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Looking Back to 1931: Girl abandonment facts out 

Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of the society’s Vice President Nancy Tweedie and Research Director Jan Cannon.

Excerpt from the Tuesday, May 5, 1931 Paso Robles Spotlight:

Father’s actions in case not explained

Neighbor takes girl. Tangle of marriage and divorce makes little Caroline Garloff victim of circumstances

Facts heretofore obscured, in the ‘abandonment’ of six-year-old Caroline Garloff, were revealed here Friday and exposed a set of circumstances without parallel in city history.

Looking Back Paso Robles in 1931

Click here to read the full front page.

Back of the story of the precipitate removal of his own two daughters and son by Frank Silva, following death April 9, of his divorced wife lurked implications that Silva, loath to assume the responsibility of another man’s child, although that child was a half sister of his own children, last week took his own children, Virginia, 18, Catherine, 17 and William, 14, leaving Caroline, the six year old offspring of estranged wife and one Garloff, to the mercies of neighbors.

Fortunately for the child the ready hospitality and warm hearts of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Walker, 31st and Spring streets, provided a secure place for her until the father, Garloff, apprized of the situation arrived last week to claim his daughter.

Leaves child asleep in home

According to a recital by neighbors, Silva visited the Paso Robles home of Walter Grove where his children had been staying following the death of their mother. Taking with him is own children he departed leaving, it was said, the six year old Caroline asleep in a bed.

No provision for the care of the child was made apparently by Silva, according to the Walkers, who soon after Silva’s departure too the child to their home.

Virginia, the eldest girl, was said to have pleaded that the little family should not be separated, her affections for the child welling up as the rupture in their relationship impended. What answer was made to her plea was not known. Neighbors, at least, told how the older girl seemed heartbroken at the prospect of leaving the little one behind.

Garloff comes and takes child

Garloff, second husband of the late Mrs. Silva, who following her divorce from him took her first married name of Silva, a few days after the asserted ‘abandonment’ arrived from Los Angeles and claimed Caroline.

Silva, according to reports, had been paying a substantial sum to support of the children up to the time of the death of his divorced wife.

More news of the day

A citizen’s committee urged a name change for Spring Street to the more romantic and traditional El Camino Real. The claim was that the new name would add lustre for tourists and keep romance held.

Deputies thwart robbery attempt at the White Cabin Café in Templeton. The three men arrested were wanted in connection with a car theft in Bakersfield and the robbery of a San Ardo store.


Read previous Looking Back articles


Thank you to sponsors of Looking Back

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Estrella Warbird Museum is an aviation museum dedicated to the restoration and preservation of military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia. Woodland Auto Display is also open. Hours: Thursday through Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446, ewarbirds.org, (805) 227-0440.

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.