Ye Olden Oakland Days


By Chas. G. Reed. Contributed by Oakland Pioneers, No. 107.

I attended school in Oakland's first public school building, known as the Carpentier schoolhouse, and there I had two school mates, Sarah and Mary Shuey, who were twins. Very few of the pupils could tell them apart and it was the custom then to dress twins alike, thus making it all the more confusing. One of the boys, Seth Maloon, got quite "sweet," so we used to say, on Mary, and one day Seth took some candy to school to give to her, instead of which he met Sarah and gave it to her. After school he met Many and asked her how she liked the candy. She told him that he did not give her any; and upon inquiry, they found that he had given it to Sarah by mistake, Mary married and has for many years resided in Danville, Contra Costa county, while Sarah, now deceased, studied medicine and became a practitioner in Oakland; and as she resided near my home, we frequently met in the street car and had many chats about childhood days. One afternoon I entered the car and sat down, as I supposed, beside the Doctor, and began talking with her, when the lady addressed turned to me and said, "Excuse me, sir, but aren't you mistaken?" I saw I had made the mistake of talking to Mary, whom I had not seen for some twenty years or more, so I said, "Yes, I am mistaken, but I know you and I am going to talk with you anyway." She tossed her head up and would not even look at me, but I persisted and told her was a schoolmate and that she knew me as Charlie Reed. This straightened matters out and we laughed at both of our mistakes and had a very pleasant chat together.

A few days later I met the Doctor and we also had a laugh over the affair and she then told me the following twin story:

"In an eastern city there were twin girls so much alike that their parents often took one for the other. One morning one of the twins dressed up and went down town. She entered a large department store and walked down one of the aisles at the end of which was a full length mirror. Suddenly looking up and seeing herself, she said, 'Why hello, sister; I didn't know you were coming down town.'"

The Shuey twin girls had twin brothers, both of whom settled on farms, but at quite a distance apart. After a few years had passed, one of the brothers concluded to visit the other, and as he was not acquainted in the locality where his brother resided, he stopped at a farmer's house and asked if he knew a man by the name of Shuey residing near there. The old farmer said, "What's the matter with you, have you forgotten where you live?" The young man tried to explain, but he left with his identity not fully established in the mind of the old man,

Geo. W. Fountain resided on a small fruit farm on the east side of Broadway and running from about Sixteenth street to Twentieth street. His residence was near where the post office now stands,

Mr. and Mrs. Fountain made a fine looking couple and they had eleven fine looking children, all girls except two. Susie and Georgie were twins. They were petite and handsome as little dolls. Many a young fellow spoke to these girls without knowing to a certainty which one he was addressing. Teachers and friends mixed them up very frequently. Susie was quite timid and had a great dread of reading her compositions before her teacher and class mates; and as Georgie was quite the reverse, Susie would sometimes get Georgie to take her place and read for her. This was done again and again and the teacher and class did not know the difference.

Gabrielle and Cecile, twin daughters of Peter Lavorel, who for many years was proprietor of the Barnum restaurant at Seventh and Broadway, were early day pupils at the Tompkins schools. They were rather small in stature and much alike in complexion. Both had soft voices and gentle manners. The teacher was so uncertain as to which one she was addressing whenever she talked to either of them, that she placed Gabrielle on one side of the room Cecile on the other; and had they chosen to change seats, she would not have known the difference. Those sisters have been great chums all their lives. They are still much alike. Having recently met, as I supposed, Gabrielle, who is unmarried and with whom I am well acquainted, I talked with her and she said something about her husband, and I said, "Why, when did you get married?" and she answered, "I guess you taken me for Gabrielle: I am her twin sister, Mrs. Cecil Souter."

The Gorrill twin sisters, daughters of W. H. Gorrill, contractor, were surprisingly alike. Both frequently came into the former Union National bank at Twelfth and Broadway where I was paying teller, to get checks cashed; and always they came directly facing me and said, "Well, which one is it?" Then I would say, "Just turn your head a little." Addie, I think, had a little freckle just back of her chin and that was the only distinguishing mark I had to tell one from the other.

Katie and Belle Frost, daughters of Mrs. Kate A. Frost, were as much alike as two peas. Like the Gorrill twins, they frequented the bank where I was, and if either one came full face toward me, I could not tell which it was, though I was well acquainted with them. A slight turn of the head at once told me which it was, for their profiles were quite different. These girls attended the First Baptist church where two twin brothers. Albert and Herbert Waters, also attended. Many were the mistakes made over these twin brothers and sisters.

In the family of Fred Schimmelpfenning, pioneer drygoods merchant in the portion of East Oakland then know as San Antonio, there were also twin daughters, Hannah and Louise. The latter is still living, being the wife of D. J. Sullivan.

By Chas. G. Reed
No. 107
Not worth blogging
Ye Olden Oakland Days

SOME OF OAKLAND'S EARLY DAY TWINS By Chas. G. Reed No. 107 Not worth blogging Ye Olden Oakland Days Sun, Mar 11, 1923 – Page 11 · Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) ·