Warning: This diary contains a sad story of murder and violent domestic abuse against a woman.The more one researches family history, the more likely one is to find terrible things. Months ago I wrote about my distant cousin Amos Buckman, who dreamed of riches bubbling up from California’s hot springs, and the Grigsby family into which two of his daughters married. This is the sad – and strange – story of a member of the Grigsby/Buckman family whose life ended in tragedy far too soon.
Loretta “Lola” Grigsby was born in Napa, California, on September 29, 1874, the fourth and last child of mine operator Robert Faires Grigsby (1839-1923) and his wife Harriet Buckman (1848-1940). Her father traveled a great deal to see to his mining interests, not only across California but throughout the western states and in Mexico. Sometimes the family traveled with him, but always returned to Napa County, with their official residence creeping up the Silverado Trail over the years from Napa to Yountville to Calistoga.
In the 1880s and 1890s, Lola and her siblings spent a good deal of time at their grandfather Buckman’s spa at Buckman Springs in eastern San Diego County. Perhaps that exposure to the southern desert led to her decision, when she was in her late 20s, to move to Tucson in what was then still the Arizona territory, a move that ultimately would cost her her life.