Monday, October 27, 2014

A Segment in the Life of William Fletcher Hyde


"History is not a succession of events but a segment of human life," 
quoted by David Starr Jordan in reference to his mentor, 
Andrew Dickson White

(Read Part I and Part II)
PART III
LEE H. OSWALD AND RUTH HYDE PAINE:
The Big Picture
By Linda Minor


Ruth Hyde Paine's Grandfather
William Fletcher Hyde

Martha Constance Smith Hyde, described more fully in the previous segment, arrived in Palo Alto, California, in 1898 from Chicago. Although she had a Ph.D. and did additional graduate study at the University of California at Berkeley and at Stanford, she seems to have sacrificed all those years of education when she married William F. Hyde in 1900. Only a year after they married William Avery Hyde was born, and before long, another son, Theodore, undoubtedly named for President Theodore Roosevelt, who spent time in California. Sylvia Alden Hyde, the third child, was born in 1907.

Although W.F. Hyde seems to have tried to become a miner in 1896, it was short-lived, since he never completed an engineering degree. Instead, he relocated to Palo Alto, evidenced by a letter written to Mrs. Leland Stanford in 1898, as manager of the Stanford bookstore. He held a similar position at University of the Pacific before his attempt at mining. His move to Palo Alto occurred three years after future U.S. President Herbert Hoover had been in Stanford's first graduating class (1894).
W.P. Hyde moved to Lincoln Ave. residence in 1899.

Census records of William Fletcher Hyde family in Palo Alto: 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930.








The Birth of Stanford and Palo Alto

Although George Washington had admonished his countrymen to "steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world," when he left office in 1796, he also advised that "just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated." Herbert Hoover, a member of Leland Stanford Junior University's first graduating class of 1894, embodied those feelings during his career. He studied geology under John Casper Branner, who was destined to become Stanford's second president in 1917.

Hoover family in 1917
As the Hoovers settled themselves into Palo Alto life, Herbert Hoover was contacted by President Wilson's Ambassador to the Court of St. James in London, Walter Hines Page, to assist Europe in finding gold to finance the war. He took his family with him briefly until Germany invaded Belgium in August 1914. Then the boys returned to school in Palo Alto (the 1920 census shows them living on Cabrillo Avenue, near Dolores Street, close to where they contracted to build their mansion at 623 Mirada).

South of the Stanford Quad, the Hoover home was about two miles from the new Palo Alto High School, which opened in 1918. Channing grammar school was less than a mile from the Hyde residence on Lincoln Avenue. Since these were the only public schools, it is impossible that William Avery Hyde, Ruth's father, eldest of the children of W.F. and Martha Smith Hyde, was not acquainted with both Herbert Hoover, Jr. and his younger brother, Allan H. Hoover, born in 1903 and 1907 respectively.

President Jordan
As the United States had grown, it experienced one financial panic after another--the result of not having a central bank in charge of monetary policy. Both the Bank of the U.S. and the Second Bank of the U.S., envisioned by Alexander Hamilton, had been killed by policies instigated by Andrew Jackson before the civil war. Hope had been renewed by discovery of gold in California and Colorado, but still investment in infrastructure required money, much of which was sought from Europeans who bought stocks and bonds issued by American banking houses.

Leland Stanford, one the "Big Four," who built Abraham Lincoln's Central Pacific Railroad, had become wealthy in California by the time his son died in 1884. He and his wife decided to create Leland Stanford Junior University in his memory and consulted Andrew Dickson White, who had built Cornell in Ithaca, New York, staffed with elite Skull and Bones graduates of Yale, White's alma mater. White highly recommended that the Stanfords offer the job as Stanford's first president to David Starr Jordan.

Leland Stanford did not live to see the first graduating class cross the podium. He died in 1893, and the endowment continued to be controlled by his wife, the former Jane Lathrop, with whom Jordan worked very closely to ensure the university would survive during the difficult years resulting from the financial panic of 1893. Working with them was Timothy Hopkins, appointed a trustee in 1885; he was the adopted son of Mrs. Mark Hopkins, wife of Stanford's former partner in the Southern Pacific Railroad, though he received no inheritance from her when she died in 1891.

Only in the new century did the assurance come that the university would survive, at the time of Jane's death (1905), when the endowment received the anticipated funds from her estate:
In June 1903, Jane transferred control of the university’s endowment to the Board of Trustees, and she urged the board to increase graduate enrollment and support research and teaching. However, it was only with her death in February 1905 in Honolulu [allegedly from strychnine poisoning]# that the transfer of powers was legalized, and funds continued to flow to the construction of several significant buildings through 1905.
Stanford's "World View"

Jordan was a young man of 40 when he assumed the presidency. An ichthyologist (student of fish), he had studied at Cornell before assuming presidency of Indiana University at the age of 34.

Some of Jordan's papers, labeled "Peace Collection," note that he was president of the World Peace Foundation from 1910 to 1914 and president of the World Peace Conference in 1915; these papers were donated to the Quaker college at Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Jordan retired from Stanford in 1916, remain in the public eye until 1925. His death in Palo Alto occurred in 1931, while his friend Herbert Hoover was U.S. President. An obituary referred to him as the "chief director" of the World Peace Conference. In 1922 Jordan dedicated his selected essays entitled War and the Breed: the Relation of War to the Downfall of Nations to Andrew Dickson White, "who taught me to see in history, not a succession of events but a segment of human life."
The World Peace Foundation was the American section of a broader movement for international peace at that time, one goal being the expansion of the league of nations and the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration to settle international disputes. One advocate of this Court was the grandfather of John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles--John Watson Foster--who was on the Advisory Council of the World Peace Foundation with David Starr Jordan. As Foster related in his history of the Hague Peace Conference, among the Americans present in 1899 was Jordan's mentor, Andrew D. White.

White, as first president of Cornell University, also acted as a behind-the-scenes mentor of the man given credit for putting together the coalition that in 1912 elected President Woodrow Wilson--"Colonel" Edward M. House of Texas, who attended Cornell in the mid 1870's but never graduated.

By the time Ruth Paine's grandfather moved to Palo Alto in 1897, Hoover had jumped into his mining career on the international stage, and was determined to assist his somewhat older brother, Tad, in completing his degree in mining engineering at the same college.

As his biographer Will Irwin reported, in 1899 Herbert married Lou Henry, and together they set out to the Far East, where they found themselves at Tianjin in the midst of the Boxer Rebellion in China. From there they would move to London where two sons would be born. By 1909 the Hoovers were able to return at least several months a year to the United States, much of it in Palo Alto, especially by 1912. As Europe became more involved in war, requiring gold as payment for arms, munitions and other necessities, Herbert Hoover remained on call for globe-trotting assignments in search of such gold, although in 1912 he became one of Stanford's trustees. The Hoover sons were enrolled in school in Palo Alto, undoubtedly the same school as the children of W.F. Hyde.+

Theodore Jesse (Tad) Hoover entered Stanford in the same class with W.F. Hyde's younger brother, James McDonald Hyde in 1897, and they not only graduated together in the class of 1901, but in 1919  both were named Stanford professors. They had spent the intervening years, much as Herbert Hoover had, traversing the world in search of gold and other precious metals. Dr. Branner continued to head the geology department until President Jordan's retirement in 1918, succeeding him in that position the following year. Tad Hoover got his place heading the geology department, with James Hyde as his chief associate.

James M. Hyde remained in that position until one year before Herbert Hoover's election to the Presidency. During that time he and his wife and daughter lived on Churchill Avenue near the high school. He relocated to Hollywood and became vice president of the the Board of Public Works in Los Angeles. Before long he was elected a city councilman, and served off and on until he finally lost that position in 1939 when the mayor asked for his "purge," along with others. He switched to the Democratic Party in 1935. He died in 1943.



Good Government and Career Changes

William Fletcher Hyde, father of W.A. Hyde

William Fletcher Hyde was in Palo Alto, California during the above events, though he remained quite invisible to historians. 

In addition to working with library and bookseller groups (see clipping to left), W.F. also was involved as a delegate to local and state Republican Party conventions as early as August, 1906, when he and Marshall Black were elected to attend the California state Republican convention. Black, head of Palo Alto Mutual Building and Loan Association, served as state senator, and was so wealthy by 1903 he built the historic mansion in nearby Menlo Park recently purchased by Mark Zuckerberg. By 1912, however, Black was accused of irregularities that led to his conviction and imprisonment. We can only wonder whether W.F. Hyde, who served on five grand juries over the years, had a role in seeing this associate sent to jail.

As elections rolled around in November 1906, Hyde helped to write a constitution for the Palo Alto "Good Government League" with several men with strong business connections--Dr. Jefferson Elmore (Stanford Latin professor), Walter E. Vail (life insurance agent), Dr. C. W. Decker (physician), and Constable Fred B. Simpson. Various Hyde family members are listed on page 62 of the 1915 city directory, with W.F. Hyde being conspicuously absent at that time. We do, however, find him listed in 1918 as an employee of Underwood & Underwood in Los Altos under the heading "stereoscopic views." According to Taylor & Francis:
By 1900, Underwood and Underwood, the largest company in the United States, was turning out 35,000 stereograph cards daily and 10 million yearly (Darrah 1977, 47). The large-scale production and distribution of stereographs enabled them to become a mass-distributed visual source of information consumed for a variety of purposes, such as entertainment, education and propaganda (Speer 1989, 301).
1922 ad
In about 1913, however, the Hyde Book Store in Palo Alto was operated by his brother, Edward L. Hyde and his wife, the former Lauretta Coe Foster. By 1920 William Fletcher had become an insurance agent and began to sell real estate as well. In fact, when the Hoover family in 1930 gave up their 15-room residence at Stanford's "San Juan Hill," the realtor who listed it for rent was none other than W.F. Hyde.

Carol Hyde Meets W.F. Hyde

As mentioned in Part I, Carol was descended from the original Hyde ancestor as William Avery, but from a different branch. Her parents entered the ministry when Charles Ludlow Hyde, her father, was 35 and graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio. By 1916, however, after being sent to churches in Colorado and California, he had seemingly tired of the ministry. According to an item that appeared in several United Press news carriers in July 1916:
Another strange case is that of Rev. Charles L. Hyde of Niles, Cal., who wants to give up his pastorate at the First Congregational church there and go to work as a farm hand or on a poultry ranch.
Nevertheless, Rev. Hyde had the last laugh on the press, since the 1920 census finds him employed as the secretary of a poultry association in Palo Alto, California. As the item to the right shows, once they moved to the Palo Alto area, the Charles L. Hydes became acquainted with the W.F. Hydes at the local Congregational Church. Carol's mother played the organ, while Charles and William Fletcher sang bass in the choir. Carol was an alto, but William Avery was nowhere to be found. Most likely it was Carol Hyde Hyde who encouraged her youngest daughter Ruth to take up folk singing and dancing, where as it turned out she would meet her husband, Michael Ralph Paine in Philadelphia prior to their marriage in 1957.

Like his son's new father-in-law, William Fletcher Hyde would also experience an abrupt change in his career during the years prior to or during WWI, at a time the couple had three young children ranging in age from six to ten years old. He had served as president and trustee of the Palo Alto Public Library for many years, and his sisters were librarians, Mary  at the San Francisco public library and Lillian at Stanford. W.F. also was a trustee for the California state library association. Though he could not have known then that Herbert Hoover would become U.S. President in 1928, he most likely knew that Herbert Clark Hoover was his younger brother's employer, and it is possible that, through that connection, W.F. felt greener pastures were in store for him.

James McDonald Hyde, had graduated from Stanford in 1901, and by 1903 had a teaching job at the University of Oregon. Then in 1910 he went to London to work for Herbert Hoover's brother Tad, whom James had known in college. Tad, actually Theodore Jesse Hoover, had been manager of Minerals Separation, Ltd., since 1907, but left soon after installing James at the company. While there, James had a disagreement with another Stanford geologist named Edward Nutter, but left within a year to work in Montana. Minerals Separated, Ltd. then sued James for infringing one of its patents. When the case came to trial in Montana in 1912, the Hoover brothers were the chief witnesses on James' behalf. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal in 1915. A portion of James' testimony is excerpted to the left.

The 1920 census record shown above indicates the W.F. Hyde family lived in Los Altos, Santa Clara County, that year, with W.F. engaged in insurance and real estate. He had also become involved with the Los Altos Improvement Club. The eldest child, William Avery, was 17 and looking forward to attending Stanford University soon--almost at the same time his father starting selling insurance and real estate. While he was a student, his mother died at the young age of 53.

In 1932 William Avery Hyde's aunt, Sylvia Hyde, was an art instructor at San Jose State College. She and Theodore Hyde, neither of whom had married, continued, after their mother's death, to live in the three-story residence at 334 Lincoln, even after their father's death in 1939. Sylvia most likely developed her interest in art from her aunt, Bessie Hyde Kennedy, who also lived in the large residence until her own death in 1944.

Sylvia worked from home as an artist and also worked in her father's insurance/real estate office, and at 310 University Avenue, Menlo Park. This address was the same as the University Realty Co., just a few doors from the Hyde Bookstore of Edward L. Hyde at 362 University (either the location or the street numbering changed). Edward's wife, Lauretta was the daughter of Harrison Streeter Coe, a 1903 Stanford mining graduate, who filed a patent for an invention like the one J.M. Hyde had been sued for infringing.

By 1943, she was hired as a teacher at Grant Union High School and had moved to Del Paso Heights north of Sacramento. Sylvia later married Otto V. [von Thulen] Rhoades at some point after he divorced in the 1930's, and she continued to correspond with her nephew and visit with him on infrequent visits in California; she only recalled meeting Ruth on two occasions. Theodore Hyde died in Walnut Creek, California in 1991. Nothing else about these siblings of William Avery Hyde has been discovered.

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