Marin County Genealogy

Marin Oral Histories - C

Hosted by permission of Cathy Gowdy of the Marin County Genealogical Society.

NOTE: Oral Histories for underlined names have been transcribed and are available on the net - click on the name to go to the Civic Center Branch of the Marin County Free Library page where they can be accessed.

Cadogan Edwin Anthony Bodega Bay Pioneer Family b. 4 Jan 1908

d. Nov 1983

Great great grandson of John Lucas, holder of "Rancho Santa Margarita" in Marin County which John Lucas inherited from his uncle - Don Timeteo Murphy - recipient of the grant in 1844 (22,000 acres). Edwin shares some family stories of Murphy & Lucas (sons of Erin) and states that there is no photo of Don Timeteo extant, all he has seen are not his antecedent. Mr. Cadogan retired in 1967 after serving 20 years as Chairman of the Fine Arts Division, College of Marin. He still paints & does pottery in his studio. 19 June 1979 
Cain Marion Hayes Mt. Tamalpais Director Mountain Play   Former director of the "Mountain Play Association." Discusses plays performed in the amphitheater on Mt. Tamalpais. She reminiscences about the founders, i.e., John c. Caitlin, Garnet Holme, Dad O'Rourke, Mrs. D.F. Easton, William Kent, Dan Totheroh, etc. Tells about the early Directors, Actors and Playwrights and the struggles to put on the plays from 1913 to the present. Mrs. Cain was a Director for 8 years and shares a wealth of personal knowledge of this unique experience. 17 October 1975
Caletti Helen San Anselmo Fundraiser, Volunteer Bargain Box   30 year volunteer fund raiser for "Sunnyhills," the day & residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescents located since 1895 in San Anselmo. Helen runs the "Bargain Box," the greatest fundraiser for Sunnyhills. An average of $100,000 - $200,000 is raised annually by Helen's group to support this well known former orphanage (now treatment center). 40 children (ages 12-17) are cared for on a 20 acre property. Cost is $2500 per month for residents and $1000 per month for day treatment clients. 14 January 1983
Campbell Margaret CA Academy of Sciences Librarian, Volunteer   Volunteer Librarian, Archives for the California Academy of Sciences for over 13 years. Has chronicled the entire papers of Alice Eastwood, famous Curator of Botany at the Academy. Is working on the papers of Gustave Eisen, Describes how the Library functions; i.e., who may use it, and the various endowments that have helped to build it. Reads into the tape the story of how and why and when the Academy came about in 1853. An intelligent woman who has made a remarkable volunteer contribution as an archivist. 16 August 1976
Carlisle Mary Gorgas Mare Island Lighthouse Keeper (daughter) b. 10 Sep 1897

d. 10 Jan 1996

Mrs. Carlisle is a Navy daughter who lived for 20 years at the Mare Island Lighthouse where her grandmother, Kate Coffen McDougal, was the "Keeper of the Light" from 1880-1917 (37 years). Charming stories of turn of the century life in a Lighthouse and life at a "Navy Yard." She lived 20 years at the light; 1897-1917. 24 November 1975
Carson Robert Novato Business, Hamilton Field, Golden Gate Bridge District b. 21 Sep 1902

d. 13 June 1992

81 year old gentleman who lived in Marin and was chairman of the committee that brought Hamilton Field to Marin. He tells the story of this achievement and also the story of the creation of the Golden Gate Bridge District and the efforts by "Marvelous Marin" and the "Redwood Empire Association" to bring this about. A very successful businessman for the past 40 years in England, Mr. Carson spends three months a year in his home in San Rafael. For many years his family ran the Carson Glove Company, one of Marin's light industries. 17 May 1983 
Chestnut  Helen Mill Valley Early Resident b. 11 June 1880 Helen Chestnut was born Helen Van Valkenburgh 11 June 1880 in Rockford, Illinois. She has been a resident of Mill Valley since she moved there with her husband in 1919. Mrs. Chestnut enjoyed reading and would often go to the library in the evenings to read while her husband stayed home with the children (who had been put to bed by Mrs. Chestnut before she left). She was surprised to find the librarian had never heard of Jack London. She had an amusing story to tell about one of Jack London's experiences at Cal. She recalls the fire of 1929 that fortunately spared their house. June 1969
Clinton Helen Delmar Mill Valley Early Resident b. 25 Dec 1880

d. June 1978

Tells of early Mill Valley in the 1880's. Belvedere, early Arks, Elsie Maxwell, boating, Gravity Train experiences, growth of Mill Valley, cultural events, Marin Music Chest. 6 July 1974 
Conlan Sister Mary Samuel San Rafael Educator, Administrator   Retired 5th President of Dominican College, San Rafael; the first 4 year, liberal arts college in Marin. 12 years President, 1968-1980. During her tenure two important changes occurred: 1) under-grad classes opened to male students, 2) Board of Trustees enlarged from 5 Sisters to include 2/3 lay members and greater community involvement in the college. A warm ,scholarly and charming Sister and a promoter of Ecumenism. Qualities are many - intelligence, vision, and leadership, an extraordinary woman who gives a keen insight into Dominican College. 14 May 1982 
Conly Clifford Jr. Marshall Architect, Decorator   Retired architect and decorator. Interviewed at his 10 acre site that he has bequeathed to Marin Audubon Society upon his death. Active conservationist, describes history of his property, restoration of "Lyford House" in Tiburon and his participation in the Audubon Society. A very urbane gentleman saving a beautiful spot in Marin for future generations. 26 August 1976
Cook John Elliot Ross Attorney   Attorney for 50 years for Dr. Leonard and Mrs. Beryl Buck. Shares some personal reminiscences of the Buck family. For 40 years he was their neighbor in Ross. Mr. Elliot Cook still goes to his office in San Francisco (Mills Building) each day and though a widower, lives alone in his lovely home immediately adjacent to the Buck property. He talks about the profession of law, the changes made, the judges on the bench and discusses some of his cases. He also talks about Ross and interesting events around this small town. 16 July 1983
Cordone Marius San Anselmo Realtor b. 16 May 1898

d. 26 Feb 1993

81 year old realtor, born in San Anselmo tells the story of the Guiseppe Cordone family and the "Cordone Gardens," 30 acre vegetable and fruit ranch (where Sir Francis Drake High School is today). Marius discusses his youth, education and 45 year career in the Real Estate business and changes that have taken place. Shares his recollection of Sleepy Hollow and the Hotaling Dairy (1st certified Grade "A" dairy in California), the Traxler Ranch and Hawthorne Terrace. An active, alert and accomplished businessman with a reputation of integrity and fair play. 10 September 1979 
Coulter James V. Sausalito Marin Artist (son) b. 13 Nov 1916

d. Oct 1986

Son of William Alexander Coulter reminisces about his famous father who was a Marine artist (internationally recognized). Over 5,000 paintings to his father's credit. His Irish father came to San Francisco in 1869 on a sailing ship after 7 years at sea. A broken ankle ended his sea career but his love of the sea found its expression in painting these magnificent Square Riggers he adored. William Coulter lived for 40 years in Sausalito and had his studio in San Francisco. He sketched waterfront scenes for the San Francisco Call newspaper and his famous paintings include: "The Burning of the Blue Light," "San Francisco Fire - 1906," and the five murals 18' x 16' in the Merchants Exchange Building, 465 California Street, San Francisco. One of these rare artists who supported his wife and 3 children entirely by painting. James, his son, founded Coulter Steel and Forge Company in Emeryville and is still working. 10 February 1982 
Courtright William Glenn Larkspur City Clerk, Larkspur (son), Early Resident b. 5 Sep 1903

d. Sep 1980

Born 1903 (78 years), Larkspur old timer whose mother, Mary Kelly Courtright, was for 28 years the City Clerk of Larkspur as well as 11 years as Postmaster. Glenn reminiscences about the railroad, ferries, people and lifestyles circa 1920's/30's. Descriptions of Larkspur, Kentfield, Greenbrae, Ross Valley. 3 February 1975
Crist Edna Shafter Orr Pt. Reyes Pioneer Family b. 23 Nov 1884

d. Jan 1977

Recorded at the Women's Athletic Club, Oakland. Mrs. Crist discusses her grandfather Oscar Shafter and his early days in Oakland prior to acquiring 75,000 acres on Pt. Reyes. She also tells of her Irish ancestor, William Orr, the famous Irish patriot. Interesting stories of early 1900 Olema and the ranches on the point. Relates her visit to the site after the 1906 earthquake. 3 February 1975 

Return to Marin Oral Histories
Return to Marin County Genealogy
© Copyright 2007-2008 Ron Filion and Pamela Storm. All rights reserved.