Individual Record 10

Name}   McFarren, Bessie Crystal (Bess) Family History} Hancock              
  Title}   Race} White Sex} Female
Birth:   Date} Exa 28 Jan 1900 Place} Golden, Barry, Missouri
Marr1: Date} Exa   7 Sep 1918 Place} El Centro, Imperial, California   (Link)
Marr2: Date} Exa 24 Apr 1924 Place} Woodland, Yolo, California         ( Link)
Death: Date} Exa 24 Sep 1976 Place} Sherwood Oaks Health Ctr., Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Calif.
Burial: Date} Exa 25 Sep 1976 Place} Rose Memorial Cem., Fort Bragg, Mendocino, California
  Grave Marker} Yes
Source 1}   72 = Birth record
Source 2}   62 = 1900 USA cen
Source 3}   96 = 1910 USA cen
Source 4} 695 = Photograph
Source 5} 1453=Family notes
Source 6} 145 = Marriage rec
Source 7} 151 = Newspaper
Source 8} 152 = School recd
Source 9} 300 = 1920 USA cen
Source 10}317 = Marriage rec
Source 11}    9 = Biography
Source 12}  10 = Family notes
Source 13}164 = Geog history
Source 14}675 = Photographs
Source 15}701 = Photographs
Source 16}703 = Will
Source 17}704 = Obituary
Source 18}715 = Land deeds
Source 19}719 = Death certif
Source 20}767 = Family notes
Source 21}751 = Photographs
Source 22}1218=Photographs
Source 23}  
Source 24}  
Parents: } William Henry McFarren & Rebecca Jane Ellison
   Relationship No.} 9
1st Household No.} 227 = Golden, Barry, Missouri
      Occupation 1} Housewife
       Occupation 2} Cook/chef
  Religion/Church} Methodist
Spouses:    First} Worden, Lionel H.
              Second} Williams, Simeon Clyde (Si)
 Total Number of} 2
Bess C. McFarren Notes:  Bess moved from Missouri to Arkansas and to Oklahoma during her childhood years, residing with her parents and at times with her grandparents, as her parents followed work opportunities.  By July 1914 Bess had arrived at Holtville, California, to stay with her aunt and uncle Exie and Cornelia McFarren.  Bess, shown in the photo at the right, was then 14 years old.  [Viola said that Bess may have worked for and briefly lived with a famous Western writer and his family while there.]  In about Dec 1915, when her parents separated and her father moved to the Imperial Valley (Brawley), Bess took her brother Roy and sister Ruby and lived with her grandparents who had by then arrived in Holtville.  Bess attended school and worked in a grocery to help pay expenses.
Bess married her Holtville high school boyfriend Lionel in September 1918.  She later told Viola that her first born had died in her arms — presumeably shortly after the child's birth.

In late 1918 or early 1919, Bess travelled from the Imperial Valley to visit her uncle Ed McFarren in Napa — and probably to be near Lionel at Mare Island.  The photo at the left below was taken about this time.  Bess's daughter Viola believed that Bess never divorced Lionel, and that the gold wedding ring that Bess always wore came from Lionel — not Simeon.

Bess C. McFarren Hard working and ambitious, Bess enrolled in the nurses training program at the hospital of the Yountville Veterans Home.  It was there that she met Simeon Williams.  He took Bess to Calistoga and other places on his Indian motorcycle, using a side car borrowed from Uncle Ed.  After Bess was at the Veterans Home for about one year, she became pregnant in Jan 1920.  In late Summer 1920, Bess went back to Coffeyville, Kansas, to visit her mother who had become very ill.  Daughter Viola was born there in Sep 1920.  To avoid embarrassment, Simeon and Bess said that they were married on 19 Dec 1919, in Woodland, California.  However, they weren't legally married until 24 Apr 1924.

Some nine years later the Great Depression began to influence Simeon, Bess, and almost everyone in Napa during the hard years that followed.  For example, Bess learned to mix and use baking soda and salt instead of buying toothpaste.  A few hens in the backyard provided her young family with a continued supply of eggs.  Hours spent at her Singer sewing machine reduced the cost of clothing.

Bess greatly enjoyed fishing.  After World War II, she and Simeon travelled in their cabin cruisers from the Napa River to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers where they caught numerous striped bass and catfish.  After moving to Fort Bragg in 1948, Bess fished off of the rocks at their ocean-front property. There she caught sea trout, cappazoni, and an assortment of other fish.  Being close to Noyo and its fishing industry meant that her freezer was always stocked with salmon, albacore, and other ocean fish.  Bess went abalone fishing with her crowbar when the tide was extremely low.  She would then pound her abalone catch on a large piece of polished black marble until the abalone was tender [The marble block is now at Dan's home in Auburn.]
Bess C. Williams
Bess loved animals and birds.  Over the years at Fort Bragg she had canaries, parakeets, ducks, cats, red hens and roosters, rabbits, lambs and sheep, pigs, and a cow and calves.  The photo at the left shows Bess with Daisy and two of Daisy's calves, circa 1955.  She fed her animals, milked the cow, churned butter, and always had fresh chicken eggs.  Tears would come to her eyes when it came time to slaughter an animal for its meat.

Bess C. Williams Bess also loved cooking, baking fresh bread, gardening, canning fruit, and picking boysenberries for her great boysenberry cobblers.  Her garden at their Fort Bragg home included strawberries, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, corn, beets, radishes, celery, rhubarb, cucumbers, and squash.  To supplement their income, Bess took on a series of cooking jobs in Fort Bragg:  first she worked at the Cousin's Inn (a steak house), then a grave-yard shift at the Club Fort Bragg, and finally she cooked at French Hospital.  The photo at the right shows her leaving for work in 1968.

Time of Birth}   Time of Death} 6:00 A.M. Fraternal/Social} Fuschia Society
Baptism Date}   Place}   Bess C. McFarren Bess C. McFarren
Confirm. Date}   Photos}  Bess at age 14
        and Bess at age 19
Immigr'n Date} N/A Port} N/A
Education: Grade} High school
Military: Service} None
Health Condition}  
  Cause of Death} Cancer, ovarian
Last Updated
by} Dan Hancock
Date Updated} 10 Sep 2018
Date Created}  18 Jun 1994
Copyright © 2004, 2010 - 2018 by Daniel W. Hancock.  All Rights Reserved.

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