Here are a few followups to posts based on articles from the 1905 and 1906 Santa Rosa newspapers:

* One of the oddest stories I’ve encountered was about a local man caught shipping a crate of dead robins to San Francisco. Robins, I learned, were considered a delicacy in 19th century America, and some still had a taste for robin pot-pie, even though trafficking in wild birds became a federal crime in 1900. In this update, the songbird smuggler tells the judge he was misled about the contents of the box, believing that it was only dried fruit.

* Healdsburg Dr. H. P. Crocker didn’t even have a driver’s chauffeur’s license when the auto he was driving hit a buggy carrying a family of five, seriously injuring a passenger. The good doctor appealed the fine given to him for causing the accident, using a novel defense that speed limits and laws requiring him to share the road with horse-drawn vehicles were unfair. After twenty months of appeals, Crocker finally paid his $250 fine.

* Archeologists would have a field day digging up the intersection of Sebastopol Road and the railway tracks. Here was a La Brea-like mud hole that famously sank vehicles up to their axles during the winter of 1904, the winter of 1905, and soon, the winter of 1906. God knows what manner of treasures fell into the muck as the autos and buggies were dragged out; there may even be a classic car down there. Maybe a fleet of ’em.

Why they couldn’t fix the Pothole From Hell is unclear. Apparently it was right at the railroad crossing and the land was owned by California Northwestern, which had a standing court order blocking the city from any work on their property (which was somewhat understandable in the wake of “The Battle of Sebastopol Avenue“). At the same time, the railroad was also demanding that Santa Rosa fix the hazard in the street. This report of a late 1906 city council meeting finds the mayor griping that not enough city business gets done at these meetings because city leaders spend an hour or more of each session wringing hands over the mud hole crisis.

* We last encountered Petaluma dentist Walter Hall in the summer of 1905, after he was arrested for beating up a vaudeville hypnotist. A few months later, we learn why Walter was so irritable: His wife of less than two years was about to ask for a divorce. Surprising details appear in the early 1906 stories about their split up, namely that she charged him with desertion (was she counting his night in jail?) and that he vowed to fight for his marriage. When they finally did divorce in 1908, the grounds were reversed; the dentist charged her with desertion. Painful though the divorce was, Dr. Hall still got off lucky; her previous husband committed suicide by shooting himself twice — both in his heart and head — before leaving her a considerable estate.
Shipped Birds For Japanese

D. Casassa, who is charged with having shipped a box of birds to San Francisco from Sebastopol marked “dried fruit,” was in Justice Atchinson’s court Thursday. He claimed that he shipped the birds for a Japanese who told him it was dried fruit, which he intended to send to his parents in Japan. The box was addressed to a poultry and game commission firm, and Casassa was instructed to get the Japanese to appear in Court next week to which time the case was postponed.

– Press Democrat, January 19, 1906

Dr. Crocker of Healdsburg Enriches County Treasury to the Extend of Fine Imposed Months Ago

Dr. H. B. Crocker, the well known owner of the sanitarium at Healdsburg, who was some time ago fined $250 for a violation of the ordinance regulating the speed of automobiles on the county road, on last Friday paid the coin into Justice Hugh N. Latimer’s court in Windsor, and the incident is ended.

Dr. Crocker took the suit to the higher court and there the decision of the lower court was affirmed. Dr. Crocker thought of applying for a writ of review but evidently decided not to carry the litigation any further, and from Justice Latimer it was learned by a reported that the money had been paid.

– Press Democrat, August 13, 1906

At the meeting of the council Tuesday evening the matter of fixing up the mud hole at Sebastopol avenue and the railroad tracks was again discussed. The council is tied by an injuction and cannot proceed and it was reported that the property owners intended to force them to make repairs there if they were not done at once. The members of the council do not see how they can be forced to violate an order of the court and are awaiting developments.

Chairman Press Hall, who has tired at attempts to fix the street, declared that W. L. Call should be sent down to the mud hole to drive some piling and that a bridge be built across the disputed spot.

Mayor Overton declared that every time the council met an hour or more was spent discussing that particular mud hole and he would prefer to discuss something that could be done for the city’s interest than this location, where an injunction prevented needed street work being done…If the order of the court could be modified the council would willingly put the street in proper condition and it should be done before the winter rains set in.

– Santa Rosa Republican, November 28, 1906

Mrs. Abbie M. Hall Sues Dr. Walter C. Hall of Petaluma for Divorce

Some surprise was occasioned here yesterday, and when the news is known in Petaluma it will result in a sensation there also by the commencement of a suit for divorce in the Superior Court by Mrs. Abbie M. Hall against her husband, Dr. Walter C. Hall, the young dentist of Petaluma. The couple are prominent in social circles in the southern town and both are members of well known and old families of southern Sonoma.

Prior to her marriage to Dr. Hall about two years ago, Mrs. Hall was Mrs. James Treadwell, a scion of the wealthy Treadwell family and a man possessed of great wealth. The marriage savored of the romantic and came as a great surprise. While there had been hints that some dissensions had arisen in the Hall household, nevertheless the filing of divorce papers here yesterday occasioned a surprise. Frank A. Meyer is the attorney for the fair plaintiff. Her marriage to Dr. Hall was her third matrimonial venture.

– Press Democrat, February 14, 1906

Says He Did Not Willfully Desert His Wife as She Is Claiming

Dr. Walter C. Hall, the young Petaluma dentist, whose wife recently sued him for divorce in the Superior Court of this county, will contest his wife’s suit. She alleges that he, without cause, deserted her last year, and on the grounds of wilful [sic] desertion she asks the court to grant her a legal separation and a severing of the martial ties.

On Monday Dr. Hall’s demurrer to his wife’s complaint was argued in Judge Seawell’s department of the Superior Court. The ground urged most was that the complaint did not state a cause of action. Dr. Hall was represented by Attorney Thomas Denny, Attorney Frank A. Meyer representing Mrs. Hall, the plaintiff, resisted the demurrer.

Judge Seawell overruled the demurrer and gave the defendant ten days to answer. It is understood that Dr. Hall will fight his wife’s suit on the ground that he did not wilfully desert her as alleged. At the present time it looks as if there will be a lively contest over the granting of the divorce.

Mrs. Hall, as is well known, was formerly Mrs. Abbie Treadwell, the wife of James Treadwell, the young millionaire, who shot himself sometime prior to her marriage with Dr. Hall in Los Angeles. Prior to becoming Mrs. Treadwell she was Mrs. Leon Drive, wife of Professor Driver, a well known instructor in music. She obtained a divorce from him in the Superior Court of this county and Attorney Meyer, who represents her now, also represented her then.

– Press Democrat, March 13, 1906

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