When Roy Ault, of Englewood, was just 14 years old in 1949, he hitchhiked from Columbus, Ohio, to Santa Rosa, California, with only $35 in his pocket.
He made the trek to meet his maternal grandfather, Chandler P. Goodrich, who fought in the Spanish-American War of 1898.
“My grandfather served in Company C, 19th Regiment during the war,” Ault explained. “He was 18-years-old when he signed up for the regiment in May of 1898. He was discharged in 1902 after serving in Puerto Rico and fighting the guerrillas in the Philippines.
“Emilio Aquinas was the guerrilla leader facing the Americans in the Philippines. Eventually, they caught him and put him in prison for his part in the insurrection,” Ault said.
“When I arrived in California and talked to my grandfather for the first and only time, he was 69 years old. He told me the thing he remembered best about his service in the Army took place when he and other members of his squad approached a Philippine hut.
“‘We kicked open the front door while the family was eating dinner. The man of the family reached for his rifle hanging on the wall and we shot him dead.’”
After the war, Goodrich returned to Columbus and joined the police force. He served on the city force for 10 years.
Then he and his wife, Carrie Belle, whom he married when she was 14, moved west. They homesteaded 120 acres of federal land near Tullo Lake, Oregon. They lived in a tiny shack, raised 10 children — five lived to be adults. The couple grew wheat on their land.
When Goodrich left for the west in 1924, he was 44-years-old. He farmed wheat for almost a decade. At that point he and Carrie Belle moved to Santa Cruz to live with an adult daughter in retirement.
“My grandfather died in Santa Cruz on Jan. 14, 1974. He was 94,” Ault said.