Thursday, May 27, 2010

Funeral services for Bessie Losee Smith

From the Long Beach Independent, February 1946:

Percy Smith, Dean of the Long Beach Realtors

From the Long Beach Independent, Wednesday, May 3, 1950:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dr. Elbert Pinney (1826-1914)

Elbert Pinney is my great-great-great-great grandfather. Here's an interesting biography I found of him, written in 1876:

He was born in New England of a family of Scottish descent. The first members of the Pinney family to make their homes in America, were three brothers who emigrated from Scotland, and settled in New England at a date long previous to the revolutionary war. In the war of the revolution, Dr. Pinney’s grandfather took part; fighting on the side of the colonies.
He was the oldest of two children of Henry and Delina Pinney, and was born in the town of Coldbrook, Litchfield county, Connecticut, on the 29th of January, 1826. His mother’s maiden name was Riggs. When the son was three years old his father removed with the family from Connecticut to Erie county, Pennsylvania, remaining in that county about twelve years, and then removing to Crawford county in the same state. The Dr. received a substantial common school education, at an early age determined to become a physician, and at eighteen began his preparatory medical studies at Meadville, Crawford county, Pennsylvania, in the office of Dr. William Woodruff, one of the leading physicians of that town. He afterward attended medical lectures at the Starling Medical College at Columbus, Ohio, from which institution he graduated on the 22d of February, 1848.
In the summer of 1847, previous to his graduation, he removed to Henry county, Illinois, returning to Columbus, Ohio, to complete his medical education the succeeding winter. Immediately after receiving his degree he established himself in the practice of medicine in Henry county, Illinois, at the town of Wethersfield, and succeeded in building up a fine medical practice. He refers with pride to many of his former friends at this place, among them the Messrs. Potters and Blishes, and to Dr. Thomas Hall, in every respect one of nature’s noblemen. March 29th, 1849, he was united in marriage to Harriet Young. Mrs. Pinney was born at Mt. Gilead, Morrow county, Ohio. The father was D. B. Young, who emigrated from Ohio to Whiteside county, Illinois, in the fall of 1837, and was one of the early settlers of that section of country.
Dr. Pinney practiced medicine in Illinois till the fall of 1856, and then on account of ill health moved to Texas, and again established himself as a physician at White Rock, in Hunt county, obtaining a fair share of the medical practice in that locality, and in addition interesting himself in various business enterprises. He raised stock to a considerable extent, and his business prospects for the future were the most promising, when “the late unpleasantness” opened in the spring of 1861.
Believing that the several states composing the Union were sovereign in all things that related to themselves, and trusting that those principles were “foreordained,” and “predestined” to ultimately prevail, in January, 1862, he joined the Confederate army, and was assigned to duty in the medical department of said army, and was actively employed in the Confederate medical service from that time, onward to the close of the war. He served in the Indian Nation and in Texas, and was moved from point to point according to the exigencies of the occasion, and as his services were called most in requisition. He was on staff duty in Col. Town’s Texas brigade, and
during the last two years of the war was stationed on the Gulf Coast, near the mouth of the Brazos river.
The conclusion of the war, found his circumstances and prospects less brilliant than before the inauguration of the contest. He lost a considerable proportion of his property. Society was in an unsettled condition, and property insecure throughout Texas, and believing it would take several years for the country to recuperate and recover its former stable prosperity, he resolved to remove to Missouri, and in the summer of 1867 located at Preston. In Jasper county, where his residence has since been. He has secured a large medical practice extending over a wide scope of country; and farming and stock raising have also occupied his attention. Dr. and Mrs. Pinney have eight children. The oldest, Henry B. Pinney, is established in the practice of medicine at Joplin, Missouri, having adopted the profession of his father. The next son, John L. Pinney, is in the stock business in this country. The oldest daughter is the wife of O. W. Rose. The other children in the order of their births are Nettie, Lulu, Charity, Joel and Elbert. Since his residence at Preston, Dr. Pinney has won the regard of many of the citizens of the county. He has attended strictly to his professional business, and at the same time has been anxious to discharge every duty as a public-spirited citizen, and a good old line democrat. His large and laborious practice has closely occupied his time, but with a desire to oblige and accommodate, he has held himself ready “in season and out of season” to give his services to his patients irrespective of his own comfort or convenience.
Source: Biographical Sketches of Citizens of Jasper County, Missouri. 1876 Jasper County Historical Atlas. Published by Brink, McDonough & Co.
It's interesting to note that while in Texas, Elbert "owned" five slaves: a 35 year old male, a 28 year old male, a 20 year old female, a 4 year old female and a 2 year old male. I found Elbert in the Slave Schedules of the 1860 Federal Census. After the Civil War, he moved to a large farm in Preston, Missouri. One of his slaves, with his family, followed Elbert soon after, and apparently remained "devotedly attached to him up until the time of his death." (Source: History of Monrovia, Chapter VIII.)

While in Southwest Missouri, Elbert became a bank president and successful farmer while still practicing medicine.
In 1887, the Pinneys moved to California. In August of that year, they arrived in the new town of Sierra Madre. Elbert bought 35 acres of land at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. His tract sloped gently from the base of Mt. Wilson with views towards Los Angeles fifteen miles away.
Elbert hired renowned architects Samuel and Joseph Cather Newsom to design a new hotel. The Newsom brothers created a dramatic Queen Anne style hotel with its signature oriel tower and sweeping front veranda. The Sierra Vista Hotel opened with 20 comfortable rooms.
The Hotel was "A quiet and comfortable home for sojourners and tourists. The Building and Furnishing Entirely New. Reached by carriages from station on the Santa Fe railroad one mile distant. There is from this House a fine view of the beautiful San Gabriel Valley, extending from on end of the valley to the other and from the mountains to the sea, presenting a picture grand, inspiring and never tiring, revealing to the observer new beauties each day. The comfort of their Guests is the First Care of the Managers of this House. Fare and Accommodations as Good as can be had anywhere. Board with Room $8 to $12 per week."(Valley Vista newspaper July 31, 1889.)
Throughout its 115 year life the Hotel that Elbert built has been one of the treasures of Sierra Madre. A few years ago Ginger and I went there and took pictures, which I can't find at the moment. But there are plenty of photos online. Here's one:

Many films and commercials have used the Pinney House over the years. Notable films to add to your Netflix list include:
  • The Seven Little Foys - Bob Hope, 1955
  • Great Man's Lady - Barbara Stanwick and Joel McRae, 1941
In 1887, the same year the Pinneys arrived in California, one thousand acres of the Maclay Rancho Water Company lands were sold to Jouett Allen, Elbert's son in law. Jouett was a lawyer and real estate developer from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Jouett divided up the land and transferred 100 acres each to Elbert, R. A. Hoyt, R. A. Hoyt, Jr., "Mrs. E. M. Rose" (my great-great-great grandmother Emily Pinney Rose), and a Mrs. Durbin. The group laid out a new town site and named it Pacoima, an Indian word meaning running water. (The adjoining canyon was already named Pacoima.) An active sales campaign was inaugurated with the price of lots on the main streets running from $500 up, and from $1 to $20 in the outer sections. Grading of the streets and construction soon made it a very busy place.
While living in California, Elbert was famous for his skill as a doctor, and apparently gave "scientific attention to the raising of oranges and made a business success of it." I don't know where he found the time. Seriously. Between running a hotel, developing property, healing patients, and founding a city, how did he also run a successful orange orchard? He must have been quite a guy.
He died on March 17, 1914.
Here's a photo of the Elbert Pinney family portrait that Grammy and Grampy have hanging on their wall:

(I believe Emily May Pinney Rose is in the back row, second from the left.)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Cheslia Reese Parker's WWI Draft Card

Cheslia was born on September 18, 1894 in Chico, California. When he filled out his WWI draft card, he was:
He ended up serving in the 51st Balloon Company, US Army, during WWI.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Caty Cox

After Caty's first husband, Agrippa Parker, died in 1846, she married a man named Joseph Milus Stevenson. Joseph was 22 years older than Caty, and already had four children by his first wife.

He died in the Civil War near Greenville, Missouri in July 1862--at the age of 62. He was buried on the battlefield, leaving Caty to raise their six children.

Not long after, her son James turned old enough to enlist.

In total, Caty helped raise 13 children (9 of which were her own), and at least 3 grandchildren.

Cynthia Ann Parker

James R Parker had a younger sister named Cynthia Ann. She was born in Washington County, Missouri on October 28, 1844. When she was 19 years old, she married John Amsden, a blacksmith. They had three children together: Sarah Jane, Frederick, and Isabelle.

Unfortunately, when Cynthia was only 30 years old, she fell from a haywagon and was killed. She is buried at Brewington Cemetery near Brunot, Wayne County, Missouri. Her mother, Catherine "Caty" Cox Parker Stevenson, raised the three children. Cynthia's husband, a veteran of the Union Army, later remarried and moved to Reynolds County where he worked as the postmaster in Centerville from 1903 until 1912. He was an immigrant from Tring, England (near London) in 1858.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

James R Parker

James Parker was born in Missouri on October 11, 1846. He was the son of Agrippa Parker and Caty Cox. The Parkers and the Reeses were both early Wayne-Madison County Missouri families.

During the Civil War, James enlisted in Co. L, 3rd Missouri States Militia Calvary. On October 4, 1864 he transferred to Co. B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Regiment, Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He was discharged on October 4, 1867 at Camden, Arkansas. James received a pension for his service.

In 1871, he met and married Mary Ellen Reese in Iron County, Missouri.

In 1880, the family was living in Union Township, Iron County, Missouri, next to James' mother, Catherine Cox Parker Stevenson. The family moved to California in about October 1881 living near the family of Joseph Alexander Stevenson, James' half-brother. A group of relatives from Iron/Wayne County all made the move to Butte County, California, together.

The first Parker home in Butte County was a one room California style house located in the foothills on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, about 15 miles northeast of Chico, California. this house was located on a small stream in Hog Hollow. The land located in this little valley was rocky and not very productive. The Parker family, composed of father, mother and three children, arrived by train from the Ozark Mountains of southeast Missouri. The small house erected to house the small family had a rock fireplace. There were oak trees near the house. The family raised hogs, chickens and turkeys and worked for the nearby farmers. In the two or three years that the family lived at this location, work was scarce and the times were hard.

In 1883, James secured employment from General John Bidwell at the Gee(?) Ranch and moved the family to the ranch. The family lived in a good house and the children of school age attended the Chico Schools. Chico was only a few miles away. George was born there.

About 1886, James filed on a 160 acre homestead located about 9 miles southeast of Chico, just east of the stage road from chico to Oroville. He built a two story home and a barn on the land. They farmed the place and made a good living for the family there. William, Cheslia, Gertrude, and Theodosia were born there. The children were educated at the Stoneman School located about 7 miles away. Later, they attended Chico Normal School, which became Chico State.

General Bidwell named the train station in Magalia "Parker Station" after James Parker. It does not exist any longer.

In about 1909, James and Mary moved to Bakersfield. James passed away in 1911. He and Mary are buried at Paradise, Butte County, California. They had 10 children together.

Here's the record of James' enlistment in the Union Army:

Here's a copy of the marriage record for James and Mary:

UPDATE (5/25/10): Added the photo of James at the top (taken in 1864 when he was discharged from the Union Army), and his discharge papers, below:

UPDATE II (5/25/10): There is some confusion about James' middle name. For this post we've decided to leave it as James "R" Parker. In different family trees he is listed as James Roland or James Reese. Some even have it recorded as James Richard. The Parkers and Reeses were both early Wayne-Madison Co Missouri families. James eventually married a Reese, so the families may have been close and it is possible his middle name was Reese. On the other hand, Roland seems to be the most prevalent name recorded and it's possible James' middle name was somehow mistakenly recorded using the middle name of his son, Cheslia Reese Parker, or his wife's maiden name. On original documents we have his name is only ever recorded as James R Parker.