More about Rose McKeen and Zillis

Hello Marisa,

My name is Karen McKeen Saunders, I am Rose McKeen's other daughter. (Rose had four children: Rosemarie, Bill, Jack and Karen. Bill predeceased my mother.)

My brother Jack told me about your blog last night, it is a fascinating piece of work....a family history quilt of information, if you will.

I did write an article about Elsbeth Polin and her work as a photographer in San Luis Obispo. It was published in Westways Magazine in October, 1979. I borrowed pictures from my mother Rose Polin McKeen and her cousin, Katherine Coates (who also helped with information and anecdotes) about their aunt. No article was ever published in the Union Oil magazine, Seventy Six, about Elsie Polin. I was editor of that magazine for several years, so that is where the confusion might have occurred.

Besides Cullen Coates letter about the Civil War, my great grand father Martin Polin wrote down his memories of his war experience: "Memories of the Civil War: April 4, 1892 - February 24, 1863." It starts out that it was written to his son O.M. "Oscar" Polin. The original of that story is owned by my brother Bill McKeen's family. My siblings and I have copies of the original.

I also have one of the large Romanish Bibles (1718) which my mother owned.
I also have correspondence to my grandfather, Oscar Martin Polin, from his various relatives. Oscar, from what I can tell (I never met him, he died soon after I was born) kept everything...including every tooth he pulled as a dentist in San Luis Obispo County. Included are letters from Joe (his letters from Mexico are typed, so they are faint but readable), Annie (in Canada), and Elsie. There are also all the bills, businesses he dealt with buying dairy cattle and more. I am slowly sifting this correspondence.

Information about Switzerland

Sebastian Polin and his brother (I do not remember the name) were prominent in politics in the area. They also had a home in Chur, the political center of that area. They lived with their sister Rosa, I believe they were all unmarried.

My family (husband John, and sons Scott and Chris) and I visited Zillis in 1999. I found an English speaking teacher who lives in Zillis to help us find out about our family. She was able to find a building still standing that was the building the family visited as they moved the cattle from the lower pastures to the higher pastures during the year. Using old photographs, as we had in a previous visit, we located a home which I believe was the Polin family home on the far side of the town. The teacher told us that a few years previously some children were playing and brought home some old Roman coins. Their parents wanted to know where they found the coins, the children showed them a cave and excavations found a cave with three Roman skeletons very near to where the Polin house still stands. We were able to visit this site. There is another home in Zillis with the name Polin painted on the side, none of our old photos resemble this home.

The teacher pointed out that if we drove to the other side of the valley and drove into the hills we could get a photo of all of Zillis, including where the family had moved their cattle. We did get this photo and used it in our Christmas cards that year. I still have some copies of the photo, but it is film, not digital. If you wish, I could locate one and mail it to you.

When my mother wrote her book Parade Along the Creek, she wished to share it with her Mexican cousins. My sister (Rosemarie), brother (Bill) and his wife (Fay )and my husband and I were asked to deliver a copy of the book to the cousins in Ensenada. We met with Rogerio, the father of the owners of Papas and Beer, and his wife. They gave us a wonderful tour of the city and were a wonderful host and hostess.

Karen Saunders
Glendale, California


Rose McKeen

Thinking of Rose McKeen from her granddaughter Tara L. Mitchell (McKeen)

Hi Marisa,

My name is Tara L Mitchell, (My maiden name is McKeen). My father is Jack McKeen, son of Rose L. Polin McKeen Riley. I ran across you blog about "Los Polin" on a little whim; I was missing my grandmother for it would have been her 96th birthday today... It's kinda silly but I googled her name in hopes I would find out something new about her and wow I found you!

I think I remember being a pre-teen and your family visiting from Mexico, we all ate dinner at my Grandma Rose's house in SLO Town Ca. Do you happen to remember this? It was the '80's, You would have been a teen yourself; if I remember correctly. What a small world. I also remember (I think it was you giving me a black scarf -I really loved it!) and hearing all about Papas and Beer... This was somewhere I always wanted to go but my road was to have a family instead... My big plan was to visit Rosita or Ensanada when I reached 18, and see for myself all the beautiful sights my parents Jack and Joyce, and Aunts, Uncles and Grandma had been raving about for years.

My father Jack is currently living in Rose's old home. Grandma passed away a couple years ago, and I have been thinking of her a lot these days because, in her last years; my Mitchell family (my husband Greg, son Jeff & daughter Ashley-cared for her in her home...) anyways the last time I saw her was on Halloween, so close to her birthday.

Grandma always wanted a family tree and had many stories to tell including stories of your family too--she would be very proud of you and would have loved to have had a hands on role of adding to the blog I am sure. She actually wrote a book called "Parade Along the Creek"; it was about her history growing up in San Luis Obispo. Have you ever heard of it? She wrote it about 8 years or so before she passed and something remarkable about that was that she was unfortunately going blind during this time, and yet still had the courage and determination to (and much help form people like my Aunt Rosemarie) finish and publish! It is quite a story for a lot of locals around here. We really enjoy it!

In your blog; it was cool to read about Uncle Martin and read what Aunt Rosemarie had to offer. These days the family is so busy with their own lives (our own little families) we don't talk much anymore. It is very sad but since the passing of my Uncle Bill Grandma's first son and since she passed so has Her sister Elisabeth and Brother Burt and as you know Martin Polin; our new families seem to take precedence. My dad (Jack) has many photos and we like to reminisce and tell old stories it is so interesting to us to find out family history and it just keeps us close to those we have lost.

After viewing your site I quickly called my father and he would be very interested to share some old stories or pictures with you. Would it be possible for him to get a hold of you some how, besides the computer? (he is not so hip to it) I told him about the "Los Polin" website and decided I would just print it out for him.. He was very grateful and he started remembering how he visited Mexico w/my mom, and you were a great hostess while your parents were busy with other obligations.

Looking forward to your reply & thanks again for starting the blog.

Tara L. Mitchell (McKeen)
of SLO Town Caifornia


My Grandmother's visit to Acapulco

My grandmother Suzanne and her husband Dick visited relatives in Mexico in May 1976. Here are a couple of photos with the family at the Pierre Marques Hotel.

Jose Polin, Juanita, Suzanne, Julia, Dick

Jose Polin, Suzanne, and Juanita
(I'm not sure who the couple and their daughter is. The photo appears to be marked Mr. & Mrs. Aznar and daughter.)

Jose Polin is the grandson of Peter and Magdalena Polin, and the son of Joseph polin, Julia is his sister and Juanita is his wife. So Julia and Jose are siblings of Magda, Robert, and Martin who are shown (much younger) in a picture in a previous post. My grandma Suzanne is their first cousin, once removed.

Sarah Loos