The photograph I have was taken sometime prior to 1922. I know that because the woman in it, my Great-grandmother Jennie Mae Babcock, died that year.
The man with her is my Great-father George Washington Hufford. He died in 1950 and is considered a pioneer having been one of the first white-men to settle in Humboldt County.
His story — much of the early Hufford family story can be found in the book: The History of Humboldt County. I’ve only seen this tome once and that was a Humboldt County Fair held in Ferndale back in 1980.
And while much covers Great-grandpa’s history — very little is known about Great-grandma Jennie Mae. What is know is that she was born in the Redding area and that her folks came for Missouri and Arkansas.
She died “officially” from a brain-tumor as it is stated on her death certificate. However there is another version of her death that still circulates through the family.
Great-grandma Jennie was murdered. Family members — including my Grandma Leola told me that it is believed she was struck in the head with a bed-stead by one of her own children — and later found unconscious at the bottom of the stairs inside their home.
George Hufford, Jr. was around 13-years old at the time and is supposed to be the one who bashed her in the head. He is also reported to have turned up with a gold coin or two that his mother wore in a small purse around her neck.
Grandma Leola told how he ended up going to prison in Ohio later in life. And that is where he is supposed to have died — Great-grandpa George having paid to have his body shipped home for burial in the family plot.
I’ve only seen a picture of my Great-uncle George and that was in class photo that currently resides at the Fortuna Depot Museum in Rohner Park.
However, when I was 9-years-old, I was playing with some kids who lived in Great-grandpa’s old home — one of the girls invited inside to have a look at the blood stain that was hidden under a throw-rug at the base of the steps. She was pretty proud to announce — in the way kid’s will sometimes do — that “an old woman died on the spot.”
I put two-and-two together.