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Beach at Santa Monica

Arrival in Southern California

My grandparents Sam and Kate Carey moved their family from Urbana, Ohio, to Santa Monica, California, arriving at Sam's uncle John and aunt Lucinda Perry's home at 2428 24th Street1 at 1:00 pm on 14 October 1921.2 Here we see the six Careys squinting into the bright California sun along with John and Lucinda. The children are:

Somebody wrote on the back of the photo:

At 1 o'clock
In front of Aunt & Uncle's home as we arrived.

Just before the move to California, Goldie was very sick with whooping cough and they were afraid she was going to die. The doctor advised against moving her. When the family took a vote on whether or not to move, Goldie (age 6) was the only one to vote to stay. They had all become fed up with the cold Ohio winters and wanted to escape to California, where a number of Perry relatives already lived. John and Lucinda had offered to let their Carey nieces and nephews stay with them until they could find a house. Grandpa sold his nursery business in Urbana and accepted an offer from a Mr. Armacost to work in his nursery in West L.A.3

Here is John and Lucinda's home:

Grandma Carey played piano in the movie theater in Urbana. The Careys delayed their departure for California several weeks because the kids wanted to see the rest of a gorilla "serial" which was playing at the movie house. Just before their move to California, a big earthquake occurred in the Torrance area. A lot of their friends in Ohio told them they would surely be killed in quakes if they moved to California.

None of the Careys had been outside the Middle West before, so their train trip to California was an experience they remembered all their lives. The train on which the Careys were traveling stopped for several hours in Gallup, New Mexico. One of Kate's nephews met them at the station along with an Indian friend and took them to the Indian's home in the nearby desert. Libby remembers going into the house through some kind of trap door.

Soon after their arrival in Santa Monica, the Careys went to the beach where they had this picture taken...

Somebody, probably Libby, wrote the following note on the back of the photo:

Dear Florence:4

This we saw just as we arrived in Santa Monica. I was afraid of getting too close, now I could take my shoes off and wade in water & dry my feet in sand. I wish you were here to go to school. Maybe Papa5 will come someday then we can be company for each other. We all go to Meth. Church and they make us at home. We have such a nice home, something like yours on Taft Ave. Howard is playing piano. George & Warren6 just drove up, such nice boys. Howard is looking for a letter from you.

This was the first time any of them had seen an ocean and, as Goldie once told me, "We all became little sun worshippers. We didn't even know the sun caused skin cancer then." Some of my own earliest memories are of going to this same beach at Santa Monica.

At about the same time as Sam and Kate and their children moved to California, Sam's brothers George and Will also moved to California from Ohio, along with their families.

This page was the start of our Carey Family Album back in 1997. A friend had one of the very earliest scanners at his workplace and offered to scan some old photos for us. He digitized the ones you see here and we added some html text and uploaded this page. The rest is history!

1 The area where this address was once located is now the site of Grant elementary school. John and Lucinda's g-g-granddaughter, Fran Reed, says that she found their address listed as 1512 Euclid Street in a 1923 Santa Monica city directory. The 1924 newspaper article describing their grandson Walter Johnson's visit says the Perrys were living on 24th St. The 1941 story of Lucinda's 91st birthday party also mentions 24th St. John's 1925 Los Angeles Times obituary says he died at his home on 24th Street, but gives the house number as 1132.
2 This date was Aunt Libby's recollection, more than 70 years later.
3 I wondered whether Sam's boss may have had connections to the Carey family in Ohio. Sam's aunt Charlotte Ann "Anna" Carey married a John Nelson Armacost, who was born in New York. The Armacost Nursery was located at the corner of Olympic and Bundy in West L. A. The 1930 U. S. Census lists a widowed 51-year-old "wholesale florist", Walter L. Armacost, living at 2001 Armacost Avenue, around the corner from the nursery, but this man moved from Hampstead, MD, to Los Angeles county between 1900 and 1910, when he was listed in Ocean Park with his wife Anna and father George. Walter was mentioned in an article in the 23 Oct 1905 Santa Monica Daily Outlook telling of an expedition to the top of Mount Whitney. His rôle in the importation of African violets to the U. S., which may have involved his worker Sam Carey, is mentioned in the November 2001 Fantasy Violeteers African Violet Club's newsletter:
One American grower, Walter L. Armacost of Armacost & Royston Nursery, Los Angeles, California, was impressed by the fact that horticulturists in Europe foresaw that the African violet would one day be considered a most valuable house plant. In 1927 he obtained seeds of the African violet from Ernest Benary of Erfurt, Germany, and from Sutton's of England.
4 The children's first cousin, Florence Carey, who was 16 years old at the time.
5 Florence's father, Rev. Charles Carey, who was living in Urbana at the time. Charles' family's home on Taft Ave. was just a few blocks away from where Sam, Kate and their children had lived, at 201 Bloomfield Ave. This and many other Carey and Perry photographs were sent to me years later by Florence's younger brother, Marvin Carey.
6 Also first cousins, Warren and George were Rev. George E. Carey's sons and were 25 and 21 years old.
This page was last updated 15 Oct 2012.