This is part of a continuing series of stories of Paso’s past from local storytellers willing to share their remembrances in honor of the 125th Anniversary. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.
by Harold Franklin
Marcus and Melva Daniel came to Paso Robles in 1942 from Oklahoma. They were hired by Hugh Black to be in charge of his incubators for his large hatchery business. He had started his business in the late 1920s north of the present Adelaide Inn and as his operation grew, he purchased all the land from 24th Street north to the Sulfur Bath house property and from the railroad tracks to the small farms beside the Salinas River. Hugh had built 6 small houses beside Riverside Street, two of which are still there across from the car wash. Marcus and his family lived in one of the houses.
Black’s Hatchery sat at the intersection of Highways 101 and 46, where members of the Black family currently operate two hotels.
The Daniel’s grandson is Larry Moore who graduated from Paso Robles High School in 1950 and worked at Paso Robles Glass for many years. Very busy in community affairs, the city park behind JC Penney’s store is named for him.
Marcus and Melva’s main jobs were regularly turning the thousands of turkey and chicken eggs in the incubators. Chicken eggs hatch in 21 days and turkey eggs in 28 days. The incubators were in buildings on the property. There were also many pens and houses of different breeds of chickens, ducks and geese that other workers cared for feeding and gathering the eggs for putting in the incubators.
- The toms and hens began laying in June. The eggs were kept in cold storage until it was time to put them in the incubators.
- Thousands of turkeys were raised in the area. Some flocks were over 10,000 birds. Tom Jermin told me in the 1980’s that he fed one out of every 18 turkeys raised in the United States during the 1940’s to 1960. Hugh Black provided many of those turkeys, as well as thousands of White Leghorn chickens for area growers and egg producers. Harold Franklin harvested oats with his Uncle Herb Claassen around the pens of laying turkeys in 1956. Hens had gotten out and had nests in the tall rank oats. Rotten eggs draped the combine’s tires!
The walking trail between Larry Moore Park and the Salinas River in Paso Robles is well-used by residents.
Larry was in high school at the time and he enjoyed helping his grandparents. Mountain Springs Creek flowed the year round and emptied into the river where 24th Street crosses under the 101 Highway. There was a big spring on the north side of the cemetery as well as a stream of water coming out of the Mountain Springs canyon that meandered down 21st Street.
One late spring day Larry and two of his friends cut 7th grade and went swimming in the river down by the dump. Suddenly, the school nurse, Miss Maude Neis, appeared on the river bank. She had them put on their clothes and ushered them to her Model A roadster. Two climbed into the rear rumble seat and one got in with her. She escorted them to Mr. Glen Speck’s office. He left them sitting in the hall the rest of the day so the other kids could see them.
At the end of the school day, he called them into his office. He wrote their names on his 1 by 4 paddle and made ten X’s after their name. He gave each boy a good swat and then had the sobbing boys look at the paddle. He crossed off one “X” and told them:
“I have nine left,” he informed them. “It’s up to you if you went to use them.”
Larry never used another one.
About the Author:
I am Harold Franklin. I was born at home in Paso Robles on Creston Road, June 12, 1937, the first 2nd generation baby of Dr. Wilmer who delivered my mother, Hilda Claassen, on May 18, 1915. I am the oldest of 6 children of farmer and rancher Harold and Hilda Franklin. I rode the bus 5 miles into Paso Robles where I attended grades 1-12. I attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara 1955 to 1959 and obtained my California Elementary Teaching Credential. Mr. Speck hired me to teach fifth grade at Georgia Brown School where I taught from 1959 to 1976. In the summertimes I harvested barley until 1998. I taught fifth and sixth grade at the then Pifer School, now Lewis Middle School, named after my 7th Grade teacher. In 1978 and 1979 I moved with my family to Huehuetenango, Guatemala, where I taught 6th Grade in English at the Huehue Boarding School. I then moved to the new Flamson Middle School in 1981 where I taught 6th and 8th Grade science for eighteen years. I retired in 1997. I work at the Pioneer Museum as well as my church.
I attended the Willow Creek Mennonite Church from my birth until first grade in 1943 when the activity of WW II in the area hindered our travel. I then attended First Baptist Church until 1956 when we started Grace Baptist Church on Creston Road. After teaching for one year and one month, I was drafted into the U.S. Army on 25 October 1960 and served with Special Troops at Ft. Hood, Texas, in the Post Headquarters.
I returned to my fifth grade class in 1962 and on June 21, 1963, I married my wife, Karen Bergman, from Tulare, CA, a nurse. I have three children, Rebecca, Jonathan, and Sharon, 7 grandchildren and 4 great grand children that live in the area except for Becky, who lives in Spokane, Washington. My grandson Taylor is presently in Fort Richardson, Alaska, in the U.S. Army.