The ribbon-bound packet of forty faded letters, written between February and July 1906, turned up in the archives of California Genealogical Society in 1998, with little to identify the writers or to explain how the letters came to the society. Now, 100 years after the earthquake, Dorothy Fowler details how she painstakingly searched to find out more about Miss Sarah Phillips and her fiancé, George Westinghouse Jones, of the well-known Westinghouse family of New York.
Sarah's account begins dramatically in the early hours of April 18, 1906, when "we were awaked by a most dreadful earthquake." Through the letters, Fowler follows Sarah and three other correspondents as the events of that hectic spring and summer unfold, providing a unique insight for 21st century readers.
DOROTHY FOWLER is a researcher and volunteer at the California Genealogical Society. She happened to be on hand when the packet of forty letters was discovered, and her immediate perception was that there must be quite a story to be found in them. Soon she found herself immersed in what she calls "the little project that grew." Using standard genealogical methods, Fowler was able to identify the parties involved and uncover a fascinating link to America's recent.
A Most Dreadful Earthquake, A First-Hand Account of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire with Glimpses into the Lives of the Phillips-Jones Letter Writers
California Genealogical Society and Library
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94612-2154
(510) 663-1596 (fax)
Source Information: California Genealogical Society And Library, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.
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