History of Santa Clara County
Society Events in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies--Reminiscences of Pioneer Women--Mrs. Carroll's Interesting Record--Charles G. Ames and Judge William T. Wallace--Presidential Visits.
For much of the material relating to society affairs in the early days of San Jose, the historian is indebted to that entertaining, gossipy book written in 1903 by Mrs. Mary A. Carroll, since deceased. Mrs. Carroll was for many years the society editor of the "Mercury," and her opportunities for gathering old-time social news were unusually good.
"Society as found in San Jose before the days of '49 is graphically described by Mrs. Frances A. Sunol-Angus:
"'A great deal of it, some of it true, most of it colored with the light of other days, has been said and written of the stirring days of 1849, but no one has yet lifted the veil that dropped when the adventurer and the prospector, following the golden light, founded on the Pacific shores the realization of the visions conjured up by the magic name El Dorado--the veil that separates old California from the new, as invisible, yet as real, as any existing state line.
"'For the gold excitement, bringing in new energy and activity, brought also new disturbing elements, and where there had existed a boundless hospitality, with the incoming of the stranger the social limits contracted and formality and ceremony began to be observed.
"'I speak of the early forties; my own father's
boyhood days, and my grandfather, Don Antonio Sunol, and his family are
a fair picture of the chivalrous host and the warmhearted hospitality of
the times. The guest chamber was seldom untenanted, and seven or eight
guests were welcomed and entertained for two or three successive weeks.
English, Russian and American trading vessels made periodic visits to San
Francisco and the merchandise was brought to San Jose on pack horses. When
time permitted, the supercargo, captain and some of his officers, would
accompany the caravan, and for weeks were royally
"'There being from fifty to one hundred Indian servants in the household, each guest was provided with his special one, who waited upon his every want during the entire visit. Horses, the very best in the stables, saddles, silver mounted or plated, and a guide were always at his command and a servant always on hand to clasp and unclasp each gentleman's spurs, while another led his horse away. The host and his family devoted themselves to the entertainment of the guests and a series of festivities was gotten up in their honor. The homes of Don Salvis Pacheco, Don Dolores Pacheco, Don Jose Noriega, and Don Antonio Sunol were the scenes of many of these festivities.
"'Can you guess how their invitations to a ball were sent out? Some gay cavalier, who possessed a melodious voice and could thrum the light guitar, attired in a gay holiday costume, with clinking silver spurs and mounted upon a spirited horse, pranced and curvetted through the plaza singing some ditty, and when he had arrested the attention of passersby addressed them in friendly, courteous language, extending the invitation to all present, rich and poor, not low and high, for each man was as good as his neighbor, and wealth did not place a man upon a pedestal of honor. When pleasantries had been exchanged between the messenger and the crowd, he passed on and stopping at the door of each house, repeated his invitation, thus honoring all with a daylight serenade.
"'Young ladies attended balls and parties accompanied by their mothers, or, in the absence of these, by some elderly female relative. The chaperon was known as the "duenna." Young men and maidens carried on their courtship at these balls right under the unseeing eyes of the watchful (?) duenna. When this secret love-making had reached a successful issue between the pair, the youth acquainted his father with his hopes and aspirations, and he in turn sought the maiden's father. His consent gained, the bride's trousseau was immediately prepared, the wedding was announced and in a few weeks the marriage bells were ringing. The festivities lasted a week or more, and, as at other times, everybody was welcomed and feasted. The bride's dower consisted of household furnishings, cattle and horses--quality in accordance with her father's means.
"'There were no formal receptions, no ceremonious calls. Ladies went out from their homes in simple household attire and spent a few hours in friendly conversation with a neighbor. When visits were made in the evening a number of friends called together and the time was given up to music, dancing, fun and laughter. The younger members never felt any restraint in presence of their elders, although they treated them with the most scrupulous deference and respect. Boys always stood with heads uncovered while speaking to old or middle-agd people, even on the street. There was one generous custom dear to the heart of the California boy, and that was the godfather's gift at the christening--gold and silver coins thrown out by the handful and scrambled for by the small boy.
"'The modes of salutation during the Golden Age were the hearty handshake, when the meeting between friends took place upon the street, un abrazo (an embrace) when within the sacred precincts of home. As I have shown you, simplicity was the rule; forms and ceremonies were unknown. There was no vieing with one and another as to who should stand upon the highest round of the social ladder, but each one extended his hand to help another climb to where he stood, so that over all there reigned a spirit of peace and good will. Would that we might stop for a moment in our feverish rush for recognition and position and breathe in the spirit of the olden time."'
The late Joseph H. Scull, who came here at an early date and who carefully watched the changes that have taken place during the past fifty years, wrote to Mrs. Carroll as follows:
"I regret to say that I will have to disappoint you in giving the desired information in regard to social gatherings here during the early '50s. I did not, for a moment, think that such reminiscences would be of any value or interest after the lapse of years, and therefore did not charge my memory with them.
"Nevertheless, assuming that I have your permission to do so, I will jot down some remarks as I go along on the subject in hand. There were very few American women here in those early days, and they were mostly married, so far as I remember; and American girls, grown to womanhood, were like 'angels' visits, few and far between,' and hence social gatherings were scarce, balls being the chief amusement in vogue, consisting of quadrilles, contra dances, waltzes and Virginia reels, and for variety's sake occasionally an Irish breakdown, when some Celtic fellow-citizens were present. Later on the schottische, the polka and the mazurka were introduced. The California girls, as a matter of course, were largely in the majority, but unaccustomed to social gatherings, their only amusement being fandangoes, as the California balls were then called. The dances were the contra dance, the waltz and one or two kinds of jigs; and the music, a guitar, and sometimes two, until the arrival of a Mexican who could scratch on the fiddle enough provincial music to dance by. The fandangoes continued to flourish long after immigration began to pour in."
"As the time passed on, in the early '50s here, the California girls began to adopt American methods, especially in balls, and soon became adepts in the steps and movements of the new dances mentioned, and were exceeding graceful. It is needless to say that los Gringos were not slow in availing themselves of that terpsichorean circumstance; and to induce the girls to go to a ball they notified them beforehand that carriages or hacks would be sent for them. So, during the earliest period, no black-eyed senorita ever went to or from an American ball on foot, but when women began to be plentiful the cavalier carriages became obsolete.
"It is worthy of remark that at an American ball at that time harmony, good will and the utmost decorum prevailed. Everybody stood on a perfect equality while in the ballroom, and to my certain knowledge there were no invidious distinctions, either expressed or implied. An American ball always had the appetizing adjunct of a bountiful supper. The music that set "the light fantastic toe" a-going consisted of a fiddle--a fiddle, mark you, not a violin--and later on with a flute accompaniment. San Jose had not yet risen to the dignity of possessing a regular orchestra, but withal an American terpsichorean function was a pleasurable affair to attend.
"This decade was perhaps the most important in the social history of San Jose, for about this time families men and women of sterling worth and possessing all the accomplishments necessary to the formation of a solid foundation on which to build society--settled in this valley.
"Before this time, however, Mr. and Mrs. James F. Reed, parents of Mrs. John Murphy and Mrs. Mattie Lewis, had arrived here. The Reed home was always the scene of social gatherings, and at one of their large dinner parties it is said that Mrs. Reed paid sixteen dollars apiece for turkeys, and bought all that were to be had.
"During the meeting of the first Legislature 'every house was an inn where all were welcomed and feasted,' and all through the session not an evening passed without a large party at some home. Of course, the big ball at the close was the event in San Jose's history. No wonder many belles and beaux of that time still preserve with care and look with pleasure at the white satin invitation which reads:
"'Washington Birth-Night Ball--Your company is respectfully solicited at a Ball, to be given at the Capitol, on the evening of the 22d instant, at 7 1/2 o'clock p. m., being the 118th Anniversary of the Father of Our Country,' and which was signed by the following committee: Hon. John McDougal, Mr. Bassham, Mr. Bidwell, Mr. Broderick, Mr. Chamberlin, Mr. Crosby, Mr. De la Guerra, Mr. Douglass, Mr. Green, Mr. Hope, Mr. Lippincott, Mr. Heydenfeldt, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Vallejo, Mr. Vermeule, Mr. Woodworth, Mr. Aram, Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Bigler, Mr. Brackett, Mr. Bradford, Mr. Brown, Mr. Cardwell, Mr. Corey, Mr. Corvarubias, Mr. Craner, Mr. Crittenden, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Williams, Hon. Mr. Gray, Hon. Mr. Heath, Hon. Mr. Hughes, Mr. McKinstry, Mr. Morehead, Mr. Tingley, Mr. Tefft, Mr. Stowel, Mr. Stephens, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Scott, Mr. Perlee, Mr. Moore, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Randolph, Mr. Ogier, Mr. Walthall, Mr. Watson, Mr. Witherby, Mr. Roman, Mr. Henley, Mr. Houston, G. F. Wymans, Ben Van Scoten, Van Voorhies, Nat. Bennett, H, A. Lyons, F. B. Clement, Chas. White, Col. Jack Hays, Major Ben McCulloch, Major Mike Chevallie, Major James Graham, Gen. Don Andreas Pico, Antonio M. Pico, Antonio Sunol, John M. Murphy, John Reed, W. H. Eddy, J. D. Hoppe, J. F. Howe, Capt. W. G. Marcy, E. Covington, W. B. Olds, A. W. Luckett, Bela Dexter, Peter Davidson, J. M. Jones, A. Coindreau, H. H. Robinson, W. R. Turner, E. H. Sharp, E. Byrne, Caius Ryland, E. Dickey, A. D. Ohr, Fred H. Sandford, F. Lightston. Among the beauties and belles on that memorable night were Mrs. John Murphy, Miss Rea Burnett, now Mrs. Wallace; Miss Letitia Burnett, now Mrs. Ryland; Miss Maggie Jones, now Mrs. Josiah Belden; Miss Laura Jones, who is Mrs. Hunt of Visalia; Miss Juanita Soto, and Miss Marcelline Pico.
"Among the beaux at this time was Norman Bestor, a civil engineer, who made his home, while here, with James F. Reed. He played on the guitar and flute, was a fine singer, and an all-around favorite. Mr. Bestor, in a letter, regrets being unable to give a satisfactory account of the early social functions. He writes: 'During the first Legislature I was in San Jose; and it was then that I surveyed the 500-acre tract adjacent to the town, belonging to Mr. Reed, and laid off as an addition. Mr. Reed named the streets himself. From 1850 to 1856 I was engaged at the New Almaden quicksilver mines and lived there. During that time I frequently drove to San Jose to attend parties. Some of the society men, of the '50s were Ralph Lowe, S. O. Houghton, Drury Malone, J. H. Flickinger, Joseph H. Scull, Henry B. Alvora, Aleck Moore, D. McDonald and Keat Bascom.'
"In these early days many houses were brought around the Horn and set up on arrival. One of these is that of Judge A. L. Rhodes, on the Alameda, and under this hospitable roof friends have delighted to gather since the days of 1855. In 1854 Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes came across the plains with a train of fifteen, with Mr. Rhodes as captain. Mrs. Rhodes told me that one evening during the journey a man called and asked if his train of ten men could join forces with them. The man was Jefferson Trimble, brother of the late John Trimble. At Humboldt River they were met by John Trimble, who guided them to this valley, where he had already settled. Miss Ware, afterwards Mrs. John Selby, came with them.
"When Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes moved to the Alameda, their nearest neighbors were Judge and Mrs. Craven P. Hester, who lived where the Clark home now stands. Charming social gatherings were held at the Hester home, and their accomplished daughters, Miss Sallie, afterwards Mrs. Maddock, and Miss Lottie, afterwards Mrs. Phelps, assisted in dispensing generous hospitality.
"Among notable families that came here in 1853 was that of Mr. and Mrs. Coleman Younger, who arrived after a six months' trip from Missouri. Their house was brought around the Horn, and it is needless to say that as soon as it arrived, with true Southern hospitality it was thrown open and a large party given, when among the guests were: Drury Malone, Tad Robinson, all the state officers, Aleck Moore, Major and Mrs. S. J. Hensley, Mr. and Mrs. P. H. Burnett, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Wallace.
"In speaking of social functions, Mrs. Younger said that in '54 she remembers spending a delightful evening at the home of Don Antonio Sunol, whose hospitality was unbounded, whose trained Indian servants were the envy of many less fortunate, and whose exquisite table linen, adorned with Spanish drawn work, was the admiration of all. The guests included Mr. and Mrs. Ryland, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, and Mr. and Mrs. Younger. A large dancing party, given for the benefit of the Presbyterian Church when Rev. Dr. Garwin was pastor, was among the many enjoyable functions here. In this the moving spirits were Mrs. Crosby, Mrs. S. J. Hensley, and Miss Lois Bradley.
"Mrs. Maddock has graciously written the following reminiscences of those early times: 'In looking over a journal which I kept when a young girl, I find that almost everything of interest is jotted down. The young married ladies were Mrs. Hensley, Mrs. Belden, Mrs. Ryland, Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. John Murphy, Mrs. Yoell, Mrs. Lottie Thompson, Mrs. Fred Appleton, and Mrs. Gertrude Horn, mother of Mrs. Atherton of literary fame. Among the young ladies were Miss Price and her sister, Miss Bettie, now Mrs. John Moore, both noted for their beauty; Colonel Younger's daughters, Miss Helen and Miss Fanny; Miss Mary Smith, Miss Yontz, Miss Echols (a beautiful girl), Miss Ellen Skinner and sister, Miss Nellie; Miss Mattie Reed, Miss Henrie Bascom (pretty and witty), Miss Lizzie Branham, Miss C. Packwood, Miss Divine (later Mrs. Estee of San Francisco), and pretty Miss Lizzie Miller, now Mrs. Mitchell and living abroad.
"'On July 17, 1858, Mrs. Hensley gave a garden party, when the grounds were lighted with lanterns and supper was served in the summer house. Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. Josiah Belden, Mr. and Mrs. Ryland, Mr. and Mrs. John Murphy, Mr. and Mrs. Younger, Mr. and Mrs. Appleton, Mr. and Mrs. Yoell, Mrs. Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Archer, Misses Camilla and Betty Price, Miss Divine, Miss Yontz, Miss Holmes of Oregon, Fred Hale, William Matthews, Dr. Chamberlin, Mr. McGowan, John B. Hewson, Dr. Shaw, William Lewis, Mr. Gregory, Mr. Yontz, Mr. Moultrie, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Davis.
"'On February 3, 1858, Mrs. Fred Appleton gave a fancy dress party at her home on the Alameda. Mrs. Appleton was a dark beauty and charming in manner. She was dressed as a gypsy; Mrs. Smith as Night; Miss Yontz as Morning; Miss Packwood as Morning Star; Miss Lily Eschols as Mary, Queen of Scots. Others present were: Misses Bascom, Divine, Thompson, Price and Hester. The gentlemen were: John B. Hewson, William R. Davis, Messrs. Lewis, Gregory, Yontz, William Matthews, Hall, Dr. Bell, and others. Miss Lottie Thompson was a Highland lassie and Miss Sallie Hester a flower girl.
"Then we had balls galore at the old State House on the plaza and the City Hall on Market Street. I remember a large party given by the young men of San Jose in 1865 at the City Hall. At that time others were added to the list of society people: Mrs. William Dickinson, Mrs. Flora Burnett, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Thornberg, a beautiful woman, and others.'
"In 1858 the Young Men's Social Club was organized and the officers were: S. O. Houghton, W. R. Yontz, and W. A. Lewis. The members were: J. B. Hewson, James H. Gardner, George Evans, John M. Sherwood, B. F. Dewey, C. E. Cheney, A. W. Bell, Ralph Lowe, L. P. Peck, W. E. Davis, Joseph Bassler, John R. Yontz, John H. Gregory, Alex Beaty, S. Bassler, John Q. Pearl, A. Redman, J. H. Flickinger, John M. Murphy, P. O. Minor, Edmund McGowan, and William Matthews. Below this list was W. H. Travis, teacher of dancing. Mr. Lowe has also the dance programme of the second ball of the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Society, given at the City Hall, Friday evening, October 21, 1859. The reception committee included James F. Kennedy, John B. Hewson, W. A. Lewis, Patrick Murphy, Colonel Hollister, and Joseph R Weller. The managers were Cary Peebles, Colonel Younger, R. G. Moody, H. C. Malone, S. J. Hensley, W. A. Bray, L. Prevost, E. S. Chipman, W. Reynolds, and W. T. Wallace. The floor managers were John M. Murphy and H. H. Winchell. The order of dances was promenade march, quadrille, schottische, mazurka, polka, waltz, quadrille coquette, Highland schottische, varsovienne, and quadrille march. Then supper and afterward the quadrille, waltz, polka, schottische, mazurka, Spanish dance, 'Home, Sweet Home.'
"In the home of Adolph Pfister the guest was always sure of a cordial greeting, and dinners were the favorite form of entertaining, the family seldom enjoying this meal without two or more guests. Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Wilburn, who came here in the early '50s from their Missouri home, settled on the Alameda, where, with characteristic hospitality, they delighted to gather friends around them. Their daughter, Mrs. Givens George, speaking of those times, said: 'The first party I attended here was in the '50s and was a dancing party given by Major and Mrs. Hensley. Among the belles and beaux present on that occasion, I remember Miss Sallie Hester, the Misses Price, Miss Mattie Reed, Givens George, Ned McGowan, Fred Hall, Fred Appleton, John Gregory, Jim Maxey, and Captain McKenney.'
"A large and delightful social circle, whose members did not include the votaries of the ballroom, but whose teas, church socials, mite societies and afternoon and evening gatherings were equally enjoyable, was formed by Mr. and Mrs. Donald MacKenzie, Mr. and Mrs. John Piercy, Misses Julia and Lou McCabe, the late Rev. H. C. Benson, Mrs. Benson, Mr. and Mrs. John Selby, Mr. and Mrs. T. Rea, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Flickinger, Mr. and Mrs. John Trimble, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Dr. and Mrs. Caldwell, Mr. and Mrs. William De Hare Boone, and Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Wilcox. Mrs. Piercy often told of the delightful gatherings at the home of Mrs. MacKenzie and that in those times it was the principal place where Presbyterians gathered to spend a social evening. About this time Rev. L. Hamilton was pastor of the Presbyterian Church and Mrs. Piercy said that one day the reverend gentleman called at her residence on Julian Street, where a number of church people were spending the afternoon, and told them of his latest exploit, that of climbing to the top of the highest peak of the Coast Range Mountains, and how in honor of this feat that peak was afterwards known as Mt. Hamilton.
"The social changes in the '60s are aptly described by a lady who for years was one of San Jose's lovely and amiable girls, afterwards ranking among the charming and affable matrons, Mrs. S. O. Houghton, now of Los Angeles:
"'San Jose society between the years 1861-'65, had its social code and its exclusive circles, but it was not governed by iron-clad rules, nor was it hedged with formalities. Its social events were suited to the conditions of an intelligent, sprightly, pioneer community, whose best physical and mental efforts were devoted to practical schemes and to matters of great public interest, and whose hospitable natures still kept in touch with old home customs and influences. Few of us lived in houses spacious enough to accommodate large numbers of guests, but many delightful teas and sumptuous dinners brought genial friends together informally. There were also frequent exchanges of visits among families in the evenings. Home talent provided many musical treats, and spelling matches for benevolent purposes afforded much amusement to large audiences.
"'All entertainments for church or charity were regarded as social events. Madame Anna Bishop and Mr. and Mrs. Marriner Campbell, of San Francisco, occasionally favored us with concerts, which always brought out the most appreciative people. Our younger members had also their horseback rides, picnics, driving and dancing parties.
"'It was not yet the custom to have these courtesies and merrymakings chronicled in the newspapers, nor were brides in those days enriched with wedding presents. Day weddings were usually followed with dinners to relatives and intimate friends of contracting parties, and night weddings frequently ended with dances at the 'hall,' which was decorated with evergreens for the occasion.
"'An annual ball was given by each of the following
organizations: Firemen, Odd Fellows, Masons, and Military Companies. Armory
Hall was tastefully festooned for these events with evergreens, flowers
and flags. The refreshments served were elaborate and the music furnished
was excellent. February twenty-second, July fourth, Thanksgiving night,
and New Year's eve were the dates selected for these brilliant reunions,
which received the recognition and moral support of the best people in
the community. As the membership roll of the first named organization formed
largely the lists of the others,
most of the husbands, brothers, and beaux appeared in different uniforms on each occasion.
"'The married ladies who, as spectators and chaperons, gave tone and dignity to these festal scenes, were costumed in silks, satins, and velvets, high at the neck and with long sleeves, trimmed with laces and narrow velvet ribbon. They wore white gloves and carried lace handkerchiefs and handsome fans. Their ornaments were garnet and coral "sets," or necklaces of gold, with pendant crosses jeweled with pearls and diamonds. Brides wore their bridal robes and ornaments, and young ladies were gowned in delicate shades of tarletans, swiss, and grenadines. Many of their skirts were tucked nearly to the waist. The bodices were low at the neck and had short puffed sleeves daintily trimmed with lace and satin ribbon. They also wore white gloves, and flowers in their hair. Gold necklaces with lockets attached were their only ornaments. Dancing began as early as eight o'clock in the evening, and those who did not wish to see the peep of day went home before the programme was finished.'
"No home was more hospitable, nor none opened its doors more frequently to guests than the one presided over by Major and Mrs. W. W. McCoy, on the Alameda. Here dinners and dances were an almost every-day occurrence. An elaborate dinner was given in honor of Hon. T. A. and Mrs. Hendricks, when the future Vice-President of the United States was touring the state in the early '60s. Mr. and Mrs. McCoy were assisted by their beautiful and accomplished daughters, Miss Nannie and Miss Fannie. The guests, besides Mr. and Mrs. Hendricks, were: Dr. and Mrs. Bascom, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Wallace, Colonel and Mrs. Younger, Dr. Marcus Chamblin.'
"Following is a charming letter from Mrs. Fitzgerald: 'On receiving a letter asking for some brief account of some party I attended in San Jose in bygone years, my mind at once reverted to the wedding of two of Governor Burnett's children, somewhere near 1860. Miss Sallie Burnett was married to Mr. Francis Poe, of Maryland, I think, and Mr. Armstead Burnett to Miss Flora Johnson. Miss Burnett's bridesmaids were her cousin, Miss Mollie Smith, and Miss Maggie Branham, afterwards Mrs. Ogier. I do not remember who were their groomsmen, but those of the other couple were Mr. James Johnson, uncle of the bride, and Mr. James Whitney, and the bridesmaids were Miss Lou Johnson and Miss Fannie McCoy.
"'There was a large party on the night of the wedding in Governor Burnett's old home and the elaborate supper was served in an unfinished house which Mrs. C. T. Ryland was then building in her father's yard. Next day the bridal party attended a dinner given by Dr. and Mrs. Johnson, and on the evening following Colonel and Mrs. Younger gave a large party in their honor. Other entertainments followed, and at the end of a week's festivities in San Jose the party, with parents and friends, went to San Francisco. There was no railroad then, and we were driven in carriages to Alviso, where we took the boat to the city. There we attended a reception given by Miss Page and had a good time generally for several days after. Mrs. Poe lived but six months after her marriage, and Mr. Armstead Burnett only a year and a half. Mr. Poe went East and was killed during the Civil War, and Mrs. Burnett, some time after the death of her husband, married Mr. Will Hester. Miss Lou Johnson is now Mrs. Dickinson, and Miss Mollie Smith married a gentleman of the same name. San Jose was a very pleasant place in those days. It was still early enough for the gentlemen to greatly outnumber the ladies, so beaux were abundant, and the girls made much of. There were some beautiful Spanish and Mexican girls, too, some of whose names I forget. I remember the Misses Pico and Sunol, however.'
"In writing of these times, Dr. Chamblin said that he had very pleasant recollections of his many old time friends in San Jose and of the many enjoyable social affairs he attended here in the early sixties at the home of Major and Mrs. W. W. McCoy, Judge and Mrs. W. T. Wallace, Colonel and Mrs. Coleman Younger, and several others, all of whom were noted for their southern hospitality.
"The home of Mr. and Mrs. Josiah Belden, which stood where the Hotel Vendome now is, was the scene of many balls, musicales, and dinners. Among them a sumptuous dinner, followed by a dance, was given in the sixties in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Delos Cole, who had just been married. In speaking of this a guest, who was present, said: 'A handsomer bride it would have been hard to find than was Mrs. Cole, and no wonder she was the central figure that night at the Belden party. Her beautiful neck, shoulders, and arms and her sweet face made, indeed, a perfect picture.'
"Mr. and Mrs. Norman Porter, and Dr. and Mrs. Knox were among the people who selected San Jose for their home, and in 1863 they settled here and soon occupied prominent places in society.
"A few years later Dr. Chas. G. Ames, a Unitarian divine, made monthly trips to Santa Cruz to deliver lectures, and at the close of the season the Unity Society sprang into existence. Among the active members of the popular society, that for nearly fourteen years gave the most enjoyable entertainments ever known here were Mrs. Laura J. Watkins, Mr. and Mrs. M. Leavenworth, Mr. and Mrs. C. T. Settle, Mr. and Mrs. Ashley, Mr. and Mrs. Gould, Levi Goodrich, J. J. Owen, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. G. Blaine, Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Herrmann and Mrs. Sarah J. Knox."
The historian will here interrupt Mrs. Carroll's account by relating a story in which Rev. Mr. Ames and William T. Wallace figured. Wallace was a pioneer member of the San Jose bar, and a leader in society. In the sixties he was elected Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. Ames was not a politician and made but few speeches, but these were something out of the ordinary. He was one of the brightest men, intellectually the country has ever produced. He saved the day for the Republican party in 1872 when George C. Gorham was the leading Republican orator of the state. As a debater Gorham had no superior on the stump, and when joint discussions were the rule he was an enemy to be feared. Late in the campaign a joint meeting in San Jose was arranged, the speakers to be Gorham for the Republicans and Judge William T. Wallace for the Democrats. Wallace was then in his prime and one of the most eloquent and effective orators on the Coast. A large stand was erected on Santa Clara street in front of the Auzerais House and an immense crowd, comprising people from all parts of the county was in attendance when the hour of discussion arrived. At the last moment consternation reigned in the rooms of the Republican County Central Committee. Gorham had missed his train and could not be present. Without him the meeting would be a Democratic walkover and the Republican party of Santa Clara County would receive a blow that would be felt for years.
The members of the Committee had about given up in despair when some one suggested Charles G. Ames as a substitute for Gorham. It was not expected that he could do much without preparation, but it was believed that he could, at least, put up a good bluff and save the Republican party its distance. Like a drowning man catching at a straw, the committee caught at the suggestion and as good fortune would have it they found Ames willing to undertake the job. The Democrats readily accepted the substitution, believing that Ames would be a mere puppet in the hands of the trained and eloquent Wallace. They also graciously consented to give Ames the opening and closing speech, and the meeting opened at the appointed hour before a crowd composed of sober-faced Republicans and glad-eyed Democrats.
Ames' opening speech was short. He made no attempt to fire the hearts of his Republican auditors but contented himself with a brief but clear statement of the principles and aims of the party he represented. Wallace followed in one of the best efforts of his life. In the belief that he was master of the situation, he was eloquent and sarcastic by turns, but strong at all times. Dismissing with a few contemptuous words the arguments advanced by Ames, as if both the subject and the man were beneath his notice, he went over the history of the past and in words of burning eloquence pointed out the path, that in his opinion, all honest voters should travel. When he took his seat the air was rent with cheers. A happier lot of Democrats were never gathered at a political meeting.
The Republicans saw Ames arise but in their eyes there was no light of confidence or hope. They looked upon the day as lost and in imagination could see the grand Democratic demonstration that must follow the meeting. But soon despair gave place to surprise and surprise to joy that could hardly be restrained from the noisiest exhibition. Ames, after a few commonplaces, began to speak like one inspired. Epigrams, like pearls, dropped from his lips and brilliant bursts of eloquence were followed by sentences of such biting sarcasm that the Democrats winced as if they had been pricked by a knife. The speaker with his intellectual grasp, his thorough knowledge of his subject and his wonderful command of language, played upon his hearers as if they were some instrument and he the accomplished performer and master. As for Judge Wallace, Ames metaphorically wiped the floor with him and the defeat of the distinguished Democrat was so complete that it was years before he could be induced to deliver another speech in San Jose. The Republicans, and not the Democrats, had the demonstration that evening and Ames was the hero of the hour.
Now Mrs. Carroll again.
"In the early sixties the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Thormburg and Mr. and Mrs. Cary Peebels, near Santa Clara, were frequently invaded by parties of merry-makers, and all were sure of receiving a cordial welcome. In speaking of these surprise parties, Mrs. Delos Cole said that she never forgot the exquisite singing of Morris M. Estee, (afterward Governor of the state) who was always one of the crowd and who sang 'The Mocking Bird' with inimitable charm at the last party she attended at Mrs. Thormburg's.
"Mrs. Evaline Prothero Yoell, who for years was considered the most beautiful woman in the county, wrote of San Jose society, saying: 'I attended every party of importance from 1852 down to the last three that came very near together in 1870, when I left the Garden City. The first of these three was given by Miss Camilla Price, sister of Mrs. John Moore, at Judge Moore's residence, in honor of Mrs. Phoebe Hearst. The second was the golden wedding of Judge and Mrs. Craven Hester, and the last was given by Judge and Mrs. A. L. Rhodes, celebrating the anniversary of the wedding of their daughter, Miss Mary, to Mr. Alfred Barstow. These parties, all elegant, reflected great credit upon the ladies who were to the manor born. There was no Ludwig or Maison Dore to beckon to their assistance, and who appear like magic and quietly steal away. The ladies depended upon their own tact and ingenuity. My memory is not very good and I could not begin to describe them, as I fear, amid the glamour of the oriental splendor of today, it would sound meagre, would would be injustice to those society ladies. At the party at Judge Rhodes', as I entered the room, I said to him: 'Where will you find any to compare with this bevy of ladies--Mrs. W. T. Wallace, Mrs. Hensley, then a widow, Mrs. Josiah Belden, Mrs. Fitzgerald, Miss Sallie Hester, Mrs. A. M. Thompson, Miss Camilla Price, and Mrs. John Moore?'
"'Our society from the early '60s down to 70 included: Mr. Boring, afterward Bishop of Georgia, and daughters, Misses Julia and Ella, Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Hensley, Mrs. C. T. Ryland, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Reed, Mr. and Mrs. Josiah Belden, Judge and Mrs. Hester, and their daughters, Misses Sallie and Laura, Dr. and Mrs. Bascom and daughters, Miss Dollie Coombs, afterwards Mrs. Horace Hawes, Colonel J. B. Price and daughters, Misses Camilla and Betty, Miss Julia Peck, afterwards Mrs. Levi Goodrich, Miss Florence Inskeep, Miss Mollie Crane, afterwards Mrs. McPike, Colonel and Mrs. McCoy, Miss Nannie McCoy, Miss Fannie McCoy, now Mrs. Adolph Fitzgerald, and Mrs. West Chappell.'
"A large party was given by E. C. Singletary in Music Hall, and it was one of the swell affairs of the period. Wreaths of ivy, mingled with red and white roses, festooned the hall, and from the chandeliers hung bird cages, and ever and anon the shrill notes of the golden warblers blended in complete harmony with the soul-stirring and body-lifting strains from the band on the platform.
"Mr. Singletary proved himself to be a prince at entertaining. The brilliant parlor and club rooms were open for all who did not wish to dance; colored servants, in livery, attended to every want; carriages were at the disposal of the guests, and the sumptuous supper would have done credit to royalty.
"In the later seventies the young society leaders organized a social club to introduce the German. Professor Millington was chosen director, and under the leadership of Charles B. Hensley and Miss Kate Moody, the graceful figures with their accompanying favors, mirrors, flowers, and ribbons, were thoroughly enjoyed by the merry dancers. Among the members were Miss Annie Hanchett, afterwards Mrs. Jack Wright of Sacramento; Miss Kate Moody, now Mrs. W. C. Kennedy; Miss Sallie Trimble, now Mrs. Nicholas Bowden; Miss Ella Hensley, now Mrs. Thornton, of Montana; Miss Lou Schallenberger, now Mrs. Thomas Montgomery; Miss Frankie Cahill, now Mrs. Charles Wilcox; Miss Jennie Cahill, now Mrs. A. L. Veuve; Miss Jennie Wilson, now Mrs. W. P. Veuve; Miss Minnie Foley, now Mrs. Richmond; Miss Anita Fallon, Miss Ida George, now Mrs. Frank Bishoprick, Miss Ada Ryland, Misses Porter, and Miss Pugh; Messrs. Charles Hensley, Loring G. Nesmith, John T. Malone, E. S. Breyfogle, W. C. Kennedy, W. P. Veuve, Frank Haight, Sam R. Rhodes, E. C. Singletary, J. H. Campbell, H. B. Alford, George Ashley, Ike Loeb, Pomeroy, Cutler, McMahon, Owen, and Howes.'
"In '76 the French residents celebrated the Fall of the Bastile for the first time in this city. The large ball and sumptuous banquet at the Lake House was a social function not to be overlooked. The grounds were adorned with flags and lanterns and here the large supper table was arranged in the shape of a hollow oval. J. Poulain occupied a seat in the center, with Hon. B. D. Murphy, who was then mayor of the city, on his left, and J. B. J. Portal on the right. The committee of arrangements were J. B. J. Portal, B. Bury, A. Delmouly, J. Jacquelin and P. Etchebarne.
"An Authors' Carnival and Ladies' Bazaar, the first on the Pacific Coast, was held in Music Hall under the auspices of the Home of Benevolence. It was an event in the history of San Jose and well may the officers of the Home at that time be gratefully remembered for the skill with which they conducted the affair. Mrs. Nellie B. Eyster was president; Mrs. M. H. McKee and Mrs. L. W. Moultrie, vice-presidents; Mrs. Louise E. King, secretary, and Mrs. Frances D. Williams, treasurer. The board of managers were Mesdames J. C. Cobb, C. R. Span, T. W. Spring, A. N. Gates, Ben Cory, P. D. Hale, Pauline Stone, E. Coombs, T. E. Beans, S. A. Clark, C. H. Allen, H. J. Haskell, Jackson Lewis, P. T. de Cabe, A. T. Herrmann and M. Diamond.
"The following bit of reminiscence about General Smith, at whose home near this city many people have been entertained, is from Mrs. Mary Barstow, daughter of Judge Rhodes and the late Mrs. Rhodes.
"'General Giles A. Smith, who as a division commander under Grant, served with great distinction during the Civil War, and who was afterward appointed Second Assistant Postmaster-General at Washington, came to California in the early seventies for a rest, with his wife and little daughter, May. They were accompanied by Alfred Barstow. Mr. Barstow was also connected with the Post-office Department and he and General Smith became great friends. The General bought a ranch in the foothills near Alum Rock, where he built a beautiful home and entertained charmingly.
"'After the General's death, Mrs. Smith and her daughter went abroad, where Miss May married a gentleman of Geneva, Switzerland, and still lives there in the most ideal manner, her husband, Mr. Francis Delapalane, being an artist of high standing and ample means.'
"A brilliant party by the young men of San Jose was given Friday evening, January 26, 1883, when
Shimmering satin and gossamer laces,
Blaze of trumpets and bugle call;
A shifting sea of bewildering faces,
Surging along through the perfumed hall,
but faintly describes the gorgeous scene. The committee of arrangements were: John W. Ryland, E. McAfee, William K. Beans, J. C. Travis, Andrew P. Hill, J. B. Cory, and A. E. Haden. Music Hall was garlanded with cypress and holly berries and a large green streamer was stretched across the stage bearing the words: 'We greet you, one and all.' The music was by Kauffman and Parkman, and one feature was a schottische composed for the occasion by Mr. Kauffman and dedicated to the Young Ladies' Social Temperance Club.
"The ladies who composed the reception committee were: Mrs. S. O. Houghton, Mrs. E. O. Smith, and Mrs. Lawrence Archer. Mrs. Houghton wore an elegant dress of black lace over black silk; garniture of red roses; ornaments, diamonds. Mrs. E. O. Smith was dressed in rich black satin, trimmed with ostrich feathers; point lace fichu; ornaments, diamonds, Mrs. Archer wore a dress of black silk brocade; corsage bouquet of red roses; ornaments, diamonds.
"The gentlemen who got up the ball were: Messrs. H. J. Alexander, Henry B. Alvord, George Avery, G. Anderson, W. W. Blanchard, W. K. Beans, A. L. Barker, Nick Bowden, Frank P. Bull, Dave Bryant, J. Booksin, W. E. Coombs, Dr. Bruce Clow, C. Colombet, Louis Colombet, Ed. Clayton, A. W. Coombs, C. Chapman, F. Coykendall, R. Coykendall, H. F. Dusing, Ernest Dawson, Ed Enright, C. Flickinger, W. Finch, W. J. Fosgate, L. F. Graham, Will George, A. E. Haden, C. J. Heyler, J. B. Holly, W. B. Hobson, Thad Hobson, A. P. Hill, M. C. Hall, S. O. Houghton, D. Hanna, L. Hartman, H. Hart, A. C. Ingalsby, Ed Jobson, Stanley Kelly, L. F. Kullak, John Cahill, M. Loryea, Andrew Lendrum, W. W. Leghorn, Dr. F. K. Ledyard, John McMahon, Charles Moody, C. J. Martin, J. H. Maddox, John McCauley, A. McAfee, Louis Montgomery, Howell Moore, W. S. McMurtry, L. G. Nesmith, W. S. Osterman, J. B. O'Brien, S. Oberdeener, A. Price, F. Ffister, R. Pierce, J. H. Pierce, Sam Rucker, John Ryland, F. K. Ryland, J. R. Ryland, Ed Snedaker, Dr. W. Simpson, Fred Stern, Ed. Snell, Sam E. Smith, W. Selby, S. Stone, John Tully, A. B. McNeil, J. C. Travis, F. W. Thompson, H. P. Thayer, A. K. Whitton, Henry Willey, Charles Williams, H. Ward Wright, J. Wheeler, C. A. Youngberg, E. D. Young, Ed Younger, R. Smith, and F. Zuver.
"About fifteen years ago the beautiful Hotel Vendome was opened with a ball in which the cream of San Jose and San Francisco society gathered and celebrated. The committee included Dr. W. S. Thorne, Hon. F. E. Spencer, Hon. B. D. Murphy, Charles M. Shortridge, E. W. Clayton, A. K. Whitton, E. W. Newhall, Dr. A. H. Voorhies, and A. C. Bassett. The floor committee had as members, E. C. Flagg, W. S. Clayton, R. B. Spence, James T. Rucker, James D. Phelan and Capt. Burdick.
"A large and brilliant party was given by Hon. and Mrs. B. D. Murphy to introduce their daugher, Miss Mary, now Mrs. Ward Wright, into society. The interior of the Murphy home on South Third street was decorated with the rarest of flowers, intermingled with ribbons and smilax. The guests included all the young society people here and many from San Francisco.
"Among the notable social functions that have taken place here was the reception on the evening of May 13, 1901, in honor of President and Mrs. William McKinley and the members of the Cabinet. The Vendome Hotel never looked grander than in its decoration of banners, bunting flags, and electric lights on the exterior, and blossoms, shrubs, and palms, in the interior. The reception committee was composed of Hon. Charles J. Martin, mayor of this city, Hon. William G. Lorigan, Jackson Hatch, Hon. A. L. Rhodes, Dr. H. C. Brown, Hon. M. H. Hyland, S. F. Leib, O. A. Hale, James D. Miner, J. H. Henry, Major William G. Hawley, Dr. J. W. Davy, Hon. Delos C. Druffle, W. C. Andrews, Ernest Lion, William A. Beasley, Alfred Holman, H. R. Chesbro, Charles W. Williams, J. O. Hayes, David Henderson, Mrs. Charles Martin, Mrs. Adolph Greeninger, Mrs. Jackson Hatch, Mrs. D. Goodsell, Mrs. Henry Lion, Mrs. A. H. Jarman, Mrs. S. F. Leib, Mrs. J. R. Carroll, Mrs. Nicholas Bowden, Mrs. W. P. Dougherty, Mrs. George M. Bowman, Miss Belle Mackenzie, Mrs. H. S. Foote, Mrs. Nellie G. Arques, Miss Winifred McLaughlin, Mrs. Ralph Hersey, Mrs. Henry Booksin, Sr., Mrs. A. H. Marten, Miss Estelle Lion, and Mrs. R. Hersey. The reception was held in the south parlors. Secretary Hays acted as the representative of the President, so unexpectedly absent on account of the illness of Mrs. McKinley, and he was assisted by Postmaster-General Smith and Secretaries Long, Hitchcock, and Wilson.
"Another social event was when Governor Nash of Ohio and the Congressional party of the same state were entertained on the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth of May, 1901. First was given an Italian breakfast by E. E. Goodrich at his famous Quito Olive Ranch, when among the Santa Clara gentlemen present were: F. C. Ensign, C. M. Wooster, W. S. Clayton, Hon. M. H. Hyand, J. R. Lewis, E. McGuiness, Rev. H. Melville Tenney, Chief of Police James Kidward, and F. W. Crandall; later at an informal reception at the Court House, when upwards of eight hundred people called to bid the distinguished guests welcome; and lastly at a dinner to the Governor and party by Mr. and Mrs. S. F. Leib at their home on the Alameda.
"It has been the proud privilege of San Joseans at different times to welcome within the gates of their city the Chief Executives of the nation, among them being Hayes, Grant, Harrison, McKinley, and Roosevelt. The last named President visited this valley on May 12, 1903. It was an ideal spring day; the weather warm and clear; the flowers, the fields, and the orchards looked their loveliest. Muftitudes gathered to see and greet their Chief, who made several stops within the boundaries of the county, and at each place received a generous California welcome. The first was at Gilroy, where he made a short address, and the next was at San Jose. After addressing the thousands of men, women, and children assembled around the platform which had been erected for the occasion, and fittingly decorated with bunting, palms and flowers, he went for a drive, accompanied by a mounted escort of citizens, who included Clem R. Arques, Ralph W. Hersey, Sheriff R. J. Langford, J. D. Radford, M. E. Dailey, Leo Archer, Colonel A. K. Whitton, Thomas McGeoghegan, R. R. Syer, Arthur Langford, J. W. Gilkyson, W. S. Clayton, Joseph H. Rucker, William A. Bowden, C. H. Geldert, Henry Lion, and C. T. Crothers. Besides these there were a large number of carriages containing the members of the President's party, the reception committee, and the newspaper representatives. The route was along the beautiful and well kept roads, and many were the pleasing incidents that occurred to heighten the pleasure of the distinguished guest. On Santa Clara Street the ruler of the United States halted to greet the pupils of Notre Dame College, who were stationed on the sidewalk, and to accept a bunch of magnificent rosebuds presented on behalf of the school by one of San Jose's prettiest girls, Miss Bertrand Cauhape, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Cauhape. After passing along the famed Alameda, he was warmly greeted in Santa Clara by Rev. Robert E. Kenna, president of Santa Clara College, who with the faculty and students of this historic seat of learning, had gathered in front of the grand old mission cross, while hundreds of school children were congregated near by.
"The Committee that so successfully planned and
carried out the program which made the sojourn of the President so pleasant
included: Judge A. L. Rhodes, A. Greeninger, Major C. P. Braslan, James
R. Lowe, J. S. Gage, C. W. Coe, J. W. Davy, H. Morton, J. E. Richards,
A. H. Marten, Dr. Wm. Simpson, I. Loeb, H. Center, Goo. W. Ryder, R. P.
Keesling, S. Sampson, W. L. Woodrow, C. J. Cornell, T. A. Carroll, Gus
Lion, John O'Keefe, L. E. Bontz, J. C. Hall, W. S. Richards, H. J. Edwards,
G. Peirano, S. N. Rucker, Rev. H. C. Meredith, T. S. Montgomery, John Corrotto,
Frank Stock, J. A. Chase, Father Gleason, A. P. Lepesh, W. E. Graham, Paul
Masson, George B. McKee, D. J. Gairaud, J. R. Welch, T. J. Stone, J. A.
Belloli, Sr., Dr. A. M. Barker, Colonel Philo Hersey, T. J. Riley, H. Doerr,
Jackson Hatch, W. C. Andrews, Sam Boring, A. S. Bacon, W. H. Jenkines,
W. G. Alexander, E. J. Bennett, S. B. Hunkins, J. E. Brooke, George Keffel,
A. E. Shumate, Edgar Pomeroy, W. P. Lyon, A. C. Hubbard, J. H. Henry, Avery
Porter, Dr. H. J. B. Wright, J. H. Campbell, H. Peckham, Patrick Murray,
J. J. Cherrie, George N. Herbert, Charles Kenyon, T. C. Barnett, T. W.
Hobson, F. W. Moore, and J. R. Patton. The next day the presidential party
was given a right royal greeting by President David Starr Jordan at the
Leland Stanford Jr. University, and by the students and residents of Palo
Alto and Mayfield."