My Family Story, The Delanos. Part One, “Singing to…

These are sites familiar to my great great grandparents. The country from San Francisco up through Healdsberg, California. 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.”

MarshDelanoWeddingRecord as Smart Object-1

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 whole seller.” 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 Edmond Cords. They had one child, Helen Margaret Cords, 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.”

Helen indeed knew very little  about Edmond Cords. 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.” He is William Larkin. The Los Angeles Herald announced the “Larkin-Cords” marriage license on August 31, 1906.

Marriage License - LA Herald

Interesting this notice appears in the Los Angeles paper. Meaning they were in L.A.?

“Helen and stepfather Larkin, Prescott, Arizona. 1906-1907.”

There is a census listing for a William Larkin in Pima Co. Arizona in 1900. His occupation is listed as “Faro Dealer.”¬† There are a couple of articles about him in Arizona having to do with cards, gambling, as well as mining.
“In Silverton we lived on a street where there was a Catholic Church across from us on the corner. It looked to me like those steps were so long and I’d see the little kids in their white dresses. But when I went back as an adult the steps looked so small.”

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.”

The Rink 3_21_1908

Julia also sang at the rink. From The Silverton Standard, March 21, 1908.

silverton standard march 28 1908

The Silverton Standard also shows Julia “Mrs. E. W. Larkin” taught music, running a vocal and instrumental studio at her home.

Sudden Death Silverton Standardalt

Julia’s sudden death death , The Silverton Standard November 7, 1908. “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.”

Helen to Alameda

Silverton Standard Saturday, November 28, 1908.

Chapter 2 “A life in Santa Rosa,” next.

I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.
  • Heather

    I never knew we had ties to Jerome and Prescott. Jerome is a fun town to visit.

  • Zack

    Very informative. Looking forward to the next installments. Thanks.

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