Both 1905 Santa Rosa papers regularly reported on children, who seemed to shatter bones or suffer terrible wounds with astonishing frequency — that is, when they weren’t narrowly escaping death, disappearing from home, or being jailed. The selection of items below is typical; note that most of the stories are from just two days.


Rodney Lawson, aged 12, and Gus Bonilla, aged 14, of San Francisco, ran away from their homes on Sunday morning, the latter having swiped five dollars and ten cents from his mother for expense money, and started for Petaluma.

While their parents were searching in San Jose and vicinity, a neighboring child received a letter from the youngsters and informed them.

A. L. Lawson, father of one of the boys, went to Petaluma on Tuesday and told the constable his troubles, and a little later the boys were found fishing near Washington street bridge. The officer locked the boys in the city prison and Mr. Lawson took them to San Francisco on the afternoon train.

– Press Democrat, May 4, 1905
Boy Falls Into Vat

John Resso, a two-year-old Italian child, fell into a vat at M. Reutershan’s tannery Wednesday, and would have been drowned but for the timely appearance of John Lindsay, who jumped into the vat and rescued the boy.

– Press Democrat, May 5, 1905

While playing with an air gun on Thursday evening a lad named Dannhausen was accidentally shot in the right eye. The eye-ball was penetrated by the bullet and the sight is destroyed. He was brought to M. H. Dignan’s drug store where the eye was dressed and a compress applied by a physician. As yet it is not known whether the eye-ball can be saved or not. The boy is about fourteen years old and resides at 418 College avenue with his mother, Mrs. Metta Dannhausen.

– Press Democrat, May 5, 1905

A dozen or fifteen Napa youths bethought themselves of a little joke at the California Northwestern depot yesterday afternoon but unfortunately for them they reckoned without railroad ethics.

The lads were among the picknickers from Napa to Mirabel park and were returning home on the first section of the excursion train. The train passed through the depot here very slowly and the boys hopped off to await the coming of the second section of the train. But unfortunately for them the second section went through town at a fast rate of speed, much too fast for them or anyone else to board the cars and so they were left behind in Santa Rosa for the night. They doubtless caused their relatives some anxiety. If the reader chanced to notice a bunch of boys walking about town last night in twos and threes, some of them wearing khaki and others outing suits, there were the lads who jumped from the excursion trains yesterday afternoon intending to hop onto the second section and got left.

– Press Democrat, May 13, 1905

Child Swallows Chloroform

Hugh Haskell, the three-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Greenleaf Haskell, has fully recovered from the effects of having swallowed an ounce of chloroform which he discovered during one of his childish investigating tours. His mother was busy and he managed to climb up and secure a bottle containing chloroform from the top of the sideboard. Mrs. Haskell did what she could for the child until a physician arrived and took charge of the case.

– Press Democrat, May 13, 1905

Blew Police Whistles

On Monday five young men who on Saturday night amused themselves by blowing police whistles in Petaluma appeared for trial before Judge Green. All plead guilty and were fined three plunks apiece. They went their way and promised to sin no more for they had paid dear for their whistles says the Argus.

– Press Democrat, June 22, 1905

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