Making History Blog

Many of these articles have been published in the Mendocino Beacon’s Kelley House Calendar.

Arithmetic from the Archives

Arithmetic from the Archives
If you’ve ever been to the Kelley House Museum, you no doubt have seen the 150-year-old wedding dress on display in the front hall. The two-piece brown plaid taffeta jacket and skirt belonged to Phoebe Allen Marsan, who married John Peter Marsan in Kansas in the late 1860s. Their only child, David Allen Marsan, was born March 19, 1870, in Ossawatomie, Kansas. The young family headed out West, but Phoebe died along the way in Colorado Springs, Colorado, circa 1875.[... see full page]

This Will Fix You Right Up

This Will Fix You Right Up
by Sarah Nathe, Kelley House Museum Board secretary Two weeks ago at the opening of the new Kelley House exhibit, “Medicine on the Mendocino Coast: Say Ahh…”, I was looking at pioneer druggist C.O. Packard’s prescription ledger from 1882 and wondering about some of the potions and pills he dispensed. I noticed a “Morph. Sulph.” prescription for a Mrs. Johnson, a “Cocaine Wine” prescription for a Mr. Hardy, and a “Codeine” prescription for a Mr. Gibbs for Rosie. Rosie must have[... see full page]

First Do No Harm

First Do No Harm
Is the practice of medicine an art, a science, a business or a combination of all three? As in other parts of the country, the Mendocino Coast experienced an evolution of medical practice: from something which was in the hands of regular folks at home (mostly women); to something primarily in the hands of doctors (mostly male), nurses (mostly female), and a variety of technicians. Along with the evolution of practitioners, medical science evolved; these changes are on-going. The years which[... see full page]

One Character in California’s Saga

One Character in California’s Saga
Consider events in the lifespan of Mendocino pioneer Edwards C. Williams as an example of how much times have changed, and yet how we are able to relate much of the past to our own lives. When E. C. Williams joined the New York Volunteers in 1846, he answered the call to fight what few today would argue was a just war. California belonged to Mexico then, and the United States, with its use of the term “manifest destiny” decided[... see full page]

Influenza on the Coast

Influenza on the Coast
People living before the advent of penicillin and other antibiotics or even antiviral medications, which we take for granted, were no strangers to death. However, the influenza pandemic, which came in the wake of the end of the First World War, occurred on a scale so devastating that it took more victims than had the Great War itself. As we cross the threshold of 2018, the centenary of both the conclusion of WWI and the influenza epidemic, it is perhaps[... see full page]

A Peek at the Silent Film Era in Mendocino

A Peek at the Silent Film Era in Mendocino
In late December of 1916, near the Boom on Big River, the cast and crew of a new silent film began work on their latest project. The Promise, produced by the Yorke Film Corporation and distributed by Metro Pictures, was one of a series of movies featuring the pairing of two popular actors: Harold Lockwood and May Allison. The Promise was not a period piece, but meant to entertain and also show audiences certain aspects of the lives of those then[... see full page]