Santa Cruz County History - People

MyEarly Childhood Memories: Part Four
by Sarah Hinton Gourley

Edited by Keith and Dee Kraft

After Grandma Anthony died in May 1858, Grandpa Anthony was very lonely. Elihu Anthony located a ranch in Blackburn Gulch. A house was built. Grandpa A. and one of Uncle Elihu’s boys lived in it for a while to prove up [improve] on the property. It was a very wild country and they used to trap wild animals. Grandfather A’s children and grandchildren decided to have a picnic at his place. We were taken out in a wagon drawn by oxen which was rather slow traveling. Thick woods were on each side of the road. The young folks walked ahead of the wagon and climbed up on stumps and sang when the team came by. We had a bountiful lunch and spent a very happy day.

Our folks took up about eighty acres of land in Blackburn Gulch. When they moved to this farm, I went to live with Aunt Hannah Anthony, [33] and attended the Grant School a short time. Miss Louisa Fernald [Drennan] was the teacher and boarded at the Geo. Anthony home. I helped Aunt Hannah with [her] work. In the evening I sat with Grandfather by the fireplace in his room as he was so lonely. He told me stories of his early life which were very interesting.

In Aunt Hannah’s pantry there were pans of gingerbread, baked apples, cheese, cream and milk. We used to help ourselves to all we wanted after school. Aunt H. was a kind hearted woman and loved by every one. Lewis A., [34] Miss Fernald, and I, had many jolly times together.

Wedding Photograph of Adam and Sarah Gourley
Adam and Sarah Gourley's
Wedding Photograph
October 11, 1866

The youngest child [35] was badly spoiled. [He] had breakfast after the rest were gone. Aunt H. would cook an egg for him. He would eat it and say, 'Mother, I want another."

Lewis, Miss F. and I sat up with the little Lupeer [Louis La Pierre] child that died. We made a dress for it that night. [We] were about eaten up by fleas. We ate the loaf of bread that Aunt Hannah had sent to the Lupeer [La Pierre] family.

I stayed a school term at Capt. McAlmond’s. [36] He was home only once in two weeks. Sometimes he could not land here due to bad weather, and [he] had to take his schooner to Monterey. Mr. [Edward A.] Hazen the Methodist minister boarded there. Mrs. [McAlmond], Mr. Hazen and I were all Hoosiers. [37]

I stayed with Uncle Charles and Aunt Obi (Niobe) [38] for awhile and went to school. Rosa Wager, Becky Martin and I were great friends.

I first attended a private school taught by Miss Wells in the little white house near the west end of the Soquel Ave. Bridge.

After that I attended Mission Hill School. The building was plain and had one room. Later an ell was built on. It had rows of double wooden desks [and] there was a long recitation bench.

The hill on the south [39] was very steep and very wet in the winter time. The boys used to slide down on sleds and often landed in the orchard at the foot of the hill. I know it was a thrilling trip as I accepted a dare and tried it myself. Once was enough, though I never regretted it. [There was] no Physical Education in those days but plenty of exercise such as ball, marbles, pump, pump pull away, teeters and jumping rope.

Once in a while we had School Exhibitions in the schoolhouse and the program included singing, recitations and tableaus. A picnic was held on May first.

Charlie Perry used to attend to the ringing of the bell. We girls used to go over to the [Methodist] church yard on Green St. to gather poppies. Charlie often held the bell rope until we had time to reach the building.

School [Mission Hill] was opened by reading a chapter from the bible followed by the Lord’s Prayer by the children, and the singing of patriotic songs. Every Friday afternoon we had a spelling match out of Town’s Speller. We had a little drawing. We were given pictures to copy.

The school was not graded. We took a slate, copy book, and necessary school books to school. The teacher inquired how far we had been in each book and placed us in classes accordingly.

I recall the following teachers who taught at Mission Hill. Robert Desty [Daillebout]was French and a highly educated man. He had a peculiar way of imparting his knowledge. The first class in arithmetic was called in the morning. He would place a difficult problem on the board. He would explain it, using a pointer. He would then ask the class if everyone understood it. If some did not, he would erase it with the sleeve of his alpaca coat at the same time calling us numbskulls and no nothings. He placed it on the board again and stayed with it until all the class under-stood it. Then he would change to endearing names.

He was fond of sea life and on Saturdays, when there was low tide, would take all the pupils to the beach and explain thoroughly the wonders of the sea. On other occasions he would close school, and take us to the beach to see a whale before it was cut up.

The last term [that] I attended school, Professor [Thomas Milton] Gatch was the teacher. This was during the Civil War. He was a man that was loved by his pupils. At recess and noon we ran down the hill to read the Bulletin Board to get the latest news of the war.

This was before the age of bobbed hair. The girls decided to present Mr. Gatch with a present. Every girl contributed a lock of hair which they had woven into a watch chain. We paid $12.00 to have it gold mounted.

The girls composed a presentation speech and Sarah Fields was selected to read it. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he accepted it, and it was one of his most prized possessions.

I had the following teachers:

  1. Miss [Anna M.] Wells 1856 (private school)
  2. Miss Bacon
  3. Miss Ann Lidell
  4. Miss [Mary] Hill 1862
  5. Mr. Desty [Robert Daillebout]
  6. Mr. [Thomas Milton] Gatch 1865
  7. Mr. Gosling
  8. Miss Louisa Fernald - Grant School.
  9. Mr. Bailey, C.P. [Calvin Porter Bailey]

The San Lorenzo river in town was beautiful, being very wide and having a high bank on the east side. The sand was dotted with lupine bushes. It was an interesting sight to see the Spanish women washing on a plain board as they knelt by the river. They rubbed their clothes with soap root, rinsed them, and hung them on the lupine bushes to dry.

Due to heavy rains the river sometimes left its bed and flowed over to what is now Pacific Avenue, and even to Shanty Flat. [40] Several pretty homes on the west side were carried into the bay by the floods.

There were no bridges across the river except a foot bridge in summer. A boat was sometimes used.

Front Street was the only business street. It boasted having two hotels, The Franklin and the Santa Cruz. The Mix Butcher Shop, with a slaughter house in the rear, occupied the site of the present Post Office. Mix [Edward H. Mix] would call, 'You Steve, into the corral," whenever they were going to butcher. Old Mrs. Steen near by would come with a pan to catch blood for a pudding.

The Cooper Brothers had a grocery and dry goods store on Front St. The only means of delivery they had was a clothes-basket filled with goods carried on the shoulders of an Indian.

The west side of Pacific Ave. (Willow St.) was in farms. Judge Blackburn had an apple orchard. Where the Santa Cruz Theatre was first built, there was a splendid spring of water and some fine apple trees.

Elihu Anthony had the first post office and it stood where the Mission Garage is now [Head of Pacific Ave.].

Down what is now Pacific Ave. there was a board sidewalk to the beach. When the river flooded, it was a floppy affair on which to walk.

Driving was permitted on the beach. It was a great place for fine turnouts to go during the day and on moon light nights.

Schooners and steamers came to the three warves [wharves]. There were many sailing vessels. Saltpeter was brought from Chile to be used at the powder mill.

All the Protestant denominations worshiped together in a small church on Green Street. A little cemetery surrounded the church.

Across from the old Mission Hill School stood the Eagle Hotel. [41] It was a large building. Festivals and fairs given by the churches were held in it.

There were many Spanish people on the East Side. On Sunday morning they attended church. The women wore black dresses with a shawl thrown over the head and the end thrown across the shoulder. They walked very erect.

Many Indians also attended the Mission Church. The women were attired in blue calico and black shawls. They sat on the floor in the back of the church.

The burial ground was around the church. It was so crowded several were buried in the same grave. This was found out when they were later removed to the present cemetery on the Capitola Road. [42]

The Mission was a roughly constructed one and not architecturally beautiful. It was in a state of fair preservation in 1856. A heavy earthquake [January 9, 1857] shook so much of it down that it was never repaired. A stream [43] ran by the old Mission across the plaza. In winter it was a swollen stream and flooded the upper plaza. In the summer it was a pretty stream bordered with water cress.

The Evergreen Cemetery [44] is on land given to the city by Hiram Imus. He had a large farm and raised strawberries and apples which brought a good price in those days. I used to go to their house to play with Hattie Imus.

The East Side was called "Greaser Town" on account of the many Spanish people living there. The houses were board and battened and white washed. The principal flower in the garden was the Rose of Castile. The petals were used as a medicine.

Dictated by Mother, June 1933


>>To: My Early Childhood Memories: Endnotes.

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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downtown, education, Santa Cruz, schools


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