Press "Enter" to skip to content

Georgiana Hathaway

Georgiana Hathaway entered the world in early December, 1887, at Point Arena where her parents had resided for years after emigrating from Maine and Massachusetts. Her father, Robert Hathaway, possessed a beard that grew to his chest. He also enjoyed chewing tobacco. The combination of slobbered tobacco juice and long whiskers led to a saturated beard, stiff as a board. When he strode forward, the beard swung stiffly with each step.

Georgie, as folks generally called her, earned a teaching credential. She first taught at the McKay School along the Albion River. Though it misspelled her name, a coastal newspaper took note of her in September, 1909. “Miss Georgia Hathelway who teaches the McKay school gave a party at the Log Cabin last Saturday morning. The cabin was decorated with evergreens in a pleasing manner and in another room which had been fixed up for the lunch, two tables were loaded with 'goodies' and awaited the guests. This room was decorated with evergreens and lanterns. Great credit and many thanks are due Miss Hathelway for giving such a good time.”

Known also as the Albion Lumber Company's guest house, the Log Cabin sat on a slight rise above the north side of the railroad tracks, approximately a quarter mile west of the McKay School. The one room schoolhouse stood near the western edge of the Macdonald ranch. Residing in a cabin, alongside Lillian and John Macdonald's two story home, Georgie Hathaway met their son Jack. Georgie and Jack were a mere five months apart in age.

Some connection between the two must assuredly have been made. When Georgie moved on to teach at a Covelo school in 1910, she penned at least one letter to Jack's mother. She included a photograph. “Here is a picture of the bear that caused so much excitement in Covelo a few weeks ago. We all went on the bear hunt and it was lots of fun. Poor bear, he didn't enjoy it. I waded a couple of creeks with a number of others.”

By the fall of 1910, Georgiana Hathaway took up the position of teacher at the school in Wendling (now Navarro). Local newsprint reported her visiting Albion and its environs multiple times on autumn weekends. The following year, with Miss Hathaway still ensconced as teacher at Wendling, Jack Macdonald went to work in the woods in the vicinity. The following year, the Mendocino paper reported that Jack and Georgie traveled together to visit his parents at their home along the Albion River.

Early in February, 1912, the couple married at Point Arena. While Georgie continued teaching duties in Wendling, they made their first home near Philo.

Georgie kept up the practice of writing letters periodically to her in-laws along the Albion. In late May, 1913, she penned a correspondence that included a reference to her hunting prowess. “Well, I haven't gotten my first deer, but I have killed my first rattlesnake. He is skinned & hung up to dry, has eleven rattles and a button and measures fifty-three inches from tip to tip. He possibly isn't as broad as Jack's big one but wasn't a spring chicken. Probably it is the others mate. The turkeys were making a clatter & I went to investigate & saw this thing coiled up against the side of the house. I hurried for my gun & failed to locate same on my return. I thought it might have crawled back under the house so I proceeded carefully down the steps hoping to get a shot for the opening was up next to the porch. Bending down to get a good look in the opening I happened to glance up for a moment & I saw the culprit stretched full length in front of me on the ledge of the porch. My hair didn't stand on end but it upset me entirely. I shot several times for fear he'd get away & he was so slow about dying. Any one of four shots would have finished him but of course I couldn't see how badly I had wounded him. He dropped on the ground below & there he was when Jack got home.”

The letter goes on to describe a dubious footnote in the annals of Anderson Valley. “Sunday afternoon, thinking Albion was playing at Boonville, we went to see the [baseball] game and found Hopland there. The score once was 5 to 3 in favor of Hopland. Later on it was 4 to 3 & finally Boonville came out ahead. It seems that Mr. Sam Blevins as scorekeeper had rubbed out two of Hopland's runs. Judge Gowan saw him do it. I think the latter was just as bad as the former and a little worse. Anyone seeing such a contemptible, dirty, low-down trick played should have exposed it. But for a Justice of the Peace in his own vicinity to let a thing like that pass, when he himself saw it, is just as despicable as it is possible to be.

“The whole game was poor, the sun hot & in my eyes. Hopland's short-stop got two bones broken in an ankle just before we got there....”

Near the end of the letter she noted, “I had several little bunches of news but I can think of but two just now. Mr. Sean Eldridge married his lady love of Wendling. A few men, including Frank Guntly & some of the Gschwends, went & all returned home stewed to the ears.

“Anderson Valley people get me. Mrs. Eaton charges Wes Peterson a quarter every time she lets her youngest daughter stay with Peterson's wife, who is her daughter too. Beat that now!

“Monday was hot, Tuesday it rained, Wednesday it blows & Thursday who knows? I don't know what next.

“I believe that is the limit.”

In the 1920s, Jack and Georgie purchased a home across the road from the Navarro store. They lived there together for nearly forty-five years. She continued teaching at a number of locations, including a decade long return to the McKay School in its second location alongside the Littleriver prairie road (later Airport Road). Jack and Georgie constructed a cabin on the western side of the school grounds for her to live in during the week. On Friday afternoons she motored back to Jack at Navarro.

Georgiana Hathaway Macdonald could not and would not cheat the ultimate scorekeeper. She died in May, 1967. Jack outlived her by seven years. A handful of her McKay School students still survive.

One Comment

  1. George Hollister August 13, 2021

    There were many notable McKay students: Oscar Klee, Bob Klee, Jim Boyle, Bob Canclini, Lilian Canclini Drinkwater, Henry Canclini, and many more who I forgot or I did not know about. There were the legendary, the notorious, the influential, and those that fit all three categories. The influence Georgiana had on their paths in life can only be told by the few survivors, but it was likely significant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *