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September 3, 1911 - Dr. & Mrs. Ernest S. Pillsbury are killed.
Arthur C. Pillsbury's older brother, Dr. Ernest Sargent Pillsbury and his wife, Sylvia Florence Ball Pillsbury, are killed in an auto accident while on their way to Santa Barbara to celebrate their anniversary.  Their three children are in the back seat of their Auburn.    Within hours  of learning of the event Pillsbury was on a train to ensure the children were cared for.  Pillsbury brought them back and adopted them on November 13, 1911.   

Article is from the Oxnard Daily Courier, September 4, 1911.   Time Lines - 1911 through 1917

Personal Testimony - In early 1987 my father, Dr. Arthur Francis Pillsbury, who was the youngest child of Dr. Ernest and Sylvia, told me, obviously very much upset, I would have to obtain the probate papers for both his original father and his mother, Sylvia Florence Ball Pillsbury.  He had recently asked me to take over as the person in the family responsible for ensuring his father's legacy was understood and preserved.  I agreed, and immediately began compiling information from available sources.  Dad had mentioned writing a book.  This did not seem to me to represent any problem.  I knew his father, Arthur C. Pillsbury, who died in 1946, was a renowned photographer and inventor but except for the stories told to me as a child was vague on the details.  I did know AC, as I called him, had adopted the three children of his dead brother, Dr. Ernest Sargent Pillsbury and his wife, Sylvia Florence Ball Pillsbury, after their parents were killed in an auto accident in 1911.
          Dad had a silver framed photo of his mother, Sylvia, with himself and his sister, Grace.  Dad never discussed the accident in which his parents died until that day in 1987.  It was Arthur C. Pillsbury who occupied the position of father in his heart and life.  All of the stories he had told me when I was a child growing up were about AC.   The words of wisdom and recollections of significant events were all about the man who became his father through adoption, finalized in the County Court of Alameda, State of California, on November 13, 1911, Judge T. W. Harris, Judge of the Superior Court.  
         Later that same day I called the Hall of Records for Los Angeles and ordered the two sets of probate papers for Dr. Ernest and Sylvia.  The clerk told me this would come to $25.00 or less.  They would send any money not used.  The check went into the mail.  Six weeks later I received it back with a request for another check, this one for $250.00.  Slightly stunned, I sent it that day.   What I did not yet know was that this was only a minor introduction to the entire story which would come to include the highly criminal nature of US agencies and institutions which, at that time, I thought were beyond reproach.  

So let's begin with the accident.  The couple, Ernie and Sylvia were taking their three children with them to Santa Barbara to celebrate their wedding anniversary.  They left from their home in the posh area of Hollywood Land on what was then North Palm, now on Hollywood Blvd and Las Palmas, early in the morning.  They left behind the home they had built in 1900 when Dr. Ernest relocated his medical practice to Los Angeles from San Francisco.  

First Report of the Accident 
Los Angeles Times, September 4, 1911
The newspapers would follow the story through the court system over the following years.   

The pages linked here provide information from the papers along with AC's determination to make sure the children were raised within the Pillsbury Family.  AC knew he would have no natural children having been rendered sterile earlier in his life.  Dad told me this as part of what needed to be conveyed to me to understand the flow of events.  Not only was Dad named for AC, AC was also his Godfather.  AC was the only father Dad could even remember.  

Aftermath of the Accident