Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” Wilcox Hurd

Born in Placerville in 1870 to a successful frontiersman and merchant, Truman Wilcox, and his wife, Mary Robertson, Mollie was the niece of John and Jane Robertson Blair. Her father, Truman, was not only bound to the Blairs by marriage but also through several lucrative business partnerships. The Wilcox store and warehouse were located on Upper Main Street near the intersection at Broadway. After graduating from a private high school, Mollie relocated to Southern California, where she met her first husband, Frank Stoddard. Frank was the nephew of Elizabeth Stoddard Huntington, wife to Collis P. Huntington of the Central Pacific Railroad. Like others in his family, Frank worked in the railroad industry. His family connections and executive career in railroads elevated Mollie as an important figure in Los Angeles’ philanthropic circles. Aside from raising their two children, Mollie threw herself into the important work of women’s and children’s aid societies. Mollie was instrumental in compelling the state legislature to take up and pass a bill that required fathers to pay child support regardless of whether or not the child was born in or out of wedlock. Following a divorce from Frank Stoddard after their children had grown, Mollie married an old acquaintance and friend, former Los Angeles area state senator, Henry M. Hurd. They were frequent visitors to Placerville, where they owned the Pioneer Lodge. Mollie Wilcox Hurd remained close to her extended Blair family throughout her life. She was also an early supporter of the Placerville Shakespeare Club, and upon her death in 1929, she bequeathed a generous donation to build the historic Shakespeare Club building. Today, every year on her birthday, Shakespeare Club members visit Mollie’s grave and leave flowers upon her memorial.