A COMSTOCK WEDDING

There would soon be one less plate on the Comstock dinner table out at their Hoen avenue farmhouse; Cornelia was getting married.

Not much happened in the Comstock family during 1911, aside from the wedding. Hilliard was in his second year of studying law with James Wyatt Oates and eldest brother John had departed for medical school. Until Cornelia’s wedding, five of the seven Comstock siblings were still living at home with their mother Nellie on their ten acre orchard. The most interesting news about them in the papers was the Press Democrat society columnist’s description of the family’s downtown store, which always has been something of a mystery.

To recap: “The Gift Shop” opened in 1908, a few months after the Comstock family moved to Santa Rosa. John, Catherine and Cornelia, all in their early twenties, had worked and studied at the Roycroft Colony in New York during their teenage years, and were accomplished in making artistic leather goods and jewelry. They arrived just as the Arts & Crafts movement was gathering speed on the West Coast and their handiwork was exhibited and sold alongside works by top painters and artisans in the style. John withdrew from the “Companeros” partnership in 1910 to study medicine, leaving Catherine in charge of the business with Cornelia working as an artist. The same year they founded an “Arts and Crafts Guild” in Santa Rosa to teach young women how to make items that could be sold in the store – a fairly subversive notion for the time.

From other descriptions we knew The Gift Shop sold the Comstock’s award-winning leather goods as well as work from renowned Arts & Crafts studios. Problem is, “The Gift Shop” doesn’t exactly sound like the name for a fine art gallery – it sounds like…well, Corrick’s (which happens to be now directly across the street from The Gift Shop’s location). The article transcribed below shows the Comstocks also sold geegaws and knicknacks, although they were the nicest geegaws and knicknacks you could find anywhere; the powder boxes and darning bags were French and the toys Russian – matryoshka nesting dolls, perhaps – and there were “Home Sweet Home” type mottos, but the insipid little axioms were nicely hand painted, probably by the local Guild women. You could go to The Gift Shop and pick up a tasteful curio for your rich and ailing aunt’s birthday, or she herself could visit and buy a museum-quality vase you might someday inherit.

(RIGHT: Undated portrait of Cornelia Comstock. Courtesy Carmel Library Historical Archive)

Cornelia probably stayed connected with The Gift Shop until it closed, apparently in 1912 or 1913. She and her husband, Winfield Matthew Jr. (“Win” to family members) stayed around the area until 1917. His father, Rev. Winfield Scott Matthew Sr. – who is better known to Santa Rosa history buffs as the pastor at the First M. E. church on Fifth street 1915-1918 – married the couple at the “Sonoma avenue at the home of the bride.” That must have been the place brother John had at 965 Sonoma Avenue (now the police and fire station) which suggests he was still around at the time or the family hung on to the property as a “city house.”

Winfield was then a surveyor, and his marriage to Cornelia wasn’t his only connection to the Comstocks; he was also in business with her younger brother, Frank. Together with another man they formed the Matthew Co. Their ad in the 1913 Santa Rosa city directory, shown below, promises they could build “buildings,” as well as dams, bridges, sewers, sidewalks, etc. “Territory – Northern California.” Golly.

Cornelia’s first child, Raymond Hilliard (just called Hilliard by family) was born here in 1916. The following year Win registered for the draft and sought exemption: “Impossible for family to get along,” he wrote as a reason. What he meant by that is unknown, as is whether brother-in-law Lt. Colonel Hilliard Comstock knew that he was trying to dodge military service.

Winfield took a job in the Santa Clara County assessor’s office and the couple lived in San Jose, where daughter Barbara was born in 1918. After he retired they moved to Carmel in 1949, where they had purchased a house about twenty years earlier. There they joined siblings Catherine (still a painter), Hurd (a retired banker) and Hugh, the self-taught architect and builder known for the whimsical “fairy tale” cottages that are still a hallmark of the community.

Cornelia died April 15, 1966; they were married the longest of any member of the family – 55 years, beating even Hilliard and Helen’s remarkable 49 years. Her obituary in the Monterey Peninsula Herald was a single short paragraph, much of it naming her famous brothers and sister. She may not have cut such a broad swath in the family legacy but she and “Win” are still remembered with great warmth. And that’s no small thing, you know.

A betrothal that will interest many friends of the delightful young bride-to-be has been announced. Mrs. N. J. Comstock has given out the intimation that her daughter, Miss Cornelius [sic] Comstock, has promised her hand and heart to Mr. W. S. Matthew Jr. of Berkeley. The date of the wedding has not been set, but it will be an event of the sprint. Miss Comstock is a very talented girl and one whose attainments have counted for much. She has been a great favorite at many of the gatherings of the younger set in the past. Of course a few of her intimate friends have been anticipating the announcement Mrs. Comstock has just made and they with many others will now extend their felicitations most heartily. Mr. Matthews is a young professional man and is a college graduate and comes of a prominent family of the College town. The marriage will necessarily be one of much significance.

– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, December 4, 1910

The wedding of Miss Cornelia Comstock and Winfield Scott Matthew Jr. is to occur Saturday, March the 18th, at the family home. The officiating minister will be the Reverend Winfield Scott Matthew. The affair, which is to be a very quiet one, will be attended by only the family and the most intimate friends. Miss Katherine Comstock will act in the capacity of bridesmaid while Raymond Mathews, brother of the groom will be best man.

Immediately after the ceremony the young couple will leave for an extended Eastern trip which will be of several months duration. Upon their home-coming they will occupy their country home near Healdsburg.

This popular and beautiful little prospective bride is being showered with wedding presents, as only a slight testimonial of the loving regard in which she is held by her many friends.

 – “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, March 12, 1911

As the clock strikes eight tomorrow night, Miss Cornelia Comstock will become the bride of Winfield Scott Matthew Jr., of Oakland. It will be a quiet home wedding and will take place on Sonoma avenue at the home of the bride. The father of the groom will tie the nuptial knot, and a sister of the groom, Miss Hattie Matthew, will play the wedding march.

The fair bride will wear a handsome gown of white marquesite over satin, trimmed with pearls, and will have a train. The veil will also be worn and will be held in place by a spray of orange blossoms. Her bouquet will be white roses and she will be attended by her sister, Miss Catherine Comstock as bridesmaid. Raymond Matthew will support his brother.

Following the ceremony the couple will start on their honeymoon journey, which will include a trip to the south, and then to Lake Tahoe, after which they will reside on Russian River in Alexander valley.

The prettiest of spring blossoms have been gathered for the decorations and the house is one bower of flowers. Daintily colored fruit blossoms, intermingled with greenery, were gracefully arranged and were set off here and there by huge bunches of daffodils. The large porch was also decorated and cozy corners were made.

Since coming here several years ago Miss Comstock has made many friends, who join in wishing her unbounded happiness. Many and beautiful were the presents that found their way to this charming bride, among them being cut glass, silver and hand painted china.

Miss Comstock will be missed from the social gatherings, but her friends are glad that her home will be near enough that she may attend some of them.

– “Many Social Events in City of Roses” column, Santa Rosa Republican, March 18, 1911

THE OPENING OF THE GIFT SHOP
(by Dorothy Ann)

“The Gift Shop” had a most auspicious opening Saturday. The Christmas stock was viewed and admired by enthusiastic purchasers. Miss Katherine Comstock has shown rare good taste in the selection of the many beautiful things that are artistically arranged in the cozy little store. There are motto cards, hand-painted mottos, gift books and some clever selections in books. In the French novelties are sachet bags, pin cushions, vanity boxes, powder boxes and darning bags. Among the modeled leather selections are card cases, book covers, fire screens, table mats, music rolls, desk sets and blotters.

For one who admires fine pottery there are pieces in Van Briggle, Paul Revere, Rockwood and Marblehead metal work pieces, show book-ends, candlesticks, trays and bowls, desk sets, jardineres [sic] and lamps.

Aside from these are hard-woven rugs, decorative wall placques [sic], hand-wrought jewelry, Sheffield silver plate, finished and stamped needle work. Prints and photographs have been selected with rare judgment and include Japanese, German Maxfield Parish [sic] and art photograph prints.

Toys for the children have not been neglected as some quaint Colonial chairs, hand-woven wool rugs and Russian toys in the collection testify. The opening will continue all this week and the public are cordially invited to inspect the choice collection of beautiful things.

– “Society Gossip” column, Press Democrat, November 26, 1911

Read More

HEAVY PRICE OF LIGHT AT NIGHT

Another sign of progress in 1911: You could afford to use a lightbulb for a few hours each night. Maybe.

By walking around Santa Rosa’s neighborhoods after dark you could easily tell who was financially comfortable – just find the houses with burning lightbulbs. The things weren’t cheap; a 60W bulb cost about the equivalent of $18 today, and 100W would now be $26. Still, that was a big improvement of a couple of years earlier, when they were almost twice as expensive. (It would be a good idea to review an earlier article, “When we Leased our Light Bulbs.”)

The better price – and related improvement in a bulb’s longevity – was due to the discovery of how to make a bendable “ductile” tungsten filament in 1910. This was a Very Big Deal. Earlier bulb filaments were carbon (more heat than light and usually short-lived) or made from processed tungsten powder which was brighter and lasted longer than carbon, but had quality control problems and were significantly more fragile – see again the earlier article with its sidebar, “The Incredibly Interesting History of the Light Bulb Wars.” Making problems worse, Thomas Edison’s original lightbulb patents were expiring and his company, General Electric, was desperate to find a new product; even though the original tungsten bulbs were so delicate that they only worked when hanging straight down, GE pushed them anyway. The company’s salvation was that ductile tungsten invented by GE researcher William D. Coolidge, who also later came up with the x-ray tube still in use today. Coolidge’s lightbulbs, sold under the “Mazda” trademark became the standard for decades.

The ad at right, which appeared in the 1912 Santa Rosa Republican, showed how quickly the lighting situation had evolved. It was the first ad in the local papers that promoted lightbulbs available for purchase by the consumer; before, they were only available through the electric company or as part of a service. Yeah, it may seem expensive today to pay the equivalent of $18 for a 60W bulb, but hey, that light would probably last up to three whole months.

Then there was the price of electricity to use it. We can’t be certain what PG&E charged per kWh back then, but a lecture on ways to economize mentioned it cost about a nickel a day to have a single lightbulb burning for twelve hours daily, helpfully adding that a dozen bulbs could be used for an hour at the same cost. Either way it would be now about $1.20 a day, adjusted for inflation. Today it costs about 11¢ to using the same (presumably 60W) lightbulb – in other words, electricity was ten times more expensive back then. Yet they might have viewed it as a bargain; just a few years earlier in 1905, electrical service was more than 25 times what we currently pay.

The same lecturer demonstrated how using the right kind of globe over a bulb could increase light output dramatically. Although the article doesn’t mention the type of cover being used, from the description that a lightbulb’s glow was made sixteen times brighter suggests it was undoubtedly Holophane.

The Holophane Glass Company brought a scientific approach to the problem of lighting, and patented its unique shades and globes designed for maximum reflection and almost no absorption of light; depending upon the model, Holophanes could focus light downwards or splash it broadly over a ceiling, or both. (This collector has a remarkable photo gallery of the many different styles.) The patterns of the ribbed, prismatic glass controlled light with great precision but the other part of the secret sauce was the glass itself, which had a high lead content.*

The company’s trade magazine from this period, Holophane Illumination, often can be found promoting the synergy between using those superior Mazda lightbulbs inside your Holophane globes for the best light possible. It will probably come as no surprise to learn GE had controlling interest in the Holophane Glass Company, and early in 1911 obtained exclusive rights to sell Holophane products in U.S.

The overall situation might have improved, but woe to PG&E’s Santa Rosa manager, who apparently was fending off complaints about crappy lighting supposedly due to “weak current.” Near the end of the year the Press Democrat printed his rant about otherwise “good housewives” neglecting to clean their globes, although it’s unclear whether he is faulting them for buildup of horrible filth on the inside or outer. “They fail to give satisfactory light and the company is blamed,” he griped. Anyway, he said some of those squeaky wheels would be given new lightbulbs (presumably, Mazdas): “To overcome this that we are making a partial installation of new lights free of charge to educate the light-users to the necessity of having globes changed regularly. It will take less current and give better light for less money.”

*Although the dual gas-electric fixtures in Comstock House show the spare-no-expense Oates family considered good lighting very important, there is no evidence that Holophanes were originally used. The shades were not well known in the U.S. until they were exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, which took place just months before construction of the house began. When we remodeled kitchen and pantry lighting we designed it around three period Holophane styles that provide both superior general illumination and precision downlighting in the cooking areas.  Antique Holophanes are still widely available today and can easily be identified from later pressed-glass knockoffs by examining the inside of the shade; when viewed at a sharp angle, old Holophane glass will appear to be silver-grey and almost shimmers like a hot desert road.
JACOBS FIRST TO RECEIVE NEW LAMP

H. W. Jacobs received a large shipment of wire drawn Sterling Mazda lamps Thursday morning. This style of electric lamp is something new in electrical lighting and is the first of the kind to be received on this coast. They are similar to the old style tungsten lamp, but different from them in that they can be burned at any angle and can be roughtly [sic] treated without the wire in the lamp breaking. They give a fine white light. Those who have seen them consider them to be the finest electric light yet put on the market. Mr. Jacobs beat all the other electrical houses on the coast in getting this lamp in stock. He is in position to get what is best in electrical supplies before most anybody else on the coast.

– Santa Rosa Republican, March 2, 1911
LARGE SHIPMENT OF MAZDA LAMPS ARRIVE

H. W. Jacobs, the local electrician, received a shipment of fourteen cases of the celebrated Edison Mazda electric lamps on Friday morning. The shipment contains 1200 lamps, and the candlepower represented by the shipment is all the way from 8 to 500 candle power. With the lamps a shipment of 35,000 feet of wire for use in electrical work was received. Mr. Jacobs claims these are the largest shipments of electrical lamps and wire that have ever come to the City of Roses. He finds a big demand for these celebrated lamps and is doing much work in installing electric wires and fixtures.

– Santa Rosa Republican, April 5, 1911

TRANSFORMER BURNED OUT
Plunged City in Darkness for Short Time

The burning out of one of the mammoth transformers at the sub-station of the Santa Rosa division of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company plant on Monday evening plunged the city in total darkness for a time. The lights went out suddenly and there was a search for lamps and candles in the residences and business houses that are not supplied with gas. The lack of light came near delaying the meeting scheduled to be address by Governor Hiram Johnson at the pavilion.

Fortunately there are a few gas lights in the mammoth pavilion and with these shedding dim rays the meeting was begun. Before the main speakers of the evening had begun their addresses the lights were again turned on and one of the speakers said it was particularly appropriate for the occasion that the lights should come on and lead the people out of the darkness, as that was the object of the meeting, to give additional and better light to the people that they might better govern themselves, instead of being governed.

– Santa Rosa Republican, October 3, 1911
EXPLAINS WHY LIGHT IS POOR
Manager Maitland G. Hall of Gas & Electric Co. Having Voltage Tesed and New Globes Installed

Manager Maitland G. Hall of the Santa Rosa branch of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company has a force of men out making an inspection of the electric system and testing the current in residences to see that everything is working as it should be.

It has been found that many complaints relative to weak current are due to no fault of the company, but entirely neglect on the part of the patrons of the company. “No good housewife,” said Mr. Hall yesterday, “would think of doing her morning work if she used coal oil lamps without refilling the lamp and cleaning it and the chimney thoroughly. But the same good housewife will put an electric globe into service and never think of it again until it breaks.

“Electric globes are not supposed to burn over 500 hours. They do burn in most homes for 1,000 hours or more. They fail to give satisfactory light and the company is blamed. They us [sic] more current and less results are obtained. Now it is to overcome this that we are making a partial installation of new lights free of charge to educate the light-users to the necessity of having globes changed regularly. It will take less current and give better light for less money.”

– Press Democrat, December 4, 1911
MUCH INTEREST IN LECTURE
Fagan Gives Splendid Talk on Illumination

Much interest has been aroused in this city by the splendid address recently given here by F. D. Fagan, illuminating engineer, at the Columbia theater. Mr. Fagan demonstrated to the people of Santa Rosa the possibilities of securing the maximum of light for the minimum of cost by the use of proper globes. Mr. Fagan took a two candle-power electric light and with the use of proper globes as shades he secured a far better light than was given by a thirty-two candle power lamp which was used in comparison for the purposes of the demonstration.

The speaker contended that one light could be used twelve hours per night or twelve lights an average of one hour each evening, and the lighting bill should not exceed $1.50 for the month. From this it is apparent many residents of the city must change their shades and globes if they wish to secure the best results for a small outlay. The demonstrations wer particularly interesting to business men, who were shown the best methods of displaying goods beneath electric globes. Residential lighting was also given an explanation.

The pictures shown on the screen gave an insight to the making of the electric lamps, and showed in detail every portion of their manufacture. The first plant of Edison was depicted, as was the later plants of the wizard of electricity, and the tremendous output of the factory, together with others, was stated. The annual manufacture of electric lamps seems almost incredible. The address of Fagan and the pictures shown were highly interesting and entertaining.

– Santa Rosa Republican, October 3, 1911

Read More

OUR PECULIAR WAYS DIED HARD

By 1911 the new, modern century had fully arrived in Santa Rosa, but apparently not everyone had received the memo.

Continuing the theme of the past few articles, in 1911 Santa Rosa was catching up to Bay Area cities; downtown was looking more cosmopolitan with its paved streets, electric trolley and several movie theaters. Here’s another example: The new modernity was also reflected in the kinds of ads that began to appear, and that was presumably because shoppers reflected Santa Rosa’s expanding middle-class.

Compare the men’s fashion ads at right; the lower one appeared in 1909 and the top ad was from 1911, both from the Press Democrat. The 1909 ad emphasizes price (twice!) and the man in the drawing seems as average looking as possible – not to mention appearing uncomfortable, maybe even itchy in his ill-fitting wool suit. In the 1911 hat ad the price isn’t mentioned at all, featuring instead a man with chiseled good looks smoking a cigarette (the first appearance of smoking in any PD ad). The emphasis on value was a hallmark of ads aimed at farmers or working-class guys who only bought Sunday suits; the stylish hat ads were aimed at men who wanted to look suave around town.

The local newspapers were also becoming overall more urbane; better graphics, more cartoons and improved reproduction of photographs made both the Santa Rosa Republican and Press Democrat look more on par with a daily paper from Berkeley than one from a country town such as Ukiah, where stores were still pushing discount duds. But that modern look to the papers makes it all the more jarring when you stumble today over a story that’s a throwback to Santa Rosa’s wilder and woolier (and sometimes weirder) times. Several examples from 1911 are transcribed below.

Sometimes it’s not that the events are remarkably peculiar – people always do damned peculiar things every day – it’s just that these were odd bits to get written up in the newspaper. Take the story about Mrs. Patterson, a “prominent resident of Rincon Valley.” One midsummer morning she reached for her jar of epsom salts – a popular choice as a laxative in the day – but instead grabbed her bottle of sugar of lead (lead acetate), then used to color hair but also a mild poison.

Who on earth would keep a bottle of poison next to their similar-looking health remedies? Surprisingly, it must not have been that unusual back then because a year before the town’s veterinarian swallowed a “digestive tablet” after dinner, then realized in horror it was actually a mercury bichloride pill, “enough to kill several persons.” Reaching into our great-grandparents’ medicine cabinet was like playing russian roulette. (For those curious about “sugar of lead:” Yes, it was historically used like sugar and the Romans consumed great quantities of it in sweetened wine – read this thorough discussion.)

Also hard to comprehend today: Why carpenter Clayton Shockley and attorney Peter Schlotterback got into it on Fourth street over the ownership of a handsaw. It seemed Schlotterback accused the workman of stealing it from him a couple of years earlier, and before you knew it, the carpenter was beating the attorney in the head with his hammer and the Schlotterback was trying to saw off a portion of Shockley’s noggin. Both ended up bloody from the fracas. Okay, maybe it was a really, really nice handsaw, but honestly: Two middle-aged men in 1911 trying to kill each other over a handsaw? It was as nuts as the story a few years earlier where two men were fighting in court over ownership of “a valuable varmint dog” – which had actually died.

Then there’s the odd 1911 story of Otto Ulrich, a sausage maker who proved remarkably flammable. It seems he was going about his sausage making when he happened to catch fire, due mainly to his apron and clothing being so soaked in grease that he was something of a human candlewick. He ran to a large tub of water but was unable to get in, due to “the mammoth boots which he wore in the sausage making room” (go ahead and Google for “sausage boots” – you know you want to). His co-workers saved his life by turning a hose on him but his head was burned, along with all of his hair.

It’s also interesting to note the disgusting details of that story only appeared in the Republican, which was Santa Rosa’s afternoon newspaper; it was probably wise for the morning Press Democrat to go easy – many PD subscribers were probably having breakfast as they read their paper, and would not be happy to contemplate how much of that smoky flavor in their eggs and sausage might be essence of Otto.

This wasn’t as gruesome as some industrial accidents reported in years before, but given this incident occurred five years after publication of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” and the wide public outcry over horrific working conditions in the meatpacking industry, it’s appalling that nothing apparently had changed since the Nineteenth Century over at the Noonan Meat Company, Santa Rosa’s slaughterhouse. Let’s hope a clipping of that article turned up on a desk at the state health department.

Another item right out of the previous century: A guy on Fifth street began shooting at a Chinese man he suspected of wrongdoing, then formed a mob to hunt him down in Santa Rosa’s two-block Chinatown.

Frank Munday claimed the man was prowling around his house and thought the man intended to kidnap his three year-old daughter. Munday’s fears were pulled straight from the pages of lurid dime novels and sensationalist yellow journalism stories; 1911 was near the peak of the national white slavery mania, and a common plot described Chinese men snatching young women off the streets to smuggle them to Asian brothels. Munday took a sniper’s position overlooking the front of his house and later told a reporter he began shooting when he saw the prowler trying to open a window. As this was all happening early Sunday evening as church services were getting out he attracted much attention with his rifle fire. At no point were the police notified, according to the Press Democrat story.

Finally, the PD made its own contribution to the list of 1911 oddities with a new warning to naughty children. Not seen in the paper since 1908, these items once appeared often – a sample can be found here, and is best read imagining the voice of Simpsons’ character Mr. Burns – always warning that a dire fate awaited little rapscallions who trampled flowers or dropped slippery orange and banana peels on the sidewalk. (Yet curiously, when a former Santa Rosan actually did die in 1909 from slipping on a banana peel in San Francisco, the PD reported it with a couple of terse paragraphs and no sermonizing. Go figure.)

In that new item, PD editor Ernest Finley railed against misbehaving whipper-snappers with slingshots, and the big cudgel this time was being arrested by a game warden for shooting at federally-protected songbirds. “So if the fathers and mothers of exuberant young hopefuls wish to avoid trouble of having to go down and bail the young hopefuls out some of these fine mornings, they would better see to it that their young hopefuls carry no sling shots, and that they let the birds alone.” The boys were also shooting at people, and the paper cautioned “there is danger of grave injury if boys are allowed to possess these things and use them.” Hey, kid, here’s a buck if you can knock the cigarette out of the mouth of the guy with the snappy hat.

(Follow these links to articles on similar 1910 peculiarities and odd crimes.)

PROTESTS MADE AGAINST SLINGSHOT NUISANCE

Complaints are frequent that Santa Rosa boys are amusing themselves and tormenting other people with that devil’s device known as the slingshot, an artillery-like contraption made of a forked stick and two rubber bands. Several persons have been struck by missels [sic] from these weapons, and the results have been painful. And always there is danger of grave injury if boys are allowed to possess these things and use them. Their possession is forbidden by city ordinance, and it is threatened that the ordinance will be invoked against some of the youthful offenders if the offense continue.

Also it is said that the boys with slingshots are making targets of the birds in the old college park. That constitutes another offense against the law, for many of these birds are songbirds of the species that the law protects. So if the fathers and mothers of exuberant young hopefuls wish to avoid trouble of having to go down and bail the young hopefuls out some of these fine mornings, they would better see to it that their young hopefuls carry no sling shots, and that they let the birds alone.

– Press Democrat, March 11, 1911
WOMAN TOOK SUGAR OF LEAD BY MISTAKE

Mrs. Patterson, a prominent resident of Rincon Valley, made a mistake Friday morning in taking a dose of medicine, and swallowed a quantity of sugar of lead instead of Epsom salts. The woman noticed her mistake at once and a hurried call was made for Dr. Jackson Temple by phone. Dr. Temple made a rapid trip to the Patterson residence in his automobile and soon had the woman out of danger. Mrs. Patterson is still quite ill from the effects of her mistake, but will recover.

– Santa Rosa Republican, July 29, 1911

SAUSAGE MAKER BADLY BURNED
Clothes Catch Fire When in Smoke House

Otto Ulrich, sausage maker at the Noonan Meat Company, was severely burned about the left arm and had the hair singed from his head on Thursday morning.

The man went into the smoke house to attend to some of his duties there, and his apron and other clothing caught fire. He ran from the smoke house to a large tub of water and began splashing water on himself to quench the flames.

Not succeeding as well as he had expected, he shouted for help and fellow employees turned the hose on him and extinguished the flames. Just how the blaze was communicated to the clothing of the man is not known.

Ulrich was unable to get into the tub of water because of the mammoth boots which he wore in the sausage making room. After the fire was extinguished the man was taken to Dr. J. W. Jesse’s office to have his burns dressed and the pain relieved. His overalls were burned from his body and his head was burned, the hair being consumed rapidly. The grease which had collected on the clothing worn by the man made them inflammable.

– Santa Rosa Republican, September 14, 1911
BLOOD FLOWS IN LIVELY COMBAT
P. L. Schlotterback and C. P. Shockley Mix Things With a Hammer and Saw as Weapons

A hammer and a saw, with a man behind each, clashed in a bloody combat in the new Hahman building on Fourth street on Thursday afternoon, and for the time being there was considerable excitement. Both men came out of the combat with real wounds, bleeding wounds, too, which had to be patched up by physicians. The men in the mixup with the impromptu implements, usually devoted to placid forms of labor, were attorney Peter L. Schlotterback and C. P. Shockley, the latter a well known carpenter employed on the building.

 Schlotterback strolled into the building Thursday afternoon and seeing a number of carpenter’s saws picked up one, so the story goes, and inquired the name of the man who was using the particular saw he had in his hand, saying that it belonged to him. Shockley stepped up on hearing claim being laid to his saw, and demanded to know whether the attorney meant that he had stolen the saw, adding that it was his saw and that he could give the name of the man from whom he purchased it. He also stated that he could buy saws and was not bound to take tools that did not belong to him, and had not done so.

 Some angry words were exchanged between the two and a suggestion from Schlotterback that probably Shockley had not come honestly by the saw was resented by the carpenter, who smote his accuser over the head with a blow from a hammer handle. Quick as a flash Schlotterback struck the carpenter over the head with the saw, following it up, so other workmen present say, with other blows. Shockley turned to run and the lawyer pursued him and when Shockley stumbled and fell another blow with the saw was aimed at him. Then the combat ended.

 Blood was streaming from the wounds on Shockley’s head and from the wound on Schlotterback’s head by this time. Officer Ramsay came and Schlotterback walked away with him toward the police station. No complaint was filed, however.

 Shockley was taken to the office of Dr. G. W. Mallory and the blood was washed from his wounds. One cut on the top of his head required four stitches to close. Another cut on the back of his head required a like number of stitches. Another deep cut was made on the carpenter’s arm.

 In the meantime Schlotterback had sought the assistance of Dr. J. W. Jesse to have his wounds treated. Dr. Jesse found he had sustained a big contused wound on top of the head, evidently caused by the hammer handle with which Shockley admits he first struck Schlotterback. He also received a nasty gash in the hollow of the hand.

 Both men had the fronts of their shirts covered with blood, evidence that something had been doing.

 Shockley was employed by Schlotterback in making some repairs upon a house about two years ago, and then a saw was missed. While Schlotterback had his suspicions aroused, he says it was not until Thursday afternoon that he discovered the saw which he says is his. On the other hand, Carpenter Shockley says the saw is his, and not Schlotterback’s, and that he bought it from a man whose name he can furnish. And there you are. There is no mistaking the fact that for a few seconds there was a lively fracas over the disputed ownership.

It was not known Thursday night whether there would be any legal proceedings growing out of the dispute. After the wounds had been dressed Schlotterback inquired at the building for the saw and was told it was being detained at the police station. When Shockley was being led away to Dr. Mallory’s office his parting injunction to his fellows was, “Don’t let Schlotterback get that saw. It’s mine, and not his.”

– Press Democrat, November 3, 1911

HE TAKES SHOTS AT CHINESE PROWLER
Frank Munday Believes Chinaman Was Bent on Kidnapping His Little Daughter

Frank Munday , who resides on Fifth street, near E, took several shots with a rifle at a Chinaman who had been prowling about his residence for several hours Sunday night. He opened fire when he detected the Celestial on the porch endeavoring to open a window.

Neither of the bullets took effect in the Mongolian’s anatomy and he fled like a scared wolf to the inmost researches [sic] of Chinatown, and despite a [illegible microfilm: there was a search aided by Munday].

At the time of the rifle fusilade [sic] great excitement prevailed as many people were on their way to the different churches. The Chinaman had followed Mrs. Munday and her little three-year-old daughter when they were returning from a walk on Sunday afternoon. From then on until dusk he hovered about the Fifth street residence and was noticed by a number of the neighbors of the Mundays. The object of his attention seemed to be the little girl, and in the absence of any other reason for his presence and an attempt to enter the house, Munday believes the Chinaman was bent on kidnapping the child.

When he returned home shortly after seven o’clock on Sunday night Munday found his wife considerably alarmed over the Chinaman’s actions, and taking his rifle he stationed himself at a point of vantage and when he discovered the uninvited visitor making for the window he opened fire.

– Press Democrat, April 25, 1911

Read More