Research Adventures

17 Feb

I have a new picture for Elsie’s second book. It came down to me from “the cloud.” Well, it did come by e-mail and I felt like it floated down from heaven. I had read in Elsie’s notes (written when she was 18):
“1906- After Papa bought the Apple ranch on Palomar he spent the fall living on the mountain. In June he drove the wagon down to Long Beach and my sisters and I returned to the mountain for each summer. Those trips will never be forgotten. Sometimes we more or less followed the coast as far as Oceanside. We camped out at night. Papa grew to love camping so much that we used to laugh about it and say that he must have gypsy blood. In those days Southern California had vast wild areas and scattered ranches. Along in the afternoon we would watch for a farm where we might be able to buy hay. Still trying to save weight Papa would get only enough for feed for that night and the next morning.
Next we looked for a camping spot, near the lonely road and not far from some farm where hospitality extended to the use of water. A fire would be built; groceries for supper would be unpacked. It was then that the hay left for the team’s breakfast would be spread as a mattress for our beds.
Our side journey to the Guajome Ranch was probably a part of one of our travels by way of Oceanside, our alternate route between Long Beach and the mountain. In 1906 we camped not far from San Juan Capistrano Mission, no doubt the first night out from Long Beach. It was down toward the beach in a wild, isolated spot, and that night coyotes howled nearby. My dear Caroline Harnett was going with us for a month at Palomar. Used to her huge family, she had never been away from all of them a night before; nor had she ever slept in the open. I remember her terror at that weird wailing, which I still love to hear anywhere. Once in passing near the mission we spent some time at its ruins. A Kodak picture shows me on horseback among the fallen walls.”
Elsie came from a long line of “preservers of history,” (she was too genteel to be referred to as a hoarder). As a child I remember days when she opened her cedar chest to reveal amazing bits of family history. When Elsie retired from serving as a school librarian for La Mesa elementary she began to visit history classes displaying some of her treasures from the cedar chest. There were invitations to inaugural balls from the 1800’s, and an autograph book that included Ulysses S Grant and Abraham Lincoln , among others. There was also a treasured letter written to her aunt from Susan B. Anthony. Among her treasures were photos of Elsie’s grandfather, William Nairn Reed. He had come west with the band of 49ers. There were pictures of cousins left behind in Virginia. I knew none of the people in the pictures from Virginia, but being the preserver of history I held onto them.

I wanted that photo from 1906 of Elsie riding her saddle horse.
My sister Nancy and I had searched all of our family photos – but that picture was not among all the treasured photos we had from Elsie. I had recently discovered a cousin named Mark, a descendant of one of Elsie’s Virginia cousins, via (Mark and I share William Nairn Reed as a great-great-grandfather.) I mailed him some photos that Elsie had saved among her treasures that were of his grandmother as a child. (Elsie kept in contact with her Virginia cousins when her family moved West in 1897, and they traded photos.) A couple of weeks ago Mark began to email photos to me asking if I could identify the people. He told me his photos inherited from his grandmother were in an envelope marked “California Cousins.” I restrained the shout that nearly escaped me while sitting in the library when I realized Mark had emailed me the very photo I had been searching for – Elsie on horseback at Capistrano Mission. In 1906 when photos were developed they didn’t come with doubles! The photo is labeled “Elsie on horseback beside the ruins of San Juan Capistrano mission.” Photos delivered from the cloud up in heaven.
Elsie Hayes  on horseback san luis reyes mission 1200 dpi r c3

I am so thankful we are now at 303 reviews on Amazon. I have another new cousin and what an adventure I am having writing this second book.

5 Responses to “Research Adventures”

  1. Michele H February 17, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    Keep up the good work! I loved the first book. Can’t wait to read more.

  2. Mary Anne H. February 18, 2015 at 3:11 am #

    Cannot wait for the new book! Thank you Elsie for guiding Barbara from above!!

  3. Rita Covalt February 18, 2015 at 6:26 am #

    How exciting, Barb!!!! I wanted to shout, too! Keep writing! I wish I had some written treasures from the past like this. Love, Rita

  4. Kay STory February 18, 2015 at 8:18 am #

    I can hardly wait for second book….

  5. Trena Reck February 18, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    Loved the the first book, cannot wait for the second!!

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