The Singleton Family

Joshua W. Singleton and his wife, Henrietta Vera, moved to Allenworth from Winfield, Kansas with their three children, Van Virginia, and Henry, around 1910. Joshua had been a stone cutter in Kansas but had to give up that profession due to poor health. Henrietta was a practicing nurse and midwife. Her son, Henry, stated “She knew home remedies like asafetida. Asafetida is a bad smelling substance prepared from the juice of certain plants of the parsley family. It has been used in medicine as an antispasmodic. It had the worst smell. You’d make a plaster for carbuncles and bumps of all sorts. She cooked up her and stuff.” Following bankruptcy in 1915, the family moved to Sonoma. Henry graduated the next summer as the only black student who had gone to school in Sonoma. Mr. Singleton was the music teacher at Sonoma High School. In 1916 the family returned to Allensworth and reopened their store.

The Singleton store was in operation until Mr. Singleton died in 1928. Henry went to college between 1916 and 1919, only returning to visit. During the summer time, he worked for Louis Blodgett, The Colonel’s soon-in law. In 1919, he returned and was postmaster for a year. He left intermittently until 1923 or 1924 when he moved to Oakland where he worked as a lab technician at the University of California at Berkeley.

Besides running the store and serving as postmaster for four-and-and-a-half years, Joshua organized an orchestra, using his collection of stringed instruments. PRactice took place in the back of the store or at Frank Milner’s barbershop. Soometimes in the Summer they would play outside in front of the store. Joshua also experimented with raising cotton. He planted twenty acres of Long Staple Pima near well number three, which did well.

Joshua died on May 4, 1928, in Tulare. He left everything to his wife, as stated in his handwritten will The property consisted of one building (the home and store) and the store’s stock. He also owned several pieces of property in Allensworth. His entire estate was worth $1500.

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