The 11th of February (1888) we drove to San Bernardino, Walter, Will, Evelyn, and I. It is not an interesting ride per se, but with Will in his present delightful mood, ones surroundings are decidedly secondary. He is entertaining and charming and we laughed and chatted like four happy children the twenty miles going and the twenty miles returning. There was much that was interesting, Will is much interested in all evidences and traces of our great storm. One place we walked for two or three miles through deep fine sand, and one ranch was almost buried by it. It must be a ruined place. We rode for miles and miles through the low sagebrush and other shrubs but, though the immediate landscape was unattractive, we ever had the more distant, grand, and changeful view of the mountains to the north and east of us. San Bernardino was not specially attractive but we enjoyed our little rest at the hotel and we walked about the streets a little. Our ride home was similar to the morning one. The weather was lovely and when darkness fell about us with it’s soft curtain of coolness and starlight, we listened to the distant cry of the coyotes, and enjoyed the novelty of our primitive surroundings.

The 14th we went to Riverside. It was a long ride for old Fred but he has great powers of endurance. The scenery was far more interesting than on the ride to San Bernardino and Will was funnier than ever. The comical ideas that come to that absurd youth are irresistible. One place we crossed a long sandy strip and it was such heavy pulling Will and Walter walked. The wind had piled the sand in billows like the ocean, and Will would go over the mounds and down into the hollows with a cunning motion that was so funny we screamed with laughter. Then he is full of anecdotes and amusing reminiscences. When talking of his life in the army he said, “I belonged to a portion of the army you seldom meet. You often see generals and colonels, captains, lieutenants, and majors, but you seldom meet with soldiers of my rank. I was a private. The privates are all dead. I am the sole representative of that illustrious rank.” When we reached Riverside we went to the Hotel Glenwood. A nice house. We had a room and a good dinner, well waited upon. Then we went to the citrus fair, where we saw great numbers of oranges in every shape and manner. We then took a carriage and rode to Arlington, part of Riverside, and rode down Magnolia Avenue. A very beautiful drive down the avenue of large graceful pepper trees, two rows in the center, and palms, graviolas, and eucalyptus on each side, while on each side of the avenue are ranches where are fine homes and, and beautiful orange groves. I was so glad to have the children (as I call them) see these fine orange orchards.

I was afraid Will might be sensitive about the great disparity in the age of himself and his bonny bride, but he does not mind at all and is constantly making comical references to it. He looks at her with a paternal expression and says “my daughter” etc.

It was so cloudy and threatening we concluded not to return home that night as we had intended, so we stayed passing the night in a house near the hotel annex.

Transcriber’s Note

I imagine that old Fred was a horse


Brother Will LeBaron’s Honeymoon

March 7th 1888

Let me take a long breath and commence…. January 26th my well beloved brother William LeBaron was married to Evelyn Sleight in Naperville and after the ceremony, which was as attractive as a lovely bride, noble husband, beautiful home, fragrant flowers, tasteful and costly gifts, loving and cheerful friends, and joy and happiness everywhere, could make it. They started for New Orleans, and then on to California. The last of their journey was trying and Evelyn was not well, but at last, after anxious expectancy, on Saturday February 4th, our beloved brother and sister reached Hermosa safe and happy.

Evelyn was miserable for several days so that she was obliged to keep very quiet, but she was up and dressed all the time. Walter bought a surrey a few days after their arrival so we had a comfortable carriage to ride in. Oh the cruel sandstorm! I could not shower our little bride with flowers. Roses red and pink and white, creamy buds and crimson bright. Nor could we take her to the orange groves and bid her gather the golden fruit to her hearts content. All our little plans were apart, but we had a very pleasant time nevertheless. Evelyn is of a cheerful disposition and enjoyed everything, and she and Will were very fond and happy. We had succeeded in getting an excellent girl before they came, and so I was at liberty to be with and enjoy them.

Transcriber’s note

Tomorrow the first part of Will and Evelyn’s California trip.

Town Rivalry

One serious drawback to the growth of Southern California is the narrow sectional jealousy that prevails. The people of one town never speak a good word of their neighboring towns. Ontarians always abuse Pamona, talking of winds, and frosts, and heat, and Pamona returns the compliment while they talk as if their own town was perfect in every respect. Anything more shortsighted could not be. If frosts injure Pamona, they are surely harmful in Ontario. And a violent windstorm in one town must affect to a degree it’s neighboring towns, especially if of the same distance from the foothills. The man who desires to buy property is confused by these contradictory reports. The reputation of all sections suffers and sales are prevented that could be to the mutual advantage of owner and purchaser. Ontario is especially afflicted with pride and injustice. The model colony is not at all exempt from the occasional disagreeables that afflict the Californian, but to hear them talk you would think Ontario perfection while all other places, no matter how near, have all sorts of serious drawbacks. The windstorm hurt Ontario more than any other place in our vicinity, but you would think, to hear them talk, that Pamona and Cucamunga were afflicted and they exempt. They injure the whole neighborhood.

The Rivers

One of the most peculiar features of the California landscape is it’s rivers. You are riding on the cars, and suddenly from the peculiar sound you know you are riding upon a bridge. You presume you are crossing water, and look with interest from the car window. You see nothing but sand. A wide bed of sand. You ask what is this? And you are told it is the San Gabriel or the Santa Ana or some other river. A river without water is a curiosity. You are entering Los Angeles and rumble over the bridge you see again a wide bed of sand with a little stream a few yards wide working along in the extensive area of sand. You know by this time that it is a river but can hardly believe your eyes when, in February, you find yourself stranded in the city, unable to leave it, all on account of this same river, now a raging torrent overflowing it’s banks washing away bridges and ruining buildings, costing the railroads thousands of dollars to repair the damage done by this resistless river. It is the same stream and you can, if possible, decide which aspect you prefer. California believes in extremes and in the unexpected, and her rivers are not to be outdone in offering surprises to the tourists.

Walter’s Injury

January 16th 1888

We are just over a terrible anxiety. Thursday January 5th Walter went out to the barn to work. He had returned the day before from a few days trip to Santa Ana, Los Angeles, etc. It had rained hard while he was gone and in the clear sunlight of Thursday morning the mountains stood forth in most wonderful beauty, clothed in snow from summit to base. Walter paused from his work and stepped out to have one more good look at the beautiful sight and in stepping back took his full weight upon a nail. He had on only rubber boots which afforded no protection and the nail penetrated deep into his foot. It entered near the bunch of nerves in the center of the foot and must have bruised one for he suffered the most excruciating pain. He fell, the board lifting, and the nail turning in his foot as he did so. As soon as possible he came to the house. We at once put the foot into hot water adding carbolic acid at the last and sent for the Doctor. He said he could do no more than we were doing. So we poulticed the foot and kept it hot then bandaged with salve still keeping well wrapped up and, to our great relief and joy, after two days the pain ceased, and after nine days enforced rest, he walks without any trouble or pain.

More Aftermath

Mr. Frey came out the day after the second storm and set our mantles. He looked upon the storm as a big joke. He could not believe that had the wind been as furious as we described our pile of greasewood roots and kindlings could have remained.

Mrs. Lynch had a dreadful time over her library. The window was broken in so the storm had full sway and the sand was piled thick in the corners of the room. From out of the sand she took books, surveying instruments, letters, etc. The books were blown open and filled with dust so that between every leaf the dust had to be brushed and blown out and then the books would not close nicely. They had a beautiful edition of Scott which is almost ruined. The sand had worn off the gilt edge and injured the binding. Pictures were blown down and torn to pieces. The Lynch’s themselves spent the night in their concrete milk house, and in getting there Mrs. Lynch was blown down, and for a time actually lost. But finally Mr. Lynch found her, and they found the milk house which was only a few yards from the house but it was so dark with sand that one could see nothing. The night we went to the Petsch’s, they went to an underground tunnel. One of their piazza posts has all the pith blown out, nothing is left but the fiber.

Transcriber’s notes

This is the final installment about the wind storm.

There is nothing written about Christmas 1887. Tomorrow; the next entry dated January 16th 1888.

Aftermath of the Wind

Soon Mrs. Petsch and Elise called and dear sympathetic Mrs. Petsch was full of the troubles of others which they had been hearing. The Strand’s had lost their all. Their new house all askew, their barn man hurt, their trees torn and stripped of the fruit that was to be their income. Mrs. Strand was obliged to go into the barn cellar and stay till 2 o’clock at night when it became so unsafe her husband and son had to drag her to Mr. Alind’s. They were all down cellar. Mr. Frank Smith’s house was a perfect wreck. The chimney had fallen in the center just the moment after Mrs. Smith had secured her baby from the bed and gone down cellar through a hole her husband had sawed in the floor, and the bricks came showering down on the bed. But the worst off was Mr. Tucker. His house and barn burned to the ground. A total loss and three horses burned. They only left the house in time. It blew over before they reached a neighbor’s house.

At Cucamonga everything was a total wreck. The new hotel all down, the depot offices, all but two buildings and their roads and avenues ploughed and ruined by the wind. Oh it was all terrible. Mrs. Petsch said be sure and come over if the wind blows again, and in the PM when it again began to whistle furiously, over they came and took the three children with them. Percy Wilding came soon after and he took Millie, baby, and me over.

In Ontario twenty six homes are down and one brick block, and part of Euclid Avenue. The Prinis’ house was blown over and Mrs. P lay in the ditch all night. I feel so sorry about the avenue. Those fine pepper trees, and it will be so long before they can grow.

December 22nd 1887

Old Bones seems to have come to stay. The next Tuesday December 20th, the wind came up again but not till late, after the children were all asleep in bed. It blew so violently that at last, in one of the lulls, Walter went over to Mr. Petsch to see if he thought it best to move the family. He did, so Walter told us and we took up the three children and dressed them, while we wrapped Channing in my big shawl. Mr. Petsch carried Edith, Walter Channing, And Peter took LeBaron. Millie led May and I had the valise, shawls, etc.  We blew over which was fortunate. We found the Strands there. Poor Mrs. Strand thinks it is a pretty hard life. The three children went to bed on the lounge and Millie held Channing the first of the night, and I the rest. He would wake if we went to lay him down, but he never cried though he was awake and said, “Papa carried me.” The next morning he woke up as bright and sweet as ever. The wind blew hard all night, and at times furiously, but when day dawned everything was still standing, to our surprise. It continued blowing all day sometimes so violently that it would be dark from the volume of dust blown in the air. Mrs. Petsch and I went over home in the buggy to get a few things and call upon Walter. He and Peter did not stay at Mr. P’s that night, but the next Walter came over , and to our intense relief, after dark the wind began to die out. The night was quiet. We all slept. Mr. Petsch was on a cot in the storeroom, Mrs. P and Millie on the floor, Mr. and Mrs. Strand on the bed lounge in the sitting room, Wallace on the floor. Our four little ones on the bed lounge in the dining room, Walter and I on a single cot bed, but we all managed to rest some. We went home early the next AM to find our house all dusty again but not nearly as bad as the other, though had we not had that to compare with we should think this dreadful. I’ve not mentioned my potatoes which were amusing. When we came home from Mr. Petsch’s after the first storm that Thursday AM, we crossed our potato field and there lay the potatoes all on the surface of the ground, the earth had all blown away. Many of the potatoes were half full of sand driven in. The sand also took the paint off of fences and wagons, and the tin off of oilcans etc. Several people declared they had seen a rabbit with the hair all off his hind quarters, but some laugh at this story. One house, that first storm, that stood just south of Hermosa gate, was blown all to pieces and the woman with three little children was separated from the man, and spent several hours holding on to some grape vines trying to keep her children sheltered by covering them with a shawl, and there lying flat on the ground, they waited for daylight while the distracted father rushed about shouting and calling, and she called too, but the wind made such a terrible noise they could not hear each other and he thought they had been blown away. The sand even wore bricks half away. The work of this sand blast must be seen to be believed.

The Wind Storm cont.

Just before day dawned Will, Mr. Petsch’s man, came to see about putting their horses in our barn, as the roof had blown off of theirs, but as ours was so unsafe Peter had taken the horses to Mr. Alind’s . Will said it was fortunate we had not tried to go to Mr. Petsch’s with the children, as they would certainly have perished. Mr. Laurence,  and  he had taken Miss Laurence  to her brother’s, and familiar as he was with all Hermosa, in getting back to the barn he lost his way, and was two hours finding it. I hear at last he found the cypress hedge and by holding on one tree till he could reach another he crawled along and at last reached shelter. I only think, if we had tried to go.

Later Mr. Petsch came to us, his eyes full of tears, “Oh Mrs. Turner” he said ” My beautiful place is destroyed. The work of five years gone in only one night.” Everything stripped bare and torn down. They had so wished we were there all night. Their house is safe as possible, low, and built of concrete. At last it was morning. The wind ceased and we could see the desolation. Hermosa the beautiful had ceased to be. Every tree stripped, not only of it’s fruit, but of every leaf, and many twisted and torn down. The earth was covered with fruit, thousands of lemons and oranges strewed the ground. And our house, Our beautiful home ruined. No possible description can give any idea of the looks of the house. The library was very dusty and the walls badly cracked, but it looked natural. But in the dining room the sand and dust lay all over the floor two inches deep and in many places drifted deeper. We pushed it up with a broom into piles and shoveled it out in dustpans full, twenty or thirty. The walls, even the ceiling, covered with dust, and the boarded door and window added to the changed appearance. In the parlor everything was one color, you could not see the color or figure of the carpet and the walls are dreadfully cracked. I fear the plastering will have to fall. Our pretty parlor is ruined. The hall is all grey, but how glad we are that it was not finished, no carpet there. Then upstairs – Oh it was too sad. We went into the children’s pretty blue room – The dust was so thick on the mattings you could not tell what was on the floor while the paper and ceiling were covered with thick dust. It was the same in our room only one degree less thick. Then we went to Millie’s room and there was the worst havoc. Again we rejoiced over what has been an annoyance. No carpet, no paper, but the north windows were blown out entirely, and the lower west window. The mattress on the bed was doubled together, and one pillow was there, but the sheets, spread, blankets and comforter, were gone, also the pillows, and some dresses of Millie’s all gone entirely. Blown out of the window. We found these things over in Mr. Petsch’s where were also an oilcan, washtub and some other things.

Tomorrow. More of the aftermath of the wind.

A Terrible Wind

December 15th 1887

What an experience I have to write. I must go back a few days. Monday December 12th was such a lovely day. I rode with Walter to the Post Office and while we waited for the mail to be distributed rode round to Mrs. Walker’s to see how they fared in a hard wind we had last Saturday night. The barn where some of their goods were stored had lost it’s roof and they were moving them but we thought we could put up with such wind for the sake of such a climate, so soft was the air, so warm the sunlight. Channing wore his cape bonnet and I my summer duster. After dinner I went for Edith taking LeBaron we went to Mrs. Alind’s driving through their beautiful orange orchard where the fruit,hanging heavy on the branches, was fast ripening. Already the golden color was contrasting with the glossy green foliage. We came home and then Millie went for May; but in the evening the wind again began to blow and it blew terribly. Walter got up and dressed and I could not sleep all night indeed none of us slept much. The house rocked and the thought of our high house and higher tower, were the greatest cause of anxiety. I felt so annoyed to think that Walter had never been told by any of the neighbors of these severe winds that he might have built accordingly. But Oh No! The wind NEVER blows in California. In the morning we found Peter’s room had been so racked by the wind that the walls had fallen in. The scuttle over the attic roof had blown off entirely falling in the garden. Oh it was a blow, but all day Tuesday it blew hard driving the dust into the house till the floors and furniture were sad to see. The wind increased in violence in the evening so we felt seriously alarmed and concluded it would not be safe to sleep upstairs. Indeed we elder thought not of sleep, but we made up a bed for the children on the floor in the library as that seemed the safest room, the wind being from the northeast. That wind!! It rocked the house, it shrieked and beat against the windows, it whistled and howled. At last Walter came into the room where Millie and I sat and said the window had broken in the children’s room and he felt the house might go, and advised our going to Mr. Pesch’s but I told him I could not think it would be safe with four little children. He felt there was a risk, and said perhaps we had better stick by the ship. Soon after there came a horrific burst of wind and the crash of broken glass. Walter rushed to the dining room, the glass door had broken in and the storm in all it’s fury burst into the room yelling like demons and blowing all before it. As soon possible Peter and Walter nailed a board against and over the broken place and braced the door. By this time no one would have known Walter, he was so covered with dust, that his face was all grey and grimed. As he again joined us and we listened in anxiety beyond words to the raging tempest, there came again the appalling sound of of crashing glass and the shrieking of the blast. The northeast dining room window had blown in. I never shall forget that time, but no one could imagine, who had not heard similar storms, the sounds that filled the room. Walter took the library closet door and tried to hold it against the window , but it was almost impossible. The curtains were flapping and cracking till Walter took them off. Then Peter brought the children’s blackboard and it took all the strength of those two men to hold it against the wind while they nailed and braced it in place. I held the lamp shielded by my circular. While they were busy there another awful crash came from the kitchen and the swinging door blew violently open and the tempest was again in the house. The back door was blown in and across the kitchen. Oh it was so awful! It sounded as if a thousand demons were gaining entrance and shrieking in their glee. The poor men when the window was finished they went to the door. Great clouds of dust had poured in and we were blinded and choked by the clouds of sand that enveloped us. Even in the library, the quietest room in the house, the dust came in so that the pillows where our darlings lay were grey and they breathed the thick choking air. After the kitchen door was nailed with a dozen great nails and had two ironing boars also nailed across it, we had a respite from that sort of work and were in the library pale and anxious, pale, no grey with anxiety, and yet Millie and I had to have one little laugh as we said. “Why we came away from Illinois to escape the winds.”

Tomorrow, Dawn breaks.