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Margaret Blake-Alverson

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Title: Sixty Years of California Song

Author: Margaret Blake-Alverson

Release Date: October 12, 2006 [EBook #19528]

Language: English

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SIXTY YEARS OF CALIFORNIA SONG

Margaret Blake-Alverson

title page

M.B. ALVERSON
1913

 

CONTENTS

 

Transcriber's Note: Numerous typographical errors and misspellings (especially of non-English words and names) in the original text have been corrected in this e-text, where the correct spelling could be confirmed.

 

Margaret Blake-Alverson

 

Address all correspondence to

MRS. MARGARET BLAKE-ALVERSON
1429 SECOND AVENUE
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Copyright 1913 by
MARGARET BLAKE-ALVERSON
All rights reserved


Man must reap and sow and sing;
Trade and traffic and sing;
Love and forgive and sing;
Rear the young with tenderness and sing;
Then silently step forth to meet whatever is—and sing.

TO MY FRIENDS EVERYWHERE I AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATE THIS BOOK.

IF AS A SINGER AND A TEACHER OF SINGING I HAVE BEEN A FACTOR IN THE BETTERMENT OF INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES, THEN HAS MY WORK BEEN WELL DONE AND I AM CONTENT.

MARGARET BLAKE-ALVERSON

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA
JANUARY, 1913


FOREWORD

This book has been written for friends and musical associates of more than half a century.

The author's life has been a busy one, often with events of public import, and so it may be that this volume has value as history. Those who should know have so affirmed.

It is hoped that old-time Californians will find the book good reading. The later generations of students and musicians will be interested in the story of one who helped to prepare the way for them.

The narrative tells somewhat of the Christian ministry of a noble father, of the writer's career as a public singer and of reminiscences of many associated musicians, efficient factors in the development of music in California to the high place it holds today.

Some mention is made of distinguished divines and men of note in the professions and in business. The part taken by the author in political campaigns and in the activities of the Grand Army of the Republic will appeal to patriots.

Some chapters on the singing voice and its cultivation are the fruitage of a wide experience of many years. A list of pupils for three decades is added.

The illustrations have been at once a labor of love and an extravagance of money cost, but it is believed that the reader will find in that feature alone justification for the publication.


THE TEXT

Antecedents and Childhood1
Our Trip to California via the Isthmus and Early Days There. First Church Choir in Stockton13
Stockton in the Fifties. Benicia Seminary. Genesis of Mills College. Distinguished Pioneers. Marriage33
How I Made the First Bear Flag in California43
Boston. Dedham Choir, 1858. The Civil War. Musicians. Return to California. Santa Cruz48
Music in Santa Cruz in the Sixties. Return to San Francisco. How and Why I Became a Dressmaker. Opera. Music in San Francisco in the Seventies59
Lady of Lyons Given for the Fire Engine Fund, Santa Cruz. Flag-Raising at Gilroy Hot Springs. Visalia Concerts69
On the Road with Dick Kohler, Mr. Vivian, Walter Campbell, Mr. Wand and Charles Atkins75
Early Music and Music Houses. Musical Instrument Makers. Old-Time Singers83
As a Church Choir Singer in Cincinnati, Stockton, Benicia, Dedham, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Oakland. Rev. Starr King, Howard Dow, Henry Clay Barnabee, Carl Zerrahn, J.C.D. Parker, Carlotta and Adelina Patti, Jenny Lind, Joe Maguire, Georgiana Leach, Sam Mayer, Harry Gates92
Golden Jubilee of Song Service, June 12, 1896108
Camilla Urso's Festival, 1873. Madame Anna Bishop, The Loring Club, Alfred Wilkie, Frank Gilder, D.P. Hughes, Ben Clark112
St. Patrick's, St. Mary's, St. Ignatius' Cathedrals. Episcopal and Jewish Music. J.H. Dohrmann. The Bianchis123
Great Musical Festival in Aid of the Mercantile Library, 1878. At Gilroy Springs130
Authors' Carnival, 1880, President Hayes and General Sherman Present137
Vacation Episodes at Deer Park, July 4, 1893145
In Oakland. Sad Accident. With Brush and Easel. Kind Friends152
Party at Dr. J.M. Shannon's Home in 1907157
Lee Tung Foo161
What I Know of the Voice and of Teaching167
Tremolo172
More About the Voice179
Political Campaigning. Work as a Patriot on National Holidays and with the Grand Army of the Republic. Flag Raising at Monterey183
Repertoire and Other Data. Distinguished Musicians and Singers of the Last Century203
Reminiscences of Early California Musicians and Singers216
Reminiscences of Later California Musicians and Singers227
With My Pupils248
A List of My Pupils262

THE ILLUSTRATIONS

Mrs. Margaret Blake-Alverson, 1912 faces Title
Heirloom Jewel faces page 4
Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Henry Kroh and Family, Stockton, 1852 faces page 12
Coat-of-Arms of the Blake Family faces page 16
Steamer "American Eagle," Sacramento River, 1852. Home of Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Henry Kroh, Stockton, 1853 faces page 20
First Presbyterian Church, Stockton, Built in 1849, the First Protestant Church in California page 25
Pioneer Home of Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Henry Kroh, Stockton, 1851 page 26
Associated Musicians and Singers, 1853 to 1879: Richard Condy, Mr. Schnable, Lizzie Fisher, Ellen Lloyd, Mary Jane Lloyd, Mrs. Anna Bowden Shattuck, Judge H.B. Underhill, Carrie Heinemann, Mrs. Taylor faces page 28
Business Men of Stockton, 1852: Austin Sperry, James Harrold, Wm. H. Knight, Geo. Henry Sanderson faces page 32
Reminiscent of Benicia in the Early Fifties: Benicia Young Ladies' Seminary, 1852; Benicia Courthouse, 1853; Prof. Jos. Trenkle, Prof. Schumacher, Prof. Beutler, Prof. Paul Pioda faces page 36
Masonic Sheepskin, London, England, 1811. Capt. Chas. Blake faces page 38
Major-General Benj. Lincoln, of the War of the Revolution page 39
Sacred to the Memory of Mrs. Mary Kroh-Trembly, Pioneer Organist, Stockton, 1852 page 42
First Graduating Class, Young Ladies' Seminary, Benicia, Founded 1852: Mary E. Woodbridge, Mary Ridell, Mary Hook, Mary E. Walsh; Principal, Mary Atkins; Teachers, Sallie Knox, Kate Sherman; Pupils, Mary O'Neill, Agnes Bell faces page 44
First California Bear Flag, Made by Mrs. Blake-Alverson in Stockton, 1852 page 45
Dedham, Mass., Church Choir, 1861, Men Singers faces page 48
Dedham, Mass., Church Choir, 1861, Women Singers faces page 52
Typical Concert Programme of the Early Sixties in San Francisco. Oratorio of Samson page 56
Santa Cruz Choir, 1867: F.A. Anthony, Belle Peterson, Chas. A. Metti faces page 60
Church of the Advent, San Francisco, 1880. Roman Catholic Church, San Bernardino, 1888. Calvary Episcopal Church, Santa Cruz, 1864. Pilgrim Congregational Church, Oakland, 1893 faces page 64
Associated Musicians and Singers of the Seventies and to Date: Sam'l D. Mayer, Mrs. Alfred Abbey, "Joe" Maguire, Frank Gilder, Walter C. Campbell, Mrs. Augusta Lowell-Garthwaite, H.S. Stedman, Mrs. Mollie Melvin-Dewing faces page 68
Ministers with Whom Mrs. Blake-Alverson Has Been Associated: Rev. Dr. J.K. McLean, Rev. P.Y. Cool, Rev. V.M. Law, Rev. "Father" Akerly, Rev. Giles A. Easton faces page 76
Wm. H. Keith, Baritone, Pupil of Mrs. Blake-Alverson, 1881 faces page 80
Music House of Kohler & Chase, 1851 and 1910. Andrew Kohler, Quincy A. Chase, S.J. Bruce faces page 84
Heads of Pioneer Music Houses, San Francisco: William G. Badger, Matthias Gray, Julius R. Weber, C.H. McCurrie faces page 86
Music House of Sherman, Clay & Co. C.C. Clay, Leander S. Sherman faces page 90
First Church Choir in California, Stockton, 1852: Margaret R. Kroh, Sarah R. Kroh, Emma J. Kroh, Ann L. Kroh, Mary M. Kroh, Sir Geo. Henry Blake, James Holmes, Wm. W. Trembly, Wm. H. Knight faces page 92
Henry Clay Barnabee, Opera Singer, Associate of Mrs. Blake-Alverson in Boston, Mass., in 1861 faces page 96
Organists of the Early Years in San Francisco: Richard T. Yarndley, Gustav A. Scott, Chas. H. Schultz, Frederick Katzenbach faces page 100
Floral Tributes Presented Mrs. Blake-Alverson on Her Fiftieth Anniversary of Song Service, June 12, 1896 faces page 108
Pen Sketch of Mrs. Blake-Alverson, Made by Richard Partington. Sixtieth Birthday, June 12, 1896 page 111
Mrs. Blake-Alverson on Her Fiftieth Anniversary as a Public Singer, Sixty Years of Age, Oakland, June 12, 1896 faces page 112
Mme. Anna Bishop, Prima Donna, Teacher and Associate of Mrs. Blake-Alverson page 115
Associated Musicians, 1860-1913: Hugo Mansfeldt, Sir Henry Heyman, J.H. Dohrmann, Alfred Wilkie faces page 116
Original Members Loring Club, San Francisco, 1873. French Horn Quartette, San Francisco, 1895: Geo. Fletcher, Wm. E. Blake, Nathaniel Page, Geo. Story faces page 118
Organ St. Patrick's Church, San Francisco, 1875. J.H. Dohrmann, Organist and Choir Director faces page 124
Eminent Divines for Whom Mrs. Blake-Alverson has sung: Rev. Dr. A.M. Anderson, Stockton, 1852; Rev. Dr. Eells, Rev. Dr. Scudder, Rev. Dr. A.L. Stone, the Right Rev. Ingraham Kip, Rev. John Hemphill, Rev. Dr. H.D. Lathrop faces page 128
Musical Directors, May Festival, San Francisco, 1878: John P. Morgan, Carl Zerrahn, Rudolf Herold faces page 132
Bouquet of Artists, May Festival, San Francisco, 1878 faces page 134
Authors' Carnival, San Francisco, 1880: Mrs. Blake-Alverson as Charity Pecksniff; H.G. Sturtevant as Pecksniff; Alice Van Winkle as Mercy Pecksniff; Dolly Sroufe, Italian Booth; Henry Van Winkle, Cervantes Booth faces page 140
Mme. Bowers, Etelka Gerster, Julie Rivé-King, Associates and Friends of Mrs. Blake-Alverson faces page 144
Deer Park Cabin, Lake Tahoe, Dedicated July 4, 1893. Col. Richard Parnell, Sole Survivor of the Battle of Balaklava faces page 148
Mrs. Blake-Alverson in 1852, 1864, 1874, 1880, 1905 faces page 156
A Group of Friends, Distinguished Singers in the Seventies and Eighties: Mrs. Margaret C. Pierce, Mrs. Sarah Watkins-Little, Mrs. Blake-Alverson, Mrs. Helen Wetherbee, Mrs. Marriner-Campbell faces page 160
Lee Tung Foo, Pupil in the Nineties faces pages 164 and 166
Mrs. Blake-Alverson and Her Two Sons, Wm. Ellery Blake, George Lincoln Blake faces page 172
Associated Musicians and Singers, 1854-1900: Frederick Zech, Henry Wetherbee, Adolph Klose, S. Arrillaga, William P. Melvin, John W. Metcalf, Wm. M'F. Greer faces page 176
Trophies and Tributes Presented Mrs. Blake-Alverson faces page 180
"Sam" Booth, Popular Political Poet and Campaign Singer in San Francisco in the Seventies page 184
Mechanics' Institute Fair, 1879. Mrs. Blake-Alverson in Costume faces page 188
Civil War Mailing Envelopes, 1861. Co. K, Seventh California Volunteers, Capt O.P. Sloat, from San Bernardino, 1898. faces page 192
Stephen W. Leach, Musical Director, Buffo Singer, Actor in San Francisco in the Seventies and Eighties faces page 228
Joran Quartette, 1883: Lulu, Pauline and Elsie Joran and Mrs. Blake-Alverson faces page 246

PORTRAITS OF PUPILS

 FACES
PAGE
Akerly, Mrs.240
Allison, George244
Ames, Lucille E.268
Avan, Clara224
Bassford, Mrs. Mayme236
Beam, Edith196
Beam, Mary R.204
Beretta, Chelice208
Bishop, Biddle196
Bisquer, Marceline272
Blake, Mrs. William E.212
Bonske, Hazel272
Bouton, Cloy208
Bradley, Dolores256
Brainard, Birdie196
Brainard, Carrie196
Brainard, Mrs. Hattie196
Bruce, Florence240
Bruce-Schmidt, Mrs. Winona244
Bruce-Wold, Mrs. Ruth240
Bullington, Marie272
Caldwell, Mrs. O.B.240
Case, Mrs. J.R.220
Caswell, Mabel208
Champion, Rose236
Christofferson, Jennie236
Cianciarolo, Lucia268
Collins, Dr. Addison208
Collins, Mrs. Minnie M.208
Cooke, Grace260
Crandall, Harry236
Crew, Josie212
Crossett, Louisa212
Culver, Susan220
Cushing, Lillian224
Davies, Alice256
Deetkin, Marjorie268
Derby, Hattie224
Dickey, Lorena244
Dobbins-Ames, Mrs. Grace E.220
Dowdle, Everett S.212
Dowling, Gertrude252
Dowling, Leo260
Drake, Mabel L.244
Faull, Rose196
Faull, Sophia196
Ferguson, Dolores D.244
Flick, George240
Foo, Lee Tung164 and 166
Garcia, Louisa240
Gerrior, Maud256
Glass, Mrs. Louis204
Graves, Bessie196
Graves, Gussie204
Greer, Yvonne272
Griswold, Geneva256
Harrold, Elizabeth204
Harrold, Mary204
Hermansen, Christine260
Hitchcock, Ruth A.260
Hunt, Elsie Mae236
Jackson, Geo.256
Jones, Ethel212
Jones, Ilma260
Jory, Lilian208
Keith, William H.80
Kiel, Stella252
Kimball, Lorena244
Koch, Ada220
Kroh, Blanche256
Kroh-Rodan, Mrs. Mary252
Krueckle, Anna252
Lahre, Freda240
Lanktree, Elizabeth236
Lanktree-Kenney, Mrs. Sue240
La Rue, Grace212
Lessig, Mrs. Chas.212
Louderback, Mrs. Caroline252
Louderback, Jean244
McMahan, Bernard244
McMaul, Juliet244
Monnet-Swalley, Mrs. Emma D.224
Mulgrew, Margaret272
Munch, Mrs. Emma A.268
Nagle-Pittman, Mrs. Ethel B.240
Newell, Bessie G.220
Noonan, Elsie236
Oakes, Margaret212
Osborn, Anita260
Peterson, Geo. G.220
Peterson, Minnie224
Peterson, Pauline224
Pollard, Daisy208
Pollard, Etta208
Ramsey, Peter256
Rayburn, Mrs. Cora236
Riley, Mrs. Edna268
Riley, Ruth268
Sanford, Alice M.268
Sanford, Edw. H.256
Shaw, Lauretta220
Shultz, Sarah272
Sroufe, Georgia196
Sroufe, Susan196
Sroufe-Tiffany, Mrs. Dollie196
Starkey, Irma268
Stewart-Jolly, Mrs. May204
Stewart, Sue208
Teague, Mrs. Walter E.272
Thomas, Edward224
Tregar, Mme. Annie204
Valentine, Inza252
Valentine, Stella252
Van Winkle, Ada196
Victory, Arthur236
Whitney, Mae204
Wood, Dr. J.B.224
Woodworth, Leslie E.256
Worden, Nettie204
Zimmerman, Charlotte224

[Pg 1]

CHAPTER ONE

ANTECEDENTS AND CHILDHOOD

AS FAR back as I can remember my life was associated with music. Father and mother were both highly gifted. In our family were three boys and seven girls, and each possessed a voice of unusual excellence. The looked-for pleasure every day was the morning and evening worship at which the family gathered in the sitting room to hear the word of God explained by my father, Rev. Henry Kroh, D.D. The dear old German hymns, Lobe den Herren, O Meine Seele, Christie, du Lamm Gottes and others, were as familiar to me as the English hymns of today, such as Nearer my God to Thee and All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name. We were not blessed with children's songs, as are the children of today, but sang the same hymns as the older members of the congregation.

Father was descended from a royal Holland family. One of his ancestors was the favorite sister of Admiral Theobold Metzger, Baron of Brada, Major-General of all the Netherlands, who died of paralysis in the sixty-sixth year of his life, February 23, 1691, in the house of the Duke of Chamburg. He had gone with other lords and nobles of the land to Graven Hage to swear allegiance to William III., King of Great Britain, who had just come over from London as the regent of the Netherlands. Even the physician in ordinary, who was sent by the King, was unable to save him. By order of the King his body was placed in a vault in the church on High Street in Brada, March 19, 1691, with extraordinary honor and ceremonies. He had acquired large possessions and wealth, therefore the King ordered that the large estate of the deceased should be taken care of, and placed it under the care of William von Schuylenburg, council of the King. At the same time notice was sent to all princes and potentates in whose countries there was property of the deceased to support His Majesty in this undertaking. Three weeks before his death he had made his will and had given the name of his parents and his five brothers and two sisters.[Pg 2]

His sister Barbara was my great-grandmother. After the death of my granduncle some of the family came to America. They were not aware of the death of their distinguished brother and the heirs did not claim the vast fortune, which amounted to 20,000,000 guilders at that time and now with compound interest should be to 200,000,000 to 300,000,000 guilders, and is still in the possession of the King and in the treasuries of the Netherlands. The heirs have been deprived of it all these years, although they have from one generation to another fought the case. At the same time the authorities of Holland are not a little in doubt and are embarrassed for reasons to justify keeping the Metzger von Weibnom estate for Holland.

But the reason of all their decisions, answers and refusals is the unmistakable intention to keep the estate for themselves, even at the cost of truth, justice and honor. The will has been suppressed. We have proof that General Rapp in 1794 at the occupation of Brada had taken the will, dated February 2, 1691, from the city magistrate to carry it to Strassburg for safety. The will has never been executed.

I purposely made this break in my narrative of my childhood in justice to my distinguished father who should have occupied the place that belonged to him by right and title, as he was one of the original heirs mentioned in my uncle's will—the grandson of his favorite sister, Barbara Metzger von Weibnom. My father was a minister. He was Christ-like with his people, and it was beautiful to behold with what reverence the people approached him. He had the mild blue eye the poets write about, his voice was soft in its tenderness when addressing any member of his flock. His bearing was dignified and reverent, and he was a delightful person to know. He was always hopeful, no matter what difficulties arose in regard to the finances of the church. In the true sense of the word he was a father to his people and his family. His elders were all devotion and with them his word was law. In all the years of his ministry I cannot recall any unhappy situation with his congregation. Sadness came only when parting, to be sent to work in another church. He was a great pioneer founder of churches, and the Synod sent him first in one direction, then another.

In consequence of these changes I traveled a great deal in childhood. No sooner had father succeeded in get[Pg 3]ting a church started and in good running order than he would be sent to some other section of the country. In Virginia, where he was born and bred, he was ordained at the age of twenty-five and soon had a promising charge in Berks county, Pa. From there he was sent to Evansville, Ind. It was while he was filling the pulpit at Womensdorf, Pa., that he met Miss Mary Stouch, to whom he was married in the year 1819. Six children were born to them while at this pastorate. The church in Evansville had been without a pastor for over two years and father was called to fill the position. The parting between the pastor and his people was particularly sad. My mother had to leave her girlhood home for the first time in her life.

Oh, what a sad journey it was for them. It was made by stage and boat and my parents had six young children. Many a time in my childhood I heard the sad tale repeated. And the reception at Evansville was still sadder as the church had been closed and the building almost destroyed by the vicious element and unconverted people who desired no religion to interfere with their ungodliness. Many attempts had been made to restore the building, but those who attempted it were stoned and driven away. When father arrived the people of the congregation who remained advised him not to do anything with the church, for he would meet the same fate as his predecessors. But father was not daunted. He visited the church and the sight of God's house in such a condition made him more determined to do the work for which he had come. After calling several members together he gave out the announcement that he would open the church on the following Sabbath at all hazards. He asked all of the faith to come to his home Saturday evening. About fifty responded, and during the business meeting of the evening seven elders were chosen. When all was satisfactorily adjusted, pastor and people spent the hours in prayer until midnight.

Next morning the faithful people gathered and father, with the Bible in hand, led them in procession until they arrived at the church. In the distance could be seen a line of men, women and boys on both sides of the steps. The elders tried to persuade father to give up the attempt and go no further. He turned to them and said, "I came to conquer for the Lord, and if you do not come with me I shall go alone." When the rabble saw them coming, they began to shout, "Here they come. Here come the[Pg 4] saints." A boy approached—more bold than the rest—and as he came father took him by the hand and said, "Good morning, my little man. I am glad to see the young as well as the old to welcome me." Then he spoke to the people and said, "You make me very happy, my dear friends. I did not expect such a large congregation to meet me, a stranger," and took each by the hand. In one hand they held sticks, stones and staves. As he spoke kindly to them, they dropped their missiles and extended their hands. His bravery had awed them and his kindness and magnetism had won them. At last he gained the upper step in front of the church and, like Paul, he cried, "Hear ye the word of the Lord. For today shall peace and righteousness dwell among you. Hear what the Lord God speaketh to you. I came not to make war upon you, but bring you the message of peace. As this building is not in condition to enter, I will give you the divine message from the door of the temple." After a short sermon he told them his mission was to rebuild the church, and he was going to ask them all to help. A short prayer followed his remarks, and the benediction closed this remarkable epoch in the history of the church. Before the year was past the church had been restored. The membership increased, the Sabbath school grew and the church nourished beyond the expectations of the oldest members.

Two and a half years later we went to Mt. Carmel, a small town on the Wabash river. Conditions were more favorable, yet it was not to be stationary, for only two or three years. During that time I was born, June 12, 1836. I made the eighth child—six girls and two boys. When I was a little over three years old, father left Mt. Carmel to fill the vacancy of the church in Jonesborough, Union county, Ill., in an unsettled portion of the state, among good Christian people who had begun to settle on farms and stock farms. Acres of grain and corn fields stretched far and wide. Jonesborough was a very small town where these people got their supplies in exchange for their produce. The women wove their cloth and linen and spun their yarn and did the dairy work, while the men cleared and planted and built log houses, barns and cribs. We were heartily welcomed by these good, primitive people. They had waited so long for a shepherd to lead them that many of the congregation were in waiting and the elders and trustees were on[Pg 5] hand to see to the conveyance of the household goods, which were quickly put in waiting wagons.

 

Jewel worn by Lady Barbara Metzger

 

It was the Indian summer of the year. The foliage was bright and the air crisp and cool. Although a child, the impression made upon me was one that I have gone over in my mind many times, and I can see every inch of the road, the kind people, the beautiful scenery, birds of bright plumage, and rabbits darting across the road at the sound of our wheels. It was late when the journey was ended, but we were made welcome and comfortable by more pleasant faces and willing hands. The parsonage was a large, barnlike-looking place, built partly of logs and "shakes." There was one large room and two small ones adjoining and a shed that extended the length of the house. In the large room was a fine, spacious fireplace, into which had been rolled a large log and a bright fire was blazing which sent a glow of warmth and lit up the logs and rafters and the strips of white plaster, used to close up the cracks and keep the warmth within the room. The floors were made of oak and were white and clean. Several old-fashioned split-bottom chairs graced the room, a long table was placed in the center, upon which was spread a snow-white linen cloth of homespun, and woven by the women. While the wraps were being removed the women had placed upon the table the best that could be prepared for the pastor's welcome. I'll never forget the delicious roast chicken; baked sweet potatoes, baked in the ashes, for cook stoves were not known; the fine hot corn pone baked in the Dutch oven, hot coals heaped upon the lid to brown and crisp; fresh sweet butter, pickles, preserves. Generous loaves of bread, biscuit and cake filled the pantries.

When father entered the room and saw the preparation that had been made he was overcome with the tender hospitality of the women of his new charge. He could not restrain his tears. As they all surrounded the table, he raised his hands in prayer and besought God's blessing upon the people and the charge he had once more accepted. The congregation was scattered far and wide. Many miles separated the neighbors and once a week was the only time when gatherings were held. On the Sabbath the log church was filled with solemn, substantial people, men and women in their homespun garments, healthy and robust the men and rosy and buxom the women. Families came in their conveyances, wagons, carts and old-style buggies; some came on foot, others on[Pg 6] horseback, when they did not own a wagon. Rain or shine, the faithful assembled for two services. After the morning service the families gathered and seated under the trees or in their wagons lunched of the food brought along. A fire was built and a huge caldron of coffee was made of parched wheat ground and boiled. Coffee in these days was only for the rich who lived in the cities. Delicious cream and milk was in abundance for all the younger people. After the noon repast the children gathered for the Sunday school. The second service began at 3 o'clock and closed at 4. This work continued for seven years. During that time the log church was replaced by a fine frame church large enough to accommodate six or seven hundred worshipers.

During the years of this pastorate my oldest brother, Rev. Phillip Henry Kroh, was graduated from the theological seminary in Ohio and had returned an ordained minister. He was at once made an assistant by my father, the field being too large for him.

In 1841 father returned from the eastern Synod with the sad tidings that he had been appointed to go to Cincinnati, Ohio. We had lived so long here, we expected it was to be our future home. We had a comfortable house, a maple forest, gardens and stock, and the news came as a severe blow to my poor mother. We had been so happy among the fruits, flowers and country freedom, we were loath to give it up for the city. It was with a sad heart that father parted from these good and faithful people. The only balm for this separation was to leave brother Phillip with them as his successor. He had become endeared to them and had done such good work among the young, they prayed father to leave him if the family must go.

After a journey of three weeks we arrived at the parsonage. The congregation had purchased the old Texas church in the western addition of the city, and the parsonage was attached to the church in the rear. It was a comfortable place of six large rooms. The furniture had preceded the family and everything looked homelike and comfortable, so mother had not the sadness of coming to a bare, cheerless, empty house. We were cordially greeted by the elders' wives and families, and when we arrived dinner was upon the table for us. This welcome was more homelike because of our own things having preceded us. And then we were such a busy family that we had little time to waste in repinings. We were all[Pg 7] put in the harness—the Sabbath school and choir. We made visits with our parents to the sick and the poor. Because we spoke nothing but the German language, we were obliged to go to school. My oldest sister, Mary, was soon established in the German department of the public school. She was graduated from the Monticello Seminary, St. Louis, before coming there. She taught during the week in the public school and on Saturday taught English in the synagogue. On the Sabbath she played the melodeon in our church. It was there that, as a child, I learned the grand old German hymns of the church under her guidance and which helped to make me the singer I am today.

We had now been seven years in Cincinnati and the church had flourished so greatly that a second German Reformed church was the outcome of father's ministry. It was built on Webster street for the purpose of housing the overflow of the first church on Betts street. In all this prosperity California gold and missionary fields were opened and discovered in November, 1847. Father was chosen for California, and the only way to go was over the plains. What a sad family was ours while preparations were made which would take father and brother George, who was now 17 years old, away, as we thought, to the other end of the earth. At last the hour came and the tie that bound pastor and people, father, mother and children was severed. My brother George told me the story of the trip as follows:

"The party left Cincinnati down the river on the steamer Pontiac about May 10th, 1849, arrived in St. Louis four days after the fire, May 18th, and remained four days at Weston. We purchased a yoke of oxen. At St. Joseph, Mo., we purchased two more yokes. On the 28th we went up the river and crossed over on flatboats. Here we camped for the night. As far as the eye could see it was one level stretch of land. May 29th we started on the long journey across the plains to California. Our first mishap came in crossing over a bridge made of logs, called a corduroy bridge. In crossing over this bridge one of the oxen was crowded too near the edge. He was crowded off into the water below and was drowned before we could give aid. After traveling for seven days more, the first days in June, we came to Ash Hollow. At this place the party came in contact with a whole tribe of Sioux Indians. They were peaceful, and we traded with them and gave the squaws some necklaces of bright[Pg 8] colored beads. After passing the Indian tribe, about five miles away, we camped for the night. We reached Fort Laramie by noon the next day. Here we purchased a fine cow to take the place of the drowned ox. She worked well. She supplied the party with fresh milk as well. Fort Laramie consisted of only the fort and a blacksmith shop. We continued next day and made several stops before we came to Fort Bridger, occupied by the man Bridger and his family. He had a squaw wife and six children. When he learned that father was a missionary, he brought his whole family to our camp and they were all baptized. This was father's first missionary work.

"After leaving here we traveled for days before we got to Salt Lake City, passing through Wyoming. At Salt Lake City father and Brigham Young had a long and heated argument. A number of men and women joined in. Among the women were several who did not believe as they were compelled to, and they were on the side of the missionary. We remained here a week, and we drove the cattle to feed and the Mormons stole them two different times and compelled the company to pay fifteen dollars each time as find money. Rather an expensive stay for one week. When the party left, the women who favored us came out with baskets filled with fresh vegetables, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and squash. With tears in their eyes they said farewell. When we left we employed the services of a Mormon guide. He purposely led us on the wrong trail for sixty miles. It was necessary for us to return and get the right trail. When we started once more he misled us the second time and directed us into a deep canyon. In order to get out of this difficulty we were obliged to take the wagon to pieces and piece by piece we carried them out into safety. His object was to tire out our oxen and get us to desert them so he could appropriate them. At last we discovered his treachery and dismissed him at once. Then we continued our journey along the Santa Fe trail. This was Kit Carson's trail from Salt Lake to Lower California. We continued our travels until we reached Big Muddy river and camped there. The Indians yelled and whooped at us all night long. We could not sleep, for they were the troublesome Piutes. We did not know how to act as they kept concealed and were in great numbers. Two of them, more bold than the others, being also curious, crawled through the willows. We immediately shot at them. In the morning the oxen were rounded up and one was miss[Pg 9]ing. He was driven away by the Indians and killed. We found him several miles further along, with seven arrows piercing his body. Our next camping place was at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The snow was eighteen inches deep and there was no food for the cattle. After going a mile further the cow gave out. That left us without any means to haul the wagons. Father left his wagon and we packed our goods on a horse, this being the only animal remaining in father's possession. We were compelled to leave many useful things behind. Father's feet were frozen at this place and we were obliged to cut off his boots to assist him out of his misery. Our sufferings were great and we nearly froze on the trail. We kept going at a slow pace and with great difficulty until we passed the snow belt, and when we came to the green fields or plains our joy knew no bounds. But misfortune overtook us here, for we turned our horse out with the cattle and that was the last we ever saw of him. We came at last to Cottonwood Springs and we camped there for two days to let the remaining cattle rest and eat of herbage.

"In the evening of the second day we started to cross the great desert. We succeeded in crossing by midnight and reached the mountains on the other side. I was so tired I fell asleep beside the trail. The team passed me as I slept. I did not awaken until 2 in the morning. I followed the trail and found the team, a distance of four or five miles ahead of where I took the nap. On reaching camp, father and the company were anxiously awaiting me. We rested for the night. Next morning we started through a deep canyon which eventually opened into a beautiful valley where we saw houses made of adobe. The fields were covered with cattle. This was the first civilization we saw since leaving Salt Lake. Starvation had almost overtaken us and we besought the owner to sell us an ox and we had a feast and appeased our hunger. We had lost all accounting of time until we came here. We camped for the night, and next morning we started for Los Angeles. We arrived there November 18, 1849. The Spaniards had taken a strong liking toward father and wanted to make him their Alcalde, but he refused the honor and told them he had come to preach the gospel and had to go further. On his going they presented him with a fine horse and saddle as a token of their esteem for him. At that time Los Angeles had only a few adobe houses and a Catholic mission. Commodore[Pg 10] Stockton had dug trenches around the place as a means of defense. We slowly wended our way for another month when we met a man who had bought a thousand head of cattle. He told father he could earn his way up the coast by helping drive the cattle, but he was not able to do this spirited work, so father and son exchanged places. Father turned the horse over to me and he drove the supply wagon. For the first time in my life I was a real cowboy.

"We followed the coast through Santa Clara and Santa Cruz, crossing over to Livermore and San Joaquin valley, this being the end of the cattle drive. Here we were paid and dismissed and our employer said we were about forty miles from Stockton and about the same distance from the mines. We plodded slowly along, following up the Stanislaus river. The first place we reached having a name was Knight's Ferry. We were out of money and clothes when we arrived at this place. The ferryman took us across without pay and bade us remain all night. Up to this time we wore buckskin trousers. I went out hunting and the rain came down in torrents and my trousers got drenched. They stretched so long I cut them off so I could walk. When they dried they had shrunken above my knees. At this place we met Mr. Dent, a brother-in-law of General Grant. With him also was a Mr. Vantine. When these men saw the unfortunate condition we were in, they gave us each a pair of overalls and a hat. So we were once more a little more civilized and passable. On our way up the coast we encountered a heavy storm. We had prepared to camp under a fine tree, but a large dead limb hung directly over us. I told father that we had better move as there was danger. But he thought it safe to remain where we were. But I insisted that we move, and finally he listened to my pleadings and we each took an end of the bed and lifted it over to the other side of the tree, away from the dead limb. We had hardly gotten settled into the bed before the limb came down with a crash, immediately across the spot from where we took the bed. Had we remained, nothing could have saved us from instant death. The next day we left Knight's Ferry without a dollar and reached the mines that afternoon about 4 o'clock. One of the miners gave me a claim. The next morning I started my first gold mining. Father was obliged to rest after all this dreadful experience of nine or ten months. I bought myself a rocker and began to work my claim. The first[Pg 11] day I had washed out $9.50. In eight days I had gotten out $650. After getting the gold father went to Stockton and bought a supply of groceries and started a grocery store at Scorpion Gulch. I took up another claim and in ten days' time I had taken out a collection of nuggets and small gold to the amount of $1,600."

This was sent home to the family in the East with the message for us to come to California as soon as we could get ready.

After father started for California we were obliged to vacate the parsonage for the family of his successor. So the church was raised and a fine story made under the church for our use while we remained there. We were all obliged to work and help mother in some way. The older ones were teaching and we who were but children sewed a certain amount each day before our play hour came. My sister Mary now played the organ in the Presbyterian church and Mr. Aiken was the director of the choir. I was about ten years old at this time, and with the new minister other changes came in our church and we left the choir to others who came after us. Shortly after this I remember going one Sabbath to the church to hear sister play the pipe organ. While in the choir loft Mr. Aiken came in. He came over and asked me how I came there. I told him I had come with my sister. "Who is your sister?" "Miss Kroh, who plays the organ." He looked surprised. Presently I saw them conversing. When sister came to her place she said to me, "When the choir arises to sing you go over and stand with the alto." I demurred and she said, "Go and sing as you have been singing in our choir. You know the music." After that Sunday I sang with the choir five years, until we came to California. I was then fifteen. That is how I became a choir singer when ten years of age. Mr. Aiken used to pick me out from among the children of the public schools and place me in the front row in every school I ever attended while he taught the music.

Mr. Aiken became musical instructor in the schools in 1848. It was then I was selected to join the choral class. There were fifty boys and girls picked from the different schools and we had a fine drilling each Saturday afternoon in the basement of the church. One of the boys had a high soprano voice and we all admired his singing to adoration. He was as courteous as his voice was beautiful—unspoiled by praise. We had one chorus we all loved, of which he was the soloist, and we were not satisfied with the re[Pg 12]hearsal until we had sung, and the young master had so beautifully rendered the obbligato to the song, "Shepherd, from your sleep awake, Morning opes her golden eyes, etc." How well I remember the words of the song and the beautiful boy singer that left the impression of his voice in my life, and I can see the picture as plain as if it hung on the wall of my studio today. From that voice and the correct guidance of my sainted sister Mary I have been able to sing and please the many thousands of people who have listened to me in my years of song wherever I strayed—in the East or West.

In speaking of Professor Junkerman's work in the schools of Cincinnati, a coincidence happened in 1906 which recalled my childhood days with all the vivid coloring traced upon my mind fifty-two years ago. In the number of The Musician for May, 1906, I saw two pictures that were familiar and I looked without seeing the names printed beneath them. To my utter astonishment they were the likenesses of Mr. Aiken and Professor Junkerman, whom I had not seen for over fifty years and yet I knew them at sight—the moment my eyes beheld them. In reading the article and what it contained in regard to the music and its development, I was able to go over the whole ground of Mr. Aiken's teaching as if I were once more a school child. All three of these persons were in the schools—Professor Junkerman, in languages, organ and piano; my sister, Mary Kroh, his pupil on both organ and piano, also teacher of English and German, and Mr. Aiken, the teacher in the public schools for voice and the movable "do" system. Was ever such a windfall of good fortune as this proved to me? I had tried to recall the name of the dear old professor to use it in my narrative, but my memory was at fault. We all loved him so well. He was a thorough musician and thoroughly appreciated by all who had the advantage of his knowledge, either in languages or in instrumental music. The Musician contains a complete detail of these two men who were instrumental in promoting the best music in the early years of 1839 and later in 1842 and continued until 1879 for Mr. Aiken, and Professor Junkerman closed his public career in 1900.

 

Kroh family


[Pg 13]

CHAPTER TWO

OUR TRIP TO CALIFORNIA VIA THE ISTHMUS, AND EARLY DAYS THERE. FIRST CHURCH CHOIR IN STOCKTON

AT LAST the long-looked-for letter came that father and brother had arrived in the mines of California, and in the letter were several small flakes of gold wrapped in a bit of paper. We had so long hoped against hope that the sight of the familiar writing caused the greatest excitement. Poor mother could hardly hold out any longer and the news was too much for her weak body, for she was just convalescing from weeks of sickness brought on by hope deferred and waiting and watching each day for a word from the wanderers. We were obliged to refrain for her sake, but we were all like as if news came from the dead—ten long months and no word. After we were somewhat quieted sister Mary read the letter aloud. It was like reading the last will of the departed, we were all so unnerved. At the close of the letter we were informed to get in readiness and that the money was already on the way for us. It had taken over two months for this letter to come by steamer, and we counted the days for another with the gold to take us away to California. What a consternation this news made in the congregation! They had hoped that father might return if things were not favorable, but the letter and the gold in the letter and the money coming to take us away were too true. There was no hope now that he would return. The successor of father was a young minister, Rev. Henry Rust. He heard the news with a sad heart, for he and my sister Mary were betrothed. Father's message was for sister Mary to take his place as help to mother, who was not able to take the family alone over the two oceans with all the uncertainty of travel. The weeks of waiting were spent in preparation. Many busy fingers plied the needle (for sewing machines were not known at that time). Young as I was, I was no stranger to the use of the needle, for that is part of a German girl's education, with knitting and crocheting. I was born in the[Pg 14] time of weaving, spinning and carding. Much brass and pewter household articles were to be kept bright and shiny. Children in those days were little housewives and took as much pride in having the family silver, copper and brass polished as the older ones. The oaken floors were made white with soft soap and sand, and the comfortable rugs of rag carpet were woven with special care. The high-posted bedsteads with the valance around the bottom of white linen, the canopy above draped with chintz of the daintiest tracings of figures and flowers, and oh, the feather bed well beaten and made high, and immaculate white quilt finished a bed fit for a king to rest his royal body upon. While we had not a grand home, it was a place of order, taste and refinement. Each one was taught to feel responsible for the good or bad impressions from strangers who visited us from time to time. Consequently we all took pride in keeping order, which was the law of the home, and as young as we were we felt justly proud of praise from strangers. After school we had so much to sew, mend or knit. When that was done, we were allowed to play until six. The evenings were spent in preparing the lessons for the next day. My early years were spent in work and play. Law and order was the rule, but none of us were unhappy by the restraint. It was an education that has made the men and women of our family what they are today. We were home keepers as well as entertainers.

Having traveled so much during our lifetime, changing from one city to another, we were not afraid to take this last long journey. The difficulty was what to take, especially of many of the heirlooms that mother still retained from her girlhood home. After inquiry and instructions from the steamship company, we found to our dismay that no furniture could go, as there was no way of getting it over the Isthmus. All our long-cherished household furniture must remain behind. Only things that could be taken up in small boats were allowed. Kind friends of the congregation made their choice and took them as keepsakes in remembrance of us when we were far away. This act of kindness was much appreciated by mother, who suffered much anguish of mind to see the familiar things of her girlhood scattered here and there and her claim to them forever gone. She had heretofore been able to go willingly to different places because the familiar things made it homelike when settled in new surroundings, but this time all must be left behind. Cali[Pg 15]fornia was too far—she was going out to the great unknown world, far from civilization, not knowing what was before her. If everything else had to be left, she still retained the affection of her children, and we were as watchful of her happiness and comfort as if we were her keeper. Her hopes of meeting father and son, and her children with her, gave her the courage to begin the long journey.

It was now the year 1851. Mary had been teaching in the public schools and synagogue; sister Emma was sewing. They kept the finances from running low, as father's salary had to go to his successor and we had no other means of support. With good management and many friends we all came safely through the ordeal. After the first letter we had received no other word and the second year was passing, although we had been ready for months with the disposal of our household goods. The sisters kept their positions, so all went on as usual. In the latter part of May a rap was heard at the front door and sister Mary answered the summons and before her stood the express man of Adams Express Company, and he handed her a canvas sack filled with gold and a letter addressed to mother from California. Father had sent us $1,600 and orders to come as soon as possible. He would be awaiting us in Stockton, California. After our surprise was over, what was to be done with all this money—we could not keep it here safely. So sister Sarah was dispatched to one of the trustees of the church who had a safe in his office. The money was placed in a covered basket and she was sent with all haste to get to the office before closing time, but fate was against her and Mr. Butler had closed the office and gone. So she was obliged to bring it home once more. It was dark before she came back and there were two men who followed her at a distance all the way going and coming. What to do to protect this great amount of money was a vital question. We occupied the first story under the church and the front rooms faced on Betts street, as did the entrance of the church. The original parsonage had not been occupied since we vacated it because the new minister had no family. We still retained the key. After our plans were made, myself and sister Sarah were sent out on the sidewalk as if we were playing, to see if any strangers were lurking around. Mother stood in the front door and talked with us while sister Mary, accompanied by my small brother, took the money and went up to the[Pg 16] other parsonage and let herself in, then into the church. It was still daylight. So as not to use a light, she quietly slipped into the church, removed one side of the pulpit steps and let my brother crawl over to the other side and put the gold beneath the steps there. After depositing it, she quietly put everything in place and returned to the house. Then we retired for the evening.

None of the neighbors knew of the money being received. It came at an hour when no one was coming home or happened to be on the sidewalk. The shutters on the first floor were solid wood so no one could molest us. We had been clearing the house and packing things away. We were all tired and slept well. Mary and Emma occupied the front room and for some unknown reason left the wooden bar off that made the door secure, and these two men came in so quietly that no one heard them. They had unlocked the doors to escape in case they were discovered. Mother was awakened during the night and said, "Mary, are you up?" No answer. After a short silence she heard another sound and she called, "Are you ill, Mary? If you are, I'll get up and help." Receiving no answer, she reached out to light the candle, but hearing nothing more she thought she had been mistaken and went to sleep. She arose early and found the shutters unlocked and the side door ajar. Then she went into the parlor and all the chairs had been taken from the front door where they had been piled. She immediately realized that there had been robbers in the house searching for the gold. She awoke the girls and told them of what had happened, and you can imagine our consternation. As long as we remained in the house we lived in fear of a second attempt. The next morning sister Sarah was sent with the gold to our friend, Mr. Butler, who was surprised and simply amazed at the amount sister gave him to keep. He immediately put it into safer hands at the mint where the gold was weighed and the value given in money and placed in the bank subject to mother's order. When Mr. Butler was told of the attempted robbery he immediately arranged to have the house watched each night until our departure, which came the first week in June, 1851. We left Cincinnati for New York and were welcomed on our arrival by friends with whom we remained for a week. On the following Monday we secured passage for California on the steamer Ohio bound for Aspinwall. I was too young and also too ill to know just the route taken, but after[Pg 17] a month we arrived at Aspinwall, and when our belongings were properly taken care of we started on our journey across the Isthmus of Panama.

 

Blake coat of arms

 

We were nine days going up the Chagres river in flatboats. This trip, girl as I was, I can recall perfectly and it was an experience which has served in after years as an education which I have used in many ways. We, as children, had access to father's great library and magazines from which we learned so much of foreign countries and people. I had artistic tastes and I used to find the tropical pictures and scenes much to my liking and asked many questions in regard to the different people among whom the missionaries worked. I had never thought ever to see or realize such a picture in the tropics as this. We had a large boat assigned to our family alone. Our belongings were deposited and two great, black natives were placed at each end of the boat or scow. They were without clothing, save for a short, full skirt of white cloth fastened around their waists on a band. Each used a long pole to propel the scow. We were the only family of women on board the steamer. There was Mr. Biggar and his wife and a bride and her husband, besides several colored women and their husbands coming out to take positions on the Pacific steamers. All the other passengers were men, coming to hunt their fortunes and go back rich. There were about eight or nine of these scows. The railroad was not finished, but it was being built at that time. The surveying was being done and small cabins were built for the surveyors' use at the different stations where we camped for the night. The captain had provided us with food in cans and packages, toasted bread and other things for our comfort and utensils for cooking, and we had a jolly picnic for nine long days before we came to the place where we mounted the burros to take us the rest of the way to Panama.

To describe this journey needs a more romantic pen than mine, but I'll endeavor to tell you of some of the features and things that we saw which were so strange and wonderful to me. After we had said our good-byes to the captain and officers who were so gallant to us and did all they could for us during the long month on the rough Atlantic, we climbed into our boat and these natives took charge of it, one at each end, with a guttural grunt from both. They lightly took their places and we began our journey up the Chagres river. It was a warm, bright morning, and a light haze in the atmosphere made it[Pg 18] appear like spring. At first we felt afraid of our boatmen, but soon we were drinking in all of the panoramic effects of the changing scenes of trailing vines, tropical flowers and other splendors. The chattering of monkeys and parrots, the alligators lying upon the opposite shore like great gray logs, some sleeping, some with their great mouths wide open to allow the insects to gather on their tongues, were things never to be forgotten. I observed that when a large number of flies had gathered the alligators would close their capacious jaws, satisfied with the sweet morsel, and roll their eyes with apparent enjoyment. Then they once more slowly opened their ponderous jaws and quietly waited for another meal. We had gone on our way several hours without speaking, there was so much to see and it was all so new. The quaint song of the natives amused us. They never seemed to weary of the same "Yenze, yenze, ah yenze." At the third "Yenze" the boat would shoot up the stream twice its length. It was nearing noon and the sun was getting torrid and the air close and stifling. Without any warning the rain showered upon us and we were obliged to remain in our places and let it come down upon us, regardless of results to our clothing. The rain was of short duration, however, and we rather enjoyed the cooling effect. Presently the sun shone in all its glory and in an hour we were once more with dry clothing. This mixed weather continued the whole ten days of our journey.

At noon of each day we disembarked and prepared our meal, generally stopping at one of the stations of the railroad. We found quite a number of white men and Mexicans at each place. They gladly received us and offered us some of their fare. In exchange we gave them soup, made in a large kettle, and had several things they were strangers to in their life in the forest of vines, flowers and fruit of the tropics where they subsisted on rations of pork, bacon, hardtack, etc. They gladly accepted our fare and we partook of theirs. Before we started again the men came to the boat with baskets of fresh cut oranges and bananas and plantains. They were for us to take on the steamer and we could enjoy them as they ripened on the way. We received marked attention from the men at every station. Women coming to California were a novelty, and when they learned we were all of one family of the American Padre, they were still more gracious. So we journeyed for ten days, each day bringing forth some new feature. At night we left the boats and[Pg 19] slept in the bungalows perched high in the air, and to reach them we climbed steps cut out in a large log placed at the opening. There was only one large room and we all slept on the floor, rolled in our blankets. We got but little sleep because of the noise from below made by Americans and Spaniards playing cards and smoking cigarettes and Spanish girls dancing as the men thrummed on the guitars. The Spaniards carried long knives at their sides and pistols in their belts, wore wide straw hats and red sashes, black trousers slashed down the side and trimmed with rows of bright buttons. High-heeled boots and spurs finished the unique garb. The women wore a white chemise and white petticoat and slippers. Their black hair, plaited in two braids, and a silk shawl thrown gracefully over their heads and a fan, which is an indispensable article to a Spanish lady, completed the toilet. Nothing but troubled sleep came to our relief during these days. Fear of the Spaniards and the movements of the lizards on the rafters and walls, with now and then a tarantula, made rest almost impossible. At last we had only one day more, the tenth day. We had gotten familiar with the different scenes, the waving palms, the trailing vines where the monkeys climbed or hung by their tails and chattered in their own way. The scarlet lingawacha, or tongue plant, hung in graceful lengths and brightened the varied colored green in the background. Innumerable families of parrots talked and screamed from the branches. Bananas and orange trees everywhere interspersed with tall cocoanut palms, the large and small alligators basking in the sun on the sand were pictures never to be forgotten. The natives in their peculiar dress, the fandango at night, the graceful twirl of the Spanish waltz put the life touch to the picture that comes to me today at the age of seventy-five as it was in those days when I experienced, a girl of fifteen, all the discomforts of travel from Cincinnati to California.

It was about 4 o'clock on the tenth day when we arrived at the small village where we were to remain for the night and next morning, then ho! for Panama. We had better accommodations here, a large adobe house, kept by a Spaniard and wife and daughters, under the supervision of the steamship company, which also controlled the scows that we used on the river Chagres. Our goods were transferred from the scows to the pack mule train. After everything had been safely lashed upon their backs, our burros were brought and we all mounted astride. It was[Pg 20] well for us we were no strangers to riding. My youngest brother was too small to ride, so a large native bamboo chair was brought and strapped upon the back of a large native and in the chair, safely tied in, sat the brother, as contented as a lord. He was such a handsome child, mother did not want to have the native take him for fear he would steal him, so she had the slave start first and she came behind and rode with him in sight all the way, but she was unnecessarily alarmed, for he was most faithful. The day before we left for the steamer he came with an offering of fruit and nuts for the boy and the madre and senoritas. Mother gave him an extra dollar and he was greatly surprised and smilingly picked up brother and carried him to the steamer and assisted us in every way until we were safely transferred to the steamship Tennessee, Captain Totten, commander. The ride on the burros over mountains, hills and dales was an experience never to be forgotten. Slowly, step by step we wound around the mountain trail. These burros had gone the road so many years that their tiny hoofs had worn places in the rocks. All we had to do was to sit tight in the saddle as we ascended or descended the steep places. The pummel of the saddle was high and we held on to that, and enjoyed the novelty of the situation. Once or twice we merged into a plain of a mile or so, then began the rocky ascent. We refreshed ourselves from time to time at cooling springs that dripped out from the rocks into a rustic stone basin. The scenery was very attractive, but it became monotonous as we sat in our saddles while the burros, step by step, ascended or descended the path they had traversed so often. Toward night the mountains became more like rolling hills and there was more open space and sky to be seen. By the time darkness overtook us we were near the outskirts of Panama and hoped soon to see the lights of the city. About nine o'clock we stopped before an adobe building, long and wide, two stories high, with a large enclosed place for the burros. This was also under the steamship company's control. This time the proprietor was a white man and we were able to obtain desirable beds and comfortable fare. He gave us the best rooms, large and clean, more homelike than anything we had seen since leaving home. We were so weary it was with difficulty we got off the burros, having ridden all day long. I could hardly feel the earth under me and I staggered many times before we were comfortable in our rooms. After resting for an hour we[Pg 21] were summoned to supper. It was now ten o'clock. Late as it was, we found the supper so appetizing we forgot the hour and really enjoyed the first good meal in the ten days we were on the way. The host and his good wife saw that everybody was made comfortable during the time we remained there. The steamer Tennessee had arrived two days before and had all the cargo in and fruits and fresh vegetables on board, so we were able to sail the next afternoon at three o'clock.

 

Steamer American Eagle and Kroh home

 

It was almost five when the signal was given for "all ashore," and in an hour we were steaming along the coast and out of sight of Panama. The sea was calm and the steamer was steady and I supposed I would fare better than I had during the first part of the trip. But as soon as I smelled the smoke from the stacks and the odor of the cooking food, I was as miserable as before. The rest of the family fared better and were able to go to the table when the sea was calm. There were about fifty cabin passengers, and during this voyage we made several lifelong friends of some of the most prominent men who came here to make their fortunes. We received the most courteous treatment from every one. It was like one large family. Captain Totten and First Officer A.J. Clifton were like fathers to us. Mr. Clifton claimed me, as I was the age of his daughter left at home, and I used to sing for him and then I was his "Nightingale." We had learned a song to sing for our father when we expected him home, and as he did not come we related the incident to the captain and Mr. Clifton and our friends on board, and nothing must do until we sang it for all on board. It was on a moonlight night and we were going smoothly, consequently I was not ill, and Captain Totten proposed that we should sing the song. Everybody was on deck enjoying the delightful evening. Everything was still; only the puffing of the smokestack and the plash of the wheel were heard. We all clustered around mother and began our song.

"Home again, home again from a foreign shore,
And O! it fills my soul with joy to meet my friends once more.
Here we dropped the parting tear to cross the ocean's foam,
But now we're once again with those who kindly greet me home.
Home again, home again," etc.

[Pg 22]

Mother, Emma and Sarah sang the soprano; Mary, Margaret and Lauretta sang the alto. Mary's voice being a deep contralto, she improvised the third part. The plaintive song, with the sentiment of home surroundings, touched the hearts of all the passengers and turned their thoughts homewards, and many an eye glistened with tears.

After the first night of song there never was an evening that there was not singing of some kind. Sister found some good voices among the men and we formed a chorus. In a short time we were without an audience, for everybody gradually found he had a note or two to use, and whenever it was good sailing we sang. We had two severe storms when I, for one, was not visible on any occasion. I must confess the sea and I are not at all friends. We had one storm passing the bay of Tehuantepec. The steamer rolled and the sea dashed high for two days, but the boat was faithful to her trust and we safely steamed into the beautiful bay at Acapulco the last of the week. I had been ill all the way, going without food, and when we arrived Captain Totten said I should have one fine dinner. After the passengers had gone ashore we were taken off in the captain's boat and had our dinner at the hotel where the captain had ordered it in advance. We remained on shore all day visiting this Spanish town while the steamer was loading food and coal. We visited some Spanish homes where the captain had friends, and we were entertained by these Castilian ladies, who sang their songs to us. In return we sang for them and they appreciated our music. About three o'clock we said good-bye and they gave us beautiful mementos of shell flowers, nuts and fruits and accompanied us to the boat with their servants to carry our gifts for us. Such a beautiful day of happenings and surprises for us who had never seen people of this kind before left lasting impressions in my heart of courtesy and kindness.

By nine in the evening we had left the bay and our newly made friends far behind and we were steaming toward California as fast as the steamer could carry us. We had come nearly half the way and were nearing Lower California when we encountered rough weather off Cape Lucas. Oh, how the ship tossed and rolled. I thought morning never would dawn. The wind was against us. The masts strained and creaked. I really feared we would not reach California. The sea was rough nearly all the time until we passed Santa Barbara, when it became calm and we could once more feel that we might reach our[Pg 23] destination. We had been now three weeks on the way and we were longing for sight of land. We strained our eyes daily, hoping to see the hills, but not until we had come within two days of the Golden Gate did we see any sign of land. Fog and distance prevented our distinguishing anything but an outline of the shore, but as the fog lifted we saw more distinctly the hills, and each hour brought us nearer to the long-looked-for harbor within the Golden Gate. And yet we saw no city, only sand hills. We steamed past Telegraph Hill, then we began to see here and there low wooden buildings and tents and shacks. Was this then San Francisco? Oh, how disappointed we were; there was no place to go. We remained on board until the Stockton steamer arrived. There was no accommodation for women anywhere. The steamer, American Eagle, came in about 1 o'clock, and our things were transferred on board, and Captain Totten cared for us as though we were his family and had everything arranged as far as possible for our comfort. He explained to the river captain that we were to be met in Stockton by father. But the captain also had instructions from Rev. J.H. Woods not to expect father, who had been ill in the mines, but we were to go to his home until father could arrive from Scorpion Gulch, where he and brother had a store, and it was slow travel with the six-mule "schooner," over hills and dusty roads to Stockton.

It was quite a change from the great steamer Tennessee to the little stern-wheel boat as it slowly puffed across the bay through Carquinez straits and up the slough, turning and winding along, sometimes being caught by a sharp turn in the stream and one or two stops on the sand bars if the water was too low. We did not sleep much because everything was so strange and small. We were always in fear of some accident. The hours dragged slowly until morning, when the boat came to a stop about seven o'clock. At eight o'clock the small cannon was fired, informing the people that the steamer had arrived. The captain came about nine o'clock for us and we breakfasted with him and the officers. We were the only female passengers, as we had parted with the other friends at San Francisco, they having gone to Sacramento and Marysville, with their husbands, to the mines. It was like the parting of a large family. We had been together two long months, sharing the changes and rough traveling and the happy evenings on board where the genial officers did all they could to make the voyage comfortable with the means they possessed. Before we came only men traveled[Pg 24] and they put up with any inconvenience to get to the gold fields. About ten o'clock our friend, Rev. Mr. Woods, met us and gave us the message sent by father, so it was arranged we should go to the reverend gentleman's home and await his and brother George's coming. Mrs. Woods was a Southern lady, from Alabama, and met us with warm hospitality. She was glad to see us, being the only white woman in Stockton at the time. And we were glad to meet another woman. These good people had several boys but no girls. We were seven girls and one boy. As ministers' families, we had much in common. The Woods' cottage was pretty well crowded, but we managed well, as every one was able to be a help instead of a burden. A tent was put up in the lot and bunks were soon made, and we put the men in the tents and the women and children indoors. We were not yet acclimated and suffered with colds for several weeks.

We patiently awaited father's return, but three whole weeks passed before the meeting was granted us. We were sitting in front of the cottage, chatting and sewing, when about four o'clock in the afternoon we saw several men approaching and, as we observed them, my quick eye recognized father. With one spring from the porch I cried, "Father," and as fleet as a rabbit I was off before any one realized what was the cause of my sudden exit. They watched my flying feet and by the time they realized what I was doing I was in the arms of the dear old daddy, coming slowly with Mr. Woods, brother George and two friends. It was our habit, as children, to always meet father when he came home at night, and when we all ran to meet him the youngest always received the first attention, being taken in his arms, and the others clung to his coat and skipped alongside, chatting as fast as we could until we entered the house. Words cannot express the joy of the meeting after more than two years' separation. When mother realized that father had come at last she was like one dazed and could not move. The children in their happiness were surrounding the long lost wanderers. At last father spoke, with tears of gladness in his eyes, "Where is Mary, your mother, my children?" We had monopolized his attention and poor mother was neglected for the moment. As soon as we had realized the oversight sister Mary beckoned us all away and we gradually disappeared and left the two to enjoy their happy reunion. After a half hour had passed, and while[Pg 25] they were softly conversing, we gathered in the main room and, clustering around sister Mary, we began the song—

"Home again, home again from a foreign shore,
And oh it fills my soul with joy to meet my friends once more."

Rev. Mr. Woods and family were more than surprised to find such voices among us, and their appreciation was so genuine we gave them one of our dear old German hymns, a favorite of father's also.

 

First Presbyterian Church

 

The singing seemed to give new life to his long struggle in the ministry. His was the only church in Stockton at that time, besides a Catholic church, and it was uphill work to get the men to come to service. A new thought came to him that perhaps music in the church might be an incentive for men to forsake one day thinking of gold. So the choir was established and a large melodeon was secured from San Francisco from one of the music stores which had been established. Joseph Atwill began the music business on Washington street in 1850, just one year before we arrived in November, 1851. It was soon noised about that the family of Rev. H. Kroh were singers and that by the first of the month there would be a choir[Pg 26] in the Presbyterian church. A melodeon was to be purchased. Miss M. Kroh was to play the organ and direct the music and the sisters were to sing. During the time the melodeon was on the way we had become acquainted with William Trembly, a fine tenor; James Holmes, bass; William Cobb, tenor; Will Belding, bass; Samuel Grove, tenor; and William H. Knight, bass.

 

Pioneer home of Dr. Kroh

 

Father had returned to take charge of his store and we had moved into the only house to be found, a story and a half high with eight rooms and a canvas kitchen. We would call it a barn today, but we thought it a palace. It was originally built for a small hotel, cloth and paper on the walls and ceiling, roughened wood floors, everything of the most primitive make. The rent of it was $80 a month and it cost $1,100 to furnish it. We had matting for carpets, the most common kitchen chairs in the best room, kitchen table for a center table, and our dining table was made of two long redwood boards joined together and placed on four saw horses. Having had so much to do in making the best out of nothing in the many places before, we had not lost the art of arranging the furnishings of this house. Fortunately we did not sacrifice all of our bedding, linens and quilts. We were allowed them in the freight. The stores kept nothing but the brightest colored prints and some bright damasks for the use of the Indians who came down from the mountains and traded for such things. We could get white cotton cloth, so we were able to have curtains at the windows combined with[Pg 27] red damask. We covered boxes with the same damask, and with castors screwed on the corners we had some very comfortable stools. Then a square of damask was properly finished off and made a table cover for the center table. When all was done we began to feel we were once more at home. There was yet something lacking. We had no piano and we were lost without the usual music that made our home so happy. Dear sister Mary, how we all pitied her. We knew she was suffering daily from homesickness, the separation from her sweetheart, the loss of her organ and piano and no companionship with musical people. Although she never murmured, we could see that her mind was where her heart was. But her duty was here. She was bravely battling day by day. We all saw it and hoped against hope to change the condition.

Finally the choir had been formed and the melodeon came. That was soon compensation for her loss. So the rehearsals began, and on the first Sunday of the month we gave the first service. We had anthems from the old Carmina Sacra and familiar hymns and our new found friends all joined the choir. It was a great service. It seemed that everybody from the pastor to the choir was inspired. Such an outpouring of men! Mother and Mrs. Woods in the congregation and five of us in the choir composed all the female portion of the congregation. The rest consisted of men of mature years and young men away from home and entering a church for the first time perhaps in this new country. When the hour arrived for service the church could hold no more. Those who could not enter stood outside the door during the whole service. The evening service was a repetition, and those who could not get into the church obtained boxes and laid boards upon them and kneeled before the windows which were opened so they could hear the sermon and the singing. It was a strange sight for the men to see women and especially young girls. The miners would come to Stockton on Saturday to frequent the resorts. Drinking and card playing formed their diversions. Many a young man turned away from the gaming table to listen to the music and hear the sermon.

We arrived in Stockton the latter part of November. 1851, and remained with Rev. James Woods until we obtained this house, where we remained two years. During that time we had formed the acquaintance of the foremost merchants, bankers and professional men. The first Thanksgiving we invited the following gentlemen to dinner: William H. Knight, Samuel Grove, William Belding,[Pg 28] William Gray, Austin Sperry, Frederick Lux, C.V. Payton, James Harrold, William Trembly, David Trembly, James Holmes, Thomas Mosely, Charles Deering, Gilbert Claiborne, Mr. Shoenewasser, Mr. Thompson, B.W. Bours, Charles Woodman, William Cobb and Charles Greenly. Brother George still had his team of mules and the large schooner and made his regular trips from Scorpion Gulch with his friend, Fred Lux, who also was engaged in the same business. On their way down for this occasion they killed enough wild game to serve bountifully the needs for this first Thanksgiving dinner, as the usual turkey was not to be obtained. Wild geese, rabbits and squirrels were plentiful and our hearts were gladdened to see such a display. How we worked and baked and planned! By many willing hands the dinner was prepared and the guests began to arrive. Including our family, there were thirty in all. Our home had but two rooms on the first floor. A large parlor, hall and stairway faced upon the main street, and the dining room led out from the hall and was large enough to seat many guests. The kitchen was made of canvas and led into the dining room. There were three fine windows in the dining room, so it made a pleasant and cheerful place. Although everything was of the plainest sort, the long table with the white cloth and greens from the pine trees the boys had cut as they came along, and the wild flowers we had gathered and placed in bowls to grace the tables with the greens which were arranged tastefully in wreaths and festoons, gave a homelike welcome to these men who for months had not eaten a home dinner or enjoyed the society of women. As the darkness came on, we lit up the room with candles, having no other lights. We had not forgotten to bring our brass candlesticks among our household effects. Mother could not part with them, so they were carefully packed among our clothing in the trunks and served us beautifully on this occasion. They got an extra polish of whiting from sister and me, who were the decorators on this occasion, and we had to attend to the tables while mother and the older sisters made the cakes, pies and prepared the roasts and meat pies and other necessary additions for a dinner of this kind. Father, mother and the older sisters sat with the guests, and sister Sarah and I waited upon the table. As young as I was, the impression was a lasting one. Some of the gentlemen looked sad, some dignified, others joked and others related stories of home and their experiences in different places in[Pg 29] California until the dinner was over and we adjourned to the parlor.

 

Associated musicians and singers, 1853-1879

 

The dinner made such an impression that before the guests departed they had it all arranged that we were to take them all as boarders. After such a feast of things they had longed for so many months, they were not willing to go back to the old way of batching it, as they termed it. We were young and used to housework and we wanted a home of our own some day. Father consulted us and we agreed that on the following Monday they might begin to come. We were assigned our parts, and for two years we worked until we were able to secure our own house, which stands today in Stockton as one of the earlier homes and our homestead. While in this house there were times when we still longed for home and the old surroundings. Sister Mary wanted her instrument which she supposed she would never have again. Our friends, knowing this, quietly consulted father in regard to securing a piano as a birthday offering. But as Christmas Day was the date of her birth, it was too late for the year 1851. We had already entered upon the year 1852, and it would take almost a year to get a piano here, as Mr. Atwill had not imported any instruments as yet. Our friends were good business men and they immediately set about to learn if a piano could not be obtained. All this was unknown to any of us but father. William Trembly and James Harrold, while in San Francisco, inquired at the different musical stores as to arrangements to obtain a piano. Kohler & Chase did not import at that time. They dealt in notions, fancy goods and toys. They were not wholly in the music business until later in the sixties. Mr. Atwill was at the time on Washington street. He did not import largely, and when Messrs. Trembly and Harrold came to him he gladly entered into the plan to get a fine Chickering here by December 25th of 1852. The cost was to be $1,200, delivered in good order. The piano order was given, and how it came to California, whether by steamer or around the Horn, I am not able to say.

All through the year we worked early and late, and our boarders had increased until they numbered thirty-five. We could not accommodate any more. There were no amusements of any kind. We occasionally had a moonlight ride as far as I.D. Staple's ranch, where we were entertained for an hour or so, then we returned. Our rehearsals went on each week. New people were coming all the time. Mr. Grove's sisters arrived, which was another addition to our society. Mrs. George Sanderson and Mrs. John Millar[Pg 30] came to join their husbands, who were the prominent men in business. Father had secured a lot and our home was being built, at which we rejoiced greatly, for it was difficult to work for so many people, and the lack of necessary household conveniences and of proper kitchen utensils were a great detriment. Nothing especially transpired during these months. We kept busily at our work until the season for rain was approaching. Several rough houses were built opposite, on the corner a saloon, which was an eyesore to us for it was a busy place where men drank and sometimes fought with knives. Next to our house was a one-story cottage where the family of Louis Millar lived, and a fandango house next door where they danced and played their guitars. We lived on the corner and fortunately had a sidewalk on two sides of the house, but the streets were not made and the mud and slush was dreadful. Men crossed the streets in high rubber leggings. We never pretended to go in the street at this time, everything being brought to us. We were almost as closely confined as prisoners. There was no drainage, consequently the mud remained in the streets for weeks while the rains lasted.

December was approaching and of course our thoughts turned towards Christmas and preparations for its festivities. Everybody was busy. We had much to do, for all these men were still with us. There was mince meat to make, raisins to seed, cakes and pies to bake. Everything we used came in bottles and cans. There were no fresh vegetables of any kind, excepting onions and potatoes. It was wonderful how we managed during all this time under the most trying difficulties, and yet prepared meals in such a way that our large family was always thoroughly satisfied. Sometimes we could get bananas from Mexico, cocoanuts and oranges, but not very often. Christmas eve came at last and such a busy place, no idle hands these days. Brother George and Mr. Lux brought with them two large sacks of the finest English walnuts. They were a windfall to us. We never had seen so many before. We were used to black walnuts, filberts and other nuts at home. This was the beginning of all that came to us this Christmas. It seemed that each one tried to get something we had not had before. Christmas came clear and bright, but mud was everywhere. Rubber boots were indispensable this Christmas. Dinner was served about 1:30 o'clock and everybody seemed to be in the happiest mood. It was sister Mary's birthday and we were especially attentive to her.[Pg 31]

The dinner was over and the dessert was almost finished when a rap on the front door sounded loud and rough. Father asked Mary to go to the door as she was nearest. She obeyed and, when she had answered the knock, a teamster handed her a letter and asked if Miss Mary Kroh lived here. She replied in the affirmative, and taking the letter she glanced out of the door and saw a heavy truck with an immense box or case on it. She said, "You must be mistaken." He said, "Are you not Miss Kroh? This is for her." By this time we were getting excited and with one accord the guests arose to see the result. Father became uneasy at her long silence and came out in time to see her reel against the railing of the stairs. She had read the note and realized that her great desire had at last become a reality and her birthday had brought her the long-wished-for piano. This is what she read in the note:

"A merry Christmas and a happy birthday for Miss Mary Matilda Kroh, from her father and many friends who have appreciated her noble sacrifice of the musical environment of her Eastern home. This instrument is given as a partial compensation for her cheerful and noble performance of her duty to her parents and as full appreciation. James Harrold, C.V. Payton, Charles Greenly, David Trembly, William Cobb, Charles Deering, Gilbert Claiborne, William H. Knight, Samuel Grove, A.M. Thompson, William Gray, Thomas Mosely, William A. Trembly, Henry Kroh, James Holmes, Henry Noel, Austin Sperry, George H. Blake."

When the secret was out, all was excitement. Sister made her exit upstairs and the men took off their coats and helped with a will. Soon the beautiful instrument was out of the box and placed in the parlor. What a rejoicing there was! Father gave orders that Mary must play the first air, and we awaited her coming, but she had not been able to control herself to meet the friends and see the most magnificent gift she ever received. Sister Sarah was dispatched to bring her down stairs. She found her in the attitude of prayer. After much persuasion she came down and father met her and led her to the instrument. She stood for a moment unable to proceed. Seating herself upon the stool, she began to play the Doxology, but her head sank upon the piano. Then the tears gushed forth, the spell was broken and after a short time she was able to proceed. It was now about the hour of seven, darkness had crept on and the curtains were closed and the lights lit. We all became more composed, music[Pg 32] was brought out, songs were sung and it was like a new world to us, such unexpected happiness in a far-off city of the Golden West. Father had occasion to answer a call at the front door and before closing he accidentally looked out, and to his surprise the sidewalks and porch were filled with old and young men. Along the side of the house stood scores of men in the street as far as the eye could see and some were sobbing. On entering the room he said, "We have an immense congregation outside. Get out your familiar tunes—'Home, sweet home,' etc." He then drew aside the curtains and raised the windows, "Now, my children and friends, give these homesick sons and fathers a few songs more before we assemble for the evening worship." We sang until the hour of nine and closed with the Doxology. Once more father went on the porch and thanked the people for their appreciation of the music and dismissed them with the benediction. We closed the windows and curtains and remained with our friends a short time, when they departed fully assured that they had brought happiness to many souls by their magnificent gift to one who was worthy to receive it, my sainted sister, Mary Matilda Kroh.

This is the story of the first piano in Stockton, given to sister, December 25, 1852. This night was not the only night when men assembled on our porch to hear the music. Later on a number of men accosted father and told him that the music on the first night we received the piano had so vividly brought back home surroundings and memories of father and mother, that it was the turning point in the path from which they had strayed and caused them to see the error of their ways and to come back. Such is the influence of song upon the young and the old. Anyone who has no appreciation of music in his soul is an unhappy man or woman indeed. Music is one of the most refining factors among young men and women. They are always the happiest where there is music, no matter what other entertainment has been enjoyed.

 

Business men of Stockton, 1852


[Pg 33]

CHAPTER THREE

STOCKTON IN THE FIFTIES. BENICIA SEMINARY. GENESIS OF MILLS COLLEGE. DISTINGUISHED PIONEERS. MARRIAGE

AFTER this memorable Christmas our home was the center of musical gatherings and the new arrivals to Stockton came into our large family of young ladies. We were universally sought, and our musical entertainments charmed young and old. Into our neighborhood there came a Castilian family from Mexico, the Ainsa family, four or five young ladies and a son. These young ladies had a musical education of the highest order. Opera music was their chief delight. Mass music and all classics were also included in their repertoire. A mutual friendship was formed. They could not speak English and we could not speak Spanish. Their voices had been thoroughly trained and we spent many hours in their society. Very soon we learned to speak Spanish and their visits were still more pleasant. They were devout Catholics and in the mother's room was a sanctuary. She was helpless and unable to walk. She sat in her bed and ordered everything pertaining to the household. An altar was arranged in the room and they had worship every morning and evening. Sometimes we would join them and sing the songs of their church. It was beautiful to see the devotion of these girls to their parents. We soon learned the vespers and masses and often sang together for the mother when it was devotion hour and the priest would say mass. After we moved from the neighborhood we did not meet as often. After several years they married wealthy white men. Senator Crabb married one. Afterwards he was killed in Mexico. Mr. Bevan married one. Mr. Eisen, the flour man of San Francisco, another. Anita died and Leonora married a wealthy Frenchman; later the family moved to San Francisco. Miss Lola and Miss Belana sang in the Catholic churches there. Another addition to the musical family was Miss Louisa Falkenberg, a most excellent pianist. She afterwards became Mrs. B. Walker Bours. Her son is also a fine pianist. He is director of the choir of the Church of the Advent, East Oakland, at the present time.[Pg 34]

In the month of March, 1853, we moved into our own home on San Joaquin street, and most of our large family went with us. Cupid had been playing pranks in the meantime and, June 18th, my sister Jane became Mrs. Wm. H. Knight and the first break came in our family circle. During the year of 1853 it was decided that I should have an opportunity to finish my education, having left school at fifteen. The Young Ladies' Seminary at Benicia was chosen, it being the only school in California where I could complete my studies. I was one of thirty-five pupils of the second term of the school's existence. Mary Atkins was the principal, one of the best educators in California. There was also a Catholic school in Benicia at the time, St. Catherine's Convent for Young Ladies, and an Episcopal school for boys. The public school of Stockton was for the lower grades, and I had had these grades in the Cincinnati schools and had had one term with my sister, Sarah, at Walnut Hill Seminary. Henry Ward Beecher's father, Rev. Lyman Beecher, was at the head of the seminary and Harriet Beecher was one of the teachers. My father and Lyman Beecher and the members of the Longworth family, who lived opposite the seminary and were members of the same church and congregation, were old friends. When father started for California we were obliged to leave school, consequently my education was not completed.

During my vacation in the year 1854, October 5th, sister Sarah became the wife of James Harrold, one of the firm of Harrold, Randall & Co., of Stockton, and moved to San Francisco. The first class at Benicia, of which I was a member, graduated. Near the close of the term, November 7, 1855, my sister Mary married David W. Trembly in San Francisco. They had been married but a few months when sister became afflicted with bronchitis, the climate being too severe in San Francisco for her. They came home, and on November 8th she passed away. I was sent for, but was too late to see her in life. She died while I was on the steamer, American Eagle, hastening to her. This was my first great sorrow. I loved her to adoration and I could not realize she had passed out of life. To her I owe my proper placement of voice and art in singing. She was ever watchful of my progress from the earliest years of my life until the end came. While I have had several other teachers in voice, no one ever changed my method of placement.

My first Italian teacher was Prof. Paul Pioda at Benicia Seminary. He always predicted my success as a singer and told Mrs. Atkins that out of all the sixty pupils[Pg 35] there was but one singer, which was proven to her in after years when I had attained my reputation. She was glad to engage my services each yearly reunion until the end of her life. While I was not her favorite pupil, strange to relate, I officiated as a singer on four special occasions of great importance in her life and death. The Sabbath she was baptized into the faith of the Episcopal Church, Rev. Ingraham Kip, D.D., officiating, I sang for her a special song in the church at Benicia. When she was married to Judge Lynch I sang for her reception. The song was Call Me Thine Own. When she passed out of life I was called to sing in the same church where she had become a member, and one year after, when we had her monument placed over her grave, I stood on the platform in the Octagon schoolroom, where I could look out of the window and see the monument, and sang the memorial song by G.A. Scott, There is a pale bright star in the heavens tonight. After this memorial I never went back to the old seminary but once and that was to visit the old spot where so many memories clustered. To illustrate this visit I will here insert a paper that I read before the commencement exercises at Mills College in the year May 4, 1901.

Mills Seminary is the daughter of the Alma Mater at Benicia. At the invitation of Mrs. Susan B. Mills the alumnæ of Mrs. Atkins-Lynch Seminary attended the commencement exercises of Mills College of May 4, 1901.

The paper was as follows:

"My Dear Schoolmates: We who are still left of the pupils and graduates of the old Benicia Female Seminary are assembled here today at the request of our gracious hostess, Mrs. Susan B. Mills, to join with her in the celebration of Founder's Day. As the children of the pioneer of schools of California, it is a befitting testimonial for us to meet in this magnificent institution which is the honored offspring of the Alma Mater established in the year 1852. We are grateful for the privilege she has extended us to meet again as school girls and exchange greetings and talk over past reunions held yearly at the old school in Benicia. I have been requested to say a few words in regard to the school in my time. As I have only my memory to aid me, my remarks will consist of a short historical sketch of the early years of the seminary which I entered the second term of its existence, early in the year 1853. Miss Mary Atkins was the principal and teacher of all the classes of the school. The number of boarders were 35 or 40, the attendance being[Pg 36] increased to 60 by the day pupils of Benicia. The four years I spent at the seminary were years of struggle for Miss Atkins, but her labors brought her the reward of seeing the institution raised to the highest standard of excellence. The unequaled reputation was firmly established for thorough training and solid education. Before I left there were 75 boarders and a total of 150 pupils. More room was needed to meet the demand for admission, and during the vacation the old buildings were enlarged and new ones built.

"It was a special day of rejoicing, January 1, 1855, when Miss Atkins assumed the sole management of the school. As I was the oldest pupil, she often asked me to come to her room to discuss private matters with her. Although I was only seventeen years old, I fully understood the great task of establishing an institution of learning in those rough days. The needs of all kinds were so great and the only way of getting ahead was to work and wait. Later she had her reward in sending out into California some of the best educated women to be found in any land. It is with sincere pride I look back and see those splendid girls who were, with but a very few exceptions, an honor and credit to the school, to society and their homes, as wives of some of our most distinguished statesmen, lawyers and merchants. In my graduating year I was called home by the death of my oldest sister and was requested to take up her labors in a private school of sixty pupils, consequently my diploma was never received. However, at the last reunion of the graduates, held in the year 1883, I, being the first of her early pupils to gain a public reputation as a teacher and vocalist, was unanimously voted honorary member of the Alumnæ, having attended all of the meetings except those that took place during my residence in Boston, Mass., from 1857 until the spring of 1862, during which time I perfected my musical education. On my return I attended each reunion until the end. I think we all felt at the time that it was the last. Consequently it cast a gloom over the pleasures of our last meeting, May 30, 1883. On the 14th of September, 1882, Mary Atkins-Lynch passed away. I received a letter from Judge Lynch, requesting my presence at the funeral to sing the last song for her.

 

Reminiscent of Benicia in the early Fifties

 

"I returned once more to Benicia to sing at a concert given by the Methodist Church. I sang in the same old Courthouse Hall where so often we had our closing exercises. It was in this hall, June 12, 1856, that I sang Schubert's Serenade for the first time with Johanna[Pg 37] Lapfgeer, soprano, afterwards Mrs. Dr. Bryant of San Francisco. I still have the programme which today is fifty-five years old. My return was in 1898. After the concert I hoped to see many of my old friends of Benicia, but there were but six present of all I knew long years ago. I marveled at the small number left. The next day I visited the old school. As I stood at the door I slowly surveyed the scene and my thoughts went down the vista of time and filled my heart with sadness at the dreadful dilapidation of the school where so many bright minds had been educated and gone forth to make names and reputations among the most honorable women in the state. After I was admitted and allowed to survey the place I stood in the entrance of the old schoolroom. In my mind I could recall the faces of the girls as they sat at their desks long ago. The decay of the school was all so dreadful to me I could not hold back the tears. I turned quickly away and sought the old well where we had so often quenched our thirst as girls, when life was young and hopes high. I found the friend of long ago, but, like all the rest of the place, it was also in the last stages of decay. I had become so sad at all this passing away I did not feel the pleasure I had anticipated in visiting the school again. The teachers that were employed during my time at school were: Prof. P. Pioda, music and language; Mary Atkins, principal; Miss Cynthia Vaughn, assistant; Mrs. Reynolds, teacher of the younger day pupils; Miss Pettibeaux, painting and drawing; Miss Johanna Lapfgeer, piano and German; Samuel Gray, bookkeeping; Margaret Kroh, writing and drawing. The directors were: Dr. S. Woodbridge, B.W. Mudge, Samuel Gray, Dr. Peabody, Captain Walsh and J.W. Jones.

"As far as I can recall them, the names of the former pupils were: Emily Walsh, Benicia; May Emma Woodbridge, Benicia; May Hook, Benicia; Mary Riddell, Benicia; Josie Latimer, Stockton; Minnie Latimer, Stockton; Elizabeth Manning, Stockton; Frances Livingston, San Francisco; May Livingston, San Francisco; Kate Grimm, Sacramento; Mary Bidwell, Chico; Mary Church, Chico; Rose Reynolds, San Jose; Sallie Tennant, Marysville; Mollie Tennant, Marysville; Althea Parker, Stockton; Miss Rollins, Martinez; May O'Neil, Sacramento; Aggie Bell, Sacramento; Maggie Kroh, Stockton; Sophia Dallas, Stockton; Mary Dallas, Stockton; Nellie Meader, Stockton; Mary Vincent, Sacramento; Ella Hunt, San Francisco; May Warren, San Francisco; Georgia Warren, San Fran[Pg 38]cisco; Grace Woodbridge, Benicia; Ruth Vaughn, Sacramento.

"The day pupils were: Mary Hastings, Benicia; Virginia Hubbs, Benicia; Lou Boggs, Napa; Percy Garritson, Benicia; Maria Barber, Martinez; Amanda Hook, Martinez; May Hook, Martinez; Mattie Carpenter, San Francisco; Rebecca Woodbridge, Benicia."

The Benicia girls were seated at a table especially decorated for the occasion. Through the thoughtfulness of Mrs. Mills, eighteen of the old class were present at this time. This was the last meeting that I ever attended of the members of the Alma Mater, for on September 1, 1901, I was thrown from a street car and made a cripple for the rest of my days and my usefulness was cut short for filling engagements of any sort. Since my recovery I have confined myself to voice teaching. Only on a few occasions have I appeared in public. This was either on Decoration Day or the Fourth of July, when my patriotism was aroused. I was always ready to sing for Old Glory or help our boys who fought in 1861.

 

Capt. Charles Blake; Masonic sheepskin

 

In 1855 when I left the seminary I returned to my home in Stockton. My parents were getting along in years and I felt it my duty to aid them if possible. There were many families in Stockton at this time and young children were everywhere. I conceived the idea of an infant school composed of little boys and girls too small to go to the public schools. My suggestion met with approval wherever I applied, and I soon had thirty pupils promised. I rented a cottage of one room across the slough from my home. On July 1, 1856, I began and soon had a school full of little folks, numbering thirty-five. I continued teaching until September 17, 1857, when I also followed my older sisters' example and was married to George H. Blake, the eldest son of Sir Edwin Blake, who was Minister Plenipotentiary to England from America at one time. My husband was also the grandson of Major-General Benjamin Lincoln, a heroic officer of the Revolution and a skillful diplomat in the councils of his country. Lincoln was born in Hingham, near Boston, May 23d, 1733. In 1775 he was elected a member of the Provincial Congress and was appointed on the committee of correspondence. In 1776 he received the appointment of brigadier and soon after that of major-general. He rendered valuable services in the trying campaign and signalized himself in the battles on the plains of Saratoga which proved so disastrous to Burgoyne. He was severely wounded during these battles. In the battle that took[Pg 39] place on October 7, 1776, he was obliged to leave the army. He did not return until the following August, when he was immediately sent south to assume command of the army in that quarter, which on his arrival at Charleston in December, 1778, he found in the most miserably destitute and disorderly condition. But his indefatigable industry and diplomatic energy enabled him in the following June to take the field. Such was his popularity with the army and the whole country that when he rejoined the army in 1781 to co-operate with the southern army, he had the high satisfaction of taking part in the reduction of Yorktown and of conducting the defeated army to the field, where they were to lay down their arms at[Pg 40] the feet of the illustrious Washington. General Lincoln took the sword from Lord Cornwallis and delivered it to his Commander-in-Chief, Washington.

 

Major-General Benjamin Lincoln

 

I feel justly proud with my sons, George Lincoln Blake and William Ellery Blake, to claim such illustrious descendants of our great republic, especially Lincoln, who gained such high recognition from our government for his patriotism and diplomatic energy in the beginning of our republic. He quelled the famous Shay's insurrection in 1786-87. He held the post of Lieutenant-Governor, was member of the convention called to ratify the new Constitution, and for years was collector of port in Boston and besides filled many minor offices. He received from Harvard University the degree of Master of Arts, was a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and was president of the Society of Cincinnati from its organization to the day of his death. He closed his honorable and useful life in the seventy-eighth year of his life at Hingham, Mass., May 9, 1810.

This bit of history I have selected from the papers of Capt. Charles Blake, who was the grand uncle of my sons, who died in 1859 during the time I visited Boston with my husband to pursue my studies in music. Capt. Charles Blake was the seventh captain of the Blake family, was a man celebrated for his bravery and as a sailor was unexcelled in his time. I also found among his papers a Masonic sheepskin (which perhaps will be an interesting bit of information for the Masons of California), the first one that was ever gotten for an American. It could not be obtained in America, consequently it was secured in England. It bears the faded marks of "Grand Lodge of Master Masons, London No. 25, Registered on the books of the Grand Lodge in London, the 11th day of September in the year of Masonry, 5011." The grand seal is attached and signed by Robert Leslie, Grand Secretary: Edward Harper, D. Gr. Sec. This is the oldest Masonic sheepskin of the grand lodge in America. It was received by my uncle when he was twenty-five years old and has been in my possession since 1869, forty-two years ago, when we received his trunks after his death. I alone am able to give these facts of our family history, which should be known to all the members of our family. This is a family book as well as an intimate history of my life. I have been received during my life in California with so much affection and appreciation by the public I have[Pg 41] served, that when I write I consider those who read are my friends, that we are of one common family, and I cannot look upon the people of California in any other way, for the very fact that everybody I meet or have any dealings with greet me with such courtesy and warmth.

The death of sister Mary Matilda Kroh-Trembly occurred November 8, 1856, in the thirty-first year of her life at the old home on San Joaquin street, Stockton. In 1855 she was married to Mr. David W. Trembly of New York. They settled in San Francisco, but after living there for several months the climate was found to be too severe and she contracted bronchitis, for weeks being unable to leave her room. At last she became so feeble that she was brought home to Stockton and lingered for weeks. I was at Benicia Seminary still and in my last half year when I received a letter to hurry home. Uncle William Trembly came from San Francisco to Benicia to meet me, and together we came up the San Joaquin slough, but unfortunately for us we had many things to keep us from arriving in time to see her alive. At last the steamer was fast on the hog's back, the tide was out and we could not proceed. The sailors worked with a will, but it was not until three o'clock in the morning that we were on our way once more. What a night of suspense! I loved my sister to devotion, and not to see her alive was more than I dared to contemplate, but so it was to be. She passed into eternity at the time we were trying to get off the sand bar and when uncle and I arrived in the morning, she was dead.

This was the first death that had taken place in our family. All of us had grown to manhood and womanhood and had been mercifully spared all these years until now the dearest one of all had to pass away and leave us to mourn her loss. She was the embodiment of all that was good in life, a pattern for all to follow. She was our second mother. When mother was attending to the church work or visiting the sick, accompanying father at baptisms, weddings, funerals or other offices that fall to the minister's wife, sister was always ready to take her place and see that all was well at home. She taught in the public schools, gave music lessons, was German teacher, organist on Sunday and teacher in the Sabbath school. Her life was always full of duties. She had also been father's secretary and attended to all of his correspondence in his absence. Never complaining, always there to attend to all the duties devolving upon her, she was a happy spirit of[Pg 42] the home, as much missed as mother or father. She was my pattern and guide and if I have ever achieved anything to merit commendation during my life I owe all my best to her. She was my first music teacher and I have never deviated from her principles of voice placement. By so doing I am able to sing today with a correct knowledge of perfect tone production and able to impart to others the same tonal art that I have given to hundreds of pupils that have come under my supervision during my many years of successful teaching in California. Being so widely known and loved by all who knew her, when she was buried the schools were closed and the children, two by two, marched in procession and every conveyance that could be procured at that time was used so that all who wished to honor the beloved could do so. All the dear friends who were the instigators in procuring the first piano for her were in the procession and were most sincere mourners for the loved musician who always gave them so many hours of real happiness.

She was the leading spirit of the pleasures which they had so many times enjoyed in their loneliness away from their homes in the East. The music that was rendered by our family was the only diversion and happiness that came into their lives in the early fifties when the world seemed to be populated by men alone, all seeking the one aim—to get gold and go back rich men and then enjoy wealth and ease and comfort and make amends for the struggles and deprivations they had suffered. Now the spirit of this cherished friend had passed out to join the Choir Invisible, and a befitting burial was given her as a memorial of the affection in which she was held by those who owed her so much of real happiness in the severe struggles of the pioneer life when we were but a small colony of the first white women and men in the City of Stockton.

 

Sacred to the memory of Mary Kroh-Trembly


[Pg 43]

CHAPTER FOUR

HOW I MADE THE FIRST BEAR FLAG IN CALIFORNIA

WHEN I was fifteen years old the San Joaquin slough was wide enough for river steamers, schooners and sloops to make safe landings in the heart of Stockton. This was in 1854. Schooners brought lumber, potatoes and hay to Stockton from San Francisco. One of the boats making a monthly trip to Stockton was captained by a popular young man familiarly called "Captain Charley." That is my reason for not calling him by his name. I never saw him, but my brother, George Kroh, would often stand on the wharf and watch his men unload the steamer. It was on one of these occasions that Captain Charley in conversation with one of his friends said, "I tell you, John, I'd give a fifty-dollar slug if I could get a Bear flag to fly from the topmast of my natty schooner. Nothing would please me more than to come up this slough with just such a flag. I won't rest, either, until I have Old Glory and the Bear Flag flying on my craft." When the captain's friend left him, my brother stepped up to him and said, "Were you in earnest, captain, when you said you would give a fifty-dollar slug for a Bear flag?" The captain laughed and said, "I certainly was in earnest, and I'll say it again to you."

My brother said, "Captain, I have a sister who can make you that flag." "All right," said Captain Charley, "You have a fine flag ready when I get back and the slug will be yours." It was a bargain and they shook hands on the deal. When George came home he said to mother, "Where's Maggie?" "Up stairs," was the reply. He came up and said in an off-hand way, "Maggie, how would you like to make a Bear flag?" I looked up in surprise and said, "A bear flag? What kind of a flag is that?" My sister, Mary, spoke up and said, "Why, Maggie, it is the flag of California. I saw a picture of it in the newspaper, and I cut it out." She then asked George who wanted the flag. "Well," he replied, "Captain Charley of one of these schooners said this morning he would give a fifty-[Pg 44]dollar slug to get a Bear flag to float beside Old Glory, and I told him you would make it for him." A fifty-dollar slug all my own! "Ha, ha," I laughed in high glee. "I'll make it if sister will help me." So it was planned I should make the first Bear flag to fly on any boat up the San Joaquin river.

The next morning sister and I went to the dry goods store at Grove and Knight streets, and after getting the proper materials we obtained information in regard to the size of the flag and the bear and other details. The work began early the next day and my hands were busy hemming the sides and ends while sister drew the shape of the bear and cut it out of brown drilling. We got our quilting frame and stretched the flag on it, and when it was all nicely stretched we laid the bear on the white surface and began to get it into the right place. Then the basting began so that nothing should go wrong in putting it neatly and correctly in the middle. After it was securely basted we had some dark green drilling cut so as to resemble the grass under his feet, and that was carefully basted and looked very proper. Now there was a star to go on in the corner. We cut it out of blue selicia and soon had it in its place. My sister Mary was an artist and could draw anything and cut anything she wished. After the basting was done, we stood and looked at our work with a satisfied air, pleased with our effort in making a flag for the first time. Now came the work. All this had to be done by hand. There were no sewing machines at that time, and the only way was to hem down every figure, also the letters and star. The edges must be secure or else the wind would soon play havoc with the flag, so stitch after stitch was taken and everything was thoroughly hemmed and carefully fastened. I was no stranger to the needle, and my deft fingers flew over these letters and hemmed in the corners, so that when it was finished and pressed they looked as though they were woven upon the cloth. I was a whole month stitching and hemming the different parts that composed the flag.

 

Young Ladies' Seminary, Benicia, founded 1852

 

At last it was finished and ready for delivery, and we awaited the coming of Captain Charley. My brother watched the boats come in and after the third day of watching he was rewarded by seeing the craft moving slowly up the slough, heavily laden with lumber and bags of potatoes and other articles needed in the market and for building. When the vessel was made fast to the dock Brother George came home and reported, and we were[Pg 45] all excitement to know if it was to be a reality or a joke in regard to the flag. Next noon brother went down and when he saw the captain he went to him and told him that the flag he had ordered was finished, and it was a beauty, too. "All right," said the captain, "let me see the flag and I'll be on hand with the gold in an hour." The flag was opened in the cabin of the craft and when the captain saw the beautifully finished flag he had no words to express himself. He just gazed upon it like a child with a new toy. At last he turned to his sideboard and took from it two decanter stands with bands of silver two inches high and heavily wrought edge on the bottoms of the finest polished wood and in the center a silver deer's head, with the name of the vessel in silver. He soon wrapped these beautiful stands up and handed them to my brother, besides the fifty-dollar slug. He sent them as a compliment to the young lady of fifteen years who could make a flag of this sort with such exquisite neatness. When brother returned it was our turn to be astonished to see these beautiful decanter stands, fit to grace the sideboard of any mansion in the land, and they were mine, and also the slug which brother tossed into my lap. When I saw it I could not believe my eyes. It looked as big as a cart wheel to me, for I never possessed[Pg 46] so much money in all my life before. You can readily believe it was a ten days' wonder.

 

First California Bear Flag

 

We had moved into our new home on San Joaquin street and the cost had been great. To have a house in those days was a luxury and it was always the rule of our family not to owe anything that could be paid. We all worked toward that end, so when everything was paid there was not so much income as of old. Following the hardships of crossing the plains, father was never himself again, and we felt that he had earned his rest after all these years of church work and mission-building from one state to another. He had got so far away from the Eastern Board of Missions and had always been such a tower of strength in all his work that they neglected him and he felt it, in spite of all his tenderness of heart towards the church and humanity. He gradually failed and gave up all work and contented himself in his garden, shop and library.

My sister Mary was always my guide in everything. For a few days I kept my precious slug and looked at it and thought how much money it was. One evening I heard father and mother talking together after they had retired. The door of our sleeping apartments were always open into the hall, in case of sickness or accident, and for some reason I could not go to sleep. As I lay there I heard father and mother planning some problem. I could not hear all, but I understood there was some money needed. In the morning, after all the work was done and I was sitting by my sister's side sewing with her, I told her what I had heard before I went to sleep. "Yes," she said, "Father has still something to pay and he feels he cannot take any more from the family allowance, for there are so many of us." "Oh," I replied, "He can have my slug. I wonder why he did not tell me he needed it." I soon had the precious money in my hand and sister and I found a box to put it into. The following little letter had to go with it: "My dear father and mother: I am so glad I was able, with my sister Mary's help, to make the pretty flag and so get this fine piece of gold to help pay on the dear home which Mary, Jane, Sallie and I helped to buy for you with the day's work with our boarders. It was a happy and cheerful task to help you in building the first dwelling house in our dear Stockton. Now it will all be yours as long as you live. I willingly give you my flag money, so you will not have to fret any[Pg 47] more over the debt of the house. Always, your laughing, happy girl, Rosana Margaret."

The box and letter were put at father's place on the dinner table and after he was seated he noticed it. Putting on his glasses he said, "Children, what have we here. It is not my birthday." Not a word was said while he read the letter, then he opened the box and saw the bright golden slug. He laid down his glasses and looked over at me and said, "So Rosana Margaret, it was by your cheerful handiwork that the last burden has been lifted." I quietly lifted up my face and said, "Father, Tilly helped me and we are glad you won't have to trouble any more." He then lifted up his hands and said, "Let us ask God's blessing." If prayer is the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed, then I think the offering on Abel's altar was not more acceptable before the Lord than was the prayer of my most reverent father as he prayed for a blessing on his family, far from the scenes of his early life and all that went to make him happy when he and mother went hand in hand out into God's vineyard to do God's work, he as an ordained man of God and she an ideal minister's wife who never faltered in her duty through the roughest pioneer days in the swamps of Illinois to the last journey to California to build up the Church of God even here in the farthest west by the Golden Gate. All that was mortal of these two faithful pilgrims rests in the new cemetery in Stockton, always united in life and in death were not divided:

"What's this that steals, that steals upon my breath,
Is it death? is it death?
If this be death, I soon shall be
From every sin and sorrow free.
I shall the King of Glory see,
All is well, all is well."

(Father and mother's last hymn.)


[Pg 48]

CHAPTER FIVE

BOSTON. DEDHAM CHOIR, 1858. THE CIVIL WAR. FAMOUS MUSICIANS. RETURN TO CALIFORNIA. SANTA CRUZ.

IN January, 1859, I accompanied my husband to Boston to visit his relatives. My son George was seven months old. My husband realized my voice was more than ordinary and as he was a fine tenor, and also a good pianist, he desired that I should have the best advantages that could be procured, so once more I made the pilgrimage of the ocean and the Isthmus. We arrived at noon in New York in the midst of a heavy snow-storm—gloomy, cold and raw—snow everywhere. I remained in the depot while my husband attended to our baggage and secured the tickets for Boston, and we left New York at three o'clock in the afternoon. Blockades of snow twice stopped our train and shovel ploughs had to be used. On the following day, taking rooms at the nearest hotel and having been made comfortable, my husband sought his relatives. On his return at four o'clock in the afternoon we went to the home of his uncle, William Lincoln, on Chestnut street, who had been my husband's foster father after the death of his parents. Here we remained until we moved to 120 Charles street, afterward moving to Dedham, where Mr. Blake was made a fine business offer.

In this city I began my musical studies. It was noised about that the young merchant's wife was a singer from California. In a short time I became a member of Dr. Burgess' choir, composed of men and women of the first families in Dedham. Mr. Blake and myself were the only two persons who ever sang with them that had not been born and bred there. They had sung together for over sixteen years, some of the members had grown old in the service. They were instructed each week by Edwin Bruce, who came from Boston each Tuesday and drilled and taught us in the best music of the day. He was a most competent leader and teacher. With our choir he directed and drilled three more choirs. His soloists were the best that could be procured and our concerts were looked forward to by the people who filled Tremont Temple to[Pg 49] years of study I associated with and heard singers of all nations and had an opportunity to study the music of oratorios, church and concert work. The Handel and Haydn society had over 500 members, Carl Zerrahn, leader, Howard Dow, organist. With our choir and the other three choirs I have spoken of, we lived in an atmosphere of music continually for four years.

 

Dedham, Mass., Church Choir, 1861, Men Singers

 

In the first part of 1861 war was declared and a state of great excitement prevailed. Volunteers were sought and young men and boys and old men who were vigorous, men filled with patriotic fire, responded. Everybody was ready to go to the front. No one held back services or money. Even the women began to feel they must do something and while the recruits were drilling and women were sewing, making comforters, havelocks, ditty bags, bandages, lint and other necessaries required for the wounded, they formed themselves into a Christian Commission Society and began systematically to plan ways and means to meet the situation which needed so much attention and help from every one, old or young. The Elders of the church gave us permission to use the church parlors to sew in and four sewing machines were put in and work began in earnest to help the cause. Old ladies made lint and knitted socks and other necessary articles that soldiers need. On the evening of May 1, 1861, we gave the first concert in aid of the soldiers. The choir was assisted by Miss Louisa Adams, soprano; Edwin Bruce, director; Charles Capin, organist of the Orthodox Society. The church was crowded to its utmost capacity, the overflow was sufficient to insure another house. Everybody was on tiptoe to hear the choir give its first concert for the soldiers. The sixteen ladies of the choir were dressed in white with tri-colored scarfs over their shoulders. The men in dress suits back of them completed the picture. Large flags were draped on either side of the organ and festoons of evergreens fell gracefully from the front of the choir loft and organ. Cheer after cheer rang out as the choir arose to sing America. It was fully ten minutes before we were allowed to begin the concert.

The praises of this first concert were so many that we were obliged to give another in Tremont Temple in Boston. From that time we gave a concert each month to raise funds for the volunteers during the year 1861. The treasury was always supplied from the proceeds of these concerts and the supply of money never failed, to my knowledge, during my sojourn in Dedham. The excitement of the hour was intense—regiments of volunteers passed[Pg 50] daily on their way to the front. They were greeted and cheered by the people; garlands and bouquets were thrown from the windows as they passed. It was a scene that never will be forgotten, when we reflect that not two-thirds of these splendid men ever came back. Later on the choirs visited the hospitals and we found many brave hearts, who had fought and were wounded for their country, lying there. To them we brought supplies of fruit, flowers and nourishing food and sang to them. So the good work went on from week to week until the year 1861 was nearly over. We decided to return to California, business was demoralized and uncertainty reigned and we had been four years from home. During that time I had become a singer and was able to take my place with other artists of repute. I had during my study become acquainted with the foremost artists of that time and sang with them on many occasions.

Among the famous organists of 1858 were:

W.R. Babcock
Charles J. Capen
G.W. Harris
H.W. Edes
Adolph Baumbach
J.H.B. Thayer
Howard M. Dow
I.D. Parker
W.B. Clark
Carl Zerrahn, Leader.

The men and women singers of Dedham Congregational Church Choir in 1858 were:

Adams, Louisa, Miss, prima donna
Adams, Henrietta, Miss, contralto
Blake, Margaret, Mrs., mezzo-contralto
Bates, Helen, Miss, soprano
Bullard, Mary, Miss, soprano
Boyd, Mary, Miss, soprano
Bickner, Clara, Miss, soprano
Covell, O.M., Miss, contralto
Draper, M.J. Mrs., soprano
Daniel, Olive, Mrs. contralto
Everett, Hattie, Miss, soprano
Fisher, Mattie E., Mrs., contralto
Guild, Hattie, Miss, contralto
Guild, Mary, Miss, soprano
Kingsbury, Susan, Miss, soprano
Taft, Louisa, Miss, soprano
Williams, N.R., Mrs., contralto
Blake, Geo. H., tenor
Burgess, Dr. E.P., bass
Burgess, Edwin, tenor
Churchill, C.C., bass
Calder, Bert, bass
Danforth, C.B., bass
Eaton, J., bass
Everett, E., bass
Fisher, Alvin J., bass (former choir master)
Hitchings, Henry, bass
Sherwin, Henry, tenor
Taft, J.G., bass
Wright, Geo., tenor
Wright, Charles, bass
Macbeth, G.W., bass
Capen, Chas. J., organist
Bruce, Edwin, director
Daniel, Ellery C., choir master

Thirty-five singers, men and women, composed the choir of Dr. Burgess' church in Dedham, and as organist we had Chas. J. Capen. The director and teacher of vocal music was Edwin Bruce. Ellery C. Daniel was choir master. In addition to this choir, Mr. Bruce controlled three other quartette and chorus choirs that could[Pg 51] be called upon to aid us in any entertainment we chose to give, consequently when the war broke out it was not many weeks before we were in demand and continued to successfully and constantly add new laurels to our large galaxy of singers of repute. Carl Zerrahn was leader of the Handel and Haydn Society, of which we were all members. The soloists were many of the best on this continent. What magnificent music we gave. I lived just in a world of song and associated with the best of them and was accepted and acknowledged by them all. I remember well when we gave the oratorio, David, April 3, 1859, the forty-third season. I never had sung with so many singers before and I was in a maze of excitement. I was ready also to enjoy every note, for it was the largest aggregation of solo singers I had ever heard. The soloists were:

Mrs. J.H. Long, dramatic soprano
Miss Louisa Adams, coloratura soprano
J.P. Draper, tenor
P.H. Powers, bass
Edward Hamilton, bass
C.R. Adams, tenor
George Wright, Jr., bass
Carl Zerrahn, conductor
J.C.D. Parker, organist

With all these artists and 500 in the chorus to round out the society, we gave a great performance. The Boston Music Hall was crowded to the doors and the oratorio was as perfectly given as could be asked by the most exacting critic. This was but one of the beautiful oratorios that were given during my stay in Massachusetts. Instead of church service on the Sabbath evenings, the oratorios were given. In this way I was able to learn the music of all the most important works on oratorio. I was but twenty-one years old when I began this kind of singing. Church music I sang from my infancy, consequently my voice was fully developed in the broad church style and I had no difficulty to acquire this, although it was more difficult music than I had ever attempted, but with patience and weekly rehearsals and daily practice it became familiar and a part of my life. While the rebellion was raging we laid aside oratorio work and studied patriotic music suitable to the concerts that we were called upon to give to raise funds for the soldiers. All social life was put aside and we devoted our time to help our fathers, brothers and sons who were called away to fight for the union of states. There were no laggards in these stirring times; young and old alike were imbued with the patriotism that possessed our forefathers of 1776.[Pg 52]

Here I regret to say I am afraid in our later days there is not the same spirit of patriotism as I saw it in the year of 1861. To me of all the flags that ever floated in any country of the universe none appeals as the American flag does. When I see its graceful folds unfurled to the breeze, catching the gleams of the morning's first beam, my heart leaps with pride and patriotic fire. To my mind I never possessed voice enough to sing the praises of the finest flag that ever floated under the canopy of heaven. Any one less patriotic in spirit than this is not worthy to call America his country or home. In vision I can now see these splendid men march to their death. Regiment after regiment passed daily and was encouraged and cheered by the enthusiastic women and children who watched the soldiers until out of sight. Then after they had embarked, the women returned to their firesides and wondered who would return. Tears came unbidden, yet we were strong in the belief and hope that our loved ones would not be sacrificed. After a hard struggle of four years some homes were made happy and others felt the blow. Many returned wounded. To them we gave all care. The hospitals were visited and relief given. There were services for the sick and burial for the dead. Our voices as well as the work were not spared as long as we could give aid to the living and the dead. This experience of my life has prompted me to extend any service I can for the men who fought so bravely when the crisis came, and as long as I have voice and can help in any capacity in aid of the American soldier who fought in 1861 I shall give the best I have.

 

Dedham, Mass., Church Choir, 1861, Women Singers

 

Before I leave my Eastern subject I wish to recall some of the celebrated singers and organists whom I had an opportunity to hear, at their best, and with many of whom I passed happy hours musically and in pleasant companionship. Most of the singers of my time were American singers, even in the Italian opera:

1859.

Mrs. Jennie Kempton, contralto
Mrs. Washburn, soprano
Isabelle Hinkley, soprano
Abbie Plummer, contralto
Miss Louisa Adams, coloratura soprano
Mrs. Margaret Blake, mezzo-contralto
B.F. Gilbert, tenor
C.E. Pickett, tenor
I.P. Draper, bass
Mr. Wadleigh, bass
Mr. Emerson, tenor
Henry Clay Barnabee, tenor
[Pg 53]

1860.

Prof. B.J. Lang, pianist
Howard M. Dow, organist
Adolph Baumbach, pianist
Carl Zerrahn, conductor
Mlle. Carlotta Patti
Madam Colson
Adelaide Phillips
Anna Louisa Carey
Carl Formes, basso profundo

1861.

Programmes.

Martha
Lucia Di Lammermoor
Un Ballo in Maschera
La Juive
Il Giuramento
The Messiah
Moses in Egitto
David

I have placed these programmes here so as to show what singers were considered the first and best fifty years ago. My impressions received at that time left their imprint for excellence and a pattern for those who aspire to real worth to follow.

The unfortunate training of the voices in our time has given us many inferior singers who come and go and are forgotten. The great singers of before are engraved forever in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to enjoy the exquisite rendering of their work. We call this an age of progress. We may be wiser in some directions, but as for the best music the past will have to chronicle the superior singer. Carlotta Patti was a more beautiful singer than her sister Adelina. On account of her lameness she could not travel as an opera singer. I have heard both singers and Carlotta was my choice. Adelina was the most advertised, for she was a money-maker and demanded just so much notoriety when she engaged and signed her contracts. Her power was supreme and no one dared to say her nay. Woe be to the poor prima donna who sang better or had more applause or favors than she did. She was the only queen of song as long as her reign lasted. Emma Nevada and Madam Etelka Gersta were her especial victims when they sang the same season with her. I am stating facts which will stand. To be a good singer and up to the standard one must be a good woman with a refined and educated mind, a sympathetic temperament, charitable nature towards others who are doing what they can to bring up a standard for generations to follow.

The war was still in progress when my husband decided in November, 1861, to return to California. I had been away from home four years and had enjoyed all these advantages and had done what I could for the[Pg 54] volunteers who had fought for the preservation of the Union. There were great surprise and murmurs of regret on all sides when Mr. Blake made known our intention to go to California. He was one of the tenors and very musical, and I as his wife shared with him the honors in this choir of thirty-five voices. We had become such friends it was like parting from a family. Our successful concerts in aid of the soldiers, the many Sabbaths we worshiped and sang together, made us an harmonious band of singers. We had one more meeting for the clubs and choir before we made our departure. It took place on November 31, 1861. The ground was covered with snow and we were obliged to wear rubber boots to be able to get on at all, but we were used to it and it mattered not to us. The meeting was held in the parlors of the church instead of the schoolrooms as was our wont. For a change our leader said we would have an impromptu concert in the church choir so as to use the organ. Edwin Bruce, our leader and instructor, came from Boston and brought several fine singers with him. Mr. Blake and I were asked to come somewhat earlier. On arriving at the church we found quite an illumination in the parlors. Choirmaster Daniel and his wife were the host and hostess and welcomed us. When we had taken our places beside them the church doors slowly opened and the guests arrived two by two, in full evening costume, and we received them until all had welcomed us. The choir formed in a procession and wended its way into the gallery which was darkened save for one or two lights so we could see to reach our accustomed places in the gallery. When all were in their places and our organist, Charles Capin, began playing America, Mr. Bruce taking his baton and position, raised it and the lights were turned on and before us sat the congregation, every pew being filled. It was quite a moment before I could realize this change and did not open my mouth to sing a note, for I was so bewildered. At last, when I heard all were singing, I sang and cried at the same time, for I realized this great kindness had been prepared for us. Great was the applause when we had finished this song. We sang until ten o'clock some of our best choruses, solos, duets, trios, etc. We concluded with "Viva l'America," Miss Louisa Adams taking the solo and the choir the chorus. Dr. Burgess spoke tenderly of us, strangers from far-off California who had been so generous with our voices and help these four years and wished us all good things and a safe return to our home by the Golden Gate. We were[Pg 55] then dismissed with the benediction. Mr. Daniel had requested us to take our places in the parlors and an impromptu reception was held until all the congregation had bid us good-bye. About eleven o'clock only the choir remained and the pastor and family. The Sabbath schoolroom had been decorated and tables were spread for the banquet which had been prepared by loving hands and through the kindness of the generous congregation that appreciated our services. Three surprises in one evening was almost more than I could bear. I was like one in a dream. After refreshments had been enjoyed, Mr. Edwin Bruce came forward and with a very appropriate speech placed in my hand an album filled with the pictures of the choir, leaders, past and present, director and organist. I was so astonished I had not the power to speak, so my husband, who stood beside me, replied to the giver of such a beautiful and thoughtful gift to us who were to sever the bonds of friendship and song after these four happy years together. I do not suppose one of these beautiful singers, either man or woman, is alive today, but I shall present their pictures in this volume as a memorial to one of the most distinguished choirs that ever sang together, some of the singers for sixteen years, and that gladly gave its best for the Union and its preservation in 1861.

 

A sample programme of the early Sixties

Enlarge

 

After we had severed our connection with the choir in Dedham, Mr. Blake wound up relations with his firm, Parker, Barnes & Merriam, on Milk street, Boston; we reluctantly gave up the dear old-fashioned Taft home, with its shade trees and orchards and fine kitchen garden, where we had passed so many happy years; we said good-bye to our lovely neighbors the Adams, and Follensbee and Bullard families, and moved to Hersey place, Boston, to remain until we left for California, February, 1862. We took the same route I had taken in 1851 and were on the way for two months. But things had changed and the scene was altogether different. Over the Chagres river route we traveled upon the rails we saw being laid when we came over in 1851. The trip was uneventful, only that I was ill all the way, but being young and hopeful and with the best of care, I once more came safely into San Francisco bay. We surprised our sister, Mrs. W.H. Knight, and family, who lived on Fifth and Market streets. Great was our rejoicing to see our friends again. After a week's stay we left them for our old home in Stockton. The rain had been severe, the creeks and rivers were swollen, and we had a wet home coming, but we[Pg 57] found the family in waiting to greet us. It was soon noised about that the Blakes had come home from Boston and we had no end of greetings and rejoicings. The rain still came down and by May we were in dread of a flood, which later came to pass. Water was everywhere. We were on the highest point in the city, and before we were aware of it we had sixteen inches of water in our house. On May 24th Dr. Grattin was called to our home and he came in a skiff and rowed to the door, pointing the bow into the parlor door and then stepping out into sixteen inches of water. Provided with rubber leggings, he waded to the stairs where mother awaited him with dry slippers and assisted him to my room. On May 25th my second son, William Ellery Blake, was born. Both boys are native sons of California and born in the home that was built in 1852. The first family dwelling, built fifty-nine years ago, is still standing as the homestead on San Joaquin street, Stockton, and apparently will be a suitable dwelling for many more years to come.

After my son was three months old Mr. Blake obtained a position in J.C. Johnson's saddle and harness business as expert bookkeeper and first salesman. We then left the old home and moved to San Francisco in the latter part of August and moved into the house owned by Dr. Calif. He had recently died and his widow did not wish to occupy this large house alone or desire the care of it. She arranged with us to take two large rooms and the remainder of the house was at our disposal. We were glad to have such a home. The rent was cheap and everything was furnished just as it had been when Dr. Calif was alive. We occupied this home until 1864, when Mr. Ben Smith made a proposition to have Mr. Blake take the superintendent's place at the San Lorenzo Paper Mill, about three or four miles from Santa Cruz. The company had built a six-room cottage and furnished it completely for us, should we decide to go. The large house was built for Mr. Sime and his family as a summer home for them. It was an ideal spot to live. The long flume ran along for miles. The river was dammed and the overflow made a beautiful waterfall. The hills were covered with chaparral and pine trees and wild flowers galore. The powder works were situated about a mile above us. The road ran about fifty feet from the cottage and, although we were among the hills, it was a busy place. Ox teams were constantly passing. The large cook house was below and the paper mill buildings were near at hand. About 150 men, constantly going from one place to another in[Pg 58] their departments, made us feel we were not alone. There was fine fishing in the pool below the falls. The salmon would come up the creek from the ocean and the finest ones found their way into the pool, and on Friday the cook and his men supplied the tables with fresh fish. How many times have I seen those fine fish, caught on the prongs of a spear, writhe and wriggle to get off. At first I could not taste them, I felt so sorry to see them killed in that way. I would not go out on Friday until after the fishing was done. The lamper eels crawled up the stream and the men gathered them by the barrels full and made oil from them.

I had a Jersey cow and a fine milk house with a stream of cold water running through. I made my own butter and had enough to supply the Sime family when they spent their summer there. The lovely moonlight nights on this fine sheet of water above the dam are with me now, and how the hills resounded with our songs as we rowed along. I had a fine horse and carriage, and it was great sport to go to town with our splendid Jim, as we called him. Those were happy times. The children had the best of air and full play among the hills. We remained two years when Mr. Blake's eyes became inflamed from the fumes of the lime used to rot the straw, and we were obliged to give up the place and change once more.


[Pg 59]

CHAPTER SIX

SANTA CRUZ IN THE SIXTIES. WHY I BECAME A DRESSMAKER. OPERA. MUSIC IN SAN FRANCISCO IN THE SEVENTIES

WE HAD become attached to Santa Cruz and concluded to live there and begin some kind of business. When our time had expired at the mill, Mr. Blake had found a convenient store. He was well known and had been chief salesman for J.C. Johnson & Bros., saddle and harness dealers on Market street, San Francisco, and later he was employed by Main & Winchester in the same business. He was able to get his stock and start under fine auspices. It was not long before everything looked prosperous for us. Since we were both musical, Mr. Blake having a fine lyric tenor voice and also playing the piano, we were soon the center of musical attraction. We found other voices also that were of the right sort, and it was not many months before the music of Santa Cruz was recognized and appreciated. Mrs. Eliza Boston, a fine dramatic soprano, was the wife of Joseph Boston, a wealthy business man, and sang only for her friends and church, which was her pleasure, but she was also kind when any necessity presented itself. She cheerfully did her part, especially for the Calvary Episcopal Church of which she was a devout member. The rector, Rev. Giles A. Easton, one of the pioneer ministers of the church, appreciated her talent in the assistance she gave to the music in those early days of California when music was so hard to obtain.

What happy days were these to us who loved music and sang for the love of it and for the little church that stands today covered with ivy, planted when Mrs. Boston and I sang together in the choir. On high days we were able to procure the assistance of some fine voices of the men singers, Samuel Sharp, basso; Rollins Case, tenor; Charles Metti, tenor soloist. There was no salary in those days for our services. We did it all as God's work and it mattered not what creed. Wherever we were needed our services were liberally given. Rev. P.Y. Cool was pastor of the First Methodist Church and[Pg 60] I aided his church for many months and had fine support from Mr. Ossian Auld, one of God's voices sent on earth to give us a taste of what was in store for us in the Choir Invisible. How we sang together can only be appreciated by those who worshiped and heard the voices, who by nature were created with the musical temperament that sings. I never heard but one more tenor of that nature during my singing life in California and of him I will speak later, for it was after I returned to San Francisco that I had the pleasure to be in the choir and sing with the dearly beloved Joe Maguire. While I remained in Santa Cruz I sang for Dr. Frear's church, also the Unitarian Church of which the pastor, Dr. Ames, and his good wife were fine musicians. In the Presbyterian Church we found Mr. Fred Anthony, a tenor, who was one of the useful tenors, and reliable young men workers in the church. He came to California in 1854, a son of the Wm. Anthony family, composed of musicians. Miss Louisa Anthony was the organist of the church. The civil war was not yet at an end and money was needed for the wounded and the suffering in hospitals and the Christian commission was in need of funds to carry on the good work of relief. All who were able and had voices or dramatic talent were called upon to assist in the good work; consequently many entertainments were given in aid of this cause. Young and old who had talent were enlisted and there was no lack of enthusiasm, for the cause appealed to all who were patriotic and in sympathy with the boys in blue who were still marching, fighting and dying for our beloved land. Those who were foremost in the good work during these trying times are worthy of having their names enrolled in this history of California's early days as actors for good in the development of the state, upholding the government and assisting in the building of churches and other institutions that have made our State the Queen of the Pacific Coast. I feel proud that I can place on the roll of honor such names as the following men and women singers, dramatic performers and excellent musicians:

Vocalists.

Auld, Ossian, tenor
Anthony, Frederick, tenor
Anthony, Louisa, soprano
Blake, Geo. H., tenor
Boston, Mrs. Eliza, dramatic soprano
Blake, Mrs. M.R., mezzo-contralto
Finkeldey, W., tenor
Grove, Mr., bass
Kittridge, Miss, soprano
Miller, Chas. M., tenor
Metti, Chas., tenor
Pringle, Wm., bass
[Pg 61]Pioda, Mrs. Mary Emma, soprano
Battersby, Mr., tenor
Bender, Edward, bass
Baily, Miss Lorena, soprano
Case, Rollin, tenor
Sharp, Samuel, basso profundo
Steal, Miss Ella, contralto
Wilson, Mr., bass
Williams, Miss, soprano

Instrumentalists.

Bender, Edward, piano
Emerson, Prof., violin (leader)
Grove, Mr., violin
Hihn, Kate, piano
Jones, John M., violin (leader of Santa Cruz Cornet Band)
McCann, Miss Pearl, piano
Pioda, Prof. Paul, flute
Rotier, Miss, piano
Sheppherd, Prof., piano
Woodbridge, Miss Abbe, piano
Cooper, Miss May, piano
Wilson, Prof., violin
Waldron, Mr., piano
Swanton, Mr. E., piano
Kirby, Mr. G., piano
Foreman, Mr. J., piano
Smith, Miss M., piano

Dramatic Talent.

Ames, Rev.
Ames, Mrs.
Binny, I.
Baldwin, Mrs. Fanny
Bittner, Miss A.
Cooper, Miss May
Cooper, Retta
Carpenter, Miss Mattie
Root, Miss May
Metti, Charles
Stanton, Miss Eleanor
Swanton, E.
Root, E.
Blake, Mrs. M.R.

 

Members of the Santa Cruz Choir, 1867

 

Our programmes were of the highest order, the voices pure and full without this abominable tremolo which is unknown to a person who knows how to sing correctly and naturally. Occasionally we had the assistance of some of the singers and players from San Francisco, who came for the summer outing, and they thought it great sport to add their gifts when called upon to help the country girls and boys, but they did not get far in their fun before they found they would need all their knowledge and do their best or else let the seaside talent outstrip them. We were called upon from time to time during my stay from 1864 to help different denominations in their work. Old folks' concerts, sacred concerts, fairs and donation parties were the usual efforts of those early days. There were no other places of amusement. Sometimes, at rare intervals, there was a show of some kind in Otto's Hall, a place that would hold 250 people. Whoever they were, they could not give as much pleasure as our own home talent, consequently they were not encouraged to repeat the visit. Mr. Blake continued his business successfully, I supposed, until towards the close of the year 1868. He became despondent and I could see trouble was brewing. He never brought his business home, so I was ignorant of anything in regard to its standing. In early years he had much to do with mining stocks and still held some that he thought would be profit[Pg 62]able. The four years we were in Boston he held much stock and that was one reason we left, so he could be nearer and in touch with the rise and fall of the market. I was not aware of all this, and when the crisis came I was unprepared for the result. The money he made in the store went to keep up the margins, and changes in the market. At last the door of his store was closed and we were penniless and saw no way out of it.

I being always hopeful, it was for me to raise the drooping spirits and advise means of action. I left for San Francisco with the younger boy and Mr. Blake remained with the elder to straighten out his affairs as well as possible. I took my sewing machine with me and intended to retrieve the family fortune with my voice and my needle. I came to the home of Mrs. John Clough, a friend, on Third street, between Market and Mission. Her husband was a fine tenor singer and I knew she would help me get something to do. I was there but a few weeks when the Lyster Opera Troupe came from Australia and began singing at the old Metropolitan theater on Montgomery street. I was one of the 300 members of the Handel and Haydn Society, which was called upon by Mr. F. Lyster for voices for the chorus. A leading contralto and a soprano were in the troupe. Mrs. Cameron and I were chosen after the voices were tried and accepted. I had no trouble as I had studied the choruses of most of the familiar operas. I also knew many of the contralto arias, like Perlate de Amour in Faust and other contralto numbers of the different operas that we gave. I was engaged at $20 per week, which seemed to me a fabulous sum, for I was without any means. These were strenuous days, sometimes fourteen hours in the theatre a day, singing one opera and practicing a new one. I was not unhappy as I was doing something to help along the good work of regaining our footing and I worked willingly, but the operas of Norma, Les Huguenots, Faust, Aida were heavy and required long rehearsals, the theater was damp and cold and sometimes I wished myself out of it. After singing in ten heavy operas I caught cold and was obliged to stop, much to the disappointment of Mr. Lyster, as he had hoped to take me with the troupe. But I was too ill and besides my sons were too small to leave them behind, so I canceled my engagement and closed my career in opera.

Before I recovered, Mr. Blake had settled as best he could and left me to go to Reno, where his stocks were, to see if anything could be saved at all. When he re[Pg 63]turned after three months' absence I had taken the upper part of the house at the corner of O'Farrell and Stockton streets, and with what furniture I still possessed I started to rent rooms. I had also gotten the choir position as alto in St. Patrick's church on Market street, on the lot where the Palace Hotel now stands. While employed there a church was being built on Mission street, where it now stands. When the basement of the new church was finished the congregation was moved to Mission street, and we worshiped in the basement until the main church was finished. I had one room left to rent where I was on O'Farrell street when one day, to my surprise on answering the bell, Mr. William Kitts of the opera troupe called to rent a room. He was a splendid bass singer and I was greatly surprised to see him, as I had supposed he had left with the company. He wished to rest for a year. He had never seen America and would remain until the troupe returned in another year. He was as fine a man as he was a singer; in fact, all the principals of the troupe were fine people. They were Madam Lucy Escott, the soprano; Henry Squires, tenor; Mr. Baker, the lyric tenor, with a most beautiful voice; and Mr. Kitts, the basso profundo. Before these people went away I sang many times with them in concert. They gave a sacred concert in Pacific Hall, on California street, in 1869. We sang the Trio, te Prago, Escott, Blake, Squires for one number. Madam was so pleased with my singing she kissed me and gave me her copy of the song after writing her name on it. Mr. Squires said it was by far the best combination for the trio that he had ever made. The first time I ever sang this trio was in 1859 in Tremont Temple with Louisa Adams, soprano, Edwin Bruce, tenor, and myself, contralto. Miss Adams was a prima donna of that time. I had always received great praise for my work in this trio.

I remained a year in the house on O'Farrell street, and as I knew I could do better with more rooms I moved into a two-story house on Powell street, near the corner of Broadway, when Mr. Kitts went to Australia. Mr. Blake had returned from Reno and was employed at Main & Winchester's on Sansome street. Mr. Goodwin, the furniture dealer, furnished the house with $1,100 worth of furniture and I began to help lessen the burden already so heavy. Youth was in my favor, being now thirty-four years old. The children were at school and I still held my church position and began to sing at concerts and entertainments. My rooms were filled with the[Pg 64] best of roomers and my house brought me in $65 over my rent which was also $65 a month. I had no piano and no place for one, as the children and I slept in the kitchen. I had given up every available room to make the house pay. Mrs. Dr. Howard permitted me to use her piano, so after the work was done I was obliged to walk nine blocks to practice each day. When I thought everything was going all right Mr. Blake began to act strangely. The failure had affected him more than he let me know, and he was so stunned by the blow that he had plunged us into poverty and it weighed so on his mind that Dr. H.L. Baldwin advised a sea voyage. So we wrote to his brother who was in Melbourne to expect him on a certain ship. All was favorable and he sailed away the latter part of 1869. His brain was softening and there was no hope for him if he remained. After weeks of sailing he arrived safely in Melbourne. He so far recovered that he was able to accept a position as expert in the Omnibus railway office which he filled for one year and a half. In the meantime I had been able to pay for all the furniture, through my roomers and singing and sewing, but the large house was too much for me, with sewing until twelve at night, and I concluded to take a smaller house and called on Mr. George Lamson, the auctioneer. He was Nance O'Neil's father and she was then a little girl. I selected what furniture I needed for the house on Washington street and he sold the rest. Four of the best roomers went with me to the new house, so I was sure I'd not fail for awhile at least.

 

Churches where Mrs. Blake-Alverson has sung

 

All these months of toil I had received one bill after another from different men and business houses. When they came for money I told them I did not have a dollar, only what I earned, but that if the bills were correct, I would settle them as fast as I could earn the money. I determined to pay all of Mr. Blake's indebtedness, rather than there should be a blot upon his name or honor, and also for the sake of his two sons who had their lives to live. I had been sewing for Mrs. Letitia Ralph, the dressmaker, who gave me the children's clothes to make after she had fitted and basted them up for me. I had my own boys so beautifully clad she wanted to know who made their clothes. She proposed that if I would make the children's clothing she would prepare the work for me. After my work of the day was over and all the family slept I sewed until midnight. After I had moved to Washington street, I bought one of the Ralph charts and perfected myself in the art of cutting and[Pg 65] fitting. I had been but two months in the new place when one of my roomers got married, to my sorrow, for that meant another empty room with the two parlors which had never been rented. My heart sank within me for I was doubtful as to the outcome of the new departure. My usual courage left me and I was at my wits' end as to how to continue. As I sat by the machine I realized the situation and I laid my head on the machine and the pent-up tears at last came to my relief. While in this state I felt a presence in the room and on looking up I saw the dear friend of my youth, Mrs. Sue Bird, standing quietly by me, not knowing what to say. It was the first time she had ever seen me in tears through the whole distressing time of the last two or three years. I told her I did not know where to commence and for once in my life I was discouraged. Before she departed our plans were laid and the next day her machine came to the house with a lot of new goods that she wanted to make up for herself and children. We put a machine on each side of the bay window. I made some signs during the day and put them in the windows. We decorated the windows with the new goods, a fish globe, a hanging basket of ferns, a wire model and placed upon it one of my concert dresses. We draped the lace curtains back and the window looked stunning and very businesslike. I arranged my cutting table and had Harper's Bazaar and other fashion plates and Butterick patterns on the shelves. Our signs in the window read: "Children's clothing neatly done and made to order." Our dressmaking parlors were in full swing and in apple-pie order. All we lacked were the customers, so we sat at the machines and sewed until the third day, hoping to have some one come, yet dreading to see them, for fear we would fail in our efforts. We watched people passing all day long, going and coming and stopping to look at the new place. At last, on the fifth day, a lady with a bundle came in at the gate, and my heart beat with excitement. When I opened the door a gentle little woman asked if I was the dressmaker, and I told her yes and bade her enter. She unfolded her bundle and told me what she wanted. I found myself talking and planning as if I had made dresses for a number of years. It was her wedding dress of dove-colored silk and she wanted me to make a dress of it for her twelve-year-old daughter, with an addition of three yards of blue to match. I told her I could make a beautiful child's dress, a very suitable and pretty combination. The next day the girl was measured and the dress began[Pg 66] and by the end of the week it was to be tried on. When the dress was done she was so pleased that I did her work as long as I was in the business of dressmaking, which lasted ten years. This was the beginning.

After Mrs. Bird had started me she was obliged to go to her home, so I advertised for a forewoman. The next day I engaged a competent woman, Mrs. Sheek from Nevada. She brought her sewing machine and was well up in the ideas and ways of a shop. She saw right away I was new in the art, but she and I soon understood what was needed. In one month things went with such perfect system we were able to take in all the work that was brought to us. Our window was always dressed and the figure robed in the last garment finished, and we were becoming so popular I was obliged to get more help. Before the year was out I had ten girls constantly employed and three machines running all the time. These were busy days, what with concerts, singing in churches and at funerals, rehearsals, dressmaking and roomers. I also made costumes of singers and actresses who heard of my ability. When singing, my costumes attracted attention and I received many customers who were struck by my gowns. Mrs. P.D. Bowers, the famous actress, sent for me at the Palace and ordered her costumes for Amy Robsart, also other costumes and dominos. Emilie Melville was my customer for her concert and opera robes; so was Mme. Mulder and Mme. Elezer. I made the robes for Signora Bianchi in the opera of "Norma," for Mrs. Tom Breese and Mrs. Nick Kittle. Mrs. Tom Maguire and Mrs. Mark McDonald were regular customers for years. Mrs. Maynard, a wealthy banker's wife, who lived on Bush street, and her daughters justly appreciated my work, and I found in Mrs. Maynard a lifelong friend. I continued in this busy way, always hearing good news of the improvement in my husband in Melbourne. He had been gone now a year and a half and I had received encouraging letters from him and at last he informed me he would come soon and take me and the boys to Melbourne to live. All the time he was gone I had been paying off this tremendous amount of indebtedness of his failure, and keeping it as a secret from him so as to surprise him when he arrived. I was fully established and my church and concert music was all I could ask for. My old spirit came back and I was happy to know I had been able to help my husband through this $30,000 failure which had been such a blow to his pride and ambition and had brought distress to his family. I received a letter that[Pg 67] he was coming on a certain steamer, and the boys and I were doing all we could to have the home-coming complete. George was now fifteen years old and William eleven. They had been going to school and had been promoted each year and would have much to tell their father, himself a man of letters and a graduate of Harvard University. His desire was that the boys should excel, as had all the Blakes, Lincolns and Sargents before them.

Each of these old and highly honored families of Massachusetts had celebrated men among them, and they honored their forefathers and tried to emulate their achievements and keep up the literary standard of the Sargents, the military dignity of their great-grandfather, Major Benjamin Lincoln of revolutionary fame, who took the sword from Cornwallis and handed it to his general, George Washington; Eps Sargent, the great writer of books, poetry and the song, "The Life on the Ocean Wave," one of the famous songs of the time. These men were the next of kin, and we were justly proud of the connection and tried to uphold our side of the family honor as well as it was possible for us of this generation to accomplish. The days were counted and each evening we were happy in the recital of our part that was expected of us when father returned. Only a short time remained to us who were awaiting his coming. At last we were rewarded by the arrival of the ship which was expected to bring our father, and the week had nearly passed. On the fourth day a messenger from the ship came with a letter from the captain that George L. Blake was dead and buried, in a foreign land, with honors suitable to the man who had won for himself the respect of all who knew him in the city of Melbourne. The railroad offices were closed, the American flag at half mast, and men with uncovered heads marched behind the hearse that bore the remains of their distinguished member, the American gentleman from California, to his last resting place. Our sorrow was too great to be realized, even after reading the letter from the rector who had read the funeral service over the dead, and who explained the circumstances of his sudden death and told of the sorrow of his comrades and the officers of the company who so honored him in a strange land. He had in a short time won their esteem by his courteous and gentlemanly bearing towards all who came in contact with him.

This was the sad message and the end of our bright hopes for the future. The burden must now be borne alone with two children to educate and this great indebted[Pg 68]ness on my own shoulders to pay, until all was done to honor his name and that of his sons. I saw no other way but to work and keep busy. After several days my plans were mapped out and I began to plan how to enlarge my business and still continue with my music. When it became known that this sorrow had come to me, I never lacked for friends, and in a short time I became so busy I had no time to repine. After a year I needed more room, so I removed to 404 Post street, near the corner of Powell, into a cottage belonging to a Mr. Simons. It was nearer town than on Washington and Stockton streets. In a few days work went on as usual. Three of my permanent roomers went with me. For four years I lived here, when Mr. Simons sold the house and I was obliged to vacate. I found small rooms on O'Farrell street and continued my work without cessation until the beginning of 1875. During these years at 404 Post street I sang in the St. John's Presbyterian Church, Post street. The organists during this time were George T. Evans, later Frederick Katzenbach. The singers were: Vernon Lincoln, tenor; Joseph Maguire, tenor; C. Makin, basso; Mrs. Robert Moore, soprano; M.R. Blake, contralto. Later I resigned and went for the second time to St. Patrick's Church and remained there altogether ten years. The organist and director was J.H. Dohrmann. The choir remained the same during that time. We had the best talent that could be obtained and the music we sang was extremely difficult. The sopranos were the best available. Among the singers were:

Mr. Brown, tenor
Sig. Bianchi, tenor
Sig. G. Mancusi, tenor
Karl Formes, basso
Sig. Morly, basso
Sig. Reuling, baritone
Sig. Meize, baritone
Mr. Fuchs, basso
Mr. Schnable, basso
Mr. Stockmyer, basso
Mr. Yarndley, basso
Miss Louisa Tourney, soprano
Mrs. Urig, soprano
Mrs. Young, soprano
Mrs. Taylor, soprano
Mme. Brandel, soprano
Signora Bianchi, soprano
M.R. Blake, contralto
Ella Steel, alto

 

Associated musicians and singers of the Seventies and to date


[Pg 69]

CHAPTER SEVEN

LADY OF LYONS GIVEN AT SANTA CRUZ. FLAG-RAISING AT GILROY HOT SPRINGS. VISALIA CONCERTS

IN 1868, while I was living in Santa Cruz, that city was without any fire-fighting apparatus. The matter had often been discussed, but nothing had come of it. Mrs. Alfred Baldwin, who was prominent there as a school teacher, and her husband, a boot and shoe merchant, conceived the plan of starting a nucleus for a fire engine. I being her neighbor, Mrs. Baldwin naturally talked the matter over with me. Santa Cruz then had some excellent talent to call upon, so we planned to raise the money for an engine if possible. During these days Mrs Elmira Baldwin came from San Francisco to spend the summer with her sister-in-law, Mrs. Baldwin. She was a beautiful woman and talented, and capable of taking a part in anything. We also had a friend of Mr. Baldwin's who was a splendid actor in comedy or tragedy, Mr. I.B. Binney. He was enlisted in the good cause, and through his efforts and Mrs. A. Baldwin's we were enabled to collect all the talent necessary. After the performers were secured, the next question was the form of entertainment. Of course, Mr. Binney was consulted in the matter and we decided to give the "Lady of Lyons," Bulwer's popular and beautiful play. I had always sung my way into public favor, and had never tried the drama. When the part of Widow Melnotte fell to me, I was surprised, to say the least. I was only thirty-eight years old, and the mother of Melnotte was fifty, but after much persuasion I undertook the role. For a month we had a great deal of fun at the rehearsals. It is true I had my home to care for, and it was also fruit-canning season, and I was busy at something all the time, but at my work my part was pinned before me and I was reciting aloud all day long. Had any one come in unannounced he would have thought I had gone stark mad. Sometimes I'd stand in the middle of the kitchen, dishcloth in hand, admonishing Claude not to love Pauline too much, as he was but a gardener's son, etc. At last the rehearsals were finished and Thursday evening, August[Pg 70] 27, 1868, at Otto's Hall, the only suitable hall in town at that time, the play was given. Santa Cruz was crowded with visitors and the tickets were sold so rapidly that the house was sold out before the day was over.

The following criticism of the performance is taken from the Santa Cruz Sentinel: "The object of the entertainment being appreciated, the hall, with a seating capacity of 250, was crowded, and promptly at the hour the curtain was raised, displaying a little family coquettishness between Madam Deschappells and her daughter, Pauline. As a matter of course a bouquet of roses was found, and it was queried in all innocence of unsophisticated girlhood as to who could have sent it. This act, Pauline by Mrs. Elmira Baldwin and Madam Deschappells by Mrs. Fannie Baldwin, was well played and at once centered the attention of the audience. Colonel Dumas by I.C. Wilson was far in advance of his former attempts, and Beauseant by Thomas Beck added laurels to his already established reputation as a first-class amateur. Glavis by Master Asa Rawson was rendered in his usual facetious style, creating a universal twitter all around the hall. Mons. Deschappells by Albert Brown was laughable in the extreme, partly from the age of so young a father, as seen through the scarcity of his be-floured locks, and partly from its surroundings. The landlord by B.F. Tucker was up to the mark. Captain Gervais was played by C.W.S. Waldron with dignity and soldierly bearing. Widow Melnotte by Mrs. Margaret Blake was grand and inspiring, and when she displayed the character of a devoted mother many eyes glistened with a tear and many hearts reverted to the days, gone forever, when a mother bent over them with cheeks radiant with smiles of delight. Claude Melnotte by I.B. Binney was excellent and deserving of the greatest praise. Mrs. Elmira Baldwin, in her preference for the supposed prince, in her rage and disappointment when she discovered his true character, and in her determination in the final act to cling to him as the wife of an humble gardener's son, acquitted herself splendidly. Mrs. Fannie Baldwin acted well the part of the haughty and vindictive mother. When Melnotte had returned as military chieftain and was happily united, the curtain fell and the audience slowly dispersed."

Our audience was select and we had many fine comments upon our work, individually. Several professionals were in the audience. It was difficult to make them believe I had never acted before, and they said I could carry that character anywhere and make a success of it.[Pg 71] When all expenses were paid we had $80 as a nucleus towards the fire engine. The same was placed at interest, there to remain until called for by proper authority for the purpose for which it was raised. This play was given forty-three years ago. Three of the original characters, to my knowledge, are still living. The curtain of life's drama has been rung down on the other twelve. I have never inquired whether the fire engine was bought, but suppose, after all these years, that Santa Cruz must have several engines. We who live can feel we gave our talents for a good cause. It was rather a peculiar part for a minister's daughter to take, the straight-laced saints suggested, but the minister's daughter smiled, knowing she had helped in a good cause, and she still lives to tell the story of her theatrical achievement in the little town of Santa Cruz, and how the first money was obtained to get a fire engine for the town's safety.

GILROY HOT SPRINGS FLAG RAISING, JULY 18, 1872.

In various times in my life I have assisted at a flag raising. This incident occurred July 18, 1872, when I was on my yearly vacation to Gilroy Hot Springs. The genial host, George Roop, and his excellent wife, Elizabeth, were old friends of mine and they made it a point each year to have me come, generally in July, when many people gathered there. We had passed a very patriotic day on July 4 and the enthusiasm had not yet died out and the decorations were still in evidence. Our days were spent in fishing, playing croquet, in bathing and climbing the mountains. There was one high peak that no one had ever attempted and there was considerable banter between the guests and the proprietor, Roop saying that no one had scaled the peak since he had become proprietor of the springs. Among the guests were several great climbers and one evening we concluded to try, at least, and if we succeeded we were to put up the flag and sing America. It was an ideal morning and we got a good start before the sun rose. Ten of us started. We had but to follow the trail and keep going. We had a small donkey, used to the trail, and our lunch, flag, spade and hatchet and water-can were packed on his saddle, and with a hurrah and a shout we were off. Our spirits were high as we slowly began the ascent. Before we had gone a third of the way some of the party lagged behind. One by one they fell back until only five were left. After we had gone half the distance we rested for a half hour[Pg 72] and refreshed ourselves with part of the lunch. Then we journeyed on until we reached the sheep ranch on the top of the peak, a level where you could see for miles over hill and dale. When we looked for Gilroy Springs it seemed miles away. The air was so clear our voices went out like clarion calls. After our dinner we rested while the men hunted a suitable pole. They soon found a tall sapling, chopped off the branches and pointed the butt so it could be driven into the earth, and with spades prepared a place and the tree was planted as near to the edge of the mountain as we dared to work, in a spot where we could see the springs below. About three o'clock in the afternoon the ropes were ready and the flag placed in readiness. Capt. Mehan gave the sign to Dr. Coe and shouted to let her go and in a trice the flag was flung to the breeze and as it went up we began to sing America until the echoes rang far and wide with the refrain and caught the ears of the guests below who shouted and made the welkin ring by "firing off" anvils and making signals to attract our attention. When we knew they had seen the flag and had heard us we stood around the flagstaff and sang the Star Spangled Banner. After the singing we gave three times three cheers for Old Glory and they answered below by three shots and a hurrah for the victors who had bravely put up the flag on the highest peak, 2,659 feet above the level of the sea.

Those who won the victory and helped in the flag raising were Captain Mehan, Dr. Coe, Miss Foltz, Miss Farren and Margaret R. Blake. After the cheering had subsided we prepared for the descent. Our faithful donkey brayed with delight as he trotted off down the hill with a small flag fastened to his bridle. It was almost eight o'clock when we reached the foot of the trail, tired and foot-sore, but happy. As we came in sight we found the guests had formed into a procession, and headed by an impromptu band, arranged for the occasion. From the cooks and waiters they had secured tin pans, tin horns, pot covers for cymbals and other implements for the noisy demonstration. To welcome the victors, wreaths of wild flowers and ferns were thrown over our heads and shoulders and we were placed at the head of the parade and escorted to the hotel porch, where speeches were delivered in welcome and praises for our bravery showered upon us. Afterward we were allowed to retire to the ever welcome sulphur bath, refresh ourselves and rest before dinner.[Pg 73] It was late when the call came. On entering the dining room we found a separate table in the center of the room, decorated with flags and blossoms. To this table we were escorted by our host. We did not need the second bidding for we were a hungry five and we were ready for anything prepared for us. After spending a delightful hour partaking of the very best of everything, we adjourned to the parlors and talked over the events of the trip and enjoyed some excellent music which had been prepared for us. At 12 o'clock the gong sounded and the lights were put out. Thus ended the eventful day of our flag raising at Gilroy Hot Springs, July 18, 1872—thirty-nine years ago.

VISALIA CONCERTS.

Walter Campbell, Mr. Anderson, Sam Booth and myself were engaged as soloists for the Visalia concerts that lasted three nights, given under the auspices of the Good Templars of that city. Local talent was used for choruses. We were paid $50 each and all our expenses. When we arrived, December 3, 1878, the city was billed as for a circus. Posters were everywhere, old fashioned stages carrying passengers had posters on each side with our names printed in ten to twelve inch lettering. We were amazed at our popularity and were a jolly quartette. At the rehearsal we discovered some musical folk, capable of interpreting the old-time songs and to our great pleasure and surprise we found we had a fine support to aid us in our quaint songs which had made for us a reputation in our own city. By seven o'clock of the first night the sidewalk was crowded with eager and expectant citizens, waiting with good humor until the time for the opening. Before the concert began the house was filled to overflowing. Promptly at eight the instrumental march began. In the first number it was arranged for all the performers to be on the stage to make a picturesque showing of the costumes. It was many minutes before we were allowed to begin the programme. It was a demonstration to satisfy the ambition of any singer and spur him on to greater things. We were all in the best of voice and with the good will of the audience we carried out the programme without an error, with encores galore.

The second night was a repetition of the vast crowd of enthusiastic people. A surprise was in store for me. Rev. P.Y. Cool stepped upon the platform and informed[Pg 74] the audience that when he was pastor of the First Methodist church in Santa Cruz in 1864 I was the solo singer in his church. He said the audience had the opportunity of hearing by far California's best and oldest singer and to his mind the best he ever heard sing sacred songs. He finished by saying that he felt it an honor to hear once more her beautiful voice. Because of the great hit we had made we were asked to give a third performance and to this we agreed. The choruses were the same for the third night as were the character duets between Walter Campbell, Sam Booth, Anderson and me, which were repeated by request. The solos were alone changed. Sarah Walker also repeated her Opinions at the Pastor's Donation Party, causing much merriment that such an old lady could still take part with the younger set, even if she was seemingly eighty years old. The programme came to an end about eleven o'clock, which closed three most successful nights both artistically as well as financially for the cause of temperance in Visalia. On our departure in the morning the committee escorted us to the train and presented us with offerings of autumn flowers and fruits as tokens of their appreciation.


[Pg 75]

CHAPTER EIGHT

ON THE ROAD WITH DICK KOHLER, MR. VIVIAN, WALTER CAMPBELL, MR. WAND AND CHARLES ATKINS

IN 1876, I signed a six weeks' agreement with the Vivian Kohler Troupe to tour Oregon, Victoria and the cities on Puget Sound. We sailed from San Francisco on February 24 on the steamer City of Panama. Our party was made up of six people: Mr. Dick Kohler, the only Vivian, Walter C. Campbell, Margaret B. Alverson, Mr. Wand, pianist, Mr. Charles Atkins, advance agent. We were a goodly company indeed, all up in our parts and anticipating success in our venture. We arrived in Victoria, February 28. As we landed, rockets were sent up and cannons gave forth a deafening roar to inform the people the steamer had arrived, but it was too late for us to disembark, and reluctantly we repaired to our bunks to pass another night on board. Morning came at last and I opened my eyes upon a quiet little bay surrounded by high, rocky mountains, covered with foliage, including tall pines, and in the distance the snow-capped mountains, lighting up the background of the beautiful scene before me. By seven o'clock we were taken ashore in small skiffs to the opposite shore where we were met by our agent, Mr. Atkins, who had arranged for our conveyance to Victoria. After a smart ride of an hour we stopped at the Fayhard Hotel, too early for these slow Englishmen. After a decided rattling at a heavy dark oaken door of an ancient-looking mansion, a dull, grim old Chinese made his appearance, wondering who was disturbing his slumbers at such an early hour. The landlord, a polite little Frenchman, greeted us with many bows and much palaver and popped behind the bar, which motion was not lost on the chilled travelers who called for their favorite and drank with a satisfied smack. I felt like the dog who had gotten into bad company, the saloon being the only room with a fire. After a half hour of waiting we heard the welcome call for breakfast to which we needed no second bidding. I am a victim of sea-sickness and had eaten nothing[Pg 76] during the entire voyage except a little gruel, and I leave you to imagine what I did to the delicious breakfast placed before me, served only as Frenchmen can serve. It consisted of fish, chops, steak, rolls, coffee, potatoes and an omelette.

After breakfast I was shown to my room where I had a good view of the town and I found we had been largely billed to appear on Thursday night. We had a day of rest before our first performance. We moved in the meantime to the Colonial Hotel or Driard House, and were shown to a comfortable room with a fireplace, quaint and small, in which a bright fire was burning. The room was cheerful and attractive with many windows. The floors were painted and covered with rugs, bright and warm, and the white French curtains hung as in the days of Napoleon. Mahogany furniture of old fashioned shape added to the strange furnishing which was very attractive, and I felt at home at once. About ten o'clock that morning, Walter Campbell came and escorted me to the cupola of the hotel where we could see the city for miles, a good-sized place, with several prominent buildings and churches and a fine sight of Mount Baker in the distance, covered with snow. After a quarter of an hour we decided to have breakfast and joined the rest of the company and a stranger who was presented to us as Commodore Maury, a pleasant and distinguished-looking man who was a welcome addition to our company and extended us many a courtesy while we were in the city. After breakfast the company separated. I retired to my room and practiced an hour before going to try the voices in the Theater Royal. While in the midst of my practice a queer accident occurred in front of the hotel. A man in a watering cart, in backing up to the sidewalk, turned too abruptly and the traces gave way, the cart turned turtle and the poor horse hung in mid-air. Relief was soon at hand, a dozen or more of the brawny Englishmen righted the position of the animal and all was over and no harm done. After a good laugh everyone went his way. At ten o'clock we strolled to the theater to look it over. The people of Victoria think it is fine. They ought to come to California and pattern after some of our playhouses. It was small, the acoustics bad and the mixtures of colors was as a crazy-quilt to me. The boxes were ludicrous in their attempt at ornamentation. The seats were long benches, upholstered with solferino-colored damask and the scenes were the[Pg 77] merest daubs. We did not rehearse in the theater. We returned to the hotel and rehearsed in the parlors for an hour, then each one retired for the night.

 

Ministers with whom Mrs. Blake-Alverson has been associated

 

At last the first night is over and we have taken the people by storm. The theater is crowded and every number is encored. We have set the town talking and I expect the theater will not hold the people for tonight. House packed. Vivian is the funniest man I ever saw or heard. I nearly choke with laughter. In singing my song in costume tonight, a very pretty and touching incident occurred. Lord Mayor Drummond and family occupied one of the boxes. With them was their grandchild, about three or four years old. When I came out dressed as an old Scotch woman and leading Mr. Kohler, who represented John Anderson my Joe, her clear voice rang out, "Oh, grandpa, can I give my posie to the dear old lady?" By the time I had placed John in the large arm chair they had quieted her and the song proceeded. When the song was finished a silence of death was the only evidence we received, until we were nearly off the stage and the people awoke to the realization that the song was done and the singers gone. Then applause broke like a whirlwind and we were obliged to return three or four times to acknowledge our appreciation. At the close of the performance the Lord Mayor came with his family on the stage with his grandchild to see the dear old lady. I had retired to the dressing room and removed my costume and was ready to go to the hotel. When I came back Mr. Kohler introduced me and pointed me out to the child. She drew back with her posies and said, "Not this lady, the old lady." No persuasion could induce her to give me the bouquet. At last I told her to come with me and I'd show her the old lady. I returned to the dressing room and showed her the cap and other articles of the costume and told her I wore them and I was only playing I was old. She looked at me and drew a long breath, smiled and handed me the posies. I took the flowers from the child and we joined the party who were watching our performance with much pleasure. They asked her if she found the old lady and she replied, "Yes, she only played she was old like grandma." Mayor Drummond complimented me on my song and reminded me that it was his favorite Scotch song. Our first night won for us great recognition. About two o'clock we were serenaded at the hotel by the Victoria band.[Pg 78] The company acknowledged the compliment but I remained in my room.

The next day we were taken all over the city and shown the principal features by the Lord Mayor and his family. At two o'clock we returned to his mansion where we had luncheon. After passing several hours pleasantly with his lordship we were brought home in time to rest for the second night's performance, Friday. The house was again packed, enthusiasm ran high and everything on the program was encored. The boxes were filled with beautiful women and their escorts. The morning papers were loud with praises of our selections and how they had been rendered.

The wind and rain had turned into a heavy snow fall. We were due at Nanaimo for the next concert and despite the storm we started and arrived safely Wednesday morning, March 8. We sang in Institute hall and a fine place for sound it was. We had a crowded house and were well received. We were to return to Victoria the following day. The snow was deep and it was cold and blowing hard. Unable to secure an express wagon, we improvised a sleigh and the boys put our things into it and dragged the sleigh to the depot. We boarded the Northern Pacific and started up the Sound. Snow everywhere. The scenery was beautiful. Mount Baker was a lovely sight, just like one solid piece of ice. We arrived in Seattle at one o'clock in the afternoon and went directly to the Cosmopolitan.

Let me quote from my diary. Saturday, March 11th: "Our entertainment last night was given in the cabin of a steamer which had been fashioned into a music hall and it proved a fine place to sing in and we had a packed house in spite of snow and rain. We met with a great reception and one encore after another had to be given. Sunday, 12th. We started for Steillacoom on the steamer Alida and arrived early and were taken to the Harmon House. In the absence of a hall to sing in we gave our concert in the hotel dining-room with a melodeon for our only instrument. We made the best of the situation. All were in good humor and our auditors enjoyed the programme very much. The next morning we left for Olympia. At one o'clock we arrived in Olympia, the capital of Washington Territory, and were taken to the Carlton House. Concert tonight and off for Tacoma tomorrow at eight o'clock."

After the concert was over at Olympia I was surprised to be called back to the auditorium by Mr.[Pg 79] Kohler who informed me that some friends wished to speak to me. To my surprise twenty-five persons greeted me and made me welcome. I never knew one of them before, but each one had heard me sing in San Francisco years gone by and was as glad to hear me sing as if we had been old friends. My singing had impressed them so that they desired to know me personally upon hearing me again. Several of them even told me the songs I sang and others the different places and particular concerts where I sang. At this point I wish to say that to me this means the true singer. If the interpretation of the song and the singer leave a memory of pleasant remembrance, then the singer has found the secret of success and earns the reputation that no one can deny or take away from him or her. Riches, influence, envy, jealousy can never buy that which the singer has not. It must rest with the individuality and musical temperament of the artist and the art of giving to the hearer what the writer intended he should give.

At Tacoma we had very comfortable quarters at the Carlton House. As we were coming up the Sound in the steamer Zephyr I was in the cabin asleep. The Sound was rough, I am not a good sailor, and how long I slept I know not, but I awoke with a start and a loud report greeted my ears. As I opened my eyes I saw the white faces of women and children and steam filling the cabin. In my bewilderment I was really frightened. All this must have taken place in a moment, for I had not time to fully awaken when the members of our troupe hastily entered enquiring for Mrs. Blake, is she hurt, etc. Well the Tacoma concert is also a thing of the past and we left many friends in consequence of our good work. Now we are off for Portland, Oregon. March 17th, St. Patrick's Day. Our concert last night was a bouncing one. The beautiful theater was packed and we were received royally and the morning papers were loud in our praise. We are having rain this morning. Being St. Patrick's day our house was not packed, but comfortably filled. Of course we had an Irish programme which was just the right key note and the people gave us a hearty reception and many recalls. After the concert, friends came in carriages and took us to the St. Patrick's ball given by the upper class of Irish citizens. It was my first experience at an Irish ball. I did not retire until two o'clock in the morning, pretty well convinced that the Gaelic dancers are people to enjoy their fun to the utmost. March 18th.[Pg 80] At the matinee this afternoon a very laughable episode occurred. After singing the second encore there was a fine bouquet thrown on the stage for me. It failed to reach but fell in the orchestra. A nice looking and well groomed gentleman quickly jumped over and caught the bouquet and sent it upon the stage with a bow and a smile. As he attempted to return he fell headlong. Such a laugh went up! It was funny to see him sprawling on the floor in full dress. The cheers and laughter were so uproarious I was obliged to stop until they had subsided. He turned to the audience and made a profound bow, then we proceeded with the programme. This evening's concert was a success from start to finish.

Sunday, March 9th. Having met some pleasant people in our travels, Mrs. Baxter of Tacoma, Mrs. Gaten of Portland, and a friend of mine, Mrs. Kilbourn, we were enabled to see more of the places of interest during our stay in Portland. At ten o'clock our friends arrived at the hotel and in a smart conveyance we were soon enjoying the brisk morning air. Our destination was a Sisters' Hospital. After an hour's ride we alighted in front of this spacious, comfortable-looking building which proved to be St. Joseph's Hospital. We were welcomed by Sister Josephine who guided us all over the place, the dormitories, dining room, halls and corridors. Everything was kept in the neatest order. At last we stopped in front of the chapel. The place was partially lighted, showing the altar of white and gold, the brass candlesticks and vases of marble filled with roses. The altar was draped with white linen and pink silk linings and lace frills. A soft pink light pervaded the place, which gave it an ethereal appearance and filled me with solemn awe as I turned away. The day had begun very fair but when we returned to the hotel the rain was in full force. After dinner our friends called again and we were taken to their beautiful mansion where we met a company of eight very interesting persons, and with pleasant repartee and some good music we enjoyed the hours until ten o'clock when we were once more returned to the hotel and, tired out from our day's adventures, sleep soon claimed us. Monday, the 20th, we gave our last concert and we had a most magnificent reception and a crowded and enthusiastic house. Vivian was in great form and his "Ten Thousand Miles Away" and "Where's Rosanna Gone" took the house by storm. Walter and I received our share of glory as did Mr. Wand and Mr. Kohler. Thus[Pg 81] ended our three nights and one matinee in Portland, Oregon. Left Portland for Oregon City and arrived about six o'clock in the evening. The scenery here is magnificent. The city is one long street, the valley is not wider than to allow one street and two rows of railroad tracks, then comes the Willamette river and across that the canal and the high mountains again. Above the Imperial Mills are the Willamette Falls. As I stood within several feet of the falls I looked on the scene below the large mills, the canal, mountains, the small quaint town. We could see the boats in the canal unloading their freight. The Cliff House was the only hotel; not attractive but well kept. Our house was not well filled; the mill men were angry at a dollar admission so remained away and missed the fun for their pains.

 

Wm. H. Keith, Baritone

 

Next morning we left for Salem. The trip was beautiful in the extreme. The scenery was wonderful, rocks covered with moss of every shade made a picture gorgeous to behold. Arrived in Salem at eleven o'clock in the morning and drove to the Chemeketa Hotel, the largest one in Oregon. We are billed for two nights, then we separate and start for home. The concerts were well patronized and by the best people. Those who generally go wanted circus pieces, therefore the grouch and thin houses. Any one who knew Dick Kohler soon found out that nothing of the cheap sort goes where he is the leader. We started out on a venture on the 24th of February and separated on the 24th of March. I was the only woman in the company and a queen could not have received better attention than I from each member of the troupe. Wherever we remained Mr. Kohler reminded the people I should have the best. Sometimes we fared badly along the Sound and at the coaling camps the fare was rough and the accommodations uncomfortable. Such occurrences come to all who travel and we were the best natured company, ready for good, bad or otherwise. We were four nights in Victoria, B.C., two nights in Nanaimo, one night in Victoria on our return, two nights in Seattle, one night in Steillacoom, one in Olympia, one in Tacoma, Portland three nights and matinee, Oregon City one night, Salem two nights—nineteen performances.

After all expenses and salaries, Mr. Kohler returned to San Francisco with fifteen hundred dollars clear gain in four weeks. We left Portland for home on the steamer Ajax. But friends in Portland entertained us the last day and in parting came to the steamer and[Pg 82] brought papers and magazines to read during the voyage. But as for me, I had no use for anything but the bed. I am not a good sailor. The 26th the snow came down so fast the pilot could not see to take us out. After several hours there was a lull long enough for us to reach the steamer. It was rough crossing the mouth of the Columbia river, the rain and hail followed us for two days out. At last we came in sight of the Golden Gate, and we were home once more. After a pleasant trip, a welcome reception in every city and town in which we sang, our salaries in our pockets and wiser for our experience as entertainers, we were ready to take up the usual routine of our lives and continue to the successful end when traveling days are done for us all. If we had a regret it was at the hour of parting of our goodly company. The good-byes were said on the 24th of March, 1876, and three of the company never met again. To my knowledge all have passed away but Walter C. Campbell and the writer, Margaret Blake-Alverson.


[Pg 83]

CHAPTER NINE

EARLY MUSIC AND MUSIC HOUSES. MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MAKERS. OLD-TIME SINGERS

BEFORE our time the beginnings of music were comparatively insignificant. These we can divide into four heads, as follows:

1. The music of the Indians.
2. The Mission music of the padres.
3. The Spanish and Mexican music.
4. The music of the miners.

These epochs have no bearing upon the music of today. Even the beginnings in 1850 and 1851 were of the most primitive sort. As early as 1849 in the then village of San Francisco, music was given by traveling companies from all parts of the globe, lured here by the song of gold. As the priests built the missions and gathered the people into the churches, they sang the songs of the Church, such as the Gregorian chants. Their scores were written on sheets of parchment, some of them exist today and can be seen in the Bancroft collection of California music.

Most of the miners were men who sang songs which were not of the highest order, and they showed no great proficiency as singers, but if they were not singers they were good listeners, and occasionally a strolling violin player would arrive in the camp and he was given the closest attention and rewarded always with an ounce of gold, which had the value of $16. He was extended full hospitality and shared their grub (as the miners called their food in the camp in early days.)

Many of these quaint songs were composed by the miners in their camps, and later we had men like the well known singer, Sam Booth. The titles were unique as well as the sentiment, and fitted the time and place in the early years. With the advent of women the guitars and banjos were employed in the dance halls and fandangoes of the Mexican men and women, who were the only women in the state when we arrived. There is much romance coupled with as much stern reality in building up the music of our state. The golden[Pg 84] city was little better than trails over the wind-swept sand hills, our beautiful bay was covered with craft of all nations, lured here by the story of gold and deserted by crews who joined the masses of humanity of all nations and creeds ashore, infected with the delirium of the gold fever. They thought little of music that was stable. There were a few practical business men among them who looked farther than the mere hunting of gold.

Having been so closely identified with the earliest music and musicians I have undertaken to give you an exact recital of facts in my long association and in the performance of this pleasant art, which is a beautiful memory in my long years of experience. In this work I have been assisted by diaries, programmes and notes from the musicians of my time. It will give me gratification and reward for my work if I can present an historical account from the small beginnings of 1851 to the colossal and substantial basis upon which the music houses stand today. The pioneer men in the business had many struggles and obstacles to overcome. The early fires swept away the beginnings several times, but like the fabled Phoenix they steadily arose from the ashes of their disappointments to begin again with renewed energy and strength of purpose.

I think I can safely say that the music house of Joseph Atwill & Company on Washington street was the first which dealt exclusively in musical instruments. Atwill did not import largely but bought of Mr. A. Kohler who dealt in musical instruments, notions, fancy goods and toys. Mr. Atwill in 1860 sold out to Matthias Gray, a former clerk of his, and he and William Herwig in 1862 opened at 613 Clay street. After a short time Mr. Herwig, who was a clarionet player, dropped out. Gray's business prospered rapidly, being aided by the acquisition of the Steinway piano agency. Gray's music store was the headquarters for many years of all visiting artists and it may be claimed that it was the first devoted entirely to the music art. Later two of Gray's clerks, Charles McCurrie and Julius Weber, established a favorite home for the music business and during some years were on Post street near Kearny street and later on Kearny street between Sutter and Bush streets. In the meantime Gray removed to Kearny street next to the White House. At this location McCurrie and Weber rejoined Gray and the business was again moved to larger quarters on Post street and included under its[Pg 85] roof a large second story salesroom, that was easily converted into a recital room and was designated Steinway Hall. A very tempting offer from the then young dry goods firm of O'Connor, Moffatt & Co. induced Gray to give up his lease and move a block further out Post street. Just prior to this the business was incorporated and known as the "Matthias Gray Co." Later Mr. Gray passed away, and still later the business was terminated. The immense stock of music was purchased "for a song" by Oliver Ditson Co. During its existence Gray did an extensive publishing business and became a member of the Music Board of Trade, which then controlled prices, etc.

Charles H. McCurrie and Julius Weber were so thoroughly identified with music as an art for many years that a word about their present activities may be of interest. Mr. McCurrie went into Eastern piano factories and interested himself in the technical makeup of pianos and the art of tuning and returning settled and still lives in Alameda, Calif., where he has written several successful operettas and collections of songs for children. Selections from the latter are in daily use in the public schools, although not written for that purpose. The Rival Queens and The Marsh King are also two successful cantatas, the Quest of Truth being his latest work of that nature. Mr. Julius Weber joined the faculty of piano teachers at Mills College and remained there until recently, the demands upon his time by pupils at his residence in Berkeley having compelled him reluctantly to resign. He is still successfully teaching and is identified with the best musical advancement in our college city.

 

Music House of Kohler & Chase

 

Kohler and Chase were established in 1850, starting as a toy and notion shop and selling musical instruments. They were not wholly in the music business until about 1853 or 54. Mr. Kohler imported nothing but French and German upright pianos at that time. In 1860 they were fully established as a regular music house, on Clay street and afterwards moved to Post street. The same year A. Kohler opened a large wholesale house on Sansome street. The first grand pianos were imported by them about 1859. They came from Europe and arrived on board ship just in time to be exhibited at the first Mechanic's Fair, held in a building put up for that purpose on Montgomery street. At that time Montgomery street toward Market street consisted mostly of vacant lots. Kohler & Chase's music house has been one of the most successful during all these years of changes which have[Pg 86] come during all these years. They had nothing but successful advancement until our great earthquake demolished the entire city and they suffered as did other music houses, but at the present time of writing they are housed in a most magnificent building of their own on O'Farrell street and Bagley place, built especially for them, and ten stories in height. They occupy the entire building. It is the largest and most complete music house in the West and an acknowledged musical center.

When the Matthias Gray Company went out of business Mr. McCurrie selected from the shelves the music and books for the store of Wm. B. Frisbee & Company, opened in the old Masonic Temple, Montgomery street near Market. With Mr. Frisbee was the late H.M. Bosworth, a leading organist and critic, Bohemian, etc. Later the firm became Frisbee & Scott. Gustave A. Scott, now dead, was a well known and successful music teacher and for many years organist of Calvary Church on Bush street, and later at the corner of Geary and Powell streets. He was also organist for the synagogue on Mason and Geary, Rabbi Bettelheim, pastor, and accompanist for the early Handel & Haydn Society on California and Dupont streets, where we occupied Dr. Lacey's church with Mr. Oliver as business director and a brother of Judge Shafter as one of the musical committee of the society which numbered 500 fine singers. Later the business of Frisbee & Scott was transferred to the southwest corner of Kearny and Sutter streets. Changing hands again the business was taken over by A.A. Rosenberg, another music teacher, and finally became known as the firm of Sherman & Hyde, Mr. Sherman having been in the employ of A.A. Rosenberg. After several years, Sherman & Hyde became known as Sherman, Clay & Company, who have been doing a successful business, occupying at the present time a fine building which has been erected since the earthquake. They are one of the leading music houses. Since the earthquake the senior member, Major C.C. Clay, has passed away. The business is now incorporated and among the officials are Mr. Fred Sherman, son of L.S. Sherman, and Mr. Phillip Clay, son of the late Major Clay. Mr. Leander Sherman, one of the founders of the firm, is still living and continues in the business as in former years. The firm also owns its own building in Oakland at the corner of Fourteenth and Clay streets, built since the earthquake, one of the finest structures in the business center of Oakland.

 

Heads of pioneer music houses of San Francisco

 

[Pg 87]

Since music was so much a part of the life of the earlier days it may not be amiss to mention the names of a few great specialists of that time. There were the Zechs, Jacob and Fred, manufacturers and repairers. Many examples of the former's work still exist. Jacob was encouraged by the late Wm. C. Ralston and built many grand pianos for the old Palace Hotel and other places. Both the Zechs have passed away but their descendants are in the front rank as musical artists, teachers and composers. A celebrated artist in his line was Urban, the violin repairer. Phaff, the flute and clarinet man was another. Others were Senor Nojica, maker of guitars, harps in the Italian quarter of Kearny street, Charles Morrill, of banjos, Tall Dan Delaney, drummer at Maguire's Theater (who wouldn't learn a note of music and played as he pleased) who repaired drums, and C.C. Keene, maker of accordeons, in former days much played, Professor Wm. T. Ferrer, the guitarist, lately deceased, came here in early days from Mexico with his family and made a place for himself as a guitar and mandolin teacher. His family were all talented, Annita Ferrer was a beautiful soprano singer and sang in concert and church. She occupied the place as soloist in Calvary Church for a while when the choir was composed of Harry Gates, tenor, Fred Borneman, bass, M.R. Blake, contralto, G.A. Scott, organist. Prof. Ferrer was not a commonplace performer, but played operatic selections of his own arrangement for the guitar that no one else attempted as far as I can recollect. He had a severe time in the beginning as prices for lessons were so low, and he had all he could do to keep the wolf from the door. We gave him several benefits which were greatly appreciated. One night we crowded the old Mercantile Hall with his admirers. The singers and players were Mrs. Hall McAllister, Mrs. Marriner-Campbell, Clara Tippits, Amphion Quartette, Mrs. M.R. Blake, Sig. Mancusie, Wunderlich, J. Stadfeldt, Harry Hunt, accompanist. I shall always remember that night. The dear professor thanked us with broken speech, tears filling his eyes. He said the excellent program was a surprise and one of the greatest pleasures he had in California. He was made doubly glad by a well-filled purse of a thousand dollars, the receipts of the concert. This act on our part made him our perpetual friend until he died. He lived long enough to see his prices increased fourfold, which enabled him in his later years to live in apparent comfort. We were glad of it for[Pg 88] everybody liked Prof. M.W. Ferrer. He passed to his rest several years ago.

Among the earlier piano dealers were Badger & Lindenberger, who handled the Chickering pianos and also did a wholesale clothing business (a strange combination) at Battery and Merchant streets. After several years they were succeeded by the surviving partner, Wm. G. Badger, who continued the business until his death, after which it was disposed of by his heirs. Mr. Badger was a faithful worker in the Sabbath schools and took a deep interest to promote good music among the young. Some time in 1874 he produced the cantata of Esther, with Madam Anna Bishop, queen, W.C. Campbell, king, Vernon Lincoln, Hamen, Mrs. M.R. Blake, Hamen's wife. The old Platt's hall was packed to its fullest capacity. The cantata was given to the unbounded delight of Mr. Badger, and the audience cheered us all to the utmost. Enthusiasm was at the highest pitch and encomiums of praise were showered upon us. Those were halcyon days for fine singers. We had no lack of voices to call upon at all times.

Among the earliest music stores was that of an aged Italian named Salvator Rosa. He occupied half of a store on Montgomery street, near Market, and was a genial, quiet old gentleman, who spoke very little English. His stock was principally selections from Italian operas, of which he knew every note. Both American and Italian artists loved to visit the old fellow and sun themselves in his doorway. Rosa moved later to Sacramento street and continued in the field and was followed by Rasche Bros., in turn by J.T. Bowers, a brother-in-law of the Rasche brothers. After Bowers, the business was conducted by Chas. S. Eaton, and then after some years faded from sight. Also established in the music literature business at one time in Clay street, was Schubert & Co.'s branch New York house, succeeded by the Ruppell Bros., their managers, who later gave up the business. Blackman & Davis, Southerners, tried the business for a while, being among the first to occupy a store in the original Phelan Building. Another off-shoot of Gray's was John Broder, who commenced work as a little boy. He is now in ripe manhood conducting a similar business in the Byron Mauzy building on Post street where he is still successfully conducting the work he chose when a boy.

Engaged in the earlier years of the music business was Woodworth, Allover & Co. Here the founder of the[Pg 89] present firm of Benj. Curtaz & Son was employed. Woodworth, Allover & Co. dealt mostly in imported French pianos and harmoniums. They were succeeded by Woodworth, Schell & Co. and with them was connected Mr. Curtaz, who later was in the firm of Hemme & Long. Woodworth, Schell & Co. after several years discontinued. A.L. Bancroft & Co. for a few years also engaged in the music business on Market street but later retired. A. Waldteufel was a late comer from San Jose and sold Blethner pianos. His chief clerk was the late well known Julius Oettl, a fine teacher of the piano and an encyclopedia of musical knowledge. Later he was in the music department of the branch house in Oakland of Kohler, Chase & Co. with whom he was connected until sickness prevented his continuing in the business any longer. He died several years ago, mourned by many friends he had made in his long career of music in the state. S.H. Long, a music teacher from Marysville, after handling the Chickering piano for a while at the corner of Montgomery and Post streets was joined by August Hemme and for several years they manufactured the Hemme & Long pianos. They are both deceased and the business was continued for a while by Mr. E. Caswell and Mr. Curtaz but finally was wound up.

The well known firm of the Zeno Mauvais Music Co. was established in 1877 at 420 Twelfth street, Oakland, under the name of its founder, Zeno Mauvais. In 1882 it was deemed best to locate in San Francisco and at 749 Market street the stock and sign was first shown to the people on that side of the bay. Two years later the business had so increased as to make a removal to more commodious quarters an absolute necessity. 769 Market street was secured and with the increased facilities for carrying stock and attending to the wants of patrons the business was soon in a fair way to eclipse in volume its oldest competitors. Mr. Mauvais saw early in his musical career that the public demanded more "up-to-date methods" in the way of "bargains" "right prices" and "square dealing" than had been offered before, and he began to put into operation the policy of "quick sales and small profits" which was characteristic of the house during its entire existence and brought to it an ever increasing trade. One of the special features was the handling of enormous quantities of the 50-cent folios and the 10-cent editions of popular issues. These were bought in carload lots and sent out to nearly every[Pg 90] quarter of the globe. Pianos and musical goods of all descriptions were included in the lines carried by the firm, whose well known policy of discounting its bills enabled it to secure very desirable agencies and lowest prices on all purchases. In June, 1890, the house sustained an irreparable loss by the death of its founder, Zeno Mauvais, who passed away after a very brief illness. Devotion to business and a never ceasing expenditure of energy and vital force was the cause of this man's withdrawal from the activity of an hitherto busy life, during which he made and kept many friends. The incorporation of the firm under the name of the Zeno Mauvais Co. was the next change made in the affairs of this house. Mrs. Mae Mauvais was elected president and during the next five years her brother, R.L. Eames, occupied the position of manager. At this time a change being deemed expedient, Mr. H.S. Stedman, who had been connected with the house since 1883, was elected as manager and secretary, continuing as such until the conflagration of 1906 destroyed the entire stock together with all the books of the concern.

Under the new management the firm renewed its effort to expand and took the two upper floors of the building in addition to the one previously occupied. A very successful feature was the division of the lower floor into rooms for the display and sale of different kinds of small goods, each having a room of its own. This was a new thing on the coast and was fully appreciated by the large number of patrons who took advantage of the opportunity to try instruments in comparative seclusion. In 1904 the largest holder of stock, Mr. Roy Mauvais, who was actively engaged in looking after the interests of the firm desired to concentrate his energies in furthering other lines of business in which he had engaged, and found more congenial. At this time an offer from the Wiley B. Allen Co. to purchase the entire stock of pianos, organs and piano players was accepted, and in accordance with the conditions of the sale the stock of small goods, sheet music and books was moved to 933 Market street, in the room adjoining the piano warerooms of the Allen Company and there handled under the name of the Zeno Mauvais Music Co. until the fire of April, 1906, obliterated all traces of it. It was not considered advisable by the stockholders to re-establish the business after this unfortunate occurrence and so one of the best and most favorably known music houses of the Pacific Coast ceased to exist.

 

Music House of Sherman, Clay & Co.

 

[Pg 91]

I will close my chapter with the story of the Zeno Mauvais Company. My story deals only with early history, for it would not be possible for me to give any accurate account of the business except from 1851 to 1877. I moved away from San Francisco twice and as my work was upon different lines, I got out of touch. My music was confined to the churches and concert halls and teaching in music and art and other branches of industrial development for the young of our growing city. I am indebted to my good musical friends of earlier days for much of this knowledge.

When my earlier co-workers in music heard that I was to write about our early days they were all interested and entered into the proposition with unabated enthusiasm and not one has refused to give me information to make this volume a souvenir of the days when we began as factors in the development of music from the small beginnings of 1850 to the solid foundations of today.


[Pg 92]

CHAPTER TEN

AS A CHURCH CHOIR SINGER. BARNABEE, ZERRAHN, PATTI, JENNY LIND, JOE MAGUIRE, SAM MAYER, HARRY GATES

MY career as a church singer dates as far back as my childhood. As children our father pressed us into the service of the Sabbath school and church services. There were seven girls and three boys. As soon as we were old enough to do the work, our parts were assigned to us, consequently singing the church service was part of my young life. Before I could read the notes I was able to make an alto part to almost any hymn. That is one reason why I do not read notes as readily as others, for it was easier for me to make my own part than take the trouble to read the music. But later on I was obliged to read my part, if I sang in concert with others.

We moved from Illinois and settled in Cincinnati in 1845. My father was the founder of the Betts Street First German Reformed Church and was its pastor for seven years. During that time I sang each Sabbath. When father came to California and another pastor occupied the pulpit, we were obliged to give up the parsonage. Other arrangements were made for the music and my sister Mary became the organist of the old Sixth Street Presbyterian Church and Mr. Charles Aiken, director of the music. By accident I went with my sister Mary and sat in the choir loft. Mr. Aiken noticed my presence and recognized me as one of his pupils in the public school where he taught the singing during the week. Surprised at seeing me he asked how I happened to come into the choir. I told him I was with my sister, Miss Kroh, "Ah," he replied, and smiled and left me. I saw him in conversation after she had finished her voluntary. When she was seated beside me she said, "Maggie, when the choir arises to sing go over and stand with the altos and sing with them." When the time came she gave me the music and I sang my first service when I was ten years old, in a double quartette and in that capacity I sang for five years, each service, until 1850, the latter part of the year, when father had[Pg 93] arrived in California and sent the gold for us to follow him to the golden land, as he called it.

 

First church choir in California

 

At the time of our arrival in California there were no choirs or singers in San Joaquin county. There was one Catholic church in Stockton but it was only a mission and the worshippers were Spanish and Mexicans, priest, Father Mauritz. Our family was the first white family in the city of Stockton, there being only one white woman in the place and she was the wife of Rev. James Woods. Gladly she received us and we were made welcome at her home for two weeks before we were able to see father, who had been sick in Scorpion Gulch for some time and we were obliged to await his coming. After the arrival of our father it was planned that a choir should be established in the First Presbyterian Church of which Rev. Mr. Woods was pastor. We had all the female voices needed. We had made the acquaintance of several of the prominent men in Stockton who were fortunately also singers, and they readily consented to sing as members of the choir. What was to be done for music? There was nothing to be had in Stockton. There were two music stores in San Francisco and the first task was to supply an instrument, if possible. Fortune favored us and between the joint efforts of these musical people we obtained a good sized Mason and Hamlin melodeon, which was duly installed into the choir of the church. The choir members were as follows: Sopranos: Miss Emma Jane Kroh, Miss Sarah Rebecca Kroh; Altos: Miss Mary M. Kroh, Miss Margaret R. Kroh; Tenors: Wm. W. Trembly, Henry Noel, George H. Blake; Bass: Wm. H. Knight, James Holmes, Wm. Belding; Organist, Miss Mary M. Kroh.

These men and women were the original members of the first choir that had its beginning in Stockton, in 1851. During the years of 1853 and later, the men who had families in the Eastern cities arranged for their coming and not many months elapsed before we had a goodly number of splendid ladies, the wives of these men, and some children and young maidens. Quite a colony of musical folks sprang up. They took an interest in the different choirs that had been formed. There were the Episcopal, Methodist and Baptist missions, begun during this time, and they had their followers and formed their musical services as soon as they were able to procure singers. During this time there came to Stockton from New York, Mr. Henry B. Underhill. He was not only a fine organist but an organ builder. He[Pg 94] at once joined our colony of musicians and we rejoiced in the addition of a second organist to rely upon. Up to this time my sister was the only available musician that could be called upon to play on all occasions where music was needed. The Episcopal mission of which Rev. E.W. Hager was rector, desired my sister as organist for his service which was held in one of the large rooms of the city hall. As Mr. Underhill was a member of the Presbyterian faith and desired to help the church they exchanged places. The choir had grown rapidly, some of the singers were Episcopalians who preferred their own service and all was amicably settled with the result that Stockton could boast of two choirs and two organs, or melodeons.

It was not many years before each mission had built a church of its own with separate organs and choirs. During these years I was sent to the Benicia Seminary, the only available school in the state, to finish my education which had been interrupted when I left Cincinnati to come west. Miss Atkins worshiped in the Presbyterian church, Rev. Sylvester Woodbridge, pastor, and his daughter, Miss Mary Emma Woodbridge, organist. She also attended the seminary and those of the pupils who could sing were invited into the choir. I was one that was chosen on the alto side to help in the worship. After singing here for a year, Miss Atkins joined the Episcopal church and was confirmed and baptised in that faith by Bishop Wm. Ingraham Kip, D.D. I sang a special song at that time. I was now eighteen years old and was in the last year of my school days. After leaving school I returned to Stockton where I again joined the Episcopal choir—St. John's—and sang until I was married, September 17, 1857, to George H. Blake, Rev. E.W. Hager, rector, reading the service.

When my oldest son was seven months old we went to Boston, Mass., and later to Dedham, a suburban town out of Boston, when my husband was appointed manager of a department store by the firm of Parker, Barnes and Merriam. I heard my first concert, where I listened to some of the great singers of the day in Boston Music Hall, January 28th, 1859. The oratorio, "The Messiah," was given by the Handel & Haydn society, with 300 or more in the choir. Among the soloists were Clara Louisa Kellogg, Isabelle Hinkley, Adelaide Phillips, Signor Stigelli, Mons. Guilmetti. On April 3rd, 1859, I heard Neukomm's grand oratorio of David with grand opera principles. Among the singers were Mrs. J.H. Long,[Pg 95] Louisa Adams, C.R. Adams, P.H. Powers, J.P. Draper, Edward Hamilton, George Wright Jr., Carl Zerrahn, conductor, J.C.D. Parker, organist. After these two grand performances I heard many oratorios Sunday evenings at the Boston Music Hall, where each Sabbath a sacred concert was held instead of evening services in the churches. These opportunities helped to lay the foundation for my musical training. The oratorios were interpreted by the best singers. I never dreamed of such an opportunity when my husband told me I should hear the best and Boston was the place.

It was not many months before my opportunity came to be admitted into the Oratorio Society. It came about like this. My husband's people were Unitarians and attended the First Church, of which Starr King, then a young man, was pastor. There was no choir singing, but congregational song with a precentor who stood in the middle aisle and led the people, with the large organ at one side of the church, J.C.D. Parker, organist. As the service began my husband said, "Maggie, when the hymn is given out you can sing, since the entire congregation sings here." He had an excellent tenor voice, and we both sang, unconscious that we were attracting any attention. Between the hymns Mr. Barnes (the precentor) stood three pews behind us. After the service was ended he came to our pew and introduced himself, telling us that when he heard my contralto he thought the church had a visitor, Miss Adelaide Phillips, of the opera company, and Boston's foremost contralto. He was surprised to find my name was Blake instead. I did not know until I heard this wonderfully beautiful singer in opera oratorio how highly I had been complimented. Then I realized the comparison and did my best to merit the praise which had been bestowed upon me in my twentieth year. When we parted Mr. Barnes invited us to meet some friends at his home on Monday evening, when we met the principal members and officers of the Handel and Haydn Society, and after a pleasant evening of part song, solos and duets, I was asked to sing for the company. I was reluctant to comply, as I was not considered a solo singer, my place was always in quartette work and duets. Contraltos were not so popular in those days as the soprano and tenor and not considered solo voices where I ever sang before. It was only now I realized I was to have a place also. As I sang many beautiful duets with my husband, we favored them with a number. It was still insisted I must sing a song. My[Pg 96] husband, accustomed to accompany me, arose and led me to the piano and I sang the old song, When the Swallows Homeward Fly, in the German language, as all German songs should be sung to bring out their full feeling and significance. That song was the climax and I was lionized for the rest of the evening. There were also German professors present and their compliments would have turned any one's head were it not poised on good common sense shoulders. My success began on that night.

There were three factions or grades of society in Boston, the literary, wealthy and musical. The position of my husband's family enabled us to enter all three. Consequently the sails of my ship, success, were flung to the breeze and for four years I had fair winds and bright skies in the realm of song. Is it to be wondered at that memory comes floating up before me like a panorama of beautiful pictures and remembrances of happiness—times enjoyed with souls filled with the love of song, good comradeship and lifelong friendship which can never be erased? It is here where I sang for the first time with the renowned singer and actor, Henry Clay Barnabee, a young man then, just three years my senior, over fifty years ago. There are still five of us left to tell the stories of the singing days, when the city of Boston held scores of the finest male and female singers that ever pleased an exacting public.

On April 3, 1859, began the forty-third season of oratorio with such singers as Mrs. J.H. Long and Miss Louisa Adams, sopranos; Adelaide Phillips, contralto; C.R. Adams, P.H. Powers and J.P. Draper, tenors; Edward Hamilton, George Wright Jr. and Carl Formes, bass; Carl Zerrahn, conductor; J.C.D. Parker, organist, and full orchestra. Among the productions rendered were: Magic Flute, David, Creation, Messiah, Moses in Egypt, Samson, Elijah, etc., with Clara Louisa Kellogg, soprano; Isabella Hinkley, soprano; Adelaide Phillips, contralto; Signor Stigelli, tenor; Signor Guilmetti, bass.

Grand opera began the season of 1861 and I had my first opportunity to hear an opera given by such a galaxy of fine artists, being a member of the Handel and Haydn Society, and assisting in the chorus and also a member of the celebrated choir in Dedham, Mass., I was enabled to have especial advantages to hear this grand music. "La Juive" was the first with Mme Colson, Hinkley, Signor Stigelli and Susini as Cardinal; Sig. Hartman, Mancini, Barilli, Sig. Sheele. Martha with Colson, Phillips, Brignoli, Susini, Arili, Mancini; Il Giuramento with Colson, Phillips,[Pg 97] Brignoli, Farri; Lucia di Lammermoor with Isabel Hinkley, Sig. Ferri, Sig. Lotti, Stigelli and N. Birelli.

 

Henry Clay Barnabee

 

At the close of the season, January 28, Sig. Stigelli was prevailed upon to give a farewell concert in Boston Music Hall, assisted by the Oratorio Society and Orpheus Musical Society. Soloists for the occasion were Mlle. Carlotta Patti, who sang the aria from the Magic Flute, Carl Formes, basso profundi, Signor Stigelli, tenor. It was a gala night and every seat was filled at the exact hour to hear for the last time the famous tenor who had sung himself into the hearts of the people by his beautiful voice and exquisite singing of the different arias of the opera in which he excelled. The hall was crowded to overflowing. Never had I beheld such beautifully gowned women and brilliant lights; the tremendous chorus and the full orchestra left a lasting impression upon me which cannot be erased by time. It is over fifty years since I saw such gorgeous splendor and heard the marvelous singing of these birds of song. The singing of Mlle. Carlotta Patti was a revelation almost beyond my conception. I heard her in 1861 and heard Adelina in 1886, twenty-five years afterwards, and of the two sisters I'd give Carlotta the preference. Her trills were like warblings of the birds and filled the auditorium and floated to the high arched ceiling of the cupola in the center of the hall and sounded like a chorus of birds rejoicing over the advent of their nestlings. Words are not adequate to explain the beautiful work of this petite singer and the reception she received on this occasion. This concert was my first opportunity to hear such artists. They were singers and players of the highest art.

It was to me not real. The music that I had heard and sung before was sacred, on the Sabbath, and in songs familiar at that time, Home, Sweet Home, Swanee River, Mary of Argyle, etc., and songs moderately difficult, anthems and Te Deums and German leider were all we aspired to. Others than these were not to be thought of. Nothing worldly was tolerated. The minister's daughters must always be proper in all walks of life. In 1846 when Jenny Lind made her tour of the world my sister Mary was the fortunate one to be able to hear her. All of her beautiful songs were in vogue and I was familiar with them, as my sister was a fine singer. She obtained these songs and although it is over sixty-six years ago I still have a great number of them, yellow with age, published by Pond and Company, and Oliver Ditson Company. These publishing houses were[Pg 98] founded during my early life, Ditson and Company began in 1834 and I was born in 1836. When I was ten years old I was sent to these places to purchase the music sister required in her teaching, church and home songs. For sixty-seven years I have patronized the house of Ditson and Company. The original men have passed out and the sons are now the members of the firm. Only this year I received a cheery holiday greeting from the firm. I have digressed somewhat and gone back to my girlhood days in Cincinnati.

Let us return again to Boston fifty years ago and listen to this fine concert given in Boston Music Hall. It is almost impossible for me to describe the grandeur of this magnificent chorus and the orchestra and grand organ with Carl Zerrahn directing this multitude of singers and players and Howard Dow at the organ, playing with such a masterful touch. The brilliant audience listened with marked attention to this beautiful music and the stillness was only broken by the mighty applause of approval at the close of the grand performance and the repeated recall of the artists who deserved all of this great demonstration. The first great concert was but the beginning of my career. In the four years I had opportunities that were of a lasting profit to me. It was the cradle of my musical life and I often go back in my mind and see those beautiful singers I learned to love as friends and companions in song. Friends made then have lasted as long as life. All have passed beyond and only five or six of the galaxy of male and female singers of that time are left to remember with pleasure the days of Auld Lang Syne.

During this period of 1861 the Civil War broke out and every patriotic man and woman was called into action. The union of the states must be preserved. The excitement was intense. Volunteers were called for and business men, clerks and rich men enrolled at once and soon our boys and men were drilling for the march to the south. It was not many weeks before the order was given to march. The first fire had been heard at Fort Sumter and the American citizen soon became a soldier and as the call was given he marched away. Shall I ever forget the sight of those splendid young men as they marched away, company after company. As I saw them in the strength of their manhood going to their destruction, my heart wept inwardly knowing many of them would never return. But those at home had no time for repining, and we were called upon also to supply the needs of the[Pg 99] soldier who was fighting for us with willing hands and stout heart. Each one kept busy. Our choir was enlisted when the call came for funds, and faithfully we all responded. Many choirs were united by Edwin Bruce, and we were at once formed into a chorus of willing singers, great and small, in the realms of music, and in several months were well equipped for the work of raising funds for the war needs. The chorus was formed from Dr. Burgess' choir of Dedham, Newton Musical Association, Boudoin Street choir, Church of the Unity choir, the Bullfinch choir, number 200 voices in all. We were known as the Operatic Bouquet of artists. Our repertoire consisted of national and martial songs, our choruses selected from the following great compositions:

Il Trovatore, Verdi; Lucrezia Borgia, Donizetti; Martha, Flotow; Semiramide, Rossini; War Songs (male voices), Adams; Bohemian Girl, Balfe; I Puritani, Bellini; Maritana, Wallace; Masaniello, Auber; Enchantress, Balfe; Hark, Apollo, H.R. Bishop; Enchantress (male voices) Balfe; solo and choruses from Lucrezia Borgia, Donizetti; Hail to the Chief, Il Templario, Nicolai; quintette and chorus from Martha, Flotow; Miserere, from Il Trovatore, Verdi; Chorus of Martyrs, Donizetti; La Fille Du Regiment, Donizetti; chorus from Maritana, Wallace; chorus from Il Lombardi, Verdi; trio and chorus, Attila, Verdi; solo and chorus, Martha, Flotow; trio, Charity, Rossini; trio and chorus, Ernani, Verdi; chorus, full, Gibby La Cornemuse, Clapisson.

In the spirit of the times these two hundred voices trained especially for the occasion, it was not to be wondered at that success followed our efforts. Whenever we were called old Tremont Temple was filled to the doors. Our treasury was never depleted during all the months we were doing service in the cause of the soldier and his needs. Boston Music Hall, churches in the smaller cities were always filled to overflowing whenever we appeared in Dedham, Medford, Roxbury and Old South Church. For nearly two years this work went on. In 1862 my husband decided to come home once more, as there was less need for our services. We were in Santa Cruz when the war ended, still helping the cause through the Christian Sanitary Commission, founded at the beginning of the rebellion. Money was supplied through this medium, and through free contributions from the different states of the Union and churches and societies, etc. Having had much experience in the East we were enabled to be of great assistance to the musical people of Santa Cruz and made successful entertainments for the cause for the following year which aroused the patriotic[Pg 100] fire in the hearts of the California defenders of the Union and crowned our efforts with success until the end of this dreadful war.

In 1869, Mr. Blake having failed in his business, we left Santa Cruz and returned once more to San Francisco to retrieve our lost fortune. Youth, hope and energy were my strong salient points and I began in earnest to gain a substantial footing in music. My opportunity came with the Lyster Opera troupe and through efforts of a friend, Mrs. Cameron, who was employed there as soprano, I secured a position at $20 per week during their season in San Francisco.

I regret that I cannot remember the name of the Baptist pastor during my stay in Santa Cruz. He is the only minister whose name I have failed to recall, yet I can see his kindly face, and I gladly helped his congregation many times when extra help was needed. It has been so many years ago there is no one to help me in my research. This is the first link in my chain of evidence that has to be left unfinished, to my sorrow.

Returning once more to San Francisco I gave my services in the choir of Calvary Church, then on the north side of Bush street, between Montgomery and Sansome streets, Rev. W.A. Scott, pastor; Prof. G.A. Scott, organist, and Washington Elliott, choir master of the large chorus choir. I became the alto of the quartette, Mrs. Van Brunt soprano, W. Elliott tenor, Charles Parent bass. Dr. W.A. Scott was pastor for a short time and Rev. W. Wadsworth succeeded him. I remained in this choir until 1863, when I was offered the place in the choir of the First Presbyterian Church with a salary attached for the first time during my services in these many churches. Rev. Mr. Anderson was the pastor and George Pettinos organist. Sarah Watkins soprano, M.R. Blake contralto, Matthew Anderson tenor, Cornelius Makin bass—one of the best choirs in the city, splendid voices and good singers. I continued here nearly two years, when there was an offer for the place in St. John's choir for me at an advanced salary. I regretted to leave where I had enjoyed the music and the singers, but in the meantime my husband failed in business and I had two children to support. I accepted the St. John's choir offer for financial reasons. The pastor was Rev. W.A. Scott, Frederick Katzenbach organist, Mrs. Robert Moore soprano, Mrs. M.R. Blake contralto, Joseph Maguire tenor, and later, Vernon Lincoln and C. Makin, bass. I resigned this choir after almost three years' service, to[Pg 101] take the alto position in Dr. Lacy's choir, Congregational church, corner of California and Dupont streets. Later Dr. Stone arrived and on the Sabbath of his first sermon the organist was Mr. Douglas; Georgiana Leach, Mrs. Northrup, Mrs. Oliphant, sopranos; Mrs. Margaret Blake, Miss Abbie Oliphant, altos; Signor Gregg, basso; Joe Maguire, tenor, with a small chorus choir added. The musical service was of a high order. The sopranos were the foremost singers of their time. Mrs. Leach left later and became the soprano of Starr King Unitarian Church in Stockton street. Mrs. Northrup went to the new First Congregational Church in Post and Mason streets. She was there for years. Samuel D. Mayer was organist at that time, Dr. Stone pastor and later Dr. Adams. At the time of writing Dr. Charles F. Aked from New York is pastor.

 

Organists of the early years in San Francisco

 

When Dr. Stone arrived from the East he had also in his company Mr. George Powers, and, by some arrangement, without any warning, the organist and quartette were unseated by the clique he had formed of his friends. The members of his quartette were in their places the next Sabbath when the regular quartette arrived, consequently we all were obliged to retire. When the new choir began there was a surprise in store for every one. There was nothing for the old choir to do but walk out. There was great grief over the abrupt dismissal. Mr. Benchly of the musical committee was consulted and nothing could be done with the friends of the new pastor. It was a church scandal of the gravest sort. Dr. Powers was from the East and intended to show San Francisco superior music from Boston. He found out before he had been there long that superior men and women were already in the field, and while he continued at the church as organist his influence in music had been tainted and his band of singers were so inferior to those ousted that they had but a short life in the church. I immediately returned to St. Patrick's Church in Mission street and remained there altogether ten years. Our work was very difficult and we had many high days and holidays, requiems, festivals and concerts for the organ fund which had been ordered from abroad, and we were supposed to help the organ fund along until it came. I am not sure how many concerts we gave, but they were all of a high standard. Professor Dohrmann, one of our leading musicians, was organist, also leader of orchestras, and our concerts were given with orchestral accompaniment. Besides the great voices in the choir we had operatic stars whenever they[Pg 102] came with their troupes. Nearly all of the Italians being Catholics, Father Gray easily obtained their services and our soloists were artists music-lovers were glad to hear. By permission of Professor Dohrmann I have inserted this picture of the organ. It is the only thing left of this magnificent instrument, which cost $10,000. The earthquake and fire left not a vestige of anything that could be kept as a relic—one of the most beautiful organs that I ever sang with and played by the dean of organists.

During my time there were five fine singers, singing this difficult music: Mrs. Taylor, a Spanish soprano; Mrs. Urgi, English soprano; Miss Louisa Tourney, French soprano; Signora Bianchi, Italian soprano, who afterwards became the contralto when her voice fell by much singing and age. I became alarmed and feared I would also be obliged to resign. I was offered the position in Calvary Church once more. A new Calvary had been built on the corner of Geary and Powell streets, Rev. John Hemphill, pastor. I mentioned the fact to our leader, Prof. Dohrmann, and he objected to my going, saying he could not replace me. When I told him I had been offered a year's contract with more pay he consented. I remained until he obtained another contralto in Miss Ella Steele. I remained as contralto in this choir for the years that Rev. John Hemphill held it, which was twelve years, and also with Rev. Mr. Spucher. At the same time I sang on Saturdays at the Synagogue in Mission street, Rabbi Bettelheim, with the members of Calvary choir, excepting the soprano. The choir soprano of the Synagogue was Miss Carrie Heinemann and Mr. Newman was bass. I was the contralto of both choirs, Harry Gates, tenor. I continued in this choir six years. I had advanced toward the age of fifty years and the work of the two church choirs, my many singing pupils, art work, added to my professional work, began to tell upon my strength and at last I felt I must do something as a remedy or succumb to the inevitable. This was in 1886.

My son, George Blake, lived in San Bernardino, where he played in the Opera House orchestra and was leader of the Seventh Regiment band. My son William, alarmed at my condition, had written, unknown to me, to his brother, saying that I had worked long enough and that he should send for me. I was surprised when I received the word, "Mother, come," not aware he knew the condition. I had many hours of thought before I could decide when my voice was not even impaired, to give up my life's work and be a drone in the hive. At last I yielded[Pg 103] to the desire of my sons to go south. I promised on condition that I came unheralded. I supposed I was going so far away no one knew me. Alas, this world is small, so it behooves us all to make our reputation without fault. I sent in my resignation to Calvary and the Synagogue musical committees, and bade good-bye, I supposed, to music and old associations forever. I would never be able to describe the deep sorrow that was depicted on the countenance of pastor and people, rabbi and congregation and the members of the young peoples' societies of the church with whom I had labored for so many years and assisted in their successful efforts from season to season. It was the heroic battle of my life to voluntarily cut loose from all that had been so auspicious during my many years of service. I was held in great affection by the people of San Francisco, who always gave me the most cordial welcome whenever I appeared in the churches or concert halls or took part in patriotic exercises.

I left San Francisco December 1, and had two days of travel. It seemed as though I was in another world, cut loose from all I ever cherished. The world never looked so vast to me before and it was as an open desert without one friendly face in sight, alone, adrift, knowing not the ultimate point of my travels. I was rudely awakened the morning of the second day by the whistle of the engine and the clamor of bells and bustling of feet. I arose quickly and soon was received by my son, who was awaiting my coming, and I said, "Here I am, I have obeyed your orders and now I am to do just as I please, and rest from my labor." He replied, "You have earned your rest after all these years, mother." So we happily proceeded to his cottage, where welcome awaited us. All seemed strange to me after so many years in San Francisco where I was known to all, yet I hoped to meet other pleasant faces and cheerfully accepted the situation with my son and daughter and their friends. During our conversation my daughter informed me that the ladies of the Episcopal Guild had voted unanimously that I had been accepted as the soloist of the choir of St. John's Church. Through their efforts I was to receive the salary of $20 a month. The church was not more than a beginning. The congregation worshipped in a large store on one of the main streets which had been fitted into a comfortable chapel. Mrs. Foster, from San Francisco, one of the many musical people there, had settled in that city and was the organist of that church, unknown to me, as I supposed, but when we met her[Pg 104] greeting, "I am glad to meet you, Charity Pecksniff," surprised me. Through her the people soon found out who I was and I not only had the church position secured but also eight pupils ready to begin lessons in voice when I was ready to open my studio to them. So good or evil report follows us through our lives and makes for us our success or failure.

I made my first appearance at the Christmas service, which had been prepared with care, and extra voices were secured. My son had added from his orchestra three instruments in addition to the organ for the morning and evening services of the Christmas festival. The chapel was crowded to the doors and those who were unable to come in remained on the sidewalk during the services. The new singer was to be heard for the first time. I had chosen the beautiful Cavatina by Raff, and was accompanied by Mr. F. Erbe on the violin, who played the obbligato with exquisite grace and finish. In the evening I sang Praise Thou the Lord, O My Soul, by Holden, with two violins, cello and organ accompaniment. This extra service was the forerunner of other good services for the length of eight months, when the ladies' funds were so low they were obliged to discontinue my services, with profound sorrow, as the chapel had been crowded during all these weeks and the place was getting too small for the worshippers. A church building had been begun and money was needed there, so I reluctantly departed and took up the work in the Catholic church with Father Stockman, priest, at a salary of $40 a month, Miss Zabriskie, organist. The choir was composed of sisters from the convent, with a tenor and bass by two young priests who sang well the songs and chants of the church. In all these weeks I had also begun my classes and taught singing and painting. The change had benefited me and I busily passed the days and weeks, adding all the time new voice and painting pupils until I numbered fifty-one pupils and classes twice a week in Colton and San Bernardino. I was as busy as ever I was in San Francisco. But, alas, the hot climate (104 degrees in the morning) to which I was a stranger, was more than I could stand. At noon no one stirred out of the house or store. I stood the weather for sixteen months, then my family doctor ordered me back to San Francisco if I wanted to live.

I left San Bernardino for San Francisco, May 11, 1889. Arriving in San Francisco I took a flat on Geary street, near Steiner. On July 6 I began my work in the[Pg 105] Larkin Presbyterian Church and continued there one year, when no funds separated singer and people. I gave the small struggling congregation another month of my services. The congregation met in a hall in the Western Addition. I think a church was built later, but it, like everything else, was destroyed in the earthquake year. I never returned, for after a year at the Geary street flat my son William and I concluded to move to Oakland. I had lost my position in the churches. Calvary Church offered me my old place but I did not wish to oust another who was giving satisfaction, and declined the honor. In Oakland we rented one of Mr. Bilger's cottages on Fourth avenue. After remaining there for two years and a half my son William married and returned to San Francisco to live.

I stayed in Oakland and began my music in the Pilgrim Congregational Church, through the influence of one of my early musical friends, Mrs. Nellie Wetherbee. I went to oblige her, as she was one of the leading spirits of the church. I remained with this church until Miss Mary Fox went East and the leader, Mr. Benham, came for me to take her place in the choir of the First Congregational church, Rev. Dr. McLean, pastor. I occupied this place for six months, giving the greatest satisfaction. Then I returned to Pilgrim Congregational Church and continued there three years. Miss Hough was organist and Mr. Redfield, choirmaster. I sang at first with the quartette, Mrs. Mollie Dewing, Mr. Redfield and Harry Melvin, now Justice of the California Supreme Court. Afterward when Mrs. Dewing left for the First Methodist Church as soprano we had Mrs. Andrew Fine, soprano. Later Mr. Redfield took charge of St. Andrew's choir in West Oakland, and I was left as soloist of the choir. Having a number of pupils in the members of the Christian Endeavor Society, I was urged upon by the pastor, Rev. Mr. McNutt, to take charge of the choir, which I did. Miss Hough continued as organist until she went abroad to study in London. Miss Bertha Hunter, who was an efficient organist, continued until my directorship closed with the advent of Rev. Mr. Silcox, who wished a man director in the choir where he was pastor. I left the choir after I had served almost continuously from 1890 to 1895. Six months of that time I sang for the First Congregational Church in Oakland. The first time was in 1890. In 1894 I substituted for two months while the contralto was ill. After leaving this church I sang with the St. Andrew's choir from January, 1893, until after the Easter[Pg 106] service, April 2, almost four months. On January 31, 1896, I began in the English Lutheran Church, corner Grove and Sixteenth streets. Mr. Walling was director, Miss Margaret Oaks and Miss Mabel Hussey were the organists during the time. I sang here until July 16, 1897, as a memorial to my mother, who was a Lutheran in her faith, and the church was new and beautiful to sing in. I gave my services for a year and a half. Mr. Bushnell, the pastor, was popular and the church flourished greatly during the time. In December, 1897, I assisted the choir of the Church of the Advent, East Oakland, Dr. V. Marshall Law, rector, at their Christmas service, giving such satisfaction that I was prevailed upon to help the choir. My sister, Mrs. Harrold, and family worshipped there and her two daughters were in the choir. As I had no other church in view, I consented and continued for eight months. During that time we gave several fine concerts and on one occasion gave The Daughter of Jairus with great success, H. Melvin, bass; Miss Alberta Morse, soprano; Mr. Thornton, tenor; Mrs. M.B. Alverson, contralto. Several other artists with violin and cello assisted the regular choir of forty voices. They were strangers to me so I have reluctantly omitted their names. They were excellent musicians. During the eight months' service there occurred a number of pretentious musical undertakings which were meritorious as well as financially successful.

In 1899 I was once more called to the English Lutheran Church to direct the choir, with salary. I had twenty picked voices thoroughly placed and true. We occupied the upper gallery and all was in readiness to begin the new undertaking by the first Sunday in March, 1899. The church was full and also the Sabbath school rooms were required to seat the people who were anxious to hear the new choir. The rehearsals had been thorough and we had no fear of failure, and the people were not disappointed at the new order of things. How well they all sang—how beautiful was the service of those young voices, and what praises were showered upon them for their work by the congregation for their anthems, chants, hymns and offertories! For three years this order of things lasted and all the time the voices were fully developed and giving weekly more satisfaction. The Easter and Christmas services were efforts worth remembering in history, and I write with great pride because of the good work I was able to produce with these young voices in the service of song. On December 30, 1900, I sent[Pg 107] in my resignation, which was very reluctantly accepted. I was now sixty-five years of age and my many pupils and two services on the Sabbath with necessary rehearsals became too strenuous. I had been in the active life of song long enough to lay down the baton.

On January 6, 1901, I sang for the last time in regular active service. Later in the year I assisted at different times the Fruitvale Congregational chapel, Eighth Avenue Methodist Church, Brooklyn Presbyterian Church, churches in Alameda and other small struggling churches when they needed a helping hand. It was my pleasure to do what I could to encourage the pastors and people of these small mission churches and in other churches where I had sung before on extra occasions. On September 1, 1901, on returning from St. Paul's Church, after having heard the monthly programme of song, I met my old Santa Cruz friends of 1864, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Metti and with them walked to their home. After spending a pleasant hour with them Mr. Metti escorted me to the San Pablo avenue cars. On alighting from the car at the corner of Broadway and Thirteenth street the motorman started up when I was but half way down and I was not able to hold on firmly enough, consequently the car shot out and left me on the street with a broken body. The accident closed forever my usefulness as a public singer and rang down for me the curtain upon any future work of this kind, to my great sorrow. Twelve long years I have borne this unhappy condition of things, yet I have not been a drone in the hive of busy humanity. I have fought the battle and won, and am still able to wear a smiling countenance and guide the young people into the pleasant path of song, and my success has been a compensation for all the suffering which has passed. As long as I am a factor for usefulness I will cheerfully do my duty. As long as I am able to chronicle the best results as a competent teacher of voice, which has been my vocation for over thirty years, I will be content. I have been rewarded by having given to our state many beautiful singers who remember with gratitude their aged instructor, no matter where they may reside, and a number of them are climbing and have climbed to high positions of prominence as singers of ability, and with personal attractions which have given them their stepping-stones to higher attainments in the art of vocal music.


[Pg 108]

CHAPTER ELEVEN

GOLDEN JUBILEE OF SONG SERVICE, JUNE 12, 1896

THREE days before my sixtieth birthday, which occurred on June 12, 1896, I incidentally mentioned to a friend that, on that date, I would also be fifty years a singer before the public. The next morning a phone message asked me to come down to the Call office on some G.A.R. business, as I supposed. This I did.

When I entered the office I was engaged in conversation for an hour while, unknown to me, a shorthand reporter and an artist were taking notes. I returned to my studio unconscious that my words had been recorded and that my picture had been sketched by the quick hand of Richard Partington. What was my great surprise on opening the Call on the morning of the 12th to find myself pictured on the first page as happily laughing as could be. The headlines ran like this:

HAS SUNG FOR HALF A CENTURY


Mrs. Blake-Alverson Loaned Her Voice
to Aid Union Soldiers


HER JUBILEE RECEPTION


Made Her Debut in an Ohio Church
When a Little Maid of Ten


SINGS AS LUSTILY AS EVER


She Has Sung for Fifty Years in Scores
of Churches, Halls and Theatres from
Boston Across the Continent to California


My astonishment knew no bounds, for I always shrink from publicity even though I have become conspicuous during my singing life. My nature is domestic and, unless necessary, I avoid the notoriety of the press.

 

Golden Jubilee of Song, June 12, 1896

 

[Pg 109]

Directly I was called to the door and when I opened it who should be there but two men and two ladies of Lyon Corps No. 6, G.A.R., bringing me two beautiful oak chairs as an offering from the corps with congratulations upon my birthday.

They had gone but a short time when another delegation arrived, this time from Appomattox Corps, bringing me a handsome basket of beautiful carnations and ferns, decorated with white ribbon and lettered in gold with the congratulations of the corps.

After this second offering I thought it wise for me to do something by way of preparation, so I brought out all of my cherished war relics, flags and banners, medals and badges I had received in the years past. I soon had my rooms adorned for whoever else might come.

I had not long to wait. Letters, telegrams, messages, flowers, an immense cake decorated for the occasion with all kinds of suitable emblems of music for "California's Prima Donna, Mrs. Blake-Alverson," from Henry Feldmann for the German Society of Oakland.

All morning various offerings were sent in. Early in the afternoon friends began to come in by twos and threes and by evening 180 people had called, people of all walks of life, some of the members of the Handel and Haydn Society came from across the bay to renew an acquaintance of many years. Walter and Mrs. Marriner-Campbell were among the friends of long ago. Others were Messrs. Julius Oettl, J.H. Stedman, Fred Katzenbach, Harry Hunt, Q.A. Chase, William Bellrose, Zeno Mauvais, H.A. Redfield, John W. Metcalf, Clark Wise, S.J. Bruce of Kohler & Chase, who honored me by their presence.

I was so excited I had not missed many prominent pupils; but when evening came I heard voices and footsteps and going quietly to the door I discovered some three score of my pupils and their parents arranging their programme sotto voce in the hallway for the final surprise of the day. It was a happy chance I was ready for them. The bay window of the music-room was a lovely bower of flowers and verdure and on a draped table was the huge cake with its sixty candles all ablaze, one for each year. My appearance disturbed their preparation for a moment only, then all was mirth and jollity.

After congratulations a programme was given followed by a banquet. Many happy speeches of compliment were made and I gave them in return a short sketch of my musical life. At the close of the recital we reluctantly[Pg 110] separated after greatly enjoying the unusual opportunity of celebrating two golden jubilees of one life on the same day.

Words are inadequate to express my gratitude to all who were factors in making this one of the greatest days I ever experienced. It seemed that everybody was a friend. The newspapers vied with each other in their write-ups of the occasion. The Call, Tribune, Chronicle, Enquirer, Saturday Night, Berkeley Gazette, Santa Cruz Surf, Examiner, Benicia Era, the Stockton and Sacramento papers all ran full articles and pictures in my honor. At this late day I tender my sincere thanks for favors and kindly criticisms, from time immemorial.[Pg 111]

 

Pen sketch of Mrs. Blake-Alverson


[Pg 112]

CHAPTER TWELVE

CAMILLA URSO'S FESTIVAL, 1873. MADAME ANNA BISHOP. THE LORING CLUB. ALFRED WILKIE, FRANK GILDER, D.P. HUGHES

ONE of the most difficult tasks in writing my memoirs is the choice of the most important happenings in a busy life. There are so many things to speak of it is hard to know where to begin. I cannot begin with a more appropriate event than the Fourth of July celebration which took place in 1869, with William Seward, Secretary of State, in one of the boxes of the California theater.

Alex Austin, Esq., was president of the day and called the assemblage to order.

The programme was as follows:

Prayer by Rev. H.D. Lathrop.

Music by the orchestra.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence by Lawrence Barrett, Esq.

God Bless our Glorious Land (written for the Fourth of July, 1869, by our friend Sam Booth). Full chorus, George T. Evans, leader.

Poem by R.C. Hopkins, Esq., read by John McCulloch, Esq.

Music, orchestra.

Vocal music, Gloria in Excelsis, Mozart.

Oration by Henry E. Highton, Esq.

Song, Star Spangled Banner.

Full chorus from the Handel and Haydn Society and quartette composed of Mrs. S.D. Mayer, soprano; Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto; Mr. S.D. Mayer, tenor; Walter C. Campbell, bass.

Music, orchestra.

In 1868 we were visited by the Lyster Opera company from Australia, which gave a season of ten operas at the old Metropolitan Theater on Montgomery street. They brought with them a goodly company of artists.

Henry Squires, tenor
W.F. Baker, tenor
Armes Beaumont, tenor
Lucy Escott, soprano
Geraldine Warden, mezzo-soprano
Mrs. Ada King, contralto
Mr. Sutcliff, baritone

LOCAL SINGERS

Sig. Roncovieri, tenor
Mr. Nathanson, bass
Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto
Mrs. Cameron, soprano
[Pg 113]

They gave, December 21 and 22, Les Huguenots; December 23 and 24, Bohemian Girl; December 25, Maritana.

 

Mrs. Blake-Alverson on her fiftieth anniversary as a public singer

 

After the close of the season Mr. Squires and Miss Escott gave a farewell concert in Pacific Hall in which I participated and sang with them the celebrated trio, Protect Us Through the Coming Night.

On May 16, 1870, the Handel and Haydn Society gave Rossini's Stabat Mater in Sacramento, Prof. Hugo Mansfeldt, leader, assisted by the societies of Sacramento. The chorus was 500 strong, the soloists were the best to be secured, assisted by Henry Heyman, violin soloist.

Herr Wenderlich, bass
W.C. Campbell, bass
Samuel C. Mayer, tenor
Matthew Anderson, tenor
Mrs. Marriner, soprano
Mrs. S. Little, soprano
Mrs. J.M. Pierce, soprano
Mrs. McNeil (of Sacramento), soprano
Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto
Miss Hewlett, contralto
Miss K. Stone, contralto

Cornet solo, Mr. Dick Kohler and full orchestra.
Anvil chorus, with artillery accompaniment.

The undertaking was a financial as well as a musical success and added one more wreath of laurels to our musical advancement in 1873.

Also in this year the celebrated violin virtuoso, Camilla Urso, came to San Francisco on a tour. The Mechanics Pavilion then stood on the square of Stockton and Powell, Geary and Post streets, and numerous entertainments were given there. The musical festival had been successfully opened with Camilla Urso as soloist, and on the second day she tendered the society a benefit concert. The programme, a noted one which should be preserved, is as follows:

 

MUSICAL FESTIVAL

TENDERED BY CAMILLA URSO
in aid of The Mercantile Library of San Francisco
at the
Mechanics Pavilion


FIRST PART

1. Overture, Ali Baba
Grand orchestra of 150 men.
Cherubini
 
2. Glory to God on High (from 12th Mass)
Oratorio chorus, 1,200 voices.
Mozart
 
3. Symphony in C (Andante and Allegro)
Grand orchestra of 150 pieces.
Gade
 
4. (a) Sleepers, Awake, Choral from St. Paul
(b) Prayer of Moses in Egypt
Mendelssohn
Rossini
5. Grand Concerto for the Violin (orchestral accompaniment)
Camilla Urso
Beethoven
 

[Pg 114]PART II

1. Chorus, The Heavens are Telling (from the Creation)
Oratorio chorus of 1,200 voices
Haydn
 
2. Overture of Freischutz
Grand Military Band, 150 men.
Weber
 
3. Hallelujah Chorus from "Messiah"
Oratorio chorus of 1,200 voices.
Handel
 
4. Anvil Chorus, from Il TrovatoreVerdi

Full chorus of 1,200. Organ. Grand orchestra of 150. Full
military band, drum corps of the city militia, 50 anvils,
100 firemen, city fire bells and cannon to be fired
from the stand of the leader by use of electricity.

General Conductor, Mr. R. Herold. Organist, Gustav A. Scott.

 

These concerts were among the grandest achievements of our time. The music of the musicians and singers was par excellence and should never be forgotten as long as history can keep it alive. How vividly is the scene before me—the magnificent chorus, the pealing of the organ tones, the excellent performance of the orchestra and the beautiful playing of Camilla Urso and the enwrapt listeners that crowded the old pavilion to overflowing. Those were days of music for Californians who knew how to make it and we should always have the greatest pride in recounting these magnificent efforts.

In the year 1874, when Madam Anna Bishop was making her American tour, she included San Francisco, and with her troupe came also Alfred Wilkie, tenor, and Frank Gilder of New York, an organist and pianist of high repute. He was a genius in a class of his own. As the Salt Lake papers said of him, "Frank Gilder, who can snatch more music out of a piano than Beethoven could write in a week, is with the Lingard Company and will play a number of solos tonight. He is an entire orchestra, a sort of a condensed brass band, and those who don't hear him will never know what pianos were invented for." This was a unique "ad.", but was just about right. I was employed by him when he inaugurated his popular twenty-five-cent concerts. He gave thirty-six in the course and I sang twenty-five times for him. I sang one evening at one of Madam Bishop's concerts, and after he heard me sing Gatty's Fair Dove (my ghost song, as he called it) he planned out these concerts—something out of the ordinary. Each artist received ten dollars, no matter how high he stood in his calling, or the prices he received from other managers. That was the order of things and each one who sang must take that or not sing.[Pg 115] We began in the hall of the Y.M.C.A. on Sutter street. The following artists appeared: Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto; M.A. Anderson, tenor; Sig. C. Orlandini, baritone; Frank Gilder, pianist.

The morning Chronicle had this to say in regard to the first concert:

"FRANK GILDER'S POPULAR CONCERTS

"The first of the series was given in the presence of a large and fashionable audience. The music was first-class in every respect and nearly every piece was encored. Gilder's Galop de Concert and Orlandini's Largo al Factotum most emphatically so. Mrs. Blake distinguished herself as an accomplished vocalist in Millard's song, When the Tide Comes In, and in the favorite old Scotch ballad, John Anderson, My Joe. It was supposed from the low price that these concerts would be beneath the notice of the high toned dilettanti of the city, but the performance last evening has completely disabused not only the nicely-critical, but the public generally of this idea. The series is to be continued. The second in the course will be given on Tuesday eve of next week."

 

Mme. Anna Bishop

 

The second concert on Tuesday was given with Madam Anna Bishop, Mrs. M.R. Blake; Cornelius Makin, bass;[Pg 116] Prof. von der Mehden, baritone; Frank Gilder, solo cornetist. With the sixth concert in the Y.M.C.A. hall we found the hall too small for our audiences, and then went to Platt's Hall. Not two-thirds of the people could get in. We tried Pacific Hall, and that did for several times, and then there were enough people on the outside to fill an ordinary hall. The theaters were too expensive, so we went on the road. We gave two concerts in Stockton theater to packed houses; two in Santa Cruz in the pavilion, with great success; two nights in Vallejo, when every seat was taken, the gallery packed and faces peeping in at the windows. A laughable act not on the programme occurred that evening which, I think, Walter Campbell and myself will never forget. We had a duet in which we always claimed the house, and this evening when our number came Mr. Gilder began his quaint Quaker march and Reuben was to come from one side of the stage and Rachel, on the other, and meet in the center of the stage like two prim Quakers. I took the steps with Mr. Gilder's tom tom of quaint chords and I arrived in the front of the stage and no Walter. I was in dismay and the people began to laugh, especially a portly individual sitting directly in front of the orchestra. He thought it was all in the bill; Madam Bishop, in the wings, feared the performance was ruined. I tried with all my might to keep from laughing at Mr. Gilder, who was keeping up the incessant march. At last I turned and saw Walter Campbell standing beside me with a face like a marble statue, still and pious as the most devout Quaker, waiting for me to begin, rising and falling on his toes. I began my song, "Reuben, I have long been thinking, etc." and the song went on, and between each stanza the applause was deafening and continued until the last too-ral-loo had died away. We received five recalls. The paper came out with glowing accounts of the success Walter and I had won and we were lionized the rest of the season. When we were allowed to retire, Walter, in his quaint way, said to me, "Susan Jane, you almost made me laugh. I never went through such an ordeal in all my singing days. It seemed I was destined to stand there forever before you began." I think we have laughed over that concert time and time again. It is one of our best jokes between us when we recount the enjoyment of our successful concerts given in California, Oregon and British Columbia.

 

Associated musicians, 1860-1913

 

After returning from these smaller towns Mr. Gilder resumed the popular concerts in Pacific Hall until the[Pg 117] close of the thirty-sixth concert. It was while we sang in Pacific Hall that King Kalakua was the honored guest. Sam Booth composed a welcome song to His Majesty and great was the reception given him. These concerts made quite a stir among the older musicians, who thought it strange that a twenty-five-cent entertainment should receive such acknowledgment. The halls of the dollar concerts were deserted and the twenty-five-cent concert hall was overflowing with music lovers. The older musicians challenged Gilder to play the music of the old masters. He consented, but the trial never came to anything but words. After he had gone back to New York these disgruntled musicians tried to do the same as Mr. Gilder had done, but it was a complete failure. One of the thirty-six concerts was given in the Tent Amphitheater back of the Palace Hotel, July 4, 1874. The artists were Mme. Anna Bishop, soprano; Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto; Alfred Wilkie, tenor; Cornelius Makin, bass. The Silver Cornet band was under the direction of Professor Henry von der Mehden and Frank Gilder, pianist. There was an audience of 12,000 people and the programme was one to be remembered for its musical value and splendid singers who received the plaudits of the people in their great enthusiasm at the successful and artistic performance of each number.

 

PROGRAMME FOR JULY 4TH, 1874

1. Overture—Poet and PeasantSuppe
2. Song. The Sword of Bunker Hill
Mr. C. Makin
Covert
3. Scotch Ballad. Within a Mile of Edinborough Town.
(encore) Annie Laurie.
Mrs. M.R. Blake
4. Piano solo. America, with variations
Frank Gilder
Gilder
 
5. Grand Aria. Let the Bright Seraphim
Mme. Anna Bishop; Prof. Mehden, cornet obbligato
Handel
 
6. Song. The Anchor's Weighed
Mr. Alfred Wilkie
Braham
 
7. Grand operatic pot-pourriVon der Mehden

SECOND PART

1. Duet. The Moon Has Raised Her Lamp Above
Messrs. Alfred Wilkie and C. Makin
2. Ballad. Old Folks at Home (by request)
Mme. Anna Bishop
Foster
 
3. Quartette for horns. Call Me Thine Own
Band
Halevy
 
4. Song. Vive l'America
(Encore) Uncle Sam's Farm
Mrs. M.R. Blake
Millard

 
[Pg 118]5. Ballad. Will o' the Wisp
Mr. C. Makin
6. Song. The Star Spangled Banner
Madam Anna Bishop and the other artists
7. Grand finale, National Melodies of different nations
Silver Cornet Band
Von der Mehden
 

 

In speaking of these concerts it is interesting to note the number of fine singers that we had in California in 1874 and how easy it was for a manager to select the best out of these for any occasion.

Women's Voices: Madam Bishop, Mrs. M.R. Blake, Mrs. A. Thiesen, Miss Marian Singer, Mlle. Franzini, Mlle. Anna Elzer, Miss Susan Galton, Madam Babcock, Signora Bianchi, Mrs. Eliza Boston, Miss Rowley.

Men's Voices: Signor C. Orlandini, Charles Metti, M.A. Anderson, C. Makin, Henry Baker (tenor of the opera troupe), Sig. Luigi Contini, Ben. Clark, W. Finkeldey, Carmini Morley, Alfred Kelleher, Sig. Fulvio Rigo, Sig. E. Bianchi, Alfred Wilkie, Sig. G. Marra, W.C. Campbell, Mons. Davidowitz (Russian opera tenor), Geo. Carltos, Sam Booth, Amos Durant, F.L. Phelps.

Musicians: F. Gilder, Prof. Hartman, Prof. H. von der Mehden, Ernest Schlott, Mulder Fabbri, Prof. M. Schultz, C.J.J. Smith (flutist), Louis Boedecker (pianist), Stephen Marsh (harpist), George L. Blake (cornetist), Bender, Shepherd, Emerson, Wilson (horn quartet), Miss Rotier (pianist), Prof. G. Cellarius (violinist), A. Kessels (pianist), Miss E.M. Burkhardt (Chicago pianist), H.F. Todd (cornet).

These men and women singers and musicians took part in these series of concerts given by Frank Gilder in 1874 and were available at any time when needed. They were only a number of the many fine singers then in San Francisco. I doubt if you could be so successful today, for these were genuine tried singers, ready to go at any time and fill the place, either with sacred, secular or operatic music. There were also the members of the Loring Club, all good singers, picked and tried, who sang in choirs, concerts and also in prominent musical undertakings of the period. I have tried to leave no name out of the list of singers. Professional jealousy does not exist in any of my musical life. It never did, and if people will use their good, common sense and judgment and see a singer in her true light they will find out very quickly that there exists no grounds for such a feeling with true artists. In the first place no two people look alike, neither are they made alike. I have had the strange experience of teaching five pairs of twins. They were so much alike that it was with difficulty we could distinguish them apart. Especially the Faull twins, who were obliged to wear a gold bar pin with "Rose" and "Sophia" engraved upon them to dis[Pg 119]tinguish them, and yet they were unlike in every respect. The figures were different; their voices, one a contralto, the other soprano; one delicate, the other robust. Rose is living and the other passed out of life. It is so in everything in life. The petty jealousy of singers and players is a laughable farce. Even our grandest singers have shown this weakness because a rival was billed with lettering a quarter of an inch larger. This lowers the singer in the eyes of the public. No two singers can sing alike, even if they sing the same song. The interpretation belongs to the individual singer. It will remain hers forever in the remembrance of the listeners and no amount of jealousy will remove the fact. When once a singer has climbed to a place of recognition and can be classed as a true artist and acknowledged by the public as such, she is entitled to recognition. "Give honor to those to whom honor is due," is the safest way.

 

Loring Club; French Horn Quartette

Enlarge

 

I will continue my narrative of special engagements. I had eighteen years' experience in singing for the Welsh colony of men and women who formed a society known as the Cambrian Mutual Aid Society. It had been in existence four years before I was engaged as vocalist. The society was prosperous and about 300 strong at that time. Professor Price, Mr. Jehu, Samuel Williams, Gomer Evans, H.J. Owens (Obedog), E. Meredith (tenor) and J.R. Jones (bass) were the prominent persons connected with the society. March 1st was the day for celebrating the yearly singing tryout. The Welsh miners and their families came yearly from Mt. Diablo mines for a holiday of sociability and song. The day was called St. David's Day. My first engagement with this society occurred on the 2d day of March, 1874, the first having come on Sunday. We were obliged to sing the Welsh airs. This was a new departure for me, but, nothing daunted, I began the study of the Welsh music, and when the night came for the yearly banquet and evening of song I was well prepared to give them their desire. I had as other artists, on this evening programme, Mrs. Howels, a Welsh soprano who sang like a bird, so beautifully; Mrs. Von der Mehden, soprano; Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto; C. Makin, bass; John Hughes, bass; Joseph Maguire, tenor; Vernon Lincoln, tenor, and the Mt. Diablo singers, about fifty fine voices. The initial concert was a pronounced success, about 600 being present. In 1878, at the annual concert, I met for the first time Mr. D.P. Hughes, tenor, who sang a Welsh song, Cwymp Lewelyn, also in a male quartette, (oh, what full delight), Hughes, Roberts,[Pg 120] Jones and Hannis. This was Mr. Hughes' first bow to the society of singers in San Francisco. I was the first American singer he had met in San Francisco thirty-four years ago. Later he became director of the Orpheus Society, leader of church choirs, teacher of voice, and still teaches and directs a women's singing club in Oakland, Cal.

In September, 1877, the town of San Rafael was in need of a fire engine, and to begin the collection for the fund a series of concerts was inaugurated. The first was held in the district courtroom, September 8th. The following well-known artists took part: Theodore Herzog, violinist; J. Lewis, bass; Mrs. H.M. Bosworth, soprano; Ben Clark, tenor; Walter C. Campbell, bass, and Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto. The room was full to overflowing and the singers were given a splendid welcome. The women of the city decorated the hall most lavishly and our reception was notable. The treasury received a splendid amount of funds to carry on the good work so auspiciously begun. This was the second city wherein I assisted in the beginning of a fund for a fire engine. The other was Santa Cruz.

In 1877, old folks' concerts were often given with great success. The quaint hymns of Father Kemp's collection seemed to be an attraction to the people, and seldom a month passed without concerts of this kind. The societies and churches reaped a goodly sum from them. The different singing clubs concluded to give two concerts for the old folks. They were to be on a grand scale, and the Grand Opera House was secured. My programme does not give the promoters' names or the object of this great gathering of singers. I remember only that I was engaged for the two nights with Walter Campbell to sing those songs we were accustomed to sing together on such occasions. The concerts were held June 28 and 29, 1877. These were memorable evenings for us and we did our best with Reuben and Rachel, Ten O'Clock and the Old Saxon, etc., which we were obliged to repeat to satisfy the great audiences which greeted us. The chorus of 500, composed of singers in all walks of life, people of leisure who had good voices which they had been taught how to use, often take pleasure in giving the public a treat if a pretext can be found for doing so. In this case it was thought that an imitation of the manners, dress and costume of a past age would attract an audience when a simple concert might not. This proved to be true, especially of the Easter Anthem, which was magnificently[Pg 121] sung, and an encore was demanded by the delighted listeners. Each night the stage was completely filled with this splendid chorus, and the effect was tremendous when the voices rose with such magnificent volume, unaccompanied. The leader gave the pitch from an old-fashioned tuning fork, which was the only thing that was used at that time, to start the music. The leader would cry out in a nasal tone, "All please sound," when the pitch would be taken by the four parts led by the timist to the successful finish.

Other entertainments of this nature were given. H.M. Bosworth's operetta, "Mother Goose Reception," had a tremendous run. It became so popular that it was played in every city and town of any size from San Bernardino to Sacramento and Stockton and as far north as Oregon. There was a rivalry between it and the Milkmaid's Convention which received its full merit throughout the state. Mrs. Hodgkins and Miss Lucy Grove were the bright originators of this cantata, which proved one of the most interesting debates upon the milk question and microbes ever propounded in any community with musical setting and was a genuine side-splitting entertainment.

One of the special engagements that occurred yearly were the commencement exercises of the Benicia Female seminary, a meeting of alumnæ and pupils. From 1862, on my return to California from Boston, until the death of our instructor, Mary Atkins-Lynch, I was the honored guest as vocalist at these gatherings, and I count these epochs in my career some of the special occurrences. I was among the first pupils of the school and added my talent on all occasions of note during the continuance of the seminary. It was in Benicia where Mrs. Lynch first began her work as principal of the seminary. Her pupils are now scattered over every quarter of the globe. A thousand invitations were sent out and 250 accepted and others sent their regrets from the different cities in which they resided. These were put in a list and read with interest by those who gathered in 1878—the last and most notable reunion of the school. There were at this time Messrs. Gray, Jones, Woodbridge and Hastings, trustees of the seminary when it was founded. They had not met for years, and the pleasure they felt at this accidental meeting can be imagined. It was like one large family reunion, for these men were our friends as well, and through their efforts the seminary was placed upon a high standard. We were visited yearly by the notable men of the state legislature, army and navy, professional men and women[Pg 122] of culture and talent. It would not be amiss to let the younger generation be familiar with the names of early Californians who stood high in the nation and honored men of the state: Capt. and Mrs. Matthew Turner; Dr. Cole and wife of San Francisco; Professor Trenkle, pianist, San Francisco; Dr. S. Woodbridge; Judge D.N. Hastings and wife; Hon. L.B. Mizner and wife; Bishop Wingfield; Major Hackert; Professor Roger of St. Augustine College; Capt. E.H. von Pfister; General Kautz; Major Wells; Major Wilhelm; Captain Rixford; Lieutenant Scriven, U.S.A; Lieutenant Weresch, U.S.N.; C.B. Houghton; Rev. Mr. Easton; Professor Corbaz; Mrs. Brackett, class '59; Harriett Riddell, Class 72; Major Townsend; Dr. Peabody; Samuel D. Gray and wife; John Denning; Judge Lynch; Professor Trenkle, one of the pioneer musicians of the state and seminary; Mrs. Mary Loughlin Kincaid, of San Francisco high school fame, president of the alumnæ; Mrs. Mary Hook-Hatch, vice president; Mrs. Agnes Bell Hill, treasurer; Miss Kittie Stone, secretary; Mrs. M.R. Blake, the first vocalist of the seminary to distinguish herself in the world of music and song.

Dr. Woodbridge in his address alluded to old memories connected with this young ladies' seminary, the trials and vicissitudes of one of its first principals; how she had taken the school in early days with six or eight pupils and in a few short months had 140 scholars beneath the roof. The doctor paid a fitting tribute to the ability and worth of Mrs. Lynch and the grandeur of her position in the cause of education. Her life was a glorious victory and one that should be handed down to posterity.


[Pg 123]

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

ROMAN CATHOLIC, EPISCOPAL, AND JEWISH MUSIC. J.H. DOHRMANN. THE BIANCHI'S

DURING my ten years' engagement at St. Patrick's Church, on Mission street, San Francisco, we gave many masses and also arranged concerts which would prove of great value to the singers of today who have aspirations for better music than the frivolous songs and bad style of singing which is in vogue. The masses that we sang were written by the best masters. Our organist and director was educated in Europe and received the best musical education and understood the standard which should be upheld. We were familiar with all of Mozart's masses, requiems and vespers. The Twelfth was the most frequently sung if grand, joyful music was required. The Requiem Brevis, a gem of church music, was given on the most solemn service. All Saints' Day generally claimed that number. The Fifth Mass was the one chosen when we dedicated the magnificent $10,000 organ, June 20, 1869, which was bought with the money received from the grand concerts which were given from time to time by the regular choir and chorus of thirty voices with orchestra and visiting soloists of high repute, if they happened to be in the city at the time of giving.

I am more than grateful that I can place within these pages a fine photograph of this magnificent organ, a reminder of the once beautiful and grand instrument which was destroyed and burned until there was not a souvenir left to tell the story of the great and grand music that it pealed forth so many years, and of the work of the beautiful voices that once sang the praises and the power of the grandest music ever written by a galaxy of writers who are no longer with us. Of Haydn's sixteen masses we usually sang from one to eight, these being the most used, and No. 16 B Flat mass was often chosen. His Vespers No. 1 was sung many times. We generally used Weber's masses—one written in E flat and one in the key of G. They were the most familiar of his masses. One of the most difficult masses we sang was written by I.J. Paine of Boston. It was the first mass[Pg 124] and required artists to give the proper importance to this magnificent mass. Rossini's Solenelle was given on the solemn occasion of the death of Pius IX. It was rendered for the first time in California October 31st, by sixteen solo voices, thirty-five in the chorus and the regular choir, full orchestra and organ. The following was the programme for the requiem mass Solenelle sung by the soloists and assisted by the chorus and orchestra and organ; Introit, Dies Iræ, Lacrimosa, Benedictus, Agnus Dei, Lux Aeterna were all from Cherubini's compositions; offertory, Dominus from Verdi, Libera from Palestrina:

Mrs. Brandel, soprano
Signora Bianchi, mezzo-soprano
Mrs. M.R. Blake, mezzo-contralto
Signor Bianchi, tenor
Signor Meize, tenor
Mr. Stockmyer, bass
Mr. Yarndley, bass
J.H. Dohrmann, organist

Orchestra 30 pieces.

 

J.H. Dohrmann; Organ of St. Patrick's

 

With a crowded church and the altars draped in black, with the rest of the gifted singers on that occasion, will candelabras that were all burning, with many priests upon the altar, and the other accessories, the scene was notable. Time never can erase the picture as it comes back in memory. The wonderful music, in which I took part, with the rest of the gifted singers on that occasion, will never be forgotten.

Later, as years rolled on and the old singers retired, we had other artists who were the singers in this choir:

Mrs. Urig, soprano
Mrs. Young, soprano
Mrs. Taylor, soprano
Signora Bianchi, mezzo-soprano
Mrs. Herman, mezzo-soprano
Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto
Miss Ella Steele, contralto
Mr. Buch, bass
Mr. Schnable, bass

We had also the masses of Lambillotte, the one in D being the most familiar. There was Peter's Mass in E flat. His smaller masses were complete. Mercadanti, four-voice mass, also one for three voices; W.A. Leonard's mass in B flat, four voices; Millard's masses complete; Farmer's masses, one in G, one in B flat; Schubert's five masses and vespers, 2d, 3d and 4th; Beethoven's two masses, the one in C being the most difficult. There was another written in D. Schubert's 2d, 3d and 4th masses were sung frequently. The grand mass of John Sebastian Bach, written in B minor, was sung by our choir for the first time in San Francisco, April 17,[Pg 125] 1869. No one who is a singer can be blamed for being justly proud in rendering this music with the following artists:

Miss Brandel, soprano
Signora Bianchi, mezzo-soprano
Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto
Signor Bianchi, tenor
F. Shoenstein, bass

Only the solemnity of the sanctuary refrained the people from giving the proper appreciation in applause when we sang this grand mass which was rendered by this splendid choir and directed by our beloved organist, the dean of that magnificent instrument (of which we were so proud) for we were the principal workers in the cause for obtaining the money for it. We then had the happiness to sing each week and listen to its beautiful notes. Our happiness was complete.

In 1874, July 5th, we sang for the first time Roeder's heavy mass. We often sang Concone's three-voice mass, Verdi's mass and Dominus, Palestrina's Libera, Paolo Giorza, and Regina Coeli. The choir library was complete with all kinds of masses, small and large. Many of them we sang. Some of them were very old and written in manuscript. I remember the professor gave me at rehearsal a celebrated old heavy German mass (No. H Messe von Rader) in manuscript and my part was the counter-tenor. Imagine my consternation when he placed it in my hand. I could always make an alto to any tune, so I just looked at it blindly and made my harmony as it fitted and did not disturb the harmony of the music. After rehearsal he came to me and said, "You did very well at faking, but if you will go up two notes and fall an octave you will get your part." That was enough for me. On my way home I bought some music paper and immediately set to work to get the mass ready for Sunday. This was Tuesday. By Friday the task was complete and I gave my work to my son George and asked him to look it over and see if I was all right. There was not a correction to be made, and I went to mass as proud as could be and sang the service through. After the service the professor came to my music stand and quietly took my fine copy and put in into the bookcase and that was the last I ever saw of my week's work. He said it was very nice of me to make such a good copy; it would be ready for the next singer who could not sing the manuscript. While I was disappointed, he was pleased that I had been clever enough to get out of the trap he[Pg 126] had set for me, for he well knew I had never seen that music before.

Besides a splendid supply of masses, there were vesper services, Gregorian chants, Ave Marias, Veni Creator, solos, Mozart's Ave Vernum, requiems from various writers, Stabat Mater by Rossini; Franz Liszt's O Salutaris; Bach's Tantum Ergo; Salutaris, Carlo Bassini; contralto solos from Rossini's Solenelle; O Salutaris, Agnus Dei, Quae Te Christi by Millett; duet soprano and mezzo, Agnus Dei, Geo. Bizet; Lascia ch'io pianga, Handel; Raff's Cavatina for contralto; Millard's Ave Marias numbering 7 and No. 1, Salutaris; Mozart's 16th mass.

All these beautiful masses and songs, duets and solos were familiar to me, and I had opportunity to sing them with the grandest singers of the day. I also sang many times at St. Mary's Cathedral, California and Dupont streets, (Bishop Alemany); St. Ignatius, when the college and church was on Market street, where the Emporium now stands; Vallejo Street Catholic Church, Mission Dolores, Notre Dame French Church, Alois Lejeal, organist, Bush street. One special Candlemas Day the St. Ignatius Church was so crowded I had to be carried by two strong men who pushed their way through the jam of worshipers. We sang Mozart's Twelfth Mass that day. The organist was one of the brothers of the college. I think I sang requiems in every Catholic church in San Francisco at that time. It seemed to be my share in life to sing for the dead of all creeds and kinds. If I attempted to give an account of requiems alone I could publish a book of good size. I have also taken part in the musical service at the funerals of the great men of California, like Ralston, Hopkins, Captain Metzger, Thos. Breeze, J.B. Painter, Colonel Larkin.

In 1874 I lived on Post and Powell streets. Trinity Church was at that corner and many people who were strangers were taken to the mortuary chapel. One sad funeral occurred there on June 18, 1887, of Abner Lincoln Blake, a grandson of Major-General Lincoln of revolutionary fame. He was ex-deputy of the custom house in Port Townsend and was on his way to Washington, with papers of importance, to give evidence against certain men who were in government service. He was followed by some of their hirelings all the way on his journey and, arriving at Chicago, he was sand-bagged, but the villains were not quick enough to get his valise. They were frightened by the appearance of some one coming, and the[Pg 127] victim was taken to the hospital. When the chief of police discovered who he was he did all he could to save the valuable evidence and notified the authorities at Washington. Everything was done to save his life, but he lapsed into unconsciousness for a week and died. He was brought to San Francisco, where a large family awaited his coming. It was one of the saddest funerals I ever witnessed or attempted to sing for. He had been cut down in the prime of life doing his duty for his country.

After leaving San Francisco in 1886 I sang in the Episcopal church in San Bernardino, and after eight months of service was engaged the remainder of the time in the Catholic church, Father Stockman. While there, I had a full repertoire of masses, old and some new to me. No matter where one goes, the church must have the best singing, and to my surprise I found the musical library was filled with masses, many of which we had in St. Patrick's:

Mozart's 12th, Haydn's 6th in B flat, Mercadanti's three-voice mass, Haydn's 3d in D, Haydn's 8th mass, Haydn's 16th in B flat, Mozart's mass in C No. 1, Haydn's in C No 2, Farmer's Mass in G, Mozart's No. 7, Peter's Mass in E flat, Mozart's Vespers in C Dur.

The requiem for Good Friday, April 25th, was sung from the quartette books used in the choir. We sang Buchler's vespers (the Memoria) and masses, Borduse mass, Werner's mass, Concone's mass and Gregorian chants. Before leaving San Bernardino choir for the closing masses, November 20th, requiem was sung, Father Koenig and Father Stockman officiating. On December 8th the Second requiem was sung from the quartette books. On December 22, 1888, we sang Borduse mass for the last time before returning to San Francisco.

I cannot give any information upon the music of the synagogue, although I sang six years there. The music is all manuscript and the cantors of the different schules all have their own services and nothing else is used, but they are very chary of their services, as they call them. I believe during my time we had six different ones, with their accompanying hymns, responses and chants, all in the Hebrew language. We had high days and holidays, which were very impressive and solemn, and the music was very beautiful and delightful to sing, even if we could not understand the meaning of the Hebrew. When the words of one service had been conquered, the others were easy to sing—like the Latin in the masses. The Episcopal service, which is as familiar as all the others to[Pg 128] me, has the same Te Deums, hymns and chants, choruses and quartette, litany and vespers, services, glorias and sacred cantatas. There is extra music for Christmas festivals and appropriate music for Lenten seasons and joyful songs for Easter, processional and recessional hymns written for this service by well-known men. The orthodox services are not so elaborate—an opening anthem, hymns, offertories selected from the many available churchly compositions written by Dudley Buck, Adam, Mason, Ambrose and other English and American writers of our time and before our time. I have a wonderfully fine collection of such songs that I have used all these years and have successfully sung. My sixteen years' service in Calvary gave me opportunity to collect the best songs to use for the church. We used the church and home collection, Mosenthal's collection, Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise, cantata of O for the Wings of a Dove, Te Deums by the best composers of sacred songs and anthems, oratorios, Moses in Egypt, David, Samson, Creation, Elijah, St. Paul, Messiah (by Handel), Stabat Mater (by Rossini), Daughter of Jarius, God, Thou Art Great (by L. Spohr), Baumbach collection of sacred music, Easter and Christmas music written by the well-known writers of the times.

Leaving the sacred work, I have also a grand collection of other works that I have sung in my musical life—Racine's Athalie, The Erl King's Daughter (by Miles W. Gade), First Walpurgis Night. Esther formed one of the epochs of my time, given in Platt's hall, on Montgomery street, by Mr. William Badger, for the benefit of the Episcopal Sabbath schools of the city in 1874; Queen, Madam Anna Bishop, soprano; King, Walter Campbell; Haman, Vernon Lincoln; Haman's wife, Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto. The chorus was composed of members of the Handel and Haydn Society. The old hall was filled to overflowing and the singers at their best, and certainly success crowned every number. The enthusiasm of the audience knew no bounds and we were crowned with honors from the beginning to the end. If ever there was a happy man, it was William Badger, the piano dealer and Sunday school children's friend. We were all paid the highest salaries and still the benefit was a grand financial success for the Sunday schools. Should I attempt to give all the different amusements and entertainments of every kind during my life of song, it would require a book of many hundred pages. It is my intention to speak of the most important musical and dramatic performances and epochs of my life, as I have had a part[Pg 129] in all these demonstrations and met all kinds of artists. It will in a measure, I hope, be an incentive for those who are musically inclined to pursue with energy, enthusiasm and faithful work the delightful task which music brings to us like other lines of education. You will find there is no "royal road to learning." The highest attainments can only be gained by careful, conscientious and intelligent study in the different departments undertaken. Students must remember, "those who go slowly go safely, and those who go safely go far."

 

Eminent Divines


[Pg 130]

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

GREAT MUSICAL FESTIVAL IN AID OF THE MERCANTILE LIBRARY, 1878. AT GILROY SPRINGS.

THE grand musical festival given in the Mechanics pavilion, San Francisco, May 28, 29 and 30, 1878, was the second largest undertaking since the one given in 1873 under the supervision of the Mechanics' Library association with Camilla Urso, virtuoso, and R.H. Herold, conductor, with 12,000 voices.

The general committee of this grand festival was composed of musicians and singers and directors of various musical organizations. They were as follows:

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

A.M. Benham, Samuel D. Mayer, Wendell Eastern, Sumner W. Bugbee, manager.

GENERAL COMMITTEE

Business Men—Geo. E. Barnes, Geo. Brown, Wm. G. Badger, Quincy A. Chase, John T. Coe, James Denman, W.P. Edwards, Jr., Samuel C. Gray, Jas. E. Gordon, M. Gray, Robt. T. Harrison, F.A. Harnden, L.K. Hammer, August Hunme, Col. J.P. Jackson, G.S. Johnson, M.A. Kennedy, Andrew Kohler, Warren Leland, S.H. Long.

Musicians—H.M. Bosworth, C.L. Crabtree, John P. Morgan, Wm. Fletcher, Geo. J. Gee, Ernest Hartmann, H. Heyman, R. Herold, H.O. Hunt, W.H. Kinross, D.W. Loring, Fred Lyster, W.J. McDougal, Charles McCurrie, H.L. Mansfeldt, E. Pique, Geo. H. Powers, Martin Schultz, Prof. Sleanter, Charles Schultz, G.A. Scott.

Singers—W.C. Campbell, Chas. Dugan, Wash. Elliott, D.P. Hughes, F.A. Hyde, Alf. Kelleher, S.W. Leach, Carl Formes, G. Mancusi, D.W.C. Nesfield, I. Stadtfeldt, M.S. Stimson, J.E. Tippett, Jos. Trenkle, Wm. Toepke, H.T. Todd, John Trehane, David Wilder, D.L. Wetherbee, Jas. L. Wilson, Asa R. Wells, R.L. Thurston, D. Van Vleck, E.C. Mastin, Gen. John McComb, D.W. Murphy, Jos. O'Connor, Frank M. Pixley, H.H. Pierson, W.E. Price, J.B. Russell, John A. Rice, L.S. Sherman, Henry T. Scott and H.S. Smith.

BOUQUET OF ARTISTS

Soprano—Mrs. Marriner-Campbell, Mrs. W.C. Little, Mrs. Lizzie P. Howell, Mrs. J.M. Pierce, Mrs. Douglas Saunders, Miss Mary E. Wadsworth, Mrs. R.A. Van Brunt, Mrs. Ella Segar Lamphere, Miss Lita Farrar, Mrs. Urig, Mrs. M.P. Waldron, Miss Annie Ribbons, Mrs. Martin Schultz, Miss Flora McKinney (Napa), Mrs. John P. Morgan, Mrs. Clara McCheney, Mrs. H.E. Willy, Mrs. May Banta.[Pg 131]

Altos—Mrs. Blake-Alverson, Mrs. T.M. Clement, Mrs. J.F. Cooper (Sacramento), Mrs. Carter (Sacramento), Mrs. Geo. W. Drew (Sacramento), Mrs. Snow (Sacramento), Miss Ida Beutler, Miss Emma Beutler, Mrs. Wm. Fletcher, Miss Belle Thomas, Mrs. Chas. King, Mrs. S. Rightmire, Mrs. Withrow, Mrs. Chisholm, Miss Kate Stone, Miss Millar, Mrs. Ella Steele-Brown and Mrs. Adelaide Reuter.

Tenors—Ben Clark, John Trehune, D.P. Hughes, Harry Gates, Samuel D. Mayer, Geo. W. Jackson, W.N. Otey, E.C. Masten, Dr. Geo. H. Powers, J.E. Tippett, Dr. A.M. Wilder, C.L. Crabtree, Wash. Elliott, J.L. Skinner (Sacramento), Robt. Burns (Arcata) and W.E. Price.

Bass—J.W. Yarndley, J.E. Blake, Wm. P. Edwards, Jr., R. Jansen, Chas. Dugan, D.W.C. Nesfield, G. Nathanson, G. Mancusi, Phillip Jones, Charles E. Holbrook, E. Pique, Walter C. Campbell, Carl Formes, W.H. Kinross and Jacob Stadfeldt.

In addition to our many fine singers, the committee secured from the East as director the well-known and popular leader, Carl Zerrahn. Negotiations were made with the most celebrated singers of the East, and among those to come were: Myron W. Whitney, bass; Miss Anna Drasdil, contralto; Mrs. Helen Ames Billings, soprano; Mrs. Clark, soprano, and Mr. Fessenden, tenor. With the assistance of these strangers and local artists that could be depended upon for solo work, everything looked auspicious for the festival. Rehearsals began immediately. Our parts were assigned to us. For the first concert the bouquet of artists sang Spirit Immortal (Verdi), and sextette, Chi Mi Frena (Donizetti); second concert, Sleepers, Awake (Mendelssohn), male chorus; The Soldier's Farewell; Anvil Chorus, full orchestra, anvils, artillery, etc.; third concert, Inflammatus, Mrs. Marriner, soloist, bouquet of artists and grand chorus; Spirit Immortal repeated; Chi Mi Frena repeated; America, Hallelujah Chorus; Star Spangled Banner.

The solos of chorus numbers were sung by our local soloists. While the Eastern singers were excellent, they found out that in California there were also artists to be respected, as did the distinguished leader, Carl Zerrahn, when he began the rehearsals. He had nothing but the highest praise for the fine musicians he found in this section. Before this great gathering of singers and people came to an end, there was still another concert as a farewell tribute to the strangers. It took place in the Grand Opera house and proved to be a grand finale to this successful musical undertaking. Every seat in the opera house was taken. The soloists were at their best; the choruses grand and inspiring and full of animation. The orchestral numbers were all new. The bouquet of artists[Pg 132] sang their concerted passage from Lucia even better than on the former occasions.

Besides these concerts there was also a promenade concert at the Pavilion for the numerous visitors from the interior cities and 2,000 availed themselves of the opportunity. There was also an afternoon concert by 3,000 children under the baton of Prof. Mansfeldt, and on Monday night the sacred concert with portions of Elijah and the choice numbers of the previous concerts was successfully given, and the musical festival of 1878 passed into history.

Since the chorus played so prominent a part in this festival season, it would be well to add also a tribute of thanks to these singers of the city and interior delegations who came at the call of the director, Sumner Bugbee, in splendid numbers, showing that all the cities of the state made music a prominent factor. The number of singers who took part in the first day's performance was 1,800. The following were the places from which the choruses were drawn, with the number from each, together with the names of directors:

Bouquet of artists (50), Carl Zerrahn, director; Handel and Haydn society (453), J.P. Morgan, director; George Gee's class (100); Jackson's Glee club (165), G.W. Jackson, director; Apollo Glee club (95), Martin Schultz, director; Sacramento (60), J. McNiell and Chas. Winters, directors; San Rafael (24), R.M. Bosworth, director; Oakland Harmonic (165), J.P. Morgan, director; Oakland Orpheus (80), J.W. McDougall, director; Oakland High School (81), H.J. Todd, director; Healdsburg and Santa Rosa (41); San Jose (60), Z.M. Parvin, director; Gilroy (12), Prof. Johnson, director; Merced (2), San Juan (2), Eureka (24), J. Hetherington, director; Rocklin (4), Salinas (24), W.J. McCoy, director; Diamond Springs (26), M.R. Griffiths, director; Woodland (24), C.E. Pinkham, director; Suisun (18), D.R. Stockman, director; Stockton (26), E.W. Elliott, director; Portland (17), Prof. Morse, director; Soquel (14), T.S. Tartton, director; Modesto (21), W.H. Franzini, director; Sonoma (3), Santa Barbara (7), G.H. Young, director; San Diego (17), E.D. Blackner, director; San Buena Ventura (9), Max Eiderline, director; Vacaville (15), Theo. Ritzner, director; Nevada City (10), Visalia (8), Prof. Hirsch, director; Oregon (22), and many individual singers of no society.

 

Musical Directors of the May Festival

 

It was a pity that after all this success there should come an aftermath of unhappy, unpaid singers and players who were unable to realize a farthing from their splendid work. Mr. Bugbee slipped quietly out of the city, Mr. Kinross sailed on the Portland steamer, Mr. Benham disappeared, as did also Mr. Easton. The concerts certainly paid a splendid profit, but expenses and high salaries of these men ate up the expected profits. Everything[Pg 133] was carried out with a lavish hand and Mr. Bugbee, with all his promises, did not fulfill them as by contract. I do not know what the other soloists' losses were, but my portion was to be $150 for three days, carriages, etc. After the concert in the opera house I never saw Mr. Bugbee, although I made every effort to do so. He was lost to San Francisco forever. A number of years after all this trouble I saw a notice of his death in a southern city. Carl Zerrahn was the only one who benefited by his coming and he returned home with $2,500 in his pockets, a gold medal, laurel wreath and embossed letters of appreciation from the musicians of California. I never knew how settlement was made with the managers and the Eastern artists. It is my opinion they received nothing and were obliged to return on their own expenses. The papers were full of sarcasm and by-play upon the names of the prominent men who had the matter in hand. "Charles Stoddard, our poet, had his genius completely crushed under the $20 that he did not receive for his work." The San Francisco Chronicle said further: "In the meantime, the present creditors are singing with much vim the Oweratoweriwoe of the Götterdämmerung."

Laying all jokes aside, it was a great event. It would give the reader only a faint idea of the mass of humanity to express its size merely by so many thousands. The spectator looking down upon it from some upper seat of the boundless gallery of the choral amphitheater saw an awe-inspiring scene. People in numbers almost as great as the standing army of the United States were packed so closely together that all individuality was lost, and the pulsating aggregate looked like the exposed and mottled back of some submerged sea monster. Between the parts of the programme the combined hum of ten thousand voices floated upon the air like the deep boom of the surf on the seashore. When the raised seats were well filled in the vast gallery the graduation was lost to the eye, and the whole presented a plane surface as rich in coloring as if it had been a hanging of rarely worked tapestry. The main floor was one solid mass of female loveliness and manly worth. There were national dignitaries on a visit to the coast, state dignitaries from Sacramento, city dignitaries and nature's noblemen from all over the country at large. The amiable and heavily bearded countenance of Governor Irwin was conspicuous in one of the boxes. The buxom and benign countenance of Mayor Bryant, his person clad in a rigorously accurate full dress costume, was not less noticeable. But the ladies! Oh, there began[Pg 134] the tempest of the soul of any man who tried to pick out any one who was more pre-eminently attractive than the other. The eye could travel on forever through the boxes from east to west, from Mission street to Market, from the main floor to the roof, and every prospect was pleasing and man was utterly outvied. At half past two the tall and graceful conductor, Carl Zerrahn, arrayed in a black frock coat and a pair of lavender colored trousers, stepped lightly down the gorgeous hill of choristers to the front of the orchestra, made a profound bow to the audience, then turned and raised his baton to the chorus. Instantly the 1,800 rose to their feet with a motion so well timed that it seemed as if the whole south end of the pavilion was rising. As 1,800 scarlet-covered chorus books were hoisted into view, the whole amphitheater seemed aflame as if for an exaggerated incantation scene of Fra Diavolo. Then there was another motion of the baton, with the precision of a machine fifty bows scraped upwards over fifty violins and 150 other instruments, and 1,800 voices burst forth in melody.

 

Bouquet of Artists

Enlarge

 

From 1870 to 1882 it was my custom to go to Gilroy Mineral Springs for my vacation. Many and varied were the programmes we gave there each year, and not an evening of our stay lagged for entertainment. In 1879 I happened to be there at the time of my birthday. There were 150 guests and all entered with zest into a plan to honor me. I was not aware that any one knew of my forty-third birthday, so unconsciously I was doing my utmost to serve the many prominent guests and my friends, George Roop and wife, who were the proprietors of the Springs. Among the guests were: Mr. John F. Merrill and wife, the Misses Dolly and Susie Sroufe, Phil McGovern and party, prominent merchants and families from the neighboring towns of Santa Cruz, San Jose, Gilroy and Monterey, Mr. and Mrs. George A. Smiley and others from San Francisco, Isadore Lazinski of business college fame, the Remillards and Folkers and Cottles and others.

After an early dinner the dining hall was cleared for our entertainment. The room was decorated with ferns and wild flowers, and flags and ribbons streamed in graceful folds. The programme consisted of songs, music of piano, guitar, violin, classic and negro melodies, etc. It was after I had given "Sarah Walker's Opinion" that Miss Grace Roop stepped forward and placed a laurel wreath with streaming ribbons floating gracefully from it upon my head, wishing me a happy birthday. To my[Pg 135] utter surprise, scarcely had she stepped aside when Mrs. Geo. Smiley of San Francisco came forward and began reading a letter of thanks and congratulations from the guests who had enjoyed the many evenings of entertainment to which I had contributed. She then placed an envelope in my hand containing three $20 bills and one of $5, as a token of regard and appreciation from the guests. After a short speech of thanks and the closing song and chorus of Home, Sweet Home, the eventful day came to its close.

This was one of the many seasons that, away from the cares of life, I gave others who were afflicted with many ills a little brightness of song life. My coming was always heralded a week before, and expectant faces awaited me, knowing I would give entertainment. There was one poor sufferer who never expected to see his home again. On my arrival he was not able to leave his room. Being informed that the singing lady had arrived, he sadly sighed on his pillow, "Then I'll not hear her, as I had hoped." After the second evening Mrs. Roop related the story of the young man who was dying slowly and was so disappointed that he could not hear me sing before he passed away. I was touched by this appeal. I soon found four good voices among the guests and we arranged the quartette and practiced together until we could sing with soft effect. After we had entertained the guests for an hour we all marched quietly to the cottage of the young man. The moon was at its height and the time and scene befitting our tribute to the dying soul. The nurse opened the door quietly. The invalid had fallen asleep in the back room, the moon shining in at his window in soft light upon his pale face. With voices subdued we began the song of Home, Sweet Home. He talked in his sleep, "Yes, I am coming home." He heard, yet was not enough awake to know the song was sung by earthly voices. At last, with a deep sigh, he awoke and said, "Nurse, I have been called home. Shall I hear her sing before I go?" "Yes, I think so." While he spoke the sign was given and I sang Nearer, My God, to Thee, with the other voices softly following each verse. "Oh, the angel has come at last." "Listen, she is singing to you," said the nurse. "Hark, is it not the angel voices? Is it real? Then I have heard the heavenly song before I go. Oh, how beautiful it all is and how kind of all these friends to come to me and make me so happy with their song in my last hours on earth. Listen," he whispered. "Still another song for me," he gasped[Pg 136] out. Safe in the Arms of Jesus we sang and he was listening intently as his life was ebbing away. As we closed the hymn, Sweetly His Soul Shall Rest, he had crossed the River of Life and nothing remained but the casket, emaciated and cold in death, with the face of a saint and a smile on his silent lips—gone to his eternal rest to hear the music of angelic voices around the Throne of God. This is the cup of cold water our Savior bade us to give. If the gift of the human voice is sanctified in such work of love, then it is worth while for every one who can sing and has this glorious gift of song to strive for the most beautiful use of it known to the art of tone production so as to bring happiness to the singer and his enwrapt listeners, be they young or old, rich or poor, sick or dying, in the sanctuary or for the bridal rejoicings. Vitiate not this gift with the lower thought of the art of singing. Strive for the highest ideals and your happiness will be tenfold greater.


[Pg 137]

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

AUTHORS' CARNIVAL, 1880, PRESIDENT HAYES AND GENERAL SHERMAN PRESENT

THE GRAND Authors' Carnival given for the Associated Charities of San Francisco, October 18 to October 28, 1880, can well be classed as the crowning effort of anything attempted upon so large a scale. If there are still living in San Francisco auditors of the wonderful performance given by the 2000 participants who were enlisted in the great work they will corroborate my statement. The wealthy women who managed these homes financially, were also the officers of them and had called for aid. It was so beautiful to see the spirit of these people in completing the arrangements for this carnival. Meetings were held weekly until their plans had matured and it was agreed unanimously that the Booths of All Nations should be featured with the principal works of the world's greatest writers. Charles Crocker was chosen as treasurer. The books were selected and the booths received their names from the author of the books. The book that fell to our lot of actors was Martin Chuzzlewit, by Charles Dickens. At first our committee was inclined to refuse to act these queer characters, but we had given our word to help and we could not go back on that. I asked Mrs. Grove to let me take the book to see what could be done at this late hour. All the other booths had begun their rehearsals. It was fortunate for me that I had traveled much and seen so many odd characters. As I read carefully I was convinced we could excel in this very book. I went to the library and got a Dickens book illustrated by Cruikshank. We called a meeting and found we needed thirty-two persons. At this meeting I showed the possibilities of these seemingly ugly characters. Parts were assigned and arrangements made for rehearsals.

The women of the general committee on booths were more than exultant to think we were willing to take this rejected book. We were determined to succeed. Our[Pg 138] costumes were the art of perfection and we were a motley crowd of characters from Sairy Gamp to Quilp, from the Pecksniffs to Mark Tapley. Besides studying the proper characters we were obliged to have a series of tableaux to represent the different episodes in the lives of these people. Our book called for thirteen tableaux:

1. The Chuzzlewit Family
2. Martin Jr. arrives at the Pecksniffs
3. Visiting Miss Pinch
4. Todgers Boarding House
5. Truth prevails and Virtue triumphs
6. Jonas entertains his cousins
7. Sairy Gamp (the nurse)
8. Sairy Gamp's corpse
9. There is nothing he don't know
10. Miss Pinch's pudding
11. Sairy Gamp proposes a toast
12. Pecksniff rebuked by Martin, Senior
13. The wedding scene

Characters for the booth were as follows:

Martin Chuzzlewit Sr.Walter H. Smith
Martin Chuzzlewit Jr.D.M. Van Vliet
Anthony ChuzzlewitScott Elder
Jonas ChuzzlewitGeo. L. Underhill
George ChuzzlewitPercival J. Keeler
Strong minded womanLucy A.M. Grove
Daughter No. 1Miss Mary L. Brown
Daughter No. 2Mrs. J. Byles
Daughter No. 3Miss Lizzie Duncan
Mary GrahamMrs. Scott Elder
PecksniffH.G. Sturtevant
Charity PecksniffMrs. M.B. Alverson
Mercy PecksniffAlice Van Winkle
Mrs. TodgersMrs. M.S. Williams
Deaf CousinMrs. C.C. Burr
Sairy GampMrs. John Evans
Betsy PriggMrs. G.B. Holt
Mr. SpottletoeJohn Evans
Mrs. SpottletoeMrs. William Hawley
Tom PinchMiss Ruby Hawley
Mrs. LupinMiss Addie McIntyre
Miss Pinch's pupilMiss Eva Reynolds
Mark TapleyFrank Harrold
Montague TiggJ.D. Brown
Chevy SlimeS.T. Maguire
JinkinsC.W. Sturtavent
John WestlockA.F. Price
ChuffyWm. A. Underhill
BaileyGeo. A. Mullen
Grand NephewWm. Romaine
MoadleGeo. L. Underhill
MouldWm. A. Underhill

We worked hard for days perfecting our parts. Our first rehearsal was a forerunner of our complete success. The critics were present at the dress rehearsal and this is what appeared in the Carnival column of the San Francisco "Chronicle" next day. "H.G. Sturtevant, assisted by Mrs. Lucy Grove and Mrs. Blake-Alverson,[Pg 139] is conducting the scenes from Martin Chuzzlewit. Their full dress rehearsal was held last night at 203 Post street. Tigg and Mark Tapley, the youthful Bailey, Charity with upturned nose, the sanctimonious Mercy and her Pecksniffian airs were all made up to perfection. The demure Ruth buttered her pudding-pan and talked to gentle Tom as a genuine Miss Pinch should. Jonas played his ace of hearts to the entertainment alike of himself and friends. Sairy Gamp and the stolid Betsy drank tea and quarreled with equal industry. The list of thirteen acts and tableaux to be presented in this booth will illustrate every important episode in the history of the Chuzzlewits from the arrival of Martin Junior at Pecksniff's cottage to the period of the latter gentleman's rebuke and downfall. The series will close with Charity Pecksniff's wedding, Mrs. Blake-Alverson as Charity."

It would require too much space to present the criticisms of each character of our booth as they appeared in the papers daily. It is enough to say that after the carnival was over the committee of the carnival in thanking us for our valuable services said that had there been prizes given, the Pecksniffs should have received the first prize. Each night as the procession started it began with our booth and as we passed each booth they would join in the motley crowd of characters until all the booths were in the procession. As we appeared the people of the different booths would cry out, "Here they come, here comes Charity Pecksniff," forgetting their own parts when they saw the funny Pecksniffs leading off the procession. One evening a man in the audience made a wager that he would make Charity Pecksniff lower her elevated and scornful nose. As she passed he said: "There is a twenty dollar gold piece at your feet, pick it up," but she refused to betray her character and the ruse did not succeed.

One of the features of the carnival was the procession of each booth to the center of the immense stage where the spot-light was turned on. It was a most admirable detail. It looked like a long caravan of the past sweeping onward through the vivid light of the present. The intense light revealed the endless variety and marvellous beauty of the costumes. It was understood that the same pageant would be repeated each night so the people came early to witness the procession of this immense number of participants winding slowly along until they reached the stage. When the Peck[Pg 140]sniffs arrived on the stage a shout rent the air each night and we were obliged to remain in the spot light until the cheering had subsided. It was ten days of notoriety wholly unexpected by the Pecksniffs. We were only carrying out our idea of these characters and had become the chief attraction of the motley procession. While some of the characters had individual pictures of themselves taken, there should have been large groups photographed as a permanent reminder of the carnival. It would take volumes to describe the separate costumes of these well represented characters. There was but one incident which marred the happiness of the revelers in the booths, the death of Mr. Biddle Bishop, the Don Antonio of the Cervantes booth, who was drowned in the Alameda baths. By his affable manners and intelligence he had endeared himself to all of his associates who felt as though they were themselves bereaved. Out of respect to his sudden death the Cervantes booth was closed for one night. He was also one of the young deacons of Calvary Church and was a well beloved pupil of mine with a fine baritone voice which was fast developing and he would have been classed among the singers of his time. I know of no one more worthy to meet his Maker for he was an exemplary young man, full of Christian love and charity toward all. The funeral services were held in Calvary Church, Rev. John Hemphill, the pastor, spoke eloquently of his late parishioner. The music was rendered by a female trio club composed of Miss Susie Sroufe, soprano; Miss Dolly Sroufe, second soprano; Mrs. Blake-Alverson, contralto, and Professor Scott, organist. His body was sent to his home in Philadelphia for burial.

 

Author's Carnival

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In looking over the list of those who took part in the Authors' Carnival only five of the number who made up the Chuzzlewit booth are living, to my knowledge. The Dickens books booths were larger than the other books. The tableaux required room to give the proper effect. The carnival opened Monday evening, September 20, 1880, at 8 p.m. The programme follows:

Grand March. Marshals, Messrs. Joe P. Redding, Lent Mix, Capt. Chamberlain, Geo. H. Redding, Frank Horton, Mr. Putman, Jas. W. Burling, R. Gilmour, Chas. H. Woods, Col. Smedberg, W.E. Dean, C.E. Hinkley, Max Freeman. 2,000 participants. During the march the Grand Military band under the direction of Mr. Gustav Hinrichs played:

1. Marches aux Flambeaux, (a) in C major; (b) in E flat major (Meyerbeer).[Pg 141]

2. The Nation's Homage to the Muse of Music. (By the Musical Composers booth.)

3. Overture—The Merry Wives of Windsor.

4. The Fan Brigade. Twenty-five young ladies.

5. Crowning of Corinne at the Capitol. (By the French booth.)

6. Carnival Guard.

7. Selections from Fledermaus (Strauss).

8. Council of the Gods. (By the Homer booth.)

9. Finale. Overture from Le Cheval de Bronze. (Auber.)

SECOND NIGHT, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

After the Grand March each night these tableaux were performed and between them were selections of music suitable for the tableaux at the different booths. Spanish booth, Homer booth, the Egyptian booth.

THIRD NIGHT, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Mrs. Jarley's waxworks. Dickens' booth with twenty-eight wax figures. Classic funeral, Lytton booth; Fan Brigade, twenty-five young ladies. The Abbott Assolizes, Robert Bruce. Walter Scott booth.

FOURTH NIGHT, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

(a) Venus rising from the sea.

(b) Council of the Gods, Homer booth. Egypt's gift to America, Egyptian booth. Concepcion de Arguello. Banquet scene. Bret Harte booth.

FIFTH NIGHT, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

The second flight of La Valliere. The concert scene. The French booth.

SIXTH NIGHT, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

Home Sweet Home. Scenes from the Homer booth, French, Egyptian, Walter Scott and the Lytton booths.

It is a well-known fact that a crowded house always produces enthusiasm among the actors. This proved to be true on the opening night of this tremendous undertaking carried out for ten nights. The executive committee left nothing undone to make the old pavilion attractive. There were international gardens and archery and fan brigades, restaurant and refreshment department, Italian art gallery and gardens, loan collections, and camp of the carnival guard. The grand stage and the carnival bridge with the Shakespeare booth were the largest divisions on the main and upper floors. Among the booths were the following: Dickens' booth, pictures from artists and poets' booth, musical composers' booth, Shakespeare booth, Hawthorne booth, Arabian Nights' booth, Lord Lytton booth, Bret Harte booth, Charles Reade booth, Tintern Abbey booth, Jacob Grimm booth, French booth, Cervantes' booth, Egyptian booth, bon bon booth, floral booth, executive committee booth.[Pg 142]

The fine music of the carnival was under the direction of the competent leadership of Mr. Gustav Hinrichs, who, with his splendid military band, gave pleasure to thousands of spectators and inspiration to the able participants, quickening their steps and urging them on each night to even better work. The executive committee spared no pains to make every part attractive to the public. Every convenience of the spectators was promptly attended to. New attractions were added from day to day, and rarely has there been an entertainment given which offered so much genuine amusement for the price of admission. The grand march was one of the most beautiful spectacles ever seen. The rose-colored lights thrown on the French booth, the blue on the Homer, the green on the Lytton produced a most marvelous effect. On the grand stage four booths participated, the members of each having the advantage of thoroughly rehearsing their tableaux in their own booths before appearing. The result was a splendid triumph for them all. "The Child's Dream of Fairyland," by the Jacob Grimm booth, was a delicately conceived tableau. The quick changing of the beautiful representation of "Peg Woffington," which might properly be termed a pantomimic representation of a drama, was efficiently executed, the characters all entering into the spirit, to the delight of the interested spectators. The Alhambra booth, with its wilderness of eastern magnificence, presented "The Lovers of Abdallah." "The Minuet de la Coeur" was danced nightly by the French booth. The Carnival Guard, with their bright dresses, was one of the nightly attractions. The Egyptian and Arabian Nights' booth presented a scene from the "Forty Thieves." The closing tableau by the Lord Lytton booth was a grand success and represented scenes from Bulwer's "Rienzi." The groupings and arrangement of the various scenes were exceptionally fine and reflected great credit upon the managers. After the grand spectacle on the main stage, the different tableaux were enacted in the separate booths to which the immense crowds gathered. The Dickens booth, one of the largest, because of the many characters, was a great attraction. From the "Pecksniffs" to the "Old Curiosity Shop," grotesque scenes were many. There was the one in which grandfather and little Nell were the prominent figures, Nell trying to comfort him in their poverty. Quilp enters and perches himself on a high chair, leering at them. Quilp hops in at Mrs. Quilp's tea party, she supposing herself free to entertain a few friends at the time. Next in order was the meeting of Kit and Bar[Pg 143]bara; Kit's trial scene; Sally Brass and the Marchioness discovered eavesdropping by Dick Swiveller, and her punishment. Later the Marchioness and Dick at card-playing, followed by Miss Montflather's seminary, and the whole concluded with the panic of twenty-five young ladies.

The Scottish clubs of the Caledonian booth regaled their listeners with quaint dancing of reels and strathspeys. The Walter Scott booth, with bagpipe accompaniment, was an acquisition to the various representations. The rustic harbor in the Italian booth was complete and a pleasant retreat. The music and tableaux in this booth were worthy of the immense audience which crowded the space each night. The Italian poets and authors were represented here and it was not at all unusual for Dante, Michael Angelo, Petrarch and Boccaccio to hobnob over a glass of lemonade with a sprightly fairy from the Jacob Grimm booth or some other personage diametrically opposite in legend and dress. The matinees during the week were prepared in many ways for the amusement of the school children. One special tableau from the Egyptian booth was the finding of Moses in the bulrushes. Moses was played by a beautiful baby a few weeks old, and the young people were ever ready to crowd the pavilion to behold this tableau. There were many quaint curiosities exhibited in the Old Curiosity Shop, loaned by the owners. It took much of my time to borrow and arrange the articles that were from 100 to 200 years old and very rare heirlooms. My aim was to make the shop as perfect a counterpart of the original as was possible. The gladiatorial sports, enacted by the 100 picked men of the Olympic club of San Francisco, was a nightly attraction which brought out much cheering.

During the carnival week the Dickens booth had several large groupings and tableaux that created a storm of hilarity and amusement. Mrs. Jarley and her famous waxworks, Mrs. Jarley, Mrs. Hodgkins herself, was a sight that would move the latent risibilities of the most morose Iago. It would be impossible for me to give the harangue of that queer old lady, the unction, the comical postures would be lost on paper. She was "sui generis" and must be seen to be appreciated. Her wax figures were original and pertinent hits on the live issues of the day. Dr. Tanner created much applause; the new charter 13-15-14 and a dozen other topics kept the immense audience in a roar from beginning to end of her harangue and only subsided at the drop of the curtain. It would take too many chapters to tell of[Pg 144] each actor and the nightly performances. The managers of the booths were wide awake men and women and the participants vied with each other, especially when their night came to be prominently grouped on the main stage. Then it was that all the artistic skill was brought out.

There were distinguished visitors at the opening of this great carnival. No less a person than President Hayes and wife and party with General Sherman had prominent places in the private boxes. Mr. Hallidie and Manager Locks escorted the general and his party to the booth in the Tintern Abbey where they partook of refreshments. In the company were Mr. Burchard Hayes, representatives of the New York Herald and Bulletin, the California Democrat and the Carnival Record. The women in the company were the Misses Hayes, Elliott, Raymond and Miss Nellie Smedberry. They had the highest praise for the carnival. Mrs. Hayes said that it was far better than anything she had ever seen in the East; that it far eclipsed her anticipation and that it was sweet to see so many men and women and children busying themselves for charity's sake. At the Floral Temple the guests were presented with floral offerings. They closed their visit with partaking of tea in the International Tea garden presided over by Mrs. Dr. Wanzer and waited upon by Mrs. Phoebe I. Davis in a becoming Welsh costume. Before going, General Sherman sent an orderly to Camp Sherman, the headquarters of the Carnival Guard, with his regards, and regrets that the stay was so short. The dignitaries of the state and city were prominent visitors during this season of merriment. Not an evening but some prominent visitors attended. Mr. Joseph Redding and his fellow workers, and Mr. Charles Crocker, the treasurer, had a busy time handling the receipts. The first two nights and afternoons the receipts were $20,820.20, and daily increasing. The undertaking was an unbounded success from the start. I do not remember the full amount but I know it came beyond the expectations of the management. Many unfortunate men and women and children were made happy and comfortable by the generosity of the people of San Francisco and other cities over the land who visited us there and enjoyed the grand spectacle and praised the ability of our people to inaugurate and successfully carry out such a laudable enterprise.

 

Friends


[Pg 145]

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

VACATION EPISODES AT DEER PARK, JULY 4, 1893

BEGINNING with June, 1893, I spent a three months' vacation at Deer Park Inn, six miles from Lake Tahoe, a lovely spot between high mountains owned by Mr. Scott. At that time he wanted an entertainer for his guests. I needed a rest from my church and teaching duties and a change to the high mountain air from the coast fogs and winds. I spent June visiting the people whose addresses were sent me by Mr. Scott and in a short time I had about thirty-five of Oakland's prominent people as my guests during my stay at the springs. On a beautiful June afternoon the coach stopped before the inn after a most delightful ride in an open coach. Shortly after our arrival the night shut off the sight of the beautiful scene. After dinner an hour or two was spent with my new-found host and hostess. After a refreshing sleep I arose early and standing on the wide veranda I had an opportunity to see for the first time the magnificent spectacle before me. I thought truly "the groves were God's first temples" as I beheld the high mountains, covered with pines and chaparral, the sparkling waterfalls dashing down the mountain side; the cottages here and there on the level parts of the rocky steeps; the long building for the dining hall; the laundry building, and below the dam, the row of white buildings and corrals for the cows and horses connected with the dairy conducted by Mr. Scott.

I was quartered in a section of the hotel which contained sixteen rooms, a reception parlor and an office. All those who came were received by me and their names registered and places assigned them in the hotel, the cottages or tents, as they desired. In the evening I was expected to have entertainment of some kind for the guests who assembled in the parlors after dinner. I was rather put to my wits' end to see how I was to please all these people with nothing at hand to aid me. It was a new departure as well as a problem. By the evening[Pg 146] coach I sent a letter to Kohler & Chase with this message, "Send me a Fisher right away C.O.D." Now with the piano assured and with the aid of the guests who were to arrive we should not fail for music at least. A log cabin on the side of the hill, complete except for the roof, was large enough to accommodate a hundred or more guests. On one end was a high fireplace and mantel, there were old fashioned chairs and rockers, tables were placed there for the card players, settees along the sides, and across the corner between two windows was a place for the piano. After I was informed that I was to have charge of this place of amusement I soon had willing hands to aid me and by the time the guests began to arrive all was in readiness. I had brought along some of my Old Folks concert costumes and books and other things to help me out. Among the first arrivals was Mrs. Wasley of Oakland. I had known her before I enlisted her services as pianist. She could also sing so she was doubly useful.

It was decided that on the Fourth of July there should be a dedication of the log cabin and a patriotic programme. I was most fortunate in having as guests Mr. W.S. Goodfellow's family and their guest, Mrs. Amsden. A more fortunate addition could not have been desired. After my friends had rested from the journey I unfolded my plan and their assistance was readily given. We had also as guests Col. Sumner and wife, Bvt. Col. Parnell and family, Mr. Geo. Metcalf and two sons, Mr. Johnson from Sacramento, son of Grove L. Johnson, and members from a number of San Francisco's prominent families. On Saturday night there were many notables from Sacramento, educators and others. I was in the highest state of enthusiasm for my Fourth of July oration was to come from Col. Parnell, the only survivor of the battle of Balaklava. Col. Sumner was master of ceremonies. A prominent teacher from San Francisco drilled all the children of the guests. Not one was omitted who could add an acceptable number to our already excellent program. Even our estimable housekeeper, Sarah Markwart, proved herself quite a poet, besides surprising the great number of guests and strangers with a delicious repast of cake and cream after the exercises were over. The dining hall was decorated with evergreens, flags and wild flowers. On each table was a delicious cake, graced with the American flag, and patriotic emblems were upon the napkins. With all her labor she found time to contribute her offering and wrote Lines upon[Pg 147] the Racket, as she called it, and when the guests were all seated the verses were read by one of the teachers:

"LINES UPON THE RACKET"
High up in the snow-capped Sierras,
Not far from Tahoe's beautiful sheet,
Nestling amid the firs and pines,
Is a beautiful summer retreat.

There is where tired mortals go
To rest their brains and weary bones,
Forgetting about the busy world,
Contented to be perfect drones.

Enjoying the beautiful sunshiny days,
And breathing the purest of mountain air;
For the time caring for naught
And saying with the poet, Begone, dull care.

But as mortals cannot live on sunshine and air,
In that beautiful canon near the foaming stream,
Stands the famous Deer Park Inn,
Midst forest trees forever green.

There the most epicurean can find
Food the envy of a king;
Nowhere such trout in all the world
And cooked as nice as anything.

Dear host and hostess, may they live long;
Health and happiness may they never lack;
And when they retire from their rural home,
May they carry with them a well-filled "sack."

For none so watchful could be on earth,
To please and satisfy each guest,
As they have proved to be to all;
Their fame will extend from East to West.

There's another one must not be forgotten,
The life of the camp, full of laughter and song;
Kind words and smiles for every one,
Happy may be her life and long,
For Mrs. Blake-Alverson and her song.

The dear Log Cabin on the hill,
With its huge fireplace and cheery fire,
Where met each eve both old and young,
Mother and daughter, son and sire,

To hear the piano's tuneful notes
And raise their voices loud in song;
To "trip the light fantastic toe"
[Pg 148]And strive the pleasures to prolong.

Where could you find such beautiful girls,
Such as the poet always sings,
Gentle and kind, courteous and mild,
We pronounce them angels, all but the wings.

We regretfully leave such glorious scenes;
But as all things must come to an end,
We part for the time with reminiscences sweet,
Resolving here next summer to spend.

When at last we all arrive at St. Peter's Gate
In the Sweet bye and bye,
And when he calls the heavenly roll
May he not pass us by.

These lines caused much merriment and were heartily applauded. I wish to pay tribute here to a most noble woman who, left with three sons, was happily doing her best. She was a fine cook and housekeeper in her own home and each summer for three months she came to cook at the inn. I never ate finer meals. There were Tahoe trout every day that would fill an epicure's heart with delight, and venison, hot rolls, muffins and waffles, cake, puddings and creams all splendidly prepared. We all knew with what art Sarah prepared the food, but we were not prepared to get in our menu, Lines on the Racket, which made a great hit.

The services began at two o'clock and consisted of opening remarks of welcome by Col. Sumner, piano number of patriotic airs by Mrs. Amsden, America by the guests assembled, patriotic exercises by the children of the guests drilled by one of the teachers, and the oration by Col. Parnell, which was in part as follows:

"Men whose lives are spent in the military or naval service of their country are not, as a rule, accustomed to public speaking. It is actions, not words that are demanded of them, those actions, properly conducted and carried out being the safety and security of the nation.

"When I perceive that many of those assembled here to do honor to the day we celebrate (away up in this quiet and delightful mountain retreat—the Switzerland of America, free from the noise, turmoil and fog of the city) are prominent educators of the nation's children, I find my embarrassment increased lest a misapplied word, or misplaced verb might cause my everlasting disgrace; for above all people whom I honor and whose respect and esteem I appreciate, it is those devoted men and women who give their time and their talents to the education of the young; and to whose care,[Pg 149] fathers and mothers, in unstinted confidence, are willing to entrust their loved ones in preparing them for the battle of life.

 

Col. Richard Parnell; Deer Park Cabin

 

"When our republic was formed, the wisdom of its founders manifested itself in many ways. One in particular strikes us very forcibly in contrast with our sister republics in Europe and even on this continent. We have no legacy of royalty, no legacy of hereditary or titled aristocracy that forever menace, and threaten the peace and stability of other republics; the highest office in the gift of the people becomes the servant of the people, hence we have the stability of a government founded by the people, of the people, and for the people, and although some thirty odd years ago the aristocracy of Europe tried hard to destroy our republic, we are today stronger than ever, a united country of sixty-five millions of people, whose stalwart yeomen from Maine to Oregon and from the Lakes to the Gulf, are ready and willing to take the field at a moment's warning, against any foreign enemy whose temerity might prompt them to attack Old Glory.

"I speak advisedly when I say this for the war of the rebellion was not confined, strictly speaking, to the people of the north and the people of the south alone; the people of the north were fighting, not only to maintain the unity and integrity of the United States, but, much like the war of the revolution, they had to contend against foreign foes in the moral and substantial aid given by France and England to the south in its strenuous efforts to disrupt the unity of the country founded by our forefathers, they (of the north) were contending against the intrigue of the emperor of the French, whose hostile armies had invaded the soil of our sister republic south of the Rio Grande, for the purpose of establishing a monarchy in that country, and blighting it with the titled and depraved aristocracy of the French empire, as it then existed.

"We have ample proof to warrant the statement, that had the south been successful in establishing a separate form of government, it was the purpose of the French emperor to seize Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico, and together with the aristocracy of England, to destroy the so-called Southern Confederacy and thus, at one swoop, wipe out a nation they were ostensibly trying to establish; for under the contingent conditions mentioned, England's policy was to seize Virginia, the Carolinas and other southern states bordering on the Atlantic. To the ever[Pg 150]lasting credit of the masses of the English and the French people be it said, that they had not part in, or sympathy with, the efforts of the few political demagogues of the nations mentioned in their efforts to aid in the destruction of this beautiful country of ours, the most free and independent on the face of the globe.

"My friends, from the very earliest period of American history the log cabin has been the cradle of our greatest men. Lincoln, Grant and a host of others began life in a log cabin. Our churches and our school houses, the bulwarks of our nation's strength and greatness, began to shoot out their branches of education from the 'little old log cabin.' The magnitude of this great country is like the rough gem in the hands of the lapidary. He takes no credit for its possession, but he does take credit for what skill he may exercise in making it beautiful and more valuable. So with the American people, it is left to them to so exercise their skill, mentally and physically, in improving and beautifying the gem that has so generously been bestowed upon them by the Great Creator, that its lustre and brilliancy may shed its light of freedom and intelligence over every quarter of the globe.

"Out here in California the pioneers work has only commenced, thanks to the patient, enduring, uncomplaining and vigorous work of our little army, the way has been cleared of the relentless foe of the white man, barbarism lies buried beneath the blood-stained graves of many a brave heart that wore the honored blue of Uncle Sam's (pioneer) soldiers, then follows the sturdy citizen pioneer, as exemplified here today, where our worthy host and hostess have so successfully improved and beautified this rough gem of the Sierras following out the traditions of the American nation, by the erection of that particular mark of American thrift and enterprise, this little log cabin that crowns the 'Acropolis' and in which today we joyfully celebrate the nativity of our republic."

The oration was followed with Vive l'America, sung by the writer, accompanied by Mrs. W.S. Goodfellow. Dedication of the cabin followed. The whole performance closed with the Star Spangled Banner sung by the writer, the guests all joining in the chorus. After the ceremony we adjourned to the dining hall. By the time the banquet was over night was approaching and shortly after the evening exercises began. The young men had cut down a pine tree and split the logs. The[Pg 151] boys and girls had gathered sacks of pine cones, stacking these pine sticks over the cones, and it looked as though we were making a defense. All the guests were assembled on the porches of their cabins and at the log cabin and as soon as darkness came these cones were lighted and fire crackers, pin wheels, rockets and red light flashed forth, a never-to-be-forgotten sight of lights and shadows. The tall pines rose in the background like dark sentinels guarding the happy spirits in their nightly revels. It was after ten o'clock when the last shower of rockets went up and lighted the heavens with the beautiful gold and silver showers, a befitting close for such an eventful day of enjoyment.


[Pg 152]

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

IN OAKLAND. SAD ACCIDENT. BRUSH AND EASEL. KIND FRIENDS.

IN THE first part of May my son, William, moved from Alameda to Oakland and I left the Thirteenth street home and joined his family at 324 Tenth street, in one of the Tutt flats. We had hardly got settled when in September my son was stricken with typhoid fever. He was taken to the sanitarium. I was obliged to move to 212 Eleventh street and begin anew my music and art. I remained there two years and over. I then moved to 116 Eleventh street where I found an ideal studio in the Abbott residence. There I remained until the earthquake, after which I moved to my present abode. This was on October 1, 1907. From 1903 I continued my voice teaching and have been successfully teaching in Oakland since. Since my affliction I have sung on several special occasions, twice on July Fourth and also for the G.A.R. I will sing for them as long as I can sing acceptably, and as long as I am able to sing they will have me. We have grown old together and I suppose no Daughter of the Regiment has ever been so loyally loved as I have been all these years. No joyful occasion is complete until I have been bidden. I have been invited to the Memorial Day exercises, installations, banquets, socials and yearly gatherings. I began when they marched away in 1861 and our concerts were many to supply the things they needed, when disaster overtook them, when they returned wounded. We visited the hospitals, buried the dead and brought comfort to the widow and orphan. My duty and loyalty is not finished until I have done what I can for every brave comrade that shouldered the gun and marched in the ranks of the army of the U.S.A.

In 1902 I greeted the new year sitting in an invalid's chair. On September 1 of the preceding year I sustained a compound fracture of the hip and thigh bone through the inattention of a conductor on a San Pablo avenue car, who started the car before I had time to get off. For[Pg 153] four months I passed through the different phases of such an accident. My attending physician, Dr. J.M. Shannon, and my faithful nurses at last brought me to a point where I was enabled to begin life again. Only those who go through such an experience are able to understand what it means to lose the use of any part of the body and be disabled after many years of perfect health. To be deprived of my ability to walk and the use of my body as of old, words are not adequate to describe the dreadful change, knowing that in all the coming years of my life I would have this burden. The stoutest heart could not but feel the weight of such an affliction. Had it not been for my hopeful disposition, my pluck and energy to overcome obstacles, combined with clear reasoning, life would have looked drear enough. With it all I had much to be grateful for. Such an outpouring of Christ-like humanity! I, the recipient of all this unexpected and spontaneous expression of benevolence from friends and strangers alike. I never knew before the part I had taken in the community. Having lived and sung for over sixty years I found I had made friends unnumbered. Friends and people whom I never knew called or wrote their heartfelt sorrow for my affliction and hoped my injuries were not as serious as reported. The ladies of the Ebell and other clubs and societies made daily inquiries after my condition and sent many tokens of kindness to me during all those weary weeks of pain and uncertainty.

I was deeply affected one morning of the first week of my accident. My nurse was summoned to the door by the ringing of the bell and on opening the door before her stood five of Oakland's first citizens and one of them inquired, "How is the afflicted singer this morning?" Whereupon the nurse assured them that I was doing very well. They received the news with evident delight. When they turned to leave she asked, "Whom shall I say called?" "Oh, just say her friends who pass in the morning." Who would not justly feel grateful for such deep respect and appreciation from neighbors and strangers? In sweeping my doorsteps and sidewalk and attending to the lawn and flower beds before my studio to make the home look bright and cheerful I often saw gentlemen pass early in the morning going to the city. But I never dreamed that while I was getting things in order for the day, arising early so as to escape notice at my rough work, that I had any part in their attention as they were men of business. But it[Pg 154] is evident that they saw who the spirit was among the blossoms although I never dreamed that I was observed. Following that first morning these five gentlemen called often to inquire into my condition.

It had been my habit to keep a diary of facts and engagements since the year 1870 and later on when I began teaching vocal music and filling engagements I was obliged to keep a strict account of my transactions so as to be upright and strict in my dealings with the community. Since undertaking the work of writing my memoirs I find I have more than enough for three good sized volumes of interesting history and life-experiences that come to those who are forced by circumstances unlooked for to pass through such a checkered career as mine. If it were possible to tell it all, perhaps it might be an incentive for other women left alone as I was, to do likewise. It might be a stepping stone for a greater effort in life and receive the plaudits of "Well done!" from those who have felt your influence and respected a noble and self-sustaining woman. What more could anyone ask? This great outpouring of tender solicitude, sympathy and charity toward me in my great calamity, shall always be an oasis in the wide desert of life that will make me return in my memory as long as life shall last, and rest and be refreshed, feeling it was God's way to find the bread that had been cast upon the waters through the years of my active life in every city where I have ever lived. To all who were thus kind I have built a lasting monument of gratitude that will not crumble in the years yet remaining in my life. I feel I must make some acknowledgment to all for these acts of kindness toward me in my distress, which was so unnecessarily brought upon me, I am sorry to say, by careless inattention of an unknown conductor.

This accident closed the usefulness of an energetic life. For sixty years I had been active in many lines of endeavor such as drawing, writing, painting, sewing and singing. The whole year of 1902 I was convalescing and trying to regain my strength and learning to walk. It was slow work. The expenses were going on and I could not be without a nurse. I was unable to teach the pupils that I had before the accident. In my planning I decided to paint and etch on linen. "I can make pretty cards of all kinds, why not do something like this, try at any rate. It will help me pass the time and I'll be happy in doing this." So my dear nurse listened to my plan and we got everything in readiness[Pg 155] for business. There was never a day without some callers. I hunted my art books for all kinds of favors, birthday favors, engagement cards, club cards for whist, etc., and in a short time I had a fine collection to suit the most fastidious society dame. The first one who got a glimpse of the pretty things was the dear Mrs. Robert Watt, a lifelong friend who had been unceasing in her kindness from the first day of the accident. When she beheld all that I had accomplished she was amazed at my ability and the pluck shown by my making these dainty articles with pen and brush while sitting in bed. She immediately made her selections to the amount of twelve dollars' worth and ordered as much more. It was soon noised about and I had no lack for orders. Mrs. W.S. Goodfellow, Mrs. William Angus, Mrs. John Valentine and the prominent ladies of the Church of the Advent, pupils and their parents came and ordered various cards and linen etchings. The Woman's Exchange sent me word to place articles on sale there which they would dispose of for me. For this kind act I am indebted to Miss Helen Weidersheim and her sister, Mrs. Gruenhagen, who had informed the ladies of the Exchange of the dainty work I had done. By these acts of kindness I was enabled to keep my nurse and obtain the necessary comforts of the sick room. Miss Pauline Peterson, Mrs. Henry Wetherbee, Mr. and Mrs. James Melvin, Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Goodfellow, Mrs. Derby and family, Mrs. Charles Farnham, Mrs. C. Webb Howard, Mrs. Charles Lloyd, Mrs. Charles Kellogg and family, Mrs. Folger, Mrs. Mauvais, Mr. John Britton, Thomas Magee, Miss Elizabeth English, Calvary Church friends, C.O.G. Millar, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cushing were friends indeed. It seems they had me upon their minds constantly. If I had been a relative more affectionate attention could not have been bestowed. Besides these good friends there were others who came to cheer me and from whom I received many offices of kindness that were touching and fully appreciated. No one came to see me from the first day whose names were not recorded and kept sacred by me until now. It were not possible to write all the names. I have not the space allowed by the printer for I have many important facts still to tell.

From September 1, 1901, to December 31, 1901, I received 1,666 calls from friends and strangers alike, young and old, and not one came empty handed. My rooms were redolent with the odor of floral tributes that were constantly supplied by some kind friend or stranger.[Pg 156] I cannot pass over an episode that occurred March 29, 1902. I had passed a restless day and about four o'clock in the afternoon Mrs. James Melvin came in and brought an offering of fruit from her father's ranch. During our conversation she thought I looked tired and I told her I was. I tried to sit up and I could not find a chair that suited, although I had several sent from the stores. I saw she was distressed about it but said nothing more and went home. About nine o'clock of the same evening the bell rang. I had already retired. Soon I heard voices and in a few moments Mr. and Mrs. Melvin stood before me, smiling, and between them was a fine bamboo chair. After Mr. Melvin came home from the city and while they were at dinner, Mrs. Melvin had told him of my trouble in obtaining the proper chair. They lived on Grove and Nineteenth streets and I on Thirteenth street between Webster and Harrison streets. It was too late to have the chair sent and these two kind-hearted people carried it all that distance to my studio, and there it was for me to use. It was not possible for me to hold back my tears at such a token of sympathy and affection. I'll never forget how dear they looked, like two happy children bringing a favorite toy to the sick child in the fairy stories we all know and teach to our children. After I could compose myself I begged the nurse to let me get up and try the new chair and when I was ready the whole-souled James lifted me and placed me in the chair. Oh, what a comfort at last! I could sit up without weariness and I was loath to go once more to my couch. I begged just for one hour more and I promised I'd sing for them. They looked astonished, not thinking I could sing. I said, "listen" and sang three verses of Annie Laurie. When I got through there was not a sound. They were sitting there like statues and with tears in their eyes. I saw the situation and let out a merry laugh, saying, "Was it then so bad you had to cry?" They said the singing was so far away it was not like an earthly voice. Knowing what I had suffered and was still suffering it struck them as simply miraculous that my voice was so pure and clear and they were stilled and strangely affected. It did not seem real to have me sing like that. So the evening ended and we were all made happy by doing what we could in return for one another's kindness. Mrs. Melvin was a good friend and a generous woman and I mourn with her family at her sudden taking away which came as a shock to all who loved her.

 

Mrs. Margaret Blake-Alverson


[Pg 157]

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

PARTY AT DR. J.M. SHANNON'S HOME IN 1907

SINCE my accident I have not been able to go much in the outer world because of my inability to walk or ride in the street cars. But I spent an evening in the year 1907 that I think will be worth the telling.

Persons who think and study a great deal need an occasional respite from the drive of daily labor. So thought fourteen of our Oakland doctors who agreed to meet once a month, talk over important cases, read short papers on special topics and enjoy a social time at the banquet table. Dr. J.M. Shannon, my family physician, was included in the membership, and it was his turn to entertain the guests at his home in East Oakland. During my convalescence I had promised to do him a favor any time for his great kindness to me in my long sickness, and my appreciation of his skillful art in my case which made it possible for me to walk, even if on crutches. While I was living on Eleventh street, Dr. Shannon came in one morning to ask for the favor. He unfolded his plan, giving me a list of the members of the club and, because I was so handy with my pen and brush, wanted fourteen place cards for his banquet which was to take place in two weeks at his home. His idea was to have something different. The cards were to represent the different specialties of the physicians, and I was somewhat bewildered with the subjects he gave me. It was a new departure in art for me.

I realized I had to put my best efforts to the test to make a complete success out of a knotty problem. I spent a week in perfecting my sketches. After completing the cards, I called up Dr. Shannon to come and see if all was to his satisfaction. I placed the cards before him on the desk and awaited his approval. It was some minutes before he spoke. He looked up and said quietly, "I guess I'll have these doctors surprised this time," and he enjoyed the anticipation of the fun highly.[Pg 158]

"Now you have done this O.K.," he said. "I still have another favor to ask. I want some music and I want you to sing. I will also have some instrumental music so you will not get too tired, for I want music every fifteen minutes between the courses during the dinner. The guests are not to know who the singer is, and I will see that you get there after they have passed into the dining room."

"All right," I said, "the music will also be provided, so you can rest assured that my part of the programme will be carried out to your liking and the pleasure of your guests."

I selected familiar ballads that most men like to hear if they like music at all, and my accompanist, Miss Juliet Maul, prepared the instrumental part, and as she was also a good second soprano, we prepared two duets that always please, and we had a programme worthy of our host. When we arrived at the appointed hour the dinner was; going on and, as we were given the signal, Miss Maul began playing a bright, pleasing, instrumental number, which was such a surprise and also complete departure from the usual arrangement that all conversation ceased until after the number had been given, and then great applause came from the dining room. At the stated time Miss Maul and I sang, Oh, That We Two Were Maying, which was highly appreciated. It was not until I had sung my song, Because I Love You Dear, that they began to wonder who the young lady singer was. Doctor smiled and assured them that they would find out later. He started them to guessing, and he was highly pleased at his joke. After the first number had been played the folding door which had been closed was quietly slid back by a unanimous request. Evidently the music was a genuine surprise and a happy addition to the excellent menu they were enjoying. After having successfully given nine numbers, the dinner came to an end the curiosity had become intense—they wanted to greet the singer, so they started up the song, She's a Jolly Good Fellow, and I joined in the chorus when they had finished. I did not appear. In a few minutes they began, So Say We All of Us, to the tune of America. That was too much for my patriotic nature, so I began and sang alto until I had reached the dining hall and appeared in the doorway with crutch and came before the august presence of our doctors. In one moment they arose with glasses in hand, and one of the older members proposed a toast to Oakland's sweetest singer, Mrs. Blake-Alverson.[Pg 159] After I had acknowledged their compliment by my bowed head, one of the doctors handed me a glass, and I responded. I said, "We will now drink to our doctors of Oakland." After they were seated, one of the oldest of the doctors asked me how I accounted for the fact that I retained at the age of seventy-one the voice of a woman of twenty-five. After my satisfactory answers to a number of important questions, they informed me that I had done this evening for their entertainment and great pleasure an act that had never been known in medical history before. Those present voiced the remarks with hearty appreciation and continued applause.

The third surprise of the evening took place after the doctors had left the table and adjourned to the large hall and drawing room. When they had all assembled, the lights were turned on and before them stood in a row like statues their wives, ready to be received, with a smile on their faces, the only visible indication of life in them. They reminded me of Mrs. Jarley's wax figures, standing in a perfect line while the demonstrator illustrates their beauty and natural abilities as "first-class wax figgers." It was too bad the camera missed the expression on the faces of those fourteen men, dressed in full evening attire, and staring at the faces of their wives, it seemed to me, for ten minutes or more. At last one of them broke the spell by quickly stepping over to his wife and calling her by name. He kissed her and said, "I am delighted to see you." The others followed suit. The next half hour was spent in telling how they managed to keep the secret, and to so arrange matters that in the future the ladies would be included in the select gatherings of the medicos. The next hour was spent in listening to some clever speeches and interesting papers, which were very amusing and teemed with jokes and sharp hits of sarcasm. At the close of the reading I was once more called upon to repeat some of the songs that I had sung for them. We all gathered in a spacious music room where for an hour I sang for them their favorite selections, closing with "Home, Sweet Home," in which all who could joined in the chorus. Thus ended one of the most delightful evenings spent in the hospitable home of Dr. and Mrs. Shannon.

The members of the club who were present were: Drs. E.M. Keys, A.H. Pratt, M. Lewis Emerson, A. Liliencrantz, J.M. Shannon, Samuel H. Buteau, J.W. Robertson, E.J. Boyes, O.D. Hamlin, Francis Musser,[Pg 160] Herbert N. Rowell, Guy Liliencrantz, I. Frank Lilly and Chas. A. Dukes.

It was in the small hours of the morning before the last auto wound its way down the spacious drive towards Oakland.

 

Distinguished Singers in the 70's and 80's


[Pg 161]

CHAPTER NINETEEN

LEE TUNG FOO

MY experience in developing and placing the human voice extends from 1882 to 1912, thirty years. During that time I have had a wide and varied experience with men and women and girls and boys of all ages. The perfecting of the art of tone production in each individual case varies with each student. No two persons can be taught the general principles of the art only. The individual must be studied and the voice analyzed as a doctor diagnoses a special case. Every nation has also its peculiar way of using the voice in singing folk or national songs. As we have in the bay cities a cosmopolitan population, it has been my opportunity to study the different nationalities that have applied to me for private instruction. The Italian and Spanish are the most susceptible students. They live in the realm of music from childhood. It is a part of their existence; they seem to have a natural interpretation of songs and singing. After the first placement of the voice I have had only to lead and give them the picture of the work before them and my task was a pleasant hour spent in portraying the poetical application of sentiment to their own individual understanding. The English, Scotch and Welsh voices are known for their fine tone production, unusually strong voices, clear, high and sympathetic, especially the Welsh female voice. They sing high, most of them, and clear as the meadow lark. The Germans sing with enthusiastic spirit and most of them with Wagnerian effect, hearty and robust in their chorus singing, a loud tone quality is their aim. It is the teacher's art to bring out and to modify all these extreme faults and change all these varied ideas and different accents of speech into a harmonious blending and acceptable whole.

I have been obliged to reject many applicants for varied reasons. I have always felt sorry for those with good voices and without means or without encouragement at home. Many a fine natural voice has been lost to[Pg 162] the musical world by being ridiculed by the very ones who should have given a helping hand. Had these parents known what music has done for the world and for individual beings they would have realized the advisability of giving their children a musical education. I have found the French pupils the most difficult to control in regard to the nasal quality of tone production. They use the nasal cavities universally in their speech and I never was quite satisfied in my mind about the tone quality. Being of the Bel Canto school, aiming for pure melody and the best tone to be produced by the human voice, I was never satisfied with the result and yet I have heard French artists who were splendid singers. But the tone was always too high in placement for my full appreciation. The American voices were satisfactory almost without exception. Instability was the great fault; they have not enough earnest concentration in their work and soon discontinue or change to other teachers and many of them who started out with a full determination to be singers have done nothing for themselves. Several of my pupils were negroes and while I found rare voices among them they were never in a financial position to do much for themselves. One of these had a rich contralto voice of the finest touch and was a fine pianist. Another had a still more beautiful voice but, unfortunately, her husband was not musical and she sang little after her marriage. This is a real tragedy.

I have often wondered why are we given these gifts and yet denied the opportunity to develop them. I find the rarest voices among the poor and middle classes. In relating to me many of the episodes of his travels around the world, my son told me of the children, eight, nine and ten years old, of Italy playing on the street corners the arias of the operas on their violins with skillful and artistic fervor to the astonishment of the travelers who visit their ports. It is a natural gift, music is their life. There are few places in the civilized world that have not produced singers of repute. Yet we have two nations that we never expect to hear from in this respect, for it is a known fact that the Japanese and Chinese are wholly unmusical. Five discordant tones compose their scale, unmusical and untrue chords, or, one might say, discord.

Knowing this, imagine my surprise when in January 1897, I received a call from several women of the Chinese mission. With Miss Mabel Hussy I had assisted in[Pg 163] giving the Chinese pupils of the Presbyterian mission Sunday school an entertainment on New Year's eve. I sang them a Christmas story of Robin's return, descriptive of the coming home of the sailor boy, with the picture of an open fireplace, the singing of the children's carols, the wreaths of holly, the grandmother at the spinning wheel, the mother tearfully placing the evergreens on the wall and pictures, thinking all the while of her boy. At last the Christmas bells chimed the midnight hour to be followed with the raising of the latch and the happy return of the long expected son with the snow upon his hair. All this was listened to with rapt surprise as I carefully articulated the words so nothing of the story be lost. I accurately scanned the faces as I sang and I saw I had opened a new world to them. At the close of the number I was roundly applauded by these 50 old and young Chinese students, who, well groomed and in their best suits, sat prim and proper. I little thought that among my auditors was a young man, about seventeen years of age, the servant of Mrs. Zeno Mauvais, intently listening and satisfying his long cherished desire to become a singer. This boy was the first Chinese born in Watsonville, Cal. When he was small his parents removed to several smaller towns near by but, not liking any of them, they eventually settled in Ripon and started a Chinese laundry. Lee Tung Foo, or Frank Lee, as he was called, went to the Mission Sunday school and with the rest of the pupils learned to sing some of the Gospel hymns in his way. He wanted to go to day school but his father would not consent and placed him in one of the hotel kitchens to wash dishes. This did not suit the young man and after a short time he ran away to secure an education. He managed to get to Fresno where he became cook and servant in the family of Prof. S.B. Morse. He was so well liked that he was assisted in his desire for an education and through the kindness of the daughter of the house began piano lessons.

After some years he went to Oakland and was employed by Mrs. Mauvais. Having learned all of his notes he was able to read the Gospel hymns and play them on the piano. Because he was continually at the reed organ in the mission the other boys made fun of him and called him Crazy Frank. After having heard me sing it occurred to him that I was the very person to teach him and he importuned Mrs. Mauvais to find me and she and her friends came to ask me to teach this[Pg 164] boy the art of singing. I only laughed at them as I was not particularly fond of the Chinese and never employed them in any way. I refused three times, explaining that it was useless to undertake such a task. I expected nothing more to come of it, but in a week I was asked once more and was told the boy was broken-hearted with disappointment so I unwillingly consented. I was obliged to teach him after his work was done and some times he came as late as nine o'clock, tired and unfit to sing, but nothing daunted, he was there.

At last I believed that I might be able to achieve something in the development of the Chinese that would be altogether new in the musical line. Because I have succeeded with "the impossibility" (as he put it) I have placed the teaching of this Chinese as one of my greatest achievements in the art of vocal culture. He had the most indomitable will and determination to succeed, and he was the most faithful and conscientious and upright pupil I ever taught. It would require many pages to tell of the difficulties in his pathway. His people were enraged at me for leading their son away to be like all the "white devils" of America. I had to hide him for a year. He was the oldest son of the family and was obliged to marry before any of the other members could marry and he appealed to me to help him. Mr. Waterman of the Berkeley high school allowed him to come there and the Misses Shaw, teachers, took him into their home where he did their work and went to school. When the year was over the way was once more clear for him to take up his music. He had not lost anything as he had joined a church choir and sang bass. When the school closed he was given a fine recommendation as a model pupil and all the teachers parted with him reluctantly.

 

Lee Tung Foo

 

After I changed my studio to Thirteenth street he worked for the family of Mr. H. Stedman of Alameda, manager of the Zeno Mauvais music store and went to school in Alameda. Later he worked for the Southern Pacific Company at Wright's station. This made another break in his progress for over a year. He began in earnest when he returned in 1903 and he steadily forged ahead. While he was away he studied and pondered over all the former instructions and with the aid of a pitch pipe he soon was busy at his songs and exercises. He returned in 1904 ill, discouraged to the breaking point. After my accident I was much exercised as to the outcome[Pg 165] of all these years of preparation. He was ready to start out as a singer but his heart failed him at last and he became disconsolate. He could not work and had no money. I saw the situation was desperate and took things into my own hands. As a favor Mr. Carlton of the Empire Theater, Oakland, called and heard him sing October 24, 1904. He doubted his being a Chinese. I assured him he was. "Well, certainly he shows his training," was the reply. He was immediately engaged. He had a list of seventy-five songs, sacred and secular, of which he could be proud, and he sang them in English, German and Latin. For three months we had the excellent assistance of Director J.H. Dohrmann at the piano and twice a week we had a full rehearsal. By the time the engagement was secured we were ready for it. He opened at the Empire, January 30, 1905, with unbounded success and received many floral tributes from the pupils and friends. He sang a week, beginning February 13, at the Lyceum, San Francisco. On February 20 he was engaged by the Savage Opera Company in San Jose, February 27 in Sacramento and March 13 in Fresno. He went to Portland, Oregon on March 30 for three months and April 12 was in Astoria. I was in constant touch with him. In 1908 he sang in Brussels and later in London in the great Coliseum for 15,000 people in aid of the Typographical Union of Printers and Engravers. I received a letter from his manager who assured me I had reason to be proud of my singer for he was making good and had many friends among the theater goers and managers of the different circuits.

Before going abroad Lee Tung Foo had sung in all the larger cities of the United States. During all these years he had much difficulty in his art and in addition had to do all his booking single-handed. After filling out his work in 1911 he came to California for the first time in six years. He sang one week only at the Empress theater in San Francisco and having an engagement of forty-four weeks on the Eastern circuits soon left. When they were completed he came once more to his home in the early part of 1912. After his week in Oakland he sang all through the south and interior and later in Oregon and British Columbia, returning in September to fill out the engagement at the Empress, then again go on the Eastern circuit.

I have necessarily given more space to this special pupil and were it possible to state accurately all the circumstances in his life you would all agree with me that[Pg 166] he deserved credit and recognition in a musical way and proved himself a hero during the years he was perfecting himself. He has never had any other instruction than mine and has been true to the first placement of voice and development in the art of singing. He goes to hear the best artists and takes his lessons from their work; sends his criticisms of them all marked upon the program to me for approval; keeps his ears and eyes open to all advancement in his art; has acquired a graceful and acceptable presence and personality on and off the stage. Musicians all like him; his managers praise him and give him work as an acknowledgment of his ability to entertain. I have still a circumstance to relate which makes his singing the more marvelous and marks an "O.K." on my efforts to make a Chinese with a dull, unmelodious, unmusical voice succeed. Of course he never had the clear, ringing tone that is in the gift of the white race and he could not always get the vowel sounds to suit me and I attributed the fact to his being a Chinese, so I was obliged to be satisfied with the result obtained. He made me a promise when he came home in 1911 that he would not sing for any one until I had heard him after all these years, for if he did not please me I would not let him sing. I was trying his tones and found he had developed wonderful deep and full tones and in the second series as high as E flat, but he could not take high F to my surprise after having two other F's so perfect in their tone color. I was so dissatisfied, I said, "What is the matter that you do not take this note?" and as I spoke I noticed he kept the tongue close to the front of his teeth. I said, "Why do you use the tongue like that," and he said, "I have always done so," and I was most impatient at that when I am so particular with pronunciation in a pupil. After an examination I found to my surprise that he had all these years been tongue tied. I simply stared at him with astonishment; to think that it was possible for any one to sing as well as he did with this affliction. I said, "Now, Frank, you have faithfully done everything I ever asked you. Will you do one more thing for me?" He replied, "Will it make me sing?" I said, "Yes, will you do it?" In an instant I had his promise and the next day his tongue was released and on the fifth day he had his high F. He tells me he can now sing it with power and hold it as he should. There is nothing left to be done by me in a technical way. He is now a singer and not a bad one.

 

Lee Tung Foo


[Pg 167]

CHAPTER TWENTY

WHAT I KNOW OF THE VOICE AND OF TEACHING

IN TAKING up this subject, it is not my purpose to give lessons in voice culture on paper. There is, of course, but one way to sing and that is the right way. Every teacher thinks his is the right one. This can be proven only by the result upon the pupil. Does every teacher understand the training of the voice and can he impart his knowledge to the pupil and enable him to acquire a perfect mastery over the tone production and management of sound in singing with this invisible instrument? Can he surmount the technical difficulties and the mechanism of the vocal organs? The inner consciousness is the only safe guide for teacher and student.

The strictest attention should be directed in the beginning by all students to the exercise of forethought, deliberation and mental energy, attributes which are of the greatest importance, more so perhaps than physical strength. A conscientious singer is rewarded after arduous work by gaining the power of emotional expression which the human voice possesses beyond any other musical medium. There are two distinct branches used in the study of the voice—the technical and esthetic. The mechanism and healthy production of the voice and its development belong to the first work. Taste and feeling and a sympathetic and sensitive nature, combined with a cultivated musical organization, a poetic temperament and a pleasing personality, with magnetic fire capable of holding listeners enthralled, are of the other work.

In my long career in song I have especially noted the appearance of a singer. My first impressions have usually remained. In justice to the fine contralto, Schumann-Heink, I will relate my first impressions of her in song. Mr. L. Sherman of Sherman & Clay sent me, to my great delight, two tickets for the opera of "Lohengrin." I had never heard the opera nor the singer. When I heard her sing her role, her first notes so astonished me I just held my breath, I could not realize the voice of a[Pg 168] woman, she sang like a baritone. The opera was given in German, and I thought I never heard such a masculine voice in my life, and the whole opera was spoiled by her number for me, and the impression was so lasting that nothing could induce me to hear her again after that opera. I could not bear to think of such a man's voice in a woman. This was when Mapelson was here in 1884. I never heard her again until 1908 at Ye Liberty. Everybody had lauded her all these years, and I never expressed my opinion but held to my impressions on my first hearing of her work. At last I asked myself, why should all these musical people call her great and praise her tone productions as being so perfect, and I stand alone in my opinion. I resolved, if she ever came again, to hear and see if the fault lay with me. The opportunity was granted me in 1908 and, engaging a box in the gallery, I took two pupils with me to hear the great singer and accord her justice if I had erred. I beheld a wholesome looking woman, but not beautiful. She was gowned in a stylish robe of rich material, and on her head a white lace hat with soft white plumes which lent a charm and softened her otherwise angular features. If I had received a shock at her first appearance, I certainly was the most surprised woman in the audience when she began her group of songs. Her first notes convinced me that she had changed her methods completely since singing in opera. She had found that singing in concert and singing the heavy work of Wagner were two distinct methods, and to succeed she had chosen the Bel Canto and forsaken Wagner. I never heard a more beautiful lullaby than she sang, with all tenderness and mother love running throughout her lines. Her German songs were also charming and well phrased and the interpretation perfect. Knowing the German language myself, I was able to appreciate and understand her rendering of them. It was only once she gave one or two of those former bellowing notes, and as quickly as she had uttered them she changed to the touchful notes that were more pleasing. I fully enjoyed the concert as much as I had disliked the opera which I heard in 1884 and which had left such an ugly impression. It is with the greatest pleasure that I also add my best appreciation of Schumann-Heink's singing, for she now sings just as an artist should who understands the art of singing, correctly, naturally, easily and comfortably.

To gain the height of vocal art is to have no apparent method, but to sing with perfect facility from one end of the voice to the other, emitting all the notes clearly[Pg 169] and yet with power; to have each note of the scale sound the same in quality and tonal beauty as the ones before and after. This is the highest art and a lifetime of work and study are necessary to acquire an easy emission of tone. One must have a complete understanding of anatomical structure of the throat, mouth and face, with their resonant cavities which are most necessary for the proper production of voice. The whole breathing apparatus must be understood because the whole foundation of singing is breathing and control of all the functions which compose the musical instrument. A singer's reliance depends upon the breath, as on the stability to economize the air during its emission from the lungs. Steadiness, strength, flexibility and sustaining power of the voice depend upon this knowledge and intelligent use of it. I hold the art of singing in such reverence that I feel I am walking upon sacred ground when I am employed in the teaching of the human voice. It is notoriously difficult to give rules for singing to every one alike. I have found out in my long experience of development of different voices under my guidance that no two persons can be taught alike. As faces and people differ, so do also the voices. There are general rules to be observed that all can understand, but outside of that, teaching of the voice becomes an individual study of every conscientious and capable teacher. No one should attempt it unless he understands perfectly the anatomy of the muscles that are used and compose the vocal apparatus, their placement and uses. Instructors should be perfect singers themselves and able to give an example of every tone as accurately as it can be produced by the human voice. A teacher who cannot produce a perfect tone has not the right to teach. Why should the proper training of the voice continue to be the least progressive of all professions, and why should there be less care and work used in the development of the most beautiful gift that has been given to mankind, the human voice? While this gift has not been equally bestowed on every one, yet there is not a being who could not sing if he were properly taught. It is not the great-voiced singer that gives the most beautiful song. While he is to be admired for his grand tones and magnificent work, it has taken years of technique to produce those tones through perfect knowledge of breath control.

Teachers of the eighteenth century required many years of hard study from the pupils before they were considered competent to illustrate the art of tone production and before the masters considered them singers or sent them[Pg 170] forth as exponents of their art. Why all this work to acquire the art of producing beautiful tones? We must use intelligent understanding in the use of this instrument which is such a rare gift to us. Thrice happy are those who are able to give to listening humanity the full comprehensive and soulful touch of song which the individual instrument is capable of producing. There is so much more in singing than the mere possession of a beautiful voice. The singer must be able to supplement the beauty of the voice with intelligence in the exposition of the song. But few realize how much skill this demands. No amount of intelligence will enable a person rightly to interpret a song if he has not learned the elements of singing or has not a complete command of the technique of his art. The most important element of beautiful song is the lung capacity, and thereon hangs the whole success; control of the breathing muscles. One has infinite gradations of the power of this column of air to produce the result in exquisite variations over the power and the coloring of his tones. Attack and management of the air column is an art in itself—a correct poise of the larynx. Upon the art of directing this column of air the quality of the tones depends. The greatest marvel is that those whom I have had to instruct do not know the first elements of breathing. To breathe to live and to breathe to be a singer are as far apart as the poles. Not one in twenty knows what lung capacity they have. The general rule is to breathe through the nose. That is all right if he is a gymnast or a ball player, but singing is just the opposite of this sort of breathing. Everything is relaxed and natural, the breath is inhaled through partly opened lips, slowly, evenly and quietly and allows not a particle to go through the nostrils until the lungs are completely filled and inflated. The large cells are in the lower part of the lungs, and when they are inflated and the diaphragm properly used so as to direct and control this column, one can sing as long as there is a particle of air to use. For seventy years I have used this method of breathing, and I am a perfect example of the preservation of the voice now in my seventy-sixth year, and have every note I ever used and can sing with as much power and breath control as I ever could. I feel no weakness or lack of strength in any part of my tone production.

I taught every pupil in this way and cured many of the tremolo habit by showing them how to breathe properly and then use this art intelligently. The art of breathing is not alone the thing to understand. There are[Pg 171] many other points of importance to remember, but the art of breathing is the fundamental stone that has to be well grounded to secure the lasting success of the conscientious and intelligent student. Each person must feel the action of the different parts that go to make up the vocal instrument, which strengthens my assertion that each individual must have his own separate instruction as he possesses the charm of his own personality and musical temperament. Many students may have complete knowledge of how it should be done, and yet in the performance they do just the opposite, from a feeling of self-consciousness and the fear of being ridiculed in their efforts to sing. The mind must first recognize, then control, until automatic action is established and there is no danger of self-consciousness. One must learn the elements of singing—no amount of intelligence will enable a person rightly to interpret a song if he has not first learned that department thoroughly. For in order to offer an interpretation to an audience, the singer must have a complete command of the technique of his art. The singers of today are not so skillful as they were in the eighteenth century, because they are not patient enough to study the essential tone production which must be produced to make tones that are satisfying to themselves and also to the sensitive and cultivated ears of the listeners. A singer must reject any unmusical sound and, above all things, rule out any departure from the pitch. Singing out of tune is not singing at all. They can never be relied upon and are therefore unsatisfactory for any use at all. It seems simple enough to sing, yet to get the correct, pure tone one must work daily to accomplish perfection. There are many singers who attain a certain amount of distinction on the operatic stage that cannot produce a full, round, sympathetic tone. They may have powerful tones and astonish the public, yet in a short season the tones become dull or heavy or sharp, ear-splitting and their victorious career is finished and oblivion mercifully covers them.


[Pg 172]

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

TREMOLO

IN WRITING about one of the greatest faults in the teaching of vocal music I wish to put my most emphatic criticism upon the Tremolo in the voice and condemnation upon those who vitiate the human voice with the most intolerable fault that any one who pretends to sing could practice. In "The Musician" of November, 1908, there was an article upon this subject, which I read with profound interest and I wrote to Ditson & Co. to allow me the privilege of using the article as it was just the very thing that the student who was learning to use the voice ought to read. I was happily granted permission. The article entitled "The Singers tremolo and vibrato—their origin and musical value," was written by Lester S. Butter, who says:

"In April, 1795, in Romano, Province of Bergano, was born Rubini, King of tenors. His voice, small in the beginning, developed marvelously in tone volume and the swell and diminish of tones (messa di voce) called by the Italians 'vibrato of the voice' was the characteristic of his style.

"This ebbing and flowing undulating wave of sound upon sustained notes was the source from which sprung the modern tremolo and vibrato, which is so much in evidence among singers and so offensive to all really refined musical taste. There seems to be considerable confusion among singers and even writers as to the use and meaning of tremolo and vibrato. These terms seem to be used synonymously and the latter is used where messa di voce is meant. The Standard dictionary defines vibrato as a trembling of pulsating effect in vocal music caused by rapid variation or emphasis of the same tone (evidently messa di voce) proper distinguished from tremolo, where there is a vibration of tones; and the latter is a vibrating beating or throbbing sound produced by the voice or instrumentally.

 

Mrs. Blake-Alverson and her sons

 

[Pg 173]

"Ferdinand Sieber, in answer to questions 286 and 287, Art of Singing, says: 'Question 286. How should the longer sung notes be taught? Here the rule should be enforced that every radical note should be accompanied with a swelling of the tone where it is intended to sing the following ones in crescendo, and on the other hand, the strength of tone diminishes when these notes are to be sung decrescendo. If there is a pause, a messa di voce should be executed.'

"'Question 287. Is not then this constant vibration of the voice a gross fault? It causes great confusion in regard to the expression among singers of different degrees of ability. We read daily that it is reprehensible in this or that singer to indulge in this vibration, while in reality it is the tremolando which is blamed. The vibration of the voice is its inmost life-throb—its pulse—its spring. Without it there is only monotony. But if the vibration is changed to tremolando the singer falls into an intolerable fault which is warranted only in very rare cases when it serves as a means to express the very highest degree of excitement.'

"W.J. Henderson in the Art of the Singer, says of messa di voce, 'It is by the emission of tones swelling and diminishing that we impart to song that wave-like undulation which gives it vitality and tonal vivacity.' But when speaking of the rendition of Handelian arias, he evidently uses the term vibrato in the same sense as Sieber does tremolando. He declares it probably hopeless to plead for the abolition of the cheap and vulgar vibrato in the delivery of these old arias, remarking further that there is no account of its use in the writings of the contemporaries of Caffarelli and Farinelli and that master singers of their day were praised for the steadiness of their tones and the perfect smoothness of their style. He asserts also that vibrato is a trick invented after that day and out of place in the music of that period.

"Referring to Rubini, the originator of the fault, he leaves the impression that this singer used the vibrato only occasionally (which may at first have been the fact) and that as a means of heightening the dramatic effect. Grove, however, puts the matter somewhat differently. 'Rubini,' he says, 'was the earliest to use the thrill of the voice known as vibrato (the subsequent abuse of which we are all familiar) at first as a means of emotional effect, afterward it was to conceal the deterioration of the organ.'[Pg 174]

"Imitators brought great discredit upon Rubini and his name is associated with an impure, corrupt vocalization. This with other influences, brought about a sentiment in composers as well as singers favoring vocal declamation, rather than singing in the sense in which that word was understood by the great tenor. In 1852 there was a cloud of imitators and it became so prevalent almost all singers of the day indulged in it.

"Ferri, a baritone who sang at La Scala in 1853, made such effective use of it upon any note as to secure a place in the records of that day as one whose whole song was a bad 'wobble.'

"Even the great Mario, whose voice is described as 'rich Devonshire cream,' was afflicted, but usually free from the vice. Clara Novello was greatly admired because she indulged in it with such discrimination, and Campanini, entirely free from the fault, was greeted with enthusiastic pleasure whenever he appeared. (The present writer heard Campanini in 1858, and he was one of the grandest man singers I ever heard. Stigelli was also one of the same style of singers at that time and I heard them both in grand opera and there was never a tremolo in either of their voices but perfect art in messa di voce, Bel Canto singing.) Another reference to Mr. Henderson will show that the weed still flourishes. Almost every singer of today tries from the beginning to acquire an habitual vibrato, (the present writer infers that Mr. Henderson does not use 'vibrato' with the Italian meaning messa di voce) to be used at all times without regard to fitness. Some of our singers have cultivated the trick, they have developed it into a perpetual tremolo. He thinks it would be interesting to know what Porpora, or Fedi, would have thought of a twentieth century tremolo, especially when introduced in an aria by Carissimi.

"It seems that the tremolo came into general use as an imitation of the so-called 'musical sob' of Rubini, which he used to express certain phases of emotion and excitement, and then it was cultivated by those whose tastes were lowered or having a desire to acquire more power than their organ was capable of safely obtaining or to conceal under the claim of artistic and real expression, the decay of their singing voice.

"Emma Seiler (voice in singing) has this to say: 'Unhappily our whole music is vitiated by this sickly sentimentalism, the perfect horror of every person of cultivated taste. This sickly sentimental style has also[Pg 175] naturalized in singing a gross trick unfortunately very prevalent, the tremolo of the notes.' In a letter to Dr. S.B. Matthews (Music 1900), L.G. Gottschalk so succinctly gives his opinion as to leave no doubt as to his position on the subject: 'Tremolo of the voice is the result of either of the three following causes—diseased vocal organs, old age, or defective breathing, and as such has no excuse for its existence.' This is in agreement with Madam Marchesi in answer to a question in regard to the tremolo. 'The continued vibrato is the worst defect in singing and is a certain sign that a voice has been forced and spoiled. It is the result of the relaxation of the exterior muscles of the larynx which can no longer remain motionless in the position during the emission of the sound. This distressing permanent vibrato proceeds from ignorance or neglect of the register limits.' W.H. Blare gives the warning, 'Do not allow the voice to wobble, or become tremulous. A tremor is dangerous under any circumstances and an ineffectual substitute for sustained, pathetic tone color.' Sir Morrell Mackenzie, M.D., asserts that tremolo is injurious, as tending to beget a depraved habit of singing. It is the worst fault of a singer.

"In Kofler (art of breathing) he speaks of the tremolo: 'As to the tremolo in the voice, I will only say that frequently the air is expelled forcibly in order to picture with the voice a violent outburst of passion and emotion, a light tremolo will produce a good effect to give expression to a feeling of fear, anxiety, or anguish; outside of this, the tremolo must never be used in singing. This is often done to hide a worn-out voice, but more often because the singer is under a foolish delusion that this tremolo is very expressive and dramatic. I know of no style of singing so unnatural as a perpetual tremolando brought on by injudicious training and the ignorance of the art of breathing correctly.'"

I consider that I would be derelict in my duty as a teacher of voice did I not insert this most important chapter in my book. I am glad to have the best authorities on my side of the subject. I think it is the true reason why we have such a dearth of fine singers in this generation. It certainly is not because we have not the voices. California can produce as fine voices as are found in Italy, but as fast as they are found some unscrupulous fake comes along and finds the unfortunate victim who begins training and in a few months the papers are full of this wonderful find and[Pg 176] future songstress. Then a recital is planned and the beautiful young woman (if appearance has any value) certainly fills all that has been noised about her. Endowed by nature with a voice of unusual power and expressiveness she is a most promising amateur and will perhaps be heard from in the future. At least she will be if native gifts count. At last the opportunity has arrived to hear this young singer of a few short months' training in a group of songs. Our expectations are at the highest pitch as she appears in all her youthful charms. But alas, how quickly is the spell broken. This wonderful singer has fallen into the hands of an incompetent teacher and the beautiful voice has been damaged until the tremolo is unbearable and we listen with pity at the havoc made in a few months of force upon the beautiful voice by such teaching. There never was an age when so many singing pupils are being taught, and yet we have no singers. Pupils do not apply themselves seriously to the real study of the voice as they do to other studies. To sing a song is all they aspire to do. They consider it all useless nonsense to practice technic. They want the glory without the conscientious work which is a daily requirement. Very few singers of today are provided with real vocal technic. They learn to scream one note at a time. A short life and a merry one, great glory and great salaries, sacrificing their voices at the demand for big tone. Perhaps they rejoice in a brief season. Afterwards their names are forgotten. Good singing, as all other performances, consists in the due adjustment of every factor connected with it.

 

Musicians and singers, 1854-1900

 

I had my first experience in 1894 with the voice of a young girl that had a perpetual tremolo. I was thoroughly amazed at the unsteady wavering of each note. At last I asked her why she did not sing in a steady tone. Her reply was she could not help it. I then inquired if she had former instructions. She replied she had. After trying in vain to get a pure tone, I told her I'd rather not teach her as I had no knowledge of how to relieve her of this defect which could not be allowed in a perfect singer. Her disappointment was so great as to cause her to weep. My heart was touched for her misfortune and I told her I had only one remedy and if she would try that I'd undertake the work of restoring her voice to its normal state if possible. This was Tuesday. I asked her to return on Friday and if I saw any improvement I'd teach her if she would obey orders. I gave her a lesson in the art of breathing, something which[Pg 177] had been entirely neglected before, and sent her away. On the following Friday she took her second lesson, and the voice was as steady as if she had never done the other work. I continued to teach her for two and a half years and at my first recital she and I sang the duet, Qui est Homo, from Rossini's Stabat Mater, and although my age was sixty and hers twenty, I was able to use my usual strength in singing the song as if she had been a mature singer. At the close of the number we were greeted with bravos and applause that lasted for some time. It was the crowning reward for my weeks of patient training and careful watchfulness. I never taught her after that evening and I heard she had several other instructors. I heard, however, that she had never returned to the tremolo after I had once placed her voice in the right path. Had she been a student I think the state of California would have been proud to have claimed her, but she lacked stability in her work. She still sings but I have not heard her for years. This was my first experience.

In the year 1907 I cured twenty-five young people, both girls and boys, of this dreadful habit, which seems to be the death knell of all of our California young singers. Every one of these became addicted to this habit through wrong instruction by persons who were not teachers at all in the true sense of the word, not knowing the construction of the voice themselves so as to lead the pupil into the proper channel, having lost their own voices by these methods they were not competent to instruct others. How is it possible for them to guide the young singer when they cannot give a pure tone example themselves for the pupil to follow? Freshness and steadiness are the most valuable properties of a voice, but are also the most delicate and easily injured and quickly lost. When once really impaired they can never be restored. This is the condition of a voice which is said to be lost. The prostration of the vocal organs are thus brought on by injudicious training if not the result of organic disease. This must be understood by the competent teacher who should not be mistaken in the nature of the organ or attempt by obstinate perseverance to convert a low voice into a high one, or vice versa. The error is equally disastrous, the result being utterly to destroy the voice. The teacher's vocation is first to find the natural limits of the voice in question and then seek to develop them into their most beautiful tone production before attempting to develop[Pg 178] either higher or lower tones until these have been properly understood by both teacher and pupil. The pupil should also at once comprehend the importance of guarding the voice from injury and not transform or extend his gifts beyond their natural power and capability. The voice is often seriously impaired in using the high notes in both chest and head registers, by forcing of the high notes, and exaggerating the timbres and, if often renewed, will eventually destroy the best voice and the tremolo follows in consequence and the once promising voice is lost and forever inevitably destroyed.


[Pg 179]

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

MORE ABOUT THE VOICE

"There is little difference in the place we fill in life:
The important thing is how to fill it."

THIS MAXIM applies also to the art of singing. There are singers and singers, but few become artists. Thousands upon thousands of dollars are spent upon them in America yearly. How many of these thousands of dollars come back to these students? It is a rare occurrence if we get one in ten thousand that really reaches this distinction in art, a just reward for long years of patient study. When such an artist does appear it is like a new star in the firmament, the wonder of the age. The beauty and glory of this wonderful singer is not hidden under a bushel, but the people of the earth flock to hear and see this rara avis. The regret is that such a singer can not sing on forever. It is strange that the human mind can retain the memory of song with such distinctness and acuteness in the different singers and remember the very songs they sang and how and where. When this can be done the singer can well feel that his work has made a lasting impression. Nothing less than the best will satisfy a lover of good music after having enjoyed the best at the beginning.

We are often annoyed when we hear foreigners say, "Oh, we have it better in Europe." There must be a reason for it, and it is not the lack of voices in America, for we have given many fine voices, including the only prima donnas who have risen to the height of distinction in our day. We are foremost in producing fine singers today as well as in the past years, both men and women, who are acknowledged by all to be the brightest stars in the musical firmament. Really fine artists have a charm that is recognized by all. They are in a class by themselves and admirers feel honored to know them or speak with them for a short while. It is a remembrance we go back to with pleasure every time we hear the[Pg 180] name spoken. Not one of our generation ever saw one of the great composers like Liszt, Verdi, Gounod, Wagner, etc. Yet there is not a musical person on this earth but claims an acquaintanceship and comradeship with them and they are only known by their pictures and what has been written or spoken about them. We reverence them for their splendid work. It is the same with men and women singers—their faces are as familiar as though they were among us today. It is true we still have Nordica, Melba, Schumann-Heink, Calvé, Eames, de Reszke, Adams, Sembrich and Terina, but their stars have gained their heights, and we must expect to see them dim and wane, but before they are entirely gone let us hope there will be others as good to take their places. While all students cannot be such artists they can strive for the best under good instruction and develop their instrument as near perfection as it is possible to bring it.

In my concert tour to Victoria, B.C., an incident occurred after the concert given at Olympia. It was my first trip and everything was new to me. I supposed I was a stranger to all and was to be heard in these places for the first time. We had sung at all the small towns along the Puget Sound and this was our last city before we returned. Our company was a good one—Walter C. Campbell, Vivian the Great, Margaret Blake, Mr. Wand, pianist, Dick Kohler, cornetist and leader of the company, and Mr. Atkins, advance agent. A very successful concert had been given and a fine audience appreciated us. A number of distinguished guests were present, including the governor of the state and officials of the city of Olympia. While I was preparing to go to my hotel, I was recalled by Mr. Kohler saying I was wanted by some friends in the hall who wished to speak to me. Imagine my surprise. Twenty-five ladies and gentlemen were awaiting me and I had never seen one of them before to my knowledge, but evidently I was no stranger to them. They were people who had repeatedly heard me sing from 1865 to 1874 in San Francisco and they were so pleased to hear me again they concluded to know me. My curiosity was aroused so I asked them when and where had they heard me. Some at Platt's hall, others at Howard Methodist church, Y.M.C.A. on Sutter street, Union hall, Mission street, Metropolitan temple, Fifth street, etc. I then asked them what songs I sang. Mr. Kohler jotted down the songs as they were given by the different ones, and they came out in this wise: three remembered Annie Laurie, four When the Tide Comes In,[Pg 181] three Gatty's Fair Dove, two Kathleen Mavourneen, two John Anderson, My Joe, two Within a Mile of Edinborough, etc., two The Old Man's Song to His Wife, two Home, Sweet Home, five Last Rose of Summer, two Darby and Joan.

 

Trophies and tributes

 

What a lesson it was to me of what a person can do as a singer. I had left a lasting impression upon these people and whenever they heard these songs spoken of or sung they went back in memory with pleasure to the singer who sang them long ago and they were pleased to know they were to hear me once again, even so far from where they had heard me before, and pleased to make themselves known in this pleasant way. I was touched deeply by their kindness and I asked Mr. Kohler to allow me to sing for them Annie Laurie and The Last Rose of Summer. He recalled Mr. Wand, our accompanist, and I gave them these songs as a compliment. Such episodes occur in a singer's life and we are reminded that when work is well done we will always have appreciation, and just reward, and leave a lasting example for good that others may follow with safety. These songs were not showy or brilliant, but they were songs that touched the heart, and left an impression for good. Our California audiences are metropolitan and changing forever. People are here one day and in a twelfth month somewhere else and in my time it was still more changeable than now. No matter what your audience is it is the singer's duty to please every listener as near as possible and leave an impression. My advice to the singer is: Make your song a part of yourself, understand the composer's meaning, have a picture before you of the situation, of the meaning of the sentiment. Never sing anything that is beyond your powers, select that which you are able to understand thoroughly yourself, and when you have mastered every difficulty and can give yourself pleasure in the rendering of it, you may be well assured you will make some one else happy. An audience demands your complete resources, so you must not imagine you can carelessly give anything but your best efforts. The selections should always be less difficult than you are really capable of performing, a safe rule to follow. Then your audience will know you bring authority to your task, and authority is very necessary to command respect.

He who does not think well of this makes a grave mistake, for while he thinks people will not know the inferiority of his work, there is always some one in the audience who does know. True artistic work should[Pg 182] mean more to the singer than anything else, for that is what makes his reputation. No one can afford to be careless in the least effort if he wishes to become an acceptable singer to all classes that compose an audience.


[Pg 183]

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING. WORK AS A PATRIOT. GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC. FLAG-RAISING AT MONTEREY

IN recounting all these episodes of a full life of varied engagements I must take in account my political career which has extended from the rebellion to the present time. I have had an unbroken line of action in political work and yet I never was a suffragette. My work was to help the cause of my country and those who went bravely forth to conquer or die. I come honestly by my patriotism, for I am a descendant in a direct line from Revolutionary stock. It was therefore most natural for me, when the battle cry was heard to "Be up and at them." If the enemy was in the wrong and our flag was in danger my voice went ever out in song. I can proudly say I have taken part in every presidential campaign from Lincoln down to McKinley. From the beginning of the Republican party I have worked for its candidates and won every time except when James G. Blaine was defeated. Oh, what a fight we had! I'll never forget the Mulligan letters sent out at the last moment, too late for a reply. There was a noble quartette of us, Charles Parent, bass; Mrs. Parent, alto; Sam Booth, tenor, and M.R. Blake, contralto. How the old Wigwam rang with our patriotic songs, the bands playing martial airs for the "Plumed Knight." How we stepped off with the song of the Mulligan Guards to the appropriate parody written by Sam Booth on these letters. Everything was done to win but we lost and when Mr. Richart read off the returns my heart sank within me and I said, "I never can stay to hear the result." I quietly went off the platform to my home, only to wake in the morning to learn that Grover Cleveland was to be the next president. He was never a favorite candidate of mine, no matter what he was in the eyes of the world. Impressions will remain in spite of facts. The faces of all our presidents and their lives are as familiar to me as the faces of all the masters of music.

 

Sam Booth

 

President Lincoln came first upon my list of successful candidates and was the sixteenth president of the United[Pg 184] States. I was one year old when he became a member of the bar in 1837. He was twenty-eight when I was born in Illinois. When he was inaugurated, March 4, 1861, I was twenty years old and at that time in Boston when the mighty civil war began. When he was elected the second term I was in Santa Cruz, California and in the midst of the campaign. I wonder how many times I sang Vive l'America and the Star Spangled Banner before the victory was won and the hurrahs filling the air at our successes. But our joy was turned into mourning when he was assassinated on April 14, 1865. He had only a short time to serve the nation that honored him. He was succeeded by Andrew Johnson, the vice-president. The eighteenth president was U.S. Grant, who served two terms, 1869-77. I was in San Francisco then and both times I was in the campaign and won. I saw him also in 1879 as he returned from the tour of the world. The nineteenth president, R.B. Hayes, came next in order. I was then in San Francisco and also in[Pg 185] the employ of the Republican committee as vocalist. James A. Garfield became the twentieth president. He was inaugurated March 4, 1881, and had served only three months when the assassin's bullet laid him low. Chester A. Arthur, vice-president, took his place, the third vice-president, to become the nation's chief executive during the time I aided the Republican campaign committee. I now come to the twenty-third president, Benjamin Harrison, whose campaign was a record breaker. At that time I was living in San Bernardino, California, in one of the largest counties of southern California. This county had been democratic since 1849. The Republicans determined to win the county. There were enough progressives to attempt it and war on the corrupt old ring. The Grand Opera house was engaged as the place to inaugurate the campaign. My son was director of the Seventh Regiment band and also of the orchestra at the opera house. I had signed an agreement to sing for the committee throughout the campaign. With this arrangement the music was assured. All other details completed we were ready for the great battle. Our initial performance took place November 9, 1888, in the Grand Opera house, San Bernardino. The announcement in the morning papers after the first gun was fired was the following:

"Record of the Democratic party shown on the Chinese question from the days of '49, in an able and eloquent speech by Judge Adams of San Luis Obispo, at the Republican meeting last night.

"Patriotic and stirring music by Mrs. Blake-Alverson who was recalled five times.

"A magnificent speech upon the Tariff Question by Judge W.A. Cheney of Los Angeles.

"The assemblage was called to order by H.J. Hurley, Chairman of the R.C. Committee, who introduced John L. Campbell as chairman of the meeting. The list of vice-presidents was called by Lyman Evans Esq., etc."

This was the opening gun. The campaign began so auspiciously that the Riverside committee desired our services and on June 29 the train for Riverside left San Bernardino with five hundred boosters and at Colton about twenty-five men and a drum corps got aboard. On arriving at Riverside the visitors were received by the Republican club, the men forming in procession and seventy-five women taking carriages for the Glenwood and Rowell hotels. The line of march was long and[Pg 186] when the procession arrived at the Opera house it was discovered the vast crowd could not be accommodated. The women were given the preference. Nearly a thousand torches were carried in a line headed by the Colton Drum Corps. At the Opera house, Hon. H.M. Streeter presided with E.W. Holmes as secretary. The gathering opened with political music and patriotic airs by the band and glee club. The address of the evening was made by A.H. Naftzger, followed by Capt. C.W.C. Rowell. Rev. T.C. Hunt made a ringing speech for Harrison and protection to home industries. Capt. N.G. Gill and H.B. Everest presented the new features of the campaign issues. Judge H.M. Jones made a fine and telling speech, causing much enthusiasm, followed by George Nickerson's singing with fine effect, The Red, White and Blue. Other telling speeches followed. Then Mrs. Blake-Alverson sang Vive l'America and in response to a tremendous applause sang the following song, to the tune of Tippecanoe:

The convention last week in Chicago
Decided, unanimously, too,
To put up a man for the nation,
The grandson of Tippecanoe.
They balloted lusty and strong,
Won over the enemy, too,
And when they had counted the ballots
They saw 'twas for Tippecanoe.

CHORUS

Then vote for our Tippecanoe,
Hurrah for our Tippecanoe;
We'll pull down the old red bandana,
And stand by the Red, White and Blue.

Cleveland has made them a platform,
And thinks he can win for them, too;
But, boys, it's too weak and too shaky,
Free trade with us never will do.
John Bull tried to rule us before,
He found the Americans true,
And away ran the redcoats before them
And up flashed the Red, White and Blue.

CHORUS

Then vote for our Tippecanoe,
Hurrah for Ben Harrison, too;
We'll pull down the old red bandana,
And run up the Red, White and Blue.

[Pg 187]

Words cannot describe the scene after this song. The Riverside papers said next morning: "It was certainly a rouser. Nothing like it was ever before seen or thought of in this city. Citrus fairs and all others sink into insignificance. With stirring music and with Harrison and Morton on top and that too without discrimination we must win, and win nobly."

I am not a poet by any means and in writing these verses I was put to my wits' end to have suitable lines for the occasion. I was but three years old when William Henry Harrison was elected president. My father was stationed in Evansville, Indiana. Small as I was I'll never forget the procession of Indians who frightened me so I hid under the bed and could not be found for the day. When I heard the grandson of Tippecanoe was nominated I began at once to sing the old song that was used in his grandfather's time and as I was getting the morning meal my son, William, and I set to work to compose suitable lines. How we succeeded you can see by the verses that took the house and every one on the platform by surprise. The cheering was deafening after each stanza was sung. It is unnecessary to state that the immense audience went perfectly wild with excitement.

One of the papers said:

"At the conclusion of her song, Hon. H.M. Streeter arose and addressed the immense throng and said, 'I thought I was a true American in spirit and a staunch republican all these years, but my patriotism pales this song and the patriotic spirit of this splendid woman. I propose we give three times three cheers to Mrs. Blake-Alverson' which were given with a vim that left no doubts of the sincerity of the enthusiastic people who gathered on this occasion and their appreciation of her efforts in making this demonstration such a stupendous success."

This was the second rally. Already the Opera house in San Bernardino was no longer adequate for the crowds that assembled nightly. Overflow meetings were held in the streets each time. At last we were obliged to have an amphitheater prepared to accommodate the crowds that were increasing with each rally. Never was such political excitement in that county. There was an enclosed stage erected and a piano placed upon it and each night speeches were made (and ringing ones too) and I think all the sleepy mossbacks were wide awake at last and realized that their kind of Democracy was tottering and waiting for the last blow. When Benjamin Harrison[Pg 188] was elected the twenty-third president of these United States, San Bernardino county had demonstrations never equaled before or since. Every man, woman and child participated. Men from miles around were in the procession, features and transparencies of all kinds were carried by the marchers. After the procession they adjourned to the amphitheater for the exercises. My voice had been in constant use for two or three months and at the last moment I could not sing. I had written another song to be sung to the same tune, "Old Tippecanoe," and the chairman was obliged to let the people know I could not sing any more—the voice was gone. Such a howl of disappointment went up. I was obliged to stand before them and shake my head. I was not even able to speak to them. At this juncture I asked Mr. Brown to kindly read the verses, which were as follows:

We've voted and won now, my comrades,
The struggle decisive and strong;
The nation's decided the question
For our bold and brave Harrison;
May the nation's protection be blest
To the workingmen's families and homes;
John Bull can decide his own problems
And call his Lord Sackville back home.

CHORUS

Then hurrah for our Red, White and Blue,
Three cheers for our Harrison true;
May peace and prosperity bless us
For voting for Tippecanoe.

We'll veto no more now in Congress
The bills that should long have passed through;
The Mills Bill's a thing of oblivion
And its framer can follow it, too.
Then we'll carefully fold up the rag,
They flaunted so lusty and brave,
And bury it with the old relics,
'Way down in Salt River's deep wave.

CHORUS

Then hurrah for our columns so true,
Three cheers for Ben Harrison, too;
May peace and prosperity bless us
[Pg 189]For voting for Tippecanoe.

The American land is a nation
And her people most loyal and true,
And all others take care how they meddle
Or insult her colors of blue.
San Berdoo and the counties around
Come in for their share of the fun
And have rolled up the numbers most nobly
And helped spike the enemy's gun.

CHORUS

Hurrah for the people so true,
Three cheers for Ben Harrison, too;
Secession can float their bandanas,
But the loyal, the Red, White and Blue.

 

Mrs. Blake-Alverson in costume

 

After the excitement had somewhat subsided, Senator Streeter called upon the platform seven veterans who had voted for the first Harrison and in a befitting speech decorated these men with a fine red silk badge and I had the honor to pin these badges upon their coat lapels. As I did so tears fell upon my hands from the eyes of these patriotic old men. I also decorated General Vandevere and in return he decorated me as the historical and patriotic singer of California.

The twenty-fourth president was Grover Cleveland who was elected in 1884, but was defeated in 1888 by Benjamin Harrison, and in 1892 was re-elected and inaugurated March 4, 1893. I did not take an active part in this campaign as I had never sung for a Democratic president and I would not begin with Cleveland. The next president was our beloved McKinley and in the last campaign for him I sang in the Mechanics pavilion in San Francisco to 15,000 people. I was then sixty-four years of age. I was worried a little that age would tell in such a great place, but if I failed it was for a good cause and my country. I consented to sing after much persuasion from Sam Booth and W.H.L. Barnes. I had in all my singing life never failed. I reluctantly consented, trusting to my knowledge of how to use the voice. At the appointed hour I was at the pavilion with Mrs. J.M. Case, my accompanist. When I came upon the platform I was cordially greeted by the old guard, W.H.L. Barnes, Sam Booth and thirty-five other men of the committee whom I had met in former years. After taking in the situation I was a little disturbed when I found the floor had been left for dancing and I was obliged to sing to the tiers of seats that arose as high as I could see and all that empty space to cross and one single voice to reach this great mass of people. For once[Pg 190] I felt my voice inadequate for the effort. In the highest row of seats were several of my pupils and they were to give me the signal that my voice and words carried distinctly. I was requested to sing Vive l'America, the old civil war favorite song. I arose when announced amid a most tremendous recognition from the people of San Francisco. I was so excited I forgot my age and began my song. I had sung but one line and on looking up I saw the signal and it aroused me to my best efforts which proved most satisfactory. When I finished the policemen's sticks pounded on the floors, the band gave a grand rally, the people applauded and for many minutes nothing could be heard but the deafening demonstration and a recall was demanded. I sang Millard's Amalia from the Roman Charioteer and finished with the exultant B flat which arose in the softest touch and increased to the fullest crescendo and diminished to the pianissimo. At that moment by a prearranged plan, unknown to me, one of the most beautiful flags that ever floated was unfurled and fell in graceful folds by my side. I involuntarily seized it with my hands and finished amidst one of the greatest receptions ever given to any prima donna in my time, and I felt I was not forgotten by the people of San Francisco whom I had served for twenty-seven years. They gave me the honor to which my age and experience as a singer and patriotic charitable worker in the upbuilding of California and its institutions entitled me. Theodore Roosevelt became president on the death of McKinley. With his victory at the next election he became the twenty-sixth president of the United States. My practical work for the Republican cause ceased then. My voice and spirit still remained but the accident to me in 1901 put an untimely end to my public work. I have sung for Decoration days and Fourth of July demonstrations. My last one was in 1906 at the Macdonough theater and the people of Oakland gave me a befitting tribute. From the speaker and the twenty-five uniformed soldiers who formed a half circle around me to the immense crowd that filled the theater the applause for Vive l'America was spontaneous. I also sang Annie Laurie, the favorite song of every soldier who fought in '61, a song which was on the dying lips of hundreds of soldiers who fell fighting and thinking of their loved ones at home. Can you wonder at the tears coming to the eyes of our veterans when the strain is sung And for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay me down and dee. I sing this song with all the sincere feeling and personality[Pg 191] that I possess. It is a sacred song to me for I have heard the story many times as told by the veterans since the war. After this final tribute of my career The Oakland Herald had this to say next day: "The beautiful simplicity of Mrs. Blake-Alverson's singing provoked tremendous applause and she responded to the never-to-be-forgotten lines of Annie Laurie." The Enquirer said: "The singing of Mrs. Blake-Alverson was a revelation. It was enjoyed to the utmost. Every note rang clear and pure and each stanza was applauded in a most hearty manner. This was especially true of her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in which the enthusiasm was unbounded." The effect of the song was heightened by the giving of the ceremony of retreat at sunset which is carried out in every camp and garrison of the army of the United States. The ceremony was conducted by members of Co. A, Fifth Infantry, N.G.C., under the charge of Sergeant Breveton and were as follows: Sergeant A. H. Jones, Sergeant H.B. Ongerth, Musician J.W. Stock, Musician E.J. Dow, Privates Elmer Marsh, F. Keegan, J.C. Bowden, R.L. Nichols, H.B. Loveridge, H. Bond, R. Trethaway.

In a letter to the editor of the Enquirer John Aubrey Jones said: "What an inspiration it was to see and hear Mrs. Blake-Alverson sing. Physically infirm, but vocally strong and pregnant, her pure, limpid birdlike notes thrilled and stirred the soul and tears to the eyes did unbidden come. It was eloquence sublime set to the all-subdivining rhythmical harmony of divine music, rendered by a master whose spirit was enwrapped. The writer felt an uplift in patriotic fervor that was a joyous inspiration and so doubtless did all whose privilege it was to hear and see Mrs. Blake-Alverson sing."

The Oakland Tribune said: "The singing of the Star Spangled Banner by Mrs. Blake Alverson and the oration delivered by Rev. Charles R. Brown proved the chief features of the Fourth of July celebration held in the Macdonough theater yesterday morning. Judge E.M. Gibson presided. Prayer was by Rabbi M. Friedlander. A chorus from Faust by seventy-five singers followed. The Declaration of Independence was read by Attorney Peter J. Crosby. Next Mrs. Blake-Alverson stepped forward upon the stage and reached the flag-draped table surrounded by twenty-five uniformed soldiers, who separated in the center to allow her to approach, then closed as she passed, amid applause which was deafening, and she could do nothing but bow her acknowledgment to the audience. As she[Pg 192] sang Vive l'America, in spite of her years, her voice rang out pure and clear. Again and again she was forced to respond to encores and when Judge Gibson finally led her off the stage she was repeatedly cheered."

I do not think I would have done quite so well had it not been for an incident that happened as I stepped upon the stage. When I saw the immense crowd my heart gave one throb and I thought I had made a mistake coming there at my age to sing. Like an electric flash I took in the situation and said within me, "Dear Lord, help me once more," and in answering to the repeated cheers I glanced downward to the men in the orchestra and to my surprise saw their looks of sarcasm as if to say, "What can that old woman do?" In one instant my patriotic spirit was roused within me and I gave them a look of defiance and said within myself, "I'll show you boys what she can do," and nodded to the pianist to begin. It took just one line of Vive l'America to make them sit up and take notice. Every eye was turned upon me, the leader sat back in his chair and folded his arms and never moved only to applaud with all the rest between each stanza and continued to do so until the song was completed, and then I received a rally from all, tributes of flowers and tri-colored ribbons floating in graceful loops from them. I responded with Annie Laurie, and the perfect attention with which it was received was most affecting, and I was fully repaid for my efforts, old as I was. I had won the battle nobly and to the people of Oakland I give my heartfelt thankfulness for their appreciation of my efforts to please them in legitimate song and show my loyalty. More honors awaited me at the close of the exercises. As I stepped from my dressing room there awaited me many prominent men and women who came back of the stage to greet me and take my hand. Among them were Rabbi Friedlander, Major Sherman, Alfred Wilkie, Judge Gibson, Rev. Dr. Brown, members of the different committees, unknown to me. About thirty minutes later, when I left for my carriage, I found to my surprise that the sidewalk in front of the theater was crowded with men, women and children, awaiting my coming. It was with difficulty that I reached my carriage. I must needs take the hands of these well-pleased people who wished to thank me. Through the efforts of Mr. John T. Bell I entered the carriage and was driven to the Hotel Touraine, where a banquet had been prepared. When I arrived the committee and members of the chorus were seated at the tables. I was escorted to the table at[Pg 193] the end of the hall, decorated with blossoms, flags and streamers and twelve uniformed soldiers standing guard. During the banquet the band played patriotic airs and afterward there were short speeches by prominent men. At the close of the banquet the master of ceremonies asked the assemblage to rise and give a tribute of three cheers for Mrs. Blake-Alverson, the patriotic singer of Oakland. This was given with a will and the band played America in which we all joined. With this song the celebration was over and my career as a public singer for sixty-five years for the people of California in the Golden State by the Golden Gate of the Far West, the grandest state of all the galaxy of states, was ended.

 

Patriotic envelopes

Enlarge

 

While this closed my public life, as far as these holiday observances went, I did not give up my music altogether, as I had no other way to support myself and was still in possession of my voice and my ability to teach was established. I went right on in the even tenor of my way and did what I could toward making it possible for my pupils to take a place with those who had succeeded in the beautiful art of music and song. I had now taught in Oakland fifteen years and felt no uneasiness as to the result, so I went bravely on doing what I could. My friends, the soldiers of the G.A.R., felt their memorials and installations were not complete without their Daughter of the Regiment who had never denied them since 1861. Persons make a mistake who think they cannot do much if they fail in the great achievements of life, but I contend that the small things are not to be despised. I shall not be able to put one-sixteenth part of my engagements in this book, but I will illustrate with the G.A.R. and tell how often I have sung for that organization alone. The reader will then realize the amount of work I have done for churches, fraternal societies, missions, art classes, sewing classes, functions of all kinds, club functions, singing classes, holiday festivals, assistance to the young people of the societies and Sunday schools of the churches with which I was identified, guilds, charitable institutions and private affairs. Had I not kept a diary for all these years I never would have known the vast amount of work a person could do in a short life.

From 1861 until 1864 I did not keep a diary, but saved programmes of special events. When the war started we were constantly doing something for the soldiers. I will tell of an episode which convinced me that the power of song is more lasting than we realize. When the wounded men were brought home to the hospitals the different church[Pg 194] choirs were sent to sing for the sick and the dying, and at the funerals. It seemed that each Sabbath afternoon I was administering to the needs of the sick and wounded men. In 1862 I returned to California and lived in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Stockton and Oakland. I was the honored guest of the Appomattox Post, Captain Thomas commanding, on April 26, 1894. It was the yearly visit to inspect the Old Soldiers' Home at Yountville. Mr. Arbuckle and many of the officers of the G.A.R. were in the party. I was to give the old veterans some of the old melodies they loved. We had a full quartette of musical people from the different posts, and when we arrived the large hall was filled with the veterans. When my name was called upon the programme it was impossible to begin until they had given vent to their enthusiasm. I was in excellent voice and with my patriotic spirit stirred I sang with a determined will to please once again, and I certainly received a full return of appreciation.

After the concert a reception was held and I greeted them all as they passed in file, and shook hands and received their expressions of pleasure for my songs. After an excellent luncheon we inspected the new kitchen and dining hall recently completed. One of the women, Mrs. Sarah Markwert, and myself inspected the new kitchen and we came to where one of the old veterans was washing the dishes. I said to my friend, "Well, this is splendid, no one need mind washing dishes with all these conveniences." At that moment the old man turned around and with his hands in the dish water said to me, "Shure it's a many a long day since I saw your face." I looked at him in astonishment and said, "My dear comrade, where have I seen you before?" "Shure I was a sorry looking man when you saw me in the hospital in Massachusetts as helpless as a babe." "My dear sir, do you still remember me?" "Do we forget the angels when once they visit us?" Then he went on with his story until he brought the picture back to me as if it were yesterday. Truly I was convinced of the power of song. He had listened to me when sick and wounded and as his mind went back to the days of '61 he still remembered the face and the singer and the song. After bidding him good-bye and thanking him for his long remembrance of me, I turned thoughtfully away. As we came upon the porch of the hospital I passed a middle aged man and I nodded pleasantly and passed him by. As I passed he said, "Are you going to forget your old postman of 120 Charles street,[Pg 195] Boston?" I could not reply for a moment, and I looked at him and said, "Are you Charles Blake?" He said, "I am." "What are you doing here, are all the Eastern soldiers here in this place?" "No," he replied, "Only two or three of us." "I was speaking to one just now in the kitchen who remembered me." "Oh, yes, Patrick, he was in the same place I was." "How did you happen to come here?" I asked him. "My letter pouch became too heavy for me to carry and I asked to be sent here, and I expect to remain the rest of my life." Truly, wonders will never cease, said I, as we left him and went to the sick room. There we saw rows of beds all occupied except three or four. At the head of the stairs we stopped to speak to the old veteran and inquired of his health. He said, "My days are short and I am ready to go at any time now." I said, "You were unable to hear the music today?" "Yes," he said, "I thought once or twice I could catch a sound of it, but I could not tell." I asked him if he liked music and he said, "Very much, and I wanted to hear the singer today for I had heard her sing before I got bedridden, when she was a young woman, and I was so sorry to have missed it." I said, "What song would you like best to hear, now that you are sick, if you could hear anyone sing?" "The song I have in my mind now is Nearer, My God, to Thee." I took his wasted hand in mine and stood at the head of his bed and sang to him and to all the sick in the ward. After I had finished a silence was o'er all, save a sob or two from those who were deeply affected by the song. The nurse approached and asked me if I would sing Rock of Ages for one veteran who was lying at the other end of the ward. I complied and when I had finished these poor afflicted men wanted to thank me, so I passed from one bed to another and said a parting word to each, and as I passed the bed of the old dying man, on my return, he said with tears, "I shall not forget the song or the singer. The memory of both will go with me to the gates of Paradise. I'll not forget, good-bye." He lingered for another week, they told me, and his last words were from the hymn, Nearer, My God, to Thee.

I have felt it my sacred duty to always answer the call of the soldier. It began in 1861 and has always been listened to by me since. I have sung at many exercises, at the Memorial exercises, which began in 1880, I sang for the George Thomas Post. On January 18, 1885, I was at the installation of post officers. Memorial day of that year I sang at the Metropolitan hall, San Francisco. In[Pg 196] 1886 I sang in the same auditorium, which was packed, and I sang there again in 1887. In 1888 I sang for the W.R. Cornman Post, No. 57, San Bernardino. On January 5, 1889, installation exercises, and on January 30, 1889, G.A.R. camp fire for veterans, I sang at San Bernardino. Returning to San Francisco, I sang at the installation exercises in May, 1889, on Memorial Day. On September 3, George Thomas Post concert in aid of veterans' families. In 1890 I sang at the Sabbath service in the Methodist Church for veterans. On May 30, Congregational Church, Oakland, to a great congregation. Music was furnished by thirty picked voices. Alfred Wilkie sang the Sword of Bunker Hill; Vive l'America, and Tender and True were sung next. As Captain Thomas remarked, this song was sung by the same singer in 1861, twenty-nine years before, when the war was on, and once again to commemorate the brave who died. On March 6, 1894, I participated at a grand rally and musical of Lyon post and corps. On March 15, at Appomattox corps and post concert; April 23, G.A.R. reception, Congregational Church, Edwin C. Seymour and General W.H.L. Barnes, speakers, Mrs. Blake-Alverson, vocalist. On April 24, reception of G.A.R. at Mills Tabernacle, Governor Markham and staff present. The building was densely crowded and the enthusiasm was marked. The band played the national anthems. I sang the Star Spangled Banner and Annie Laurie amid the cheers and tremendous applause of veterans and others present. On April 26 the Yountville yearly visit to the Soldiers' Home was made by the Appomattox posts and a concert was given and a general inspection of the home was held. On May 8, 9, and 22 were days of receptions and entertainments to raise funds. On May 30 I sang in the Methodist Church, Berkeley. On June 14 I sang at the tenth anniversary of Appomattox Post and on June 15 anniversary of Lyon Corps and banquet. On July 19 I sang at reception of G.A.R. officers and their families who had assembled from other California cities and the East. August 6, September 1, 4, 22, Admiral Porter Post No. 169, Lyon Post, Cole. E.D., Baker Camp No. 5; October 25, National Guard of California; November 16, Flags of all Nations concert; December 11, Lyon Corps entertainment. In 1895, January 3, 8, March 13, May 30, July 4, July 9, 31, September 11, November 13, were days of installation, memorials, processions of importance, bazaars and concerts. In all I participated.

 

Pupils of the 80's

[Pg 197]

 

In 1896, January 28, May 30 and 31, June 20, reception to General-in-Chief Lawlor, G.A.R., were days to be remembered, but of July 7 I must make special mention, as it was an honor that can only come once to a singer. It was the golden jubilee of the flag-raising at Monterey fifty years before, a scene of patriotic enthusiasm in which I, with other patriotic people, participated. Through Major Edwin Sherman, head of the arrangements committee, I was engaged to assist in the demonstration. I had a previous engagement with Frank Gilder at Santa Cruz for his concert a day or two before the flag raising. When I arrived at Monterey I was met by Major Sherman, wife and party and escorted to the hotel. After dinner the evening was spent with rehearsals and completing the arrangement for the morning's exercises. The day of July 7 was ideal, the air was mild and the sun came out in all of its splendor and the streets were alive with people who were assembling already in preparation for this great jubilee. The procession started promptly at 10 o'clock and passed through the principal streets of the city. Veterans of the Mexican war, sailors from the battleships that lay in the harbor, United States soldiers were in line. Many appropriate emblems, floats, and bands of music followed. School children symbolizing the American flag presented a feature never to be forgotten.

Across from the first custom house a large platform had been erected and upon this platform all the performers for the occasion were placed. At the top the children were grouped to form the flag, a most novel and beautiful sight. The officers of the day, Mexican veterans, musicians and speakers occupied the lower platform. The old custom house opposite, with its high flag pole, the two armored cruisers lying in the bay, the escort of hundreds of sailors from the ships made a never-to-be-forgotten scene. At the appropriate moment William P. Toler, the man who fifty years before raised the flag upon the same pole, amid cheers from the multitude descended from the platform and made his way through the crowd and ranks of the naval battalion to where Lieutenant Roper of the Monadnock stood. He escorted Mr. Toler to the northwest corner of the old custom house, beneath the staff, while the quartermaster of the Philadelphia bent the American flag on to the halyards which were placed in Mr. Toler's hand. At this point Major Sherman called for three cheers for Old Glory and Mr. Toler, with all the energy of his youth and his eyes sparkling with pride and patriotic fire, grasped the rope (but the halyards were stiffened) and after an[Pg 198] adjustment of the difficulty the flag soon reached the masthead and was spread out to the breeze. Then occurred a scene not often witnessed. The people went wild at the beautiful sight. Hats and handkerchiefs went flying into the air. All reserve of these military men was forgotten in the moment of patriotic enthusiasm. The two battleships anchored in the bay puffed forth the smoke from the cannon's mouth. The air was filled with a riot of sounds from the crash of guns, multiplying the echoes rising above the strains of the Star Spangled Banner. It was a touching sight to see the veterans of war behave like boys let loose from school, the children clapping their hands, Queen California with her maids of honor upon her throne waving handkerchiefs. The sailors stood at attention throughout this demonstration, but when Mr. Toler turned to ascend the platform they seized him and bore him triumphantly to the grandstand amid shouts and huzzas for the midshipmate of fifty years ago. After the excitement was over he bade them all farewell. This was the last public appearance of Mr. Toler. He passed away the following year.

Upon the platform were gathered a number of notable men. Major Sherman was orator of the day and the ruling spirit of this patriotic gathering. Admiral L.A. Beardslee, U.S.N., retired, was the honored guest and spoke with patriotic fervor on this occasion of the laying of the corner stone of the Sloat monument and flag-raising. After the address of Major Sherman the girls of the living flag sang with splendid effect the Star Spangled Banner. Mrs. Eliza A. Pittsinger eloquently recited an original poem written for l'America by myself, with full spirit of patriotic fire and sweetness of song, which was roundly applauded. At the close I brought forth a small American flag, which created the greatest enthusiasm and responded with Old Glory, Flag of Liberty. It was some time before I was allowed to retire.

Hon. H.C. Gesford, grand president of Native Sons of the Golden West, followed with a telling speech; the Hon. Niles Searles, vice-president of the California Pioneers, made a short and witty speech, after which the multitude joined in the anthem of America. Rev. O.E. Edmonson, chaplain of the U.S. flagship Philadelphia, pronounced the benediction and the great celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the taking of California and raising of the American flag at Monterey by Commodore[Pg 199] Sloat was ended and his honored fame gloriously vindicated.

My next work for the Grand Army was at an entertainment, July 14, 1896. I was asked to speak on the theme of Old Glory. I made my first speech in public with Judge E.M. Gibson, Mr. Arbuckle and others who were veterans on the speaking platform. In 1897 I sang at Memorial Day exercises; May 28, Lincoln's memorial; December 14, Lyon Corps fete of all nations closed the engagements of this year, with the addition of many dollars finding their way into the depleted treasury. In 1898 Memorial Day was the first of the varied performances of the year; June 25 was another departure from the regular things that took place in the G.A.R. needs. About eight or nine of the patriotic women, myself and four other singers of the different corps, went to visit the boys enlisted for the Spanish-American war and staying at Camp Merritt at the Presidio. They were awaiting the call to the Philippines. We arrived in camp about four o'clock in the afternoon and visited the different divisions and chatted with the soldiers until eight o'clock, when we were due at the tent where Captain Sloat was quartered, and his fine boys of San Bernardino, Cal.

We assisted the boys in their songs and listened to the remarks by able men and women until nine o'clock, when Captain Sloat addressed his men and called upon me to tell the boys of our work in 1861—a new departure for me. I generally sang my patriotism, but this time it took the form of a recital of events for about fifteen minutes, and was listened to with the greatest attention. I told them of the dying soldiers who passed away with the song of Annie Laurie on their lips. Afterwards I sang it for them and gave them other songs. At the close of my work Capt. Sloat made me an offering in the name of his men of the most beautiful tribute of roses and ferns, contributed by the individual members. I received their tribute with heartfelt gratitude and appreciation. We were served with refreshments by the hospitable women of the Red Cross before returning to the city. Taps sounded at ten o'clock and we departed for our homes. October 11, 21, 24 finished the entertainments for the year 1898. In 1899, January 5, the installation of Appomattox Post and corps took place, followed on February 21 with a grand reception of veterans and newly elected officers and their wives. A musical program was provided as usual. On May 30 the Memorial services were held in the Methodist Church with suitable programme. On July 11 and 29 the Relief[Pg 200] Corps had the usual entertainment for friends. On September 3 memorial exercises for soldiers who fell in the Philippine war were held. Nothing special occurred in 1900 until Memorial Day, which was celebrated by befitting exercises. On June 19 the Lyon Corps had an extra entertainment. On June 23 the grand McKinley demonstration, San Francisco, closed the engagements of the year 1900. I did not sing again for the G.A.R. until 1903, because of my accident. On March 31, 1903, Lyon Post, as a special request, needed my services. On August 21 and December 15, they celebrated Veterans' Day, Lyon Post installation. On May 12, 1904, Captain Stillwell wanted the boys to have patriotic singing in their armory opening, and asked me to sing for them Vive l'America. This entertainment and Memorial Day, May 31, closed my work for this year. 1905 began with the Lyon Corps and Post installation. On Memorial Day I sang in the Congregational Church. As I sang The Offering of Flowers I quietly placed a wreath of roses over the spear of the flag, as it projected in front of me in the gallery over the pulpit, and in an instant the audience rose to their feet in silent appreciation for my tribute to the dead, comrades knowing my inability to go to the cemetery for the services there. At the close of the services, before I could leave my place in the gallery, many G.A.R. officers and strangers paid their affectionate tributes of praise for my services of song and honor to the dead. Once more I was urged to sing at the Macdonough theater on the Fourth of July of that year, and I received a most enthusiastic reception from the public. The banquet of Lyon Corps for the post, July 11, and the memorial services of post and corps for the annual deaths closed this year's services. I supposed this would be my last public appearance, but in 1906 I was needed at the installation as usual, and on the Fourth of July at the Macdonough theater. In 1907 I sang at a special reception to veterans and department officers of California and their wives. Judge Dibble was most eloquent in his address, which was enthusiastically received by the veterans. On July 31 and August 20 I closed my G.A.R. work for the year. In 1908 I sang on two occasions, and in 1909 I sang at the Bay School for Mr. Crawford, taking a quartette with me. We gave the children some of the old songs for the inspiration of their patriotic spirit. They in return gave us the "Red, White and Blue" with splendid effect, led by Mr. Crawford, who is a patriotic spirit among the young in the schools of California. On July 8 and November 30 closed the engagements for 1910 and 1911, up to May 30, 1912.[Pg 201] How many more times I shall be able to help the Boys in Blue I do not know, but as long as I have a musical note left it shall be to serve them.

My book has already assumed such proportions that I shall not be able to give many of the interesting and worthy occurrences which have occurred in my public life as a singer. I have sung for the Masonic lodges, Knights of Pythias, Rebekahs, Eastern Star. I have sung at concerts for the different charities, church societies, Christian associations, on anniversaries of special nature, at public demonstrations in the school department, among them the tree-planting by the children of the Lincoln school and demonstration chorus singing by the children in Mills Tabernacle. I have entertained artists who have come to our coast and sung in opera and concert. Madam Etelka Gerster and her company were entertained in my home in 1884; the prima donna, Materna, of Wagner fame, and her tenor, Ondricek, and Madame Anna Bishop and her artists were also my guests. I have enjoyed the friendships of our artists, Rudolph Herold, Ernest Hartman, Prof. Trenkle, J.H. Dohrmann and hosts of others. When Henry Clay Barnabee and his opera company were at the Columbia theater I enjoyed many hours of real comradeship, chatting about old times in Boston and other artists of our day. Emma Shafter Howard made it possible for many musical people to meet the celebrated violinist, Ysaye, a number of years ago. It would require many pages to recount the number of such meetings which have taken place during my sojourn in Boston, Mass.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Oregon, Victoria, and throughout the cities of California. In San Bernardino I found during my sixteen months' stay many prominent families who extended their cordial support and appreciation and welcome. I take great pleasure in mentioning especially Mr. Seth Marshall and wife, Dr. and Mrs. Addison Collins, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Perkins.

On returning to Oakland I received the right hand of fellowship from Horace A. Redfield, who visited me in my studio, and his wife, Addie Lowell Redfield and her sister Mrs. Gussie Lowell Garthwaite. Through these friends it became known that I had come to this city to reside. At that time Mr. Redfield was prominent as an impresario, a musical critic and the writer of the Lyre and Song column in the Oakland Enquirer. Through my singing in church choirs and public concerts I later made permanent friends of many of the good people of Oakland who encouraged music of the highest order in their homes. Mrs. Gutterson,[Pg 202] Mrs. John L. Howard, Mrs. Emma Shafter-Howard were among the earlier friends and later in East Oakland Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Goodfellow, who are thoroughly musical. He possessed a fine tenor voice while his wife was a splendid musician and pianist. It was my good fortune to gain their friendship while I served the Church of the Advent for eight months, they being members of that diocese. During the life of Stephen W. Leach, Mr. Goodfellow formed the Glee Club of friends who were well known singers and players. S.W. Leach was director of this club. It was Mr. Goodfellow's recreation from his much worry and work in his profession. Mr. and Mrs. William Angus, Mr. George Collins, wife and two daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Klose and Miss Augusta Klose were the friends who were among the musical people of the club. It was in 1896 I began singing in the choir and in looking around for the leader for the club I was accepted as soloist and leader. I was reluctant to do this, as I well knew the ability of Mr. Leach, having belonged to his Madrigal club long years before in San Francisco, but my good fortune lay in knowing how to sing these English, Scotch and Welsh madrigals and airs, many of them so familiar to me. For nearly three years we enjoyed the advantage of the club and the carefully selected musical library which Mr. Goodfellow possessed and placed at our convenience. It was a delightful gathering of congenial friends and gave restful pleasure to our good host and charming hostess who made it possible for us all to benefit by their generous hospitality. These delightful weekly gatherings were only discontinued when Mr. Goodfellow was obliged to rest from his labor and travel for a year. Our last meeting occurred February 2, 1900, when he and his wife left for their tour of the world. During their absence changes had taken place among the families. It has been my good fortune to meet prominent men and women in the different cities where I have lived who devoted time and money to promote the best music in their home cities. By their generosity many worthy aspirants have received encouragement to greater advancement in their chosen career who perhaps would not have had opportunity to be known or heard otherwise.


[Pg 203]

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

REPERTOIRE AND OTHER DATA. MUSICIANS AND SINGERS OF THE LAST CENTURY

THINKING it may be of interest to my readers and also of some historical value, I append a list of the halls and theaters as well as the churches where I have sung. A list of the masses, oratorios, cantatas, etc., is also given. I also give a list of the pastors of the various churches where I have sung.

HALLS AND THEATERS WHERE I HAVE SUNG

Alcazar Hall, O'Farrell street.
B'nai B'rith Hall, O'Farrell street.
California Theatre, Bush street.
Old Metropolitan Hall, Montgomery street.
Pacific Hall, Bush street.
Mechanics Library Hall, Bush street.
Sherman and Clay Hall, Sutter street.
Old Dashaway Hall, Post street.
Greer's Hall, Minna street, between 17th and 18th streets.
Western Addition Hall, Mission street.
Grand Western Hall, corner Bush and Polk streets.
Hamilton Hall, corner Steiner and Geary streets.
Mission Music Hall, 21st and Howard streets.
Laurel Hall, Shiel's Building, O'Farrell street.
Mission Opera Hall, Grove and Laguna streets.
Old Platt Hall, Montgomery street.
Pacific Hall, Howard street.
Union Hall, Mission street.
Masonic Temple, corner Montgomery and Sutter streets.
Mechanics Pavilion, Union Square.
Mechanics Pavilion, Mission street.
Mechanics Pavilion, Market street.
Knights of Pythias Hall, Market street.
Woodward's Gardens, Mission street.
Pioneer Hall, Fourth street, between Market and Mission streets.
Metropolitan Temple, Fifth street.
Y.M.C.A. Hall, Sutter street. Sang eight years here.
Wigwam, political meetings, James G. Blaine and others, Stockton and Geary streets.
Odd Fellows Hall, Western Addition, Geary and Steiner streets.
Mark Hopkins Institute, California street.
Odd Fellows Hall, Mission street.
Tent Pavilion, Mission street, back of the old Palace Hotel.
[Pg 204]Ixora Hall, Mission street.
Winter Garden, Stockton street, between Sutter and Post streets.
Ladies' Relief Society.
Protestant Orphan Asylum.

 

Pupils of the 80's

 

CHURCHES WHERE I HAVE SUNG

First Presbyterian Church, 1870-1871, Stockton street.
St. John's Presbyterian Church, Post street.
St. Patrick's Church, Mission street, March 21, 1869, 1870-1874.
St. Mary's, California and Dupont streets, 1869, 1870; 3 months.
Congregational Church, Dupont and California streets.
Calvary Church, Bush street.
Calvary Church, Geary street, May 7, 1882.
Fruitvale Congregational Church, Oakland.
Noe Valley Mission, Noe Valley.
Hamilton Hall Mission, Western Addition.
Howard Presbyterian Church, Howard street.
First Methodist Church, Mission street.
Church of the Advent, Mission street.
Church of the Advent, East Oakland.
Powell Street Methodist Church, Powell street.
Green Street Church, Green street.
Episcopal Church, Stockton street.
Larkin Presbyterian Church, Larkin street.
O Habi Sholom, Mason street, September 15, 1887, 1888.
Old Catholic Mission Church, Mission Street.
Pilgrim Congregational Church, East Oakland.
St. Brigid's, Western Addition, San Francisco.
San Bruno Road Catholic Church, 1875.
St. Ignatius Church, Market street, 1869.
Notre Dame, French Catholic Church; Organist, R.A. Lucchesi.
Unitarian Church, Geary street; Harry Hunt, organist.
Howard Street Methodist Church; Martin Schultz, organist.
St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
Trinity Church, Powell street.
Grace Cathedral, corner California and Stockton streets.
Alemany, Bishop, St. Mary's Catholic Church, California street, San Francisco.
Akerly, Father, St. John's Episcopal Church, Oakland.
Anderson, Rev. John, First Presbyterian Church, Stockton street, San Francisco.
Anderson, Rev. John Jr. (assistant), First Presbyterian Church, Stockton street, San Francisco.
Buchard, Rev. Father, St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, Market street, San Francisco.
Baylis, Rev. Mr., First Presbyterian Church, Stockton street, San Francisco.
Barrows, Rev. D.D., Calvary Church, Bush street, San Francisco.
Beecher, Henry Ward, Congregational Church, Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bettleheim, Rabbi, Jewish, Mason street, San Francisco.
Bailey, Rev. Mr., Congregational Mission, Sixteenth street, Oakland.
Beecher, Lyman R., Congregational Church, Walnut Hills, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Bokum, Rev. Henry, Reformed Church, Betts street, Cincinnati, Ohio.
[Pg 205]Burgess, Rev. Dr., Congregational Church, Dedham, Mass.
Birmingham, Rev. Father, Roman Catholic Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
Burrows, Dr., School for Boys, Stockton and Geary streets, San Francisco.
Curry, Rev. James, Emanuel Presbyterian Church, Oakland.
Cunningham, Rev. Dr. D., Presbyterian Church, Stockton street, San Francisco.
Cool, Rev. P.Y., First Methodist Church, Santa Cruz, California.
Cook, Rev. Dr., Y.M.C.A., Sutter street, San Francisco.
Cheney, Rev. B.G., Baptist Church, Washington street, San Francisco.
Cox, Rev. H., Methodist Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
Chapman, Rev. Dr., Congregational Church, East Oakland, California.
Dixon, Rev. Frank, Y.M.C.A., Sutter street, San Francisco.
Dille, Rev. E.R., Methodist Church, Fourteenth and Clay streets, Oakland.
Dodge, Dr., Presbyterian Church.
Ells, Rev. James, Presbyterian Church, Stockton street, San Francisco.
Edwards, Rev. Mr., Hamilton Hall, Oakland.
Eston, Rev. Giles, Episcopal Church, Santa Cruz.
Freer, Rev. James, Congregational Church, Santa Cruz.
Frisk, Rev., Congregational Church, San Francisco.
Freidlander, Rabbi, Jewish, Fourteenth street, Oakland.
Gray, Rev. Father, Roman Catholic Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
Gibson, Rev. M., Scotch Presbyterian Church, Jones street, San Francisco.
Gerrior, Rev. Mr., Congregational Church, Jones avenue and East Fourteenth street, Oakland.
Guard, Rev. Thomas, Presbyterian Church, Bush street, San Francisco.
Hemphill, Rev. John, Presbyterian Church, Geary and Powell streets, San Francisco.
Hemphill, Rev. Joseph, Presbyterian Church, Noe Valley, San Francisco.
Hewes, Rev. Mr., Baptist Church, Mission District, San Francisco.
Horton, Rev. Mr., Presbyterian Church, Fourteenth and Franklin streets, Oakland.
Hagar, Rev. E.W., Episcopal Church, Stockton, California.
Happersett, Rev. Mr., Presbyterian Church, Stockton, California.
Jewell, Rev. Frank, Methodist Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
Kip, Bishop Ingraham, Grace Episcopal Church, San Francisco.
Koenig, Rev. Father, Roman Catholic Church, San Bernardino.
Kroh, Rev. Henry, German Reformed Church, Betts street, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Kroh, Rev. Phillip H., German Reformed Church, Stockton and Anna, Jonesboro, Union County, Illinois.
Levy, Rabbi, Jewish Synagogue, Mason street, San Francisco.
Lathrop, Rev. H.D., Episcopal Church, San Francisco and Oakland.
Lacey, Rev. E.S., Congregational Church, Dupont and California streets, San Francisco.
Larkin, Rev. James, Roman Catholic Church, Mission street.
[Pg 206]Law, Rev. V. Marshall, Episcopal Church, East Oakland.
McClean, Rev. Dr. D., Congregational Church, Twelfth and Clay streets, Oakland.
McSweeney, Father, Roman Catholic Church, Grove and Hobart streets, Oakland.
Morrison, Rabbi, Jewish, Mason street, San Francisco.
McKenzie, Rev. Robert, Presbyterian Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
Morrisey, Rev. Father, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, San Francisco.
Machias, Rev. James, Presbyterian Church, Geary and Powell streets, San Francisco.
Myerson, Rev. Dr., Jewish, Mason street, San Francisco.
Mathews, Rev. James, Presbyterian and Calvary Churches, San Francisco.
McNutt, Rev. George L., Congregational Church, East Oakland.
Nugent, Rev. J.F., Roman Catholic Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
O'Brien, Rev. W.J., Episcopal Church, San Bernardino.
O'Connor, Rev. Father, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, San Francisco.
Palmer, Rev. Mr., Congregational Church, Oakland, California.
Pittblado, Rev. Dr., Calvary Presbyterian Church, San Francisco and New York.
Patterson, Rev. Mr., Presbyterian Church, Stockton.
Rust, Rev. Henry, German Reformed Church, Betts street, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Rader, Rev. Wm., Congregational Church, Oakland and San Francisco.
Reed, Rev. S.F., Presbyterian Church, San Francisco; came from Victoria.
Smith, Mathew Hale, Presbyterian Church, San Francisco; came from New York.
Scott, Rev. Dr., Presbyterian Church, San Francisco; came from Glasgow, Scotland.
Stone, Dr. A.L., Congregational Church, Mason street, San Francisco.
Sprecher, Rev. Dr., Presbyterian and Calvary Churches, San Francisco.
Silcox, Rev. Dr., Congregational Church, East Oakland.
Simmons, Rev. Dr. (1852), Methodist Church, Stockton.
Starr-King, Rev., Unitarian Church, Stockton street, San Francisco.
Stebbins, Rev. Horatio, Unitarian Church, Geary street, San Francisco.
Scott, Rev. W.A., D.D., LL.S., St. John's Presbyterian Church, Post street, San Francisco.
Stockman, Father, Roman Catholic Church, San Bernardino, California.
Scudder, Rev. Dr., Presbyterian Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
Talmage, Rev. DeWitt, Presbyterian and Calvary Churches, San Francisco and New York.
Thompson, Rev. J., Presbyterian Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
Upchurch, Rev. J., Methodist Church, Mission street, San Francisco (Eastern minister).
[Pg 207]Wood, Rev. James, Presbyterian Church, Stockton.
Woodbridge, Rev. Sylvester, First Presbyterian Church, Benicia.
Wadsworth, Rev. Dr., Calvary Presbyterian Church, Bush street, San Francisco.
Wendte, Rev. Mr., Unitarian Church, Oakland.
Williams, Rev. Albert, Presbyterian Church; founder of the first Presbyterian Church of San Francisco.
Wheeler, Rev. O.C., Baptist Church, San Francisco.
Willey, Rev. H.S., Presbyterian Church, Mission street, San Francisco.
Weber, Archdeacon, Episcopal missioner at Church of the Advent, East Oakland.

ORATORIOS AND CANTATAS I HAVE SUNG IN BOSTON, SAN FRANCISCO, SACRAMENTO, STOCKTON, OAKLAND, SAN BERNARDINO AND SANTA CRUZ

David.
Saul.
St. Paul.
Moses in Egypt, by Rossini.
Creation, Haydn.
Messiah, Handel.
Samson, Handel.
Elijah, six different times.
Israel in Egypt, Handel.
Stabat Mater, Rossini.
Racine's Athalie, Mendelssohn Bartholdy.
Paradise and the Peri.
Schumann's Cantata.
Erlking's Daughter, Miles W. Gade.
First Walpurgis Night.
Daughter of Jarius, J. Stainer.
God, Thou Are Great, L. Spohr.
Esther.
Baumbach's Collections Sacred Music.
Mosenthal's Quartettes—church and home collection.

Sacred music sung in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, San Bernardino, and other cities in California and United States.

All of Sudd's collections.

Millard's collection of songs for Sunday school children, Episcopal service.

While in Boston I was a member of the Edwin Bruce United Choir Chorus, composed of the best soloists of the day.

Dr. Burgess' choir of Dedham.
Newton Musical Association.
Bowdoin Street choir, 200 voices, and
Church of the Unity choir.

We formed an operatic bouquet of artists. All through the war we gave concerts for the volunteer soldiers of the State of Massachusetts. Our repertoire consisted of choruses from:

Il Trovatore
Norma
Martha
Semiramide
Sicilian Vespers, Verdi
Lucrezia Borgia
Solo and choruses from Lucrezia Borgia, Donizetti
Solo and choruses from Il Templario, Nicolai
[Pg 208]Quintette and chorus, Martha, Flotow
Miserere, Il Trovatore, Verdi
Les Huguenots
Bohemian Girl
Puritani
Charity, Rossini
Masaniello
Chorus, La Fille Du Regiment, Donizetti.
Chorus, Maritana, Wallace
I Lombardi, Verdi
Trio and chorus, Attila, Verdi
Solo and chorus, Martha, Flotow
Chorus, Donizetti, The Martyrs

MASSES I HAVE SUNG IN THE DIFFERENT CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN CALIFORNIA

Mozart's 12th.
Haydn's 6th in B flat.
Mercadanti, three-voice mass.
Haydn's 3d in D.
Mozart's mass in C, No. 1.
Haydn's in C, No. 2.
Farmer's mass in G.
Haydn's 3d in D.
Mozart's No. 7.
Haydn's 8th.
Peter's mass in E flat.
Haydn's 16th in B flat.
Concone, three-voice mass.
Roeder's mass. Sung July 5th, 1874, for first time.
Weber's mass in G.
Mozart's 16th mass, St. Mary's church.
Weber's mass in E flat.
Beethoven's in C.
Mozart's No. 1.
Mozart's No. 7.
Bach's mass in B minor for five voices. Sung April 17th at St. Patrick's.
Haydn's No. 1.
Millard's mass.
Haydn's 16th mass in B flat.
Schubert's 2d mass and vespers.
Schubert's 3d.
Schubert's 4th.
Haydn's 3d mass in D.
Weber's mass in G.
Beethoven's mass in C.
Mozart's vespers in C dur.
Mozart's No. 1.
Mozart's No. 2.
Mozart's No. 3.
Buchler's vespers.
Mozart's 9th requiem.
Mozart's 4th mass and vespers.
Mozart's 5th mass. (Sung on June 20th at dedication of new organ which the choir aided in purchasing.)

 

Pupils of the 80's and 90's

 

MASSES SUNG IN 1869

March 20, began singing in St. Patrick's church.
Candlemas Day, St. Ignatius church (Market street), Mozart's Twelfth.
[Pg 209]March 15th, Notre Dame school.
April 4th, St. Patrick's.
April 11th, 18th and 27th, requiem mass.
May 2d, St. Patrick's.
August 29th, St. Mary's.
October 7th, September 6th, requiem at St. Mary's.
October 21st, requiem at St. Patrick's.
October 26th, requiem at St. Patrick's.
November 2d, 5th and 27th, requiem at St. Patrick's.
December 5th, 19th, and 23d, St. Patrick's.
Eighteen Mozart masses.
Requiem brevis.
Sixteen Haydn masses.
Lambillotte, First Mass in D.
Beethoven, two masses, one in C and one in D; very difficult.
October 31st, Weber's E flat (mostly sung).
Schubert's five masses.

On All Saints' Day, 1870, we sang Rossini's "Solenelle Requiem" with 16 solo voices and a full orchestra, and 35 in chorus.

I.J. Paine of Boston, first mass; very difficult.
Bach's masses.
Peter's smaller masses (complete).
Cherubini's masses (complete).

Choir in St. Patrick's during these years were: Soprano, Mrs. Urig, Miss Louisa Tourney, Mrs. Young and Mrs. Taylor; mezzo-soprano, Mme. Bianchi and Mrs. Herman; mezzo-contralto, Mrs. M.R. Blake; contralto, Ella Steele; tenor, Mr. Buch; bass, Mr. Schnable.

MASSES SUNG AT ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH, MISSION STREET, 1870

December 24th, Midnight mass.
December 25th, repeated Christmas Day.
December 27th, requiem.
January 27th, requiem at 8:30 a.m.
June 25th, mass.
June 26th, mass and vespers.
July 7th, requiem at 8:30.
July 10th, Mercadanti, four-voice mass.
July 17th, Mozart's mass.
July 27th, requiem at 8:30.
July 31st, Lambillotte mass.
August 21st, Weber's mass E flat.
August 28th, Farmer's mass.
August 18th, Beethoven's mass in C.
September 4th, Beethoven's mass in C.
September 20th, requiem at 8:30.
September 25th, Beethoven's mass in C.
October 2d, Mozart's mass No. 1, vespers at six o'clock.
October 3d, requiem at 8:30 a.m.
October 7th, requiem, Mission Dolores.
October 8th, requiem at 8:30, St. Patrick's.
October 9th, Mozart's mass No. 1.
October 13th, requiem at 8:30.
October 16th, Mozart's 7th mass and vespers.
October 23d, Haydn's No. 1 vespers (black book).
[Pg 210]October 30th, Beethoven's mass in C.
October 31st, benediction at church All Saints' Day. Requiem and chants. Rossini's "Solenelle" for first time in California.
November 1st, Beuhler's mass.
November 2d, requiem, All Souls' Day, 2 p.m.
November 3d, benediction evening. I sang solo.
November 3d, sang requiem at 10 a.m.
November 6th, Haydn's 5th mass. Benediction.
November 18th, requiem at 8:30.
November 20th, Mozart's mass No. 2.
November 27th, repeated same mass.
December 4th, Farmer's mass.
December 11th, repeated mass.
December 18th, Mozart's mass No. 2.
December 19th, 20th, 21st, rehearsal with orchestra.
December 24th, midnight mass.
December 25th, repeated midnight mass.

SOLEMN HIGH MASS FOR POPE PIUS IX, 1880

Rev. Father Bingham officiated as celebrant. Deacon, Rev. T. Larkin, sub-deacon Rev. J.P. Nugent, Rev. P.J. Gray acted as master of ceremonies. Father Gray delivered a brief discourse on the life and character of Pope Pius IX. The music by the choir was of high order and excellently rendered. The selections included Introit, Dies Iræ, Lacrimosa, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei and Lux Aeterna—all from L. Cherubini's compositions. Offertory, Domini from Verdi and Libera from Palestrina. Artists were:

Soprano—Miss Brandel, Miss C. Bush.
Contralto—Mrs. M. Blake, Signora Bianchi.
Tenor—Signor Bianchi and Signor Meize.
Bass—Mr. Stockmyer and Mr. Yarndley.
Organist—J.H. Dohrmann.
Full orchestra, thirty pieces.

MASSES SUNG IN ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH, 1873 AND 1875

Mozart's 12th.
Haydn's 6th in B flat.
Mercadanti, three-voice.
Haydn's 3d in D.
Mozart's No. 1 in C.
Haydn's No. 2.
Farmer's mass in B flat.
Weber's in G.
Haydn's 3d in D.
Mozart's No. 7.
Haydn's mass No. 8.
Peter's mass in E flat.
Haydn's 16th in B flat.

MASSES SUNG IN ST. MARY'S CHURCH

Mozart's 12th.
Farmer's in B flat.
Weber's in E flat.
[Pg 211]

MASS SUNG IN ST. IGNATIUS CHURCH

Mozart's 12th in C.

MASS SUNG IN THE FRENCH CHURCH

Weber's mass in G.

MASSES SUNG IN 1874

June 20th, Mozart's 5th mass.
June 21st, Concone's three-voice mass.
July 2d, a high mass for wedding at 10 a.m.; full choir and orchestra.
July 5th, Roeder's mass.
July 12th, requiem.
July 17th, requiem.
July 19th, Mercadanti mass.
July 26th, repeated the mass.
July 29th, requiem.
August 2d, Peter's mass.
August 8th, requiem.
August 9th, Roeder's mass.
August 11th, requiem.
August 14th, requiem.
August 15th, Holy Thursday.
Haydn's 16th in B flat.
Schubert's 2d mass and vespers.
Schubert's 3d mass.
Schubert's 4th mass.
Haydn's 3d in D.
Weber's Mass in G.
Beethoven's in C.
Mozart's vespers in C dur.
Mozart's 1st and 2d mass.
Mozart's 3d mass.
Buchler's vespers.
Mozart's 9th requiem.
Mozart's 5th mass.
Mozart's 12th, 6th, 7th and 8th.
Mozart's 9th
Haydn's 6th in B flat.
Mozart's No. 1 in C.
Haydn's No. 2 in C.
Farmer's mass in B flat.
Haydn's 8th.
Peter's mass in E flat.

GRAND HIGH MASS AT ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH, 1881

April 17th, Easter Day.

CHOIR

Miss H. Brandel, soprano
Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto
Signora Bianchi, mezzo-soprano
Signor Bianchi, tenor
F. Shoenstein, bass

Music rendered:

Vide Aquam, V. Novello.
Veni Creator, Mrs. M.R. Blake.
"Alma Vergo," Mrs. Brandel.
Mass in B minor (five voices), John Sebastian Bach. Sung for
[Pg 212]the first time in San Francisco.
J.H. Dohrmann, master and organist.
Romberg's Te Deum—Orchestra.
J.K. Paine, mass.
W.A. Leonard's mass in B flat, four voices.
Regina Coeli (Paolo Giorza).
April 8th, extra Easter music—violin, organ, voice.

1888

October 28th, Concone mass. Vespers at 4 p.m.
November 20th, requiem—Father Koenig—Father Stockman.
December 2d, Bordeuse mass.
December 8th, requiem at 8:30.
December 22d, Bordeuse mass.

1889

January 1st, Bordeuse mass.
January 6th, part of three masses.
January 13th, Werner's mass.
January 20th, Bordeuse mass.
January 27th, Peter's mass.
February 17th, Bordeuse mass.
February 24th, high mass—Millard's mass, second time.
March 3d, mass, Concone. Vespers at 4 p.m.
March 10th, Peter's mass. Vespers at 4 p.m.
March 24th, third Sunday in Lent, Gregorian chants.
March 31st, Gloria and Kyrie from Easter mass.
April 7th, Werner's mass. Vespers at 4 p.m.
April 14th, Palm Sunday, Millard's mass.
April 19th, Good Friday, requiem from green book.
April 21st, Easter Sunday, Buchler's mass and vespers.
April 25th, sang for the Sodality in the afternoon (Sisters of Mercy).
April 30th, closed my engagements at this church.

EARLY MUSICIANS OF CALIFORNIA

1852—Mary Matilda Kroh, organ, piano, Stockton, Cal., from
Cincinnati, O.
1853—H.B. Underhill, organ, piano, Stockton, from New York.
1853—Paul Pioda, Benicia Female Seminary, from Italy.
1853—Mary E. Woodbridge, piano, organ, Benicia Female Seminary.
1853—Emily Wash, piano, Benicia Female Seminary.
1854—Johanna Lapfgeer, piano and organ, Benicia Female Seminary.

FIRST CHOIR OF SINGERS, 1852

Mary Matilda Kroh, organist
Emma Jane Kroh, soprano
Sarah Rebecca Kroh, soprano
Margaret R. Kroh, alto
Mary Matilda Kroh, alto
James Holmes, bass
Wm. W. Trembly, tenor
H. Noel, tenor
Geo. H. Blake, tenor
Wm. Belding, bass
Amos Durant, bass

 

Pupils and accompanists of the 90's

 

[Pg 213]

1853

Lucy Grove, soprano
Mary Newell, soprano
Lizzie Fisher, alto
Jennie Grove, alto
Sam Grove, tenor
Wm. H. Cobb, tenor
James Holmes, bass
The Ainsa Family (Castilians), Lola, Anita, Belana, Leonore, (1852)
H.B. Underhill, organist and piano (1854)
Louisa Falkenburg, pianist

EMINENT SINGERS, 1854

Anna Thillon's corps of artists were:

Julia Gould
S.W. Leach
Mr. Ronconvieri
Mr. Hudson
Geo. Loder, director

MUSICIANS WHO CAME LATER IN THE FIFTIES

Beutler, Prof., piano
Bodecker, Louis, piano
Bosworth, H.M., piano, organ
Batkin, I., piano, organ
Bulle, Ole, violin virtuoso, 1854
Brandt, Herman, violinist, arrived 1894
Blankart, Otto, violinist
Blake, Geo. L., cornet and drum, French horn
Coggins, I.O., cornet
Dohrmann, J.H., piano, organ, harmony, composer
Dellepiane, F., piano, organ
Eaton, Prof., organ, composer
Espinosa, Signor, organ
Evans, George, organ
Fabbri, Mulder, organ
Foley, Prof., violin
Gee, George, piano, organ
Homier, Louis, piano, violin
Hunt, Harry, organ and piano
Hartmann, Ernest, piano
Hemme, Prof., piano
Heyman, Henry, violin
Hefferman, Prof., leader of band
Herold, Rudolph, piano
Hinrichs, Julius, violoncello
Hinrichs, August, violin, leader
Hinrichs, Gustave, piano
Hartdegan, Prof. A., violoncello
Herzog, Theo., violin
Herold, Oscar, piano, leader
Holt, Prof., organ
Koppitz, George, flute
Koppitz, Henry, arranger of music
Kohler, Dick, cornet
Kuhne, Arnold, piano, organ
Katzenbach, Fred'k, piano, organ
Lisser, Louis, pianist
Loring, D.W., Loring Club leader
Linden, Otto, piano
Little, Geo. C., organ, piano
Mayer, James C, organ
Mayer, D. Samuel, organ, piano
Mundwyler, John, bassoon, double bass
Mundwyler, Louis, oboe, clarionet, violin
Mundwyler, Fred, trombone, viola
McDougall, W.J., organ, piano
Mansfeldt, Hugo, pianist virtuoso, 1873
McCume, Chas., piano
Oettl, Julius, piano
Pettinos, George, organ, piano
Pipers, Fritz, violin
Paddock, Nellie, piano
Rosenberg, A.A., piano
Rosewald, Prof., violin
Sabin, Wallace, piano, organ, composer
Schmidt, Louis Sr., violin leader
Schmidt, Louis Jr., violin
Schmidt, Ernest, violin
Schmidt, Clifford, violoncello
Schmidt, Alice, piano
Simonson, Martin, violin virtuoso
Scott, Gustave, piano and organ
Stedman, H.S., organ, piano
Sewell, Prof., organ, piano
Schultz, Charles, pianist. California Theater leader.
Schlott, Ernest, French horn
Schmitz, Christof, French horn
Schmitz, Joseph, Leader
Spadina, Prof., clarionet and director
Solano, Mauro, harp, piano, cello
[Pg 214]Seward, William, organ, piano
Stadfeldt, Jacob, piano and singer
Sleuter, Prof., piano
Schultz, Martin, organ, piano
Seib, Prof., organ, piano
Trenkle, Joseph, piano
Toepke, Wm., piano
Uhlig, Robert, violin
Urba, Prof., horn
Von der Mehden, L., cornet, flute, violin
Wand, Prof., piano
Weil, Oscar, piano composer
Wysham, Clay, flute
Yarndley, T.R., organ
Zech, August, pianist, Royal Court of Leipsic

WOMEN PIANISTS

Beutler, Clara, piano
Blankart, Theresa Mrs., piano
Bacon, Alice M., piano
Carmichael, Carr, piano
Carusi, Inez, piano and harp
Cohen, Madam Waldo, piano
Dillaye, Miss, piano, organ
Jaffa, Madam, piano
Cottlow, Augusta, piano virtuoso
Lada, Madam, piano
Tojetti, Madam, piano

WOMEN SINGERS OF EARLY YEARS, 60'S AND 70'S

Abby, Mrs. A., mezzo-soprano
Biscaccianti, Mme. E. (nee Eliza Ostinello), coloratura singer, soprano
Brambrilla, Signora Elvira, prima donna, soprano
Bianchi, Signora, mezzo-soprano
Bishop, Mme. Anna, prima donna, soprano
Blake, Margaret M., mezzo-contralto
Beutler, Clara, soprano
Beutler, Ida, mezzo
Beutler, Emma, contralto
Bateman Sisters, in 1854
Bowden, Mrs. Anna Shattuck, soprano
Buthen, Mrs., soprano (St. Patrick's)
Carusi, Inez, soprano
Cowen, Safa Tate, soprano
Campbell, Mrs. Marriner, coloratura soprano
Chisolm, Mrs., contralto
Cameron, Mrs. soprano
Escott, Lucy, prima donna, soprano
Elzer, Anna, prima donna, contralto
Fabri, Inez, prima donna, soprano
Gerster, Etelka, prima donna soprano
Galton, Susan, lyric soprano
Gould, Susan, contralto
Howard, Etna, soprano
Keen, Laura, soprano
Little, Sarah Watkins, soprano (1864)
Leach, Georgiana, soprano
Lester, Louisa, soprano
Mills, Louisa, prima donna, soprano
Melville, Emily, prima donna, soprano
Menans, Madam, soprano (St. Patrick's)
Moore, Hattie, soprano (opera)
Mohrig, Ida Semminaro, mezzo-soprano
Northrup, Elizabeth, mezzo-soprano
Neilson, Alice, soprano (opera)
Orlandini, Gabriela, soprano (opera)
Parker, Elizabeth, soprano
Pierce, Mrs. J.M., soprano
Rightmire, Sallie, contralto
Rosewald, Julia, prima donna soprano (opera)
Shattuck, Anna B., soprano
Sconcia, Madame, soprano
Stone, Kate, contralto
Schultz, Susan, soprano
States, Agatha, soprano
Taylor, Mrs., soprano (St. Patrick's)
Tourney, Louisa, soprano (St. Patrick's)
Thursby, Louisa, prima donna, soprano
Uhrig, Mrs., soprano (St. Patrick's)
Van Brunt, Mrs. R.A., soprano, (Calvary Church)
Valerga, Ida, mezzo-soprano (opera)
Wilson, Alice, soprano
Wetherbee, Nellie, mezzo-soprano
Williams, Mrs. Barney, soprano
Young, Mrs. soprano (St. Patrick's)
[Pg 215]

1896

McDonough, Luckstone, piano
Materna, Amelia, famous prima donna
Frantz, Ondricek, famous tenor

MEN SINGERS IN EARLY DAYS

Adler, Herman, baritone
Bianchi, Signor, tenor
Borneman, Fred, bass
Bettencourt, J. de S., tenor
Campbell, Walter, bass (1859)
Clark, Benjamin, tenor (1854)
Coch, S.W., bass
Dugan, Charles, baritone
Duffy, Thomas, baritone
Elliott, Washington, tenor
Formes, Karl, basso profundo
Fuchs, Prof., tenor
Freedburg, A., tenor
Gates, Harvey, tenor
Goe, Dr. S.E., tenor
Hughes, D.P., tenor
Howard, Frank, baritone
Kelleher, Alfred, tenor
Langstroth, J.A., tenor
Lyster, Fred, tenor
Leach, Stephen W., baritone
Mayer, Samuel D., tenor
Morley, Signor, tenor
Makin, Cornelius, bass
Mancusi, Signor, baritone
Maguire, Joseph, tenor
Nesfield, D.W.C, baritone
Otty, Major W.N., tenor
Reuling, Signor, baritone
Richel, M.D., basso profundi
Squires, Henry, tenor primo
Stadfeldt, Jacob, basso
Stockmyer, Herr, basso
Tippetts, J.E., tenor
Trehane, John, tenor
Wilder, Dr. A.M., tenor
Wetherbee, Henry, tenor
Williams, Barney (1854), tenor

CALIFORNIA COMPOSERS

Sabin, Wallace A.
Metcalf, John W.
Koppitz, Geo.
Lejeal, Alois
Dohrmann, J.H.


[Pg 216]

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

EARLY CALIFORNIA REMINISCENCES OF MUSICIANS AND SINGERS

 

RUDOLPH HEROLD

THE FIRST famous orchestra leader in San Francisco was Rudolph Herold, born in Prussia, Germany, March 29, 1832, and died in San Francisco, July 25, 1889. He received his musical education at Leipsic Conservatory with Plaidy and Moscheles, his teachers on the piano, and Mendelssohn, teacher of the theory of music and composition.

He arrived in San Francisco in 1852 as solo pianist and accompanist with the famous Catherine Hayes. He saw opportunities in this young city for fostering and cultivating good music and remained here until his death. He was closely identified with every important musical event up to the time when he was stricken with paralysis three years preceding his death.

In the early fifties he organized, under the patronage of Harry Meiggs, who was an ardent lover of music, the San Francisco Philharmonic society and rendered such important works as Elijah, St. Paulus, by Mendelssohn, Mass Requiem, by Mozart, The Desert, by Felician David, etc., etc. He also organized the famous San Francisco Harmonie, a singing society for male voices. He was organist at St. Mary's Cathedral and the First Unitarian Church for over twenty years and Temple Emanuel for twenty-five years. He had full charge of the great musical festival in 1870, given by Camilla Urso in aid of the Mercantile Library fund and conducted at the second festival given by Sumner Bugbee in conjunction with Carl Zerrahn of Boston. He conducted all the earlier Italian opera seasons given by Bianchi at the old Metropolitan, Maguire's opera house. In 1874 he organized his Symphony orchestra and continued his concerts without financial backing up to the time of his illness, producing the standard symphonic works of the old masters and also those of the more modern composers, such as Schuman, Rubinstein, Raff, Brahms and St. Saens.[Pg 217]

J.H. DOHRMANN

Mr. Dohrmann, a native of Hesse, Germany, took his first piano lesson when but six years old. At the age of eleven years he had made such remarkable progress that his parents sent him to a seminary at Homburg to further develop his musical talent and other studies. Dr. Wilhelm Volekmar, an eminent organist, pianist and accomplished musician, was the head of the musical department. Under his tuition he became a brilliant pianist and a good organist. He was an indefatigable student, not only in music but also languages—the foundations of which were laid there. After remaining a few years there, his parents decided to emigrate to America and came to San Francisco, where a son had preceded them in 1854.

Dohrmann went to school there to perfect his knowledge of the English language, and continued his studies in music, harmony, theory and instrumentation for some time, under the guidance of Prof. R. Herold, and later alone, when compelled to live in the country on account of failing health.

In 1857 he located in Sacramento, where he remained one year, then went to San Jose, where he was successful as a teacher, also as director of singing societies. However, being ambitious to associate with better musicians, and to be in a greater field for music, in 1861 he came to San Francisco. There he soon became a favorite with the musicians as a pianist. In 1862 he made his advent as pianist in a theater of which he became the leader of the orchestra later. Since then he has been the musical director in a number of theaters in San Francisco—Metropolitan, Montgomery street; American, Sansome street; Alhambra (later Bush Street Theater); Shiels Opera house, Bush street; Platts Hall, Montgomery street; a few performances at the California Theater, in 1876; Grand Opera House, Mission street; Winter Garden, Post and Stockton streets; Tivoli, Eddy street; in Oakland, Oakland Tivoli; Cameron Hall, Fourteenth street; Oakland theater, later Coliseum, Twelfth street; also was director of the Oakland Harmonic society until he became director at the Grand Opera House, San Francisco. Became organist at St. Patrick's church, March, 1864, then located at the corner of Annie and Market streets, San Francisco, later on Mission street. Held that position until May, 1899. During the greater part of his musical career he has resided in Oakland, where he is still busy as a teacher.[Pg 218]

I.G. Drebler, in April, 1910, desired him to accept the chair of musical director and critic of the Technique System Conservatory of Music, Los Angeles. His business of so many years' standing could not be properly adjusted for him to accept this advantageous offer and he still continues his musical instructions in his home studio, Eighth street, Oakland, and San Francisco.

RICHARD CONDY

Mr. Condy was from Philadelphia. I never knew with whom he studied, but I can safely say he was a thorough musician. In 1856 he organized the first brass band in Stockton and was identified with it for four years. He was unexcelled as an E flat cornet player and played several instruments with great artistic skill. He was also a most beautiful flute player. All the years of his residence he was closely allied with the advancement of the best music in Stockton. In 1862 he enlisted in the third regiment of cavalry and became the leader of the cavalry band. At the close of the war he became a prominent member of Rawlins Post, G.A.R. He also stood high in Odd Fellowship. His second wife was Miss Lizzie Fisher, my early companion, the only daughter of Alvin Fisher, who with his brother, Samuel Fisher, ran the first stage coach line into Stockton. She came to Stockton from the East in 1854 and sang with me in the Episcopal choir. Being a fine alto singer she was gladly welcomed among the musical colony of Stockton. Condy died November 3, 1903, and was deeply mourned by many sincere friends who honored and esteemed him. With his death the last of the pioneer musicians are gone. He is survived by Mrs. Condy and three sons.

FREDERICK KRAUS

Mr. Kraus was born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1827. He arrived in San Francisco in 1851. He was not only a fine musician but also took an active part in civic affairs. He was one of the Vigilance committee, of the Empire Engine Company, volunteers, and also belonged to the Swiss sharpshooters. He was a familiar figure in those societies, very few parades were formed without Fred Kraus, and his company of sharpshooters, or as the leader of the Sixth Regiment band. He was every inch a soldier and marched with his stately body erect, with dignified step, proud of his companions and his band of fine musicians. He also[Pg 219] belonged to the Musicians' union for many years. He answered his last call January 16, 1912. Five children survive him.

SARAH P. WATKINS-LITTLE

Miss Watkins was born in the little town of Mendham, N.J., July 10, 1842. She came to California in 1859 and to Oakland on the day before Christmas. The following year she was engaged to sing soprano in the First Presbyterian church. After two and one-half years there she went to Calvary Church where she sang for another two and a half years and then went to the Unitarian Church, where Rev. Dr. Stebbins preached. In 1864 she was married to William C. Little.

Geo. F. Pettinos was organist in the First Presbyterian Church; Mr. Anderson was tenor, Emily King, now Mrs. K.S. Latham, contralto, and Mrs. Blake-Alverson contralto.

The choir in Calvary Church: Organist, Gustave Scott; large choir with quartette, Washington Elliott, leader.

Choir Unitarian Church: Rudolph Herold, organist; Mr. Wunderlich, superb basso; Mr. Mitchell, tenor; Miss Fisher, alto; Mrs. Little, soprano.

She was much interested in the oratorio society, Handel and Haydn, in which she took part in Oakland, and was soprano at St. John's Church, following Mrs. Shipman.

When Dr. Eells came to the First Presbyterian Church in Oakland she had charge of the choir and was the soprano. She raised about $1500 toward the purchase of an organ for the church. She took part in solos when Creation was given there.

When Hattie Crocker Alexander presented the First Congregational Church of San Francisco with a large organ, Mrs. Watkins raised money and purchased the original organ for Plymouth Church of Oakland and it is now in use in that church. The first choir was as follows: Emily King, contralto; Mr. Anderson, tenor; Sallie Little, soprano; George Pettinos, organist.

After two and a half years she went to Calvary Church. Mr. Elliott was leader of the choir and Gustave Scott, organist; Dr. Wadsworth, pastor. Mrs. Little now lives in Oakland with her daughter, who is also a gifted singer and a teacher of voice.

WALTER CHAUNCY CAMPBELL

Mr. Campbell, basso, was born at Sacketts Harbor, St. Lawrence County, New York, October 30, 1838. His parents removed to Buffalo, New York, in 1842 and he[Pg 220] was graduated from the high school in 1854. He left New York October, 1858, for California via Straits of Magellan, arriving at San Francisco July 2, 1859. After spending two years in placer mining he returned to San Francisco in 1861. He joined the Handel and Haydn society under its first conductor, Mr. Oliver of Boston, and commenced the cultivation of his voice in oratorio with Stephen W. Leach and in German with Mr. J.B. Butler, father of Mrs. Clara Tippett, well known soprano who left this city for Boston some twenty-five years ago where she was soprano of the Old South Church for a great many years. After studying with them for several years he went to New York City to live with his father and continued his study of vocal music, commencing with some of the prominent Italian teachers who were so pleased with his voice that they wished him to study for grand opera, but not liking their methods of teaching he finally secured a teacher who did him the most good, Mr. Phillip Meyer, a German and a fine baritone singer, who after a year's teaching, allowed him to make his debut at Irving hall, at an afternoon recital at which a celebrated pianist, Mr. Wehli, just arrived from Europe, made his first appearance in America. His success was great enough to induce Mr. Lafayette Harrison, a well known manager to engage him to sing at the opening of Steinway's new hall in June, 1867, at which concert Mlle. Parepa made her first appearance in America. She afterwards became Madame Parepa-Rosa. They were both under engagement to Mr. Harrison for the season, singing in oratorio and concerts in New York and Brooklyn.

After the summer of 1867 he returned to San Francisco and was engaged as basso at Howard Presbyterian church. He remained there several years, then went to First Unitarian Church where he sang for seven years and then went to Grace Cathedral. He sang there for ten years and then took charge of the choir at the Calvary Presbyterian Church, resigning March 1, 1906, after eight years of service. During all those years he was known throughout the coast as the San Francisco basso. He made one tour of British Columbia, Washington, a territory then, Oregon and California with Madam Anna Bishop. He made another tour of California with Madam Camilla Urso, the violiniste, and a second tour of the northwest with Charles Kohler, Charles Vivian and Mrs. Blake-Alverson. He sang in all of the oratorios given by the Handel and Haydn society of San Francisco as bass soloist, Creation, St. Paul,[Pg 221] Elijah, Samson, Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise and Messiah. He also sang as basso of the Temple Emanuel from 1874 to 1888, thirteen consecutive years, and was the basso profundo of that celebrated male quartette, The Amphions, composed of Joseph Maguire, H.J. Tippett, Jacob Stadfeldt, Campbell and Harry Hunt, pianist. Upon the death of Joseph Maguire in 1878 the quartette disbanded as we were unable to fill his place. While singing at the First Unitarian Church the choir was composed of Mrs. Marriner, soprano; Miss Sallie Rightmire, alto; Joseph Maguire, tenor; W.C. Campbell, basso. The soprano and bass were united in the holy bonds of wedlock and are still living happily together. Having given up concert singing for several years past, Mr. Campbell still retains his magnificent voice which gives great pleasure to those who hear him. His voice has a range of two and one-half octaves from high F to low B flat, a remarkable range at the present time.

 

Pupils of the 90's

 

FREDERICK ZECH, JR.

Mr. Zech, pianist and composer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and came here with his family in 1860. He began his musical studies early in life. He made such progress in his studies that later he went abroad and studied from 1882 to 1887. While in Berlin he became a private pupil of Theodore Kullack. He began to teach in 1878. His first academy was the New Academy of the Tone Art in Berlin. Before going abroad he had conducted symphony concerts and recitals and was a successful teacher, also composed many beautiful compositions in serious music, two symphonic poems and orchestral music and conducted the same successfully.

HENRY HEYMAN

Sir Henry Heyman is the dean of coast violinists, and occupies one of the highest positions as a conscientious artist and a most successful teacher. His beginning was under the direction of Frederick Buch, a noted instrumentalist of his time. He studied a number of years in Leipsig under such famous teachers as Ferdinand David, E.F. Richter, E. Rontgen, Fred Herman, Carl Reinke and S. Jadassohn. During his studies abroad he was prize graduate at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Leipsig. On returning to his home in San Francisco he organized the Henry Heyman String Quartette. With his own company he gave concerts all over the coast cities as far north as Victoria,[Pg 222] B.C., and as far south as Honolulu, on which occasion he was knighted by King Kalakua, who made him Knight of the Royal Order of the Star of Oceanic, also solo violinist to His Majesty, an honor he fully appreciates. Sir Henry is a vice-president of the Royal College of Violinists of London, also an honorary member of the Bohemian Club, and the Family, the latter one of San Francisco's most exclusive organizations. Apart from his great success as a teacher and concert leader he occupies a unique position in the social and musical life of the city. He still teaches and acts as musical director at all great functions. He is also an intimate friend of all the European and American celebrities, including Paderewski, Joseph Hoffman, Ysaye, Kubelik, Elman, Joseffy and many others who visit San Francisco as artists and are entertained by Sir Henry. Many noted composers have dedicated their works to him. As director and honorary secretary of the San Francisco Institute of Art, Sir Henry comes closely in touch with the younger generation of musical aspirants—many of the best violinists of today are proud to call themselves his pupils. On the occasion of the eight hundredth anniversary of the founding of Bologne (Italy) university, he was made corresponding member of the musical section for California. He is a member of the American Guild of Violinists and later has been the recipient of many honors here and abroad from those who appreciate him as a musician and genial friend to those who know him best.

MRS. LOUISA MARRINER-CAMPBELL

Mrs. Marriner-Campbell was born and educated in Waterville, Maine. She was one of the early musical people who came here and has lived in this state, especially San Francisco since the early sixties. Of her early musical life I know nothing, it was only through our musical life in California that we became known to each other and always have been loyal friends. The first time I ever saw and heard her was at Dr. Lacy's church when the Handel and Haydn society gave the Creation. She sang the solo parts and I never have forgotten her or her singing. She was gowned in a stylish robe of some soft clinging wine-colored material and her blonde hair was done up in a soft coil on the crown of her head. At her throat was a soft frill of lace, becomingly arranged and finishing the picture, leaving a lasting impression, which was still more strengthened by her beautiful singing, for which she received the[Pg 223] most hearty reception. Her voice was exceedingly high and her trills were like a bird's in their perfect oscillations and accurate touch, showing her perfect control of the vocal organs. At that time she was Mrs. Marriner. Several years after her husband's death she became Mrs. W.C. Campbell. She and her husband have both been extremely popular in all undertakings of a musical nature. She was the highest salaried singer of her time and foremost in all musical advancement twenty-five years ago. Her musical career, which has been exceptionally well-balanced and harmonious, is like a statue of fine proportions that beckons the young to emulation. Mrs. Campbell confines herself entirely to teaching the young people of San Francisco and is acknowledged as a teacher par excellence. She has studied abroad—in England, France and Italy, and during the years of the seventies was coached by the famous prima donna, Madam Anna Bishop, receiving from her all the traditions of the English school and particularly the oratorio traditions. She is still in California and happy both in her home and occupation of developing the young voices of her city. While abroad Mrs. Campbell studied with Errani, Albites and Muzio, a nephew of Verdi.

SAMUEL D. MAYER

Mr. Mayer, organist and tenor, arrived in San Francisco, May 13, 1866, from New York City where he was organist of Calvary and other churches and solo tenor of Trinity Episcopal Church. The Sunday following his arrival he commenced his duties as tenor of Trinity Episcopal Church in San Francisco where his brother, James C. Mayer, was at that time the organist. Continuing in that position until May 1, 1868, he resigned to accept the position of organist in St. John's Episcopal Church, Oakland, remaining there until May 1, 1872, when he was appointed organist and tenor of the First Congregational Church of San Francisco, serving in this dual capacity for forty years. He relinquished the position of tenor but continued to act as organist and musical director and on May 1, 1912, he will have completed forty years of consecutive service in this church.

MRS. J.M. PIERCE

Mrs. Pierce has been identified with the history of music in San Francisco since the early days. Born in Philadelphia, and losing her mother when she was but five years of age, her father, Mr. Samuel Cameron, brought[Pg 224] her to California across the Isthmus, to place her in the loving and motherly care of his sister, Mrs. Eugene Doyle, who had one daughter of almost the same age. These cousins afterward became very well known in the public school and church histories by their duet singing, Ida Doyle and Maggie Cameron being in demand on all important public festivals. On the night of the arrival of the steamer when the father and little daughter reached the home on Rincon Point, then the best residential part of San Francisco, where a hearty welcome awaited them, the little five-year-old child was told to "sing for her new-found relatives" and with pale face and dressed in deep mourning even to a little black silk bonnet, for the lost mother, she sang Lily Dale and Old Dog Tray while all listened with tears and astonishment to the sympathetic voice, and an uncle, Mr. James Cameron, exclaimed, "It's not a child, it's a witch." In the old Rincon school, so famous for its splendid teachers and also many scholars who afterwards became famous in California history, Maggie Cameron was called Hail Columbia because her voice could lead the singing of the entire school so strongly. In the old high school, corner of Bush and Stockton streets, under the leadership of Mr. Ellis Holmes, who was a devotee of music and himself possessed of a rich bass voice, Miss Cameron developed into a public singer, doing her first solo work on the "musical days" of the Girls' High School.

She was a pupil of Mrs. Marriner-Campbell five consecutive years, singing with her teacher in duets all over the state; of Otto Linden in sight reading; Mme. Rosewald, operatic repertoire, and of Richard Mulder, husband of Inez Fabbri. Mr. Mulder called Mrs. Pierce "his most distinguished pupil."

At this time she was also soprano at the First Baptist Church on Washington street, Dr. Cheney, pastor. This historic old church afterwards became a Chinese theater. Before graduation from school Miss Cameron accepted the position of soprano in the choir of Rev. Dr. A.L. Stone's church, corner of Dupont and California streets. Dr. Geo. H. Powers was the organist. While in this church Miss Cameron was married to Mr. James M. Pierce.

 

Pupils, 1896-1900

 

Soon after this Mrs. Pierce accepted the position of soprano at the Church of the Advent, Rev. Mr. Lathrop, pastor; Louis Schmidt, organist. After two years she joined the choir of the Plymouth Church, which celebrated[Pg 225] its golden anniversary January 12, 1912, Rev. T.K. Noble, pastor. She was a member and the soprano of this flourishing church for five years. Mr. and Mrs. Pierce and their two children then took a trip East with the intention of making Boston their home, but the longing for California was too strong and after an absence of two years, during which time Mrs. Pierce was soprano in the largest Congregational Church of Freetown, Mass., they returned to California where Mrs. Pierce again resumed her church and concert work, singing in the Church of the Advent, Mr. Lathrop, and after eighteen months in Grace cathedral, Dr. William Platt, rector, and William Whittaker, organist, where she remained as soprano six years. The fine instruction she had received as a singer enabled Mrs. Pierce to hold several important positions as teacher, being several years at the Perry Seminary in Sacramento and also at the Irving Institute, San Francisco, under Mr. and Mrs. Church. She had a large class of pupils, many of whom hold important positions today. The position of soprano of the First Unitarian Church, then the largest and most fashionable congregation in San Francisco, being offered Mrs. Pierce, she accepted it, and was for ten years in this very happy connection, Dr. Horatio Stebbins, pastor, Mr. Louis Schmidt, Mr. J. Humphrey Stewart and Mr. Henry Bretherick, the present incumbent, being organists. At this period Mr. and Mrs. Pierce gave up their home in San Francisco, which had always been recognized for its hospitality and charming musical atmosphere, always welcoming and entertaining the musicians of the city and new arrivals, and removed to Berkeley to enter their son and daughter into the University. Here Mrs. Pierce again took up the leadership in the Unitarian church choir, then being held in Stiles hall and until the new church was built she sang but after the service of dedication of the church she resigned, the singing being of a congregational form and led by a baritone voice. At clubs and parlor receptions, Mrs. Pierce is still a favorite ballad singer and is always greeted with appreciation and pleasure, for her voice though not so powerful as in its prime, still exemplifies the value of her early training and fine method of pure Bel Canto. Like the authoress of this book, she proves a perfect method in youth preserves the beauty of the voice even unto and beyond the three score and ten. Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Marriner-Campbell were the singers at the famous Chamber concerts given by Messrs. Schmidt and Weil and who were considered[Pg 226] by a patronizing public the exponents of the best music ever given in California, and at the concerts given by Mr. Henry Heyman and those of Mr. Jacob Rosewald. Mr. Joseph Maguire's last appearance in public was when he and Mrs. Pierce sang at a concert under the direction of Mr. Stephen Leach. They sang the fine old English duet, When Thy Bosom Heaves the Sigh to tumultuous applause and were recalled again and again. Before Mrs. Campbell's departure for Europe, at a farewell concert (held in the Howard Presbyterian Church, Mission street, before 1800 persons), Mr. Walter Campbell and Mrs. Pierce gave a most spirited rendering of the difficult old Italian duet for basso and soprano of Master and Scholar with tremendous effect. At the music jubilee held in old Mechanics' pavilion in 1878, Mrs. Pierce was seated in the third row of sopranos and very willingly took her place, when after the first chorus, Mr. Zerrahn, the leader, leaned forward and said, "Please, that lady, come out here," and placed her at his side, so telling and pure was the carrying quality of her voice that he at once singled her out for the cherished "front row."

Always associated with the highest efforts in music, Mrs. Pierce is one of the founders of the successful Musical Association of Berkeley and also of the New Oratorio Society of Berkeley which has in its membership many of the most prominent musicians in the University town, the musical center of California.

A very high compliment was paid Mrs. Pierce on her departure for the East in 1876 when the Handel and Haydn society of San Francisco, under the distinguished leader, John P. Morgan, gave her a letter of introduction to the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, bespeaking for her all the privileges which it could grant to a "devoted and well beloved member of its sister society on the Pacific Coast." This was the first time this signal honor had ever been given to a member.

One of the most pleasurable remembrances I have of Mrs. Pierce is associated with a Handel and Haydn concert in Mechanics' Pavilion. Elijah was given and with Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Haydn, Mrs. Pierce sang the immortal trio, Lift Thine Eyes, to tremendous enthusiasm. The trio had to be repeated three times, so evenly and perfectly were the voices blended. Later this trio was sung with great success at a reception given by the Bohemian club. Mrs. Pierce, Miss Wood and Mrs. Birmingham were the singers.


[Pg 227]

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

REMINISCENCES OF LATER CALIFORNIA MUSICIANS AND SINGERS

 

JOSEPH MAGUIRE

IN THE death of Joseph Maguire, California lost one of its finest tenors. He was known to a wide circle, both in this state and Nevada.

He was a mining man, but it was as a musician that he made his reputation. He was a tenor singer of great sweetness and power. The public had a keen appreciation of the purity of his vocalization and had the opportunity to hear him weekly at the Unitarian Church, Dr. Stebbins, pastor. His sickness was of short duration and his death came as a severe blow to his many musical friends and associates. He was a member of the Amphion Quartette and Bohemian Club chorus. He was tenor in the St. John's Presbyterian Church on Post street, in the quartette, where he and I sang for two and a half years. It was a half hour previous to his death while in a delirium that he sang like a bird Gounod's Ave Maria, imagining himself at a musical gathering. The last sad rites were performed under the auspices of Occidental Lodge, F. & A.M., of which Mr. Maguire was a well-beloved member. He was a native of Bolton, England, aged forty-four years.

In memory of our much beloved Joe Maguire, as he was affectionately called by his California friends who loved him for his beautiful singing and for his own self, I shall give the musical service as it was rendered at the church. A most beautiful tribute of flowers, in the shape of a lyre with the silver strings snapped and hanging loosely, was placed in the choir where he stood each Sabbath and sang his glorious songs. Certainly no one knew him but to love him, and the last tribute of song given him by his friends will last as long as memory remains in the living musicians who assisted in the ceremonies at the church.[Pg 228]

 

Funeral Services in Memory of
JOSEPH MAGUIRE

September, 1833—March, 1878
First Unitarian Church, Geary street
San Francisco, Sunday, March 24, 1878.

1. Organ voluntary.

2. Chorus of male voices:

Brother, through from yonder sky
Cometh neither voice nor cry,
Yet we know from thee today
Every pain has passed away.

Brother, in that solemn trust
We commend thee dust to dust,
In that faith we wait 'till risen,
Thou shalt meet us all in heaven.

3. Readings from the Scripture: Extracts from the Book of Job.

Rev. Horatio Stebbins.

4. Double quartette for female voices.

Their sun shall no more go down; the Lord shall be their everlasting light; and the days of their mourning are ended. For the Lord shall feed them and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

5. Funeral oration, by Harry Edwards.

6. Choral from Spohr's Last Judgment.

Lord God Almighty, we adore Thee; Thou, Lord, will take away every sorrow; Thou wilt wipe away all tears from my eyes. Yea, every tear and every sorrow Thou wilt wipe away from our eyes; nor death, nor pain, nor sorrow shalt then be known.

7. Remarks and Prayer, by Horatio Stebbins.

8. Hymn, Abide With Me.

 

There were thirty-five voices in all from the societies with which he had affiliated, and the sixteen female voices were the soloists of the different choirs in which he had sung so many years. They were grouped about his casket and with superhuman effort performed the last tribute of affection for one of God's most beautiful singers whom all loved. Rest, sweet spirit, rest.

 

Stephen W. Leach

 

MR. AND MRS. STEPHEN W. LEACH

Among our first singers were Stephen W. Leach and his wife, Georgiana Leach. He was an English buffo singer. His wife was a beautiful soprano singer and was soloist in the Unitarian Church in the days of the sixties when the church was on Stockton. When the new Starr King church was built on Geary street, this old church was bought by the colored Methodist people. Mr. Leach[Pg 229] formed a madrigal society in that year, and we had weekly rehearsals, perfecting ourselves for concert and other public demonstrations when required. I shall here give one of our noted programs, given by the most prominent musicians, both men and women, of our time. The numbers are worthy of historical notice for the sake of the music and the musicians who took part in this memorable concert, the first of the series.

 

Program of
S.W. LEACH CONCERT
At Platt's Hall
Monday Evening, Dec. 9th, 1878

1. Part Song. Strike the Lyre
Mr. Gee and Madrigal Society
Cooke
 
2. Song. I Fear No Foe
Walter Campbell
Pinsuti
 
3. Quartette for piano and stringed instruments. Sostenuto assai, Allegro ma non troppo.
Miss Alice Schmidt, piano; Mr. Clifford Schmidt, first violin;
Mr. Louis Schmidt, Jr., viola; Mr. Ernest Schmidt, cello.
Schumann

 
4. My Queen
Alfred Kelleher
Blumenthal
 
5. Duet. Quanto Amore
Mrs. J.E. Tippett and S.W. Leach
Donizetti
 
6. Let All Obey
C.W. Dugan
S.W. Leach
 
7. Valse Chantée—Rajon de Bonhure
Mrs. Marriner-Campbell
Mattiozzi
 
8. Reading
Daniel O'Connell
9. Part Song. Introduction and Valse
Madrigal Society
S.W. Leach
10. French Horn Solo
Ernest Schlott
11. Solo
Mrs. J.E. Tippett
12. Violin Concerto. Andante and Finale
Clifford Schmidt
Mendelssohn
 
13. Duet and Chorus. In the Days of Old Lang Syne
Mrs. Marriner-Campbell and Ben Clark
Neidermeyer
 
14. Trio. This Magic Wove Scarf
Mrs. J.M. Pierce, J.E. Tippett, S.W. Leach
15. Madrigal. O by Rivers (words by Shakespeare. Composed A.D. 1600)
Accompanists, Geo. J. Gee and H.O. Hunt;
conductor, S.W. Leach.

Concert to commence punctually at 8 p.m.

[Pg 230]

MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY

Conductor—S.W. Leach.
Sopranos—Mrs. Marriner-Campbell, Mrs. J.E. Tippett, Mrs.
J.M. Pierce, Mrs. Sarah Little.
Altos—Mrs. M.R. Blake, Miss E. Beutler, Miss Ida Beutler,
Mrs. Chisolm.
Tenors—J.E. Tippett, Ben Clark, J. Webber.
Bassos—Walter C. Campbell, C.W. Dugan, Will B. Edwards.
Pianist—Geo. J. Gee.

 

For years we served the public, winning fresh laurels yearly and adding to our repertoire of madrigals and songs worthy the aspirations of any competent and conscientious singers. Every number was a gem of the music writer's art. Good music never grows old, and songs like these should claim the student's attention in place of the common everyday songs that cater to a lower taste or create a laugh. They lower the standard of the singer. There are many comic songs that will bring the wholesome laugh and be welcomed by an appreciative audience. The singer makes the song as she builds her own character. It is the understanding of the writer's meaning, of the sentiment he has tried to embody, which shows the intelligent and artistic singer. Happy indeed is the singer if his success follows the rendering of his songs. This is the way our reputations are made. Is it not a great happiness to the singer and the listener that the tones come pure and limpid from the long-cherished instrument that still answers to the beautiful strains of the Last Rose of Summer or Safe in the Arms of Jesus? Can any one conceive the devotion with which a singer nurses the beautiful gift which is above rubies—a priceless gem—only to be made more beautiful when it returns to the God who gave it, and made more beautiful by the knowledge that he has done what is possible with the talent entrusted to him, and unconsciously made the gift more suitable to join the Everlasting Choir, Eternal in the Heavens, to join in the congregation of saints who had found the harmony of the Lost Chord, and to make the heavens ring with the melody of the last strain, Only in heaven I shall hear that grand Amen?

It is a fact that in writing my memoirs I felt a little reluctant at first to write all about myself and my work, but I have come to the conclusion that it is not vanity on my part to report history, and certainly I have left no stone unturned to hunt out real facts and occurrences from my letters, programs, diaries and other papers. As I have been first in many things, perhaps it may be interesting to know who sang the Lost Chord the first[Pg 231] time in California, a song so widely known and sung by so many singers. In the year 1878, while Mrs. Louisa Marriner was in London on one of her yearly visits, in her generous kindness she sent me the Lost Chord and also Sullivan's Let Me Dream Again, two new compositions which, she said, were just written for me. During this year Calvary Literary society gave an evening of song for the Ladies' Relief society, and among the numbers of the programme was the Lost Chord, with piano and organ accompaniment. Mrs. Henry Norton was soprano; Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto; C.L. Gage, bass; J. de S. Bettincourt, tenor; C. Howland, second tenor; E. McD. Johnston, bass; Miss F.A. Dillaye, organist; H.M. Bosworth, organ and piano, and Prof. Theo. Herzog, violin. It was on this occasion that I sang the song of the Lost Chord, with organ and piano.

Sometimes in recounting incidents in our lives we often wonder how they began, as, in this instance, "I wonder who sang the Lost Chord first on this coast?" In this article you have the answer.

PROF. FREDERICK KATZENBACH

Prof. Katzenbach was born in the city of Freimersheim, Germany, 1834. He came to America at the age of sixteen. He again returned to Germany when twenty years old and studied in Mainz, under Prof. E. Paner and Thopelus Syfert. His first position as organist was in the city of Schwabsburgh, Germany, at the age of twelve years, a position he held until he came to America, four years later. In the seventies he was in San Francisco. His first position as organist was at the Howard Street Methodist Church. Later he went to the First Presbyterian Church in Van Ness avenue, and in 1874 he was organist for St. John's Church in Post street, Dr. Scott, pastor. The choir was composed of Mrs. Robert Moore, soprano; Mrs. M.R. Blake, contralto; Joseph Maguire, tenor, and Cornelius Makin, bass. From 1870 to 1873 he taught piano at Mills seminary. During this time his wife passed out of life and he was left with one daughter and three sons. He grieved so much at his loss that he gave up his position and went East, but his love for California was too strong and he returned in 1875. He took up his musical profession once more and for a while was organist at Calvary Presbyterian Church, Rev. John Hemphill, pastor. The choir consisted of Mrs. Van Brunt, soprano; Mrs. M. Blake, contralto; Cornelius Makin, bass, and John Trehane, tenor. Later he moved to Oakland and played in the First Unitarian[Pg 232] Church in Castro street. Some years after that he had an organ at St. Paul's Church in Harrison street. For thirty-five years he was engaged in the churches and teaching piano, and taught many fine players in San Francisco, Oakland and other places. He never had gotten over the loss of his dear wife, and it unfortunately saddened his life, for she was indeed a perfect mother in her family. His daughter, Miss Elizabeth, was the image of her mother and was his constant thought, and his ambition was to have her life guided into the same channel of perfect womanhood. He began early with her education in music and taught her until she had grown to womanhood, and for a number of years before his death she taught with him in his studio in Tenth street in West Oakland. Some time in the eighties he desired his daughter to have a little instruction in the old-world music centers. In 1903 she journeyed to Munich, Germany, and studied for three years with Heinrich Schwartz. In 1906 she returned to California and expected to meet her father at the station, but he was taken suddenly ill and died shortly after from a nervous breakdown. His daughter returned just two days after he died, doubly bereaved, as he had been father and mother to her and her brothers since she was a child of three years. After many months she took up her music once more, where she had necessarily laid it down during her days of mourning. She is busy always and is now one of our foremost teachers of piano, and faithfully and successfully follows in the footsteps of her honored father.

RICHARD THOMAS YARNDLEY

Mr. Yarndley was born December 5, 1840, in Manchester, England. His parents were both musicians of a high order. His father was an organist of the first rank and a viola player of exceptional ability. He was first viola in the celebrated band of Sir Charles Halle and was complimented at one time by Mendelssohn, the great composer. The Earl of Ellsmere was his patron, who bought his pipe organ when he left for America. Mr. Yarndley's mother was a concert singer, possessing a pure soprano voice of rare sweetness and power. She sang repeatedly under Mendelssohn's directing with such artists as Madame Anna and Sir Henry Bishop, Sir George Smart, Simms Reeves, Parepa Rosa, Jenny Lind and other great singers of her day, going to Dublin at one time with the "Swedish Nightingale" as assistant at her concert.

The little Richard from the tender age of five years accompanied his mother regularly at these concerts as her[Pg 233] small chevalier. He was thus from infancy reared in an atmosphere of the best music. His training was principally under his father, although he received instruction from the best teachers of the city. At the age of seventeen years he was sent to this country to hold an organ position at Detroit, Mich., for his father who was to come with the family the following year. He was playing at that time in the largest church in Manchester. He created quite a sensation the first Sunday, dressed as all English boys were, in a roundabout jacket, broad turned-down collar, and Scotch cap with long ribbons behind. During his ten years' residence in the "City of the Streets" he acquired a reputation as piano teacher, organist and conductor of the Handel and Haydn society. In 1870 he removed to San Francisco and was at once invited to take charge of the Harmonic society of Oakland and the organ of the Congregational church of that city, which position he filled until his departure for Portland, Ore., some three years later. Afterwards, returning to California, he held positions in Grace Church and St. Luke's Church, San Francisco, and in the Presbyterian church of Oakland. He was an all-round musician of no mean order and might have accomplished much, had he not been handicapped by ill health. Probably his most marked success was in Albany, N.Y., where he was intimately associated with Miss Emma La Jeunesse, afterwards Albani, who was his lifelong friend. He was given many brilliant testimonials from the musical association and citizens of Albany. Music was with him a holy passion as well as vocation. He was a man of high moral principals, singularly guileless and of a deep religious fervor. He died at Livermore, Cal., September 7, 1895, aged fifty-four years, and was laid to rest in the Masonic cemetery there.

WILLIAM M'FARLAND GREER

Mr. Greer was born in St. Louis, Mo., September 22, 1850. He began his musical education early in life, first on the violin. When he had played for some years he sang in the boys' choir before his voice was placed. After he had it trained he sang in the choirs of the churches in Baltimore, Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis and San Francisco. He was a member of the May Festival singers. He also sang in Temple Emanuel, Sutter street, Louis Schmidt, organist; in the Mason street synagogue and in the First Methodist Church on Mission street. In Oakland, twenty years ago, he was one of the members of the early[Pg 234] choir of the Brooklyn Presbyterian Church, East Oakland. He has passed out of life to join the Invisible Choir. He left a wife, daughter and sons to mourn his loss. While in Trinity choir I had the pleasure of singing with him often at high days and funeral services. He had a beautiful tenor-baritone voice which was melody itself, and he knew how to sing. It was evident to all, for he was always in demand as a church singer and occupied these positions during his life. His daughter is also the possessor of a voice of fine quality, and by accident I found her and it gave me the same great pleasure to teach the daughter as it gave me to sing with the father long ago. She occupies the position of sewing teacher in the Girl's High School, San Francisco, and is a most efficient teacher.

MARY CHENEY-CLARK

Mrs. Clark, daughter of Rev. D.B. Cheney, was a resident of San Francisco for years as a singer and teacher. Her voice was contralto and she occupied that position in her father's choirs. She studied voice with Mrs. Georgiana Leach, one of California's rare sopranos and wife of Stephen W. Leach, the well-known baritone. Her instructors in instrumental music were Rudolph Herold and Professor Beutler. Later she went to Boston and studied at the New England Conservatory and her teachers were Fannie Fraser Foster, Carlyle Petersilea and Zerrahn. She is still among us, but takes no active part in music outside of her home circle in Berkeley.

CHAS. H. SCHULTZ

Mr. Schultz was born in Herzheim by Landan, Rheinplatz, Baiern, Germany, in 1830. His father, an organist of note in Herxheim, superintended his musical education under Herr Geiger until his gymnasium years, when he continued his studies under Professor Lutz of Spire until he entered Heidelberg University. Coming to America in 1854, he accepted the position of musical instructor of Minerva college, Nashville, Tenn. He married, in 1858, a cousin of "Fighting Joe" Wheeler, the famous Southern general. After the death of his wife, in 1871, he came to California, locating in Visalia, where he gave private instruction and was organist of St. Mary's Church. In 1876 he married Mrs. Catherine Griffith and to this union four children were born. In 1880 he moved with his family to San Jose and, continuing his private instruction, he became one of the best known of the musical instructors of Santa Clara county. In his seventieth year he retired and a few[Pg 235] years ago decided to make Alameda his home where, at the fine old age of eighty-two, he is still enjoying a happy and contented life.

OTTO BLANKART

Mr. Blankart studied the violin in Mannheim, Germany, with Carl Heydt, second violin of the then renowned Jean Becker quartette. Notwithstanding his showing of great talent in his youth, his father refused to send him to the Leipsig Conservatory because of trouble with his ears. His father apprenticed him to a wholesale coffee house. When twenty-one years old he left for America. He went first to his sister in Indianapolis, then to Quincy, Ill., where he took up his violin studies again, played in concerts with Eastern pianists, got pupils, besides having a position in a music store. There he met and married Mrs. Blankart and they worked together constantly. About 1874 he came to San Francisco and gradually he gained ground as a teacher and did very well. When the Blankarts had their studios on Geary street, near Larkin, about 1882-89, they gave musicals every two weeks, and musicians like Edgar S. Kelly, Fred Zech, Jr., Otto Bendix, Luchesi, Miss Hanchette and others played there. During those years Professor Blankart formed also, in connection with Miss Hanchette, the Beethoven Quartette club and gave for several seasons in succession public concerts. In the early nineties he left San Francisco for Oakland. He went about three times to Europe on business matters, but as usual discovered that it is better to stay with one's profession than to change, and eventually, after some time, came back to the fold and worked in a quiet way; that is, he practiced hard and gave lessons. He has had the satisfaction of giving pleasure and rousing interest for the better classical music.

MRS. THERESA BLANKART

Mrs. Blankart had her musical education with the renowned Louis Kohler in Konigsberg, East Prussia, Germany. From the first she wanted to be a concert player. There being no piano in her home, she was compelled to practice at a piano house every morning from eight until twelve o'clock, and she said many times that she could have practiced longer if the military band passing the store daily at noon had not reminded her of the time. She kept up this arduous practice until she broke down with typhoid fever and was near death's door. When she was able to[Pg 236] start work again, Louis Kohler did not recognize her at all, she had changed so much. He encouraged her very much, but stated at once that, under the conditions, she ought to give up all hope of becoming a performer, as she could not stand the strain. He said she could make an excellent teacher and that he would help her in every way. For two years she taught under the guidance of this great teacher and in 1868 came to America. She taught about seven years in the East and came to California about 1874. She made the acquaintance of the then prominent San Francisco piano teachers—Trenkle, Kuhne, Holzhauer, Hartman—and they all very kindly recommended her after examination. She gradually built up her reputation and had the satisfaction to see many of her pupils become fine players. She was at the California College, teaching for over twenty years, and many a pupil from this college is today teaching with success. She always strictly attended to her profession with great love and devotion and never had time to attend social duties. Notwithstanding, she made many friends among her pupils and others.

M. AUGUSTA LOWELL-GARTHWAITE

"Gussie" Lowell was born in San Francisco in 1857 of New England parentage and began her first musical study with Professor Striby, one of the earliest piano teachers. On moving to Oakland, when nine years old, she studied first with Miss Mary Simpson (now Mrs. Barker) of the Blake seminary, then Miss Gaskill (now Mrs. Andrews) and afterwards with Mrs. Blanche Emerson and Mrs. Babcock. Organ study (on the reed organ) was begun in 1874 with John H. Pratt, and when John P. Morgan in 1875 came to Oakland from New York, where he had for years been the beloved organist of Trinity Church, Miss Lowell took up the study of the pipe organ at the old Congregational Church in Oakland and practiced there, at the First Presbyterian Church and the Independent Church, where she later became organist after a two years' service at the First Baptist Church. As Mr. Morgan was the conductor of the San Francisco Handel and Haydn Oratorio society and the Oakland Harmonic, Miss Lowell had the unusual advantage as organist of these societies of playing in all the oratorios given under the direction of Mr. Morgan as well as Mr. Toepke and Mr. Gustave Hinrichs. After Mr. Morgan's lamented death, Miss Lowell took his place as teacher of the organ in the conservatory founded by him, where also taught Mr. Morgan (piano), Mr. Louis Lisser,[Pg 237] Mr. Henry Heyneman and Mr. Julius Hinrichs (violoncello), Miss Susie Morgan, Mr. D.P. Hughes and dear old Stephen W. Leach (voice culture).

 

Pupils, 1898-1902

 

For three years prior to Miss Lowell's departure for New York in 1880, she was organist for Rev. Mr. Hamilton's Independent Presbyterian Church, where she conducted a large choir of sixteen voices.

She studied for a short time in the New England Conservatory of Music at Boston, but as New York had the greater attraction in the presence of Mr. Samuel P. Warren, the leading organist of the country, she went there and throughout her ten years' residence in the East studied solely with Mr. Warren, but added two seasons of study in harmony technique under that master, John H. Cornell. Miss Lowell's California experience proved of great advantage to her in obtaining church positions in the big city, and immediately upon her arrival in New York she became assistant organist at St. George's and later St. Bartholomew's, Grace and other churches, and for three years was organist at the Madison Avenue Dutch Reformed Church. The desire of her heart was attained, however, when the position was offered to her as organist at the beautiful new Roosevelt organ at the Church of the Incarnation (Arthur Brooks, brother of Phillips Brooks, pastor), to succeed Frederick Archer, the great English organist. This position she held for seven years, until her marriage in 1890. The choir of thirty paid voices was the finest in the city, and at this organ Miss Lowell gave over sixty recitals. While in New York, Miss Lowell played in many public and private concerts and was conductor for seven years of the Ladies' Vocal club at Montclair, N.J., and for three years of the Choral club (ladies'), Mt. Vernon, N.Y.

After her marriage in Oakland in 1890 to Edwin Garthwaite, a mining engineer of great reputation, she retired from public life and went with him to Mexico, where much piano and ensemble work was enjoyed, then later to South Africa for twelve years. While there was no organ playing in the parts where she lived, she was able to gather musical people about her always, and in her home near Johannesburg she conducted a fine glee club of mixed voices. Up in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, she was always identified with good music and formed a musical club, where much fine work in ensemble and choral music was accomplished.

On her return to her native land, five years ago, after nearly twenty years' absence practically from the organ,[Pg 238] Mrs. Garthwaite was able to give occasional public performances, playing as organist in the First Church of Christ, Scientist, for a year and a half, and after all these years is again organist of the First Baptist Church in Oakland, the church where she began her career as a girl of nineteen for five dollars a month.

Mrs. Garthwaite considers the most noteworthy event in her career to be the anniversary recital given last year in the Baptist Church, when she repeated her performance of twenty years before, substituting her two sons and her nephew, Lowell Redfield, for Mr. Sigmund Beel and Miss Lizzie Bogue, and giving as a great surprise to her audience a wonderful and inspiring performance by Mrs. Blake-Alverson of "The Last Rose of Summer." It was said afterwards that it was like a song from heaven and would never be forgotten.

SANTIAGO ARRILLAGA Y ANSOLA

Mr. Arrillaga was born in 1848 at Iolosa in the Province of Guipuzcoa, Spain, and at the age of ten began the study of music in the old Spanish fashion, with a solfeggio master who employed no instrumental accompaniment whatever. In the course of a year he had fully mastered all that could be taught him by his master. He then began the study of the piano as a recreation, his teacher being D.E. Aguayo, organist of the parish church. He attended school, both in Spain and France, until the age of sixteen, when, having decided to pursue the musical art as a profession, he was sent to the Royal Conservatory at Madrid, where he became the pupil of Don M. Mendizabal in piano, Don R. Hermando in harmony and Dr. H. Esloa in counterpoint. At the close of three years he was graduated with the highest honors, having obtained the first prize at the public examination and being decorated with the gold medal of the university, which was conferred on him by Queen Isabella (the second). In 1867 Senor Arrillaga went to Paris, where he studied at the conservatory and also took private lessons. At the age of twenty-one he was seized with a desire to travel and, after a sojourn in several South American cities and in the Antilles, he came to this country.

At San Jose de Costa Rica he remained for five years and he would in all probability have made his home at that delightful place, as he had every inducement offered him to do so, had not the climate of the tropics shattered his health. This compelled him to seek a more congenial[Pg 239] locality, and in 1875 he departed for San Francisco, where he has since resided. In all the places where he has resided or visited he has given concerts with marked success, his playing being particularly admired for the elegant and graceful style and his facile technique. When Carlotta Patti visited the Pacific coast she especially engaged him to act as her accompanist for her concert tour. Although his time has mainly been devoted to teaching, he has found opportunity to do clever and characteristic work as a composer. Conspicuously successful have been his "Gata and Danga Habanera" and his "Trip to Spain," the latter being for piano and orchestra. He has written many piano compositions, two masses and a great deal of church music, generally distinguished for its imaginative and musicianly qualities. As a teacher, Senor Arrillaga has been remarkably successful, and during his long sojourn in San Francisco he has gathered about him a large coterie of pupils, to whom he is guide in art and a valued personal friend.

[From "A Hundred Years of Music in America," published in 1889, Chicago, by G.L. Howe and W.S.B. Matthews.]

MISS CARRIE HEINEMANN

Miss Heinemann was born in the city of New York, June 12, 1863. At the age of thirteen she came with her parents to San Francisco, where her father went into business on Leavenworth street. At the age of fifteen, while visiting friends, her voice was tested under the tuition of Miss Louisa Tourney, who successfully brought her out after three years of study, so she was able to take her place as a leading mezzo-soprano, suitable for church work and concert singing. The music committee of the O Habai Sholom choir very promptly engaged her as their soprano, a place which she successfully held for fifteen years. During her time in this synagogue she was prominent in concerts and festivals and sang at special services in different churches and societies. During her singing career she was also a generous and charitable singer and gave her services often to aid other churches, societies and charities without regard to creed. I had the pleasure of singing in the same choir with her. We were together six years with the following members of the choir: Soprano, Carrie Heinemann; contralto, Mrs. Blake-Alverson; basso, Mr. Mills; tenor, Mr. Newman, and organist, G.A. Scott. On holidays extra singers assisted the regular choir. I re[Pg 240]signed from this choir to go to San Bernardino, while she remained indefinitely. She married at that time. She still continues her singing and assists the fraternal orders in San Francisco, of which she is a prominent member as Mrs. Carrie Wallenstein.

HENRY S. STEDMAN

Mr. Stedman received his first instruction on the organ from Thos. N. Caulfield at Indianapolis, Ind. During the ten years preceding 1876 he was engaged continuously in the churches of that city, the larger portion being in the First Presbyterian, the church of which President Benjamin Harrison was a member and at that time a teacher of a Bible class. In October, 1876, he arrived in San Francisco, having come to the coast under engagement to the firm of Sherman and Hyde. He had already been engaged as organist of the Howard M.E. Church and took up that work at once. The "silver-tongued orator," Rev. Thomas Guard, was in charge of the church then, and his popularity drew large audiences, who were entertained not only with oratory but music also. The church choir was under the leadership of Mr. Geo. W. Jackson, who was one of the first to announce himself as a "voice builder." May 1, 1878, Mr. Stedman was seated as organist and director of music in Plymouth Congregational Church, a position filled continuously for twenty years. During this period many of the very best known and ablest singers, now occupying positions in the highest salaried choirs of the coast as well as in the East, had their first start and encouragement from this source. In 1898 the First Congregational Church of Alameda made offers that, added to the comfort of being at home and free from travel across the bay, were accepted, and Mr. Stedman began a service which continued for five years. At this time business interests impelled a change of residence to San Francisco and, having already put in a goodly portion of time on the bench, all offers for additional service were rejected, and no work of importance has been undertaken in the way of organ-playing save an occasional day as "substitute" for a friend.

 

Pupils of the 1900's

 

THE HINRICHS FAMILY

One of the musical families of early years was the Hinrichs family. I think Gustav, the object of this sketch, is the oldest. He was connected with the old Tivoli and was the first to introduce opera there at popu[Pg 241]lar prices. His success was permanent. He is not only a fine director but a teacher of the voice as well and is a busy man. Even in the summer, when vacation comes, he is obliged to remain in the city. Through Joseffy he was persuaded to go to New York, as the field was broader.

In opera naturally the leading singers, the chorus, the musicians, all play an important part, but by far the most important of all is that assumed by the musical director. It is his hand that binds all the component parts, that might otherwise not act in unison, into a harmonious whole; his genius that brings out all the hidden beauties of the score, all the delicate nuances the composer had in mind. It was therefore an event of more than ordinary importance and an entirely new departure in the musical world when Henry W. Savage made the announcement in regard to his immensely popular comic opera. The Prince of Pilsen, that he had as musical director no less a celebrated maestro than Gustav Hinrichs, formerly conductor for the Metropolitan grand opera company. Mr. Hinrichs ranks among the very foremost operatic musical directors, standing on a level with such geniuses as Alfred Hertz, Toscanini, Mancinelli, Campanari, Gustav Mahler and Leopold Damrosch.

Julius Hinrichs was the cello player and a most sympathetic and beautiful one. I remember in 1875 I gave a concert in old Platt's hall in Montgomery street, and he played for me that night and also played the obbligato to the slumber song by Randegger. I never sang it so well in my life. Gustave Scott was the accompanist that evening, and it proved to be the choice number of the concert. Mr. Hinrichs married one of my talented pupils, Miss Nellie Paddock. She was not only a sweet singer, but also a pianist of repute, and to hear those artists play was truly a treat. They were popular for a number of years before Julius died, some time in the eighties. I never heard what Mrs. Hinrichs did after the death of her husband. I was living in San Bernardino at the time, and when I returned to San Francisco I moved to the Western addition and never met any of the Hinrichs family until years after, when I moved to Oakland in 1891 and after the earthquake. The youngest son, August Hinrichs, is the popular leader of Ye Liberty theater orchestra, Oakland, and at this theater he charms his hearers with the magic touch of his treasured Stradivarius which he uses with such artistic skill. For years he was leader in the orchestras of old San Francisco. After the earthquake he found in Oakland a per[Pg 242]manent refuge where he can continue his excellent work, which is duly appreciated by the constant patrons of this theater.

H.B. PASMORE

Mr. Pasmore, composer and teacher of harmony, studied harmony and organ and singing with John P. Morgan until the latter's death. Later he studied organ with J.H. Dohrmann and piano with Professor Lisser. When he was twenty-five years old he studied in Leipsic the art of composition and harmony, a branch of music he is eminently able to teach. He is still teaching in San Francisco. He has written many fine songs and has translated with Torek, Jodassohn's "Manual of Harmony."

WALLACE A. SABIN, F.R.C.O., F.A.G.O.

Mr. Sabin was born in Northamptonshire, England. His education was acquired at Chardstock College and Magdalen College, school, Brackley. He studied piano and organ under Dr. M.J. Monk, organist of Banbury parish church, and later piano, organ, theory, etc., under Dr. T.W. Dodds, Queen's College, Oxford. He was graduated as associate and later as fellow the Royal College of Organists, London. He was organist of Magdalen College school, Brackley, 1882-1886; St. George's church, Oxford, 1887-1889; organist and choirmaster, S.S., Mary and John, Oxford, 1889-1893; assistant organist, Queen's College, Oxford, 1886-1893; organist and choirmaster, All Saints', Warwick, 1893-1894. He came to California in October, 1894, to take position of organist and choirmaster of St. Luke's Church, San Francisco, which position he held until the fire of 1906. Since that time he has played at First Church of Christ, Scientist, San Francisco. In 1895 he became organist of Temple Emanuel, San Francisco, which position he still holds. He has been director since 1894 of Vested Choir Association of San Francisco and vicinity; director of Saturday Morning (ladies') orchestra and Twentieth Century Musical club, giving such works as Bach's "Passion," Handel's "Alexander's Feast," etc. He was representative as California organist, World's Fair, St. Louis, 1904, giving two recitals. He has been president of the Musicians' club, twice a director of the Bohemian club, and composed the music for a forest play entitled St. Patrick at Tara, given at a midsummer jinks of the Bohemian club. At present he is dean of the Northern California Chapter of the American Guild of[Pg 243] Organists, conductor of the Loring club and the choral section of the San Francisco Musical club, and is engaged in teaching and composition.

JOHN W. METCALF

California has produced her share of composers. They have been prominent as pianists, violinists, leaders of musical bodies and teachers of harmony. They are writers of the highest merit and some can be classed with the song writers of Europe. The state is too young for many native composers. Our musicians all came to us in the days of gold, and others who came later educated their sons and daughters in the East and in Europe in the highest art of music and, returning to the state, made a place for themselves as writers of music.

John W. Metcalf for the last twenty-one years has been among us as teacher of piano, harmony and a song writer of the highest order, and we are glad to claim him, even if he is not a native son. We love his music and appreciate the writer who is able to give to the singing world soulful compositions that compare with those of Schubert and Mendelssohn. They are superlatively correct and scholarly. I am not a song writer but a song singer, and when I find such compositions I am proud to interpret them to the best of my ability.

John W. Metcalf is a product of my state, Illinois, and, like the writer, he inherited his musical talent from the maternal side. His first teacher was his mother's sister, who was a pupil of Bozzini and prominent as a pianist and vocalist. In 1877 he went to Leipsic to complete his schooling in music. He was accepted as a pupil at the Royal Conservatory and was one of thirty who passed. He studied faithfully three or four years, piano with Carle Reinecke and Louis Maas; theory with Ernest and Alfred Richter; composition with Reinecke, Rust and Jasassohn. The director of the conservatory, Conrad Schleints, a warm personal friend of Mendelssohn, gave solicitous attention to the promising young American and bestowed upon him at graduation the coveted Hilbig prize, which had been won but twelve times in the history of the conservatory. After returning to America, he taught four years near Chicago, one year at the Dana Institute in Ohio, and one year as head of the piano department of the Boston Conservatory. He left Boston on account of ill health. After directing for three years the Garfield University at Wichita, Kas., he came to Oakland, Cal., where[Pg 244] he still resides, and we are proud to claim him as one of California's composers and renowned teachers of the pianoforte. I feel honored to sing his songs and teach them to my pupils. I append what I consider one of his best:

ABSENCE

Sometimes between long shadows on the grass
The little truant waves of sunlight pass,
My eyes grow dim with tenderness the while,
Thinking I see thee, thinking I see thee smile.

And sometimes in the twilight gloom, apart,
The tall trees whisper, whisper heart to heart,
From my fond lips the eager answers fall,
Thinking I hear thee, thinking I hear thee call.

GEORGE LINCOLN BLAKE

Mr. Blake, eldest son of George H. Blake and Margaret R. Blake, was born in Stockton, California, July 8, 1858. When he was twelve years old he began his musical education under Prof. Henry Von der Mehden. He was a conscientious and faithful student. Four years later his progress was so marked that his instructor gave him first cornet place in the Silver Cornet Band, which was composed of his advanced pupils. The excellent work of the band was soon recognized and the first great public performance was at the old Woodwards Garden, before ten thousand people. Their performance was received with tremendous acknowledgment from the public. The band continued in its good work for a number of years. In 1875 he made an educational visit around the world and visited all places of interest and heard the music of the Old World and when occasion presented also assisted in various theaters in the cities where he sojourned. He returned once more to California in the fall of 1876, resuming his musical and professional engagements until September 30, 1879. He then made a second trip to the Old World, visiting Queenstown, Antwerp, Cork and other cities. He returned to California once more by way of the Indias and Japan, November 1, 1881.

When he was twenty-four years old he began playing in the California theater orchestra and remained there during the leadership of Charles Schultz, and at the same time was a member of the Second Regiment band at the Park. In 1887 he moved to San Bernardino and during his residence there formed and was leader of the Seventh Regiment band, was also the local leader of the[Pg 245] orchestra at the Grand Opera house when his services were needed for the passing shows without orchestra. He remained in this capacity until 1879 when he moved to Santa Cruz and remained until 1894 returning to Oakland and finally settling in San Francisco where he continued in his professional line in the various theaters and musical demonstrations which presented themselves until the earthquake, when the theater where he was employed was destroyed and music, like other business was at a standstill. For over thirty years he has played with the best musical talent on the coast and has been an acceptable and reliable musician in any capacity in which he has been called. After the disaster he came to Oakland and was at once engaged to play at the Ye Liberty theater under the able management of Director August Hinrichs. At this theater he is at present actively employed.

 

Pupils of the 1900's

 

PROF. HUGO MANSFELDT

Prof. Mansfeldt, whom all recognize as the dean of pianists, needs no words from me to place him in higher estimation of the people of California. My friendship with him extends through many years of musical companionship and during that time he has risen until now he is the acknowledged master of the instrument, and holds the most distinguished position in the musical world. His art in bringing out from time to time such a splendid array of clever pianists is proof positive of his excellent qualities as a teacher and has fixed his reputation beyond cavil. Much more could be said in regard to his artistic reputation but it would be superfluous reiterations of facts that are known to all who have heard him or have the advantage of a personal acquaintance with him as I have. I feel honored to place this sketch of him in my history with other distinguished musical celebrities of this age and generation.

A.W. KLOSE.

The subject of my sketch, A.W. Klose, was one of our pioneer singers. In 1852, when I was a girl of sixteen, he sang the bass in the choir of the Presbyterian Church of Stockton. He was there for three years. He was born January 25, 1831, in Verden, kingdom of Hanover, Germany and educated there. He came to California in 1849, to Stockton in the early part of 1854. Business called him to San Francisco in 1862. After[Pg 246] he left Stockton we never met again until September 26, 1896, in Oakland, after forty-two years. He belonged to the Handel & Haydn society from 1860 to 1867. At that time I was in Santa Cruz. He was one of the organizers of the Harmonic society, Prof. Dohrmann, director. Later John P. Morgan was leader. He was also one of the charter members of the Orpheus society of male singers, conductor, Prof. McDougal. Connected with the Orpheus was also a choral of women's and men's voices. They gave some fine concerts in Oakland at that time. At the death of Prof. McDougal this society went out of existence, but afterward reorganized with men's voices only, as it now exists. Mr. Klose was one of the members of its musical committee for years. While in San Francisco he was director of the Methodist choir until he came to Oakland to reside. He sang in the First Presbyterian church choir for over thirty-five years. He retired about three years ago. He went to his final rest August 19, 1912, at the age of eighty-one years. The death of my friend records the last of the galaxy of fine men singers who came here in the earlier days to seek wealth. He was always ready to assist in the advancement of the best music. He sang in the days when we were judged by the knowledge of how to sing correctly and with intelligent understanding of the work. He was always a devout Christian, an efficient worker in the Sabbath school and endeared himself to all by his quiet, dignified manner. I think this testimony will stand for him in every community where he sojourned. I, as one of his earliest friends, gladly pay him my last tribute of respect and place his name in affectionate remembrance in my record of old singers. Old-time friend, "rest in Peace."

SAN FRANCISCO'S CELEBRATED FRENCH HORN QUARTETTE

GEO. FLETCHER, WM. E. BLAKE, NATHANIEL PAGE, GEORGE STOREY

The picture facing page 118 was taken in the Bohemian Grove on the Russian river during the annual outing in 1895. This quartette was part of the Philharmonic society of San Francisco. These musicians with Mr. Wm. Wellman, flutist, were engaged during the season of revelry among the pines and with their leader, Herman Brandt, discoursed the music that made the hills resound with their funeral chants over the death of dull care. Since this time Mr. Fletcher has died, Mr. Page is now in London and has risen with great honors as a composer as well as a fine[Pg 247] musician and California is proud of her native son. Mr. Storey and my son, Mr. Blake, are still in San Francisco, playing when the occasion presents.

 

The Joran Quartette

 

PROF. MAURO SOLANO

Prof. Solano, one of our best known musicians, has been a prominent harpist among us since 1873, when he came here from Guadalajara, Mexico. He was married July 24, 1862. He resided in Guadalajara eight years, then moved to Mazatlan and lived there three years. Later he came to San Francisco and taught the harp there for seventeen years. I had always enjoyed his excellent playing in the different theaters of San Francisco but it was not until I returned to San Francisco in 1888 that I fully appreciated his wonderful art in playing the Spanish harp. I took up my residence on Geary street in a lower flat and across the court in the upper flat was the professor's studio. We became mutual friends, being in the same line of work and I had the advantage of listening to his best efforts at his own practice hour night after night, if he had no other engagement. How I longed to try my voice with this beautiful music and be accompanied by a master. At last my opportunity arrived when he asked me to come and sing for him. He had fine songs for my voice. I gladly accepted his gracious compliment and it truly was an hour of musical delight. It was not my last pleasure for we had many such hours and his charming wife was an appreciative listener and would enthusiastically applaud our efforts. Those were happy hours but they too soon came to an end for he had built a home in Alameda for his old age. Later I came to Oakland and we have never met since. He was actively employed for several years after that period but has retired and lives in Alameda. I read an account of his fiftieth wedding anniversary on June 24, 1912, which was celebrated with a high mass of thanks at St. Joseph's Church in Alameda. In his profession he had many of our best known women for his pupils, among them Miss Beatrice Tobin who is now Madam Duval of Paris, Miss Theresa Fair now Mrs. Oelrichs of New York; Mrs. Fitzsimmons, Miss Jenny Dunphy, Miss Gertrude Carroll.


[Pg 248]

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

WITH MY PUPILS

 

WILLIAM H. KEITH

MR. KEITH was born in the sixties in San Francisco. As a young man he held for several years the position of manager of the art department of Shreve's, corner of Montgomery and Sutter streets. He began his voice lessons with Moretti. After a period he discontinued and began his studies with Madam Blake-Alverson. After studying with her some time, he decided to adopt music as his profession. He went to Paris in 1890 where, upon the advice of Jean de Reszke, he studied several years with Sbriglia and then prepared himself for opera under Giraudet of the Conservatory of Music. He then went to London and prepared himself for oratorio under Randegger. His European career was one of continuous success and he sang in London, Edinburg, Berlin, Dresden, Paris, etc. His first great work in American concerts was at the Worcester musical festival in company with Madam Melba, Mme. Lillian Blauvelt, Campanari and other artists, all under the baton of Carl Zerrahn. After singing in concert and oratorio and other musical attractions for a number of years, he received a flattering offer from the Mollenhauer Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn, to teach the vocal department, the place he has so successfully held since 1901, besides having large classes of private pupils, both in Brooklyn and New York. He is considered a leading concert baritone of New York and his services are constantly in demand. Mr. Keith has made several visits to California with eminent artists like Rivarde, Lachaume and others.

MADAM TREGAR

Madam Tregar was one of my San Bernardino pupils of English parentage. At that time she was married and living in a modest way, desiring some day to be able to satisfy her longing to sing. When she heard of my singing[Pg 249] and teaching she ventured to call and consult me in regard to her voice. Her appearance did not inspire me with much encouragement, but after hearing her story I decided to see what could be done. She had never had any instruction except on the piano. I tried her rather doubtfully. To my surprise I found she possessed more pure and natural tones than I had ever heard in any voice. She had a range of almost two octaves, every note without a flaw. I felt sorry that there was so much to find in the voice, without a personality to round out the perfect instrument. It was evident she would be a thorough student, and do her work conscientiously, if she began. I resolved to try and see what could be done. At the end of sixteen months the change in the voice and woman was almost incomprehensible. The obstacles which seemed unsurmountable at first were but the first defects to be overcome, but with good understanding and proper placement these faults disappeared as quickly as the frost before the morning sun. At the closing recital of my sixteen months' stay she sang for her number Gounod's Ave Maria with violin accompaniment, in the original key, to the delight and great astonishment of the San Bernardino people, who rather made her the butt of their musical jokes and hardly gave her recognition previously, as they thought her musical ability was of the most amateur sort. Her singing in the sixteen months of application in the right direction and proper placement, brought out one of the most phenomenal voices which has found favor abroad. She lives in London; sang for the late King Edward and his royal household guests and still holds sway among the musical people of London as the highest soprano from America in this century. After leaving the south I never knew what had become of her and often wondered if she kept up the good work begun in 1888. In 1904, eighteen years after, she surprised me by calling upon me to thank me for what I had done for her and her story in this time seemed like a romance to me. After I left San Bernardino she had succeeded so well that she concluded to go to her former home in London and continue the work and, after eighteen years of success, she came to San Francisco, stopped by the wayside to find her first instructor and with deep emotion thanked her for her assistance and good work when she needed a friend.[Pg 250]

THE JORAN QUARTET

Prominent among the younger musicians of San Francisco in the 80's were three talented children since become famous both in this country and England, where they now reside. Their only teacher was their mother, who was an English pianist of repute. They formed a concert troupe in 1883 with Miss M. Hyde, accompanist and director.

Miss M. Hyde, accompanist and director.
Miss Lulu Joran, 16 years old, piano virtuoso.
Miss Pauline, 14 years old, violin virtuoso.
Miss Elsie, 12 years old, piano virtuoso.
Mrs. M.R. Blake, soloist.

It was most remarkable how these children interpreted the most difficult masterpieces, and played them with art. Once at a special concert in the Metropolitan temple, San Francisco, the youngest of them, Miss Elsie, was seated at a Steinway grand piano, too small to touch the pedals, (an adjustment had to be made) and with sixty of our best musicians on the stage she played from memory the most difficult concerto. All the children possessed the art of absolute pitch and they were able with bandaged eyes to tell the notes of any chords that were sounded. Miss Pauline was an excellent violinist besides possessing a fine contralto voice which I had trained for the space of a year and a half. She is, I am very proud to say, a most beautiful singer in London today at the age of forty years. In 1910 I clipped from one of the English papers the following: "Pauline Joran, one of the most gifted young American opera singers now in Europe, made her debut recently in Milan under Sonzogno, singing at the Teatro Lirico, the role of Santuzza and Nedda with the greatest success. She has been singing in Great Britain under Sir Augustus Harris and will be heard here next season."

A teacher can be proud that her work of the foundation of tone building resulted in such a successful finish. Pauline possessed the talent and I could foresee the future if she had the proper means, for she sang with taste and feeling. She accompanied the singer with graceful interpretation on her violin and played the piano like an artist. We traveled and sang together for two years and went to Stockton, Sacramento, San Jose and all the smaller places around San Francisco. The latter part of the eighties the Jorans returned to London where they have remained ever since. In her girlish way Pauline used to say, "Oh, dear auntie, when I am a great singer won't you be glad and proud of me?" And so I[Pg 251] am, and I hope all who have had the same help will be as successful as this young pupil.

WM. P. MELVIN

During my professional life as a vocal teacher I have been called upon to part with some of my musical family and also to perform the last tribute which one friend can pay to another—to sing the song asked for on his deathbed. During my residence in Oakland I have parted with five of my beloved pupils. The first string of my lute was severed by God's decree when he called William P. Melvin to a higher life. He was born in Steubenville, Ohio, March 18, 1859, and came here in his infancy with his parents from Springfield, Ill. Dr. Melvin, his father, entered the drug business and William was engaged in the same business with him. Later on William was secretary of the Mountain View Cemetery association, which office he held until his last illness.

He had a beautiful, resonant and full bass voice. He came to my studio some time in 1895 and was enrolled among my students, and coming from a musical family, his brother, Supreme Justice Henry Melvin, possessing a fine baritone voice, and his beloved sister, Mrs. Mollie Melvin-Dewing, an excellent mezzo-soprano, it was not strange he sang so well in a few months. William received his instruction in the evening when his daily duties were over and came to my studio which was on the third floor of the building at 1108-1/2 Broadway, over the Clark Wise music store. He continued his studies until 1897 when his sickness began to affect his beautiful voice and his lessons were necessarily discontinued. The first two years his progress was so satisfactory that I hoped his third year would be the crowning year of his efforts as an efficient and splendid bass singer. My heart sank within me when I had learned the nature of the sickness that had permanently fastened itself upon him. He was as reluctant to discontinue as I was to have him, but we were obliged to submit to the inevitable decree, "Thou shalt die and not live." It was a sad parting. I tried to be cheerful and held out hopes for his recovery, but it was not to be. On October 3, 1899, he was laid away in the quiet tomb amidst beautiful blossoms and many tears from those who knew him best. Mr. Melvin was one of the most delightful personalities—gentle and kind as a woman, always genial and accommodating, with always a pleasant word for every one. Even[Pg 252] though suffering from this disease which no doubt made life a burden, no one in his presence was aware of his suffering. He was always bright and cheery. As I passed his casket with other sad friends to take a farewell look upon him and place upon his coffin my tribute of violets, my tears dropped upon his last resting place as I beheld all that was mortal of my beloved and affectionate pupil for whom I mourned as a mother mourns for her son. A prayer arose to my lips to the God of the universe that as peacefully as he slept in his earthly casket that He would give him the peace that passeth all understanding when he entered the portals of Heaven. Rest, sweet spirit, rest. You are absent but not forgotten by your sincere and devoted teacher and friend.

ROSE CHAMPION

The second one of my musical family to pass out of life was Miss Rose Champion. As Jesus wept at the grave of his dear friend Lazarus, I wept, that one so young and gifted should be taken away from her little family of three beautiful girls, and a sweet-voiced singer should be forever stilled. She began her lessons with me in 1897 and continued until 1899. She was possessed of a clear, lyric soprano voice and sang with ease and grace and with soulful touch she fascinated the listener by her intelligent interpretation of song. I predicted for her a future to be envied, but circumstances over which I had no control came in the way of her future progress and she unwillingly made a change and I never heard a song from her after that. When she was married she sent for me to sing at her wedding at her home. As I was ready to return to my home she came to me before she went on her trip, and embraced me and said, "I knew you would come, and you have made me most happy for I always loved you so. It was not my fault that I left you." I told her I was sure of that and that I sang for her with all my heart and the fact that she had sent for me to perform the highest favor she could ask was sufficient proof that she had been loyal to her first instructions. For several years she lived happily as Mrs. James Lanyon. On April 21, 1908, I read with the deepest regret the announcement of her death. Having met with an accident I was not able to attend the funeral or to hear the story of the taking away of such a bright, intelligent and young mother and sweet singer, but there lingers a sweet memory which will last as long as I live.[Pg 253] When I think of her, I also think of what might have been had circumstances decreed otherwise. It is to be hoped she may be foremost in the songs of the Immortal Choir. Sweetly sleep, sweet singer, until the Grand Amen of the Lost Chord shall be sung at the last great day, with all the redeemed in the congregation of the righteous.

 

Pupils of the 1900's

 

LORINA ALLEN KIMBALL

The third string of my musical lute was snapped asunder when the death knell sounded for a most beloved and talented pupil, Miss Lorina Allen Kimball. A young miss of sixteen summers, she had come to my studio, 212 Eleventh street, with her mother one afternoon in 1903. I found a voice and a personality that could not be overlooked in one so young. Her notes were pure and limpid, untouched by improper use or bad training. I gladly enrolled her among my singers and she began at once with her vocal instruction. She sang with marked progress for four months when there was a break in the regularity of her lessons. She had entered the Oakland High school and with her studies she was unable to attend to the voice as she should. Lorina was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, March 12, 1886, and her death occurred in Oakland, August 5, 1906, at the age of twenty years. In 1905 her mother was called away to Manchester on business and Lorina came to live with me during her mother's absence. It was then that I learned to know and understand her character and personality. I had moved to 116 Eleventh street, to the old Abbott home. There was a large room built on for an art studio and another room led off from it which Lorina called her room. I made this large room my studio and occupied my couch on one side of it and it was here we worked each evening. She was a most excellent student and no time was wasted when her lessons were to be attended to. A bright pupil with clear reasoning ability, she was first at one lesson, then the other. I used to watch her evenings as she sat at the opposite side of the table with her books, in deep study. I often thought of her possibilities and speculated on all she could do. But our Master gives us from time to time just such rare flowers of promise for a short season, then quietly transplants them into His safe keeping from the bitter blasts of life's stormy weather. He knows they are not made to stand the rough usages of life. After finishing her term at the[Pg 254] high school she entered the summer school at Berkeley. While there she contracted a cold which became alarming but she was unconscious that it was touching her vitals and kept busy with her books. After the school closed her mother returned and finding she did not improve, removed her to her home and concluded she had better be attended to at once. She had been gone for over a month and I supposed she was all right and was hoping to see her each week return and resume her work. After eight weeks had passed I began to be alarmed and made inquiries about her and I was informed that she had been seriously ill for days and by her request the news was kept from me. She failed rapidly after she went home.

On the morning of August 5, 1906, while I was at my breakfast table, the telephone bell rang and a voice, strange to me, said "Mrs. Alverson, Lorina Kimball is dead." Without any warning or thought of receiving such a shock, of course, the day was done for me. I mourned for her as for my own. A bright, sunny child, singing and laughing in her childish glee, she made many friends, among them, members of the Amoskeg Veterans who made her the Daughter of the Regiment in Washington, D.C., and presented her with a beautiful silk flag and an elegant crescent pin of jewels for her fine recitations and character readings.

A clearer mind I never taught and I prayed and hoped that nothing would intervene to stop her progress that had been so brilliantly begun. But my hopes did not avail. Before the bud had unfolded into maturity it was transplanted into the Garden of Eden above. Only those who have lost loved ones are able to feel how my heart's deepest sorrow went out with this young life. It was a pity that her notes could not have been recorded as they floated out into the still hour of the night. After her studies were over she would beg of me to join her in the song duets which we had perfected. When I reasoned with her not to sing, when so tired, like a spoiled child she pleaded. "My dear Lady Margaret, I am tired only with my studies, sing with me, I want to rest before I sleep." Who could resist the tender pleadings of the tired song bird. I called her my nightingale for her singing was done at night. One of her songs was the Nightingale's Trill or Queen of the Night. The memory of her singing ever lingers with me like the sweet perfume wafted from the distant isle, its subtle influence sinking upon the senses, calming the tired child[Pg 255] as upon the mother's breast it rests in perfect peace and confidence. Its message accomplished, it floated away into space to travel on, and, forever until it reached the Giver of every perfect gift and rested in the Heavenly Courts above from everlasting to everlasting.

Rest, weary pilgrim, from toil reposing,
Night's darkening shadow round thee is closing,
Drear is the pathway frowning before thee,
No stars on high to guide and watch o'er me;
Rest, weary pilgrim; rest, weary pilgrim.

Rest, weary pilgrim, 'till morning breaking,
And birds around thee bright songs awakening;
Hark, through the forest chill winds are blowing,
Here there is friendship and kind welcome glowing,
Rest, weary pilgrim; rest, weary pilgrim.
—Donizetti.

PAULINE PETERSON

The fourth discordant note in my instrument came to me by the death of one of my later pupils, Miss Pauline Peterson, who began with her sister, Miss Minnie Peterson, in 1896. She was fair to look upon and her voice was sweet and pure and in range two full octaves. She was a member of the English Lutheran church in Grove and Sixteenth streets, was one of the Christian Endeavor workers and Sabbath school teachers and her ambition was to sing in the choir and among the young people of the church. During the three years' directorship of the choir, I had gathered the young people together and the music was of a high order. A number of them sang in the choir.

During these years Miss Pauline had become the promised bride of the man of her choice and the day was drawing near and all preparations were completed and the cozy home furnished. Only a few weeks remained before the chorus of Lohengrin was to be sung by the young voices of her friends who loved her so well. While we propose, God disposes, and our expectant bride fell sick and the edict went forth that she should be the Bride of Heaven and on May 1, 1905, she passed away. Instead of the wedding song I was called upon to sing the parting song for the beloved pupil. I thought I had fully prepared myself for the ordeal and was ready to comply and perform the sad task which befell me. After the family had passed into their pew, my tears began to start as I saw the bowed head of her devoted mother,[Pg 256] who was giving up her first-born child so young to lie in the tomb. But I was not prepared for the sight of the white casket as it was wheeled into the church, with the solitary mourner, her promised husband, slowly following all that was left of his bride-to-be, robed as for the bridal and her shimmering veil tied in a large bow knot and the bridal wreath placed lightly upon the casket with lilies of the valley and maiden-hair ferns, trailing in graceful festoons around the casket. Truly all the heroes do not face the cannon's mouth. It requires bravery beyond conception to do this last mission for those we love and esteem. I realized for a moment the difficult task and during the reading of the scriptures the battle was raging within me. When the moment came and the organ began the prelude, I arose as in a dream, and casting my eyes away from the beloved form, I began in a low voice the beautiful song (by Felix Marti) "By the River." As I sang I forgot all earthly sorrow and directed my thought above the earthly home into the blue vault of Heaven and I followed the young spirit into the everlasting gates of pearl and left her there.

Safe in the Arms of Jesus,
Safe on his gentle breast,
There by his love o'ershadowed
Sweetly her soul shall rest.

 

Pupils, 1908-1912

 

BERTHA GRACE HUNTER

The last and fifth string of my musical lute became silent and was hushed forever when my sweet friend and pupil passed beyond into the unknown home not made with hands of mortals. Miss Bertha Grace Hunter was born in Liverpool, England, and in 1889 came to America and then to San Francisco with her parents, later removing to Oakland. She had studied the piano in England and played well. In 1893 she decided to take up music as a profession. She consulted Mrs. Gutterson who informed her she possessed decided musical ability, well worth the cultivation. She began to study with Otto Bendix of San Francisco who informed her that she understood interpretation better than most of his pupils. Afterward she wished to become an organist and became the pupil of Mr. H. Bretherick. It was at Pilgrim church that I first met her. She was organist there, while I occupied a choir position. She was a beautiful accompanist as well and I could feel assured that I would have her full artistic nature woven into the song I sang[Pg 257] and give me the inspiration to sing so as to call forth expressions of approval from the worshippers from week to week for us both. She also had a contralto voice of much feeling and sympathy and came to me for vocal lessons in 1896 and was my accompanist in the studio for a year, when she decided to visit England and perfect herself on the organ. She studied three years with Dr. George Smith from the Royal Academy of Music in London. She had remained so long abroad she became homesick and great was the disappointment of her teacher that she could not remain three months longer to take her degree. Her longing for home became so strong she forfeited her honors to meet her family at Christmas. Upon reaching Oakland she was appointed organist of the First Christian Scientist church, which position she held for seven years. Her untimely death in September, 1911, was a shock to her family and friends. Being of a quiet disposition one would not expect to find such a soulful and affectionate nature. To know her was to love her. My long association with her in church and studio gave me an opportunity to know her well and love her for her worth as a true friend, a musical nature and loyal to all her associates and friends and a most ardent student in her profession. She was in England when my accident occurred and since her return I met her but seldom. Her work lay in another direction in Berkeley. Her death was a sad surprise to me and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to her bereaved parents and devoted brother who mourn her loss grievously like David mourned for his son and could not be comforted.

GEORGE G. PETERSON

The subject of my sketch, George G. Peterson, began his studies at my studio 1108-1/2 Broadway. He had a deep bass voice of fine quality which he used with excellent understanding and soon attracted attention at the First Christian church where he worshipped. George was a devout Christian and prominent worker in the church and was in demand for his musical worth as well, singing so well that he became leading bass in the choir and occupied the position with honor. With all his daily work as an artisan he found time to master and play successfully the violin, mandolin, auto harp and harmonica combined, banjo and guitar. He passed out of life April 26th, 1912, leaving a wife, son and daughter to mourn the loss of a talented father. So my musical[Pg 258] family comes and goes and I am called upon to lose them first in one way and then in another. This was a sad surprise and a shock to me. I wrote to him to come and see me and the answer came, "George has gone up higher. He is not here among us any longer." It was a sad message from the devoted wife. He was still a young, bright and active man, but thirty-seven years of age. Truly "God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform." In all things may we be able to say, "Thy will, not mine, be done."

ODE TO A VOICE

Dedicated to Lady Margaret, with much love, by Mary Alice Sanford.
Christmas, 1909.

Singing forever from morn until night,
From low and sad to high and bright,
The voice of my Lady resounds in the air,
And tells all the world to put aside care.

As if watching the distant horizon blue,
We finally see the ships come in view,
We hear the soft music rise to her lips,
And those beautiful tones are our stately ships.

But listen again! Now what do we hear?
Why the rippling of the waters clear,
Or the lark's sweet song in yonder skies.
Or the soft flight of the butterflies.

The low murmuring of the breeze,
The nodding of the leaves on trees,
The blushing rose, the lily pure,
Is sung by a voice which can never be truer.

The anger of the stormy water,
The passion of lovers who never falter,
The insanity of a jealous husband's rage
Is sung by the marvelous voice of the age.

Her voice is borne on the wings of a dove,
With many kind thoughts and praises of love,
She has sung to us all, and we'll never forget
The beautiful voice of my Lady Margaret.

The writer of this poem, Mary Alice Sanford, came into my life in 1908. Her family moved into the flat above mine some time in August of that year. Her mother informed me that she was musical, and from the way she spoke I expected to see a young woman of about nineteen or twenty years. I was surprised, instead, a few days later, to see a slip of a schoolgirl looking at me in a timid way[Pg 259] and rather reserved in manner. Later I invited her into the studio and I asked her if she liked music, to which she said yes. During the call she said she wished to sing. She had never had any instruction, her music was instrumental altogether. After she had given me an example of her instrumental work I said she should sing also, but at this she informed me she could not afford the vocal with the other, but her desire was to sing as well as play. I asked her what ability she had for reading or accompanying. She informed me she read her notes rapidly. At this I handed her the fifty lessons by Concone and opened to the first exercises, asked her to play while I sang for her. I thought perhaps the first lessons were too easy so I gave her a more difficult one, and I found she could read the most difficult lessons in the book and accompany with the greatest ease. I asked her her age, and she informed me in a month she would be sixteen years old. I asked her if she would like to earn her own lessons. She looked at me surprised at my proposition. Before her visit was over it was agreed she should be accompanist for my students, who needed her services. This was glorious news to her mother, who so greatly desired her to sing but was unable to give her both branches at this time, and she had also just pride that her daughter was able through her musical knowledge to give herself the much longed for opportunity which had come to her so unexpectedly. Everything was complete now, and the lessons began at once.

I found in her a real student, a most attentive listener, a voice small but clear and high. Later on in the development it proved very elastic, nothing acceptable below middle C. A pure lyric soprano, it was constantly developing higher in the tones. I often cautioned her not to sing so high, it would not do, when she would reply, "I cannot help it, it just goes there." I paid my closest attention to her for the period of four years. In that time she had not only learned to sing and play, but also studied harmony and languages. Latin and German she studied in school, Italian in the studio with Professor Arena, Spanish from her father, who is a linguist. With all this colossal work for this young mind and her achievements in technic and languages I was yet dissatisfied, for I had not yet received a response that I had longed and hoped for while she was drinking in all this vast amount of knowledge. She never gave out to let me see any result of all this accumulation of musical knowledge which I knew she possessed, never asking a question or advancing any question[Pg 260] or enthusiastic outburst of expression. Being romantic in my interpretation of song I hoped she had imbibed also a strain of it which she lacked, as I noticed in the beginning. I was at my wits' ends to find the spring, but she resisted all my efforts. I knew she was excessively shy but did not think that would prevent her in showing in some way her appreciation of the instruction and her idea of what she had formed of all this teaching, explanation and example in these years.

Her songs were accurately sung in any language with which she was familiar. Her singing was highly complimented upon, yet there was something I had not yet found. I sang many hours for her the old and the new songs and she accompanied with musicianly art, but no expression came to me from her. I got an idea from her mother which songs she liked best and I soon found she had supplied herself with those she did like and I had sung for her in practice. In December, 1909, I at last reaped my reward. She, with other pupils, remembered me, and before bringing her gift she felt as though she had not given me enough, and at last she said, "I must do something more," and entered her room, and closed the door for a half hour. She had given me in verse what she could not say to me. Her excessive shyness prevented her, much as she appreciated my singing and teaching and the interpretation of song and its different modes of expression, whether it be sacred, descriptive, florid or romantic. She portrayed these lines with a poet's art—never did Tennyson write his first efforts with more beautiful description than this young poetess has written in these beautiful lines which I cannot read without emotion. She gave me her affectionate expression in this poem which I appreciate more highly than rubies, and with pride I place her offering in this book of memoirs for all to read and for all young persons who are students to feel that a conscientious teacher deserves their love and appreciation in return for their efforts to develop the highest perfection in the pupil. They cannot all be poets but they can at least honor the master by showing appreciation.

In these four years of study she had outdistanced all of those who began with her in 1908. She plays the organ each Sabbath at the English Lutheran Church. She has several piano pupils and once a week practices two hours in a private ensemble club, violins, cello and piano; has completed the course of harmony of three months, has studied composition, writes songs and the words for them. She has written a number of instrumental pieces for both[Pg 261] hands, and two numbers for the left hand. I have been honored with the gift of two of her songs, one sacred and the other a lullaby. She began in earnest to compose some time ago and these pieces have been the result. She practices the piano about four hours daily. Her compositions are very meritorious. It is my opinion if she keeps up her work that it will not be long before the public of California will have another musician to add to the already great number gone before her. There is but one regret in the makeup of this young aspirant. It is her self-consciousness or excessive shyness, whether physical or mental, in relation to the opinion of others. She is so thoroughly conscientious she will not do anything unless it is just right. If she can overcome this malady in her contact with people there is nothing left in her pathway to prevent her successful career. It has been difficult for me to bear with patience this affliction, for I see too well her future. Shyness is no respecter of persons. Many of our great men like Charles Matthews, Garrick, Sir Isaac Newton, Byron, were afflicted with it and shunned all notoriety. She has fought successfully her other battles, let us hope she will conquer this obstacle also. I, her instructor, will be the first to rejoice in her victory and her Lady Margaret will compel her to write another song. But this time it will be a song of rejoicing and victory.

 

Pupils, 1910-1911


[Pg 262]

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

A LIST OF MY PUPILS

Ach, Annie, 1903, '04High soprano
Ackerly, Mrs., 1901, '02, '03Mezzo-soprano
Adler, Celia, 1890Soprano
Adler, Dora, 1890Soprano
Adler, Elsie, 1900Soprano
Aiken, Mrs., 1896Soprano
Aitken, Mabel, 1898Soprano
Aitken, Mr., 1897High tenor
Allison, George, 1906, '07, '08Baritone, bass
Alwyn, Robert, 1897, '98Baritone, tenor
Alwyn, Stella, 1898Soprano, low
Ames, Lucille, 1910, '11Deep contralto
Andrews, Mattie, 1892, '93Alto
Andrews, Vina, 1892, '93Soprano
Angus, Alice, 1899, 1900, '02, '03Soprano
Angus, Mrs. Helen, 1899, 1900, '01Soprano
Angus, Wm., 1899, 1900, '01Tenor, primo
Arena, Angelina, 1901, '02, '10Mezzo-soprano
Arena, Irvin, 1912Boy soprano
Arbergast, Mr. A., 1900, '01Tenor
Ashley, Chas. H., 1911, '12Lyric tenor
Atchison, Mrs. L.F., 1906Soprano
Atherton, Ethel, 1890, '91Soprano
Atkins, Mr., 1896Baritone
Atkins, Mrs., 1896Soprano
Austin, Grace B., 1887Soprano
Austin, Mrs. L.M., 1895Soprano
Avan, Clara, 1898, '99, '00, '01, '02, '03Soprano
Avan, Hattie, 1902, '03Contralto
Avis, Ethel, 1908Contralto
Bacon, Helen, 1898Soprano
Baer, Mr., 1900Tenor
Baker, Miss Sarah, 1898Soprano
Ball, Louie, 1892Mezzo-soprano
Ballentyne, Will, 1896Bass, baritone
Banta, Clae, 1906, '07High Tenor
Barnes, Pearl, 1909, '10Contralto
Bartlett, Mrs., 1891Contralto
Bauske, Hazel, 1910, '11, '12High soprano
Baylis, Etta, 1905, '06Soprano
Beam, Edith, 1879, '80, '82, '84, '85, '87Soprano, also accompanist
Beam, Mary, 1879, '82, '85Soprano
BeDell, Miss, 1897, '98Soprano
Bercham, Mrs., 1888Soprano
Beretta, Chelice, 1890, '91Low voice
[Pg 263]Beretta, Mrs. I.A., 1894, '95Mezzo-soprano. Passed out of life
Bernard, Dan, 1890Baritone
Bernard, Grace, 1890, '91, '95Soprano
Bernard, Fred, 1890, '91Baritone
Bernard, L.A., 1895Tenor
Bettis, Mrs., 1894, '95, '96, '97Soprano
Bichtel, Helen, 1901Soprano
Bills, Miss, 1897Light soprano
Bishop, Biddle, 1879, '80Bass, baritone
Bisquer, Marceline, 1912Soprano
Blake, Edith, 1886Soprano
Blake, Ella, 1887Contralto
Blake, Mrs. W.E., 1894, '95, '99, '00, '01, '02High soprano. Accompanist for the studio
Blanc, Lottie, 1884Alto
Bloss, Kittie, 1884Soprano
Boise, Miss E., 1879, '85Soprano
Bonham, Mrs., 1900Dramatic soprano
Bolzer, Miss, 1896, '97Soprano
Booth, Miss A.G., 1879, '80, '81Soprano
Booth, Maud, 1908Contralto
Booth, Sue, 1909Contralto
Boutton, Miss Cloy, 1899, '90, '91Dramatic Soprano
Bowers, Genevieve, 1907, '08Contralto
Bowers, Cornelia, 1907, '08, '09Deep contralto
Bowen, Mary, 1884Soprano
Bowles, Bessie, 1908Soprano
Bowles, Kitty, 1898Light soprano
Bowley, Kittie, 1884Dramatic soprano
Bradley, Dolores, 1908, '09, '10Contralto
Brainard, Birdie, 1879, '83, '86, '87Alto (child)
Brainard, Carrie, 1879, '82, '83, '86, '87Soprano (child)
Brandeline, Mrs., 1909Mezzo-soprano
Braun, Mr., 1898Tenor-baritone
Brennan, Misses, 1884Soprano and contralto (sisters)
Brown, Elizabeth, 1879Soprano
Brown, Evelyn, 1890, '91, '92Soprano
Brown, Miss, 1888, '89Mezzo-soprano
Brown, Miss L., 1880, '81Soprano
Brown, Mary, 1884Mezzo-soprano
Bruce, Florence, 1903, '04, '05Lyric soprano
Bruce, Mrs. S.J., 1903, '04, '05Light soprano
Bruce, Ruth, 1904, '05Contralto
Bruce, Winona, 1904, '05, '06Mezzo-soprano
Bruenn, Mrs., 1892, '93Mezzo voice
Brunning, Olive, 1899, 1900Mezzo voice
Brunning, Helen, 1899, 1900Soprano
Brydges, Ada Miss, 1912Contralto-mezzo
Bryant, Miss, 1897, '98, '99, 1900High soprano
Bufford, Anna, 1888Soprano
Bufford, Tidy, 1888Contralto
Bullington, Marie, 1912Soprano
Burch, Madeline, 1912Soprano
Burch, Mrs., 1903Contralto
Burns, Belle, 1892, '93, '96Contralto
Burns, Herbert, 1906Second tenor
Burrell, Mrs., 1895Second alto
Burton, Lester, 1905, '06, '07Bass, baritone (Dead)
[Pg 264]Caldwell, Mrs. O.B., 1900, '01Contralto
Calvin, Alice, 1901, '02, '03, '04, '05Contralto, also accompanist for the studio
Campbell, Mrs. Carrie, 1884Soprano
Campbell, Mrs. J.A., 1881Mezzo-soprano
Cantua, Theresa, 1898, '99, 1900Mezzo-soprano
Cantrell, Kate, 1884Soprano
Carpenter, Miss, 1897Soprano
Carollis, Miss, 1888Mezzo-soprano
Carovyn, Mr., 1897Tenor voice
Carrigan, Mrs., 1896Mezzo-soprano
Carrick, Mrs., 1890, '91, '92, '93Mezzo-soprano
Case, Mrs. J.M., 1894, '96, '97, '98, '99, '01Mezzo-soprano, also accompanist for studio
Cauzza, Genevieve, 1912Mezzo-soprano
Caswell, Mabel, 1890, '91, '92, '93Soprano
Champion, Rose, 1897, '98, '99High soprano (Dead)
Chapman, Sylvia, 1890, '91Soprano
Chase, Linnie, 1906Soprano, also accompanist
Cheschron, Lillian, 1883Soprano
Chase, Mellie, 1890Mezzo-soprano
Christofferson, Jennie, 1900, '01Soprano
Church, Mrs. Lin, 1897Mezzo-soprano
Churchill, Byron, 1901, '02Tenor
Cianciaruolo, Lucia, 1905, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12High soprano
Ciseneros, Henry, 1907Tenor, baritone
Claire, Miss, 1891Soprano
Clifford, Mrs., 1894Soprano
Coghill, Mamie, 1879, 1880Soprano
Cole, Miss, 1888Soprano
Condrin, Mamie, 1884, '85Soprano
Commins, Anna, 1889, '97, '98, '01, '02, '03Soprano
Collins, Mrs. Minnie, 1888Soprano
Conklin, Louisa, 1895Soprano
Connors, Mrs. H., 1888Soprano
Conroy, Anna, 1897, '98, 99Soprano
Cooke, Grace, 1911, '12High soprano
Cooley, Allen, 1892Tenor
Coombs, Miss, 1904, '05Soprano
Cordes, H. Mrs., 1911, '12Mezzo-soprano
Courtain, Gladys, 1903, '04Soprano
Coyne, Miss N., 1901Soprano
Craig, Carrie, 1888Soprano
Cramer, Etta, 1908, '09Soprano
Crandall, Harry, 1900, '01, '02, '10High tenor
Crew, Josie, 1897, '98Contralto, also accompanist for studio
Crew, Louisa Carolyn, 1897, '98, '99, '00Lyric soprano
Cropley, F.M., 1898Soprano
Crossman, Nellie, 1888Contralto
Cullen, Lila, 1904, '05Soprano
Culver, Susie, 1893, '94, '95Soprano
Cummings, Nettie, 1898Soprano
Cunningham, Miss, 1889Soprano
Cunningham, Mrs. Louisa Crossett, 1912Dramatic soprano
Cushing, Lillian, 1898, '99, '01, '02Contralto
Dam, Miss, 1889Contralto
Danielwitz, Carrie, 1900, '01Soprano
Danielwitz, Rose, 1900, '03Mezzo-soprano
[Pg 265]Danish, Mrs., 1897Mezzo-soprano
Davies, Alice, 1910Mezzo-soprano
Dean, Miss, 1890Soprano
Dean, Mrs. J.E., 1910, '11Mezzo-soprano
Deaner, Annette, 1898, '99Soprano
DeBonis, Elvera, 1908, '09Mezzo-soprano
Deetken, Marjorie, 1906, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12Soprano
Delepaine, Mrs., 1887Soprano
Derby, Charles, 1901, '02, '03, '04, '09Tenor
Derby, George, 1901, '02, '03, '04, '05Bass
Derby, Hattie, 1896, '97, '98, '99, '00, '01Soprano
Derby, Sam, 1896Baritone
Derrick, Nellie, 1882, '84, '85Soprano
DeTurbeville, Amy, 1890, '91, '92, '93Soprano
Dickey, Mrs. Clarence, 1888Lyric soprano
Dickey, Lorena, 1905Soprano
Diggins, Miss, 1900, '01Soprano
Doan, Rebecca, 1880Soprano
Dobbins, Miss Grace, 1894, '95, '96, '97, '98, '99Contralto
Dohrmann, Dolores, 1903, '04, '05Soprano, also accompanist
Dorsett, Gertrude, 1911, '12Soprano
Dorr, Ruby, 1884Soprano
Dosier, Miss, 1884Soprano
Doubleday, Mr., 1890, '91Baritone
Dowdel, Addie, 1896, '97, '98, '99, '00Light soprano accompanist
Dowdel, Everett, 1895, '96, '97, '01Tenor
Dowling, Gertrude, 1906, '07, '08, '10, '11, '12Mezzo-soprano
Dowling, Leo, 1908Baritone, bass
Downing, Lennie, 1879, '80, '81, '82Soprano
Drais, Jessie, 1897, '98, '99Contralto
Drake, Mabel, 1904, '05Contralto
Draper, Mrs., 1888Mezzo-soprano
Dugan, Susie, 1880Soprano
Dumont, Ricardo, 1909, '10Tenor, baritone
Durbrow, Kate, 1884Soprano
Dunn, Elizabeth, 1879, '80, '81Mezzo-soprano
Dunn, Mary, 1881Soprano
Dunn, Rebecca, 1879, '80, '81, '85Alto
Dutton, Carrie, 1879, '82, '83, '85, '86, '87, '90Lyric soprano
Dwight, Mr., 1888Bass
Dyer, Ella, 1890, '91, 1900Contralto (Died, 1900)
Edwards, Jessie, 1881Mezzo-contralto
Edwards, Morton, 1880Tenor (Dead)
Edwards, Mrs. Morton, 1886Mezzo-soprano
Edwards, Daisy, Miss, 1884Soprano
Erne, Mrs., 1894Soprano
Ellis, Miss Maud, 1901Soprano
Ellis, Will, 1904Baritone
Embly, Miss, 1897Mezzo-soprano
Englehart, Ethel, 1911Soprano
Epperly, Mrs., 1888Contralto
Eubank, Susie, 1896, '97, '98Soprano
Ewing, Nellie, 1884Soprano
Evans, Mary, 1886Soprano (Deceased)
Farnum, Mrs. C.A., 1884Soprano
Faull, Mrs. Hattie, 1882, '83, '85, '86, '87Soprano
Faull, John, 1879, '82, '85, '86Bass, baritone
Faull, Rose, 1879, '82, '83, '86Soprano
[Pg 266]Faull, Sophia, 1879, '82, '83, '86Alto (Deceased)
Faull, Will, 1894Bass
Finch, Miss Vivian, 1884, '94, '96Soprano
Finney, Miss M., 1898Soprano
Finnigan, Annie, 1886Soprano
Fisk, Mrs., 1882, '83, '84, '85Soprano
Fleming, Mrs., 1888, '89Soprano
Flick, George, 1900Bass
Flotie, Miss, 1891Mezzo-soprano
Fogarty, Miss, 1896Soprano
Folger, Mrs., 1900Soprano (Deceased)
Foote, Miss, 1901Soprano
Ford, Ella, 1894Soprano
Foss, Mrs., 1908Alto
Foster, Annie, 1884Soprano
Foster, Lizzie, 1879, '82, '84, '85Soprano
Foster, Mrs., 1891Soprano
Fountain, Beryle, 1909Contralto
Fox, Mr., 1888Second tenor
Frank, Cora, 1901Soprano
Frankenstein, Sidney, 1889, '90Tenor
Frear, Bessie, 1901Mezzo-soprano
French, Miss, 1895Soprano
Friend, Mrs., 1890Soprano
Frink, Abbie, 1879, '80, '81, '84Soprano
Frink, George, 1881Baritone
Froeb, Emma, 1909Contralto
Frost, Miss, 1901Soprano
Frost, Horatio, 1879, '82, '83, '85, '86Tenor
Frost, Mrs. Mary, 1885Low soprano
Fryer, John, 1896, '97Tenor
Fryer, Regg, 1896Baritone
Fusch, Laura, 1899Contralto
Gale, Mollie, 1904Soprano
Garcia, Louisa, 1900, '01Soprano
Gardiner, Paloma, 1908, '09, '10Contralto
Geischen, Emma, 1893, '94, '95Mezzo-soprano
Georges, Bert, 1896Bass
Gerard, Capt, 1900Baritone
Gerrior, Maud, 1908, '09Contralto
Gerrior, Rev., 1908Baritone, tenor
Gibbs, Miss, 1880, '81Soprano
Gibbs, Miss E.J., 1907Contralto
Giffin, Miss, 1897Soprano
Gilchrist, Jennie, 1898, '99Contralto
Gladding, Annette, 1904Contralto
Gladding, Susie, 1903, '04Mezzo-soprano
Glass, Mrs. Louis, 1887, '89Soprano (Deceased)
Glaze, Mrs., 1891, '92Contralto
Goddard, Mrs., 1888Contralto
Gohst, Miss, 1897Soprano
Goughenheim, Miss, 1891Soprano
Goodfellow, W.S., 1904, '05Primo tenor
Gossip, Claire, 1898Soprano
Granger, Adale, 1907Soprano
Granger, Blanche, 1907Contralto
Graves, Augusta, 1879, '82, '84, '85, '86, '87Contralto (Deceased)
Graves, Bessie, 1879, '82, '84, '85, '86Mezzo voice. Accompanist
[Pg 267]Graham, Mr., 1905Baritone
Grant, E., 1904Contralto
Gray, Maud, 1901, '07Soprano
Greenman, Mrs., 1893Soprano
Greer, Yvonne, 1911, '12Soprano
Griffith, Ella, 1884Contralto
Griswold, Geneva, 1908, '09, '10, '11Soprano
Groenberg, Margot, 1897, 1900Soprano
Grossett, Louisa, 1899, '00Contralto
Guilbault, Agnes, 1898Lyric soprano
Gunn, Anna, 1909, '10Contralto
Gunn, Eva, 1909, '10Soprano
Hackett, Miss, 1879, '80, '81Soprano
Haggard, A., 1880Tenor
Haggard, A., 1881Soprano
Haines, Mr., 1904, '05Tenor
Haley, May, 1898Soprano
Hall, Mrs., 1894Soprano
Halm, Mrs., 1888Contralto
Hanson, Jennie, 1884Soprano
Harlow, Frankie, 1910, '11, '12Contralto
Harney, Miss, 1887Soprano
Harper, Janet, 1881, '82, '83, '84Soprano
Harris, Josie, 1892Soprano
Harrison, Mr., 1906, '07Tenor, baritone
Harrold, Alice, 1879, '80, '81, '84Contralto
Harrold, Elizabeth, 1879, '80, '81, '84, '85, '90, '91Contralto
Harrold, Eva, 1880Soprano
Harrold, Mary, 1879, '80, '81, '84, '90, '91Soprano
Harry, Dolly, 1887Soprano
Hart, Mrs., 1896, 97Soprano
Harvey, Flora, 1895, '96, '99Contralto, also accompanist
Harvey, Richard, 1895Baritone
Hastie, M.A., 1884Soprano
Hawes, Alice, 1884Contralto
Herman, Mrs., 1902Soprano
Hermansen, Christine, 1910, '11Soprano
Hewes, Gertrude, 1879, '81, '84Contralto
Hewes, Miss, 1888Soprano
Hewes, Mrs., 1891Soprano
Hewes, Sarah, 1894, '95, '96Soprano
Hewes, Mr. W., 1887, 1901Tenor
Higgins, E.B., 1887Tenor (Deceased)
Higgins, Mrs., 1887Soprano
Hill, Miss, 1896, '97Soprano
Hino, Walter, 1906Baritone
Hitchcock, Ruth, 1909, '10Contralto
Hodges, Laura, 1892Soprano
Hogan, Eva, 1903Mezzo-soprano
Holland, Julia, 1880Soprano
Holmes, Mr. 1905Bass
Holt, Mrs., 1888Soprano
Horton, Georgia, 1898, '99Contralto
Hosmer, Mr., 1884High tenor
Hough, Ernest, 1892Tenor
Huston, O.J., 1898, '99Tenor
Howard, Kate, 1879, '80, '81Contralto
Howard, Mrs. C.W., 1894Soprano
[Pg 268]Hoyte, Mr., 1896Tenor
Hubbard, Mrs., 1888Soprano
Hudspeth, Mr., 1903, '04Baritone, bass
Hugg, Mrs. J., 1888Soprano
Huffschneider, Mrs., 1903, '04Mezzo-soprano
Huggins, Flora, 1890, '91Soprano
Huggins, Hattie, 1890, '91Contralto
Hughes, Mrs., 1901, '02, '03Contralto
Hunt, Elsie May, 1897, '98, '99, '00, '01Dramatic soprano
Hunter, Alena, 1900, '01, '02, '03, '04Soprano
Hunter, Bertha, 1900, '01Contralto
Hunter, William, 1892Tenor
Hurd, Mrs., 1903Soprano
Hussey, Ida, 1894, '95, '96Mezzo-contralto
Hussey, Minnie, 1896, '97Soprano
Hyde, Marie, 1882, '83, '84Contralto, also accompanist for studio
Hyde, E. Miss, 1898, '99, '00Soprano
Hymes, Mrs. 1903Soprano
Huston, Mrs., 1903Contralto
Ireland, Mrs., 1900Soprano
Israel, Dora, 1889Contralto
Jackson, George, 1908, '09, '10, '11, '12Tenor
Jackson, Mrs., 1904Contralto
Jacobs, Gertrude, 1905Contralto
Jacobs, Lena, 1905Soprano
Jacobs, Miss P., 1901High soprano
Jeffries, Jack, 1900, '01Baritone
Jewell, Mr., 1888Baritone, tenor
Johnston, Rita, 1908Contralto
Jolly, May Stewart, 1886, '87, '89High soprano
Jones, Ethel, 1898, '99, '00High soprano, also accompanist
Jones, Lillian, 1884Soprano
Jones, Ilma, 1908, '09, '10Soprano
Jones, J.W., 1887Tenor
Jones, Mary, 1884Alto
Jones, Miss, 1879Soprano
Jones, Mrs., 1894, '95, '97Contralto
Joran, Pauline 1884, '85Contralto
Jordan, M.F., 1895Soprano
Jory, Blanche, 1890, '91Soprano
Jory, Ethel, 1890, '91Contralto
Jory, Lillian, 1886, '87Soprano
Katzenbach, Charles, 1908, '09Tenor
Kean, Mrs., 1899Soprano
Keith, Wm H., 1881Baritone-tenor
Kelly, Edith, Miss, 1885Soprano
Kelly, Miss A., 1897Soprano
Kelly, Sarah, 1879Soprano
Kelly, Louisa FoltzContralto, also accompanist
Kerby, Mrs. A., 1903Soprano
Kennedy, Walter, 1910Bass, baritone
Kern, J., 1884, '85Baritone
Kerosier, Miss, 1889Soprano
Kiel, Stella, 1907Soprano
Kimball, Lorena, 1903, '04, '05Soprano (Deceased)
Kitridge, Mary, 1879, '80Soprano
Knight, Christmas, 1903, '04Soprano
Knight, Emma, 1890, '92Soprano
[Pg 269]Knight, Eva, 1890, '91, '92Mezzo-soprano
Koch, Ada, 1890, '91, '92Soprano
Kroh, Blanche, 1908Soprano
Kroh, Mary, 1908Contralto
Krueckle, Anna, 1904, '05, 06, '07Contralto, also accompanist
Kullman, Celia, 1879, '80, '81, '82, '84, '85, '86, '89, '90Soprano
Kullman, Hattie, 1885Mezzo-soprano
Ladd, Mrs., 1894Soprano
Laher, Frida, 1903, '05Soprano
Lake, Hazel, 1901Soprano
Lamping, Hazel, 1905, '06Soprano
Lancaster, Lillian, 1892Soprano
Lancaster, Lottie, 1892Soprano
Lancaster, Susie, 1892Mezzo-soprano
Lane, Clara, 1908, '09Soprano
Lang, Eliza, 1879, '80Soprano
Lanktree, Bessie, 1900, '01, '12Contralto
Lanktree, Susie, 1900, '01Soprano
Larue, Grace, 1895, '96Contralto
Larue, Laura, 1903Mezzo-soprano
Law, Marguerite, 1898Contralto
Lawlor, Mrs., 1893Soprano
Layes, Frankie R., 1890, '91Soprano
Lazinsky, Josie, 1889Contralto
Leach, Mrs. Wm., 1895, '96, '97Soprano
Leach, Wm., 1895, '96, '97Tenor
Learn, Chas., 1897Bass
Leary, Dan, 1903Baritone
Leavenworth, Mr., 1890Tenor
Lee, Frank, 1897, '98, 1900, '01, '02, '04, '05, '06Bass Baritone
Lee, Henry T., 1906, '07,'08, '09,'10Tenor
Leist, Bertha, 1890, '91Contralto
Lenoir, Miss, 1892, '93Soprano
Lessig, Mrs. C, 1896, '98, '99Contralto
Levy, Mrs., 1890Contralto
Lewis, Mr., 1908Tenor
Lewis, Mrs. Nellie, 1895, '96Soprano
Libby, Alice, 1901, '08Soprano
Livingston, Malsie, 1900, '01Soprano
Lloyd, Mrs. Chas., 1899Soprano
Longmore, Miss, 1879Soprano
Lorsbach, Mrs., 1900, '01Soprano
Louderback, Carol, 1904, '05, '06, '07, '08Soprano
Louderback, Jean, 1904, '05, '06, '07, '08Soprano
Louderback, Mrs. Caroline, 1904, '05, '06, '07, '08, '11, '12Soprano
Lount, Miss, 1885Soprano
Love, Minnie, 1884Soprano
Lovick, Mary. 1906, '07, '08, '09Contralto
Lynch, Mrs. G., 1892Soprano
Lynd, Mr., 1899Tenor
Lynns, Miss, 1906Soprano
Lysale, Miss, 1902Contralto
McCarty, Miss, 1901Soprano
McCloskey, Desaix, 1905, '06, '07Baritone
McCloskey, Florence, 1904, '05, '06Soprano
McClure, Mr., 1904Tenor
McConkey, C.M., 1888Tenor
McCullough, Jennie, 1896, '97, '06Contralto
[Pg 270]McCullough, Mrs. B.T.Contralto
McCutcheon, Mattie, 1910Soprano
McDonald, Miss, 1895, '96Soprano
McDonough, Anna, 1906Soprano
McDonough, Ella, 1901Contralto
McDonough, Helen, 1905, '06Soprano
McFarlane, Ivan, 1906Tenor
McFarlane, Mabel, 1906Soprano
McGovern, Maggie, 1879Soprano
McIntosh, Miss I., 1898Soprano
McMahan, Bernard, 1906, '07, '08Baritone
McMahon, Ella, 1902, '03Contralto
McMahon, Miss, 1902, '03Soprano
McLogan, Lizzie Miss, 1884Soprano
McPhale, Mrs., 1894, '95Contralto
Mackey, Kate, 1879, '80, '81Soprano
Macomber, Mrs., 1903Soprano
Magruder, Tony, 1879, '80Mezzo-soprano
Maguire, Alice, 1882, '83, '84Soprano
Maitland, Velma, 1906Soprano (Deceased)
Manning, Miss Davitte, 1897, '98Soprano
Mausel, Miss, 1901Soprano
Marvin, Josie, 1897, '98, '99, '00Mezzo-soprano
Mauerheim, Aggie, 1890, '91, '92Soprano
Mauerheim, Minnie, 1890, '91, '92Contralto
Maul, Matilda J., 1905, '06, '07Mezzo-soprano, also accompanist
Mayfield, Miss, 1888Mezzo-soprano
Mead, Miss C., 1886Soprano
Melvin, Will, 1894, '95, '96, '97Bass
Melquiond, Clairess, 1905, '06Soprano
Melquiond, Lester, 1906, '07Baritone
Melquiond, Mrs. Rilly, 1905, '06Mezzo-soprano
Merrill, Frank, 1898, 1903, '04Bass
Merrill, George, 1898, '99, '00Baritone
Merry sisters (2), 1897Soprano (children)
Merzbach, Mrs., 1890, 1901Soprano
Mertzfelter, Mrs., 1890Soprano
Mesro, Mattie, 1895Soprano
Michler, Mrs., 1896Soprano
Michlosen, Mrs., 1908Soprano
Milan, Laura, 1894Soprano
Milan, Mrs., 1894Mezzo-soprano
Millar, Grace, 1900Soprano
Millar, Florence, 1903, '04Mezzo-soprano
Millar, Anna, 1896, '97Contralto
Millar, Bertha, 1903Soprano
Millar, Evelyn, 1903Contralto
Millar, Martha, 1898Contralto
Millar, Rachael, 1898, 1902Soprano
Minor, Mabel, 1907Soprano
Monett, Emma, 1898, '99, '00Mezzo-soprano
Moore, A.A. Jr., 1896Baritone-tenor
Moore, Miss Carmen, 1896Soprano
Moore, Bina, 1890, '91Soprano
Morris, Mrs. H.C., 1895Soprano
Moses, Clara, 1900Soprano
Moss, Miss, 1887, '89, '90Soprano
Muhler, Mr., 1898Tenor
[Pg 271]Mulgrew, Margaret, 1912Soprano
Mullen, Miss, 1879, '80, '82, '85Soprano
Muller, Mrs., 1908, '09Contralto
Munch, Mrs. Emma, 1906, '07, '08, '10Soprano
Munday, Evelyn, 1903Soprano
Munson, Clarence, 1898, '99, 1900, '01Baritone
Murphy, Edith, 1903Contralto
Myers, Cecile, 1905, '06, '07, '08Mezzo-soprano
Nagle, Ethel, 1898, '99, '00, '06, '07, '10, '11Soprano, also accompanist
Near, Dr. J. LeRoy, 1908Bass
Neblicker, Frank, 1901Baritone-tenor
Newell, Bessie, 1892, '93, '94Soprano
Noble, Miss, 1880Soprano
Noonan, Elsie, 1898, '99, '00Soprano
Norcross, Mr., 1884Baritone
Nordin, Mrs. Alice, 1900, '01Soprano
Norman, Lillian, 1807, '08Soprano
Norton, Daisy, 1895, '96Soprano
Oaks, Marjorie, 1894, '95, '96, 1901Contralto, also accompanist
O'Brien, Mr. and Mrs., 1907Soprano and Tenor
O'Brien, Mrs. Alice, 1891Soprano
Olds, Brilliant, 1906Soprano
Olney, Mrs. Carrol, 1897Contralto
O'Neal, Fannie, 1900Soprano
Osborn, Anita, 1910Soprano
Osborn, Dade, 1910Bass
Oxley, Mr., 1908Tenor
Page, Miss, 1898, '99Mezzo-soprano
Palloci, Miss, 1902Soprano
Palmer, R.C., 1908Tenor-baritone
Partington, Richard, 1896, '97Tenor
Payne, John, 1907Bass
Payne, Kate, 1899, 1900, '01, '07Contralto (Deceased)
Peart, Lloyd, 1879, '82, '85Baritone
Peck, Kate, 1880, '82Alto
Peltris, Alma, 1902Contralto
Perata, Annie, 1898, '99, 1900Soprano
Perata, Jack, 1906, '07Tenor-baritone
Percival, Mrs., 1894Soprano
Perkins, C., 1888Tenor
Persbaker, Ruby, 1899Contralto
Peterson, George, 1901, '02Bass
Peterson, Minnie, 1900, '01Soprano
Peterson, Pauline, 1900, '01Soprano (Deceased)
Petrie, Elite, 1911, '12Soprano
Peters, R.A., 1910Baritone
Pettie, Mr., 1898Tenor
Pettie, Mrs., 1898, '99Soprano
Pfeifer, Miss, 1894, '95Soprano
Phillips, Ethel, 1909, '10Soprano
Phillips, Miss, 1882, '85Soprano
Phillips, Myrtle, 1879Soprano
Phelps, Miss, 1908Soprano
Pierson, Henry, 1912Bass-baritone
Pinkston, Virginia, 1908, '09Soprano
Pinney, Grace, 1898, '99Soprano
Pippy, George, 1879, '80, '81Tenor
[Pg 272]Pittman, Mrs. Ethel, 1906, '07, '08, '11, '12Soprano, also accompanist
Pitts, Mrs., 1894, '95Contralto
Pollard, Daisy, 1892, '93Soprano
Pollard, Etta, 1892, '93, '94Contralto (Deceased)
Porter, Ruby, 1899Soprano
Potts, Mr., 1903Bass
Powell, Miss, 1891Soprano
Powell, Mrs., 1887, '89Soprano
Pratt, Miss, 1905, '08, '12Contralto
Pratt, Mrs. 1911, '12Mezzo-soprano
Presher, Ethel, 1906, '07Soprano
Price, Nettie, 1892, '93, '94Soprano
Price, Pauline, 1888Soprano
Prince, Mrs., 1890, '91Soprano
Pritchard, Mrs. Jessie, 1897, '98Soprano
Proctor, Arthur, 1910Bass
Quinn, Miss, 1898Soprano
Ralston, Bessie, 1900Soprano
Ramsey, Emma, 1908, '09Soprano
Ramsey, Inga, 1908, '09Mezzo-soprano
Ramsey, Peter, 1908, '09Tenor
Randall, Mrs., 1880Soprano
Rashman, Miss, 1906Soprano
Raybum, Cora, 1900, '01Mezzo-soprano
Reed, Grace, 1898Soprano
Reeves, Mr. R.E., 1895Baritone
Reyes, Mrs., 1898, '99, 1900, '02Mezzo-soprano
Reynolds, Miss, 1891Soprano
Rhinehart, Mrs., 1879, '85Contralto
Rhodes, Kitty, 1898Soprano
Rice, Amy, 1898, '99, 1901Soprano
Richardson, Mrs., 1908Soprano
Richardson, Martha, 1884Soprano
Riley, Mrs., Edna, 1907, '08, '10, '11Contralto
Robinson, Mr., 1904, '05Baritone
Roden, Mary Kroh, 1911, '12Contralto
Rodgers, Leo, 1890, '91, '98, '99, 1900Tenor-baritone
Romaine, William, 1884Bass
Rosenkranze, Maggie, 1884Soprano
Root, Kate, 1886, '87Soprano
Root, Geo. B., 1880, '81, '82, '83, '84, '85, '86Tenor
Root, Mrs. Geo. B., 1883, '84, '85, '86, '87Soprano
Runcie, Master, 1901Boy soprano
Russell, Mrs., 1896, '97, '98Soprano
Rutherford, Marcia, 1901Soprano
Sadler, Miss, 1890Soprano
Sanderson, Georgia, 1891Soprano
Sands, Anna, 1900, '01Soprano
Sanford, Alice M., 1908, '09, '10, '11, '12Soprano, also accompanist
Sanford, Elinor, 1892, '93Mezzo-soprano dramatico
Sanford, Hoyle E., 1908, '09, '10, '11, '12Baritone
Saulsbury, Mrs., 1880, '82, '84Mezzo-soprano
Saunders, Daisy, 1900Soprano
Schmidt, Alice, 1907Soprano
Schmidt, Alma, 1895, '96Soprano
Schultz, Sayde, 1911, '12Contralto
Sellac, Mattie, 1884Contralto
Sears, Mary, 1908Soprano
[Pg 273]Shair, Grace, 1882, '84Soprano
Shaw, Lauretta, 1894, '95, '96, '97Mezzo-soprano
Shaw, Mabel, 1894, '95, '98, '99, 1900Soprano
Shepherd, Miss, 1885Soprano
Shoonemaker, Miss, 1901Soprano
Shulken, Albert E., 1908, '09Baritone
Simmons, Mrs., 1885Mezzo-soprano
Simmons, Mr., 1884Tenor
Simmons, Mrs. M., 1907Soprano
Sinnard, Mrs., 1897Contralto
Skelly, Miss, 1885Soprano
Skinner, George, 1888Tenor
Slatterly, Mrs. W., 1895Soprano
Slaughter, Mrs., 1906Soprano
Small, Bernice, 1912Soprano
Smith, Ada, 1888Soprano
Smith, Etta, 1879, 1882Mezzo-soprano
Smith, Miss Fay, 1907Soprano
Smith, Frank, 1898, '99Tenor
Smith, Horace, 1884Baritone
Smith, Miss, 1894Soprano
Smith, Mrs. H., 1885Soprano
Smith, Luella, 1888Soprano
Smith, Anna, 1884Soprano
Smith, Mrs. S.S., 1912Soprano
Smith, W.C., 1899Tenor
Snow, J.L., 1898, '99Tenor
Solomon, Minnie, 1889, '91Soprano
Soule, Mrs., 1888Soprano
Sprecher, Ella, 1884Soprano
Sroufe, Dolly, 1879, '80, '82, '84, '87Soprano
Sroufe, Georgia, 1879, '80, '82, '84, '85Soprano
Sroufe, Susie, 1879, '80, '82, '84, '85Soprano
Starkey, Arma B., 1912Soprano
Steele, Mrs., 1895Soprano
Stevens, Annie, 1883Mezzo-soprano
Stevens, Carrie, 1880Soprano
Stevens, Louisa, 1887Contralto
Stevenson, Bert, 1908Tenor
Stewart, Mae, 1886, '87Soprano
Stewart, Susie, 1889Contralto
Steifvater, Ida, Mrs., 1906, '07Soprano
Stickler, Mr., 1890Tenor
Stoddard, Grace, 1903Soprano
Stoffles, Mrs., 1908, '09Mezzo-soprano
Stolp, E.J., 1898Baritone-tenor
Stolp, Miss, 1899Soprano
Stoner, Viola, 1905, '06, '07Contralto
Story, Mrs., 1888Mezzo-soprano
Storer, Miss Kate, 1903, '04, '05Soprano
Storer, Emma, 1903, '04Mezzo-soprano
Stubbs, Miss, 1905Soprano
Swain, Mrs., 1894Mezzo-soprano
Swale, Lillian, 1902Soprano
Swan, Eva, 1890Soprano
Swan, Miss P., 1900, '01Soprano
Taylor, Miss, 1894, '95, '96, '97, '98, '99Soprano
Taylor, Chas., 1898, '99Baritone
[Pg 274]Teague, Mrs. W., 1912Soprano, dramatic
Terpening, Ruth, 1909Contralto
Thomas, Anna, 1897Soprano, also accompanist
Thomas, Edward, 1897, '98Bass
Thompson, Mrs., 1894Soprano
Thorn, William, 1900, '01Baritone
Tooker, Elsie, 1888Soprano
Tooker, Mrs. S., 1888Mezzo-soprano
Town, Mrs., 1888Soprano
Treaby, Mr., 1897Tenor
Treadwell, Florence, 1896, '97, '98Soprano
Tregar, Mrs., 1888Soprano (Phenomenal, 3 octaves)
Trumbell, Miss, 1895Soprano
Turner, Mr., 1898Baritone-tenor
Turner, Rachael, 1902Soprano
Turner, Esther, 1902, '03Soprano
Tyler, Mrs., 1901Soprano
Upham, Mrs. Isaac, 1879, '80, '81Soprano (Deceased)
Valentine, Inza, 1905, '06, '07, '08Contralto
Valentine, Stella, 1898, '05, '06, '07, '08Soprano
Van Pelt, Mrs. Georgia, 1884Soprano
Van Winkle, Alice, 1879, '80, '81Soprano
Van Winkle, Henry, 1879, '80Tenor
Van Winkle, Nellie, 1879, '80Mezzo-soprano
Van Winkle, Aida, 1879, '80, '81Soprano, also accompanist
Victory, Arthur, 1901, '02, '03, '09Baritone-tenor
Von Glehn, E., 1906Soprano
Walcott, Minnie Walcott, 1884Soprano
Wakott, Louisa, 1895, '96, '98Soprano
Wall, Annie, 1888Contralto
Walls, Miss, 1901Soprano
Walther, Marie, Miss, 1896, '97Soprano
Waite, Mrs., 1888Soprano
Ward, Fanny, 1890, '91Contralto
Waterous, Miss, 1900Dramatic Contralto
Wansner, Miss Ida, 1904, '05Soprano
Wedgewood, Mrs., 1898Soprano
Welsh, Grace, 1882Soprano
Wells, Mrs. E., 1888Contralto
Westeran, Mrs., 1908Dramatic mezzo-soprano
Westphal, Mrs., 1891, '92, '93Soprano
White, Mabel, 1890, '91, '92Lyric soprano
Whitney, Mae, 1886, '87, '89Contralto, also accompanist
Whittlesy, Mrs., 1884Soprano
White, Lester, 1896Tenor
Whyte, Malcolm, 1897Tenor
Wight, Edna, Mrs., 1912Soprano
Wick, Miss, 1898, '99Soprano
Wild, Ella, 1894Soprano
Wilhelm, Otto, 1901, '03, '04Baritone-tenor
Wilkins, Mae, 1894Soprano
Wilkinson, Miss, 1894Soprano
Willcox, Mr., 1907Tenor-baritone
Williams, Gertie, 1892Soprano
Williams, Miss Etta, 1894Soprano
Williams, Miss, 1889Soprano
Williams, Sadie, 1896, '97Contralto
Willings, Mr., 1896Bass
[Pg 275]Willis, Master, 1888Boy soprano
Willis, Miss, 1888Soprano
Wilmott, Susie, 1884Soprano
Wilson, A.E., 1892, '93, '94Soprano
Wilson, Maud Booth, 1910Contralto
Wilson, Gladys, 1908, '09, '10Soprano
Wilson, Alice, 1889, '90, '91Soprano
Wilson, Miss A., 1901, '02, '03Soprano
Wilson, Ernest, 1907Tenor-baritone
Winsor, Mrs., 1896, '97, '98, '99, 1900Soprano
Wiscarver, Norma, 1911, '12Contralto
Witthall, Delia, 1894, '95, '96, '97, 1908Contralto
Wood, Dr. J.W., 1897, '98Tenor
Woodel, Miss, 1895Soprano
Woodly, Carrie, 1895Soprano
Woodside, Mrs., 1892Soprano
Woodworth, E. Leslie, 1906, '07, '09, '10Tenor
Wooly, Bessie, 1898, '99Soprano
Worden, Hattie, 1880, '81. '85, '86Alto
Worden, Nettie, 1879, '80, '81, '85, '86, '89Soprano
Wright, Mr., 1907Bass
Yarndley, Mattie, 1894Alto
Yarnold, Hattie, 1892Soprano
Young, Ruth, 1908, '09Soprano
Zander, Mattie, 1896, '98, 1900, '01Soprano
Zimmerman, Daisy, 1880, '98, '99, 1900Soprano
Zedeskie, Miss, 1888Mezzo-soprano, also accompanist

 

Pupils, 1910-1911

Pupils, 1911-1912

 

This list of men, women and young people are the names of pupils who have been under my instruction in San Bernardino, San Francisco and Oakland for the three decades, 1882 to 1912.

It does not include singers who have simply received coaching in choirs I have directed, but only those who have had individual lessons in voice placement and the art of song.

I am very proud to know that, while all have not distinguished themselves, there are in this list names of teachers of good repute, also prima donnas and men singers of established renown in this country and in Europe.

It is especially a great satisfaction to me to note that, while numbers of my pupils have studied with the great masters in the East and abroad after leaving my studio, they have come back to testify to the correctness of my prior instruction in the principles of legitimate song.

Margaret Blake-Alverson

Oakland, California
February, 1913





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