Let’s Talk Clovis: The Sweethearts of Clovis

By Peg Bos, Clovis Museum

We have selected a few sweethearts of Clovis to review their courting, marriage and accomplishments that contributed to our rich heritage.

William Temple Cole (1825-1907) married Jane Sweany (1830-1927) on Jan. 12, 1854. They arrived at Academy in 1878. The couple would eventually own 3,000 acres of grazing and wheat fields in that area. They welcomed 10 daughters who married men from pioneer families: Heiskell, Shafer, Stroud, Sample, Bell, Hogue, Hoskins, Blasingame, Estill and Burkhead. William and Jane were married 53 years.

On Dec. 23, 1898, Jesse A Blasingame (born 1877 at Dry Creek family ranch, died 1930) married Mary Jane Sample, the daughter of David Cowan and Sallie Sample. Their only child Knox Sr. was born in 1899. He married Thelma Lenor in 1920. Knox bought land from his father, John Shipp and D.C. Sample and would eventually own 15,000 acres in the Sierra foothills. Jesse and Mary Jane were married 32 years. Mary Jane’s wedding gown is on display at the Clovis Museum.

Dashing young Dr. Milton McMurtry (1880-1962) arrived in Clovis in 1904. He was a 24/7 doctor whose mode of transportation included a bicycle, horse and buggy and later the fastest car available.

His future bride (beautiful Lucretia “Lulu” Smith, 1889-1985) lived on her father’s ranch near Academy. She would transport her four younger sisters via horse and buggy to Clovis (10 miles) to attend school. She graduated from Clovis High in 1909. She married Dr. Mac on Sept. 11, 1911.

The handsome couple became civic leaders. In 1920, Dr. Mac purchased an 1896 nine room home (430 Pollasky) and converted it into a sanitarium. Lulu was a leader in the Clovis Woman’s Club which organized the 1914 Clovis Day Festival. It would evolve into the successful Clovis Rodeo Association. In 1982 she was the first woman to serve as their Grand Marshal. The couple was married 51 years.

Dr. Wilbur Lose (1911-2002) met his future wife Alice (RN) on a blind date at the Veteran’s Hospital in Palo Alto. They were married on June 14, 1939. In addition to their four children (Martha, John, David and Tina) they were foster parents to 37 children.

They were always focused on serving those in need. They joined the Peace Corps in 1969 and served in Micronesia. They celebrated 58 years of marriage.

John Polson (1897-1996) married Alta Cole (1900-1998) on Sept. 1, 1921. Alta’s grandfather Jacob Cole and his brother Stephen arrived in Clovis in 1872. Stephen’s son Clovis Cole would become the “Wheat King of the United Sates” during his farming career and our town bears his name.

On Nov. 10, 1918, Alta was prepared to bid John farewell since he was shipping out from Fresno with 450 other draftees. WWI armistice was declared thirty minutes prior to the scheduled train departure. They celebrated 75 years of marriage.

George “Tink” Kastner (1919-2006) married Thelma Londgreen (1918-2012) on June 20, 1942. They first met at a football game at Ratcliff Stadium. It is said that it was love at first sight for handsome Tink and pretty Thelma.

Tink had joined the Army Air Force in 1941. He flew a P-51 Mustang and established a record of 83 missions in the Mediterranean Theatre. His plane bore the name of “The Strawberry Blonde” in honor of Thelma. He retired from the U.S.A.F. with the rank of full Colonel. He began teaching at Clovis High and in July of 1961 he was appointed the first Assistant Superintendent of Clovis United School District. Kastner Intermediate School bears his name. The Kastner’s were married 64 years.

Seferina Herrera was three years old when she arrived in Clovis in 1919. Luis Franco was determined to marry pretty Seferina but open dating was not permitted and men were not allowed to visit the home of their girlfriend. Only fiestas for baptism, confirmation, birthdays and weddings provided courting opportunities.

Seferina (23) brought five dollars to their 1939 marriage. Luis (34) was amazed at her ability to gather wealth. They opened Franco’s Café in 1958. It was the oldest Mexican restaurant in Clovis when it was closed on March 29, 2008. They were married 48 years.

The sweethearts of Clovis left us a rich heritage.