The Valley of Heart's Delight

President of the Woman's Relief Corps Home of California
San Jose

A woman of  rare capabilities and good business judgment is Geraldine E. Frisbie, the efficient president of the Woman's Relief Corps Home of California, and past national president, having served as president of the national Woman's Relief Corps during 1912-13. Since November 10, 1921, the Woman's Relief Corps Home of California has been located at Winchester, Santa Clara County, where it now owns thirteen acres, formerly owned by Dr. and Mrs. A. E. Osborne, and known as Osborne Hall.

Too much credit cannot be given to the noble women who have built up this institution, which provides a real home to mothers, wives, widows, sisters and daughters of Union veterans of the Civil War. It is a state institution, being amenable to the State board of Control, but an institution which primarily owes its existence to philanthropic and noble California women, starting with Mr. Cadwallader's donation of five and thirty hundredths acres at Evergreen in Santa Clara County, where the first Home was built and occupied until destroyed by fire October 10, 1920. Mrs. Geraldine E. Frisbie was then its president, and through the loyal and hearty support and cooperation of the secretary, Mrs. Sarah J. Farwell, no time was lost in getting temporary quarters for the inmates, who were left in sore distress. Appeals were immediately addressed to the various W. R. C. posts of the state, who responded very promptly in sending money, clothing and food, while the state authorities gave the use of one of the buildings at Agnew, until November 10, 1921, when the present premises had been secured. Dr. and Mrs. A. E. Osborne have given liberally. The sum of $12,500 was obtained as insurance on the former Home at Evergreen. Several thousand dollars have already been expended in remodeling and fitting up Osborne Hall for the Home. Of the $55,000 now invested at Winchester, the women have raised $20,000, while the state has appropriated the balance.

 It will be necessary to purchase some more land in order to meet the needs of the Home, and a movement is now on foot whereby its holdings will be increased to Relief Corps Home are as follows; Geraldine E. Frisbie, president, San Mateo; Mary Alice Arthur, matron, Winchester; Mrs. Belle Donovan, vice-president, San Francisco; Mrs. Sarah J. Farwell, secretary, Oakland; Mrs. Carrie L. Hoyt, treasurer, Berkeley; in addition to the president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, the board of directors consists of: Pearl M. Baum, Hayward; Sarah A. Martin (wife of Commander Russell C. Martin of the Veterans' Home at Napa) Napa; and Mrs. Mary L. Farmer, San Francisco. These women have served well and faithfully, the secretary, Mrs. Sarah J. Farwell, having rendered efficient and faithful service for twenty-six years.

Mrs. Geraldine Elizabeth Frisbie is a native of Rochester, N. Y., a daughter of Hiram D. and Sarah B. (Hall) Sutton. The mother died at the age of twenty-six; her father married the second time and moved to Washington, where the years of Mrs. Frisbie's early childhood were passed. The Sutton family were prominent English people of wealth and influence in London, and were the founders of a home for the aged ministers and their families in London.

Owen P. Sutton, an uncle, came to San Francisco in 1849; was prominent in the Pioneers Society of which he was one of its first presidents and was also a member of the Legislature of California. He was a successful banker and was largely interested in mining and built many buildings in San Francisco.

Geraldine Sutton was educated in public and private schools of Rochester, N. Y. Her first marriage occurred in San Francisco on March 20, 1866, and united her with Lester P. Cooley, a native of Vermont. He was a rancher, later owning the Ravenswood ranch near Dumbarton bridge. They became the parents of five children, all sons, of whom two  died in childhood. Those that grew up are; William L, Charles Philip and Frank H. William L., was engaged in seafaring  and has three children; Harry pursued the night studies in the navigation school at the  same time that he was a student in the San Francisco Polytechnic High from which he graduated in 1913, and soon thereafter graduated from the navigation school. He enlisted in the Navy during the World War, but transferred to the Merchant Marine, and sailed the seas during that entire conflict. He was promoted to first officer; Lester P- an ensign in the U. S. Navy was stationed at Brest, France, during the late war; Olive is a graduate nurse, who served during the latter part of the World War. She married Horace Miller, resides in Los Angeles and is the mother of one child, Betty Jean.

Charles Phillip is a member of the Board of Supervisors, Santa Clara County resides in Palo Alto, and has one child Stanley. Frank H. resides at San Mateo, where he is engaged in ranching, he is the father of six children; Gerald  Mortimer; Harold; Elizabeth is the wife of Dr. Geo. B. Lemon, D. D. S., resides at Salinas and is mother of one child, George Gerald; William L; Charles P. and Francis W. Lester P. Cooley passed away in 1882, and in November, 1883, Mrs. Cooley married at Redwood City.  Mr. Frisbie, a Civil War veteran, who served three years with the Wisconsin troops as first lieutenant and special aixle and private secretary to General Charles Devan; he passed away in 1885. Since 1887 Mrs. Frisbie has been active in Relief Corps work, serving faithfully and well and she has the loyal support and cooperation of her six coworkers and matron in the care of the Home and its thirty inmates.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 568