Marin County Genealogy

Marin Oral Histories - B

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.

Dangberg Grace Melissa Carson Valley (Minden, Nevada) CA Pioneer Family b. 26 Feb 1896

d. Nov 1985

Age 81. Grand-daughter of Carson Valley pioneer; a scholar, teacher, rancher, historian, and author. Town of Minden founded by her family. Describes ranching, the fight over water, the love of the Carson Valley and its part in the Westward migration. Her two latest books are, "Carson Valley" and "Conflict on the Carson." Graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Columbia. Advocate of Dr. Frederick J. Teggart's thesis regarding Historical Research called "Class of Events." Her 125,000 acre ranch was sold in June for 17 million dollars. 24 May 1977 
Darby Catherine (Mrs. Bernard F.) Lucas Valley Pioneer Family b. 23 Jan 1912

d. 11 Mar 1997

Catherine Darby is descended from the nephew of Don Timateo Murphy (Lucas Family). May 1974
Denicke Dr. Ernest Ross Opthamologist, Outdoorsman, Engineer, Craftsman b. 5 Dec 1912

d. 6 Nov 1991

Outstanding Opthamologist of Marin. In practice from 1940-1982. Describes life as a boy in Ross - outdoorsman, i.e., hunting and fishing in Marin; WWII Air Force; married Edith Gunn in 1938 (3 sons). Relates changes in medicine since the 1930's, i.e., Sulfa drugs, anti-biotics and drugs for infectious diseases; better and more sophisticated diagnostic tools, i.e., cat scanner, laser rays, operating microscope, etc. An extraordinary man of many talents; mechanical engineering, electronics, wood working, metal working, etc. Has a magnificent shop 50 x 50 in his home fully equipped.
Dewing Janet Graham Kentfield Concert Pianist   Distinguished California concert pianist known professionally as Janet Graham was internationally famous for her outstanding performances in the great music centers in Europe as well as America. She shares experiences from her life and career.   12 January 1977
Derugin Vladimer Holy Virgin Cathedral, San Francisco Russian Orthodox Priest, Cathedral Administrator   Sub-deacon of the Cathedral. Born in Germany; age 6-17 in Los Angeles; educated San Francisco State (3 years); graduated from University of Leningrad; met with dissidents and had to leave; came back to States; taught Russian at Defense Language Institute for 1 1/2 years; attended Seminary and received BA in Theology and MA in Humanities from San Francisco State. Mr. Derugin tells the story of the building of this great Cathedral and describes in detail the art treasures (Icons) it contains and relics. Also explains the story and symbolism of the murals and the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. 1 February 1978
Dibblee Harrison Jr.  Ross, early Bolinas Pioneer Family   Descendent of Albert Dibblee, who came to Marin in the 1860's and and bought large land holdings from Mr. James Ross. Mr. Harrison Dibblee describes his grandfather's 75 acre estate "Fernhill" in Ross, his family's business enterprises in Santa Barbara, life in West Marin around 1910 and early Bolinas. Mrs. Thomas Kent joins Harrison Dibblee in these reminiscences of early Marin. Recorded at Mrs. T. Kent's home. 13 January 1975
Dickson Melville  Woodacre Pioneer Family   One of two brothers born on the 500 acre ranch their grandfather purchased over 120 years ago (1856). Five generations of Dicksons have lived on the ranch. The brothers describe ranch life; changes in ranching; struggles over the lean years and discourse at some length on the Robert Dollar family; their mother was Grace Dollar, only daughter of Robert. 21 November 1976
Dickson Fred Woodacre Pioneer Family b. 15 Aug 1910

d. 27 Nov 1991

One of two brothers born on the 500 acre ranch their grandfather purchased over 120 years ago (1856). Five generations of Dicksons have lived on the ranch. The brothers describe ranch life; changes in ranching; struggles over the lean years and discourse at some length on the Robert Dollar family; their mother was Grace Dollar, only daughter of Robert. 21 November 1976
Dill, Jr.  Dr. Marshall Marin Music Chest Professor, Historian, Marin Music Chest (nephew of founder)   Currently professor of European History, Dominican College. Graduate of Stanford; PHD Harvard. Author of "Germany, a modern history through 1961;" "Paris in time;" "London through time;" and "Living in awe." Dr. Dill is the nephew of Maude Fay Symington (founder of the Marin Music Chest). The narrative covers her career as an Opera singer in Germany and her successful achievements of the Marin Music Chest in Marin. Charming reminiscences of a remarkable woman. 3 May 1976
Doherty Nell (Mrs. Randolph C.)  Larkspur Early Resident b. 12 June 1885

d. Oct 1984

Recorded at her residence in Greenbrae. A resident of Larkspur for 70 years, since 1906, Mrs. Doherty describes early, turn-of-the-century Larkspur; i.e., Larkspur Inn, Escalles, Bon Air Hotel, life along the Corte Madera Creek, the "Rose Bowl" dances, the Volunteer Fire Department, Owl's Woods, Jim Corbet, the Tiscornia property, her husband's lumber company, the "Hot Houses" of George Nivens, the early Arks, Hill's Boat House, etc. 12 March 1975
Dolcini Earl Petaluma Pioneer Family   Earl tells the story of the Dolcini family (Swiss) who have been on their ranches in Marin since 1849/50. By 1856, they owned the first ranch. Each child (there were seven) was given a dairy. The Dolcini family are hard working and well educated and Earl is a happy and successful rancher. The ranch home is beautifully restored, artistically decorated and furnished. Earl explains ranching today. The joys and the few disadvantages. Explains why Marin County milk is the best, i.e., natural forage, mild climate, etc. Concludes with his perception of the future for ranching in Marin. 9 August 1984 
Dowd Margaret Mill Valley Early Resident, Business b. 10 Jan 1906 Margaret Dowd was born Margaret Wosser on January 10, 1906 at Duncan's Mills in Sonoma County, California. Mrs. Dowd talks about her family moving to Marin County near the turn of the century. She discusses her husband's business that is still in Mill Valley at 157 Throckmorton where her husband was born. After being in the horse boarding and rental business among other occupations, the family business is now Dowd's Home Furnishings. Mrs. Dowd was graduated from Tamalpais High School in 1922 and had a cousin in the first graduating class of 1911. That class was the first to go the full four years and started in a tent on the property. Mrs. Dowd talks about the 1929 fire in which her family's house did not burn. She also talks about how the town celebrated the end of WWI. October 1968
Dowling John San Rafael Artist, Actor, Teacher, Administrator, Marin Art & Garden Center   Founding member of the Marin Art & Garden Center, Ross; past President, Ross Valley Players; VP Board of Directors, M.A.G.C.; well-known potter; manager Marin County Fair 1950. Tells his story of the beginnings of the Center and the struggles to develop it. Shares interesting vignettes of Carolyn Livermore, Moya de Pino and other founding members. Mr. Dowling is also a recognized potter, having sold his art work exclusively through Gumps in San Francisco. A many talented man, actor, artist and teacher administrator. 9 February 1983
Dreyfus Helen Thompson (Mrs. Benjamin) Mill Valley Early Resident b. 7 Feb 1908

d. Jan 1995

Born in Mill Valley 7 February 1908, daughter of Fred Thompson who was one of six children of James Sexton Thompson & Josephine Maroney Thompson. Family built "Tree Haven" in 1891 and have been associated with Mill Valley ever since. Recounts history of Thompson family including her famous Aunt Kathleen Thompson Norris (author of 60 novels); her summers as "Le Estancia," the Norris estate in Saratoga; her Aunt Theresa Thompson Benet, wife of William Rose Benet; and shares warm experiences of a wonderful Irish family. 20 February 1979 
Dunn Betty (Mrs. Kenneth)  Ross Volunteer Fundraiser b. 11 Oct 1914

d. 25 Feb 1997

15 year volunteer worker for Pathfinders in the Marin Art and Garden Center, Ross. Tells the story of the beginnings of the restaurant, 1967, from 50 cent luncheons of soup and French bread to $5.00 lunches (for up to 100) served with wine. One of the many Guilds that support the Center, this Guild contributes an average of $12,000 per year to the Marin Art and Garden Center. Started originally in the Octagon House then moved to the Magnolia Room and finally in 1970 to the McTaveya home on the Center grounds, Pathfinders also prepare special dinners for groups and serves for wedding receptions. 12 November 1982 
Dunshee Bertram R.  Ross Civil Engineer b. 9 Nov 1891

d. March 1986

Marin resident for over 50 years - retired PG&E civil engineer. Relates how he and his wife Verna worked long and hard for the acquisition of land in Marin for State Parks, i.e., Shell Beach, Camp Taylor, Tomales Bay State Park, Angel Island and Pt. Reyes National Sea Shore. The Dunshee's are a remarkable couple who have contributed greatly to the conservation & preservation of Marin. 15 November 1979 

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