Ye Olden Oakland Days

(Contributed by Oakland Pioneers - No. 45)


By Robert T. Donovan

During the Civil War, a favorite amusement of the children of that day here in town was to go and see the soldiers, who always appeared to be glad to see them. The level ground of Oakland made an excellent parade ground for the troops, and many thousands were drilled here before going to the front. Some of these troops were sent to protect the farmers on the plains and also the emigrants coming to the Pacific Coast. Large numbers of them were also sent to Arizona and New Mexico to prevent a possible Confederate invasion by way of Texas.

One evening a large body of troops passed by the site of what is now the Campbell school, whereon was located a barn belonging to Edward Hoskins. When about opposite to the barn, we noticed a light leave the ranks and soon thereafter a light appeared in the barn. Within a very short time there was much noise and confusion in the neighborhood and it appeared that the Hoskins' barn was in flames. Mrs. Hoskins appeared and boldly rushed into the burning barn and rescued a favorite horse. In those days, it was difficult to do much with a fire and the barn was soon destroyed.

The Pacific Coast in general, and California in particular, did more for the cause of the North than they are generally credited with in those early days when gold and silver were none too plentiful anywhere. California, Nevada and Arizona, from their mines, kept up a continual stream of gold and silver to pay off the troops.

Few events have caused such an outburst of sentiment as was displayed in Oakland at this period for the North. When the war was finally over, enthusiasm found vent in processions and other demonstrations.

An incident now comes to mind of a procession which took place here on the Fourth of July, 1868. A very large delegation came over from San Francisco and the citizens of Oakland made all welcome. The procession ended up at Hardy's Woods - west of Market and between Eighth and Twelfth - where speakers welcomed the vast throng with genial hospitality and a spread of eats was laid such as few communities of Oakland's size could equal. Mr. and Mrs. Maloon Sr. made and had charge of the clam chowder, and various breweries and wine establishments furnished the liquid refreshments and all enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

I have but to close my eyes to see the old scenes again. My feelings are almost as ardent today - nay, more so - for those old days that are gone when we plighted our friendships between the tall oaks of our fair native soil and vowed that, come what may, we would never forget each other, but would always have a place in our hearts for the friends and companions of our youth.

Ye Olden Oakland Days
By Robert T. Donovan
No. 45

Ye Olden Oakland Days AMONG THE BOYS IN THE EARLY DAYS (NO. 3) By Robert T. Donovan No. 45 TO BLOG Sun, Jul 31, 1921 – Page 32 · Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) ·