Marin County Genealogy

Marin Oral Histories - H

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.
Hall Alice Codoni Point Reyes Station Dairy Rancher, Tomales Banker (daughter) b. 2 Jan 1898

d. 15 May 1991

Swiss-Italian dairy rancher on 1212 acre dairy ranch (250 cattle) born at Point Reyes Station 2 January 1898. Reminisces about her family and life on Pt. Reyes. Her father Quinto Codoni was Mr. Pt. Reyes Station who came to Tocaloma in 1872 and eventually became the chief hog and cattle buyer on the point. Part owner of the schooner Pt. Reyes that took a deck load of 200 hogs to market in San Francisco, Quinto was also director and VP of the Bank of Tomales. See also article in Point Reyes Historian, Winter 1980 issue. 17 February 1981
Hall Margaret Nelson Olema Teacher, Early Resident b. 23 March 1899

d. 15 Sep 1996

Age 81. Related by marriage to the John Nelson family who built and ran the Olema Hotel from 1877-1942 (the Army took over in WWII). Mrs. Hall recounts her teaching experiences in 1920-1923 (teacher of grades 1-8) in the Olema one-room school. For three years she boarded in the old hotel where she met her future husband, grandson of John Nelson. She describes the old hotel and Nelson family, her bedroom, top floor NW corner and the old Ford car that met the train each day. Warm reminiscences of teaching in a County school 60 years ago. 19 April 1980
Hamilton William Mill Valley Career Military, Early Resident b. 17 March 1900

d. Oct 1981

William Hamilton was born in Mill Valley 17 March 1900. He spent twenty years in the Marine Corps during which time (while he was stationed in Nicaragua) his family's home burned in the 1929 fire. It wasn't until after he retired in 1946 that the home was rebuilt on the same site. He talks about his childhood school days in which he rode a horse down the hallway of the school because of a bet with another boy. He talks about San Anselmo's and Sausalito's widely different lifestyles and ordinances. He also talks about the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. 
Handy Bruce J. Pebble Beach CA Lighthouse Keeper   Keeper of the Light of the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast shores. The history of the 130 year old building explains the evolution of the fuel used. The French Fespel lens which came around the Horn in a sailing ship in 1850. The duties of the Keeper. The career of one woman (Emily Fish) who was "Keeper" for 20 years (1893-1913). The role of the Coast Guard and the dreams and goals for the Lighthouse, i.e., restoration and refurbishing in the 1850 style and educating the public who may visit on Saturday and Sunday only. A Historical Landmark on the Monterey Peninsula. 17 April 1985
Hansen Ruth Magnuson (Mrs. Harold) Kentfield Early Resident   Marin resident in Kentfield since 1919. Describes early Kentfield Corners - houses, businesses, nursery's, gardens, vineyards, railroad station, and places them on identifiable sites today. Describes: Tamalpais Centre; Marin Music Chest; Ross Valley Players; and the quiet pleasures of Ross Valley in the early 1900's. 27 January 1976
Harlan George H. Sausalito Author, Historian, Marine Engineer, Fisherman b. 4 July 1916

d. 3 July 1995

Sausalito born author of the history of early Ferry boats and Narrow Gauge Railroads, i.e., oil lamps and iron pomes; walking beams and paddle wheels; San Francisco Bay Ferry Boats, etc. Shares his reminisces of early Marin and his life as a Marine Engineer and Naval Architect. For 30 years he was an Engineer for the Military Sea Transportation Service. An avid fisherman, he has spent many summers in Yosemite and has written a book entitled White Wolf Lodge, an Island in time. His latest book, "Those amazing cabs forward," is ready for the market. 4 November 1982
Harney Sister Mary Patrick, C.P. San Rafael, San Anselmo Administrator, Educator, Religious Sister   President Emerita of Dominican College (1945-1968). In Part I, she relates the beginnings of "The Dominican Congregation of the Most Holy Name of Jesus" in California (in 1850); establishment of the first Catholic School in California and Dominican growth from Monterey to Benecia in 1854 and finally to San Rafael in 1889. In Part 2, Sister Patrick discusses her own life, i.e., born in San Francisco in 1900 left day of earthquake, school days in Sacramento; life in her father's River Boats; Catholic education and finally her decision to enter the order and date she was professed. In Part 3 of the narrative, Sister Patrick discusses the educational efforts and achievements of Dominican College; academic changes in student behavior, dress, life-styles, etc; admission of male students, maintenance of high scholastic standards and generally gives an informative history of Dominican College and its growth and the re-location of its elementary and high school (San Domenico) to Sleepy Hollow. 20 February 1976 
Harris Christie (Mrs. Thomas Arthur) Canada Canadian Children's Author, Scriptwriter, Playwright, Teacher   Canadian writer of 15 books for children - mainly about the Haida Indians on Queen Charlotte Island off Bristish Columbia; author of over 100 scripts of Canadian Braodcasting Corp., writer of 12 adult plays; mother of Moira Johnston, author of best seller, The last 9 minutes, educator, lecturer, former teacher, co-author with her daughter of "Fig-leafing through history;" charming, enthusiastic woman. 18 October 1976
Hartley  Grace West Marin Artist, George Demont Otis (niece)   Reminiscences of her famous uncle, California artist, George Demont Otis. Interview recorded while driving from Ross to Point Reyes Station, Mrs. Hartley pointing out scenes her uncle had painted meanwhile narrating his life and 40 years as a working artist in Marin County. 31 March 1976
Hayden Alice Dollar (Mrs. Curtiss Hayden, Jr.) San Rafael Early Resident, Grand daughter Rbt. Dollar b. 1 June 1917

d. 22 Sep 1997

Grand daughter of Captain Robert Dollar, founder of Dollar Steamship Co. and dean of American shipping. Mrs. Hayden shares warm personal reminiscences of the remarkable Marin philanthropist. She lived at "Falkirk," the Dollar residence in San Rafael for 15 years as a child and remembers her famous grandfather as a warm, strict Presbyterian. Captain Dollar published his memoirs in 1928 (four years before his death in 1932). 25 March 1977
Healion Frank Fairfax Early Resident b. 7 Aug 1891

d. March 1987

A taped interview conducted by Matt Thompson and Brian Sagar (MB) of Fairfax at the home of Frank Healion, former Fairfax resident living in San Rafael in the summer of 1984.
Heckscher Ernest San Anselmo Orchestra Leader, Pianist, Banjo Player b. 19 July 1916

d. 16 Jan 1996

Just retired orchestra leader for 36 years in the Venetian Room, Fairmont Hotel, tells of his 50 year career in the music business. Raised in San Anselmo, Marin county, "Ernie" has taken his band to all the big hotels in the U.S., and is the "Society" Band in the state, playing for the Debutante Balls, private parties, Junior assemblies, weddings, etc. Accomplished musician on the piano and banjo, he had a band during high school and at Stanford. Played also for the dances in the "Larkspur Bowl." He has recorded 16 albums, all wonderful, danceable music. 12 October 1984
Hendrickson Elinor Ross Volunteer Fundraiser   Mrs. Hendrickson is one of the founders of "Northgate," a group in the Marin Art and Garden Center, Ross. She tells of the early efforts to raise money for the MAGC. Anne Kent joins her in reminiscing about the Center from 1946 forward. 30 October 1975
Higgens Frances H. Frank Lloyd Wright - IL childhood neighbor Frank Lloyd Wright (Neighbor) & friend of Ernest Hemingway b. 3 Sep 1910

d. March 1977

Mrs. Higgins lives in Michigan City, Indiana. While visiting in California, she recorded her reminiscences of her early days in Oak Park, Illinois and tells of her famous neighbor, Frank Lloyd Wright. Her impressions of this renowned architect and her brother's good friend, Ernest Hemingway offer a delightful sketch of two famous personages. 8 February 1975
Higgins Alice (Mrs. Ralph) Corte Madera Conservationist, Director Marin Art & Garden Center b. 23 May 1899

d. Aug 1987

Avid conservationist (age 80) who has worked long and hard to save the marshland in Corte Madera, i.e., Heerdt Marsh, Triangular Marsh, Muzzi Marsh, etc. Many awards given to her, i.e., "community Conservationist of the Year" (Sierra Club), "Senior Citizen of the Year" (Corte Madera). She is a director at Marin Art and Garden Center and a member of the Audubon Club, Tamalpais Conservation Club, Marin Conservation League, etc. Relates her 1st climb up Mt. Tam, age 7 and her life long love-affair with Marin. 1 August 1979
Hobart Elizabeth "Sunny" (Mrs. Robert) Angel Island Commanding Officer, Angel Island Quarantine Station (daughter) b. 1 Jan 1901

d. Oct 1995

Sunny takes a group of 45 on a tour of Angel Island where her father, Dr. William C. Hobdy, was commanding officer of the Quarantine Station (1892-1909). "Sunny" now 82, was a six year old child at the time of the great earthquake and fire of 1906 but remembers how the smoke drifted over to Angel Island and scraps of burning paper settled on the Quarter's steps. A nostalgic and colorful day spent with a wonderful lady who returns 74 years later to her family home now occupied by a State Park Ranger and his family. 24 June 1983
Hooper Jerrold R. Sausalito      
Howell John Thomas Marin Botany Botanist, Curator CA Academy of Sciences, Author b. 6 Nov 1903

d. 7 May 1994

Mr. Howell is Curator, Emeritas of Botany, California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco. Native Californian, born in Merced, Mr. Howell tells us in this interview of his many Field Trips and of his professional relationship with the famous Botanist, Miss Alice Eastwood. Mr. Howell is an extra-ordinary Botanist and has written several books, among them is The Flors of Marin. He is currently working on a book The Flora of the Sierra. Second interview Mr. Howell narrates his experiences while on the "Templeton Crocker Expedition" aboard ZACA to the Galapagos Islands in 1932. It is almost a scientific Botanical paper. 4 April 1975 & 6 May 1975
Howitt Beatrice San Rafael Bacteriologist, Botanist, Conservationist b. 23 Sep 1891

d. 24 Oct 1981

Famous Bacteriologist, Botanist and avid Conservationist. Nationally recognized for her work in Influenza, Poliomyelitis and Encephalo Myelitis. Daughter of Marin's beloved Doctor Henry Orton Howitt who practiced in Marin for over 60 years (1893-1953). Describes her life in san Rafael as a girl; her father's practice; her interest in science and in the California Native Plant Society. She is the author of two books; Vascular plants of Monterey County and Wild flowers of the Monterey Area. 3 November 1976

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