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Mrs. Dora K. Crittendon (7)


I was born in Waterloo Seneca County New York in 1825. My father John Scott was a graduate of Princeton College and was a captain in the war of 1812. I have his commission signed by President James Madison. In the summer of 1832 when I was seven years old, my mother took my sister and myself on a canal boat to New York City. It took about a week to make the trip. We cooked our own meals on board the boat, and slept in hammocks which were hung up at night. We visited Lambertsville in New Jersey for some weeks and also spent some time at New Hope just across the river in Pennsylvania. Grandfather Lambert after whom Lambertsville New Jersey was named was a very close friend of George Washington and entertained him many times. Grandfather Lambert aided and gave money clothing and blankets and food to Washington’s Soldiers. Washington’s head quarters were at the home of Grandfather Lambert and he stopped there the night before he crossed the Delaware River. On our return we stopped in New York for a visit. While there a day was set apart for a gala day for President Andrew Jackson and Black Hawk a friendly Indian was there also at Castle Garden. A balloon was sent up, probably the first ever known. Black Hawk gazed at it long and earnestly then covering his eyes with his hand he said “It makes me dizzy.” When I was a few years older I saw Halleys – Comet and I can recall how frightened some people were at seeing it. I saw the comet again in 1912. I have met a number of the Presidents. The first I can recall was Martin Van Buren who treated me with some consideration and attention. After that I saw Rutherford B Hayes. Attended a reception given General Grant. Also one given to Benjamin Harrison. The next was William McKinley. We all know what a powerful man President McKinley was. When he was in San Francisco he occupied the Scott mansion. He sent my grandson Charlie a nice letter thanking him for a basket of eggs. Charlie had the letter framed and it occupies a conspicuous place in his house. In 1848 I attended the first convention ever held in the interests of Womans’ Suffrage. A friend called and invited me to go with them to this convention which was held in Seneca Falls in the Methodist Church. Mrs. Bloomer the wife of Dexter Bloomer a prominent lawyer of that state was among those present. It was a large gathering for those days. I remember Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Judge Cady was very indignant that his daughter had started this question of suffrage. She was the organizer of that convention and a few days after I saw her dressed in the Bloomer costume. It was dark green cashmere. It was made sack fashion belted in at the waist and came down halfway between the knee and ankle below that was the Turkish Trousers. It looked very nice and it would have been a great saving had the ladies adopted it. I think it was a most desirable costume and very convenient. Among those present at the convention was Mr. Frederick Douglas a negro black as your silk dress a man whose name you will find prominent in The History of the United States. Two years before this convention a quakeress Lucretia Mott came up to Seneca Falls and told us we were not having the right we should. It started some to thinking. There was bitter opposition on all sides. I think the whole question started with the Quakers. They were a liberal thoughtful kindly people and did all in their power to help suffrage. My father died in 1846 and my mother in 1850. In 1853 I started for California via Panama. When I landed at Colon I took a train for Barbequa. On the road a bridge gave way and the locomotive and one passenger coach went down and some of the passengers lost their lives. I happened to be in the last car and was safe. We then walked two miles to Barbequa arrived safely and put up at a building that I thought was made of corn stalks but they must have been sugar cane stalks. We had something to eat. I think it was beans and coffee sweetened with syrup. Next morning we were poled up the Chagres which was lined with beautiful vines and trees. The men who poled the canoe were naked except for something around their hips. I do not suppose they dress so scantily now. That was 65 years ago. At Chagres we stayed all night and next morning I was out early looking around the place and went into a church. In this church was a picture of the Christ dressed in a peculiar way. Had a halo over his head. It was a large picture handing on the wall. The spanish idea of Christ. We took the steamer John L Stephens for San Francisco. Our trip was a pleasant one and we arrived here in San Francisco Oct 17, 1853. The evening I landed I was married to Mr. Crittenden. There were twenty people at my wedding. Not [illegible] of them are living. The house stood in Hardy Place off Kearney between Sutter and Bush. It was one of a group of houses and Mr. Woodward of Woodward’s Gardens was one of the occupants. He was present at my wedding. This house had been brought from Boston. It was two stories high a long hall through the centre a large living room on the right and double parlors on the left with a large fire place. It has been gone many years. My wedding gown was a pale lavender barege trimmed with satin. I began teaching school in San Jose in 1856 and taught there 30 years. In 1890 we moved to San Francisco where I have since resided. I love San Francisco. It was my great pleasure to have the honored mother on mothers’ day at the Palace of Fine Arts Memorial for the past two years.

Mrs. Crittenden has since passed out of this life March 14 1920 aged 94 years and 8 mos. Her fine personality attracted many friends who will miss her as time passes. Thus another truly noble life is ended.

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