Showing posts with label West Point. Show all posts
Showing posts with label West Point. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"I Would Kill Every Rattlesnake In The Yard"~Aunt Kate

A. W. Pillsbury at the graves in West Point, CA. 

My dad,  A.W. Pillsbury and his sister 
Patricia Ellen Pillsbury Youmans  
at the Pillsbury graves in Sutter Creek, Ca.

You could see why the rattlesnakes could be a 
problem in that country. 

Chapter 14

I have said that I did not intend to teach. I intended to continue to keep my home running smoothly, work in the garden and among my flowers, look out for the sheep and cattle of which we had a good many, and doctor them when they need such attentions, that the chickens went to roost at the proper time every evening, and if there were no men around, kill every rattlesnake that ventured into the yard. But according to the old adage, "Man proposes and God disposes". The old order of my life passed from my hands that year.

At that time there was a big water project, the construction of a dam, going on high up in the Sierras at Relief, and Jim Jr. and his father, went there to stay until operations should close for the winter. After working for a month or so, the work was stopped, and the men laid off. My men came home, the elder Jim being filled with the idea of building or quartz mill on his own mine and crushing his own quartz. It all sounded very promising. There was rock enough at the dump on the shaft to make a net cleanup of a thousand dollars if it could be crushed in his own mill. 

Well, the mill was built. Timbers had to be taken out, a mortar block furnished, shakes made, lumber and machinery bought, and living expenses for five persons. I couldn't see anything else but that someone had to go out and get a job. I applied for the primary department of the West Point District School and was hired at sixty dollars a month. My board and room at the hotel were ten dollars. I went home every Friday night in the low back-cart behind old Bill, wearing the same hat and shoes that had done me duty in Sonora. On Saturday I laundered my clothes and did the family washing, starched and ironed my one school dress, a gray chambray, and Sunday afternoon went back to West Point. I was at this school eight months and I think I proved satisfactory.

When I went out to teach I thought it would be for one year only. By the time school would be out, the school would be finished, the rock crushed, and we would be on easy street. When all was done and the clean up made, there wasn't enough left to pay the mill man. Just another one of those things that came our way. 

The failure of that rock was a keen disappointment to us all. Jim felt it worse than anyone else, and for that reason I hid my emotions all that I could, in order to keep his spirits from falling. He was anxious to try it again, so the next year I taught at Railroad Flat in the Eureka District. I was here fifteen years. 
(to be continued)

Grammy T. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

"We Rented A Room For Six Dollars."~Aunt Kate

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!!

At Rhonda's in Penryn, picture taken by Lori...Gorgeous!

Chapter 13

The examination was to begin on Monday at 9 o'clock, so it behooved us to start early. On Saturday morning, after harnessing old Bill to the buggy, and with twenty dollars, borrowed money, in my purse, we started on our journey and reached Murphy's that evening. 

That old Bill was a character if there ever was one. His driver never knew what he was going to do next. Sunday morning instead of continuing our journey with Bill for our buggy horse, my brother put one of his horses in Bill's place and Kathryn rode Bill. 

We rented a room for the week for six dollars and the next morning entered the examination room, there to find ourselves in company with twenty two or three applicants from the Western Normal in Stockton, all primed for the test. I did not have any expectation of passing. Each applicant had to pay two dollars, and I shall never forget the pang in my heart when I put that money down and whispered "Good-bye" to it. Well, after laying down the dollars, we began the examination, not as I thought, from a printed list, but by copying each question as read by the superintendent. This was the first test I had ever taken in my life and my first thought was, "I can never do it." My second thought was, “and lose the two dollars? No, never. I will do my best."

It was a very difficult test and so long it was tiresome. When Mr. Morgan read an example of a question I knew right away if I could answer it correctly or not. And the greater part of them I could. 

The test was finished on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning we started out on our home journey expecting to reach Murphys that evening but we couldn't make it. Bill had been in one of the best stables in Sonora where I had paid first class rates for his board.  On getting away from town he acted as if he were starved. Every bunch of grass or weed the poor brute saw he would stop and eat and as our journey proceeded he seemed to get weaker and his temper uglier. We had crossed the bridge at Parrot's Ferry and were on that part of the road that had been built up on a level with the bridge,  when like a flash of lightening, that animal whirled half way around and pushed the buggy over to the edge of the wall between the road and the bed of the river. Kathryn by this time was out and grabbed him by the bridle in time to save us from going over a drop of twelve or fifteen feet to the rocks below. We straightened horse and buggy around and looked at the road, all up hill, that was facing us now. By this time Bill's head was almost down between his feet and we realized he was never going to be able to pull us and the buggy up those hills. The only thing to do was for us to walk up the hill and help Bill with the buggy. It was almost sundown when we gained the top of the grade and stopped again for Bill to rest and for us to decide to go down to Angels or up to Murphys. We decided to take the down grade hoping the weight behind him might help to push him along. When we reached Angels it was getting dark and I took a back road instead of the main street. I felt that I would be arrested for cruelty to animals if I dared drive Bill through the main street. The next day Bill acted as if he were going to die. He lay down all day as if every minute was going to be his last.  He was able to make the trip to my brother's after a good rest and from there to home on the following Wednesday.

Two weeks later we heard the results from Sonora. There was a very nice letter to Kathryn from the Board saying that they were sorry to tell her she had failed to make the required number of credits to pass, but not to let that discourage her. In a separate envelope addressed to me, was a certificate giving me lawful permission to enter the schools of California as a teacher. Of course I was glad that I had not failed, even if I did not intend to use the certificate. Kathryn had taken the test in Calaveras County the year before and had a good standing so it was just up to her to work during the summer and take the examination again in August. She did that and got her credentials and commenced to her first school assignment that fall, on the same day that I entered the school room in West Point.(To Be Continued)

Nieces and Nephews of Aunt Kate

Take The Tractor Another Round 
Another Round

Amy and her two oldest boys at our home in Loomis.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"That Night A Premature Boy Baby Was Born." ~ Aunt Kate

Nieces of Aunt Kate, Jenna, Alex and Marki in New York

Chapter 10

In November Jim wrote that he was coming home. They had removed all the debris and found, when they reached the river bed, that it had already been worked by someone. Those huge rocks and been deposited in that place in the river by a flood, a cloudburst probably higher in the mountains. So that was that.

One afternoon I saw someone approaching the house with a little bundle on a stick over his shoulder. I didn't recognize him. As far as dress was concerned he bore no resemblance to the spic and span Jimmie Ham who left West Point in June. But it was Jim arriving just in time to summon the doctor. For two or three days I had been feeling sick, and at the time of his coming, I was suffering such pain that medical help was imperative. At twelve o'clock that night a premature boy baby, who lived but a few minutes, was born, our fifth and last child.

Now that Jim was at home with empty pockets and I was able to be up and around, what to do next was the problem uppermost in our minds. It was a period of hard times, the depression of 1893 in its second year. There was no work to be had and Jim's thoughts turned to mining for himself as a solution. There were a number of prospects in this mining district on which the required assessment work had not been done, and according to mining law, they were open on the first of January, for any person to relocate. At one minute past twelve o'clock on January 1st, 1895, Jim put a notice of location on the Crown Point Mine. This mine had been discovered and worked in the early days by a company of men from New York, and it had paid very well. They abandoned it for better prospects closer to a mill. Since then it had been "jumped" a number of times by different parties and was open to relocation when Jim took it. 
(to be continued)

Grammy T.