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Summer 2023
An Historical 150 Year Old Wedding Anniversary
By Debra Staab


History, memories, and provenance joined forces on June 2nd of this year to create a memorable celebration of life in the form of a 150-year-old wedding anniversary—on the same day in 1873, Alice Schultheis married Volney Averill.   More than a dozen family members, friends and local historians were in attendance for the Remembrance Day.

The event host was Gerry Park, aka Gerald Schultheis-Averill-Romes-Park, a direct descendant of the well-known pioneering family.  John Martin Schultheis and his wife Susan, Gerry’s great-great grand-parents, set up a homestead in 1851 near a lagoon at the Summit on the east side of what is now called the Old Santa Cruz Highway.  Their claim spanned both Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

The historical wedding ceremony between John and Susan’s daughter Alice and the Civil War vet and farmer Volney Averill took place on the Schultheis land in the family redwood grove. A year after the couple was married, they purchased the orchard land, including the redwood grove, from their parents.  The property is now the Mason-Taylor Ranch at 22149 Summit Road, and the Loma Prieta Museum hosts its annual BBQ in the very same grove.  The land has served continuously as an orchard for over 150 years.



Roger Mason, Gerry Park, Lisa Robinson


The sun was shining and the mood was light as Gerry started explaining his lineage.  First up was the story of a historical octagon barrel muzzleloader rifle that was used to shoot grizzly bears.  The tale was supported by a Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper clipping that described how the rifle was used to stymie a local bear attack.  The rifle was custom made in San Francisco between 1860-1869 for John Martin Schultheis.

Display shows how to load the single-shot muzzleloader


Next up was a clever collection of coins, one to represent the birth year of each family generation.  An 1822 silver half-dollar represented Great, Great Grandpa Schultheis.  Great Grandpa Averill was illustrated by an 1847 silver half-dollar. An 1875 silver quarter stood for Grandpa Romes, and a 1915 twenty dollar gold piece signified Gerry’s mother Muriel.  The display also included two onyx rings with their FOBs that were part of either the Romes or Averill families.

Photo by Debra Staab


Gerry went on to show a pocket watch and chain that belonged to Grandpa Romes and a beautiful gold locket with the initials BA engraved on the cover.  The initials stood for Bessie Averill, the fifth of Alice and Volney’s seven children.  For added provenance a portrait of Gerry’s mother shows her wearing the locket while holding her first great grandchild, Noah.

Photo by Debra Staab


Finally, Gerry brought out the silver chalice that was given to Alice and Volney by their daughter Bessie and her husband Billie Romes on their parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.  The chalice reads: Presented to Mother & Father, Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary June 2, 1923, Bessie & Billie.  The chalice is a true family heirloom.

Photo by Debra Staab

After the presentations, the group reminisced about the old days and left with the hope that young Noah  might carry on this wonderful family tradition in another 50 years.

Happy 150th Anniversary to Alice and Volney!

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