Showing posts with label Grandma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grandma. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"I was afraid all of the time"

Nephew of Aunt Kate
Arthur Wayne Pillsbury 1921-2009 

Chapter 6

After our visit in San Francisco, we went to Angels Camp where Jim went to work in the Angels Mine. We were there from May to October. Those days were not very pleasant. In fact they were horrible. I was afraid all of the time, afraid that every time Jim went down into that dreadful mine he would never come out alive. It's something I don't care to think about even now.

Our next place was the Union Mine about three miles south of San Andreas. He and some other miners took a contract to sink the shaft a certain number of feet at a certain sum per foot. But to get a house to live in we were obliged to board the men at the mine that had no home close by. Before April, when we went away there, I had twelve people to cook for. But Jim made money on his contract and was able to carry away a thousand dollars.

In July 1888 my baby Kathryn Grace Ham was born and I tried to feel well again, but I had worked too hard in those months before her coming to gain any health. It looked as the months passed on as if I would never be well again. Fifteen months later another baby was born, a boy , now I had two babies to care for and no health.

My father was aging fast and it made me feel rather unhappy to have to recognize the fact. He was sixty three when he passed away in April 1889. After my father's death, we moved from the home place to a small house in town, and in October of 1889 James Jr. came. 

Jim Sr. had had a bad cough every once in awhile for a long time and it was coming more frequently and getting worse with every recurrence. That spring the La grippe first made its appearance, he coughed so hard that I made him go to San Francisco to consult a physician. The doctor examined him and said that his lungs were perfectly healthy: the trouble was his throat and was nothing to worry about. It was hard not to worry. 

Time passed on until 1893. There was another baby in the family and no money. Jim's cough was worse and he was not able to work in the mine. The outlook was very dubious and what to do was the question. When the baby was six weeks old we heard of an opening in a hotel in West Point and we took it. The winter had been very stormy and the rivers were very high. The south fork of the Mokelumne River, which we had to cross, was unbridged and the water came into the bed of the wagon. We crossed over safely however and reached West Point. (to be continued)


Grammy T.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"My wedding day was the most unhappy day of my life."

A GGGreat Niece of Aunt Kate

I was married on April 10, 1887, to a man named James Ham, a native of England. I think my wedding day was the most unhappy day of my life. For months afterward I couldn't think of it without tears. The wedding took place in the sitting room that I had worked so hard to make presentable. There was a nice group of friends present and everything should have been happy. But it almost broke my father up. If it had been my funeral he couldn't have felt worse. When congratulations were in order, he shook Jim's hand and said, with tears coursing down his cheeks, that Jim had taken the best spoke out of his wheel. It almost broke my heart and I would have given anything to have reconciled my father to my leaving. 

After the wedding we went to New Almaden in Santa Clara County to visit his brother and their families. We stayed there a few days more and than a month. During that time I had my first contact with real English life. As far as I know I was the only American in the community. All were English born the children of English born parents and they talked, ate and lived as in England.

When we left New Almaden we were weighted down with silver dollars. While he was there Jim worked in the quick silver mines, and as they paid off in silver dollars, a month's pay amounted to some weight. He managed it though by putting most of the dollars in one of the trunks and the remainder in several of our pockets.

From here we went to San Francisco on a sort of delayed wedding trip. This was my first visit to the city and was on of the most memorable events of my life. We stopped at the International Hotel on Kearny Street. At that time it seemed to be a family hotel and the people whom I met there were all very nice people. 

While we were in the city we took in as many of the points of interest as possible: Woodward's Garden, Golden Gate Park, The Cliff House, the seals and the seal rocks, and the theaters. We also saw the panorama of The Battle of Waterloo. Even now, after all the years since then, I have only to close my eyes and in fancy see that wonderful picture. It was glorious to me.
(to be continued)

Gammy T.