My Ancestors Arrived on the Wagon Train

My maternal grandmother was a McCord. The McCord family came to California via wagon train, and they ended up in Bakersfield. But Alice McCord, who was her grandmother, was a young girl on the wagon train. She fell in love with a soldier who was guarding the wagon train and traveling with them. They got married and that’s how they happened to stay in California. They stopped first in Bakersfield and later came on to this area.

My mother was born in Hanford and her father was born in Virginia. He came to California with his widowed mother and his sister when he was eleven years old. They settled in this area. I am the youngest child in the family. My sister and Lois were born four years earlier than I was. Gene was born for years before her. Each one of us showed up in a presidential election year!

In the 1920s and 1930s Hanford was a typical small town. Growing up here I knew everybody, and everybody knew me. It was fun. You never went to any place as a stranger. When we left Hanford and moved around and did other different things it was hard to get used to being a stranger.

According to my mother, my brother Gene was the “prince” of the family. Lois, the typical middle child, was very intelligent and very well-organized. He was happy if she could boss me around. Of course I was the spoiled youngest child. My dad and I were great friends. While I was growing up in Hanford I was very close to my father and we had a lot of fun. He had a great sense of humor, and I hope that part of my humor was inherited from him. Although he’s been gone for a number of years now I think of him often. When I hear a joke I think: “oh, dad would enjoy that joke!”

Dad and I were very much alike. My dad worked as a rural mailman. In fact, he was one of the first mail men to work out of the local post office. When he started working as a mailman he delivered the mail with a horse and buggy for a short time. After that, he had very old cars that he drove for work. In fact, he loved cars. Later on he bought a new car every two years with the excuse that he needed it for his work.

In the beginning when Fords were very, very cheap he used to have a lot of trouble with them. My dad dug a hole in the backyard to serve as a mechanics pit. He used to bring his car home in the evening and very often after work he would spend a few hours down in the hole fixing it.

I remember it was a big, big event when he got a heater for the car. He used to drive in the cold, cold weather and there was lots of fog. So one year for Christmas mother bought him an after-market heater. That was a big, big event in the family!

As a girl my mother was beautiful. Very beautiful. Dad met her and fell in love while she was still quite young. He courted her for a number of years and she was nineteen when they finally did get married.

Her father, Charlie Fuller, was the first baby born in Hanford, other than the Indians of course. So Charlie fuller was the first citizen of Hanford. He worked as a blacksmith, and was considered very good at what he did. He was a strong man although he wasn’t a huge man. He was very muscular. I’ve heard stories that grandpa could put shoes on any horse, no matter how mean it was!

If the horse didn’t behave and stand still for him he could just take them over and work on them while they were on their side. Now, I’ve never seen this happen but I’ve heard about it. This is the stuff of legend.