Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Prominent Newhall Women, with Children

Newhall, California

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Prominent women of Newhall with children, 1901. The occasion and the location are unknown, but it could be a Newhall Woman's Club gathering. 5x7 photograph mounted on 7x9 pressed paper board, courtesy of lifelong Newhall resident Gladys Thibaudeau Laney (daughter of Bert and Armantha Thibaudeau).

Handwriting on back (see below) identifies the photo as "Newhall group / Mrs. Walton Young" — aka Harriet Young. Her husband was the Pico Canyon oil field superintendent at this time.

(Back row) from left:

  • Florence Powell Ziegler wasn't a Ziegler in this photograph; she was still Miss Powell, eldest of three children of Dora and John F. Powell. The latter was justice of the peace for Soledad Township (the Santa Clarita Valley and environs). He was appointed to that position in 1875, left town around 1880 and returned to resume the mantle (or the robe) in 1900, retiring in 1922. Florence married Louis Andrew Ziegler, an oil man, in 1918. In 1922, Florence was secretary of the building committee that raised funds for the new, concrete-and-stucco Presbyterian Church in Newhall (which lasted until after the 1971 earthquake). The Zieglers lived at 811 Chestnut Street, moved away in 1926 (for Louis' work) and returned in 1937. In 1940, Florence was one of the "old timers" who helped construct the first history of Newhall School.
  • Bertha Haskell Bailey, later (and better) known as Bertha H. Taylor, was the daughter of John C. Haskell, who developed a gold field in what became the Haskell Canyon section of Saugus. Bertha was born in Sonora, Calif., in 1870. In 1907 she married a widower, George Herbert Bailey, then-superindent of the Newhall Ranch (Newhall Land and Farming). His death in 1915 left her with an infant son. Living at 22323 N. Second Street in Newhall (until her own death in 1957), Bertha worked in the 1910s as an assistant in the Newhall post office, which was located inside the second Southern Hotel until the Swall buiding was completed. In 1923 she remarried; J.W. "Jack" Taylor was an oil man (not in Pico). Bertha was a leading figure in the Newhall Woman's Club, the PTA and other local organizations; in the 1930s she chaired the local Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic women's association.
  • Armantha E. McClure Thibaudeau was the grande dame of the Santa Clarita Valley in the 1910s-20s-30s. One of the few local friends of William S. Hart, she was married to an insurance agent who died young (age 49) in 1925. Born in Kentucky in either 1870 or 1878, she followed in the footsteps of Sarah Gifford, wife of Newhall's first train station agent (1876), in terms of service to the community. Outliving her husband by nearly 40 years, she was a leader in every local business and civic organization, from the Newhall School PTA to the Newhall Presbyterian Church. From the end of World War I to the beginning of World War II she often donned a nurse's uniform as head of the American Red Cross locally. She was secretary to the original Newhall Improvement Association at least as early as 1913, and 10 years later, when it became the Newhall Chamber of Commerce (direct forerunner of the SCV Chamber of Commerce), she again kept the meetings on track as secretary. Upon her death in 1961, The Signal noted: "There was a quieter side that touched the heart of this community through the active years of her life. In the early days when there were no doctors, no nurses and no undertakers, she delivered the babies, nursed the sick and laid out the dead. There was no end to her charity, no limit to her indurance."
  • Lilly Reynolds, born Lilly M. Miller, was married to Clay M. Reynolds, who had been a Pico Canyon oil worker since 1888. Mother to Ellen May Reynolds and to a son who died in infancy, Lilly was active in the Newhall Woman's Club and the Presbyterian Church. On July 11, 1927, Lilly's husband was driving her and a female friend to Saxonia Park in Placerita Canyon when their car was struck by a Southern Pacific passenger train. The two women were killed instantly, and Mr. Reynolds was seriously injured. Three weeks later, Mr. Reynolds' sister was struck and killed by an automobile in Los Angeles.
  • Harriet Young, as noted above, was married to Walton Young, who had been a blacksmith's helper in the machine shop in Pico Canyon when the couple married in Newhall in 1891. Upon Charles Alexander Mentry's death in 1900, Walton succeeded him as superintendent in charge of Standard Oil Co.'s operations in Pico and Elsmere canyons. Living on oil company property in Pico Canyon, Harriet served as treasurer of the Newhall Woman's Club in the 1920s. Following Walton's retirement in 1927, the couple moved to Santa Monica, where they had maintained a second home for a number of years, but they frequently visited and continued to participate in Newhall "old timer's" reunions on the Fourth of July.
  • Unknown, identified on back as "Mrs. Rinaldi?"

The children are unidentified except for Lilly's daughter, Ellen May Reynolds, who is in the center in front of Armantha Thibaudeau. Most of the children's faces are blurry because they can't sit still for the long exposure time. Kodak introduced the Brownie camera in 1901, and it cut the exposure time, but it still took several seconds — and we don't know that this photograph was made with a Brownie.

Gladys Laney, Armantha's daughter, is not shown here because she wasn't born until 1910.

Further reading: Women Have Always Run the SCV, 2001.

Click image to enlarge | Download archival scan.

GL0101: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph courtesy of Gladys Laney. Photo file.
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