These are sites familiar to my great great grandparents. The country from San Francisco up through Healdsberg, California.Â Towns like San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Glen Ellen.
My great great grandfather Henry Marsh.
In the winter of 1980 I had a conversation with my grandmother, Helen Hussey about our family history in California.
“Your great great grandmother Julia Maria was a Delano from Boston. She married Henry Marsh and they came out to California.”
Henry, 25, and Julia Maria Delano, 18 were married by Reverend C A Bartel on September 2, 1857 in Boston. The book “House of Delano” lists the date as September 7. According to the History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II they emigrated to California in 1869, and settled in San Francisco. They had five sons and two daughters, including Helen’s mom Julia, their youngest.
“They carved an estate in San Rafael, and I think they were pretty well fixed.”
Indeed the family was of some note in San Francisco as indicated by numerous mentions in the society pages. In one article Henry Marsh was described as a “capitalist.” Above he’s listed as a “Trader.” He had also been mentioned as a “glass wholeseller.” City Directory lists him as president of Marsh And Kidd at 522 Market Street, agents of the National Glass Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Julia Delano Marsh was the youngest child, born on July 27th 1877. Her mother Julia Maria died only five months later – on Christmas day.
Julia married John Cordes. They had one child, Helen Margaret Cordes, born on October 13, 1902 in San Francisco. She’s my grandmother.
“I was born in San Francisco, but my earliest memories are of a little silver mining town in Colorado called Silverton. I don’t remember my father and never knew what happened to my father.”
Indeed we have little information about John Cordes. Who he was, when he and Julia got married, when they split, etc. Also how did Julia end up leaving San Francisco for small mining towns?
The photo caption reads “Helen with stepfather Larkin in Prescott, Arizona. 1906.”Â He is William Larkin. The Los Angeles Hereald announced theÂ “Larkin-Cords”Â marriage license on August 31, 1906.
Interesting this notice appears in the Los Angeles paper. Meaning they were in L.A.?
“Helen and stepfather Larkin, Prescott, Arizona. 1906-1907.”
Grand Imperial Hotel, Silverton, Colorado.
“There was a big hotel there, it was very fancy, and I can remember my mother singing accompaniment to a magic lantern show of color picture slides. And I remember buttercups. I could only have been 2 or 3 years old then. I was too young to go to school when we lived there, but I remember one day a little kid took me to the school, and they were talking about the North Pole. Someone must have just been there. Isn’t that weird to remember? And I remember going down in a mine one time too.”
Julia also sang at the rink. From The Silverton Standard, March 21, 1908.
The Silverton Standard also shows Julia “Mrs. E. W. Larkin”Â taught music, running a vocal and instrumental studio at her home.
Julia’s sudden death death , The Silverton Standard November 7, 1908.Â “My mother Julia died in 1908 when I was about 5 in Silverton.”
Sisters May and Julia. May Delano Bridinger, left.
“I was adopted by my mother’s older sister whom I called Mother Bridinger. She was married to a man named Leon Bridinger. I came out to California to live with them after my mother died.”
“I was put on a train to Oakland. Then took a ferry across. I wore a white muff and had a little sign “I am an orphan.” A kind porter on the train, a black man, looked after me and tucked me in at night.”Â
Silverton Standard Saturday, November 28, 1908.
Chapter 2 “A life in Santa Rosa,” next.