May Matteson Senter
Compiled from a first person interview with the local newspaper (1937) and “The Early Days” by Nora Pogue Montgomery. Presented on March 21, 2015 at the Lemon Cove Women's Club Annual Open House, and enacted by students from Sequoia Union School, Lemon Cove, California.
My name is May Senter. Today is November 24, 1937 and my husband, W.R., and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary at our ranch home – Mesa Verde. Over 150 of our family and friends are expected to attend what I believe is the first such event in Lemon Cove.
Both my husband and I are children of families dating back to the California Gold Rush. My father, TJ Matteson, arrived in 1849 after making the dangerous voyage around South America’s Cape Horn. He was a miner first in Angel’s Camp, then onto Murphys where he later started a business. In 1863 he married my mother, Ada. He had met her at a military ball while serving in the California militia during the Civil War.
I was born in September of 1866, one of six. I married W.R. fifty years ago, in 1887, when we were both 21. We moved around California settling in Lemon Cove in 1909. My mother Ada moved here with us. In 1912 we bought Mesa Verde ranch from the J.F. Mitchells.
My husband and I have been an active part in both the church and community. In 1917, during WW1, a branch of the Red Cross was organized in Lemon Cove with membership of nearly 200 members. Many of us met on a regular basis in a classroom of our nearly finished school to make bandages and sew for the Armed Forces. After the school was completed, we used it as a hospital to treat those affected by the 1918 flu epidemic. There was one registered nurse and volunteer members of the Red Cross acting as nurses, caring for 40 patients. Mrs. Henrikson was in charge and I was in charge of the kitchen located in a hallway at the back of the auditorium. Thankfully we had no more than one death! The doctors have said that our efforts were the reason the death rate was so low.
My husband and I are fortunate to live amongst so many friends who are now arriving to celebrate our Golden Anniversary. Pardon me while I go welcome them all!