Friday, February 17, 2012

A little background......

Friday's Story at Attic Whispers:
And The Band Played On
A little ditty about a couple of people who just happen to meet while enjoying a music concert
in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco in 1892.

When I found these two photos, I noticed they were taken by the same photographer (Cramer) about the same era, and the man's photograph had written on the back: George W. Bennett.  Being the genealogy snoop that I am, I did a little digging.

I found Charles L. Cramer, a San Francisco photographer from 1865 to 1905 with a studio called California Photographic Gallery and a partner named, Bailey (could also be Bayley). Charles had a wife, Melinda and a son, Frank. They lived at Pine and Kearney Streets in S.F.

George W. Bennett had 4 listings in San Francisco about this time.

1st George: married Sarah Conley July 29, 1892 by Rev. Beatty and lived at 939 1/2 Dolores in San Francisco (per 1901 directory) He seems to possibly have been from Michigan.  I couldn't find much about Sarah except she was born in 1865.
2nd George: Listed in the San Francisco Langley's 1893 Directory as a department manager for Levi Strauss and Company on Battery Street - this man was much older than my photo would indicate and in 1903 left California to Manage Economic Loom Company in New York City.
3rd George: Was a musician and had a band called Bennett's Concert Band. They mostly played marching band music and hired out for a variety of events. Again, older than my photo.
4th George: This man was very interesting. He worked as a S.F. Police Detective (Sargent/Lieutenant), was very well liked and usually caught his man (as court records of the time indicate multiple testimonies by George W.).  George retired from the force after 20 years in 1898. He and a few friends headed north to St. Michael's (not sure where that is) and mined for gold, they were there only a few months when -- He Struck It Rich! He became a multi-millionaire (by 1898 standards) over night.  Sidebar: in 1898 $1.00 would be equal to $25.00 today).

So, you see how this writer's mind works - I start with a photograph, hear a story forming and start writing. But, I can easily get distracted when there is information about the photograph I'm working with and start mining the information for details. I usually change the name (if one is given and not many are), location and history (if I find any) and create a piece of entertaining, fictitious history. With this particular story, I had to use his real name -- the true histories was just too interesting not to include, although I combined a few of the true George W.s backgrounds to fit my story.

Hope you'll enjoy today's story at Attic Whispers.

1 comment:

  1. you're such a detective! any plans for writing a mystery?