1884 - 1962 (78 years)
||Ella May Reiner |
||5 Feb 1884
||Waverly, Lancaster County, Nebraska
||14 May 1962
||Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California
||Evergreen Memorial Park and Mausoleum, Riverside, Riverside County, California
||25 Dec 2011 |
||Charles Donald Reiner, b. 19 Jul 1857, Eldred Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania , d. 4 Feb 1945, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California (Age 87 years) |
||Sevilla H Reitz, b. 8 May 1863, Upper Mahanoy Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania , d. 3 Aug 1933, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California (Age 70 years) |
||3 Nov 1881
||Waverly, Lancaster, Nebraska
- Charles Donald Reiner met his wife Sevilla H Reitz, daughter of John and Mary "Polly" Reitz, in Nebraska where they were married 3 Nov 1881. Following their marriage, the couple lived in Waverly, NE where Charles ran a little store. Their first child, Ralph Oliver, was born 26 Sep 1882. Two girls, Ella May and Mary Lydia, were born 5 Feb 1884 and 8 Apr 1888, respectively.
Charles became ill and was so thin that Sevilla could lift him. His normal weight was about 200 pounds, and he was almost 6' tall. Thus, the family decided to move to California for Charles' health. They sold everything to raise money for the trip.
Charles Donald Reiner, his wife Sevilla, and three children, Ralph, Ella May, and Mary, arrived in California 1 Jan 1892 after travelling by train from Nebraska. When the family debarked at Sacramento on a sunny day, ten-year-old Ralph announced, "Oh, Father. This is so wonderful. We'll never go back to Nebraska." The family had $40 left. Eventually, they settled in Riverside which was the orange center of California, and Charles soon found work caring for orange groves belonging to a Mr. Martin. Oscar Sr was born that year, followed by the twins, Eva and Neva in 1898. After the twins were born, Ella May dropped out of high school so that she could help at home.
Charles built a small house on 14th Avenue after the family had lived in Riverside for some time. Later, he added an upstairs. That house stood for many years but was torn down after the neighborhood deteriorated and became a miserable part of town.
Neva was on month shy of four years old when she died of double pneumonia, probably a complication from the measles. This was such a shock to Sevilla that she never got over it nor was Neva ever talked about in the family thereafter.
In 1904, the Reiner family moved to Pasadena, perhaps because the house on 14th Avenue reminded Sevilla too much of Neva. At first, the Reiners lived in several rental houses. Eva loved Sundays when the family would go house hunting because she could look into so many "little crazy places." Eva entered first grade at Columbia grammar school which Oscar also attended. Mary was in high school, Ella May was working at the Pottenger Sanatorium in Monrovia, and Ralph was attending the University of California at Berkeley.
Eventually, Charles built a 3-bedroom house on Catalina Avenue, just off Villa Street. He later built another house on the same lot in the rear. Charles worked on a correspondence course in architecture, etc. while in Pasadena. His drawings and penmanship were beautiful despite the fact that he had little or no formal education. Besides constructing his own home, Charles built or helped to build many houses in the Pasadena area.
Peter Fisher, a bachelor friend of the family and former boarder with the Reiners when they lived in Riverside, used to visit, especially on Sundays. "Uncle Pete," as he was known to the Reiner children, eventually married a widow from Los Angeles. Each thought the other had money. Somehow, Pete became interested in a chicken farm in Nipomo, and he and his wife moved there. No one knows for certain who tired of it first but Pete wanted to unload it and managed to interest Charles in it. Charles and Sevilla had farmed before and decided that it would be a good idea. Thus, the Reiner clan packed bag and baggage, only leaving some furniture as the Fishers had left them some. Sevilla, Oscar Sr, and Eva took the Southern Pacific train to San Luis Obispo and then the narrow gauge train to Nipomo, where Charles met them at the station at 5 in the evening.
Along with the chicken farm, the Reiners had ten acres of apricots, two cows, and an old horse, Daisy. Eva learned to ride Daisy bareback with only an Indian style rope twisted around the horse's nose. Eva also learned to harness old Daisy to the family's spring wagon and drove it all over town by herself.
Ella May was the youngest nurse ever to graduate from the Riverside Hospital program and had been working at the Pottenger Sanatorium in Monrovia, California for many years. After her time was up in Monrovia, she came to Santa Maria and got a room. When it was decided that the Reiner family would give up the farm, Ella May got a house, and Oscar and Charles Donald stayed with her. Eventually, the family loaded up everything they had on the farm and went into Santa Maria to live all together in a little old house.
In the meantime, Ella May and Dr. Lucas established a sanitarium in Santa Maria which became known as the Lucas Sanitarium. The Reiners briefly lived next to the sanitarium in the Martin House which later became the Santa Maria Club.
Charles kept up his building business. He hung the doors on the original Ethel Pope Auditorium located on the Santa Maria High School grounds. He was head builder for the Old Presbyterian Church and the Pacific Coast Mill. He built the family a home on the corner of Broadway and Fesler with a small rental house in back where Oscar Sr and his wife Lovie once lived. Later, Oscar Jr rented the house when he was first married.
Charles Donald was offered $200 per month rent for the land where his home was situated by the Gilmore Oil Company. Sevilla did not want to move because she would lose the fireplace. Nevertheless the house was moved about 1928, and, yes, the fireplace was never rebuilt. But the house still stands at 325 West Fesler and Thornburg.
The gas station and the rental house remained on the corner for many years. It is now the site of a fast food store.
Remnants of the Reiner contracting business can still be seen on some sidewalks in Santa Maria. If you look carefully, you may find a "C.D. Reiner and Sons" proudly marking our heritage. Eventually, Oscar Sr's son, Oscar Jr went into the business. Charles Donald had retired some time before. They worked on the May Grisham School, the Orcutt Jr High School except for the gym, the Orcutt School District Offices, Dunlap School, several Lompoc schools, 413 North McClelland (Oscar Sr's home) and 622 South Hart (the former home of Donald Eugene). An oddity, indeed, was Oscar Jr's demolition of the old Orcutt School where Ralph Oliver had at one time been the superintendent, principal, and teacher.
Ralph Oliver, the oldest child in the Reiner family, went to college at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating in 1905. For two years, he was an instructor at Mills Institute ( now Mid-Pacific Institute) in Honolulu. Eva, greatly admiring her older brother and intrigued by the exotic lure of the islands, eventually moved there.
Ralph married Jessie Munro 2 Sep 1908, and two weeks later, they headed to Korea as missionaries for the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. Two of their children, the twins Ev and Gene spent several extended periods of time with their grandparents when they were about a year old. They became Eva's "kids" calling her "Ah E." When they were in the second grade, they again stayed with their grandparents for about 6 months. This time, Eva was away at Occidental College. On one of Ralph and Jesse's sabbaticals, Philip Charles was born in the downstairs front bedroom of the Reiner house. The was to that room was later removed to expand the living room.
by Donna Reiner from interviews with Eva Reiner Smith
||Group Sheet | Family Chart