William (“Bill”) Jennings Bryan Putcamp was born in August of 1897 and died in October of 1983. Crockett is the son of the East County Crockett family that settled in 1897 and ranched in the vicinity of today’s Empire Road. Since Crockett married Putcamp’s niece, Marjorie Elizabeth Bainum of Oakley, he has the distinction of knowing Putcamp personally.
William H. Putcamp, wife W. Sula Rebecca (nee Wilson), son William (“Bill”) Jennings Bryan and two daughters – Sula Beck and Fannie “Manta” Elizabeth – emigrated to the Oakley community from Nebraska and settled on property located off Neroly Road, where the Oakley Water Treatment plant is now located. Near this spot today is the Pato family vineyard, where the original owner, William H. Putcamp, planted Mourvèdre grape vines in 1896 that still grow.
William (“Bill”) Jennings Bryan Putcamp married Missouri native Ruth (who died in 1980), not the Mable Barnes of Casper, Calif., who was his correspondent in our May History Mystery postcard. Bill Putcamp’s sisters are also woven into local history. Sister Sula Beck, a UC Berkeley graduate, married an O’Hara, one of Oakley’s early prominent farmers.
Sister Fannie “Manta” Elizabeth, a Stanford graduate, married musician Cliff G. Bainum of Chicago. Bainum was a career U.S. Army musician who settled in Chicago upon retirement from the military. He and Manta had two children but divorced soon after the children were born. Manta left Chicago and returned to Oakley with her two girls. Sula moved back to East County after college and worked for the Bank of America Antioch branch. It is Manta’s daughter Marjorie, niece of our postcard author, who married Richard Crockett.
As fond as Bill Putcamp was of Oakley, he and Ruth moved to Fresno in 1964. Bill secured a position making asfadobe bricks for manufacturer Hans Sump. Ruth continued her career as a U.S. Post Office mail carrier, which she had begun in Oakley, at her new home in Fresno. Ruth died under mysterious circumstances, possibly homicide, in Fresno County. She is interned at Memorial Cemetery in Oakley, her place of birth.
Anyone with more information about this card is invited to e-mail historian Carol Jensen at email@example.com.