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‘Aunt Betty’ Rathbun at Hollywood Forever…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jul 26th, 2008
2008
Jul 26

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

‘Aunt Betty’ Rathbun

 

BORN: Unknown

DIED: January 26, 1925, Los Angeles, California

BURIAL: Hollywood Forever Cemetery,

Section 12 (near the Otis-Chandler –Times memorial)

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger 

 

Her age was unknown, but it was believed that Betty Rathbun, a full-blooded Mound Valley Indian, was more than 100 years of age. On the death certificate her age is given as 80 but this was only an estimate. She must have been many years older since friends said that she remembered distinctly events that happened more than a hundred years earlier, and that she possessed all of her faculties until the end.

 

For many years ‘Indian Betty,’ as she was sometimes called, lived in a little house on West First Street that was furnished by the Dunkard Church. She was a deeply religious woman and though in need, would never accept a cent from the government.

 

Betty was a protege of the Sunshine Society, which took care of her for many years. Little is known of her history except that she was taken captive by a waring Indian tribe and later sold to the family of an Army officer for four head of live stock. She served the family for many years before coming to Los Angeles. Betty never married.

 

Neighbors told her that at her death she would be put in Potter’s Field. However, when that time came, on January 26, 1925, at the General Hospital, she was laid to rest at Hollywood Cemetery in a lot that was purchased for her by Bernice Johnson of the Sunshine Society.

  

  

The preceding is one in a series of biographical sketches of
Hollywood Forever Cemetery residents.

 _________________________________

“Breezy” Eason, Jr. at Hollywood Forever…

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jul 10th, 2008
2008
Jul 10

The Children of

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

“Breezy” Eason, Jr.

 

 

 

 AMERICAN SILENT FILM CHILD ACTOR

né Barnes Reaves Eason 

 

BORN: November 19, 1914, Los Angeles, California

DIED: October 25, 1921, Los Angeles, California

CAUSE OF DEATH: Automobile accident

BURIAL: Hollywood Forever Cemetery,

Garden of Legends (Section 8), Lot 107

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

“Breezy” Eason, Jr. was the son of director B. Reaves Eason and actress Jimsy Maye. Eason, Sr., sometimes referred to as B. Reeves Eason, is known for directing B action films, mostly westerns. He also served as second unit director in charge of action sequences on such classic films as Ben-Hur (1926), Gone With the Wind (1939) and They Died with Their Boots On (1941). Jimsy Maye (née Charlotte Barnes) was a Universal contract player, sometimes appearing in her husbands films.

 

Breezy was born Barnes Reaves Eason on November 19, 1914 — reportedly in California (according to the census). However, there is no record of his actual birth in the California birth records. Eason Sr. put his son in films when he was barely able to toddle. Known as the “Wonderchild of the Screen,” and “Universal’s Littlest Cowboy,” young Breezy grinned and laughed his way to screen fame at Universal Studios, appearing in a dozen films with such actors as Theda Bara, Thomas Meighan, Hoot Gibson, and Harry Carey.

 

In the film, Nine-Tenths of the Law (1918), Breezy was directed by his father and appeared along side his mother and grandmother, Mollie Shafer. Breezy also had the chance to be the star of his own film, The Big Adventure (1921) – which was directed by his father.

  

Beezy Eason, Jr. lived here with his parents at the time of death 

 

On Friday, October 21, 1921, Breezy, who had recently finished filming The Fox (1921) with Harry Carey, was playing like any six year-old at his home at 1130 North Orange Street in Hollywood. At some point, Breezy ran out into the street in front of a truck; the driver was unable to avoid hitting him. The boy was taken to the California Hospital where surgeons worked to try and save his life.

 

 

 The street in front of his home where Breezy was playing when hit by a truck.

 

Harry Carey was notified about the accident shortly after it happened. He was at the Agoura ranch in Calabasas, about 25 miles northwest of Hollywood, working with 1,000 long-horns for the film, Man to Man (1922). Carey and Breezy had appeared in two films together and the actor had become very attached to the youngster. When he heard about the accident, Carey left the filming and raced to the hospital to be with Breezy.

 

For the next four days, Carey never left the hospital or Breezy’s side, holding his hand until the end. Despite the surgeons attempt, little Breezy died from his injuries on Tuesday, October 25, 1921, less than a month before his seventh birthday. Breezy was taken to the Strother and Dayton mortuary where services were held. On the day of his funeral, all operations at Universal were suspended. “Breezy” was interred at Hollywood Cemetery and was one of the first actors to be buried there.

 

The Los Angeles Times said of Breezy:

 

“Breezy was just a kid. He was all freckled and usually dirty but somehow his passing upset the big industry that grinds out motion pictures.”

  

 Breezy’s grave marker at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

____________________

 

NOTE: After his son’s death, Reaves Eason took the nickname of “Breezy” in his son’s memory. At some point Reaves and Jimsy divorced and she remarried Clarence Rowley of Oregon. Jimsy’s mother Mollie Barnes Shafer no longer acted in films after her grandsons death and later became a wardrobe mistress at 20th Century-Fox. Interred next to Breezy at Hollywood Forever is his grandmother, Mollie (1872-1940), his mother Charlotte Rowley (1893-1968) and his father Wm Reaves Eason (1886-1956).

 

The preceding is one in a series of biographical sketches of
Hollywood Forever Cemetery residents.

 

___________________________________

 

 

 

H. J. Whitley

Posted by Allan Ellenberger on Jun 20th, 2008
2008
Jun 20

HOLLYWOOD PIONEERS

H. J. Whitley

 

 

 Father of Hollywood

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

Hobart Johnstone Whitley was born in Toronto, Canada on October 7, 1847, of Scotish-English parentage. As a child he moved to Flint, Michigan, where he was educated in the public schools and later at Toronto Business College.

 

Whitley engaged in banking and land development in Kansas City and Minneapolis, establishing banks and townsites along the Northern Pacific Railroad, and for a time managed the H. J. Whitley Land and Mortgage Company. He platted the towns and built brick and stone business buildings in Oklahoma City, El Reno, Chickasha, Enid, Medfore, and other cities on the Rock Island Railroad.

 

In 1887 he married Margaret Virginia Ross and had two children, Grace Virginia and Ross Emmet. Because of bad health, Whitley came to California in 1893 and the following year established the H. J. Whitley Jewelry Store, for many years the largest in the city. In 1900 he bought the Hurd property north of Hollywood Boulevard, between Wilcox and Whitley, south of Yucca Street, which he later subdivided into what became known as Whitley Home Tract. As a result of the success of this subdivision, one of the first in Hollywood, Whitley became known as the “Father of Hollywood.”

 

In 1905, Whitley and a group of Los Angeles investors undertook the development of 47,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley and carried through a similar project involving nearly 50,000 acres in the San Fernando Valley.

 

 

 

Whitley continued his activities in Southern California property until 1922, when he completed the development of Whitley Heights, which was one of the first hillside subdivisions in Hollywood. The opening of the tract in 1920 was the scene of a public barbeque, with city officials and business men of the city as guests. Whitley Heights would become the first celebrity neighborhood and home to such film stars as Francis X. Bushman, Eugene O’Brien, Barbara La Marr and Rudolph Valentino.

 

In addition to his real estate development, Whitley was one of the founders of the Home Savings Bank and was identified with the organization of the First National Bank of Hollywood, the First National Bank of Van Nuys and State banks in Canoga Park, Reseda and Corcoran.

 

On June 3, 1931, while staying as a guest of his son at the Whitley Park Country Club in Van Nuys, H. J. Whitley died in his sleep at the age of 83. Whitley was survived by his wife Margaret, his daughter Grace, son Ross and three grandchildren. Funeral services were conducted at the Strother Funeral Chapel at 6240 Hollywood Boulevard with interment at Hollywood Cemetery.

 

 H. J. Whitley’s cremation niche at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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