That’s Old News: What the heck was Mother’s Friend?

We often look back a hundred or two hundred years ago and think of it as the “simple life”.   Hard work and none of the problems of modern life.  But, was it really that way or did they just have different problems?

I found this ad in a January 1906 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle.  It starts out “Woman’s Nature is to love children, and no home can be completely happy without them, yet the order through which the expectant mother must pass usually is so full of suffering, danger and fear that she looks forward to the critical hour with apprehension and dread.”

Wow!  That makes childbirth sound like so much fun.  NOT!

Mother’s Friend has “soothing and penetrating properties”.  It can deal with nausea, nervousness, unpleasant feelings.  It even helps the woman pass through the “event” safely.

Notice that pregnancy and childbirth aren’t even mentioned?

This gem cost $1.00 per bottle.  Even comes with a book with valuable information.  What a steal.

So, what was Mother’s Friend?  Was it an ointment, a drug, a herbal concoction, sugar water?  I have no clue because the ad never says.  But, now I’ll I have is the Rolling Stone’s “Mother’s Little Helper” rolling around in my head.


mothersfriend ad 1912


That’s Old News: Fire at McBryde

On April 28th, 1911, someone set fire to the cane fields at McBryde Sugar Plantation.  The fire had been spotted early and was quickly put out.

This had been the third fire on the plantation in only a couple of days.  The first may have been set by sparks from a locomotive.   Then, a second fire was spotted the same day.  This one was larger and burned forty to fifty acres of sugar cane.  After the third fire, the incidences were treated as suspicious.

There were no witnesses, so no suspect was indentified.  Watchmen were placed around the plantation to ward off further attempts.






That’s Old News: Political Support

I found this brief article in the 30 Jun 1912 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle:

A recall was being issued in San Francisco of three politicians.  The East Oakland Progressive League was throwing it’s support behind the politicians and against the recall.

Listed as one of the members of the East Oakland Progressive League was Mrs. Elizabeth Segalas (name cut off).  Elizabeth was also known as Elisa Anna (Lascurettes) Segalas, the wife of Albert Segalas, my Grandpa Lassalle’s cousin.  Albert owned the Model French Laundry in Oakland, California. Elise Anna was also mentioned in an article from the previous day about the same issue.

I have yet to find a female relative who was active in the suffragist movement.  This is the earliest mention I have of a female relative being politically active–and in the progressive party no less!  Women in California won the right to vote in 1911, so her participation in this group doesn’t necessarily mean that she was marching for the right to vote prior to 1911.  In the article above, she made a speech, so it sounds to me like she was comfortable voicing her opinions in a public forum.

I notice something interesting about this group and Elisa Anna’s participation.  Mostly I have found my French relatives involved in organizations within the French community.  Whether they are political or fraternal, they are always organizations filled people of French descent.  Elisa Anna is the first person from this side of the tree that I’ve found (so far!) in an organization not specifically rooted in the French community.  I am sure I’ll find others, but it is interesting to note.  It probably shows how the second generation, the ones born in California, began to split from their parent’s background.

Once again, newspaper research turns up a tidbit about my relatives that I would otherwise know nothing about.