On December 6, 1887, a second daughter, Harriet, was born to George and Margaret (Byrne) Newberry in Portland, Oregon. Over the next several years, the family grew to include four children: Ella, Harriet, Myrtle and Bill.
the story goes, the children's mother died while George was out at sea. Their maternal grandmother, Mary Byrne, feared tht the children's father would not raise her grandchildren properly. Consequently, on September 28, 1896, she separated the siblings
and dispersed them in different boarding schools. Harriet spent the next four years growing up at St. Francis Technical School (later known as St. Vincent High School) in San Francisco where she was raised as an "orphan" by the nuns.
Harriet was in San Francisco her grandmother passed away without telling the children where to find each other. Finally, on April 1, 1900, her luck changed for the better and Harriet's sisters located her. She went to live with with her sister Myrtle.