Marin County Genealogy

Marin Oral Histories - O, P

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.
O'Connor Eugene San Rafael Early Resident b. 16 Nov 1877

d. Dec 1977

Age 97. Recorded at his daughter's home, Mrs. J.B. Rice. Discusses early San Rafael, his 57 visits to Yosemite and the meeting of John D. Rockefeller. Retired Contractor, Alert, intelligent, physically fit gentleman. 
Oldfield Helen Ross Artist b. 21 Sep 1902

d. Nov 1981

A friend and fellow artist of Helen Moya Del Pino. Relates her reminiscences of the Moyas in San Francisco, Paris and Ross. Taped immediately following funeral services for Helen Moya at St. John's church in Ross. Jose Moya Del Pino was a famous artist from Spain and it was in his memory that Helen Moya gave thousands of dollars to restore the Octagon House in the Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross and transform it into a beautiful Library of Art & Garden books. 14 March 1975
Palmer Mary Armsby (Mrs. Ralph) Ross Early Resident b. 11 April 1895

d. April 1988

Age 80. Recorded at her home. In Marin County since 1906 (in Ross). She describes her impressions of early Ross when everyone rode horseback and life was gentle and full of fun for a spirited girl. Describes her trips to Bolinas, her visits to "Grandma" Adeline Kent (Mrs. Albert E. Kent) and her early mischievous school days. 19 March 1975 
Park Helen Van Cleve Mill Valley Marin Historian, Author, Interior Decorator, Researcher   Co-author with Jack Mason of 2 books, "Early Marin," 1971 and "The Making of Marin," 1975. Former Interior Decorator who came to Marin in 1930. Bought present site of home (2 acres) for $500.00 an acre. Tells how she researches, i.e., for land data in County Recorder's Office & for history of people in County Clerk's Office. She has spent weeks tracing land grants from Mexican period of California (1822-1846) relative to Marin County at Bancroft Library , U.C. Berkeley as well as County records. A rambling reminiscence not too connected. 
Parkin Kathleen Bolinas Scientist, Radio Professional, Early Resident b. 27 Sep 1900

d. Aug 1990

Born at "Flagstaff Hotel," Bolinas, September 27, 1900. Her father owned the hotel. Daughter of English parents, attended Dominican High & College. Related to Morton Fisher, owner of "Mount View," Ross Valley. Lived in the family home, built in 1898, since 1906 when Flagstaff Hotel fell into Bolinas Lagoon as a result of 1906 Earthquake. Scientist who worked with her inventor brother, Jack, in the family Radio Business, "Parkan Mfg, Co." Holds 1st Class Commercial Radio License acquired at age 15. Warm reminiscences of Bolinas and San Rafael. 23 September 1977
Parsley John Sausalito   b. 31 May 1894

d. Feb 1979

Interviewed 28 January 1976
Peck Sheila Greene (see also Lewis, Natalie Greene) Ross Early Resident   Daughters of the A. Crawford Greene's reminiscence about their grandparents, the James Coffins; their great grandparents the Lucius Hamilton Allens, one of the first families of Ross. The Coffin home was built in 1890 on Shady Lane in Ross, their daughter Natalie upon her marriage to A. Crawford Greene in 1912 was presented a home on the Coffin property where the five children were raised. 3 July 1980
Pederson Christian San Rafael !st President Aldersley Danish Retirement Residence b. 6 Feb 1902

d. 26 Noc 1997

President Emeritus of "Aldersley," the Danish Retirement Residence in San Rafael, founded in 1921. Though Aldersley is 7174 miles from Denmark its separation is not far in spirit. Mr. Pederson tells of this remarkable retirement home created by a group of Danes to provide shelter for working people who could never save enough money to retire. From its simple beginning, Aldersley operates today on an annual budget of over 1/2 million dollars - 92 people presently call Aldersley home and love it.
Pepper Frank Bolinas Pioneer Family b. 12 Dec 1889

d. April 1983

Eldest of nine children of Marin Waterhouse Pepper, fifth generation Bolinas family. His grandfather, Frank Waterhouse, made a sub-division (called Grande Vista) out of his 131 acre Bolinas farm in the 1880's and sold 50' lots for #500.00. Also cut a roadway and called it Brighton Avenue. His mother had a Tea Room on the sea in Bolinas called "La Casita de la Playa." His grandmother, Nellie Waterhouse, planted hundreds of Monterey Cypress trees to beautify Bolinas. Grandfather, Frank Waterhouse, was a banker. Promoter & co-inventor of arc lights used on city streets. Mother, Marin Pepper, is author of "Bolinas - a story of the days of the Dons." 12 May 1981
Perry Donald C. Ross Valley Pioneer Family b. 12 Aug 1901

d. July 1987

Great Grandson of James Ross, 3rd owner of "Rancho Punta de Quentin" embracing most of Ross Valley. Recalls early (1910 forward) Ross Valley; San Anselmo; the Worn properties; the Worn sisters and their floral decoration business; the founding of his Sunnyside Nursery; business and plant growing ranch in Fairfax.
Peterson Estelle Murray (Mrs. E.C.) Kentfield Pioneer Family b. 28 Nov 1908

d. 11 Feb 1999

Grand daughter of William Murray who developed "Murray Park." Her grandfather bought 1234 acres from the estate of James Ross in 1869, between what is now Larkspur and Kentfield. Describes this area and her impressions as a youngster in the early 1900's. Over 400 acres of this property were sold to A.E. Kent in 1871 and later became what is now part of "Kent Woodlands." 
Phillips Elizabeth M.  Inverness Nurse, Early Resident b. 28 April 1884

d. June 1985

Graduate N.Y. Presbyterian Hospital Nurse in 1903. Describes Army career in France during WWI - uniforms, duties, status, etc; friend of Lillian Gilbreath; describes life in Inverness in the 1900's; i.e., Garden Club, Primrose Tea, Association with Sunnyhills and Mrs. William Kent; her private duty nursing of prominent Ross families; i.e., Coffins, Eveles, etc.; describes her project in WWI to send food to the Prisoners of War in Germany.
Polland Dr. Scott Ross Marin Collector, Doctor   Tape #1: Collector of Marin memorabilia for over 30 years, shares his extensive collection with interviewer and while perusing old photo albums; original maps; original lithographs; old business letterheads; etc., explains how he acquired his large collection and stopping occasionally enlarges on the story behind some individual photographs. An extraordinary collection, containing among many notable items the Original 1860 Map of Marin county, setting forth the Mexican Land Grants, etc. # 2: shows his collection of earliest letters & bills of Marin, I.e., tax bills of 1850, bills relating to Reeds, Buckelew, Briones families. Record of escapes from San Quentin; document covering purchase of Brig "Waban," 1st State Penal Prison Ship; original etchings of "Ho Ho," summer home of Joseph Hasbrourk; etc. Fascinating collection of early Marin Ephemera. #3: Looking through the Hotel Register of the "Flagstaff Inn," Bolinas 1898-1906. Dr. Polland reminiscences over people he has known in Marin.
Powers Sister Maurice San Anselmo 1st Principal San Domenico School b. 18 May 1910

d. 5 Oct 1997

First Principal of San Domenico School founded by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael in 1965 in its property in Sleepy Hollow. Out growing the previous space on the campus of Dominican College it occupies now 50 acres and is the oldest Catholic College school for girls in California, begun in 1850 in Monterey. Sister Maurice tells the story of the acquisition and the fund raising; the problems for such and undertaking and the school goals for its future. A dedicated educator, now Director of the school. ? April ?
Pratt Herbert Ross Board, Marin Art & Garden Center b. 26 July 1908

d. Aug 1982

On the Board of the Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross. In Marin only since 1956. Recorded at the Octagon House. 
Preger Elfrieda   Lecturer   Splendor of Dresden Lecture; 2 February 1979 & "King Tut" Lecture; 6 April 1979 (2 tapes)

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