Marin County Genealogy

Marin Oral Histories - U to Z

Hosted by permission of Cathy Gowdy of the Marin County Genealogical Society.


NOTE: Oral Histories for underlined names have been transcribed and are available on the net - click on the name to go to the Civic Center Branch of the Marin County Free Library page where they can be accessed. 
LAST NAME FIRST NAME LOCALE OCCUPATION VITAL DATA SYNOPSIS
Untermann Karl San Rafael Nurseryman, Landscaper b. 7 April 1912

d. 25 April 1999

Owner of West End Nursery (one of Marin's finest nurseries). Tells the story of the business started by his uncle Richard Lohrmann in 1909. Mr. Untermann was brought from Germany as a boy to be apprenticed to his Uncle's work. In 1954 he purchased the nursery and implemented some of his own ideas; i.e., open on Sundays; have a store to sell garden tools, etc., advertised in newspaper. Founder, Mr. Lohrmann, landscaped the Meadow Club and many prominent San Rafael homes. West End Nursery has won many Blue Ribbons at the Marin County Fair. 13 March 1981
Vanderbilt William Murray San Rafael Pioneer Family b. 12 Feb 1912

d. 18 July 1998

San Rafael born (1914) descendent of early Marin family (here since 1857) tells the story of his family. Grandmother: 20 years a public servant, Ambassador, Sheriff, Judge in the 7th District, resident of Tomales. Father: Major Newel Vanderbilt, Commandant & later President of Mt. Tamalpais Military Academy until its closure in 1925. Father also famous breeder & hybredizer of delphiniums, dahlias & camellias. Father also one of the founders of Marin Historical Society. William, a retired employee for 43 years of del Monte Corp. is also a historian. Director of Marin Historical Society. 30 April 1981
Walsh Dorothy B. San Rafael Historian b. 7 feb 1902

d. 20 Jan 1993

Historian of San Rafael Improvement Club
Wehen Joy Deweese   Lecturer, Expert on Fans   The following tape is a lecture given at the Octagon house, Marin Art & Garden Center, Ross on the "History and Romance of Fans." Miss Wehen is an accomplished author and former Marin resident. Her published books include: "Stairway to a secret," "Stranger at Golden Hill," "The tower in the sky," " The silver cricket," and "So far form Malibar." Her hobby of fan collecting has resulted in extensive research on "FANS" and she knows her subject very well. History is recorded in fans and they are not just frivolous playthings.
Wellington Arthur Boole Ross Early Resident b. 12 Sep 1895

d. Oct 1977

Born in Ross in the "Annie Ross House." Grandson of William A. Boole, early Ross resident (1886) and brother of Barbara Wellington Lundborg. Describes life in Ross circa 1900, a graceful life-style for a few privileged families. Relates from an 1890 map of Ross "who" lived "where" and recounts some charming vignettes of old Ross families. 
Wellman Grace Mill Valley Conservationist, Public Servant b. 20 July 1904

d. 12 Sep 1990

Born in Mill Valley 20 July 1904. Member of the Board of the (MCL) Marin Conservation League for 23 years. Shares her reminiscences of the 4 women who founded the organization in 1934, Mrs. Norman Livermore, Mrs. Albert Evers, Mrs. John F. Forbes & Mrs. Helen Van Pelt, and tells the story of how the private lands (listed below) came into public ownership: Tamalpais State Park; Stinson Beach State Park; Samuel P. Taylor State Park; Tomales State Park, Angel Island State Park; Richardson Bay State Park; Kent Island Sanctuary. None of the parks listed above would be in the public domain without the efforts of this League. 19 February 1982
Wells Helen Huggins Berkeley Early East Bay Resident, Conservationist, Historian b. 1898 Age 82. Berkeley born daughter of Charles Lloyd Huggins who was Berkeley City Engineer for 32 years (1890-1922). Describes sub-divisions he laid out for Mason McDuffy Company, i.e., Claremont Park; Claremont Circle; Thousand Oaks; and St. Francis Woods in San Francisco. Family home 2313 Channing Way, given the University of California. A family of achievers, historians, ranchers & conservationists. A sister, Elizabeth, was secretary to Mary Pickford for 32 years. Family have given the Oakland Museum valuable artifacts and ephemera. Sister, Bernice Huggins Porter has given her Elk Horn Slough Ranch to the Nature Conservancy. 19 November 1980
White Marjorie Mill Valley Early Resident b. 29 Aug 1897

d. Jan 1984

Marjorie White was born Marjorie Mills in Maine in the 1890s. she was brought to San Francisco as an infant and was a summer resident of Mill Valley from 1898 - 1900. Mrs. White (joined by her sister, Rhoda Morse) recalls her early summers in Mill Valley. She talks about some of the people and the businesses that were around the turn of the century. She also talks about how the town looked with its gas lights and the railroad that went to the top of the mountain. She relates an amusing story about how she was caught as a child picking wild flowers along Blithedale Canyon. The constable came along and when they explained they didn't know they weren't to be picked he took them home with the flowers hidden under the seat of his buggy. April 1972
Wilkins Helen Bolinas Pioneer Family b. 27 April 1893

d. Jan 1989

Mother (age 86) and son (age 52) reminiscence about Bolinas and the 1400 acre Wilkins Ranch, in the family over 100 years, and on which Helen Wilkins spent 50 years of her life. Ranch now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Ranch was a productive dairy ranch for over 50 years located at the head of the Bolinas Lagoon. Copper mining and lumbering during the early years of ranch discussed along with vignettes of notable, colorful Bolinas locals; running the ranch i.e., butter $.10/lb., etc. 18 July 1979
Wilkins Henry R. (Mr. & Mrs.) Ross Pioneer Family   Family in Marin since 1862. Descended from James Hepburn Wilkins, first County Clerk, also District Attorney. Mrs. Wilkins was Elizabeth Anderson, daughter of the Berrien Andersons. 
Wilkins  Kenneth Bolinas  Pioneer Family   Mother (age 86) and son (age 52) reminiscence about Bolinas and the 1400 acre Wilkins Ranch, in the family over 100 years, and on which Helen Wilkins spent 50 years of her life. Ranch now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Ranch was a productive dairy ranch for over 50 years located at the head of the Bolinas Lagoon. Copper mining and lumbering during the early years of ranch discussed along with vignettes of notable, colorful Bolinas locals; running the ranch i.e., butter $.10/lb., etc. 18 July 1979
Wilson Carol Green San Francisco Author, Editor, Historian   Author of "Gump's Treasure Trade;" "Alice Eastwood;" "Chinatown Quest;" "Herbert Hoover;" "Arthur Fiedler;" "Yankee Trader," etc. Born 16 April 1902 shares her reminiscences of Stanford University (as Editor of Stanford Daily); her life as a writer; her many awards, i.e., Phi Beta Kappa - 1913; Award of Merit, California Historical Society - 1966; Laura Bridge Powers Memorial Award - 29 June 1979 by the City of San Francisco. Charming vignettes of an energetic and productive 87 year old.
Wolf Grace McCombie Belvedere-Tiburon Early Resident b. 5 Jan 1897

d. 21 Dec 1995

Age 78. Interview recorded at #1 San Rafael Ave., Belvedere-Tiburon, California at the house her uncle, Hans Jacob Olsen, owned around 1910. Col. And Mrs. Gregory Hobbs presently own the 100 year old house. Grace describes early Tiburon and "Holly Farm" where she was born in 1897.
Wood Edith Sausalito   b. 17 Aug 1885

d. April 1986

 
Worn George Austin Ross Pioneer Family   Age 82. Another great grandson of James Ross, third owner of "Rancho Punta San Quentin." He tells of his grandfather (also George Austin Worn) who married Annie Sophie Ross, one of James Ross' daughters, and reads a letter from his father (George Ross Worn) in which much of the family history is set forth. Mr. Worn has done much research about the Ross and Worn families and has completed an extensive Family Tree that will be of value to future historians of Marin.
Wornum Mirriam Gerstle San Rafael Pioneer Family b. 9 March 1898

d. 14 March 1989

Granddaughter of Lewis Gerstle, vice president of Alaska Commercial Co. this company had the exclusive rights from U.S. Government in 1868 to take seals from the Pueblo Islands, Bering Sea. Family very affluent. Mrs. Wornum tells of her early years on Washington St., San Francisco. Summers at the Gerstle home in San Rafael (Gerstle property given to City and is now a park). Her impressions of Sloss/Gerstle/Libenthal families; her early interest & study of art; her many trips abroad; her marriage and life in England for 30 years; her writing, etc. A warm and exciting woman. 17 January 1979
Ziegler Aileen Herzog (Mrs. Harry) San Rafael Pioneer Family b. 24 July 1904

d. 15 Jan 1992

76 year old native of San Rafael; granddaughter of Maximillon Herzog (early San Rafael butcher); daughter of Seigfried Herzog, owner of 1600 acre "Sleepy Hollow" Dairy Ranch. Reminisces about her family and home (corner of Court and Fifth Avenue, where Bell Savings & Loan is today) and her grandparents home (824 Mission St., still standing and restored for law offices). Grandparents came from Germany in 1850s to San Francisco - moved to San Rafael for health in 1878. First home grandfather bought was on SW corner of 3rd and D streets (paid $550 in gold coin in 1878). 4 June 1980

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