Our Grandmother Grace


Bonnie Wayne McGuire

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 Strathford family.

Probably 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 Exchange.

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."

The Last Chance -Ernestine Mine in the Mogollon Mountains.

No wonder I couldn't find muggy owen. Locals, grandma, Uncle Earl and dad pronounced Mogollon "Muggy-yowen." But that's not all we found out by visiting the museum. Volunteer, Tom Hester later emailed us. "Thank you for the picture and the response from the State Archives. I will add this information to our collection in a separate folder. Was it only coincidence that the Ernestine Mine sold in New York the same week as Taft signed the proclamation?

Those in the museum talked like New Mexico had been excluded for consideration of statehood. At the time I didn't realize the dates, nor who grandfather's associates may have been...although Uncle Earl mentioned that Taft had been a business partner at one time. So, if Mr. Hester's hunch is right, New Mexico was signed into statehood to correspond with the sale of the Last Chance - Ernestine Mine in New York, where grandfather was a member of the Mining Exchange.

Pancho on his horse Siete Leguas.

Villa became a revolutionary and grandfather became the first representative of New Mexico on February 14, 1912 when it became a state. Below, President Taft signs New Mexico and Arizona into statehood. Of New Mexico's long struggle for statehood Taft said, "Well it is all over. I am glad to give you life. I hope you will be healthy." Grandfather Wayne is second from the right in the picture my Uncle claimed was the New Mexico signing. I contacted the White House Historical Association, and they had the same picture for signing Arizona into Statehood, but grandfather Wayne isn't in that one. Taft became the first chief executive to preside over 48 states.

New Mexico (Uncle Earl's photo).

Arizona (White House Archive).

Uncle Earl's query regarding the first picture in his possession...

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...

And afterwards.

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.

Grandma never 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 prehistoric world.

They made 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.

Grandma 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 sisters.

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.

Hugh 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.

Although 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.

Grandma and 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.

After the 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.

After moving 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.

The 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 the family.

Grandfather 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 delightful.

Grandpa, me, grandma, sisters Kathy and Virginia and dad at White Cloud. Mom was the camera gal.

Grandpa Tom, Agnes and grandma.

Grandpa 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.