Thursday, May 24, 2018

Honoring the Kennedy's

Brothers Glenn, Maurice and Roy Kennedy were born at the turn of the Century in Stockton, California, to parents Ernest Walter Kennedy and Avah May Jones Kennedy.  Growing up in Stockton during it’s infancy, and watching it sprout up into this huge city over the years must have made a huge impact on this family, because it was the history of Stockton and its early pioneers that led to them getting
involved in the Rural Cemetery.

Anyone who is truly knowledgeable about Stockton Rural’s history, will always mention the Kennedy’s at some point while speaking about the cemetery itself. The Kennedy’s were the life blood of the cemetery for decades upon decades. Had it not been for this passionate family of history lovers, much of what is preserved today regarding those buried within these gates would be forever lost.

Maurice Kennedy and his wife, Marietta, both worked at the cemetery together. Maurice was the cemetery’s superintendent and general manager, while Marietta worked as the secretary for over 20 years until her retirement. Glenn Kennedy, brother to Maurice, was the biggest history lover of them all, and he not only worked as secretary and treasurer to the cemetery for many years, but he devoted his life to researching the history of everyone buried within these hallowed grounds.

Glenn Kennedy spent years researching, compiling, writing and publishing small books dedicated to honoring the dead at Stockton Rural, by telling their stories in great detail. He would often donate his published works to the local elementary schools to encourage the children to learn more about Stockton history and those who made history in Stockton. His lifelong work is remembered with every story that has been resurrected from the past and put to paper by way of his hand.

According to all the records I could find, it does not appear that Glenn ever married, but instead was married to his work as a local historian. On November 30, 1994, at the age of 94 years, Glenn Kennedy passed away. His obituary found in the Stockton Record stated that at his request there was no funeral or memorial service. His accomplishments were not given a mention either. 

The fact that he requested there be no funeral or services for him shows he must have been a very humble person, and not one to toot his own horn. That is very telling on the part of his personality. Although he strove to bring back the stories of the forgotten ones at Stockton Rural, digging through archives, books and every record he could get his hands on to make sure none of these pioneers were forgotten, Glenn was uninterested at leaving his own personal legacy.   

No other person had such dedication to this cemetery, and I doubt there will ever be anyone with such devotion there again. Those who roam the winding paths of this property, taking photos, reading headstones and even researching the stories within, will never understand the depths of loyalty and love he shared for this place. Sadly, when Glenn passed away, his legacy was swept aside and nearly forgotten.

I have vowed that as long as I am researching the stories hidden here, and as long as I am walking these grounds, I won’t let Glenn Kennedy be forgotten. I will always keep Glenn Kennedy’s legacy alive by speaking about him and all the work he did here so that his lifelong passion and dedicated research will have not been in vain, because I feel that just like he wanted to make sure everyone was remembered here, now I want to do the same for him.  

To the original keeper of the forgotten ones, you will not be forgotten either.
  Rest in peace dear Glenn.

(Copyright 2018 - J'aime Rubio,
Photos by: Roland Boulware.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Not So Haunted Cemetery - Stockton Rural Cemetery

So recently I have been hearing about all sorts of "ghost tours" and ideas for "haunted tours" throughout the state. It has become almost a fad lately, and it appears that everyone wants to get on the bandwagon.  Now all of a sudden it seems like every historic place is claiming to be haunted, and offering "haunted tours" or spreading ghost stories at various locations. FYI: Just because a place is historical doesn't mean that every place is haunted. Stockton Rural Cemetery will be no exception, sadly.

For the record, I have absolutely nothing to do with any of the ghost tours that will be happening in the future at this cemetery. If you want to learn the history of a place or a person, then I am the person to talk to, but I do not like to get involved in the haunted aspect. That is just my personal preference.
So what does that have to do with Stockton Rural? Well, I just learned that there will be some ghost tours happening there this year. Again, besides my personal feelings I know that there hasn't been much in the way of ghost stories involving this cemetery over the years from 1861 to the present day, so I am curious to find out where all these stories are suddenly coming from? 
I do know of two possibilities though, and that is why I decided to write this blog, in order to address it ahead of time. Way back in 2009, a book titled "A Ghost Hunter's Guide to the California Gold Country" came out by author Jeff Dwyer. His chapter on Stockton Rural is vague at best, but at the end he had to throw in a "ghost story," if that is what you want to call it, claiming that an apparition is seen after dark in the cemetery near the grave of Peter Singleton Wilkes. For the record, the cemetery never stays open after dark, they close early between 4-4:30 pm most times, I know because I have been coming there for years.

Also, if anyone out there knows about Peter S. Wilkes, it would be my fiance' - as he has a very special connection to this man, and he was researching about him years before anyone took an interest in his grave. As my fiance' often says "I was country when country wasn't cool," that's Roland. He has been wandering this cemetery for over 10 years, taking photos and researching thousands of people who are buried here when no one else cared. If anyone would know about Mr. Wilkes, or any claims of ghosts haunting the cemetery, it would certainly be Roland.

So what does he have to say about it? Absolutely nothing. He states for the record that although he has had many paranormal experiences in his life, in various locations, Stockton Rural Cemetery is not one of them. Period.

Roland has also been there in the evening (after hours) with the manager years ago when they were trying to figure out who was vandalizing the crypts and stealing the doors, but even then that is not the norm. The staff locks up when the cemetery closes around 4-4:30 pm ALWAYS.  The only people that get in there after dark besides a security guard, are homeless people who jump the fence near the railroad tracks, and they aren't talking about ghosts.
For the record, there has never been any sorts of documented or verified stories of ghosts or paranormal experiences at Stockton Rural, period. Playing on these stories might be fun for those who like the paranormal but to me it is a huge disrespect to the memories of those buried there, resting in peace.
Besides the unverified story about Peter Singleton Wilkes' grave, the only other story that could possibly have given some sort of idea of supernatural activities is the story of Daisy Dryden, another resident at Stockton Rural. However, even her story doesn't state anything about her grave being haunted.

You see, Daisy Dryden claimed to have seen into the other side just before dying. Some believe she was hallucinating while others believed she really could see between the veil of the human and spirit realm. After she died she was buried with her siblings at Stockton Rural. Her mother, who wrote this account in a book "Daisy Dryden, A Memoir" believed Daisy and her siblings were all resting in peace, and that their souls were together in Heaven. Whatever it is you believe, we cannot ignore the fact that Daisy's own mother never mentioned anything about her grave being haunted.
Again, I am sure in the near future you will start to read about or hear sensationalized stories about Stockton Rural claiming that apparitions are seen, or that ghosts roam the cemetery at night, but where are these people who allegedly saw these things? No one has any documentation or witness accounts to share or cite as a source, it is all hearsay and conjecture. And again, where have all these stories been for the past 150 + years? They certainly were not documented anywhere in any local history books, so did they just spring up out of thin air? It appears so. 
In all the years I have been roaming this cemetery, all I have ever felt there was peace. I personally believe that those buried there are all resting in peace, and do not haunt the cemetery, though I respect everyone else's beliefs. Still, don't you think that if a ghost wanted to haunt somewhere it would be a place they remember? Where you lived? Where you died? A place you loved? In that respect, cemeteries, although often thought to be creepy, would really be the last place that a ghost would choose to haunt, if you stop and think about it. Again, that is just my opinion.
If you do hear about ghost stories involving Stockton Rural Cemetery in the future, please take them with a grain of salt. They are more than likely fabricated to entertain, not educate. ---

(Copyright 2018 - J'aime Rubio,

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Reverend Jeremiah King - Setting the Facts Straight

The Non-Endowment Section of Stockton Rural Cemetery 

In the past couple of years there has been a lot of misinformation spread about the life of Stockton's late Rev. Jeremiah King. According a few websites (including an article in a local newspaper) a person labeled as an "historian" was interviewed about King's life. Sadly, only one fact within the entire article holds up, and that was the mention of the establishing of the African Baptist Church in 1854. That's it.

From the claims that Rev. King struck it rich mining during the gold rush, to the theories he had purchased many properties throughout San Joaquin County and even an entire city block on the waterfront district, all the way down to the very stretching claim that in his spare time King used "militant" force by hiring spies and armed horsemen to go after illegal slave owners and free slaves within the county, none of these claims can be substantiated with factual evidence. 

Again, I cannot stress this enough -- if you do not cite sources, you cannot make these sorts of claims. 

According to records Jeremiah always claimed to have been from Georgia (although I did find one where it says Tennessee). Although we know where Jeremiah was born, it is very unclear exactly when he was born. 

The 1860 Census states that a man named Jeremiah King was living in the O'neil (or O'Neale) township of San Joaquin County, living with Abbey King, Jack Barret and Westley Hemphill. But this record claims he was born in 1794, in Georgia. (Marriage records indicate that Jeremiah King married Abby Tulop in San Joaquin County on January 29, 1860.)

The 1860 Census for that specific township, which was pretty huge, listed only five African-Americans as residents, Rev. King and his wife being two of the listed five people. In fact, According to the "Population of Race, Sex and Nativity" provided by the U.S. Federal Census Bureau., lists that in San Joaquin County during 1860 there were only 126 African-Americans, 9,106 Caucasians and 139 Chinese residing within the entire county. 

Going back to Rev. King....

Just a few years earlier, in 1854, Reverend Jeremiah King had founded the African Baptist Church, later known as the Second Baptist Church. According to the book, "The History of Stockton" by George Henry Tinkham, published in 1880, it goes on to state:

"This church was organized in 1854. They had no house of worship until 1859, when they purchased the pioneer church of the Presbyterians for $800, just $13,200 less than it cost nine years before. The lot was given by Captain Weber."

So as you can see, Reverend King did not have the funds to build the church nor purchase the land at the time of establishing his church, and it even took five years before they could obtain a set location for their congregation. That was when Captain Charles Weber generously gave the lot to Rev. King.

Rev. King (and his congregation) paid $800 for the church structure that was on the land. They were getting a pretty sweet deal since the building had cost the Presbyterians $14,000 to build just a shade under a decade prior.  He remained the pastor of the church for 25 years (from 1854-1879), and eventually retired. 

"Their first pastor was Jeremiah King, and from a young man in 1854, he has grown old in the service of this people. He has been absent from his pulpit only once, and during that time the pulpit was supplied by Rev. Samuel Read.  They have sixteen members of the church, and over thirty pupils in the Sunday School. In this school two white ladies in the name of Christ and the human family taught continuously for thirteen years; Mrs. True teaching five years, and Miss Stowe eight."- “The History of Stockton”, George Henry Tinkham, 1880.

The location of Rev. King's church was on the south side of Washington Street, east of Madison Street. On September 19, 1986, and a plaque was placed by officers and members of the Second Baptist Church in honor of Reverend King. The actual location of the church would literally be where the present freeway is now, since Washington street used to go straight, but now it curves north in that spot because of the freeway.

The "An Illustrated History of San Joaquin County" states:

"The Second Baptist Church (colored) was organized in September, 1854. Subsequently they purchased the famous frame church which Rev. James Woods had brought from San Francisco for the Presbyterians, the first in the State. This building they moved to its present location on the south side of Washington street between Commerce and Beaver streets, fitted it up and have ever since occupied it. Recently it has been remodeled and improved, at an expense of $525. Numerically this church has always been weak. At present there are about twenty-two members. Regular preaching, once a month. A Sunday school is maintained. The deacons are J. Burrows, T. Petter and C.H. Sublett. Rev. W.A. Mitchell has been pastor since 1887."--- published 1890. 

Moving forward....

The 1880 Census states that an African-American man also named "Jeremiah King" was listed living in the O'neil Township again, this time though it lists his age as 66 (same age he was in 1860) and now he has a wife named Rachel (who was crippled). 

Is this the same Jeremiah King? It’s the only person with that name in the entire county.

The name Jeremiah King comes up again in several of the California Great Register's but each year his listed date of birth changes. 1871, page 31 states his date of birth as 1806. 1872, pg 45 states his date of birth was 1807. 1873, pg 36 states that his birth date was 1808, while 1875 states his birth date was 1810. 1876, pg 34 states his birth date was 1811, while 1877, pg 37 states his birth date was 1812.  There is also two more registers, in Nightingale precinct of the O'Neil Township San Joaquin County in 1880 and 1882, both times his date of birth is different again. 1880, pg 34 says he was born in 1804, while 1882, pg 37 says he was born in 1806.

Very little is documented by primary sources in regards to Jeremiah King's personal life except for the fact that he was listed as a "Farmer" in the 1860 Census and a "Jobber" in the 1880 Census. The term "Jobber" by definition means someone who performs occasional side jobs, not someone who is employed full time in any set trade or profession. 

Besides census records or marriage records, there are no details about Rev. King's life while in San Joaquin County that have been located, therefore we cannot definitively give an in depth personal biography because of the lack of primary source material.

According to census records, during at least the last decade of his life, he lived on property next to the Pacific Insane Asylum which was located in Woodbridge just north of Lodi. In fact, both census records are for the O'Neil Township which spanned from Lodi, Woodbridge all the way clear out to the Collegeville area but was NOT part of Stockton. 

In all the records I have searched I have found no documentation that Jeremiah owned any property other than the one parcel of land that the African Baptist Church was located on, which again was given to him as a gift by Captain Charles Weber. He might have owned the land he farmed on in 1860 or he could have been sharecropping for another farmer, although I haven't located any land deed records with his name for the Woodbridge area as of yet. If I do find any, I will certainly update that information on the blog I am currently writing about King’s life. 

Rev. King's short biography which was written by the late Glenn Kennedy, a longstanding trustee of the Stockton Rural Cemetery, states: 

"Born in Georgia. He came to Stockton in 1854 and started the African Baptist Church which is now the Second Baptist Church. He was pastor for twenty five years and missed only one service in all that time.

In 1862, during the Civil War years, when feelings were running high, he came to the trustees of Rural Cemetery asking for a place for his people. His request was granted and in all the years that have followed, Rural Cemetery has reserved a special place for his people. He was loved and respected by all the people of the community as a builder of men."--- “Stockton Area Pioneers,” Glenn A. Kennedy (1992)

This is an important point to make since over the past few years there has been confusion and serious misinformation spread about Rev. King's life as well as the history of the so-called "colored section" at Stockton Rural Cemetery known as Block 27.

According to documented facts Rev. King was able to have a section "reserved" for his congregation, but the Block itself is NOT a segregated section at all. I have been researching burials in that section for years and I have found just as many Caucasian burials as I have African-Americans which proves that the area was not segregated. 

The fact of the matter is this, although a small area within Block 27 may have been reserved for Rev. King's baptist congregation, the block itself was not a colored section. Think of it this way, Rev. King's reserved area in Block 27 is no different than if a family reserved a large plot within a section of the cemetery, the block itself is comprised of every type of person you could imagine (Caucasian, African-American and yes, I even found a Hispanic male, too).

From Reverends to farmers, housewives to prostitutes, a fallen Police Officer, many European immigrants, a Judge, a Confederate Major and even a County Clerk, that section is full of history but one thing is for sure, it was not full of discrimination. 

And as far as the area of that cemetery getting very overgrown during the spring and summer months, there is a reason for that too, and it isn't because of racist neglect. Block 27 is merely a non-endowment section of the cemetery just like Block 36 or Block 14, both which are adjacent to Block 27. That means that section does not get the upkeep that other sections are supposed to get because all those people who purchased their plot in the non-endowment care area did not pay for perpetual care of their graves or the land surrounding it. Go to any historic cemetery and you will always find an endowment care and and non-endowment care just like Stockton Rural. (also the staff at the cemetery weed-eat the non-endowment areas at least twice during the spring and summer months).

As far as claiming only one section of the cemetery was for colored people, that appears to be false, too. I have found many African-American pioneers buried in Stockton Rural Cemetery in sections all over the cemetery, so that contradicts the idea that only one section of the cemetery was set aside just for “colored” people.

When I created Rev. King's Find-a-Grave memorial several years ago, I did a lot of research to find out who he was, and tell his story accurately. There hasn't been any more information available about his life by way of primary sources. This is the most detailed account of what I could find about Rev. King's life and his congregation at the First African Baptist Church in Stockton without adding speculation or theorizing about his personal life without facts to back them up.

In ending, please do your research when it comes to finding the truth about people of the past. It is our job to search diligently to uncover the documented facts and not spread fabricated stories that cannot be backed up by documented sources. This sort of thing only causes confusion or upsets others. Also, if the person presenting the history cannot or will not share their sources with the public that is a red flag that they are fabricating their story. All true historians ALWAYS cite their sources. 

Happy History Hunting! 

--If anyone has any primary source documentation that may conflict with any of my findings, please feel free to contact me with that information along with your cited sources and I would be happy to add the information to my blog. --

(Copyright 2015 - J'aime Rubio -
Photo: J. Rubio (Copyright 2015)

Note: I have published some of this bio on Find-a-Grave; content is still copyright protected.

"Stockton Area Pioneers"- Glenn Kennedy
History of San Joaquin County, 1890
History of Stockton - George Henry Tinkham, 1880
Federal Census Records (for California, San Joaquin County).
California Great Registers, 
Marriage Records (CA)
"Population of Race, Sex & Nativity", Federal Census Records (for California, San Joaquin County.)

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Two Graves of Henry Behnke

This mystery has been puzzling me for a while now and it was originally brought to my attention by my fiancĂ©.  Mr. Henry Behnke, one of Stockton Rural Cemetery's eternal residents has not one, but two headstones and they are in separate areas of the cemetery, too!  

Henry Behnke was born on May 20, 1829 and died on March 2, 1862. One of his headstones states his name "Henry Behnke" (found in Block 26, lot 24) while the other just says, "H. Behnke" (found in Block 24) - but both share the exact date of birth and date of death. 

Although a few people have pondered the thought that perhaps there were a set of twins, both with the same date of birth and similar names starting with an "H," that maybe in some freakish accident both lost their lives on the same day.  Although I guess anything is possible, I would say that it is near to impossible and in this case highly unlikely.

You see, the only record I can find where he is mentioned, there is not other mention of another male "Behnke" with him.  According to  "An Illustrated History of San Joaquin County, California" Henry is mentioned very briefly in the biography of a man named John Corsten Grupe.   Grupe went on to marry Catherine Behnke, who I believe was Henry's sister, and this is how Henry's name was mentioned within the biography.

"In the spring of 1852, he (Grupe) went to San Francisco and took ship for New York, going by way of Panama; from New York he shipped at once to Germany and in the fall of the same year returned to New York. In the meantime he had sold his store in New York to his brother, and after stopping there a few days, started on a return trip to California. This time he came by way of Panama. 

In New York he met a number of persons who came to California with him. Among them was Catherine M. Behnke, who he afterward married. The others were Henry Behnke, Hattie and Rebecka Behrmann, Lena Meyer, John Kulmoe, John Wilkins and Henry Meyer, -- nine in all; of these, four only are living.  They crossed the Isthmus on a mule train, then took ship and came to San Francisco, and landed at Stockton on November 10, 1852.

On December 1, he was married to Catherine Behnke, and Henry Meyer was married to Rebecka Behrmann, both on the same day. " --

So we now know that Henry came to Stockton on November 10, 1852 and he died on March 2, 1862. After searching archived Census records I was able to determine that both Catherine and Henry came from Germany just like Mr. Grupe. According to the 1900 Census for the Douglas Township in San Joaquin County, Catherine Grupe was still living, but now a widow. She was living with two of her sons by that point. She was listed as being born in 1831, just four years younger than her older brother Henry, and that she was from Germany.

Unfortunately, this is where I have hit a dead end with learning more about Henry's life here in Stockton, and why on earth he has two headstones. I have found three other Henry Behnke's who lived in San Joaquin County, between the 1850's up to about 18 years ago. 
I can only assume that some of these "Henry's" are related to him somehow.

1) Henry August Behnke was born in 1854 and lived in Stockton in the 1890's because he is listed as a registered voter in the 1896 voting registry.  

2) Henry Behnke, born in 1850 and died 1928 (San Joaquin County)

Could one of the above listed men be his son? 

3) Henry John Behnke was born on February 8, 1918 and died in January of 2000, in Lodi (San Joaquin County). 

Could he be a grandson maybe? 

After searching the abstracts of the Stockton Daily Independent newspaper, dated March 3, 1862, I located Mr. Behnke's death notice. (They misspelled his name though).

"DIED- in this city, at the Avenue House, on Sunday morning the 2nd, Henry BENCKE, a native of Hanover, Germany, aged 32 years. His funeral will take place from the Avenue House at 1 o'clock this Monday afternoon."---

Answers to the rest of this mystery are still eluding me at the moment. 

I recently reached out to the Stockton Rural Cemetery office to see if they could shed some light on the mystery of the two headstones, one being found in Block 24 and the other in Block 26.  After speaking to Clara Navarro, who works in the cemetery office, she had no information to give me. The cemetery staff state that their archive records are in storage, so basically they were not willing to search through the records for this information.

As disappointed as I was to hear this, it does not deter me from my search for answers. I will keep searching to find out just who Henry Behnke was, and why he has two headstones, and I will not stop seeking these answers until they are available. 

I hope you will check back with me in the future as I plan to continue updating this particular blog post with more information as it becomes available.

(Copyright 2018- J'aime Rubio. --

Monday, May 22, 2017

Daisy Dryden's Deathly Visions

(Photo: J. Rubio) 

Tucked away in the middle of the historic Stockton Rural Cemetery in Stockton, California, you will find many locally historic graves and crypts. One that particularly stands out in the "unexplained" department is the final resting place of 10 year old Daisy Dryden and her siblings: brother "Allie" and sister "Nellie." Daisy’s story became famously known for her visions of heaven and the "other side", she claimed to have seen while on her death bed.

Daisy Dryden was born on September 9, 1854 in Marysville, California. She was the daughter of Reverend David Anderson and his wife. She was named Daisy, “because she was such a petite child, with such large, luminous brown eyes, that to us she seemed like the dawn of a beautiful spring morning, and so we gave her that name because it signified the opening of the eye of day.”  The two Dryden daughters, only two years apart, were very much loved by their mother. Though Daisy was mentioned as having brown eyes, Lulu’s eyes were a beautiful blue, and “these two darlings made sunshine whereyer they lived.”

Her mother recalled that Daisy wasn’t a perfect child, but who really is at that young of an age? “There were times when she was self-willed and even to stubbornness. Obedience was often a very bitter morsel. She had a quick temper. There would be a sudden flaming up of fire in those brown eyes, and angry words would follow. And then there would be just a sudden repentance.”

Although Daisy was a lot like most children, at times she was also not like most children. She was very in tune with other people’s feelings, what today we would call empathetic. She also had a very strong faith in God, and once when her mother was very ill, she saw her father crying and took it upon herself to go pray that God would make her better. She told her father that she had prayed and that God was going to heal her, and she miraculously recovered.

She was also not afraid of the dark, which was uncommon for young children, particularly girls. Lulu, her older sister was terrified of the dark and always asked Daisy to come everywhere with her when it was dark.  Daisy would speak as logically as an adult when she’d say, “There is nothing in the dark which is not there in the light.”

Daisy also loved the outdoors, nature and a beautiful view. Once she said, ‘I should like to climb to the top of that high mountain, because, you say, there are no clouds there, and we might see the angels looking down on us.” – (this is when the family was living in Nevada City, California). “There was a beautiful garden in the front of the parsonage at Nevada City, in which she loved to walk and talk to the flowers.  She had at the time a little watering-pot. One day a lady was passing and said: “Daisy, what are you doing?” “Oh, giving the flowers a drink, and you ought to see them laugh,” she replied. She was very fond of pansies and daisies; pansies because she could see faces in them, and daisies because of her own name. She said one day, when we were in the garden, “Let us have daisies every place we go, if we can have nothing else.”

She was also a little girl with a very sensitive conscience, even praying for forgiveness to God and asking forgiveness of her mother one time for picking blue bells (flowers she was not supposed to pick) and leaving them under the rose bush. As her mother said, “this circumstance showed how tender was her conscience at the early age of five.”

In the summer of 1864, Daisy became ill with “bilious fever,” but it seemed she was going to recover. But her mother stated that by the afternoons Daisy would droop and complain of weariness. The doctor was called and he diagnosed her with Typhoid fever. She lay in bed for five weeks, struggling to break the fever that tormented her poor little body.  It seemed as though she had conquered the illness and even her doctor believed she was “out of the woods,” so-to-speak, and on the road to recovery. He even gave her a shiny new silver half-dollar saying “This is for the little girl who takes her medicine so well.”  But Daisy knew, for whatever reason, that she was not going to get better. Her mother spoke of happy plans of them moving back to Nevada City from San Jose, but Daisy would tell her, “Mamma, you will go to Nevada City, but I don’t think you will take me with you.”

To her family it appeared that Daisy was getting better week by week, but then one afternoon she lost all expression in her face, and stared into thin air. Her father asked her what she saw and she claimed she could see Jesus. That very night she fell ill once again, this time with enteritis, and thus started the four days of visions before her tragic death. According to her mother the first 24 hours were the worst, as Daisy could not eat, drink or take any sort of medicine. After that she claimed she felt no pain, but her mind was very astute. Her sister would sing to her from their school hymnal book, and she could recite poetry she had learned before. She also enjoyed having her parents read the Bible to her. This was around the time she started mentioning that her brother, “Allie” (Albion) would come visit her. Allie had died just seven months before, from scarlet fever. She claimed that he would come to her every day, especially those last three days of her life. Many times when her parents would ask her questions that she felt she could not answer to them herself, she would say, “Wait until Allie comes, and I will ask him.”  

As her mother put it, those three last days of Daisy’s life, she “dwelt in both worlds.” It appeared that from what Daisy was experiencing, she could see through the veil so-to-speak, and into the other realm that mortal eyes do not usually see. Daisy explained to her father, “There is no curtain; there is not even a line that separates this life from the other life.” And she stretched out her little hand from the bed and with a gesture said, “It is here and it is there, I know it is so, for I can see you all, and I see them there at the same time.” For the last few days Daisy had several visitors and with each visitor she claimed she could see to the other side and communicate with their dead loved ones. She also told her mother only “No one, unless they have dying eyes can see spirits.”

Daisy loved when her sister Lulu would sing to her, and she always enjoyed her singing this one particular song:

“Oh! Come, angel band,
Come, and around me stand.
Oh! Bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home.” –

One time when Lulu finished singing it, Daisy stated, “Oh Lulu, is it not strange? We always thought the angels had wings! But it is a mistake; they don’t have any.” Lulu replied, “But they must have wings, how else do they fly down from heaven?” “Oh, but they don’t fly,” she answered, “they just come. When I think of Allie, he is here.”

When asked how she could communicate with the spirit realm without anyone hearing her speak or see her lips move, Daisy, in such a simple and childish reply said, “We just talk with our think,” meaning it was all through her mind. The day she died she asked her mother for a mirror to look at her face, staring at her reflection for several minutes. “This body of mine is about worn out. It is like that old dress of mamma’s hanging there in the closet. She doesn’t wear it anymore, and I won’t wear my body anymore… will lay my body in the grave because I will not need it again.”

Her mother opened the shutters to the window at Daisy’s request, so she could look outside at the world one last time. Her father carried her to the window and she bid goodbye to everything she saw.  “Goodbye, sky. Goodbye, trees. Goodbye, flowers. Goodbye, white rose. Goodbye, red rose. Good-bye, beautiful world….How I love it, but I do not wish to stay.”

At 8:30 pm, Daisy told her mother that her brother Allie had told her he would come for her at half past 11. She rested on her father’s chest and shoulder and waited. Lulu kissed Daisy goodnight and started up the stairs to go to bed. She could hear Daisy call out, “Good night and goodbye my sweet darling Lulu.”  By 11:30 pm, Daisy told her father that Allie was there to take her away. She lifted both arms up and reached in the air, saying “Come, Allie,” and took her last breath.

Daisy succumbed to her illness on October 8, 1864, and was laid to rest with her brother, “Allie” (David Albion) who died only 7 months earlier at the age of 6 from scarlet fever. Her other sister "Nellie" (Helen) preceded them in death and all three are buried together in the unendowed section, plot # 25.

Grave of Daisy, Nellie and Albion Dryden
Photo Credit: J.Rubio

Her mother published a book in later years telling about their experience in "Daisy Dryden, A Memoir", published by Boston Colonial Press in 1909.

To this day her story remains a mysterious one. Some people think she was only hallucinating due to her body and mind shutting down, while others adamantly believe she genuinely saw into the spirit realm.

For the record, there are no stories or reports of Daisy Dryden's spirit haunting the cemetery, nor has there ever been any reports of the cemetery itself being haunted. Believe it or not, this place is a tranquil place for those at rest, and in all the years I have visited, I have never had any sort of paranormal experience there. --

To read the Google eBook or Download it for FREE click here:

To visit Daisy’s Find-a-grave memorial, click here:

(Copyright, 2017-- J'aime Rubio.
Photos: Copyright, J'aime Rubio, 2014

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Ghastly Murder Remembered - Part 2

In my last story, "A Ghastly Murder Remembered," I explained the murder of Mary Arrivey.  As far as the story goes, Gus Arrivey, crazed and in a drunken state,  murdered his mother in the most brutal way on December 4th, 1911. My last blog post went into the details of the murder as well as the background of both Mary and her son, Gus. This blog however, will be about Gus' mental state and the things he told the physicians who observed him after the murder, including newly found information in regards to his past mental state. His case was so odd that it made its way into the California State Journal of Medicine in 1912.

By his own admission, Gus told the physicians that at the age of  five he had been given his first taste of liquor, and had been fully drunk by the age of twelve. He claimed that his father died when he was just a child, and that he did not know much about his relatives. By September 30th, 1910, Gus was committed to Dr. Asa Clark's Sanitarium for his debauchery and "delirium tremens" attacks. He was released nearly six weeks later, on October 8th.

By the springtime, Gus was at it again with his drunken behavior and hallucinations. This time he was arrested for climbing to the top of a tree, claiming that he was rescuing his mother. He was arrested nearly eight times for drunkenness between the spring of 1911 and the date of the murder in December, 1911.

The night before he killed his mother, he claimed to have looked into a "doctor-book" for a sleeping remedy, to which his mother told him he should see a doctor for his insomnia. He alleges that he went to get medicine which was a mixture of choral and bromide, and he went to sleep. He claimed he woke up again at 4 p.m., saw that dinner was cold and that his mother had went to asleep, so he took another dose and went back to bed again. The events that occurred after these moments will remain the most gruesome, brutal and bizarre story I have ever investigated.
Inmate # 25446

What The Officer On The Scene Saw

According to the California State Journal of Medicine, it stated that the officer on the scene found a woman's body lying in a room of the house.

 "The body was covered up with rags, the woman's throat had been cut from ear to ear, her skull fractured and the abdomen opened, loops of intestines protruding from the wound."--

Gus was found about a block from the home, in the tules, knee high in water. He was carrying around a portrait of his mother, one of her shirts and her hat. He was barefoot and was not wearing a coat or hat, and had beaten a serpentine path in the overgrown grass, claiming that a group of black men were chasing him for killing his mother.

So What Was Gus' Side Of The Story?

The story that Gus gives the physicians is one that is not only bizarre, but perplexing. It is obvious this guy had some serious mental issues and the alcohol only exacerbated the situation. Still, the idea of this "space ship" and other odd things he states left me feeling very uneasy, mainly because he speaks of the events with such ease and no sense of emotion.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Q: What's the matter Arrivey, what  trouble have you been into?

Arrivey: "I haven't been into any."

Q: Where is your mother now?

Arrivey: "She is up in this business going around in the jail- in that new flying machine. She went up in the spirit."

Q: Where is her body?

Arrivey: "Her body lies over in the morgue, I guess."

Q: How did she get killed?

Arrivey: "I killed her. There was a gentleman, somekind of religious man. I think I met him on Sutter and Market Streets. I forget how long ago. He showed me how to talk a signed language- sort of whisper just by moving the lips. It took him no time to teach me that lingo. I talked through the ceiling a while ago. I talked to him at a distance when he directed me."

Q: To do what?

Arrivey: "Kill my mother. I don't exactly remember when- sometime late at night. He was in Mars when he told me."

Q: How did you kill your mother?

Arrivey: "First I think I took something on the table there,  and hit her on the head with it. I don't remember where I had been or when I came to the room where she was. I don't remember what I had been doing that day. I hit her over the head with the glass, and he (the aviator) directed me to split open the womb with a knife. He wanted me to kill the baby. I beat her on the head with a hatchet, and she screamed and hollered 'don't Gussie', and all that."

Gus goes into further detail that the man from the space ship kept telling him that his mother had a baby in there that he wanted to take out. The alleged "man from Mars" didn't want Mary's spirit to go out but the baby's spirit. Obviously, the woman was well past child bearing age, and there was no mention in any records I found of her having been pregnant. This was obviously another one of his delusions. What is so disturbing is how easily he speaks of basically gutting his mother like a fish, on the bed.  I felt sick to my stomach when he finally says that he took her to the porch and slit her throat, eventually admitting he almost cut her head off!  He then washed up and changed his clothes, barricaded the front door with a washstand, piled rags on top of his mother and moved furniture to surround her body and then he ran out the back door into the tules. He stayed there all night.

When interviewed he spoke of the evening outside as if he wasn't cold, although it was recorded to have been very cold that night before. It appeared as if the cold weather and rain did little to affect his mental state. In fact, he had no recollection of it, despite being barefoot and coatless.

He kept saying that a group of black men, and two "white fellows" were chasing him and that they were going to kill him for killing his mother. He also said he brought the matches from his home out to the tules so he could be burned alive as a sacrifice. When asked about the "sacrifice". Gus said,  "He (the man from Mars) claimed it was a kind of offering."

Gus stated that he and his mother got along fine, and never had any "words " although she didn't like it when he "went on a jag." When asked again why he killed her, later he claimed that he didn't know. His story continues to go back and forth, since later he states that he wanted to kill her, he knew what he was doing and he didn't "pay attention" because he didn't think he was committing a crime.

When asked if he knew what he did was wrong, Gus answered:

"Sure, I do, and I expect to be punished...

Q: What do you think they will do with you?

Arrivey: "Well, they will either give me life or death. I prefer death."

Q: You are ready to take your death sentence now?

Arrivey: I guess so. I don't like to stay in jail.

Soon after these questions he adds that after his mother's death and he was running around the field, he claimed that his mother was in the ship above him.

"She was in the machine. She was crying and talking and calling her husband down."-

As the doctors noted, during the entire interview, Gus showed no emotion and relayed the entire story as if he was telling it from another person's perspective. Over the course of a few days, the doctors watched him carefully and questioned him more. As time went on, his story changed a bit and he seemed to have forgotten a lot of things he had said previously. According to the doctors he was still speaking of the man from mars, and describing some more odd experiences.

"I saw something like a star in the heavens and as if there was a searchlight extending from Mars to the Earth- and I thought I saw a flying machine with a man in it, going up towards the star and coming down again. The only other person I remember seeing in the house besides my mother was a man of dark complexion, standing in the back room, but he didn't say anything. He was a middle-sized man, wore a chauffeur cap and leggings. I saw no moving pictures, animals or men of extraordinary size. After I had done this to my mother, I think I remember feeling numb and stupid-like. I had no fear at all."

He continues with his odd explanations of the men chasing him in the tules, as well as a morbid dream he had on the way to jail. Doctors claimed that by the 5th day of his incarceration he was actually acting somewhat normal and having no more hallucinations or speaking of oddities. By January 15th, 1911, the courts deemed him sane, (why I will never understand that), and he was sent to San Quentin for a life sentence. They did add that they knew he committed the murder in a "dream like state" caused by delirium tremens and that he could very well do this again, if given the chance, thus the reason he was given a life sentence.

With all the strange circumstances and the complete brutality of the crime, it is insane that the State of California released this man into society nine years after he butchered his own mother. I haven't been able to figure out what he did to violate the terms of his parole, however it is on record that he did return to San Quentin in 1927 and remained there for the duration of his life.

When I first posted the article about Mary Arrivey's death, I stated facts: her background, what happened, and where Gus ended up. I briefly touched on the actual details of the murder. After digging deeper and uncovering this heinous crime, I am left forever scarred at what I read. We sometimes come across articles in the newspapers, online or even segments we hear on the radio or television, speaking of gruesome murders, but in all the years I have researched and wrote about stories such as this, I have never come across one so disturbing.

My heart goes out to Mary Arrivey, and the pain and suffering she must have went through in her final moments. One can only hope she didn't suffer, although the evidence shows she did. I will never look at this case the same again. I wonder now if maybe the reason this story isn't as well known in Stockton as say the "Trunk Murder of 1906," maybe it was because of the sheer brutality of the case. Maybe it was forgotten for a reason...we can only wonder.

Copyright 2015- J'aime Rubio, originally published 3/21/2015)
All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 


California Prison Records
California State Journal of Medicine, 1912

A Ghastly Murder Remembered - Part 1

Mary Arrivey's headstone sits quietly among the thousands of markers, graves and monuments at the Stockton Catholic Cemetery in Stockton, California. If you look closely, you will notice an odd pattern of scratches on the marker itself. It is safe to say that more than likely we will never know exactly why those scratches were engraved in Mary's headstone, or who did it. The story of how she ended up in the cemetery proved to be one of the most heinous and almost incomprehensible murders I had ever researched.

Mary Arrivey, was born Mary Byrne in 1862. A native of Ireland, she immigrated to the United States at some point in her life, later marrying Augustino Arrivey on December 13, 1881 in Stockton. Augustino was a blacksmith from Louisiana, and was born around 1851. Prior to his marriage to Mary, he was also listed in military records in 1876, as a 7th Corporal in the 2nd Brigade. Although I couldn't find his death record, the city directories later list Mary as a widow. At this point her adult son, Augustin Francis Arrivey is living with her.

The Murder
Mary worked at Stockton Laundry, located at 728 E. Washington, while her son, Augustin worked as a printer at a small newspaper called, "The Mail," an earlier version of the Stockton Evening Mail. According to directories, Mary and her son moved around a lot. During my initial investigation I believed that the incident I am about to discuss took place at 847 LaFayette in Stockton, as her Findagrave memorial suggests.

After further digging, I have found that just less than a block or so away from that location, the home in which Mary was actually living in during 1911, was at 219 S. Locust Street in Stockton. The newspaper claimed that she had lived on Harrison, however the directory speaks of Locust Street as being her home address. I could find no listing of Mary living on Harrison at any point in time. I have to assume, given the address on the directory, that the event actually took place at the original home that stood at 219 S. Locust Street in Stockton and perhaps that was just a clerical error on the part of the newspaper. If I find other evidence later, I will update this blog.

According to the San Francisco Call, dated December 5, 1911, it says:

"Crazed by liquor, Gus Arrivey, a printer of this city, murdered his mother, Mary Arrivey last night in her home...."--

The account goes on to detail that Gus claimed that an airship was circling around his head, when a man in the airship allegedly told him to murder his mother. The heinous and most gruesome crime was committed with a hatchet, while he hacked his mother to death.

He then dragged her body around the home leaving a bloody mess all over the floors. The police found the mutilated body of Mary, along with "disarranged bedding and furniture" that showed signs of a serious struggle.  The police located Gus, two blocks from his home in a nearby swampy, grass area where it appeared he had been there all night. He was found barefoot, hunched down and babbling incoherently.

After such a horrendous act, the investigators were not sure whether Gus was insane, drunk or just pure evil. His sanity was called into question, so Dr. A.W. Holshot examined Gus, and found that he was suffering from "delerium tremens" which is a most severe form of ethanol withdrawal, and was deemed sane to stand trial for the murder of his mother.

According to the book, "King Alcohol Dethroned" by Ferdinand Cowle Iglehart, D.D. (1919) he mentions Gus in his reports: 
"August Arrivey, thirty years old, a printer by trade, is
under arrest here, the confessed murderer of his mother, 
Mrs. Mary Arrivey, fifty-eight years old. 'The man in 
the airship told me to do it.' Arrivey continually mutters 
as the only reason for his crime. Because of his actions 
the police believe him insane. Liquor is believed, however, 
to be at the root of the man's crime, as he had for the 
last few years obtained one position after another, only to 
lose them in rapid succession on account of sprees. Mrs. 
Arrivey was found lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen, 
with her skull crushed and her face gashed as if from 
blows from a hatchet. Search of the premises disclosed the 
son, muttering like a child, hiding behind some bushes in 
the yard. Confronted with the dead body of his mother, 
he confessed his crime." This paragraph, which appeared 
in a Stockton, California, paper, a few days ago, is one 
which shocks us for a moment as we read it, and is then 
forgotten as a commonplace incident of life. "--

Gus was found guilty in the 1st degree of the murder of his mother, Mary Arrivey and sentenced to life in prison. He was received at San Quentin State Prison on February 6, 1912, where he served 9 1/2 years. He was then paroled on July 13, 1921, but at some point he violated the terms of his parole, because by 1927, he was back in the system again. He stayed for the remainder of his life behind bars, eventually dying on July 1, 1941. He was buried at the cemetery behind San Quentin Prison.


When I was shown a newspaper clipping of this story by Roland Boulware, the man who entered Mary's information and photograph in Findagrave, I was taken aback by the brutality of the crime. I could not fathom that a son would do such a horrendous thing like that to his own mother. What a sick and demented person this man was to do such a horrible thing.

It also saddened me that we had never heard anything of this story before. With all the infamous stories in our history in the United States, such as the "Lizzie Borden" murders and other heinous crimes, why was this crime virtually erased and forgotten in Stockton's history?

It also made me wonder who may have scratched those lines in Mary's grave? Could it have been a relative? Could it have been Gus? Was it possible that he came to the cemetery at some point before he violated his parole in 1927, and in a drunken stupor he scratched those lines in his mother's headstone?

According to Roland Boulware, he believes the scratches were relatively new when he took the photo several years back. Still, there is no way to know for sure when those marks were left on her grave. In the end, I wrote this blog to honor the memory of Mary Arrivey and tell her story. As morbid as her murder was, this was still a piece of Stockton's history and should never be forgotten or erased again.


(Copyright 2015- J'aime Rubio, originally published 3/20/2015)
All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 

California Prison Records
San Francisco Call (12/5/1911)
San Francisco Call (1/17/1912)
"King Alcohol Dethroned,"- Ferdinand Cowle Iglehart (1919)
Stockton Directories (various)
Census Records, Marriage Records
Military Records
Photos: San Quentin Prison Photos,
Roland Boulware, grave of Mary Arrivey.
Photos of 847 E. Lafayette- by J'aime Rubio
219 S. Locust, google maps