1904 was surely a taxing year for James Wyatt Oates. Now 54 and still alone at his law practice that sometimes called him out of town several times a month, Oates was also one of fifteen men appointed to draft the new Santa Rosa City charter. The family also moved that year and was involved in the planning stages for their grand house. No surprise that the Press Democrat reported in August that Oates was taking a “well-earned vacation” (a comment probably made by Wyatt or wife Mattie when providing the item to the newspaper).
Several items of interest appeared in the PD that summer. Already reported here was that Oates sold their home on Tenth Street to Mr. and Mrs. Mark McDonald Jr. (Junior would later inherit and return to the Mableton mansion). The Oates family moved a few blocks west to a house at the intersection of Tenth and Mendocino, where the newspaper described a tea party Mattie held in August. The vacation item also mentions Mrs. Solomon, so we can assume that his mother-in-law was living with the couple even before their new home was built. Most interesting, however, are the two references to Miss Anna May Bell, who is presumably Anna May Dunlap as a child. Eleven years from then, Anna May would be watching over Oates as he died of double pneumonia, following a visit to her in Los Angeles. Much later in 1950 she would make an unusual donation to the city in remembrance of Oates, 35 years after his death.
Attorney James W. Oates, accompanied by Mrs. Oates, Mrs. Solomon, and Miss Anna May Bell, leave today for San Francisco where they will spend a few days, and where Mr. Oates will enjoy a well-earned vacation.– Press Democrat “Personal Mention,” August 17, 1904
SHASTA DAISIES ADORNED PARLORS
PRETTY SOCIAL FUNCTION AT THE OATES RESIDENCE ON MENDOCINO STREET
Tea in Honor of Mrs. Bell and Miss Anna Bell of Visalia Given by Mrs. Oates–Forty Guests Present
Shasta daisies in the reception rooms and red the color of the effective decorations in the dining room made the interior of the Oates residence at Tenth and Mendocino streets very pretty for a charming social function which took place there yesterday afternoon.
Mrs. James W. Oates entertained informally and very delightfully about forty lady friends at a tea given in honor of Mrs. Bell and her daughter, Miss Anna May Bell, of Visalia. Miss Bell has been Mrs. Oates guest here for several weeks. The guests admired the daisies and the decorations very much. The tea tables were tastefully arranged.– Press Democrat news item, August 27, 1904