This weekend Mark and I took a road trip to Portland. Saturday night we attended William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (which was actually Julia Caesar) at the University of Portland. Melinda, our youngest, was assistant stage manager as well as part of the costume crew. We stayed with my college friend, Karrie, and her husband, Geoff. This morning they took us out to see Multnomah Falls, and along the way they pointed out Vista House at Crown Point, a rest station and view point about 24 miles east of Portland, on a bluff high above the Columbia River. When it was constructed in the mid-1910s, this would have made for a nice Sunday drive.
The trip got me thinking about Sunday drives my parents took me on in my childhood and about my grandparents, Charlie and Agnes. They used to enjoy a Sunday drive – often on a Wednesday. Charlie was an engineer on the ferryboat, Eureka, and generally had a day off mid-week. They might pack a picnic lunch and find a scenic spot to lay out a blanket and enjoy some tasty treats. As I understand from my father, often as not one of these scenic spots might very well be a cemetery. (Seems I come by my fascination with graveyards honestly.) As they nibbled on a sandwich or a bite of potato salad, they’d survey the names and dates on the stones, and by the time lunch was over they’d have recreated the whole town in their imaginations – who was married to who, who were the movers and shakers, why that young man died at only 17, who would have been the wise old founders of the place – all based on the names and dates etched upon the flat slabs and majestic plinths marking final resting places. I suspect it was a bit more imagination than actual research, but I sure wish Grandma Kircher could somehow communicate her discoveries from those cemetery jaunts.
Ironically, when Grandpa died in 1952 and Grandma ordered the stone to mark his grave, she left the most meager of informational crumbs on the marker for future picnickers (or genealogist-granddaughters!) There were only two words, Charles Kircher, and a cross. No middle name. No dates. I imagine Grandma expected that when the time came to place her marker, it, too, would say nothing more than Agnes Kircher. I don’t know… perhaps she even had her simple black granite piece made when they made Grandpa's. But thank goodness for my Aunt Mary. Before the stone was placed on her mother’s grave, she made sure that both markers showed the years of birth and death for her dear parents. Not much detail to make up a story about, but it’s at least a start – a morsel of information for an intrepid picnicker to find on a Sunday drive.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
In 1999, stuck for thinking of a Christmas present for my father, I sent him a letter, a tape recorder and some blank tapes. The letter contained, among other things, a list of questions I wanted to know about his childhood, family, education and more. (Who exactly was this present for?? I was putting him to work, filling cassettes with stories he could send back to me!) But Dad filled several tapes with stories and I transcribed them. From time to time, I’ll share some of these stories. My siblings have the book I transcribed of all these stories, but perhaps my cousins and others would enjoy reading them.
It seems appropriate to share this story today, 6 March. My grandfather, Charles Arthur Kircher, passed away on 8 March 1952.
In Tom Kircher’s words…
“In Tiburon, Bobby Williamson always had a slogan for anything – “a stitch in time saves nine,” “a job begun is half-way done” and all that kind of stuff so now we’re into the business of a job begun.
It’s hard to figure out just exactly where to start, but one of the things about the questions you asked about my childhood and growing up and stuff, it has to start in, say, three different places – one of them, I think, is in Webster, New York, and you have to kind of understand what kind of a guy Charlie Kircher was.
He was a farm boy. His father was a farmer and they had orchards and they did their chores before going to school and I think he was probably one of the few guys at his age that was able to finish high school and he was bright enough to do that. He had one brother and two sisters and I think they were smart enough, too, but Daddy got out of high school in Webster, New York in 1898, I think, and went on to Dartmouth and graduated from there in 1902.
He was able, because of his grades to obtain a scholarship to Dartmouth. I don’t know whether it was a full scholarship or a partial. Among other things, he had a job to do on the campus, and that was to ring the bell for chapel in the morning to wake everybody else up to go to chapel, and he had to do the ringing. He then lived. He then lived off campus, I think, in a house that was a…that had a woman by the name of Emma Hahn, and she was his “other mother” and he spoke of what a lovely lady she was. And there are pictures in the album of Emma Hahn.
I’m sure as we continue on from time to time, I’ll b referring to what kind of a guy Daddy was, and how he did different things. I know that in later years when I spoke with Mary Frances, she sure had a good memory of the quirkiness and the clever wit and the twinkly eyes that Daddy had on certain occasions.
But being a farm boy, you had to be everybody, you had to do every single thing. You didn’t call the plumber. You didn’t call the electrician. As a matter of fact, when you were a farm boy, there was no electrician, you were still living with oil lamps, and he didn’t learn electricity until he came to San Francisco, to Marin County, probably, and became a homeowner and had to learn electricity. But when he was doing those things, he did it in the way a farm person would. You’d do it yourself, get your friends to help you, or your parents and get it done. So that’s the kind of guy he was.
He was, as you know, a pretty strict Methodist, that’s the way he was brought up. Said his prayers and sang the hymns. Years later he knew all the words to every hymn that I ever heard – most of them I didn’t hear either.”
I will share more of my father’s stories about his family in the coming months.
 I believe this to be Robert L. Williamson, son of Richard and Adna Williamson. The Williamson family was enumerated two households after the Kircher family in the 1930 US Federal census at Year: 1930; Census Place: Sausalito, Marin, California; Roll: 177; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0044; Image: 352.0; FHL microfilm: 2339912
 Charlie Kircher was my father’s father, Charles Arthur Kircher, born in Webster, Monroe, New York in 1879 to Charles Conrad Kircher and Frances Abelone Springer.
 Irving Henry Kircher (1882-1974), Helen Louisa Kircher (1888-1970) and Stella Mae Kircher (1889-1958)
 I have Charlie’s diplomas and he graduated in 1897 from Webster Union High School, and from Dartmouth in 1902
 Out of curiosity on 27 February 2016 I looked on the 1900 census for an Emma Hahn in Hanover, Grafton, New Hampshire. I could not find any Emma Hahn. I could not find anyone by the name of Hahn that seemed to fit, living in Hanover. I did find an Emma Barnes who was a 42 year old widow in 1900 and ran a boarding house (Year: 1900; Census Place: Hanover, Grafton, New Hampshire; Roll: 946; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0060; FHL microfilm: 1240946) and also ran a boarding house in 1910 (Year: 1910; Census Place: Hanover, Grafton, New Hampshire; Roll: T624_861; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0087; FHL microfilm: 1374874) so perhaps my father was mistaken in his memory that her name was Emma Hahn.
 Mary Frances Kircher was my father’s oldest sister, born in 1909.
Normally on Sundays I try to post a story I have written. But yesterday was the anniversary of the death of my great-great grandfather, John Fields, so I'm going to post the transcriptions of the obituaries I have for him, and then a few comments at the end...
From an unknown newspaper - this article was pasted into a scrapbook that came down through my family. I don't know if it was kept by my grandmother or one of her sisters. But because the clipping was glued in the scrapbook with no reference to the paper or date, I can only surmise it was from an Amador County Newspaper written in late February 1901.
The Late John Field:
John Field, after a lingering illness, died in Amador City on the 20th ultimo. He was a native of Ireland, being born in the county of Maith, 26 miles from the city of Dublin, October 11, 1801. When but thirteen years of age he started out to make his own living, and being an industrious, honest and faithful employee, he worked for one gentleman for a period of sixteen years. In 1840 he left Ireland and came to Boston and six years after he came to San Francisco. In 1857 he came to Amador City where he remained up to the time of his death.
Mr. Field was one of God's noble men, being loved and honored by all who knew him, and he will long be remembered by his many friends in Amador City, who sadly mourn his loss. He lived a pure and holy life and died a happy death.
The interment took place from the Catholic church in Sutter Creek on the 22d of February, of which he was a member. He was buried by the side of his wife, to whom he was united in marriage many years ago in Boston, who preceded him to the grave eleven years ago. Scarcely a day passed during his last illness that he did not mention her name. Let us hope that they are united in Heaven, where sorrow never enters and where parting is unknown.
May his soul rest in peace.
A Second obituary I have for him, again, pasted into the scrapbook
AMADOR CITY - Wm Fields who was probably the oldest citizen of Amador County passed from life unto death last Tuesday morning at the advanced age of 99 years and 10 months. Mr. Fields was born in Ireland, but became identified with Amador County when many of its gray haired men and women were children and to many of them he was more like a father than a neighbor and friend. He was a man of many striking qualities of mind and heart, generous kind and honorable. He was a member of the Catholic Church of Sutter Creek and within a short time of his death walked to and from the church with the vigor of youth. As we go to press Father Maloney before a large congregation of devoted friends and relatives is paying an eloquent tribute to the man whose upright life endeared him to so many. Deceased leaves a daughter Mrs. Mary Jane Hardy and three grandchildren to mourn his loss.
Here are two more pieces, both from the Amador Ledger:
Mr. Fields, one of Amador's oldest citizens, is on the sick list. [Later: -- Mr. Field died Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 20, at the age of 99 years and 4 months.]
Nearly a Centenarian
There died of la grippe at Amador City last Wednesday afternoon one of the oldest men in Amador county. His name was Field. For many years past he has made his home with his daughter, Mrs. J. Hardy, in Amador, though ninety-nine years of age he had been seldom afflicted with sickness.
Mr. Field leaves a daughter, Mrs. Jeremiah Hardy, and several other relatives in Amador City. He was born October 19, 1801.
I have been smitten with John Fields since my childhood, probably because of the picture of him that hung in my Great Aunt Ida’s home. He has a long white beard and such kind and soulful eyes. I now have the picture hanging in my dining room and at Christmas-time, I tape a Santa hat upon his head.
My Grandma Brown, John’s granddaughter, told me a few stories when I was a girl. She said that her mother, Mary Jane, and her parents, John and Mary Devlin Fields, sailed from Boston to San Francisco. It was a long journey with quite rough seas around the Horn. They brought a rocking chair with them.
I recently tracked down an 1850s era bible that I believed belonged to John and Mary Fields, and I’m pretty sure he could hear all the way up in heaven my disappointment as I discovered he had not written one word in it – the lovely pages between the Old Testament and New Testament where he could have (SHOULD HAVE!!!!) written the family genealogy were completely blank. John, if you’re reading this from heaven, throw a record or two my way, will ye. Pleeeeease!
 Clipping indicates "six years after (1846) he came to San Francisco" I believe this is an error. His daughter, Mary's, death certificate indicates she was born in Boston, Massachusetts, January 1, 1854, and the 1860 census of Amador County shows John, 60, Mary, 40, both born in Ireland, and Mary Jane, 6, born in Massachusetts. I would presume the word "six" should be interpreted as "sixteen".
 Note that there is some inconsistency in these two obituaries. If he was born in October 1801 as the first obituary states, he could not have been 99 years and 10 months (notation in second obit) in February of 1901 (from first obit). Also, every document, census, etc that I have for him indicates his name is John Field/Fields, and I believe the name “Wm” mentioned in the obituary is in error.
 Amador Ledger, 22 February 1901, page 3
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.