personal history: Fern’s Memories of her Grandfather.
far as I know he was born in Boston, Mass.
He was the eldest of six children. His father was killed in a small boat
accident under a railroad trestle when Oliver was twelve years old. It was
necessary for him to work and help his mother support the family.
job was found on a farm helping an elderly couple who were kind to him. After
working six months, the kind people loaned him a team of oxen and ox cart to
travel the eight miles home to see his mother. The cart was filled with wood
and a milk cow was tied behind. His
mother was in great need of a cow. The trip nearly became a disaster when the
oxen became very thirsty and they approached a stream of water. Oliver was unable to control them and he
thought the cart would be turned over and ruined, however it remained right
side up. The homecoming was a most
joyous occasion for all after the six months separation.
was a Northerner and just sixteen when the Civil War broke out and he
volunteered for the duration. When he was lined up for the first battle and he
saw his best buddy fall at his side he hoped he would be the next to fall. One
night after arriving at the place of battle, the soldiers spent the night
digging a trench with their tin cups. The commander arrived drunk the next
morning and ordered them out of the trenches to fight. There were around 200
troops. At the end of the day Oliver
was one of 18 able to rally around the Flag. The officer was stripped of his
brass and dishonorably discharged.
were swamps to cross on foot with mud and water to the armpits, also gear to
carry. The food consisted largely of
hard tack and a very thin bean soup. One soldier found a whole bean in his
soup. The soldier carried it on a spoon
followed by the company band and buried I outside the camp. When the war ended Oliver had lost the
hearing in one ear from a shell bursting close by and the loss on one index
Oliver was in his early twenties he got a young lady to do up his shirts for
him. When the mother felt they were
paying too much attention to each other she told her daughter when Olive came
for his shirts to tell him she would no longer be able to do them for him. She
was only fifteen and too young to be serious with the young man. As it
happened, mother wasn’t at home when he came.
They talked it over and decided to elope on the horse he was riding.
When mother came and they were gone she decided to stop them, but arrived at
the Judges too late. The marriage was a good and stable until the end when
death parted them forty-five years later. They were devoted to each other.
children were born to Oliver and Alice.
Only seven daughters survived early childhood, our Mothers, Flora,
Grace, Myrtle, Millicent, Bertha, Elsie and Olive.
of Grandpa’s last acts just a few weeks before he passed away speaks eloquently
of the kind of man he was, even though he was almost 70 years old. He had lost Alice two years before and he
was an old man. The next door lady had a drunken husband and several teen-aged
daughters besides a younger boy. It was
the Vintage Festival time, and most folks enjoyed the evenings of celebrations
in the little town. Grandpa felt it not
safe for them to walk to town or come home in the dark at 11:00 at night, so he
would hitch up the horse to the old surrey and take them to town, come home and
unhitch the horse and put him in the barn, go to bed and get up at eleven,
hitch the horse again, go to town and bring them home. The celebration lasted about a week.
Grandfather had a beautiful sweet bass voice. That beautiful voice still rings
in my ears. He loved to sing.
last time Grandma was at our house was when my sister Grace was born. As we five children gathered around her
knees she asked us if we would like to see her big penny. Of course we were all
eager as she took a $20.00 gold piece from her purse. The first one I had ever seen, and I think the last. Our Grandparents were small people, but
stood very tall in our estimation.
became ill the night before Thanksgiving, 1913. He was not able to leave his bed to eat Thanksgiving dinner with
us, but asked that Aunt Millie save him a little of the gravy. A young man nurse from the St. Helena
Sanitarium was hired to come and care for him until he passed away in
December. He had worked hard all during
his life and was well deserving of his rest which he welcomed. He had been very lonely since Grandma’s
passing. His funeral was held in the
St. Helena S.D.A Church. Grandma was
not quite sixty and Grandpa not quite seventy at the time of their passing.
history, unknown author. Grandpa lived in Baker Island MA and worked as a light
keeper. After their boy Willie died in the well, they left. Mostly, Grandpa was
a butcher, but he also farmed.
night during a blizzard, he was coming home and the wolves were at his heels.
He turned over the sled and stayed under it until morning. Grandpa brother was
the Band Master for President Lincoln’s band. The band was famous in MA. A
niece played in the Boston Sympathy.
was 16 when he joined the Civil War. He had the 4th finger blown
off; it is all that happened to him. Grandpa brother was a prisoner for a long
time. Grandpa and Grandma came to California in 1902, they first lived at
“Barrow Station” is St. Helena, CA. My Father and Mother were married in Santa
Seymour didn’t come to California. Grandma Webber is buried in St. Helena
cemetery. Grandpa Allen is buried in Imola cemetery, Napa, CA. Grandpa Webber
died in Moose Lake, Minn.