Anna Solomon

"When about two years old my parents told me that I was in a trance about half an hour. I woke up out of this for a life full of experience. My parents were not in very good circumstances, but worked themselves up, got to do well, did a very good business in a very small Polish town adjoining the Russian border. My dear mother was anxious to move to a city where we would have the opportunity of an education.

We moved to Krushwitz where my father rented a house and started a new business. My parents lost everything they possessed in one year. We left Krushwitz for a very small town, with a very few goods, then I was already nine years old. In one year I learned how to read and write in Krushwitz. I then already helped my parents in the store, but things did not change.

My husband, Isidor Solomon, came on a visit to his home, his parents living in Krushwitz. Our parents on both sides were old friends. We got acquainted and were married two months after our engagement. My brother Phoebus sent to my parents $2,000.00. They gave my husband $1,000.00 and the other was used for wedding and trousseau. The first time I saw my father cry was when I was getting ready to leave home. The wedding was celebrated in a Park Hotel. It was beautiful. My dear mother looked so happy. I never will forget the happy smile on her dear face, but the parting was very sad. When she told me good bye I knew that I would never see her again.

My sick brother died after I was married. My eldest sister, Henriette was married five years after me. My husband was established in business in Towanda,( Pennsylvania). We lived in Towanda four years, where my three oldest children were born. My eldest son, Charles was born in Towanda, my eldest daughter Eva in Mauchung. We lived in Towanda where I was the most homesick person on earth. It was lucky I had my children to take up my time.

In the year 1876 business was very dull and my husband sold his business to his partner, that is, his part. My father wrote to my husband not to open a business in the east, but to go to New Mexico. We decided to do so.

We sold everything we possessed except our three children, Charles, who was three years old; Eva was two years, and my youngest daughter Rose three months old, and started on our journey to New Mexico. We had a very hard trip even on the railroad, traveling with those three babies was bad enough, but when we reach La Junta, the end of the railroad in those days, and had to travel by stage, packed in like sardines, traveling day and night for six days; Only stopped to change horses and get something to eat, like chile con carne and frijoles. When we got there I was so tired out to death. I forgot to mention that we stopped over in Santa Fe three days then we started for Las Cruces, New Mexico where we had our two brothers Phoebus and Morris.

While I was at Las Cruces, my husband was looking around for a business opening. After looking around for months he found a place where we are now. At that time it was called Pueblo Viejo.

When we were going to leave Las Cruces we bought a two-seated wagon called a buckboard, and a pair of horses. Into this we put a tent, some bedding, our cooking utensils, our provisions, our clothes, and our children, and ourselves. It took us several days and nights to get here. But oh, how often I was frightened I was thinking that I saw Indians. I did not expect to get here alive with our children. Just before we reached this place, we heard a dreadful noise that Indians make when they are on the warpath. It was a beautiful night, I remember it as if it was last night. When we were almost home, the Mexicans told us it a was a Coyote, as the Indians make the same peculiar noise.

We arrived here about 12 o'clock at night in August. We slept on the mud floor. My husband woke me up to show me some Indians that were here on passes from San Carlos Reservation. I had never seen an Indian before. Now we had to start housekeeping but we had no furniture, no cooking stove and not anything else that belongs to the comfort of the human race. We cooked outdoors on the ground, we had a stove and other necessary things coming from Las Cruces sent by ox team with two loads of goods for our store that we were going to put up, but the wagon had dropped down on the road and we had to send someone to repair them. They got here after being three months on the road.

I baked bread out of cornmeal for three months, in a dutch oven, cooked our meals outdoors like campers do, but I did not mind all that as I could sell goods and the future commenced to look brighter. Still we had some very dark and sad times. I could not get anyone to help me with my three babies. The worst of all was the washing. I was never used to doing washing. After my second washing I took sick with chills and fever. My baby, Rose also took sick. My husband sent for the doctor to Fort Grant, but the Mexican came back after three days and said he could not get the doctor to come. The chills and fever were dreadful in our place. My baby was sick and I had chills and fever for two years, but that did not hinder us from doing a good business.

We had a contract to deliver charcoal to the Clifton Mining Company, which belonged to my uncle J. Freudenthal and my cousins, Lesinsky, Charles and Henry. This started our business, and also started the valley. We employed a great many people cutting the mesquite wood, making charcoal, and shipping the same to Clifton by ox teams. This took a great deal of hard work, to oversee it and manage it. We could not get any decent person or persons to help us. My husband attended the outdoors work, while I attended the store and the housework. We also started building; at first a bedroom, then a store. I felt like the Queen of England when that store was finished. We kept on building right around the old house.

I had my hands full at that time, having at that time five children, Eva, Rose, Harry and Lillie. The last two were twins, then just a few weeks old. It was impossible for me to take care of Charles, as he was very lively, (this is a very mild expression.) The elder little girls were easier to take care of. Charles got to be a great help to us in the store and in every business transaction. If any child has repaid his parents for their trouble, he certainly has done so, and is a great comfort to us. All of our children have become a great blessing to us. Frieda Mashbir, (Anna's sister) joined Anna and Isadore in Solomonville helping out in the store and becoming in 1906 postmaster of Solomonville. Having additional family nearby helped Anna to retain the family's Jewish identity. They observed Passover, celebrated at Chanukah and closed the store on Yom Kippur.

By 1883 Anna's life had become increasingly busy, with the combined duties of caring for a large family, managing the Solomon Store, as well as playing hostess to an endless stream of visiting relatives and friends. A second story was added to the Solomon's original home, which then became known as 'The Solomon Hotel'. This new addition provided 20 guest rooms for the travelling public. Quickly the hotel gained the reputation as the finest hostelry in the county. Anna ran the hotel with the help of a Chinese cook named Gin Awah Quang. The Solomon Hotel was renown for its relaxed hospitality, characterized by its keyless rooms.

The Solomon Hotel was the hub of the town's activity. The hotel was strictly Anna's domain. Anna utilized the fresh fruits and vegetables that were grown in her own orchard across the road from the hotel. The meats that were served were brought in from the Solomon ranch. Continental pastries were prepared in the kitchen under Anna's watchful eye.

The Solomon Hotel was located on the northwest corner of Bowie and Main streets. The building was territorial in style, and had a portal which wrapped around its exterior.In 1886 the Warm Springs Apaches were driven into Mexico and the Chiricahua deported to Florida. These events diminished the daily threat of life and property in Solomonville. For the first time the citizens of the town were able to focus less on defense, and more upon reaching their goal of aspiring to become the leading financial, administrative, agricultural and trade center between El Paso and Tucson.

Anna continued with great success to run both The Solomon Commercial Store and The Solomon Hotel with great success. During this period Anna also provided a quality education designed to suit the individual needs of each of her six children.

When Charles was thirteen years old I took him to Demopolos. Adolph Solomon wanted me to take him to his sister, where his sister's children went to school. On our way home Charles and I went to the White House in Washington, also the Capital and everything else that was worth seeing and carrying Blanche on my arm. When we got home we took Charles to Belmont on Mr. Lillienthal's advice. He went to New York to go to business college. After he returned from there he got to be a great help to us in business and in everything else. I never will forget when Charles and I got dressed up for the first masquerade ball at Solomonville.

The Solomon children were deeply involved in the community of Solomonville. They lived in the hotel, attended the local primary school and helped out in both the hotel and the store. When it came time for a more sophisticated environment, Blanche and Lillie were sent to New York to attend Miss Weil's Boarding School.

Anna insisted that all of her children marry within the Jewish faith. To this end she often enlisted the aid of her son Charles who traveled the surrounding states looking for suitable husbands for his sisters. This was accomplished in every case! In 1896 a double ring ceremony was held in El Paso for Eva who married Julius Wetzler and Rosa who wed David Goldberg. Lilly married Max Lantin in 1904. By 1915 Anna and Isador had retired. The Solomon Commercial Company was sold in 1916, and the hotel in 1919. Their retirement plans consisted of spending more time with their children and living in a more moderate climate. They spent their final decade together in Los Angeles, an experience which Anna relished. Isador on the other had lamented his departure from his beloved Solomonville. In 1922 Anna and Isador celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

The population of Solomonville continued to shrink after the Solomon's departure. Those who remained lasted only until a series of droughts forced them to sell out. By 1950 the town's name was shortened to Solomon, and the majority of the remaining residents were working in other towns.

Anna Solomon died a 88 years old on May 12, 1933.