April 29, 1906 letter to Louese Harris from Dexa Harris

April 29, 1906

To: Louese Harris

From: Dexa Harris, Sacramento, CA

Follow-up regarding the earthquake and especially regarding Isabelle’s teacher’s experience. Also writes that she is engaged, but she likes her job and her freedom.

Scan of 1906-04-29 Dexa Harris to Louese Harris

April 29th 1906

Dear Lou

Your letter was received with pleasure. Words can never describe the awfulness of the calamity that befel San Francisco, and every one mourns its loss and we had one week of terrible suspence while we were cut off. I have heard from all my near friends now, and while they have lost every thing they feel thank-ful to be living. Al[1] came home week ago to-day. He brought a small grip and blankets from his bed that he had camped out in. He let Netts[2] watch burn in trunks and brought the remains. Their loss was not great as she had most of her clothes here. They are both staying with me. Al is anxious to go back. The creamery at Valley Ford was not damaged a dollars worth, but will have to close down for a while for lack of cans. I have friends that are going to stay in and help build up the city again. As for my self I will forever be satisfied in Sacramento. We were well shaken up but no damage done. No I would prefer earthquakes to thunder storms. I would not care to live in Mich. again. We are catching the tourists trade from San F. They can not leave fast enough. Have had so many from St. Francis Hotel, so we hear all their experiences. Al thought the end had come but by the time he had got his pants on and money picked up that had fallen out of his pockets it was over. I think the fire was a God send in covering up the terrible workings of the earth quake. (Alma Dufour) that the paper spoke of is Isabelles[3] teacher in short hand. She is back at school but wears a patch on her head where stitches were taken. She had a thrilling experience. Was in Cal. Hotel, after she had left building and the Dr. was dressing her wound. A brick fell killing Dr. immediately, and she started on up the street untill she came to another Dr. blood streaming down her. She came home following morning with her head tied up in red bandana hdk.[4] The teachers were to hold their institute there that week. I had just fitted her to a pretty little light suit. I think her life was spared for a good cause. She is authority for business men in securing book keepers and stenographers and many a girl has been benefited by her, yet she isn’t more than twenty three herself. She told me that Isabele leads the class, and that she will get her a good position.

I was gone twelve days on my vacation south. We stopped at Los Angeles and took in all the pretty places around Pasadena, Santa Monica, Ocean Park, Venice, Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Catalina Island, Hollywood and numerous other places. In going to the islands we were two hours on the water out of sight of land. It was beautiful, and the islands were lovely. We took a glass bottom boat and viewed the marine gardens. I didnt enjoy that. I was nervous, the boat rocked too much. My friend had a sister stopping in Los Angeles, her sister living there, and her mother at Ocean Park, and they invited us to visit them, which invitation we gladly accepted and we were fortunate in having passes over the coast route, which is the prettiest way to go, beautiful scenery all the way. We left San F. at 8 o’clock in morning and reached Los Angeles at 10 o’clock P.M.

I am wearing a diamond ring and it is up to me to name the day, but my job looks good to me yet and I like my freedom. My friend is as good a man as was ever made and seems to think a great deal of me and the children.[5] He has a daughter married that he lives with, also a son 19 years old. I hardly think you have ever seen him. He came from Newark New Jersey, has been here since he was 21. His wife died three years ago last summer very suddenly.

Mate[?] did not say any thing about Lot Townsend. What was it? You see I only saw her one day. Lacelle[6] has gone to Pacific Grove, don’t know how long he will stay. I have heard that Mrs Olin and sons are living by them selves. They left Los Angeles the day I arrived there. I was sorry I didnt meet them and since I came home have regretted that I didnt stop over at Pacific Grove. It was only three hours ride from coast route. Is Jay[7] a comfort to Allie in her trouble or has he gone North again? Well Lou we are all well and happy, with the exception of Nettie.[8] She is poorly but I think improving and I will try and keep you posted a little better in the future, not wait for an earth quake to arouse me.

With love Dexa 

This is where I work[9]

Nettie is writing to Belles[10] children


[1] Her brother-in-law, Alfred Wallin

[2] Her sister, Jeanette “Nettie” (Strait) Wallin

[3] Her daughter, Isabelle Harris

[4] Handkerchief

[5] Her son, Starr, and daughter, Isabelle, Harris

[6] Her brother, Lacelle Strait

[7] Her ex-husband, Jay Harris

[8] Her sister, Jeanette (Strait) Wallin

[9] The letter was written on letterhead of Wasserman, Kaufman & Co., Importers of Dry Goods, in Sacramento, California

[10] Believe she is referring to her sister, Maggie Belle (Strait) Noble

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