Written by my Grandma, Hazel F. (Browne) Curtis
July 3, 1977
YOUR GREAT, GREAT GRANDPARENTS (THE BAKERS)
The family of your great, great grandfather, John S. Baker (i.e., his ancestors and descendants are covered by the Baker Genealogy written by Nelson M. Baker, with an addendum added by me. This book has been published and copies can be found at various sources, including the Salt Lake City Genealogical Library.) I know very little about my Grandma Baker. She and Grandpa were married in Waupaca, Wisconsin in 1866. Her name was Hannah Maria South. She had one brother whom she called Chance. They had lived in the New England states before moving to Wisconsin. I regret that I know so little of her early life. she was a wonderful person; very quiet, a hard worker and wonderful cook. She knitted mittens, hoods and stockings for all the family. She also pieced many quilts.
I can remember visiting her many times in her homes in Marietta, Dawson and Redwood Falls, Minnesota.
She churned butter in a "barrel churn". She sat beside it and turned a crank and the barrel went round and round. Her cooking was from old New England recipes: baked beans, steamed brown bread and pumpkin pies. She always had a vegetable garden, Rhode Island chickens and lovely flower gardens. She was born on October 12, 1845 and died on September 13, 1935 at the age of 90. Grandpa Baker joined a Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment in 1863. His brother, Horatio, had joined in 1861 and was Captain of the Regiment. He served for five years and had been taken prisoner. He became very sick and was set free because they thought he would die anyway. He crawled on his hands and knees to the Union Camp and made it to safety, and later regained his health. After the Civil War ended, he was given a job in the Mint in San Franscisco, California. He died in Oregon.
Grandpa became ill during his service in the Civil War and was in a hospital near enough to hear the tramp of soldiers as they marched through on their way to Georgia. In 1911, Grandpa went to Tennessee one summer. He had always wanted to go back and when my father bought some property in Tennessee, he took the opportunity to go back and see the land father had purchased. He had a heart attack while he was back there and died in Tennessee.
YOUR GREAT, GREAT GRANDPARENTS (THE BROWNES)
My Grandpa Browne was of Holland Dutch descent and I have been told his family moved from the United States to Osnabruck Center in the province of Ontario in Canada. All I know of his family is that he had one brother, Will Browne, who lived at a place called Dickenson's Landing on the Saint Lawrence River, not far from my grandparents' home. I think the name Browne was probably spelled differently when it was a Dutch name.
Grandpa died when he was sixty-five. Grandma lived to be 89. They had twelve children. They are listed in the beginning of this story. Our visit to Grandma is written about in an earlier Chapter as well.
Addendum, September 18, 1977: I just put another picture in the envelope in the back of this book. It was taken in 1899 shortly after we returned from our visit to our Grandma Browne in Canada. She is your Great, Great Grandma, Sarah Browne. She was born in Scotland. Her mother was born in England and her father was a Scotch stone mason. Her parents were not too happy that she married a working man. They had five children: four girls, Sarah, Suzannah, Emily and Christine (Tina), and one boy, John. When we visited her in Canada, we also visited all of her surviving sisters, Suzannah (Browne) Green, Emily (Browne) Loucks and Tina (Browne) Sanderson. Tina lived with Emily. She had never married. Grandma Browne had twelve children but the other girls never had a child amongst them.
You will notice how different our clothes were from the ones children wear now. Mother bought the plaid material for my sister, Ella May's and my dresses in Cornwall, Canada, when we visited Aunt Emily there. She hired a dressmaker in Cornwall to make the dresses, just alike. In those days, little boys dressed in short pants and Lord Fauntelroy jackets and blouses, just as my little brothers were.
My grandchildren are growing up fast. First there is Nancy Lou, twenty-five and holding a job as a capable clerk for the city of Davis, California. She has been there four years now. She drives a big Lincoln Continental car back and forth from Davis to visit her family in Brooks. She has her own apartment now, which she is sharing with a nice Japanese girl named Ellen. She likes old folks and likes to cook. She visits retired ladies who make their home in convalescent hospitals and takes them nut loaves. She takes her former neighbor in Brooks, Maude Eckhardt, 93 years old, to the Guinda Church on Sundays. When she visits me, she brushes down my cob webs on the ceiling and cleans my overhead light fixtures. Can you blame me for being proud of her?
December 13, 1979
Nancy bought her own home in Davis on September 30, 1979. She rents out two bedrooms for extra income. She also has a new car. Her address is 1608 Monarch Lane in Davis, California.
On June 24, 1977, we wended our way to Reno, Nevada, After traveling on a superhighway and passing all the evidences of civilization, we came to the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada: lovely bushes covered with white blooms growing beneath and among pine, fir and cedar trees; lovely wild sweet peas growing along the highway in dry soil, and also daisies and other wildflowers. The we came to magnificent rock formations and hills covered with sagebrush. Finally we came to our destination in the crazy city of Reno. Motels upon motels, eating places and people by the thousands intent on getting rich in a hurry; spending nickles, dimes and dollars and earning just enough to encourage them to keep spending more and more.
We ate lunch and then went to our motel to change to our wedding clothes. Then we went to the wedding chapel where your brother, Stanley and his fiancee, Lela Waddell, were to be married. The people in charge of the wedding were very nice. The reception room was decorated with pretty artificial flowers and a lovely (imitation) wedding cake was on display.
In due time, they asked the parents to come into the wedding chapel and they were given front row seats. Then the grandparents were brought in and seated behind the parents; groom's folks on the right, bride's on the left. Then came the brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, and friends of the bride and groom. Then we could hear the strains of "Here Comes the Bride" and in came the bridesmaid and Mr. Waddell leading the lovely bride, Lela.
Stanley and his attendant, Paul Lowrey, entered, followed by the minister. I was pleased to hear he was truly a minister, retired. He exchanged pleasantries with Lela and Stanley and then performed the marriage ceremony, uniting them in marriage. He told Stanley to kiss the bride. And there stood Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Holland awaiting the congratulations of their family and friends.
I was proud of our newlyweds. They were such nice, wholesome looking young people. And Stanley in his new brown suit; and Lela in her dainty white wedding dress, not overly ornamental, but just right for Lela. There were twenty-three wedding guests in all and Lela's father had made arrangements for a nice dinner at the Nugget in Sparks, Nevada for the wedding party. It was a lovely party and a nice ending to a perfect day, the wedding day of Stanley and Lela Holland, June 24, 1977.
They decided to defer the honeymoon until later when there was not so much to be done on the ranch. So after a few hours in Reno, they returned to the ranch and their new (old) home, the Curtis ranch house built in 1902 for Stanley's great grandparents, the C.H. Curtises; and the home into which my husband, Vera D. Curtis, and myself moved into after our marriage in the Congregational Church parsonage in Grass Valley, California on December 1, 1923. The same home that saw the birth of Stanley's mother, Martha LaVerne Curtis (Holland), in 1924. Wishing them much happiness in the old family homestead. H.F.C.
THEN THERE IS SHIRLEY, MY THIRD GRANDCHILD
Shirley Ann, who became a member of the Holland family February 18, 1963, instead of waiting four more days to my birthday present, on February 22nd. My date of birth was February 22, 1892. Shirley's brother, Stanley Edward, wanted a baby brother very much, but surprisingly, after some initial sulking, was delighted with the baby sister. She has been a great joy to all the family.
She is fourteen, and just finished the eighth grade at Esparto Junior High School, in June 1977. She will enter Esparto High School in September. She has been a good student and I hope will continue her good work at E.U.H.S. She is her daddy's handyman and is a great help to him around the farm. She has learned to drive a car and drives my old '63 Dodge down to the bus stop, where she parks it under the big cedar tree until she comes home from school.
She and her mother, and sister Nancy, on weekends, tend to irrigating the alfalfa and work in the almond huller during the almond season.