Stories From The Grave
Row 3, Plot 131
FRANKLIN PIERCE OTIS
MAY 8, 1852 - APRIL 11, 1919
He took pride in his family tree, and finds that in 1655 his first progenitor came to America from England and settled at Dover, New Hampshire. All of his ancestors had been engaged in farming and many left tracts of improved land.
On May 8, 1852 in Garland, Maine Franklin Pierce Otis was born to Joel and Francina A. (Pooler) Otis. His father Joel was born in Fairfield, Maine November 10, 1824. The family moved to Garland, Maine in 1840 and bought a farm. Joel and Francina (Pooler) Otis were married November 24, 1847. They had three children, Franklin Pierce, Frances (1855-1911) and Joel W. Jr. (1867-1926).
Franklin was raised in his native state, where he received his primary education in the public schools, later entering Bates College at Lewiston, Maine, at which institution of learning he graduated with honor in the class of 1879. Immediately beginning the reading of law, he was admitted to practice in 1881, and the following year he came to California, and in 1883 was admitted to practice in the state of California. In 1885 he located in Sonora and began his law practice, receiving such immediate encouragement that his success became assured. In 1886 he was elected to the office of district attorney, filling that office for ten years, proving himself a capable prosecutor and a good criminal lawyer.
Fraternally Mr. Otis was connected with the Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, and the Foresters.
Coming down the stairs at the Sonora Court House, 1919, Franklin had a stroke. He was taken to the Stockton Hospital and passed away April 11. His body was shipped to Sonora from Stockton for burial in the Otis Plot in Sonora IOOF Cemetery. The burial took place April 12.
Under his expressed wish the funeral services were conducted under the auspices of Union Lodge, K.of P. and Bald Mt. Encampment, No. 4, I.O.O.F.it text
ELIZABETH MARIA (MCGUIRE) OTIS
JUNE 27, 1862 - MARCH 21, 1909
Elizabeth was born in Tuolumne County, California June 27, 1862 to James and Maria (Finnan) McGuire. Her parents were born in Ireland and married in the Catholic Church in Sonora, April 12, 1857. Other children born to James and Mary were, Christopher and Mary.
Elizabeth came to live with her Aunt, Bridget (Finnan) Wolfling and family, shortly after the death of her mother about 1870. She lived most of her life in Sonora and attended Sonora elementary. On May 19th 1887 Elizabeth married Franklin Pierce Otis in Sonora. To this union were born 6 children, Frances, Chester, twins Elizabeth and Lloyd, and another set of twins that passed away at birth.
Elizabeth died of Hodgkin’s disease covering a period of several months. She underwent treatment for some time at the Lane hospital in San Francisco. Her illness had reached a stage beyond the power of human skill to cure her and was sent home to await the inevitable. She passed away March 21, 1909. Her body was first taken to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, from there to Odd Fellows cemetery for interment.
FRANCES MARIA OTIS (DAUGHTER)
AUGUST 24, 1889-MARCH 19, 1891
The first to be buried in the Otis Plot was Francis Maria Otis, daughter of Franklin and Elizabeth (McGuire) Otis. At the time of Frances’s death she was their only child, she passed away March 19, 1891. She was only 19 months old.
LLOYD JOEL OTIS
JANUARY 31, 1895 - DECEMBER 6, 1949
Lloyd Joel Otis and his twin sister Elizabeth Ethel were born in Sonora January 31, 1895. After Lloyd finished elementary and high school in Sonora, he worked at the Standard Lumber Company in Sonora as a shipping clerk. He was drafted into World War I in 1917 and sent overseas. He served with the 20th Engineers in the U.S. Army in France. He was stationed there when his father passed away, April, 12, 1919.
Lloyd returned to California after the War and lived in Beverly Hills for about 10 years working for the Postal Service. He later moved to Placerville California and was employed by the Stockton Box Factory for 15 years.
December 6, 1949 Lloyd passed away in Placerville. His body was moved to Sonora where he was buried in the Otis Plot in the IOOF cemetery.
Elizabeth (Otis) Parke with her twin brother Lloyd Otis
January 31, 1895 - January 9, 1968
Elizabeth, daughter of Franklin and Elizabeth (McGuire) Otis was born January 31, 1895 in Sonora. She and her brothers attended Sonora elementary school in the red brick and wooden building that her mother also had attended as a child. After graduation from Sonora High School Elizabeth worked for the Standard Lumber Company which was located where the Sonora Post office is today. She had also worked for her father in his law office in Sonora. In 1918 she moved to San Francisco and was a telephone operator. While working in a tall building during an earthquake she said the building swayed back and forth for some time. She spent most of her married life as a home maker. When her children were grown she worked at the Europe restaurant in Sonora. She continued to work there after the death of her husband Edward in 1953. She was buried January 12, 1968 in the IOOF cemetery next to her parents, twin siblings, sister, twin brother, husband and son.
Burial for Edward Parke in the Otis Plot
December 28, 1953.
JULY 29, 1873 - DECEMBER 24, 1953
Near Delphos, Kansas was the birth place of Edward Parke. He was born July 29, 1873 to Percy Edward Parke and Jennie Mildred Camplin. They were married in Delphos, Kansas in 1872. His sister Myrtle was born July 22, 1884. The family lived on the farm that Percy homesteaded in 1870. He raised wheat, corn, and oats on 320 acres.
Edward married Alice Ressekger around 1895. They had a son Percy Edward Parke. The family moved to Pueblo Colorado in 1900 where he worked as a telephone operator. In 1903 the family moved to Tuolumne County. Edward began working for the Standard Lumber Company in charge of the Sugar Pine Railroad.
1921 Edward and Alice divorced. Edward married Elizabeth Otis in Los Angeles August 24, 1922. They had two children, Dorothy Elizabeth and Edward Otis. They moved to Standard, California and stayed until 1932 when the depression hit and Pickering Lumber Company was shut down. They moved to Grass Valley until the Pickering Lumber Company reopened in the late 30’s. Edward returned to his job and the family moved into the same company home that they had lived in before they left Standard.
December 24, 1953 after working at his office as a train dispatcher he walked to his home and took a nap and died in his sleep. He was 80 years old.
EDWARD OTIS PARKE
OCTOBER 9, 1928 - NOVEMBER 1, 1980
Brother, as he was known to the family, was born October 9, 1928 in house number 28 in Standard City, California. His parents Edward and Elizabeth (Otis) Parke and Sister Dorothy Elizabeth had lived there since 1925. Edward grew up in Standard attending the Curtis Creek School. As many who lived in Standard went to work for Pickering Lumber Company after graduation from Sonora High. In the early 50’s Edward joined the armed services and served in the Air Force and was stationed in Oklahoma. While there he met Christine Freda Rozell and they were married shortly after. Do to his father’s death they moved to Standard to the company house he was born in, and returned to work at Pickering Lumber Company until he became disabled around 1970. Edward and Christine had two children, Wyatt Lee and Kathleen Sue. Edward passed away November 1, 1980 and was buried in the Otis Plot November 4, 1980.
Written By Cheryl Maddox
Family oral history
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church records
Representative Citizens of Northern California
Tuolumne County Recorder’s Office