Santa Cruz County History - People

My Early Childhood Memories: Part Three
by Sarah Hinton Gourley

Edited by Keith and Dee Kraft

Amelia Hinds took me to my first school [1857]. The school was located on Front St. and Soquel Ave.[20] in a small white house. It was a private school, eight dollars per month, taugh [taught] by an English lady, Miss [Anna M.] Wells. From our homes we walked along the Russell tract and past the Evergreen Cemetery, then down Mission Hill to Front St. The teacher was a very particular maiden lady. I wore ... clean tire [attire] every day and gloves to keep my hands clean. My neck, ears and teeth were inspected before leaving home.

Photograph taken at 70th Birthday
Girlhood Friends at Sarah Gourley's 70th Birthday.
May 27, 1919.

Top row from the left:
Louisa (Anthony) Huntington-- Sarah's first cousin whose father was Elihu Anthony; Sarah (Hinton) Gourley; Mrs. Chase; Mrs. Grant, Laura Hecox.

Bottom row from the left:
Mary E. (Hinton) Hopps--Sarah's sister, Amelia (Hinds) McPherson--married to Duncan McPherson, Amelia (Alexander) Dempsy Heath--Sarah's first cousin.

Amelia and I were allowed to buy meat at Roundtree’s [Almus A. Rountree] butcher shop to feed Miss Well’s dog.

The teacher was quite deaf. If a child proved to be careless about their person or clothing, he was expelled from school.

My little chum at school was May Cooper. When May and I were naughty she [Miss Wells] placed us in a little room by ourselves for punishment. We leaned out of the window and popped the fuchsia buds.

In singing the song containing these words - "Mary to the Savior’s tomb, Spice she brought and rich perfume." Some of them [her students] took advantage of Miss Wells deafness and sang - 'Spicy Mix[21] (the name of a pupil) and rich perfume."

Some of the pupils were : Spicy Mix, Lizzie Hardy, Sarah Pyburn, Louisa Anthony, Amelia and Hattie Alexander, May Cooper, Amelia Hinds, Tommy Cooper, Charlie Arcane [Arcan] and Sarah Hinton.

Miss Wells nephew, Mr. George [22], was married in the old Boston home on Church St. Miss Wells helped about [prepare for] the wedding. Amelia stayed after school and beat eggs to make the wedding cake and helped in other ways, and I stayed too. All the pupils were invited to the wedding. We practiced our behavior about two weeks so as to be just so at the wedding. They were married in the parlor. We children were seated in the room very precisely. The bride and groom and guests went out into the next room for refreshments. After the couple had been congratulated by the grown ups, we children shook hands with them and congratulated them. Later we were served refreshments. The next day at school, Miss Wells told us how proud she was of her pupils as we had done just the right thing at the right time. The wedding was a wonderful event for us. Miss Wells was a very conscientious teacher and we all loved her.

On our way to school we passed the old Mission orchard of pear, olive and walnut trees. The trees were large. It was a beautiful orchard. It was rented by Capt. White [23]. His wife was an old lady about twenty years his senior. Mrs. White wanted to be kind but was very close. She would pick up the windfall pears and give them to us. They were very soft and on the verge of spoiling. Mother said to take them and thank her for them, but when we came to the ditch that formed the Indian fence around their enclosure, ... throw the pears away.

The Indians used to pass our house on their way to pick wild black-berries. Amelia Hinds and I were young girls then and each had an Indian admirer. The one who brought me berries was Lahugh. He called about dusk, "Sala, benica." [24] I hurried out and he gave me the choicest berries he had picked. My mother thought it was hardly the right thing to take the berries, but she used them just the same. The berries were much larger in those days.

Drinking liquor made the Indians very quarrelsome and they fought with knives among themselves. Lahugh was badly cut about the face in a fight. I told him I could not take berries from Indians that quarreled. So that put an end to my getting free berries.

Amelia’s father hired a young Indian named Kajesus to work for him sometimes. He smiled on Amelia. He got quite in earnest, and her brothers, for a joke, told him the proper thing to do would be to ask her father if he could marry Amelia. He took them at their word and asked her father. He explained it to the Indian and told him it would be a terrible thing to do for a white girl to marry an Indian. So that was an end to the Indian beaus when we were young girls.

There was a tannery [25]where the Krohn [Kron] tannery is now. It was owned by Billy Warren and a man named Gregg. Billy was an Englishman with a very turned up nose. [He] was very jolly. He used to get a barrel of raisins from England. He was very clever and gave us each a handful of raisins whenever we went to the tannery. They were a great treat. We liked to play at the tannery and jumped across some of the vats.

My sister Alice [26] was born on July 2, [1862]. On the Fourth of July my father went to see the parade. Billy Warren took a notion that he wanted to call to see the baby that day. I looked out and saw him coming with an Indian. Warren had had a little too much 4th before he started so we decided to keep still and not let him in. He and the Indian then walked up the path to the Hinds’ place. Billy told Mr. Hinds that he had called with his servant at Mr. Hinton’s to see the baby, and they would not let him in. He was very sorry when he was in condition to realize what he had done and came to apologize.

The Hinds and Hinton families were neighbors for eight years. [1858-1866] We were always neighborly and true friends.

On a hill south of the Hinds’ place lived Joe Russell, an Irishman and a bachelor. He cut and sold wood and delivered it. [He] always had about five dogs following him. His house was built in [the] very early days by two women, Mrs. Kirby and Mrs. Farnham. [27] The women wore bloomers when they built the house and were not considered nice women on that account. The house was lathed, but never plastered. He raised pigeons in the attic and kept pigs under the house.

A brother named Paddy [Tom Russell] and family came from the east. He settled near his brother Joe. He made a business of raising hogs. A corner of his place joined ours. He was a very pleasant man and sometimes wore a dress suit and tall hat. He often called to me to ask if I had seen some of his stray pigs.

The community was greatly shocked when Paddy came up missing. [28] A search was made for him. He was found lying near a trail on a hillside. He had been shot just under the eye and had fallen near the trail. The guilty person was never found out.

In 1862 (May), there was a flood which many people will recall. Charlie and I stayed by the river whenever we could, watching buildings, logs, chickens, pigs and many other things floating down to the bay.

When the river had gone down somewhat, but still rather too high to cross with horses and wagon, a lady named Mrs. Foul who was visiting mother insisted upon being taken across to Sister [Evan] Russell’s.

My father thought he could make it. They got into the wagon. My brother, sister and I walked to the river. Charlie tried to persuade my father not to try crossing it. Mary was determined to go with them. Sister Foul had a small package tied up in a handkerchief. So they started. The current was very swift and the horses had to swim. My father tried to pull them to the bank. Mrs. Foul held up her small package and called out, 'Poor Sister Russell’s dried peaches." Mary was screaming. We were anxious about them but could offer no help.

As they got nearer the other side, the wagon caught on some bushes. The hind wheels left the wagon. They lodged on brush and were afterward taken out. My father and passengers succeeded in getting out on brush near the edge.

Each May Day we looked forward to a picnic. They were often held in Isbel Grove. [29] The pupils met at the schoolhouse and walked over to the grove. One May Day, Louisa Anthony [30] was the queen as she was the oldest girl. I was one of the maids of honor. We sang- "Here we crown thee, Queen of Beauty, Queen of Science, Queen of Art. Welcome to the shady grove. Welcome, welcome, welcome.'' We crowned the queen with a wreath of flowers.

One day Amanda Anthony and her brothers, Charlie and I took a walk up on Russell’s Hill. [31] The boys dared us to roll down the hill. We took the dare and removed our hoop skirts and hung them in a tree. They tied our feet together and bound our arms to our body. They shoved us and away we went over and over to the bottom of the hill. My head felt big and my body was sore. Cousin Amanda was badly used up and remained in bed for two weeks. It was sport for the boys, but not for us.

I was taken into the Good Templars when I was twelve years old. Aunt Lydia would not let my cousin Amelia Alexander [32] join until I was old enough. They voted to take me in before I reached the required age. My hair was in long curls and I wore a nun’s veiling dress of blue with brown dots. I felt as smart as my cousin, if not so old. The Good Templars and festivals were all we had in the way of evening entertainment.

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

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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