Monday, March 28, 2011

A golden legacy

Many of us first cousins have in our safety deposit boxes or, hopefully in a safe place, small gold nuggets that we have inherited. Mother gave each of my siblings and me a few nuggets in the late 1970s. I knew they were from Uncle Steve, but recently when I asked, neither Aunt Bobbi nor Aunt Kathy could remember from their early girlhood who he was in relation to them.
So I brought the subject of the nuggets up in a conversation with my sister Jane Leslie and she said she had a letter from Mother telling us about “Uncle Steve.” She promptly produced it. I wish I were as organized as JL is. So for our edification here is our mother’s recollection. You never know what information you will find in a family letter.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Marron Family and Thomas Kendrick.

How did Thomas Kendrick meet Catherine Marron? We will probably never know.San Francisco in the 1870s was a bustling, growing city. Though the gold rush was over people were still seeking opportunities in California. Catherine Marron was in San Francisco around 1873. So far an immigration record that is conclusively hers has eluded me. A Catherine Marron arrived in New York on the ship the City of London in 1872. She was 18 years old and while she might have been with family or friends there are no other Kendrick listed on the passenger list. Having arrived in New York, was she met by family? She was in San Francisco by 1973/74. Did she travel by train on the new transcontinental railroad? Or did she travel by ship to Panama; crossing Panama for another ship on the Pacific side? She joined at least two brothers in San Francisco, Patrick who in 1870 was journeyman plasterer in San Francisco and John whose location I can't prove as yet for 1870. A sister Nora supposedly also came around this time. The girls earned money as seamstresses.
However Thomas met Catherine, by 1875 they were spending time together. Thomas, who had run away to sea when he was very young, had led a hard life at sea (see my first blog posting), In 1875 he was only 23, but had been on his own for many years. Any schooling had ended at a young age. Later pictures show that he must have been handsome with dark hair and light eyes – his height according to his sailor’s records was 6’2”. We have no early pictures of Catherine (at least not that I have seen.)What we do have is a note sent to Catherine by an ardent suitor Thomas. It was so precious to Catherine that she treasured it all her life. Apparently Thomas and Catherin had a falling out around Valentine's Day in 1875. While going through family papers Aunt Bobbi found it. Thomas wrote to assure her that his love was sincere and lasting. Considering that he was a man more use to using his hands than being articulate in speech or writing. it couldn’t have been an easy note to write. A note from Papa written in 1920 accompanies it. Clearly Papa, a man so articulate, appreciated and saved this letter after his mother's death. With respect for his emotions and his writing limitations I include it below. First Papa's note.

Dear Miss
I seat myself to rite you this note to let you see that my love was not falls as you said it was in your valentine that[you] sent to me today. thir never was no person in this world that heald so much love for [you] as I did for you. For every time I look around me I thought and imagine I could see you but when I came closer I could see you did not think as much of me for you took it so cool that you hardly spoke to me, but I hope I never fall in love so much again.  I hope now you will change your opinon when you read this note; I think just as much of you as ever; So good night to you and sleep well.
Thomas Kendrick
I thank you very much for your nice valentine
Thomas' earnestness must have won the day because they were married on May 25th of the same year at Mission Dolores. More about Thomas and Catherine next time.