Thursday, May 8, 2014

Oops and a Buried Treasure ~ May 20, 2014

The Big Reveal: The Research Queen must confess a Big Oops. I need to clear something up before my work is identified as being from the "Ready, Fire, Aim Academy of Research". 

In my April 29th post I stated that the Summit Avenue property was purchased for $1,600 in 1894 from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company (error since corrected on that post). My initial information came from a conveyance document (these days it would be called the deed of trust) transferring property to the owners when the loan was paid off. There were two of the two page documents. What I didn't catch the first time around is that the documents were for two different lots. My great grandparents purchased Lot 134 for $2,000 (roughly $51,200 in 2014 dollars) in 1892. Lot 135 was purchased by a George Scott Henry for $1,600. I checked with my Aunt Betty and she doesn't know of a second piece of property or a Mr. George Scott Henry who was, coincidentally, the Secretary of the Tamalpais Water Company at the time. I'm working with the Marin Municipal Water District to see if we can locate a copy of the original plot map. 

The Buried Treasure: I just found the following receipt folded up in an unmarked envelope. Charles and Flora Beals (my great grandmother and her second husband) purchased Lot 134 in August 1892. They were buying it on time and this receipt outlined the special agreement. I can almost decipher all of the handwriting: 

"Interest is to commence as soon as lot is connected with main pipes of water system" and "Special agreement ~ $50 every month from October 8th, 1892 until $500 is paid up .... of capital, then a deed to be given and mortgage for balance for 1, 2 and 3 years at 7% interest with ..... to pay $50 every month or more".

What I find fascinating is provision (1) in the Terms of Sale: "No spirituous or malt intoxicating liquors, wine or cider to be manufactured, sold, exchanged, bartered delivered or given away on said premises prior to May 31st, 1915, under penalty of forfeiture of the right of possession until said 31st May, 1915, except as authorized by such conveyance." On page two of the document it states: "Provided however, that the party of the second part his heirs or assigns, may in good faith, on said premises, himself use and supply his own family with such liquors, wine or ciders."

California was not a dry state at the time, but there appear to be at least a couple of trains of thought on the subject. The liquor industry may have gotten some legislation passed to control perceived competition from private parties and the Women's Christian Temperance Union was starting to gain popularity in the 1,800's. Inquiring minds want to know the significance of May 31, 1915. Further research is called for, but that's for another day.