnote [15]] We gathered flowers which were very plentiful. We had pins with us which we had been saving for some time. We tied the flowers in festoons with string and pinned them to our dresses under which we wore hoops. Wreaths were made to wear on our heads. It took all day to get decorated. When we came home we called on Amelia’s father first, and then came down to our house to show mother. Mr. Hinds was always pleased when Amelia and I enjoyed ourselves on our annual trip for wild flowers.

>>To: My Early Childhood Memories: Part Three.

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

View similarly tagged articles:

farming, hanging, Native Americans, Santa Cruz


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