Dorothy White Cowan & Phil Zubler

An interview with Dorothy White Cowan & Phil Zubler

By Jana McPherson Black

Jason D. White and Mary Frances Baltic White were Dorothy's paternal grandparents. Her grandfather had come to San Quentin from Folsom in 1899. Dorothy's father, Walter was born at San Quentin in a two story house next to teh old McGuirk Store that still stands today in the village. Additionally, Dorothy's mother's parents, Walter Scott Gillette and Ellen McKoewn (an Irish woman) came to live at San Quentin in 1907.

Dorothy's mother, Gertrude Ellen Gillette and her father, Charles Baltic White, married after growing up together on the Prison grounds. Charles had lived outside the gates as a young man and had gone to school with Gertruse. Once married, the newly weds first lived together at the Bay View Hotel during the 1920s and 30s. Charles worked at the Jute Mill initially, then as a guard up on the wall at Post #4.

Dorothy recalls going to McGuirk's store where Mr. McGuirk got barrels of beans down form way up high.

Phil  Zubler, son of  Ernest  Zubler moved to San Quentin in 1913. His mother, Grace Jennie Duffy has moved to live on prison grounds in 1895. Ernest Zubler worked first as a guard then in 1915 as a sack inspector, then in 1919 as Supervisor at the Jute Mill.

Walter Gillette was the prison Distribution Officer who ran the clothing factory in the days when inmates wore stripes.

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