Travel Diary

In 1977 Maynard Colley, M.D. distributed to members of his extended family, copies of The Family Line, his collection of family stories, genealogy and pictures. Since his first cousin, George Richard “Dick” Colley (my father) had died in 1976 , a copy was sent to Mary C. Colley, his widow, in Orlando, Florida. Eventually this copy was passed along to me, Mary Colley Stierer, a long time friend (as well as relative) of both Maynard and Olive. The story of the Colley’s trip across country in 1918-19 is the remarkable report of a harrowing experience filled with adventure, misfortune and perseverance, told from the viewpoint of a thirteen-year old boy as remembered nearly sixty years later. One can laugh at the idea of taking three canaries in their separate cages, weep at the tragic death of a father trying to care for his sick family far from home, and sympathize with a mother’ s dismay at the shabbiness of her brother’ s accommodations waiting for them at the end of a long journey. But they did come through it all, contributing a fascinating chapter to the history of the Colley family. It is this story that I want to make more accessible to the younger members of our family, particularly our young granddaughters who live in California.

My editing of Maynard’s text consists mainly of dividing the text into chapters, using shorter paragraphs, and occasionally changing the sequence of sentences or the vocabulary to make the story more understandable to young readers. The maps, pictures and appendices are also my additions or are taken from other sections of The Family Line, as noted. In his foreword, Maynard writes: “II hope to share this book with any other members or branches of the family, and hope they will in turn, add to it and keep up a historical and genealogical book.”

I offer this edited version of his story as a partial response to his request. My thanks to Bob Stierer for his editorial suggestions and help in locating the maps and pictures.

Mary Colley Stierer
Troy, New York August 1998

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • A Difficult Year for Our Family and Country
  • Eventful Years: 1918-19 (Timetables of History)
  • We Leave for California
  • On The Road
  • Tragedy in Las Vegas
  • Our Arrival in Mecca
  • Our New Life and A Different Kind of School
  • Farewell to Mecca: We Begin Our Trip Horne
  • Adventures Along the Way
  • Trouble in Texas
  • From Louisville to Gray via Washington D.C.
  • Uncle Charlie’s story
  • Maynard Remembers the Old Buick
  • The Years After
  • The Richard Colley Family Tree (Four Generations)
  • Franklin Journal story, “Dr. Colley Looks Back”