Money Family Story
If you have ever sat in the Cameo Cinema and wondered about the building, the story behind it involves one of the founding families in the Napa Valley. 2018 marked the 150th year of the Davis family in the Napa Valley
Cornelius Elting Davis, whose family was from Ireland and Scotland, arrived in Nova Scotia in 1848, then on to Watertown, New York in the United States. His medical training took place in Ohio, in Coshocton County, and in 1854 he was already a doctor when his sister, Eleanor Bassett, her husband and two children invited him to accompany them via covered wagon to California. He came with them. There were 50 wagons of travelers to California as well as several cattle. Dr. Davis provided his services not only to the travelers but also to caring for the cattle as they travelled West. He nursed the Bassetts through Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as well as other members of the group. Eleanor Bassett kept a diary of their trip and her complaint was “Oh, another Sabbath in the Mountains!” They arrived in the Tahoe area of California where Dr. Davis split off from them to become a circuit doctor in the California Gold Camps and the Bassets went on to Northern California to establish their ranch at Glenbrook, CA.
Eventually, Cornelius Elting Davis travelled to Petaluma where he met Roxanna Martin, a school teacher. They married on February 13, 1859 and lived in Grass Valley, California. They had a daughter, Ella Nancy Davis who was born February 12, 1865. Ella died September 9, 1866 one year and eight months later. Roxanna gave birth soon after to a second daughter on September 23,1866, Emma Roxanna Davis, and unfortunately Roxanna, her mother, died on December 10, 1866.
Leaving Emma with the Martin family in Petaluma, and realizing after his time serving as a doctor in the Gold Camps, that dentistry was more needed, he travelled by boat down to Panama (the Panama Canal had not yet been built) and travelling by mule went across Panama to the other side and took a boat where he was able to go to Dental School in Pennsylvania. He spent about 8 months in training and again returned to California via the same long way by horse back. He picked up his Daughter Emma in Petaluma and they moved to San Francisco.
While in San Francisco, he helped found the San Francisco Dental Society. However, he had problems with his lungs and found the damp weather to be bad for him so he moved up to St. Helena with his daughter Emma and set up a dental practice. He was one of the first dentists to use general anesthesia in his dentistry. He maintained dental offices in both San Francisco and Grass Valley, CA.
Several years later in Saint Helena, he married Frances Hall on June 1, 1871 and they had four children. His children by Frances Hall Davis were Maude Lillian Davis (1872), George Hall Davis (died in infancy), May E. Davis, and Ira Frank Davis (died as an infant.) His wife, Frances later died on September 11, 1878 and later he married for a third time to a Lydia Ann Taylor in 1885. After an active life, Cornelius Elting Davis died at the age of 82 on July 10, 1915 and is laid to rest in St. Helena Cemetery in the Odd Fellows Lot. A large monument bears the name of Hall and Davis. The Saint Helena Cemetery is part of the Historical sites of California.
Cornelius Elting Davis daughter from his first marriage to Roxanna Martin Davis went on to marry Frederick Thomas Mooney on May 14, 1883 at the age of 23. Frederick Thomas Mooney was the person who in 1915 built the movie theater building, now named the Cameo Cinema. Frederick worked with his Father in law, Cornelius Davis to build up the properties. Frederick Mooney died June 26, 1918. After the death of Fredrick Mooney in 1918, Emma married John Noble on March 16, 1922, the local Scout Master, but he died on January 16, 1923 about 10 months later. Her name was now Emma Roxanna Davis Noble from then on. The business was now called “Noble Properties” in her honor.
Theodore Davis Mooney, my father, was born in the upper room of the family home on March 13, 1903. He was born prematurely and my Grandmother told me she had to carry him around in a shoe box for a while because he was so tiny.
Frederick Thomas Mooney and Emma Roxanna Davis Mooney lived in a three-story home that is now the site of St. Helena City Hall. The Magnolia tree there was in their front yard. In 1906, the devastating earthquake in San Francisco also trashed St. Helena too. My father recounted to me that at age 3, in his crib, he remembered his father taking him, crib and all down three flights of stairs to safety as the lower floor was collapsing during the earthquake.
The top two floors of the home that had been damaged were moved later to a parcel on Pope Street and it is now known as the “Beckstoffer House”.
Cornelius Elting Davis had several overlapping careers, not only as a dentist but as a land developer having purchased a wood lot north of St. Helena where he had a sawmill to help build the homes he constructed, but also bought “Bull Island” a 140-acre parcel of farm land just across from the Napa Airport to raise wheat for the Longhorn cattle he raised at his ranch. After the death of my father Theodore Money at age 91 in 1994, this land that had been previously been farmed had lain fallow for 40 years after the levee broke and was now part of the Bay Area Wetlands. It was donated in perpetuity to the people of the State of California by the Money Family to be held as part of the Avian Flyway. It is now a study area for the restoration of the vital wetlands of the Bay Area.
Fredrick and Emma’s son, Theodore Davis Mooney grew up in St. Helena and graduated from St. Helena High School in 1920. He married, at age 17, Mary Phillips and moved to Stanford where he became a Structural Engineer. Their daughter Patricia was born five years later, but the marriage did not last. He went back east to Boston where he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and got degrees in electrical, mechanical and Civil engineering. He met my mother, Barbara Snowden Mayor a classical pianist and artist and after a couple of years, they were married in New York City, New York on August 1, 1933. Their marriage lasted 60 years.
During the 2nd World War, my father, Theodore Davis Money (The name was changed in 1928 after he researched the family genealogy in Ireland and found it was originally “Money”.) During the war years, Theodore Davis Money was a civilian advisor to the Marine Air Corps and ran two aircraft factories that produced the “Bearcat”, the folding wing plane used in the Pacific Theater. A “Bearcat” hangs now in the National Aviation Museum in Washington, D.C. Later, Theodore Davis Money became a professional management consultant specializing in aeronautical design and lightweight steel structures and was noted as one of the top ten Management Consultants in the 1940’s and 1950’s. He became an engineer for Bechtel in San Francisco and had his own engineering consulting firm.
Theodore Davis Money and Barbara Snowden Mayor (Money) had a daughter, Lydia Marten Money, born November 6, 1942 in New York City. They lived in New York City for about 5 years, then on to Princeton, New Jersey to Barbara’s mother’s home and then in 1949 because Theodore Davis Money’s mother, Emma Roxanna Davis Noble was getting older, they travelled across country to St. Helena, California where they lived for about 2 years before Theodore and Barbara Money bought the family home in Berkeley, California. Emma Noble had a devoted friend and Nurse, Carrie Hungerford who was her companion for over 50 years and who lived with her in St. Helena until Carrie died at age 95 and Emma Noble (Grandma Noble) moved to Berkeley to live there with the family.
During this time, Lydia Marten Money attended public school in Berkeley graduating in 1961 then went on to a year of school in Florence and Rome, Italy, (1961 – 1962) studying the History of Art and Architecture as well as Italian. Upon returning to the United States, Lydia decided she wanted to be a professional photographer and enrolled in 19 63 at the San Francisco Art Institute where she studied under Ansel Adams, Imogene Cunningham, Blair Stapp and Brett Weston. She later attained an Associate in Science in Photography and an Associate in Arts in Humanities. She started a professional photography business specializing in Wedding and child photography but felt a need for additional training in color processing and went down to Santa Barbara, California and enrolled as a student in their Color processing classes. During this time, she met Prachan Pimpan, a cinematographer, and later they married and had a son, Daniel Prachan Pimpan who was born in Santa Barbara, California on February 20, 1967. Prachan Pimpan left when their son was only 6 weeks old and Lydia went to live in Berkeley and work in the family business there. Emma Noble lived for several years in Berkeley and on May 27, 1970 she died at the age of 103 and eight months.
During this time, Lydia was a Trustee in her Grandmother Noble’s Estate and later went on to working outside the family business becoming an Architectural Secretary in Public Construction. Also during this time, Lydia also went on to further training at the Merritt School of Horticulture and was the florist for the Alameda Naval Air Station before starting her own gardening business where she designed and maintained gardens in the Bay Area. At Merritt College of Horticulture, she helped Dennis Makishima a Bonsai and Japanese gardening master and teacher at Merritt College to put together a course preserving the oral tradition of the original Japanese gardeners as this was passed down from father to son and had never been documented before as a course. This became a course now taught at Merritt School of Horticulture in Oakland, California.
In addition to being a Trustee in the family business, Lydia continues to do photography, is a published poet, has kept an ongoing family diary since 1979 and continues to do botanical drawings and is a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Saint Helena where she is active in a charitable outreach ministry called the “Baby Love Ministry” which provides the necessities for children born to homeless and at risk children in the Napa Valley and in San Francisco. It is part of the official outreach of Grace Episcopal and just had its 10th anniversary. The ministry’s founder Joan Rocha passed on April 5, 2019, and it has been taken over officially by Grace Episcopal Church as a much-needed outreach for several at risk children and mothers through the Homeless Prenatal Project in San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital and other local hospital outreaches in the Napa Valley as well as providing bags of gift toiletries for the mothers and families who cannot afford the necessities of life.
Daniel Prachan Pimpan married Katherine Ann Briedes and they have a son, Caspian Jasper John Pimpan born September 12, 2001 (one day after the attack on the World Trade Center). Caspian will be turning 18 this coming September 12, 2019 and will be graduating from St. Helena High School soon and hopes to go on to further studies in his interests regarding child psychology and early childhood development.
Daniel Prachan Pimpan and his mother, Lydia Marten Money are now trustees of the “Money-Cushing Family Trust”, the name that for so many years was the “Estate of E.R.D. Noble.” Lydia Marten Money married Raymond Joseph Cushing Jr. on October 23, 2002 and they will celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary next year. Lydia retained her maiden name.
Lydia Money’s Great Aunt was Anna Hyatt Huntington, wife of Archer Milton Huntington, the heir to the Southern Pacific Railway fortune. She was a noted sculptress her statues are all over the world. She did the statue of St. Joan of Arc on a Clydesdale horse, holding a sword, and the “El Cid” statue both of which can be seen at the Palace of Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
The family genealogy can be traced back via Ancestry.com over 15 generations of the Money Family.
On April 16, 2019 two descendants of Emma Davis and May Davis met for the first time at St. Helena Library. Emma Davis’s descendant Lydia Money of St. Helena met May Davis’s descendant Laurie Banks of Sacramento. The two had never met and found each other on ANCESTRY.com. Ms. Money and Ms Banks are both family historians, each having large amounts of information to share with the other.
— Sincerely, Lydia M. Money, Great Granddaughter of C.E. Davis.
Dates and history taken from family genealogy records compiled since 1992 by Lydia M. Money.