Monday, November 21, 2011

The English Dynamo

  In 1919 E. G. Lewis and the Colony gained a new neighbor on Eagle Ranch by the name of Frederick Peabody, owner of the company that made Arrow Collars for men’s shirts.  I will just touch the surface of the accomplishments that Frederick and his wife, Kathleen achieved independently and together.
   Frederick met Kathleen Burke when she traveled to the United States, on a funds raising mission during World War I, as a representative for the Red Cross.  They were married in April 1920 and spent some of their honeymoon at Eagle Ranch.  Their marriage ended after seven years when Frederick died in 1927.  Kathleen married John Reginald McLean, a World War I acquaintance, a couple of years later and while returning to Santa Barbara from their honeymoon in San Francisco, the couple were involved in an automobile accident near Santa Maria, that killed her new husband.
While recuperating in France, Kathleen met up with another war-time friend, Girard van Barkaloo Hale, and rekindled their friendship.  Kathleen's final marriage was to Girard in December 1930.  The Hales traveled around Europe and were gone for a long period of time before returning to Eagle Ranch.  My grandfather, Meridith Gates, heard from Harry Hewitt, owner of Hewitt's Hardware in Templeton,  the owners of Eagle Ranch were looking for a superintendent for their ranch.  He submitted the appropriate paperwork and was hired by Kathleen Hale.  It was a couple of years before he actually met his employers, Mr. and Mrs. Hale.
   The following caption was printed beneath the autographed photo of Kathleen Peabody given to E. G. Lewis and included in the June 1920 Illustrated Review:

A new Atascaderan, Kathleen Burke Peabody, the most decorated war worker in the world, recently married an Atascaderan, Mr. F. F. Peabody, the millionaire manufacturer.  Miss Burke is from London and has been decorated by all the great nations of Europe for her heroic services at the battle fronts, and is the youngest of the 116 commanders of the British Empire created by King George.  The Peabody estate is in the Western mountains of Atascadero, and Mrs. Peabody adds another noted personage to the Atascadero community.  She is a most charming and beautiful woman.
James Wilkins is the president of the Atascadero Historical Society.  The Colony Museum is located at 6600 Lewis Avenue, mailing address: P.O. Box 1047, Atascadero CA 93423.  For more information, visit the website, or call 805-466-8341

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