The worst case scenario for Santa Rosa after the 1906 earthquake was everything burning down, and that might have happened if the relief train from Petaluma – racing toward the endangered city at a ridiculously unsafe speed with firemen and hundreds of volunteers aboard – had flown off the tracks.
That’s just one of the many “lost” tales of the earthquake that are found in the Petaluma Argus newspaper in the month after the disaster. As introduced in the previous article, that daily paper is a goldmine of historical information about what was really happening in the North Bay, and it easily doubles the amount of primary source material about the aftermath of Santa Rosa’s 1906 earthquake.
What we knew about events in Santa Rosa was limited for several reasons (see: “WHAT WE KNOW WE DON’T KNOW“), but it was mainly because Santa Rosa only had an interim newspaper called the “Democrat-Republican.” It was only the size of a school newsletter and came out irregularly in the first two weeks after the disaster, and when the local papers resumed after that, the next two weeks are missing. In fact, one of the important things we learn from the Argus is proof that both the Press Democrat and Santa Rosa Republican actually were publishing during the May 3-18 blackout dates, as quotes from both papers appeared in the Petaluma daily.
Besides its own reporting, the Argus also reprinted bits about the Santa Rosa disaster from other papers, some of which are also now missing. We find overlooked first-hand descriptions of the earthquake such as the particularly moving account of the death of Chester Trugden (reprinted from the Sonoma newspaper) and the heroics of fireman Ed Faught (this one reprinted from a San Francisco paper).
Most importantly, the Argus supplied important baseline facts that have been otherwise forgotten. For example, we discover for the first time what happened to most of the debris from downtown – it was “used to fill in a big hollow on the Guerneville [railroad] branch near Mirabel Park.” The Democrat-Republican hadn’t even mentioned when most of the victims were buried; from a letter published in an Iowa paper we were told it happened on Sunday, April 22, but the Argus revealed it happened two days earlier, and even included cemetery details: “On Friday the funerals of 34 victims took place at Santa Rosa, Coroner Blackburn conducting the arrangements with several assistants. Express wagons, trucks and all kinds of vehicles were used to convey the bodies to their last resting places.”
In another reprint from the missing issues of the Santa Rosa Republican, it was told for the first time how the word got out about Santa Rosa’s great destruction. A supervisor for the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in Santa Rosa sent a foreman south on a handcar, with orders to keep going until he could contact authorities in Tiburon or San Francisco. The message: “Earthquake. Santa Rosa in ruins and burning. Many injured and probably many killed.” He was also instructed to stop in Petaluma and ask for help.
A short train was quickly assembled to send doctors to Santa Rosa, followed by another train with members of the fire department, the town’s two fire hose carts, Petaluma’s National Guard Company C and “hundreds of willing workers and anxious ones seeking local relatives.” What happened next may be the most astonishing event anywhere that day: “The relief train with the Petaluma fire department on board made the trip to Santa Rosa in fourteen minutes on Wednesday morning. The firemen on the flat cars and in the box cars clung to each other for safety. The run is the record time for the distance on this road.” The distance between Petaluma and Santa Rosa train stations is a little over fifteen miles. According to a 1905 article in Railroad Gazette, it took a “Pacific type” steam locomotive with just a tender car over three minutes to reach 50 MPH – thus the train was briefly highballing towards Santa Rosa at over 70 MPH (by my calculations). Steam locomotives rarely went that fast, and then only on custom-built test tracks. Had the thing derailed the loss of life would have been catastrophic. The experience must have been terrifying, and no wonder they “clung to each other for safety.” It is doubtful any of these men would ever again travel so fast the rest their lives.
Here are the top revelations about the 1906 Santa Rosa earthquake from the Argus:
A HIGHER DEATH COUNT On April 25 – a week after the earthquake – the Argus published an item stating Santa Rosa’s mayor put the body count at 70, and it was assumed to be 100 or more: “Mayor Overton has telegraphed W. R. Hearst stating…seventy bodies have been recovered and that thirty additional bodies are believed to be in the ruins or entirely incinerated…” But according to the previous day’s edition of Santa Rosa’s Democrat-Republican, there were exactly 64 “total known deaths” at that time and there had been no published guesstimates as to how many bodies were still to be found (although more people died, only two more remains were discovered after that date).
Were the mayor’s numbers correct? First let’s ask whether he was quoted accurately; the Argus stated only Overton had “telegraphed W. R. Hearst,” publisher of the San Francisco Examiner. If the Argus was only reprinting what appeared in that notoriously yellow newspaper, then it’s possible the Examiner editor exaggerated what Overton wrote or even made up the whole thing. But if it can be confirmed that Mayor Overton actually believed the official mortality was undercounted and they had reason to expect to find 30 additional fatalities, then serious doubt is cast on the entire official narrative.
For the record: There are at least 82 deaths caused by the earthquake and it can be said with high confidence that a minimum count should be 85 (see earthquake FAQ).
THE MYSTERIOUS EXPLODING HARDWARE STORE One of the enduring puzzles of the earthquake is the postcard seen below. The caption states eight people were killed when “powder” (black powder, presumably) exploded at a downtown Santa Rosa hardware store. Newspaper ads reveal the store also sold gasoline. But nothing at all about this incident was mentioned in the Democrat-Republican.
Thanks to the first post-quake edition of the Argus, there is confirmation about the explosion: “In Santa Rosa in Havens’ hardware store powder exploded and lit on the other side of the street, starting a fire which was soon under control” [sic]. No mention of anyone killed, though – at least in that item. This time the Argus gave us a three-fer, but it takes a little sherlocking to dig it out.
The Haven Hardware store was at 420 Fourth Street (halfway between B and A streets, roughly at the location of the Plaza escalators). No one died at that location, according to the death certificates. But three people among the first known fatalities were listed as being killed next door, at 418 Fourth Street: Mrs. Herbert Moke – the wife of Santa Rosa’s undertaker – her daughter Louise Moke and her sister, Mrs. Willie Reid. That was the address of the funeral parlor; why were two women and a little girl sleeping there? The obvious answer is that they were upstairs; the fire insurance maps show there was walk-up rooming above all businesses on that block.
The Argus does us another favor by identifying the name of that place as the Eureka lodging house, which was also the ID on a death certificate of incinerated remains found a full week after the quake. Thus the death count at this location is now up to four.
But that’s not all; a correspondent to the Argus wrote, “Mrs. Moke and daughter were killed and taken from the ruins in the adjoining building and one family taken from the Eureka lodging-house over the Republican newspaper office, the building having been completely demolished.” The Santa Rosa Republican offices were at 416 Fourth Street, on the other side of the undertaking parlor. If the explosion was powerful enough to destroy its own building and (at least) two buildings to the west, then it likely destroyed a matching couple of buildings to the east as well. In short, the Haven Hardware blast may have been powerful enough to blow away half of that side of the block. Note in the postcard it appears the front section of several buildings simply disintegrated.
Note also that the correspondent mentioned the Mokes were killed along with one family. The coroner accounted for almost everyone’s place of death – except the entire De Young family, mother Jessie and her small children, Charles and Violet, who were also among the very first list of victims, along with the Moke/Reid family. Were they also blown up at the Eureka lodging-house? All together, it is likely seven people were directly killed as a result of the blast, close to the eight counted on the postcard.
We now have to conclude the Haven Hardware store explosion not only happened, but might be among the top causes of death during the 1906 Santa Rosa earthquake, behind only the collapse of the Saint Rose hotel.
GRIM NEWS AS WELL AS THE GOOD There’s no disputing that Ernest L. Finley, editor of the Press Democrat and the short-run Democrat-Republican, tried to downplay bad news about the disaster – a sharp contrast to his usual style of relishing every gruesome detail about some poor wretch’s suicide by poison or bullet. But Finley was also the town’s indefatigable booster (and soon to be president of the Chamber of Commerce) and precious space in those early, tiny papers was wasted in describing how much worse things were in San Francisco and how really great times were in store for Santa Rosa.
The editor of the Petaluma Argus had no such qualms. In that paper were detailed, eyewitness accounts of people being burned alive along with other unpleasant details.
Two days after the disaster, the Democrat-Republican portrayed an orderly town, where the few remains that were still being recovered were being efficiently handled and most of the injured were “improving nicely.” The same day the Argus reported “Coroner Blackburn on Friday told an Argus reporter that the odor of burned flesh can be detected at half a dozen places in the Santa Rosa ruins. He believes that many bodies are yet entombed.” Then a few days later, “Some of the ruins emit strong odors of decaying flesh but this is supposed to be due to dead animals.”
According to the Democrat-Republican, there was no petty crime in Santa Rosa following the earthquake (although the want ads do suggest some bad guys walked off with other people’s stuff). The Argus told a different story: “Looting has been attempted in many places, especially in the residence district. To prevent this a large number of special policemen and deputy sheriffs have been sworn in to guard the residence district, and this has, in great measure, quieted the fears of the people.” The Argus told us a man was arrested after being caught in the act of stealing from rooms in the fallen St. Rose Hotel, and another guy was found to have stolen half a sack of second-class mail from the ruins of the old postoffice.
The most despicable crime was probably committed by a man named Ed Lahue, who saw a woman removing diamond earrings, rings and other jewelry from the body of Josephine Ely, who died with her son in the collapse of the Grand Hotel. Lahue told the woman he knew the Ely family, and would see that they received the items. It was a lie and he was arrested a few weeks later in San Francisco, but none of the jewelry was found on him and he denied having received it. In an odd little postscript, the Santa Rosa Republican – which was always less inclined to local censorship – produced an item five weeks after the quake revealing Sheriff Grace had received a package with the jewelry, along with a note that the valuable stuff had been “picked up” on a street in Oakland, with no further explanation.
Many other noteworthy details appeared in the Argus; we learn the name of another possible earthquake victim – a man who was injured doing rescue work the morning of the quake that “undoubtedly hastened his end.” We learn that Santa Rosa begged Petaluma to send up all of the crowbars they could find. And while we knew from the Democrat-Republican that “Coroner Frank L. Blackburn brought up a number of coffins from Petaluma,” we learn now that many of those coffins were shipped back with bodies inside to Blackburn’s funeral parlor in Petaluma for embalming.
From the Argus we also have an odd little Believe-it-or-Not! item: Nearly three weeks after the quake, the Board of Supervisors held a quixotic meeting in their old chambers on the second floor of the court house, despite most of the building having been famously destroyed. “There is no roof over the room and the ceiling is partly gone where the part of the building above went through it, but the rubbish has been cleared out and the courageous county fathers will occupy their accustomed places.” As it was still a legal holiday in the state they could do little but “debate questions of importance” and presumably collect their meeting stipend.
It’s also interesting what the Argus didn’t report. Nothing was mentioned about Captain Bertrand Rockwell, who donated $800 to pay for rescue crews during the crucial first two days after the quake (see ” THE LEGENDS OF CAPTAIN ROCKWELL“). As explained in that earlier item, the money came from a Petaluma bank the day of the quake or the morning after. The Democrat-Republican didn’t describe Rockwell’s dash-for-cash either, but given the circumstances, the unusual event must have generated quite a buzz around Petaluma. Perhaps the Argus editor chose to discreetly ignore the story because the governor had ordered all banks in the state closed, so the transaction was technically illegal. But how did Rockwell – a man from Kansas City who was visiting relatives in Santa Rosa – manage to get a Petaluma bank to cash a whopping personal check? It had to be because Frank Denman, the cashier of the Sonoma County Bank of Petaluma was kind of an in-law (Denman’s wife was the sister of James Edwards, who was treasurer of Santa Rosa’s Relief Committee and married to Rockwell’s daughter). And it’s probably not incidental that another tie between Petaluma and the Rockwell-Edwards-Denman clan was demonstrated when Company C pitched its tents on Denman’s mother-in-law’s huge lawn at 409 Fifth street (corner of A street, now underneath the Santa Rosa plaza).
The Argus did make a mistake, however, in repeatedly stating Santa Rosa was under martial law. Although local National Guard Company E and Petaluma’s Company C joined forces to patrol the downtown and set up checkpoints to keep out anyone without a pass, martial law was not declared. This was a mistaken assumption that appeared in all papers describing the situation in Santa Rosa. The Argus further claimed on the first day after the catastrophe “soldiers have been stationed in each store to see that only certain rates are charged.” Was there really some price-gouging? Possibly, but it’s more likely the citizen soldiers were charged with keeping order as panicked townspeople tried to buy up goods for hoarding.
Selections from the Argus regarding Santa Rosa between April 19 and May 23 are transcribed below. Argus reporting about the earthquake in Petaluma and elsewhere is covered in the previous article.
April 19:JACK FORD HAS A CLOSE CALL
Deputy County Clerk Jack Ford was caught in the ruins of the Occidental Hotel, and was helpless while the fire gradually approached him. He could not help himself. He was released just in time, about three hours after the hotel fell. The heat was becoming unbearable when he was freed, and he says he would have been dead in about three minutes. He came to this city in the afternoon and was surrounded by congratulating friends.The Dead at Morgue
At the Blackburn funeral parlors many of the dead, killed by the Santa Rosa earthquake, have been taken from Santa Rosa and being prepared for burial.
Among these are Miss Phoebe Green and Mrs. C. E. Manning and child. Their remains will be shipped East.
The two children killed at Tomales will be buried by Mr. Blackburn.
Dead are being taken out many have not been identified. Relief is being sent from adjacent cities.
Petaluma sent two trains to the scene of disaster, the first bringing medical assistance. Among the medicos were Drs. Gossage, Urban, Bennett, Peoples, McMullen and Anderson. The second train brought the Petaluma fire department and hundreds of willing workers and anxious ones seeking local relatives. Many former Santa Rosans came up to lend assistance.
April 20:SEVERAL BODIES FOUND ON THURSDAY
Several bodies were recovered from the Santa Rosa ruins on Friday. The remains of Miles Peerman were completely incinerated with the exception of his fingers. The body of Mr. Loeb was found by Chief Flohr of Petaluma.SOLDIERS ENFORCE PRICE REGULATIONS
A few stores were left standing in Santa Rosa and the proprietors charged such excessive prices, that soldiers have been stationed in each store to see that only certain rates are charged.COOKING OUTFIT SENT TO SANTA ROSA
The ovens and cooking outfit of Co. C were sent to Santa Rosa on Thursday morning. There is no telling how long the company will remain at the county seat.REMAINS BROUGHT HERE THURSDAY
The remains of the late Mr. and Mrs. Peacock, who were killed in the St. Rose Hotel, were brought down on the afternoon train Thursday and taken to the Blackburn parlors, where they will be embalmed and kept pending orders from relatives. Mr. Peacock built the Santa Rosa depot and the Carnegie library. He is a thirty-second degree Mason.MADE A VERY SPEEDY TRIP
The relief train with the Petaluma fire department on board made the trip to Santa Rosa in fourteen minutes on Wednesday morning. The firemen on the flat cars and in the box cars clung to each other for safety. The run is the record time for the distance on this road.SEVEN BODIES FOUND FRIDAY
Seven bodies were recovered from the ruins at Santa Rosa on Friday making 47 bodies found thus far. Wayne Day’s body was completely incinerated. Two people were taken out of the ruins of the post office alive on Thursday night having been two days in the ruins. Coroner Blackburn says the deaths in Santa Rosa will reach 65.MANY ARE STILL IN THE WRECK
Coroner Blackburn on Friday told an Argus reporter that the odor of burned flesh can be detected at half a dozen places in the Santa Rosa ruins. He believes that many bodies are yet entombed.BLUE JACKETS ARE AT WORK
By direction of the president through McCalla 40 blue jackets arrived at Santa Rosa on Thursday night from Mare Island and Friday morning went to work on the wreck of the St. Rose hotel. They are under command of commander Higgins of the Independence. They are doing more work and more effective work in an hour than the untrained and undisciplined workers could do in a day.NO SYSTEM IN THE WORK
C. L. Hoffman, who was at Santa Rosa on Thursday, says the work of clearing away the debris is proceeding with no system and with great lethargy. He went up with other volunteers, ready to work, and there was so much red tape in the way that the day passed without his doing anything.
M. Tobias who with his wife and daughter were rescued from the St. Rose at Sa. Rosa came down Friday. An injured leg was treated here and Mr. Tobias secured funds and food from relatives for himself and for other relatives who are camping in Jefferson square San Francisco.35 INQUESTS; 34 FUNERALS
At Santa Rosa on Thursday Coroner Frank L. Blackburn, held an inquest on the victims of the awful horror of Tuesday morning. The verdicts in all were death by accident.
Services were held at the Christian Church on Thursday by all of the pastors of the city.
On Friday the funerals of 34 victims took place at Santa Rosa, Coroner Blackburn conducting the arrangements with several assistants. Express wagons, trucks and all kinds of vehicles were used to convey the bodies to their last resting places. Nearly all of the coffins were sent up from this city.THIRTY FIVE DEAD FOUND
At noon 35 dead had been taken from the ruins at Santa Rosa. Miles Peerman the well known ex-constable was among them. He was caught in a building and was conscious to the last. He talked to those who tried to rescue him but was burned to death before the eyes of his rescuers.
April 23:ANOTHER BODY WAS RECOVERED
One more body was recovered from the ruins at Santa Rosa on Sunday, making over fifty already recovered. It was so badly burned that identification was impossible.SIX BODIES WERE IN THIS CITY
Six bodies from Santa Rosa were brought to the Blackburn funeral parlors, where they were prepared for shipment. Nobody was permitted to view the remains.MANY WENT TO VIEW WRECK
A big crowd of Petaluma people went to Santa Rosa on Sunday to view the wreck. All came back with the same story to the effect that words can not describe the situation. Nobody was allowed inside the lines except those with passes.
April 24:THREE BODIES FOUND MONDAY
Three bodies were recovered from the ruins of the Moody building at Santa Rosa on Monday–two adults and a child. They were completely incinerated, only the charred bones remaining. The bodies can not be identified.ELECTRIC CARS NOW RUN ON FOURTH STREET
On Monday a work train of the electric road was running up Fourth street in Santa Rosa and did good work in hauling away the debris from the ruined buildings. On Tuesday the trains were again at work and much headway is now being made by the workers. Some of the ruins emit strong odors of decaying flesh but this is supposed to be due to dead animals.
April 25:HAULING DEBRIS FROM COUNTY SEAT
At noon on Wednesday twelve carloads of debris left Santa Rosa on the California Northwestern. The debris was hauled out free by the railroad company and will be used to fill in a big hollow on the Guerneville branch near Mirabel Park. Coroner F. L. Blackburn, who returned on Wednesday from Santa Rosa, states no bodies were recovered from the ruins on Wednesday.CONDITIONS AT SANTA ROSA
Conditions at Santa Rosa were much improved on Wednesday. Good headway is being made clearing away the wrecked buildings and many merchants are preparing to resume business in temporary buildings now being erected.
Mayor Overton has telegraphed W. R. Hearst stating that twelve blocks of the business section were destroyed by the earthquake and eight of the blocks burned over after the buildings fell; that seventy bodies have been recovered and that thirty additional bodies are believed to be in the ruins or entirely incinerated. Mayor Overton also stated that several of the injured will probably die.
A prominent county official estimated the number of residences so badly damaged as to make rebuilding necessary at fifteen to twenty per cent.
Sentator Perkins telegraphed Mayor Overton stating that the Secretary of War would see that Santa Rosa receives its share of the government relief fund.
Congressman McKinlay and family are homeward bound. They will arrive in a few days.
An Argus representative dined with Company C Wednesday. The boys are well supplied with food and it is clean and well cooked.
April 26:NO NECESSITY FOR A FINANCIAL FLURRY
The people of this city have every cause to congratulate themselves upon their escape from a fate similar to that of Santa Rosa.
Our loss from the earthquake is small and we suffered not at all from loss by fire.
Having escaped these evils let us not cause a financial flurry when the local banks open by withdrawing deposits or making unjust demands upon Petaluma’s financial institutions.
To do so would be to invite trouble for ourselves and our banks that would give Petaluma a set-back from which she would be years in recovering…SAD DEATH OF SONOMA BOY
Chester Trugden, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Trugden of Sonoma, was one of the many victims of the Santa Rosa fire horror. Young Trugden was a drug clerk and the building where he slept collapsed pinioning him beneath the debris. He was in bed when the crash came and before help could reach him the debris took fire and he was burned to death. Campbell MacQuiddy tried in vain to rescue him and stayed with the unfortunate boy until forced to take flight from the flames himself.
After his fate was learned searching parties sought for his body but all that remained was a heap of ashes and the springs of the bed on which he had slept.
MacQuiddy tells a heart rending story of his attempt to help his young chum and says his last words were, “For God’s sake don’t leave me.” MacQuiddy’s coat was scorched and smoking when he came out of the doomed building where Trugden lay dead.
Chester Trugden was a handsome young man just twenty-one years of age and his parents have the sympathy of the entire community in the loss of their eldest boy.–Index Tribune
April 27:SANTA ROSA CONDITIONS
Santa Rosa, April 26–Martial law still prevails in this city, and the devastated district is being guarded by the militiamen. Looting has been attempted in many places, especially in the residence district. To prevent this a large number of special policemen and deputy sheriffs have been sworn in to guard the residence district, and this has, in great measure, quieted the fears of the people. The search for bodies still continues, but not has been found for a couple of days.
The work of removing the debris is being carried on expeditiously, with the assistance of the California Northwestern and Petaluma & Santa Rosa railways. The steam railroad constructed a spur track to connect with the electric railroad, and locomotives switch thirty-six foot flat cars to the electric line. One of the motor cars propels these cars and those of the electric road down Fourth street, on either side of which the thoroughfare is strewn with wrecked and fallen buildings for blocks. A small army of men is busily employed getting the debris to the street and loading it on the flat cars, after which they are transferred to the steam road and hauled up to the Guerneville branch of Mirabel Park, where it is thrown over the trestle.
The grand exalted ruler of the Elks arrived here today and placed $500 in gold in the hands of Hiram L. Tripp, one of the trustees of the local lodge, for the benefit of the Elks that have suffered, and more forthcoming at once.
Allen B. Lemmon has taken over his old paper, the Santa Rosa Republican, and when the paper re-appears, his name will be “nailed to the masthead.” We congratulate Mr. Lemmon upon his return to journalistic labors. It will seem like old times to have the “old wheel horse” in the fold again.
April 28:NEWS FROM SANTA ROSA
Santa Rosa, April 27–Two more bodies have been taken from the ruins [Ward and Davidson -ed.]…The attorneys of Santa Rosa, realizing the consequences that would ensue if a number of lawsuits involving mortgages and promissory notes and questions of land titles should be brought now, met in convention as the Sonoma County Bar Association and agreed not to file any such suits for the coming six months. By that time it is believed that confidence will have been fully restored and that every one will have had time in which to make arrangements for carrying out the policy that seems best suited to the conditions.
The work of clearing away the debris continues unabated, and the buildings will be soon started all over the city. Arrangements are being made for opening the banks, temporary quarters being prepared fro them. All that is left of them are five large vaults standing like specters in the debris, each of which contains considerable coin.
April 30:ANOTHER DEATH FROM INJURIES
Santa Rosa, April 29–Mrs. A. Crose, who was seriously injured as a result of the Piedmont lodging-house during the earthquake of April 18th, died of blood poisoning this morning. This brings the total of dead and missing up to seventy-seven. All of the other injured victims of the disaster are reported to be doing well, and no more deaths are expected.
May 1:THE SITUATION AT SANTA ROSA
The ruins of Santa Rosa’s business section was visited on Sunday by several thousand people…The banks will open as soon as buildings are erected. Other banks in the county expect to open on Wednesday.
[On this day the Petaluma banks reopened, and five immediately send $100 each to Santa Rosa. -ed.]
Company C is camping on the splendid lawn at the Edwards home on Fifth street, Santa Rosa. Mrs. Edwards is mother of Mrs. Frank H. Denman of Petaluma.SANTA ROSA FIREMEN DO HARD STUNTS
That Santa Rosa did not meet the fate of San Francisco in destruction by fire is due to the extraordinary efforts of the fire department. The first shock of the quake drove out the front wall of fire engine house No. 1. The firemen were hurled many feet from the sliding pole and horse, harness and apparatus were one sad mess. Driver Ed Faught, one of Sonoma’s staunchest sons was first to reach the street. His absorbing thought was of his wife, who occupied apartments in another building. Unconscious, bruised and bleeding he carried her to the open air, where willing hands took the lady in charge. Duty to the city was his next thought, and hastening back to the engine house he managed to get the teams lined up and lead the way over a pile of brick and debris two feet high into the street. There were no fire alarms turned in, the wires were down; but above the shriek of engine whistles and cries of the wounded flames could be seen darting out of the ruins of a half dozens buildings. Water there was a plenty, and little Sebastopol, although damaged severely, and aided time and again in the hour of distress by her sister city, came to the rescue on a hurry call with a new-fangled gasoline fire engine, and paid her debt of gratitude in full by extinguishing several fires.
Citizens who have looked over the brick-pile scaled by Driver Faught and his team mates declare the feat impossible, but it was accomplished, the balance of the ruined city saved from destruction, and it is safe to say that the horses, although willing enough, did not attempt to return the way the came out. The apparatus is comfortable housed in a temporary wooden building on Fifth street. –Bulletin.
May 4:WILL MEET IN THEIR OLD ROOM
When the Board of Supervisors meet on Monday next it will be in their regular rooms on the second floor of the partly demolished court house at Santa Rosa. There is no roof over the room and the ceiling is partly gone where the part of the building above went through it, but the rubbish has been cleared out and the courageous county fathers will occupy their accustomed places. Owing to the fact that the legal holidays are still in force, the Supervisors will transact only routine business, but they will decide upon their plans for the future and debate questions of importance.SANTA ROSA OBJECTS TO PARDEE’S ESTIMATE
Santa Rosa–The people here are greatly chagrined at the estimate placed by Governor George Pardee on their losses. The Governor is quoted as saying that the local damage will approximate $147,000 only, when, as a matter of fact, it will reach over $3,500,000…
May 5:BARROWS SENT THE NEWS OUT
Many have doubtless wondered how the news of Santa Rosa’s calamity because known to the outside world so eagerly sought on the morning of the recent earthquake. The wires of the telegraph and telephone companies were down, and no means of communication was available. Special trains began to arrive in short order bringing men to fight the flames, the fire department of Petaluma came and doctors also came from Petaluma to aid the injured. Relief began to come from all sources.
The news was sent out by Roadmaster J. W. Barrows of the California Northwestern, formerly of Petaluma. In a message to W. J. Hunter and F. K. Zook, in these words, “Earthquake. Santa Rosa in ruins and burning. Many injured and probably many killed.”
The message was sent out in care of Foreman B. E. Walton, traveling on a handcar, and he was under instructions to keep traveling south until he succeeded in getting into communication with Tiburon or San Francisco. Walton also bore an appeal to Petaluma for doctors and a special train arrived shortly for that [illegible microfilm, but appears to be only the names of the physicians].
Had it not been for the forethought of Mr. Barrows Santa Rosa’s wail would not have been quickly heard and the arrival of relief would have been long deferred.-Republican.
In his full report to his superiors Mr. Barrow compliments the people of Petaluma, her physicians, firemen and militamen for the speedy and splendid response. He also complimented in the highest terms Agent W. J. Cummings, who organized the relief work here and arranged for trains and Conductor Walter Story and Engineer Edwin Reynolds for their splendid work in getting the relief trains to Santa Rosa. Mr. Barrows is very enthusiastic over the work of all.
The Santa Rosa Republican has resumed publishing on its own account.
May 7:THE INSURANCE AT SANTA ROSA
The men in Santa Rosa who had insurance policies had better step lively. The insurance companies are preparing to try to prove that practically all the damages in that town was caused by the earthquake while the flames rubbed their hands as a harmless benediction over the ruins. The best statement the companies have secured is the following from W. O. Knolls, a butcher, who has told them his experience as an eyewitness as follows and the companies will make the most of it:
“I was rooming at the Palm rooming house 404 Fourth street (about the center of the ruined district) and arose at 4:45, dressed and passed down the stairs, stepping to the edge of the sidewalk. The morning was calm and beautiful. Suddenly the building that I had just left began to crackle. I rushed across the street and clung to corner of the St. Rose drug store and there witnessed the falling of the St. Rose Hotel and the surrounding buildings. The one to which I clung remained standing. The noise of the fallen buildings was deafening and the dust from the street and fallen buildings was so dense on could scarcely see four feet ahead. I stared to recross the street but found a network of live wire down. I waited a few moments until the dust cleared away then made my way back to my room, which had fallen within four or five feet of the sidewalk and found my wife unharmed. Fires had started in several places and soon consumed most of the wreckage. All of the business portion of the city was a complete wreck.
Mrs. Moke and daughter were killed and taken from the ruins in the adjoining building and one family taken from the Eureka lodging-house over the Republican newspaper office, the building having been completely demolished.
The insurance men have figured the entire death list at Santa Rosa at sixty-five. In the matter of proving that loss was caused by earthquake and not by fire, the burden of proof is on the insurance companies and not on the insured. This is why the companies are at work getting up statements and [illegible microfilm] to prove their side of the case. The holders of policies had better be prepared to offer their proof in the other direction. -Examiner.
The remains of little Louise Moke were removed from the ruins of a building on Fourth street, Santa Rosa, Saturday. Her mother, Mrs. Herbert Moke, and her aunt, Mrs. Willie Reid, were killed in the same building. Her father is the well known undertaker of Santa Rosa.The remains of Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Carter, who met death at Santa Rosa, were interred Saturday in the lot of Mrs. Samuel Roberts, in the Odd Fellows’ Cemetery at Santa Rosa.The remains of Walter H. Smith, a traveling man who was killed in the ruins of the St. Rose Hotel, were shipped to the metropolis Monday enroute to his former home at Marshfield, Oregon.Officers Hankel and Daggett went to the residence of a man in Santa Rosa Thursday night and found half a sack of Second-class mail matter that had been removed from the ruins of the old postoffice. The case will be reported to the federal authorities.
The Santa Rosa saloons will be permitted to open on Thursday. The hours will be from 8 a. m. to 6 p. m.
May 10:THE MILITARY FORCE AT THE COUNTY SEATCaptain O. L. Houts of Company E has 123 men and three officers, and Captain Dickson of Company C has 50 men and three officers on duty in Santa Rosa at the present time, under command of Major C. E. Haven of the Fifth Regiment.
May 11:GHOULS WILL BE SEVERELY PUNISHED
Constable James H. Boswell went to the metropolis this morning armed with a warrant for the arrest of a man accused of a heinous crime. He has his man located and expects to bring him back to this city on the evening train. The culprit is accused of stealing a gold watch valued at $125 and a sum of money approximating fifty dollars from the corpse of a woman killed in the wreckage here.
Another man under arrest in the county jail, having been caught in the act of stealing from guests’ rooms in the St. Rose Hotel, will also be made to feel the power of the law. He is a youth well known in Santa Rosa and when taken into custody had a quantity of loot on his person. Both prisoners will be tried when the government has ceased to declare legal holidays. – Republican.
May 12:CONDITIONS GOOD AT SANTA ROSA
Replying to a letter sent him a few days ago by Governor Pardee, Mayor Overton of Santa Rosa writes:
“On behalf of the people of Santa Rosa, I thank you for your devotion to our interests…Conditions are fairly good here now. Much work has been done since you were here, in the way of cleaning up and hauling off debris. A good deal of money has been paid out by property owners. We are keeping relief funds and relief supplies in good reserve for future needs, which are sure to rise and will see that there is no waste or graft.” – Chronicle.MINERVA’S HAND AND HER SWORD
In the window of McGuire’s drug store there is on exhibition a number of souvenirs of the earthquake and fire at San Francisco and Santa Rosa. Among these were the hand and sword of the stature of Minerva, which formerly adorned the topmost point of the tower of the courthouse at Santa Rosa. It was sent to Coroner F. L. Blackburn by one of the county officials, as a souvenir and by him loaned to the McGuire collection.
May 14:CHARGED WITH THEFT OF DEAD WOMAN’S JEWELS
Ed Lahue, a cook, has been brought back to Santa Rosa from San Francisco, charged with having stolen a quantity of jewelry from the corpse of Mrs. Ben Ely who was killed in the ruins of the Grand Hotel, consisting of diamond rings, a gold watch and chain valued at $150, and diamond earrings. These articles were placed in the hands of Mrs. Henrietta A. Hahmann for safe keeping after being taken from the corpse when Lahue intervened, declaring that he knew the woman and her people and promising to see that the jewelry reached the heirs of the woman. Lahue denies having received the jewelry. The husband of the woman swore to the complaint on which Lahue was arrested.BUILDING MATERIAL FOR SANTA ROSA
The schooner Erma arrived here Monday in tow of the towboat with a cargo of brick for the Dougherty building at Santa Rosa. Many schooners loads of brick and sand are expected here for use in the rebuilding of Santa Rosa.THE SCHOOL MUST BE RE-CONSTRUCTED
The Santa Rosa Board of Education met last night and conferred with contractor J. O. Kuykendall and Architect Stone regarding the Burbank school building. The work will have to be done over. Some opposition has been heard to rebuilding with stone and brick. Much time has been spent in considering the contract to determine how much of the loss of the building falls upon the contractor and upon the Board. All payments made amounting to $10,600 falls upon the Board in part of the fourth payment as well as the cost of tearing down the structure if it is to be rebuilt of wood. – Republican.
May 15:MILITARY GUARD SHOOTS AT MAN
The guard at Mendocino and Fifth streets, Santa Rosa fired into the debris of the Jones’ livery stable shortly before 11 o’clock Thursday night. He declares he saw a man disappear after being challenged but a search by the corporal of the guard and other failed to find any trace of a marauder.
Thirteen hundred carloads of debris have been hauled from Santa Rosa by the Petaluma & Santa Rosa and California Northwestern railroads. It is believed the work can be completed within a week or ten days at the outside.
The Santa Rosa Board of Education met Monday night and instructed Architect Stone to prepare plans and specifications for a frame structure for the Burbank school house to replace the brick. The interior will remain the same.PASSED AWAY AT SANTA ROSA TUESDAY (May 22)
A. S. Archer, an expressman of Santa Rosa died Tuesday morning of a complication of diseases. Archer has been a resident there for many years and was well known. On the morning of the earthquake Archer injured himself in assisting in the rescue work, and this undoubtedly hastened his end. He was a member of the Foresters of America.