hen I was a
young girl, my grandmother told me many things about her life,
but like most little girls, I never paid close attention. Like
when she proudly mentioned that her grandmother was
Lady-in-waiting to the Queen of England. Her pride was
puzzling, because I thought her grandmother was a maid in the
palace. No wonder she eloped with the Irish tutor. Later,
other family members said that great-great grandmother was a
member of the Bowes family, while others mentioned the
most interesting story grandma told me occurred not long after
she met and married grandfather, Earl Alford Wayne, who was
involved with mining. She met him while traveling with her
mother on the Narrow Gauge railroad that ran from Virginia
City, Nevada to Grass Valley, California. He was quite
smitten, and shortly thereafter the two were united in
marriage. Their bliss was short lived. Grandma learned that he
was not legally divorced from his previous wife. Thoroughly
embarrassed, she made him finish his divorce. Afterwards they
remarried and moved to Arizona where he became associated with
Hoval Smith who later became the president of the Anaconda
Company. Consequently, our father (the first of their two
sons) was named in honor of Smith. Grandfather's mining
exploits took them to many places, where they met interesting
and prominent people. At one time they lived at the Waldorf
Astoria Hotel in New York City. He was a member of the Mining
While grandfather was managing a
mine in Sonora, Mexico (1905), a young Mexican named Pancho
Villa supplied the miners with fresh meat. He too, admired
grandma's red hair, which would be very important years later.
Eventually grandfather and Villa went their separate ways;
each involved with the politics of their countries. Our
grandparents left the mine in Mexico and returned to their
home in Arizona...Or was it New Mexico, where grandfather and
associates purchased the Last Chance -Ernestine Mine.
During our visit to Silver City, New
Mexico in April (2007) we stopped at the local museum to see
if we could find anything about our grandparents. The people
who worked there went through their files and did find a few
newspaper account about them. One mentioned they moved a lot
(as Uncle Earl said) and that one house they lived in had
burned the following year, and was sold. We browsed the
history books in the museum and the thought "muggy owen" kept
popping into my head, but I couldn't find anything on it. Even
while I was staring at a stack of books titled "The Mogollon
Mines." I picked one up and quickly looked through the pages.
The following caught my attention. It was a comment by a man
who called himself "Has Been."
"When I stop to think
what one mill, the Last Chance or the Ernestine Company, has
accomplished under the personal direction of that prince of
mine owners and gentleman, Mr. Ernest Craig, it has a tendency
to make 'Has Been' think that the biggest sometimes is the
smallest. The latest rumor in camp is to the effect that Mr.
Craig has parted company with his holdings in this district.
The fortunate purchasers are E. A. Wayne and associates, one
of the strongest financial combinations in the United States.
This, if consummated, is a source of congratulation, since the
new blood which will be infused into the mineral development
of the Ernestine bodies good to the entire district.
Operations will be conducted upon a much larger scale, and
every advantage and appliance known to the science of mining
and metallurgy will be placed in practical operation at once."
New Mexico (Uncle Earl's
Arizona (White House
Meanwhile, Villa, the
cattle-rustler turned revolutionary, became the Mexican
government's nightmare, while grandfather was busy with
politics and mining in the states. They lost track of each
other, but on March 9, 1916 their old friend paid them a
surprise visit at the mine where they were living. Pancho, and
his army consisting of about 400 rag-tag Mexicans carrying all
sorts of weapons, surrounded their house. He'd come across the
border to fight the government he felt had betrayed him by
accepting Carranza as the leader of Mexico. Well there were a
few tense moments until he recognized grandma. Actually, it
was her red hair. The old friends went into the house and sat
down at the kitchen table where they chatted for about an
hour. Before leaving, Villa instructed his men not to harm
them or their property. Their neighbors in the nearby town of
Columbus, New Mexico were not so lucky. The Mexican rebels
partly burned the town and killed sixteen people.
Columbus before the attack...
Most who knew Villa liked him. They
regarded him to be a Mexican Robin Hood, who helped the poor
survive their oppressive government. He had a high regard for
the hard working miners like our grand father. After the raid
on Columbus, President Wilson sent U.S. troops into Mexico in
pursuit of Villa, but failed to capture him. In 1917 the
troops were withdrawn. Six years later he was ambushed and
incurred wounds that caused his death.
thought much about her red hair, or why Pancho made such a
fuss. I didn't know about it until she (and later Uncle Earl)
told me the story. I remember her with gray-white hair softly
waving back from her face, and as having a very fair and
slightly freckled complexion like most redheads. One day she
showed me a photo of a little girl with light colored long
braids, and asked who I thought it was. She had my blond
braids and looked an awful lot like me, so I replied, "That's
me. Homely aren't I?" I don't know whether or not she
appreciated my comment, but merely laughed and told me that it
was a picture of herself when she was about my age. As a
little girl I was more interested in bugs, animals, pretty
rocks and things that caught my attention at the moment. Each
day was an inviting adventure unraveling the mysteries of my
small world. Over the years my curiosity grew. The world was
waiting to be explored. What others said about it really
wasn't that important, because people tend to overlook things
they didn't notice or experience. That's how I discovered the
probable reason for the Mexican fascination with red hair.
Most Indians of both hemispheres have legends that their
ancient gods were red haired. As it turned out, these gods
weren't really gods, but merely an advanced race (later
deified) who built magnificent roads and cities all over the
immense symbols on the ground that they could see from the
air, as they piloted their melodious aircraft throughout the
world teaching about God's goodness. The red haired Egyptian
Pharaoh Ramses built the great pyramids. I was surprised to
read that Egypt's priests told the Greek historian (Herodotus)
that their ancestors were the most ancient men on earth...who
lived in the western hemisphere. Few people know about these
things, but the physical remains and legends abound for those
interested enough to look.
wasn't interested in such things. She was a wonderful,
gracious lady; a second mother to my sisters and myself.
Always there for us, whether it was a birthday or just to lend
a loving hand. Much to our mother's chagrin, we looked forward
to her candy, cookies, cakes, pasties and pies. She was a
fastidious homemaker, who followed the week rules for washday,
ironing clothes, baking, and a well set table for breakfast,
lunch and dinner. The table was replete with tablecloth,
silver bread platter, tea set, place settings and napkins on a
round oak table by windows in a cheerful room. It seemed as
though Grandma would begin preparing dinner not long after
breakfast was cleared away. I liked her cooking, although some
thought it was a little overcooked. For Sunday dinner
sometimes she made a special rabbit dish. The meat was
simmered in a garlic-herb seasoned tomato sauce with carrots,
onions and potatoes. It was delicious. At first I thought it
was chicken, but wondered why there were so many drum sticks.
When I first learned that it was rabbit she bought from a
neighbor, my appetite somewhat diminished. I'd seen some of
those cute little furry critters before they became Sunday's
menu.Another dish she made that I now make, was salt and
peppered chunky potatoes and sliced onions cooked in a
self-made buttery sauce. She always bought smoked herring that
she made into a tasty sauce over rice. A favorite snack was
scalded cream and jelly on a piece of home made bread.
~ In the Beginning ~
Grandma was born March
31, 1886 in Virginia City, Nevada...the third child of Mary
and Hugh Callister (below). Hugh is pictured with his sisters
Mrs. Bessie Vowles and Mrs. Naneen on the Isle of Man.
Hugh and his
Mary (Killoran) and
Hugh Callister married in Virginia City May 15, 1876 at St.
Paul's Church, witnessed by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gracy. During
the next several years their children Will, Agnes and Grace
were born. Great grandfather Callister died not long after the
birth of our grandmother. Apparently, great-great grandfather
Callister wanted his son buried in the family plot on the Isle
of Man. The elder Squire (alleged to have had a castle) said
that the grandchild who made the voyage to visit him would be
heir to the family fortune. Thus Mary and grandma's older
brother Will accompanied the body back for burial.
Callister's mother and father on the Isle of Man.
Above is the cemetery on the Isle of
man where great grandfather may be interred. During their
absence, grandma and Agnes probably stayed with their Aunt in
Virginia City. Legend suggests that Uncle Hubbard rode with
Jesse James' bunch, because they were friends, and he would
disappear for long periods; then show up with money. His gun
handle was engraved with the initials of one of the gang
members, and was given to grandma's brother Will in later
years as a keepsake.
Will was the Callister heir after his grand father died, but
he wouldn't return to the Isle to find out. His excuse was
that the estate was probably in debt. Grandma inherited five
guineas gold coinage. She bought a piano and gave the rest to
her nephew Charles and his wife Irene Henwood to purchase
their home on Walsh Street in Grass Valley. This bothered
Uncle Earl. He wondered why his mother didn't share her
inheritance with his father.
Uncle Earl mentioned that her mother had the first restaurant
in Virginia City, where she and her twenty Chinese employees
served Mexican, Chinese and American food in a large tent.
During a visit to Virginia City I inquired if there was any
mention of such an establishment in the town's history. I was
told that it was a tent town during the early period before
the mining proved worthy enough to build the town.
premature death of her father, grandma's mother (with her
three children and little dog) decided to move to Grass
Valley. She bundled them into a carriage, and headed for the
summit. It was late in the season and they soon found
themselves in the midst of snow flurries. The little dog led
them to the travelers cabin where they waited until they could
resume their journey.
to Grass Valley, grandma's mother Mary met and married a
Cornish man named James Tresise. He was nick-named "Good
Sound" Tresise, because, he spoke fluent English. Most Cousin
Jacks, as they were called, turned their sentences around.
Uncle Earl used to demonstrate the fascinating round-about-way
they talked. Good Sound had a very good relationship with mine
owners like Billy Bourne, who said that any friend of Good
Sound could work for him. G. S. Tresise was agile, strong and
liked to prize fight occasionally. One morning he did his push
ups and washed up behind the house as usual, but then remarked
to his wife Mary that he was going to die that day. She
thought he was making a bad joke, but later that afternoon he
lay down on the sofa and died.
Pictured above is
grandma's nephew Larson (left), her mother Mary, sister Agnes
Henwood and her. Most of our grandmother's early life is a
blank to me, other than what I remember her and Uncle Earl
telling me. She may have attended the Old Bell Hill school,
because cousin Tony sent me her autograph book signed by
relatives, friends and classmates.
autographs date from 1897 to 1903. This page was signed by
Georgia Harvey, and others by Julia Angove, Lyda Trathen,
Marie Riley etc.
I will be
adding to grandma's story as I learn more. What I do know is
that as a young woman, she was traveling to (or from) Virginia
City with her mother on the Narrow Gauge railroad when she met
our grandfather, Earl Alford Wayne. They married and lived in
Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico and New York, while our
grandfather worked, promoted and reorganized mines. I remember
some gifts that a Chinese mine owner gave her because he was
so grateful for them saving his mine from bankruptcy. One was
a lovely tasseled scarf she used to drape over the piano, and
the other was the statue of a Chinese boy sitting cross-legged
next to it. Grandma and grandfather Wayne lived in Arizona
where our father was born. Our grand-father wanted his
children born American citizens. Eventually our grandparents
divorced, when our dad (Hoval) was twelve or thirteen years
old. She was happy to return to Grass Valley where she grew
up. She hated high society life, just like her great
grandmother. Son's Hoval and Earl attended school here, and
Earl graduated from Grass Valley High School in 1926. Our
father finished the eighth grade and went to work to support
Wayne remarried and evidently spent time between Arizona and
New York. The New York Times article says he and his wife were
blown up at their mine on September 27, 1932...the year I was
born. It (and many other items) was sent to me by a grandson
from another marriage who wanted to know if my grandmother, or
his grandmother was first. It turned out that mine was first.
Grandma Grace eventually married
Thomas Bone July 4, 1921. Eventually they moved to their
Brighton Street home I remember well. We spent many happy
hours there. Grandpa Tom used to play Santa on Christmas. I
thought it strange that he was never around when the white
bearded Santa (traditionally attired) arrived with a big bag
of gifts. Grandma loved her family and their home was a
gathering place for most special occasions. She taught us all
the old nursery rhymes and songs. I thought My Bonnie Lies
Over the Ocean" was written especially for me. It was
Grandpa, me, grandma, sisters
Kathy and Virginia and dad at White Cloud. Mom was the
Tom, Agnes and grandma.
and Grandma in later years.
Grandma never learned
to drive a car until grandpa passed away (Nov. 20, 1945).
There was the car...and by golly she learned to drive it.
Don't ask me how. She'd reb up the engine and bravely back up
the driveway onto the street...Luckily, no one got in her way.
She drove downtown every day to shop, visit and keep up with
things. I often reflect all the changes the people of her
generation experienced...from horses to cars to airplanes and
more. Grandma passed away December 26, 1960. She was
seventy-four years old.
A grandma is warm hugs and sweet
memories. She remembers all of your accomplishments and
forgets all of your mistakes. She is someone you can tell your
secrets and worries to, and she hopes and prays that all your
dreams come true. She always loves you, no matter what. She
can see past temper tantrums and bad moods, and makes it clear
that they don't affect how precious you are to her. She is an
encouraging word and a tender touch. She is full of proud
smiles. She is the one person in the world who loves you with
all her heart, who remembers the child you were and cherishes
the person you've become.