I dedicate The Past to my Great-Grandparents
Emily Anna and Charles Rossiter Hoppin
– the inspirations for the fictional characters of Eliza and Silas Baxter – and to their descendants, so they may have access to all the historical research on the Hoppin family that I have compiled.
Charles Rossiter Hoppin came to California with the 1849 gold rush, then returned to Niles, Michigan twenty-five years later to marry Emily Anna Bacon and bring her to his Yolo ranch near Woodland, in the northern Sacramento Valley of California. After his death in 1903, Emily not only ran the 800-acre ranch, but rose to power on the local and state level, fighting for women and farming, water and land use, prohibition and peace. What I know of their lives comes from hearing family stories and reading news clippings of Emily’s speeches (always eloquently laced with poetry) and of her hotly contested election to President of the California Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1915. Sadly, she died two months after taking office. I grew up hearing her legendary stories told by her daughter (my grandmother), Dorothea Maria Hoppin Moffett.
Left: Cache Creek Township, Yolo County Map, 1870. Right: Map of the property of Charles and Emily Hoppin, 1900, hand drawn by John Kergel in 1985