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Born in Townshend, Vermont, Grace Hudson' s father, Aurelius Ormando Carpenter (1836-1919) was the third child of Justin and Clarina Carpenter. Called "Reel," or "A.O.," he had newspaper ink in his veins: his father, mother, (and stepfather) were all newspaper writers, editors and publishers. After completing his basic schooling, and apprenticing at the Windham County Democrat in Brattleboro, Vermont, Aurelius moved with his family to Kansas Territory in 1855. The following June, he fought alongside revolutionary abolitionist John Brown at the Battle of Black Jack. While recovering from wounds received in the fight, A.O. was tended to by neighboring "free state" women, including a young teacher named Helen McCowen. This bonding experience led to them marrying six months later. In May of 1857, with members of Helen's family, the newlyweds journeyed across the plains by oxcart to Grass Valley, California, to join Helen's brother who was mining there. Eventually settling in Potter Valley, in Mendocino County, Aurelius ranched and Helen taught school. The Carpenters' twins, Grace and Grant, were born in Potter Valley in 1865, joining an older sister named May. By this time, Reel had helped publish the county's first newspaper, the Mendocino Herald, which he also co-owned. Over the next three decades he worked as printer, publisher, and editor of a number of newspapers, including the Ukiah City Press and San Francisco's Fair Daily. Due to the demands of Aurelius' many business responsibilities, and in an effort to supplement his meagre ranching income, the Carpenters left Potter Valley in 1869 to settle in Ukiah, the county seat. Their final child, Frank, was born there in 1870. In Ukiah, A.O. established the "Home Gallery," a photography studio that catered to white and Pomo Indian customers alike. He and Helen ran this family-owned business for more than 40 years. An important pioneer photographer, A.O. traveled all over Northern California recording "views" and taking portraits. During this same period he was active in civic affairs, and at the end of his life authored a history of Mendocino County, a role which half a century of enterprising residence had well prepared him to undertake.