From obituaries in old newspapers one can learn about the people who lived during the pioneer days. The following are two obituaries printed in the late 1800’s.
In 1884, The Galt Gazette printed the following obituary when John McFarland’s niece, Annie, died after a short illness. She had come from Galt, Canada, to help her uncle on his ranch.
SAD BEREAVEMENT. - On Sunday morning last. at about 2 o’clock, Miss Annie McFarland passed from this life to the other side, after a brief illness. Her demise was not unlooked for, but hardly anticipated so soon. Her uncle, Mr. John McFarland, had telegraphed to the lady’s father and expected him here before death should claim his victim, but of no avail. The bereaved parent arrived here Tuesday shortly after noon, while the funeral assemblage was congregated in the church. He stepped from the train and was escorted to the building and took his seat beside the remains of the loved one whom he expected to see alive when leaving his Canadian home only a few days before. It was indeed a sad and heavy burden to bear. The deceased was a member of Galt Grange, under whose auspices the funeral was conducted. The high esteem in which the lady was held by her many friends in this community was attested by the profuse and beautiful floral offerings which decorated the pulpit stand and bier, fit tributes to the memory and worth of the loved departed. Dr. Lane preached the funeral discourse, after which the remains were conveyed to the Odd Fellow’s Cemetery and laid at rest. At the grave the Patrons of Husbandry conducted the ceremonies. Miss McFarland came out from Canada nearly four years ago, and has since made her home with her uncle. During her residence here she has endeared herself to all who had the pleasure of her acquaintance by her amiable disposition and kindness to all. She took a prominent part with other ladies in all charitable work, and in the building of the new church. Here the lady took a very active part and contributed much toward making it a success. Her demise will be a severe loss to this community, and her memory will long be cherished in the hearts of the people. The grief-stricken relatives have the sympathy of the community in their sad bereavement.
In the early days of Galt, when it was a center for folks traveling by train to the Mother Lode, there was a Harvey Hotel which offered the travelers rest on their long journey. One man was night clerk for the hotel for almost 20 years. His name was John McHolden. When John died, he was remembered fondly in this obituary.
The old veteran night clerk of the Harvey Hotel, John McHolden, is dead. “Old John”, as he was familiarly known, was probably one of the most widely known residents of Galt. For nearly twenty years he has acted as night clerk at our local hotel, and although the proprietorship and management of the house has changed hands many times in the past five or six years, the old veteran survived each administration and was at his post last week when taken ill. He was only sick five or six days previous to his death, which occurred at 6:30 o’clock last Monday morning. “Old John” possessed some peculiar traits of habit. For over twenty years he has never been in bed, with the exception of a few times when he was very ill. He always slept in a chair tilted back to the wall, and when in good health could not be induced to go to bed. He seemed to get more rest and comfort in his chair than could possibly be afforded him in the best bed ever made. In later years he became more and more hunch-backed, no doubt caused by occupying his chair in the position above described continuously for so many years. “Old John” had many good traits of character, and numerous warm friends. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence, was honorable, and his word was never questioned by those who knew him best.
John McHolden was a native of Vermont, aged about 65, and came to California early in the 50’s. He was a member of the local post, G. A. R., and was buried under the auspices of his veteran comrades. Funeral services were held at the hotel at 2 o’clock Tuesday and were conducted by Rev. J. C. Hyden, assisted by the Congregational church choir. The remains were conveyed to the Veterans of the Grand Army plot at Liberty cemetery; and the funeral cortege was largely attended by the old citizens of this community. The last tribute of respect shown to the memory of the deceased speaks louder than words can portray the estimation in which John McHolden was held in the hearts of the people of Galt who knew him longest and best.
Good-bye, “Old John!” Faithful friend, good-bye! May He who provides for our spiritual wants give unto you comfort, peace and happiness.
The Galt Area Historical Society offers a book of our local history called Tapestry. Click here for more information.
Last edited 27 February, 2005
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