William was to devote all his time from the beginning of the Second Decade to
developing Mullen Medicine Company, from the ravages of the earthquake -- his stock food,
gall cure, coach oil, harness oil, hoof remedy, and the like. But it was uphill all the
way. He advertised his goods for the most part in a small paperback book which he sold for
twenty-five cents, and brought out another edition of his Horse-Taming hardback "How
to Educate a Horse." This sold for one dollar. It was published by Sears, Roebuck,
and enjoyed good distribution by them.
Whenever Papa was to make a journey, he always took along a good supply of his
paperback "How to Purchase and Examine the Horse" as well as his hardback
"Horse Taming" as if to leave his stamp on the Valley. Maybe, he counted on
coming back. Who knows?
We were now living in the home Papa had built after the Fruitvale house was sold. This
was in Highland Park, "Diamond Canyon" to us then. It was built to Annie's
specifications, and was all she had ever dreamed a house should be.
I remember it well, standing out in gleaming white, high on top a hill above
Twenty-third Avenue, with a sunny porch that faced Wakefield Avenue, and had a strawberry
bed for a lawn.
I can't tell you why Long Beach was the town we finally settled upon, and to which we
moved in 1911. Perhaps because Papa happened to put an advertisement in the Los Angeles
Times for someone who had a "house for trade." Or maybe it was for no other
reason than because the beach faced south. And also a consideration must have been that
the Southern Pacific had a good electric train service to Los Angeles, so that Papa could
commute there daily. His friend, Paul Shoup, who owned it, assured him he would like it
there and another friend of his, Harry Chandler, recommended Southern California as a good
"church community," suitable for raising a family. What was more, there were
many churches throughout the area which offered assurance there should be plenty of
opportunity for evangelistic activities in nearby towns. Time would tell.
Papa once told me that after the earthquake, some of the more influential citizens in
Oakland had asked him to consider running for Mayor of Oakland.
"Why didn't you?" I asked.
"I felt God was rebuking me," he explained. "He was telling me that I
would not have been invited to enter politics if I had been doing God's work." As it
turned out, once the family had moved south, for whatever reason, there was no time to
ponder where God's work called. His love for poor children, whose families all lived
around the Plaza, which came from his own past, was to become the heart of his life's
However, as far as his ministry among the "untamed" men of the street -- and
that is exactly what they were -- God had chosen him to go South. As it turned out, the
men themselves fairly catapulted him into becoming their own preacher as we shall soon
It so happened the transition from taming horses to vicious men was accomplished easily
enough, once he accepted this as his ministry.
"Just as the wildness in the horse comes from his fear of man and being treated
harshly, so the wildness in men comes from the same things," he philosophized.
"If man applied the same cruel bit and the cutting rowel, it would have the same
effect." He knew he had to apply the gentleness of Jesus in dealing with these
He had just laid down the newspaper when he said this. It had told of how these
International Workers of the World (I.W.W.) were traveling in gangs of three to four
hundred men, seizing trains as means of transportation, camping at stops in the great
forests, raiding the country-side for food and terrorizing the farm workers in the Valley
and their employers to a point where they could get occasional forced employment at
exorbitant wages, or failing that, could wreak vengeance on the capitalists by burning
wheat fields, haystacks, and barns. All of which was happening every day.
At year's end, on the twenty-ninth of December, my brother Oliver was born. Papa spent
most of his time at Mama's bedside praying, always praying for her, for she was gravely
ill. I prayed too. I just couldn't imagine Papa ever getting along without Mama. It was
not without reason that Oliver came to represent the Crown Jewel of the family.
Another reason for considering the move south was that Everett had taken ill shortly
after Mama gained enough strength to once again take charge of her growing family. William
asked God to guide him to make the right decision on our next move. He always believed
"the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," and in every
case of illness, went quickly to his knees beside the bed of the one sick. When the doctor
came he advised moving to the south; Southern California was always called "the
South." Soon after, a trade was made for a large lot on the corner of Fourth and Main
Streets in Long Beach.
Once again, Annie tore herself away from the home she loved best. It was their first
home which William provided for her in the prosperous years after the Earthquake. Never
again was she to have so lovely a home, although the cottage at Long Beach had its good
points, she reluctantly agreed. It was of brick and stucco, with a large flower garden and
shasta daisies lining the long sidewalk on main Street, and palm trees fronting Fourth
Street, and eucalyptus trees separating the alley from the big vegetable garden which her
growing family needed. The beach was near at hand with its plenty of sunshine where
Everett could regain his strength and where the new little brother, Oliver, would grow
strong, too. William could commute back and forth to Los Angeles as he had always done to
San Francisco from Oakland, and so, please God, all would be well with the growing family
of six now.
It was moving time again. As soon as the first school term was finished we would go
South. And we did.
William worked very hard that summer, trying to get a foothold in Los Angeles. Each
morning, he would pack a small valise with samples of harness oils and horse liniments
which had an eucalyptus oil base and take the Pacific Electric to Los Angeles where he
made his sales rounds. He also made stock foods of St. John's bread, imported from
Portugal, a long bean that was sweet-tasting and which we children ate instead of all-day
suckers. Carob, as we now know it, was a good seller in the industrial district that
skirted the Jungle and the Plaza. The big manufacturers which now had a foothold in Los
Angeles still used the fine big Percheron draft horses. They used great quantities of his
Mullen's stock food. It was the backbone of his business. Papa felt this product would
bring in enough income to support his ministry there.
One of the best customers was the Maier Brewing Co., the largest firm of its kind in
Los Angeles. Back in 1897 there had been an attempt to unionize the workers of this
brewery, but since Los Angeles workers were being paid in excess of what was gotten in San
Francisco, from where the organizers came, no union was formed. A boycott was placed on
Maier Beer, but nothing ever came of it. It did make Mr. Maier open-minded about this
strange preacher's stranger ideas of preaching unselfish relationships of employers and
employees, through the inspiration of the Bible; at least he was willing to listen. It
also gave William time to better study the wild men and their ways.
Eddie Maier agreed with William, that he would give his men time off with pay one
afternoon a week to listen to William tell of this simple plan for community and world
harmony, beginning in the work place. Papa did not hesitate to denounce employers where
they were unjust or grasping, nor workers when they were not honest in putting forth their
best efforts. But this was not much of an outlet for one fired with such zeal to spread
salvation throughout the growing city. It helped, however, to keep the channel with God
open, for that time when his business could grow to where he could afford to devote more
time to his ministry.
And it was a start.
Go to Chapter 18
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