The San Diego Union headline read: “Death Calls Founder of San Diego. Alonzo E. Horton, Beloved Father of City, Succumbs After Lingering Illness.” The date of the paper was January 8, 1909. He looked at the headline with some amusement, for he was not dead but alive.
He found himself in his last home in San Diego. People were gathering for his funeral. There was his wife Lydia, always a pillar of strength, a characteristic that had attracted him to her. There was his youngest sister Lucy Bowers with her husband Senator William Wallace Bowers and daughters Grace and Vyne. There was George Marston, R.V. Dodge, Dr. Jackson, and others.
He recalled the day when he decided to build this house. After Sarah died, he felt lonely in his large home near First Avenue. Needing a change, he proceeded with this house in Middletown, finishing it in 1889. It was the only house on the hill at the time, and people suspected he had put it there to attract development, which was correct.
The urge to build was not accidental but something that went deep into his personal history. His Puritan ancestors had arrived in the American colonies in the 1630s, and the urge to build in them was strong. Pushed down and unable to express their religious beliefs in England, their compressed energy exploded into a drive to tame this new country. He had inherited this drive, the same drive that created a vision in San Francisco of what this city would be like in the future. The effects were now apparent as he gazed out the window on this January morning.
He recalled when his doctor told him to go west because of tuberculosis. He had ended up in Milwaukee, spent the next 15 years in Wisconsin, married two wives, buried them, and then married Sarah Babe. After he had made money in various occupations, he and Sarah had gone west to San Francisco, where he heard of San Diego for the first time. That evening, he had a vision of how to develop a new city there. The following day, he began to sell his furniture, goods, and supplies. After that, he booked passage south.
He arrived in San Diego on April 15, 1867. People wouldn’t believe it now, but laid out before him was a flat plain rising to the north, where a small village was located. The barren landscape didn’t bother him, however, for he knew he had the energy to form this place into the community of his vision.
He recalled the moment when his eyes swept over the land. From where he had come ashore, he could see the mountain range that would block the growth of the city for many years. Looking south, he saw portions of an old abandoned wharf, a few beat-up structures, and an old barracks building. He learned that William Heath Davis and Andrew Gray, two earlier pioneers to this spot, had attempted to develop the site. But they had been too early, and all development ceased in the early 1850s. Soldiers stationed at this place later tore down most of the structures, and the site appeared abandoned by the time Horton arrived.
Meeting his vessel was a man named Ephraim Morse, who offered to take him to the small village he viewed to the north. When asked what he thought of it, Horton responded that it was sited wrong, that a community needed to be near water to grow. He thus took steps to procure legal title to property near Davis’ Folly, which came to be known as “Horton’s Addition” or “New Town.”
After he had obtained legal title, he would often walk over the property to survey it and lay out lots, many times accompanied by his new friend Morse. One day, he saw some sheep grazing nearby and learned that a man named Matt Sherman owned them. He later heard that when Sherman found out Horton had purchased choice property near the waterfront, Sherman had purchased property nearby, which became Sherman Heights. Sherman built a three-story home on the heights, and it overlooked the growing new city.
Horton recalled how the new city started to develop. When he came back after a lengthy trip to San Francisco, he set about selling lots. There was a need for open space, so land was set aside for a large city park. There was the need for a cemetery, and in 1869, he, his brother-in-law, and others met to plan it. They decided to locate it on what was to be the city/county line, about three miles east of New Town. Augusta Sherman named it Mount Hope Cemetery, his final destination this day.
At this moment, he glanced at a manuscript that Bill Bowers, his brother-in-law, had written about the early days of New San Diego. As the people at his last home were preparing to go to his funeral, he read the manuscript, which would later be donated to the San Diego Historical Society. In it, Bill said in part: “I arrived with my family at San Diego September 30, 1869. At that time Horton was selling lots at a great rate. In a little iron safe in a shack at Sixth and I Streets he had $40,000 in gold coin, most of it lying loose on the bottom of the safe. He was selling lots so fast that whenever he gave the price of a piece of ground to a prospective buyer, he would add, ‘I don’t care whether you take it or not.’ He felt he was conferring a favor on all purchasers of lots.”
Horton stopped reading and looked at Bill, who seemed deep in thought. He knew that in the next several hours, Bill would be reminiscing about earlier times in this city’s history and what those times meant to him.
Horton glanced at his wife Lydia, who was talking about how she had met him. Lydia was first married to Bill Knapp, and they had moved to San Diego in 1869. Not long after, they moved to San Francisco, where Bill died. Lydia then described Horton’s promotion of the building of churches in New San Diego, where he owned property. He had donated land to the Unitarian Church, and it had been at that church that she and Bill had met Horton. Lydia described coming back to San Diego later as a widow and how Horton had asked her to marry him. Lydia fell silent then, and she spoke no more about their lives this day.
Now they were preparing to leave for his funeral. It was to be held at Elks Hall at Second and D, and they proceeded to this place. He accompanied them in spirit as they got into the buggies, crossed Laurel Street, and headed downtown, a route he had taken many times when he went to the wharf to greet people.
The mourners arrived at the Elks building shortly before the 2:00 p.m. service. A San Diego Union article on January 10, 1909, describes his funeral, saying: “Upon an eminence which commands a view of the city which was his creation the mortal remains of Father Alonzo Erastus Horton were laid to rest yesterday afternoon, after a demonstration of sorrow and respect in which the whole city had participated.”
As the speeches concluded, Horton looked out the window of the Elks Club and saw before him the real fruits of his labors. Outside, people were gathered to say good-bye to him, and he had to face what was happening. Life in the city would now go on without him. People assembled to leave for Mount Hope, and he decided to follow.
The January 10, 1909, San Diego Union article continues: “An immense throng had gathered in the street outside the hallway by the time the service was concluded, all standing in reverent silence as the members of the fraternities emerged and formed a long double line from the entrance to the hearse. Through this line was borne the body, preceded by the officers of the lodge and the honorary pallbearers. These, all intimate friends of Father Horton and the leading citizens of San Diego, were George W. Marston, C. S. Hamilton, U. S. Grant, Jr., Fred Hamilton, Charles Hamilton, M. A. Luce and D. C. Reed. Serving as active pallbearers and carrying the casket were F. S. Banks, R. V. Dodge, Eugene Daney, Major H. G. Gwyn, Ernest E. White and Simon Levi.
“After the mourning relatives, who were the last to leave the hall, had taken their seats in the carriages, the line began its progress through the hushed streets. Flags at half-mast fluttered from hundreds of buildings, including all public institutions and schools; many business houses had closed for the ‘quiet hour,’ and almost a Sabbath calm pervaded the streets.…
“Solemnly, quietly and impressively the procession moved, through the center of the city, proceeding east on D street to Fifth, south on Fifth to H, east on H to Tenth.
“At this point the procession disbanded, the pallbearers, officers of the lodge and many of the members taking carriages to Mount Hope cemetery.
“Here, under a canvas canopy erected over the Horton burial plot, were the brief words of the Elks’ commitment service spoken, and within a few moments the carriages were returning to the city.”
Well, that was that, he thought. The day he had always pondered in the back of his mind had arrived. Here he was at Mount Hope, about to be put to rest next to his parents and Sarah. As he watched Lydia leave and go back to the city, he was torn, for he wasn’t ready to go on to the next life.
He stood apart from the funeral apparatus and viewed the tombstone he had erected. It was a large tombstone, fitting for a man who had expended so much energy to found the city. On it he had placed the names of his deceased wife, Sarah Babe, and his parents, Erastus and Tryphena Horton.
He thought back to the formation of the cemetery. In 1869, when he was selling lots in earnest, people came to him asking where their relatives might be buried. A cemetery would be started above Old Town the following year, but it was too far away for people in New Town. Old Town was a Catholic community, and Protestants were streaming into New Town and forming churches. He had also heard that several people were very sick and might be in need of burial shortly.
In October 1869, a meeting was held to discuss the opening of a public cemetery, and for sanitary reasons, it was sited out here. By December, there were four burials at the cemetery. Two years later, the board of trustees decided to lay off ten acres to avoid confusion in the digging of graves, and a map was approved to facilitate the process. He recalled that burials picked up at a tremendous pace once the boom of the late 1880s had started.
The cemetery was smaller now than it would be later, for several groups came forward who received permission to bury their dead separately. The Odd Fellows and Masons each had large, separate sections, and Civil War veterans belonging to the Grand Army of the Republic developed a smaller section. Years later these separate cemeteries would be turned over to Mount Hope to operate.
Horton recalled purchasing his lots at Mount Hope. The old cemetery office was sited adjacent to this lot and was still there now. The location of his lot was easy to remember. It was in Division 1, Section 1. His mother Tryphena Burleigh Horton died on March 5, 1873, and he had purchased the lots earlier in that month, anticipating her death.
His wife Sarah was also buried here. Twenty years ago, she had been visiting her niece in Washington. A San Diego Union article of May 18, 1889, stated in part: “Mrs. Horton was out driving in a hansom with Mrs. E. G. Haight, of San Diego, and just came from the Soldiers’ Home. When descending the hill near Calumet place, the residence of Mrs. General Logan, some of the harness gave way and the horse bounded forward at full speed. Both ladies were thrown out. Mrs. Horton fell on her breast and head. Four of her ribs were broken, besides sustaining other internal injuries. She was immediately taken to the nearest residence where she died in about half an hour. Mrs. Haight was somewhat stunned by the fall, but her injuries are not serious.” In this way, his wonderful marriage of many years had ended.
Another grave at this location was reserved for him, of course, and looking ahead, he could see that his wife Lydia would be buried near him. She would die in San Diego on October 17, 1926, at the home of her son. In 1944, her son’s name, William Knapp, would also be added to the family tombstone.
Adjacent to the site were the remains of his nephew Horton Burleigh, who had committed suicide by gunshot a few months earlier. As the San Diego Union reported on August 22, 1908: “Horton Burleigh, aged 21 years, a nephew of ‘Father’ A. E. Horton, fatally shot himself yesterday morning at 9 o’clock in the binding room on the second floor of the public library at Eighth and E streets.…
“Beside the body was discovered a note, stating that the victim had committed the deed of his own volition, but giving no reason for the action.”
The thought of his nephew’s death so disturbed Horton that he could no longer remain at his family’s burial location. Looking over the landscape that was Mount Hope, he decided to tour the cemetery a final time, for he had many friends here to say good-bye to. He knew that later in the century, local historians such as William Smythe, Elizabeth MacPhail, Richard Pourade, Rufus Choate, Frank Forward, Herbert Lockwood, Murray Lee, Gregg Hennessey, Don Stewart, Pamela Tamplain, Henry Schwartz, Leland Ghent Stanford, and others would research the individuals he would visit today, and his thought process mingled with theirs as he took his final walk around Mount Hope Cemetery.
About 20 paces directly east of his family’s burial location was the grave of Charles Noell, a merchant, real estate man, and public servant. He had come to California from Virginia and owned a store in San Francisco. William E. Smythe, in his History of San Diego, notes that in San Francisco Noell had “lost all he had in one of the great fires. In February, 1850, he came to San Diego and put up the first wooden building in the place. Here he conducted a general store, in partnership with Judge John Hays, for eighteen months. In company with M. M. Sexton and James Fitten, he bought a schooner in San Francisco, loaded it with a miscellaneous cargo, and went on a trading expedition up the Gulf of California. They bought a band of sheep in Sonora, shipped them across the gulf, and drove them to San Diego overland. This was the first large band of sheep ever brought to San Diego County.…
“…In 1850, he was chosen one of the first councilmen; while serving in that capacity, he did everything in his power to prevent the looting of the city treasury by the ring which were then in the majority. Finding he could accomplish nothing, he resigned, in disgust. Two years later, when the treasury was empty and the town impoverished by the folly of his opponents, he was chosen a member of the first board of trustees (the city charter having been abolished).”
Noell later sold his interest in the Old Town store and went to South America to prospect for gold. When he returned to San Diego, he went into real estate with Ephraim Morse and Thomas Whaley. Noell died in 1887. Horton noticed that the inscription on the tombstone illustrated how Noell felt about things. It said: “An Honest Man Is the Noblest Work of God.”
Immediately to the south of his own burial location, Horton saw the gravestone of Jesse Aland Shepherd, an Englishman who had served as his first bookkeeper and confidant. Elizabeth MacPhail writes in her book The Story of New San Diego and of Its Founder Alonzo E. Horton: “Jesse Aland Shepherd, a native of England…arrived in the United States at the age of fifteen and was apprenticed as a printer. In 1848 he went to Ft. Atkinson to work on The Wisconsin Chief. He married Fidelia Kinney, a first cousin of Horton’s. His health had never been good, and when other Ft. Atkinson residents announced plans to go West, he and his wife decided to go along and try their fortune in cousin Alonzo’s new town. Upon his arrival, in 1870, Horton employed Shepherd as a confidential assistant, at a salary of $100 a month, a post he held until his death.…”
Horton recalled seeing Shepherd’s diary one day. In it was a notation that read: “Wealth makes work as much as poverty. A rich man has no time to be idle. I don’t speak from experience — only from association. Looking after Horton’s Addition is no small task, especially when taxes are delinquent.”
In another place in his diary, Shepherd had commented about conditions in early San Diego: “I wish the wind would postpone the sweeping of D Street until it rains, for sandpaper is hard writing material…Dust and flies! San Diego is flying in all directions. Tries one’s patience and piety to write on sandpaper and whip flies off the end of your nose at the same time.”
Shepherd died in March of 1878, at the age of 50.
Returning to his own burial location, Horton looked west across the road. Here were the earliest graves in the cemetery. The Dievendorff family from New York was buried here. Three children of this family had died early: Emma in 1874, at age 10; William in 1875, at age 1; and Henrietta in 1876, at 9 months. Their father Henry also died in 1876, at age 52. Next to the Dievendorffs were the Youngs from New Brunswick, who were furniture merchants and upholsterers. They had purchased one of the first grave sites, in 1869, to bury Mrs. Lucy Young. To the north, in a corner plot, was the Hodge family from Pennsylvania.
Several steps west of the Dievendorff burial location, he saw the grave of Henry Bentzel. The poor Bentzels! Father Henry died in 1879 at age 35, and two sons died young, Henry, stillborn, in 1875; and Frank, 10 months, in 1879. As the book San Diego County Pioneer Families indicates, Henry M. Bentzel “was employed at Lankershim’s Flour Mill, as a miller. He married Carrie Victoria Lithgow on December 31, 1873. They had three sons.… Only one survived and Fred lived to be almost 94 years old. He was born in Dover, Pa. when his parents were visiting his home during the Centennial, and lived the rest of his life on First Ave. in three different homes between Beech and Cedar.… [Father] Henry M. Bentzel served one term as City Assessor, and was elected for a second term in May 1879. However, his health failed and he passed away in July 1879 at the age of 35 years.” Henry Bentzel served in Company A, 6th Iowa Cavalry during the Civil War.
Coming back to the roadway, Horton walked about 15 paces south of the Dievendorff grave site and came to the grave of James Mantania. James was from New York and had served in the Civil War from Illinois. He was the father-in-law of Moses Luce, an attorney who had been one of Horton’s honorary pallbearers today. Moses Luce was a Civil War Medal of Honor winner who founded a law firm that would become one of San Diego’s largest. Luce came to San Diego for his health and had gotten well almost immediately, as Horton himself had done.
Three of the Luce children would die early, and Horton discovered that they were buried here: Florence, 1 year old, who died in 1873; Ralph, 5 months old, who died in 1878; and George, 18 years old, who died in 1894. Looking ahead, he realized that Moses and Olive Luce would be buried at Greenwood Cemetery, about a block away.
Just behind the Mantania grave site was the unmarked grave of Horton’s nephew Horton Ranney, son of his sister Alvira Minerva. His obituary in the San Diego Union on October 19, 1875, stated: “Mr. Ranney came to California in 1850, and worked in the mines in the upper part of the State for nearly 20 years. He came to San Diego in 1871, and for the past year has been Inspector of Customs on the boundary line where in July last he received a severe, and as it has proved, a fatal injury, from his horse falling upon him.”
Moving about 25 paces south, Horton came to the grave site of Matthew and Augusta Sherman. Oh, the Shermans! They were in San Diego before he arrived. Matthew Sherman had served in the Civil War from San Diego, and he was one of the few soldiers of that period who remained after the war to found the city. In fact, the Shermans were married the day Horton had purchased Horton’s Addition.
He knew the Shermans were civic minded. While selling property on Sherman Heights and farming in the El Cajon Valley, they were also donating land for public purposes. Because Augusta prior to their marriage had been one of the first schoolteachers in Old Town, they were interested in the education of youth and donated land for an elementary school. Sherman went on to become mayor for a year and founded the first Grand Army of the Republic post in San Diego. It was named after Samuel P. Heintzelman, a Civil War general who prior to the war had purchased lots in Davis’ Folly. Horton also knew that the Shermans were active in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and were involved in the development of City Park and of this cemetery. Matthew Sherman died in 1898, and Horton foresaw that Augusta Sherman would die in 1913.
About 20 paces south of the Sherman grave site was the burial location of the Whaley family, so important to the story of both Old Town and New Town. As Smythe writes: “Mr. Whaley was born in New York City, October 5, 1823.… At the breaking out of the gold fever he sailed for California in the Sutton, — the first ship to leave that port for the diggings, — and reached San Francisco July 22, 1849. In the summer of 1851, Lewis A. Franklin and George H. Davis chartered a vessel and with a cargo of goods started down the coast on a trading voyage. Mr. Whaley had an interest in this venture, but remained in San Francisco as agent. Reaching San Diego, they liked the place so well that they determined to remain. Mr. Whaley followed in October, and, in partnership with Franklin, opened the Tienda California (California Store). In the following April the firm was dissolved and in partnership with Jack Hinton, Mr. Whaley bought the interest of R. E. Raymond in the Tienda General (general store).… In April, 1853, Hinton retired and E. W. Morse entered the firm.…
“In 1856 Mr. Morse retired from the firm and Mr. Whaley continued alone, also engaging in brickmaking in Mission Valley — the first burnt bricks made in San Diego County. In that year, also, he erected his residence and store building, which is still standing at Old Town — the first burnt brick building on the coast south of San Francisco.…
“…In 1859 he quitted San Diego and was in different employments, at San Francisco and in Alaska. Soon after Horton came, he returned from New York, bringing a stock of goods with him. He bought out Mr. Morse, who removed to new San Diego, and took into partnership Philip Crosthwaite. By February, 1870, it had become quite evident that the new town would prevail as the city of the future, and the firm removed to Horton’s Addition. The enterprise did not prosper, however, and the connection was a disastrous one for Mr. Whaley. In 1873 he again went to New York and remained five years. In 1879 he once more settled in San Diego, and in the following fall engaged in the real estate business with E. W. Morse. Charles P. Noell was soon after admitted to the firm.”
A few years later, Whaley’s daughter Violet, who was married at 19 and separated soon afterwards, committed suicide at the age of 22. The San Diego Union reported the event on August 20, 1885, a day after her death, with the headline: “Through the Dark Portals. Violet Whaley Shoots Herself Through the Heart and Finds the Rest That Earth has Refused.
“At 10 o’clock Wednesday morning the people of this city were startled by the report that a young lady living in Old San Diego had committed suicide by shooting herself through the heart.…
“…Three years ago she was married, but unhappily against her parents’ advice and to a worthless fellow, with whom she lived but two weeks. Since that time she has been living with her parents and two sisters at North San Diego, or Old Town. A divorce was procured from her faithless husband, Edson, who had several aliases, and she returned to her maiden name. That marriage blighted her life, and its curse has built her tomb.”
There were reports that the family had been worried that Violet would do something rash, and in fact, a month before she died, she had tried to kill herself by jumping into a cistern. A note was found that confirmed her intention to take her life, and Horton recalled it went something like this:
- Mad from life’s history,
- Swift to death’s mystery;
- Glad to be hurled,
- Anywhere, anywhere, out of this world.
Whaley retired in 1888 and died in 1890, a large property owner and merchant in both Old Town and New Town.
Leaving this section of the cemetery and traveling southeast across the intersection of two roads toward a large shade tree, Horton came to the grave site of Judge Thomas Bush. Judge Bush “came to San Diego in 1865, where at first he kept a store, and in 1868 became postmaster,” Smythe writes. “In the same year he was appointed county judge to fill the unexpired term of Julio Osuna, and held the office eight years. He was also school trustee and city trustee; in the latter capacity, he was instrumental in selling the city lands to Horton, and signed the deed.” He died December 17, 1898.
Judge Bush’s life included an episode that helped to spell doom for Old Town. Horton recalled that when Judge Bush arrived in San Diego, in 1865, Old Town was the business center and terminus of the stage line. Richard Pourade, in The Glory Years, writes: “In Old Town, Alfred L. Seeley operated the 130-mile San Diego–Los Angeles Stage Line, using his remodeled Franklin Hotel as a depot.…
“With an expanding passenger business, Seeley required a larger hotel as a depot and on May 1, 1869, he purchased the crumbling casa of the late Don Juan Bandini, once the finest residence in Old Town and host to all the famed personalities of the conquest, and added a second story and converted it into a hotel and stage terminal.… The conversion of the Bandini House into a large hotel and depot posed a problem for Horton and his plans for New San Diego. He offered Seeley a block of land between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and E and F Streets if he would desert Old Town. Seeley replied, according to the memoirs of Daniel Cleveland, a lawyer: ‘Old Town is the town, the real San Diego; your mushroom town…will soon peter out, and all the people who want to travel will have to come to Old Town to take the stage.’ ”
“The national census of 1870,” MacPhail writes, “gave San Diego a population of 2301, although residents claimed 3000 was a more accurate figure. There were 915 occupied houses and sixty-nine business buildings. There was no question but that the town was growing into a city. Still there was no courthouse, and Old Town was the county seat, but not for much longer. The struggle for supremacy had been raging during the year, starting on July 9 when the Board of Supervisors ordered the removal of the county records from Old Town to New San Diego. They had not reckoned with the wrath of the Old Towners.… Judge Morrison, of the District Court, ruled that the clerk should make all writs issued from his court returnable in Old Town. Then, Judge Thomas H. Bush followed suit for his County Court, directing the sheriff to use force if necessary to prevent the removal of the records. A posse was called to aid the Sheriff. The next day the Union reported ‘The Crisis upon us: The secession of Old Town from San Diego…The cloud which has been hanging over so long has at length broken and this once happy land is now the scene of internecine strife. Old Town has seceded.’
“In September, Judge Bush removed the three supervisors and replaced them with three of his own choosing. It was asked, on what authority had he done this? In the meantime, Old Town had brought suit to restrain the transfer to New Town. On January 27, 1871, the Supreme Court of California ruled against Old Town concerning the removal, and held that Judge Bush had no authority to remove the Board of Supervisors. One of the staunchest defenders of Old Town was the County Clerk and Recorder, George A. Pendleton. Pendleton died March 3, 1871, and the old, and legal, Board of Supervisors then appointed Chalmers Scott, a young attorney, to these offices and directed him to move the furniture and records to South San Diego.…
“On the evening of April 3, Scott carted all the county records from the Whaley House into waiting express wagons, and the next morning was ready for business in New Town. This was not done surreptitiously as some writers have indicated. On March 29 Judge Morrison, having capitulated, had ordered all records moved to New or South San Diego, and the Board of Supervisors to provide necessary offices. Judge Bush did the same for his court. Thus, although the move may have been made at night to avoid interference from wrathful bystanders, it was not done illegally.
“Daniel Cleveland later said Scott had moved the records ‘before the people at Old Town knew or even suspected that such an attempt was being made. Great was their surprise and indignation the next morning when they learned of the great outrage that had been perpetrated upon them, but it was too late.’…
“…The most unhappy person no doubt was Thomas Whaley, who was left without a tenant, and was unable to collect the rent for the balance of his lease which ran until August 12.”
Horton recalled an amusing incident involving Judge Bush, which MacPhail reports: “Indians were still much in evidence around the city during the seventies, although ‘peaceful.’ There were a half dozen or so Indian camps or rancherias on the brush covered mesa north of B and east of Sixteenth. There was a large rancheria near Eighth and Date. At night, their chanting could be heard for miles, especially if there had been a death amongst them.
“ ‘El Capitan’ claimed to be Chief of the Diegueño Indians. He lived with his wife and several children near the army barracks in an old tent given him by the soldiers. He was frequently seen wearing a plug hat and a bright red shirt. He stated he was the owner of the entire ‘pueblo’ and went about asking for handouts of twenty-five and fifty cents and did quite well, but not in his opinion well enough. He demanded that a judge sign an order requiring citizens to pay him ‘two bits’ on demand. Finally, Judge Bush went along as a joke and fixed up an impressive document with seal and red tape which purported to authorize him to ask any and all merchants and businessmen for twenty-five cents a week. Many did pay to keep him happy, and perhaps hoping also to keep his people happy — and out of town. He continued to collect his ‘tax’ until his death in 1875.”
Horton turned west and crossed the road. After 35 paces, he looked left and saw the site where Silas Gaskill would be buried. Silas was born in New York, and his brother Lumen was born in Indiana. At 21, Silas set out for California, and seven years later, his parents and brother followed.
“Silas and Lumen became bear hunters,” a San Diego Union story relates on May 4, 1975. “The older brother, Silas, said he got started when a rancher in Sonoma County offered $50 to anyone who would kill a grizzly which was killing his livestock. Silas, with a dog to help, killed the bear and collected the reward.
“Silas claimed he killed 302 bears. No report was found on how many bears Lumen claimed to have killed.”
The Gaskill brothers founded Campo in 1868. “By 1875,” the Union story continues, “Campo was an important place in San Diego County, which extended to the Colorado River. The army had a telegraph office there. The stage coaches of John G. Capron stopped on twice weekly runs to and from Tucson. The 10-mule freight wagons which kept Fort Yuma supplied were routed through Campo.
“The Gaskills had a store which was built over Campo Creek. Through a trap door perishables were lowered to the creek water which kept them cool. Nearby was the blacksmith shop. It was a busy place and, plainly, the Gaskill brothers were taking in cash.”
Herbert Lockwood, in his book Fallout from the Skeleton’s Closet, picks up the story: “But Campo was only two miles from the Mexican border, and Baja California was in ferment. A hide-out for thieves and murderers, it averaged a major revolution at least once a year.
“One Cruz Lopez, a singularly nasty little killer, and his gang had just arrived in Tecate.…
“Gold had been found in Sonora, so Lopez thought he and the gang should go there to prey on the miners. It would be a long trip, much of it through the desert, and a lot of supplies would be needed. A Tecate recruit told him about the Gaskill store, run by two gringo pushovers. They could knock off the brothers, run in wagons and load them with food, supplies, harness, and guns enough to make the long trip.…
“A Tecate man Silas had helped more than once got wind of the plan and spilled it to the blacksmith. Six shotguns loaded with buckshot were placed at strategic places throughout the town, then the brothers went on about their business.”
“On the morning of Dec. 4, 1875, at about 10 o’clock,” the San Diego Union continues, “Lopez rode into Campo with Alonzo Cota, Jose Alvijo, Teodoro Vasquez and Pancho Alvitro. Another gang member, Rafael Martinez, was already there.…
“…Silas said the fight lasted two minutes. Historians have said since, five or six minutes. Three defenders, Silas, Lumen and a French sheepherder whose name has never been known, were wounded.…
“Of the bandits…the leader, Lopez, was wounded in an exchange with the Frenchman and died of the wounds.… Alvijo and Rafael Martinez, also wounded, were hanged by the indignant citizens…who got them away from the sheriff.
“Only Cota was unhurt and survived. He was reported to be in the custody of the sheriff at El Paso several years later and was offered to the Gaskills, but they declined to go get him.…”
“The Gaskills went back to storekeeping and blacksmithing after recovering from their wounds,” Lockwood writes. “Both lived until 1914. Once, when asked why he hadn’t left town when he was first warned of the raid, Silas said, ‘We just don’t encourage that sort of thing in Campo.’ ”
Horton headed south and up a hill. Approaching the Odd Fellows section from the west, he saw the grave site of George Hazzard. He foresaw that George would live until he was almost 100 years old. Hah! Wasn’t this proof plain that San Diego’s weather was the finest in the country!
Hazzard was a Civil War veteran who migrated to San Diego. As a book entitled San Diego County, California: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement states, Hazzard was “one of three passengers on the boat which sailed into San Diego bay from San Francisco on December 8, 1868. When the party disembarked they were rowed near shore by the sailors and were then met by Indians who brought them through the surf to the city. They found here a little village of one hundred people, with all the aspects of a small western town. Mr. Hazzard remained here only a short time and then went into the surrounding districts, where he took up a claim of one hundred and sixty acres in the Otay valley. After filing his papers and proving his title he found that he was unable to improve the land and he therefore secured work upon a ranch in the Paradise valley, where he remained for four months. During this time he received an offer for his government claim, which he accepted and with the proceeds bought ten acres in Paradise valley. This tract he later sold and returned to San Diego, where in 1869, at the corner of Fifth and I streets, he opened the first grocery store in the city.”
Later, he built a brick business block at Sixth and H. His last employment was in real estate. Horton recalled that Hazzard also had an interest in the Hubbard mine at Banner, helped to incorporate the San Diego Water Company, and was a member of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce.
Going farther along the road in the Odd Fellows section, Horton saw the last tree on the left. Next to it was the grave site of Joseph Swycaffer. He knew that Joe was from Maryland and had been stationed at the San Diego Mission during the Mexican War.
On September 19, 1908, the San Diego Union ran an obituary for Swycaffer which reported that “during the last year of the Mexican war [Swycaffer had] enlisted in Company I, First Maryland light artillery, Ringgold’s battery.
“As an enlisted man decedent on January 2, 1850, left Fort McHenry, Md. on a transport, and sailed around Cape Horn to San Francisco, arriving at the Golden Gate August 19. Thence he came by boat to San Diego, landing August 26, and has resided in San Diego almost without intermission ever since then, or for the last 58 years. The trip around the Horn was marked by many hardships. Eighty troopers left the east coast on the transport, but before arriving at San Francisco this number was reduced to 40 by disease and the privations of the trip.
“After arrival in San Diego headquarters were established at the Old Mission, where for about two years Mr. Swycaffer helped fight the Indians. Later he secured a position from the government as mail carrier between San Diego and Yuma, which occupation he followed for three years, bravely facing the dangers of crossing and recrossing the desert where so many lives have been lost. For one year he was engaged in the quartermaster’s department at the government quarters in this city, but in 1856 he established a ranch in Ballena valley, above Ramona, and engaged in raising cattle and horses. Later he sold the ranch in 1878 and went prospecting. He was owner of the Young America copper mine in Arizona and was interested in several other good claims.”
He and his wife Martha had 12 children, 8 of whom were living when he died.
Horton traveled to the end of the Odd Fellows section and turned left. He walked north and stopped after the sixth palm tree. Looking to the right, behind the Rogers tombstone, he found the government marker of Enoch Birdseye, another sad case. Birdseye was a Civil War veteran from Ohio who migrated to El Cajon valley. He died in 1875 at the age of 34, and his wife Illa went on to marry Amaziah Knox of El Cajon. The Knoxes later became well known in that community for a hotel they ran there.
Horton turned back and traveled around the southern half of the Odd Fellows circle. Three-quarters of the way along the road, looking right, he saw where Dr. Thomas Coates Stockton and his wife Minnie Slade would be buried.
Stockton — a famous San Diego name! He knew that T.C. had come from Canada, that the Stockton family was from Princeton, New Jersey, and that one of the Stocktons was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A direct descendant of that line and cousin to T.C. was Richard Stockton, the soldier that Ft. Stockton on Presidio Hill had been named after.
T.C. was prominent in his own right. He was trained at Bellevue Hospital in New York and practiced for a while in New York City. He came to San Diego for health reasons. Later he and another eminent doctor, Peter Remondino, opened the first hospital in San Diego. T.C. was a staunch Episcopalian, and his was the second marriage at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Horton left the Odd Fellows section and moved west into the Masonic section. To his left he spotted the grave site of the Slades, Dr. Stockton’s in-laws. Samuel Slade was born in New York and went to school in Buffalo, where he met his future wife. He taught many years in Buffalo but for health reasons came to Southern California, where his daughter Minnie lived. The Slades had occupied a large home at Front and S Streets, which was the scene of many social gatherings for some years until Sam’s passing in 1893.
Continuing along the road in the Masonic section, Horton located the future grave site of Sam and Carrie Hackett. Sam ran a stage line and mail service between San Diego and Temecula, and after Fred Bentzel died, he married Fred’s widow Carrie. As An Illustrated History of Southern California states: “His father, Samuel Warren Hackett, was a descendant of Richard Warren, who was prominent in the affairs of the Plymouth Colony in the early struggles for American freedom. Mr. Hackett’s mother, Augusta Alden Cole, was a direct descendant of John Alden, who came to America on the Mayflower and who is immortalized in Longfellow’s ‘Courtship of Miles Standish.’
“…After arriving in San Diego, Mr. Hackett engaged in the whaling business, living near the present site of Fort Rosecrans.… In 1869 he sold out his whaling interests and took up cattle raising, but when the dry years came on he found this unprofitable and entered the bee business. From October, 1878, to July, 1886, he operated the mail stage from Temecula to San Diego — a seventy-two mile drive.…
“Mr. Hackett passed away November 28, 1920, and Mrs. Hackett three years later, on May 21, 1923.”
Leaving the Hackett burial location, Horton started up the northwestern road that divided the Masonic section. On his right he came to the grave of James Edward Friend. Herbert Lockwood discusses Friend in Fallout from the Skeleton’s Closet. “For many years Capt. Friend did…writing, for a local paper. He wandered throughout the county picking up news and gossip for a weekly column.
“He, his buckboard, and Nance, his old nag, were familiar sights on county roads and often housewives would run out to the buckboard with spicy items for the scribe.
“When fatigued with too much travel and gossip, the captain — he had attained that rank in the Confederate Army — would hole up for a few weeks at Po’ Man’s Ranch, near Alpine, owned by a buddy, Charles Davis. During these retreats from civilization, the writer would sign his articles ‘Edward the Exile.’
“In 1893 Friend decided that he would like to run for mayor of San Diego. Although there was not much of a public demand for his services, many of his friends assured him they would vote for him. A petition was passed around and 1,100 of his supposed pals signed it.
“When the votes were counted up, Capt. Friend had only received 100 of them. He thereupon proceeded to write a book, containing an allegorical account of his campaign experiences, and called it ‘1,000 Liars,’ a tribute to his turncoat ‘friends.’ The book, which was published after the election, was dedicated to the intrepid few who voted for him.…
“While newspapering, Capt. Friend had become interested in newsboys. He started an association to help them and each year presided over a lavish picnic for the young vendors.” Horton noticed that Friend’s tombstone had this epitaph: “The Newsboys’ Friend.”
About 18 paces north of the Friend grave was the burial location of Ephraim Morse, one of Horton’s best friends. Morse was an early settler at New Town, then called Davis’ Folly, and had built a ready-framed house and store there in 1850, 17 years before Horton arrived in San Diego. Horton recalled how Morse had been there the day he had arrived. He had ridden in Morse’s wagon to investigate the legality of purchasing Pueblo land. Horton determined that there had to be an election of new trustees before land could be sold to him.
“When Sunday came,” MacPhail recounts, “Horton attended services at the little Catholic chapel on Conde Street, it being the only church in town. When the plate was passed, he noticed only small coins, the most being ten cents. He had a $5.00 roll of silver coins that he put in the plate. This attracted considerable attention and after the services Father Ubach, the priest, went over to talk to this affluent stranger in town. He asked Horton if he were a Catholic. Horton told him no, he did not belong to any church. He then told Father Ubach why he was in town and about the coming election. Father Ubach asked him whom he wanted to be elected trustees. Horton said he would like E.W. Morse for one, but did not know the other businessmen very well. Father Ubach suggested that perhaps Joseph S. Mannasse and Thomas H. Bush would do for the other two. When the election was held on April 27 these three men were elected, each receiving thirty-two votes.
“The auction was held on Friday, May 10. Sheriff James McCoy was the auctioneer. E.W. Morse acted as his deputy.”
Horton had often heard how Morse had caught gold fever in Amesbury, Massachusetts, and had come to California with a group of 100 men to conduct trading and mining operations. They purchased a ship and arrived in San Francisco on July 5, 1849.
Smythe writes that after a few months Morse and a partner “concluded to come to San Diego, and to bring with them a ‘venture,’ consisting of a stock of goods for a general store, a ready-framed house, etc. They came on the bark Fremont, and arrived in April, 1850. Liking the place, they put up their house at Davistown and opened their store.…
“By April, 1853, the new town had begun to dwindle and, having an opportunity to become a partner with Mr. Whaley at Old Town, Mr. Morse removed to that place. They kept a general merchandise store in one of the adobe buildings on the plaza. In 1856 this partnership was dissolved and Morse kept his store alone for three years. He then disposed of his stock and went to Palomar to engage in stock raising and farming. In 1861 he returned to San Diego and again engaged in business as a merchant, in the old Rose House, beneath the Herald office, and was also agent for Wells, Fargo & Co.’s express. In June, 1869, he sold out his stock at Old Town to Philip Crosthwaite and removed to Horton’s Addition, taking the express office with him, much to the disgust of his old neighbors.”
Morse later became engaged in real estate and was one of the people responsible for the development of the flume, which would bring water to San Diego. He was a friend of Balboa Park to the end, an active Mason, and an officer of the first lodge formed in San Diego. Morse was the kindest of men, and Horton had missed him deeply when he died.
In 1865, as school trustee, Ephraim was instrumental in bringing Mary Walker to teach at Old Town school.
Henry Schwartz, in an article in the spring 1973 Journal of San Diego History, describes Mary Walker’s arrival in San Diego. “Mary Chase Walker was relieved at the sight of terra firma. On the voyage south she had suffered a debilitating bout of seasickness, ameliorated somewhat by the care of the quadroon stewardess aboard.…
“…‘The hills were brown and barren; not a tree or green thing was to be seen,’ she recalled later. An isolated and somnolent frontier town, San Diego was a dingy settlement of dirt-strewn streets amid one-story adobe and wooden buildings. ‘Of all the dilapidated, miserable looking places I had ever seen this was the worst.’…
“On the morning of July 6th, the day of her arrival in San Diego, she faced her pupils in the long narrow building on Mason Street. Her pupils numbered forty.…
“Towards the end of May, 1866…the three School Trustees were more than satisfied with her conduct and teaching. One day, as she was walking on Juan Street, she stopped in her tracks. Inside J. S. Manasse’s General Store, eating crackers and cheese, was the quadroon stewardess. Desirous of repaying the kindness shown her during her illness aboard the San Diego-bound steamer, the schoolmarm of the Mason Street School invited the stewardess to partake of lunch at the Franklin House, a three-story verandahed hotel across from the plaza. As the two entered the dining room, Miss Walker noticed that a number of patrons arose and left the restaurant. The community was outraged.…
“Action was demanded of the School Trustees, and many parents of children in Miss Walker’s class took independent steps. Complaints were lodged with E. W. Morse, senior School Trustee, that the new teacher was guilty of scandalous public conduct most improper for the teacher of the town’s youth. Indignant parents removed their children from her class.… The three School Trustees of School District One met to decide on a course of action.
“One Trustee took the pragmatic approach. The parent boycott had nearly emptied Miss Walker’s classroom. Why should the Trustees pay Mary Walker to teach only a few children?…
“Trustee Robert D. Israel reacted heatedly to this reasoning. ‘I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t take that school money and throw it in the bay as far as I could send it, before I would dismiss the teacher to please these copperheads!’ Then, speaking directly to Morse, ‘You may do as you please, but I will never consent to her dismissal.’…
“This left the decision to the soft-spoken New Englander, Ephraim W. Morse. A general-store merchant facing a second bankruptcy through over-indebtedness to his San Francisco wholesaler, Morse was not unmindful of the possible effect of an unpopular decision upon his business. And yet, Morse, with a similar background as Mary Walker, was not a prejudiced man.…
“Destruction of many of the school records and the lack of a San Diego newspaper leaves Morse’s decision a mystery.… Available evidence is inconclusive; probably Mary Walker resigned [her] position effective June 1, 1866.”
Rufus Porter of Spring Valley then hired Miss Walker to tutor his daughter in his home. The teacher’s gentleman caller was Ephraim W. Morse, who married Miss Walker at the end of the year.
Horton continued to the end of the road dividing the Masonic section. To the right and at the tip of a piece of property adjoining the next roadway north, he came to a plot that he knew would later have a monument and flag and would be used for Confederate veterans of the Civil War.
Col. Milton Slocum would be buried here, seven paces north of the flagpole. He was born in Vermont and served the Confederate cause from Alabama. Colonel Slocum later became one of the leading bridge construction engineers in the United States, was associated with the Spreckels interests for over 20 years, and worked on parts of the water system in San Diego County. The Slocums lived for a time in National City, where Mrs. Slocum operated a kindergarten. They later moved to Front Street in San Diego and finally to Seventh Avenue, where Mrs. Slocum had a large library of spiritual books.
Horton then traveled across a small valley. Just before a turn in the road, he came to the place where he knew that in a few years Ah Quin would be buried. A sketch on Ah Quin by Murray Lee appears in the Quin Biographical File at the San Diego Historical Society. In it, Lee writes: “[Ah Quin] was a man respected by all, a successful entrepreneur, a community leader and patriarch, who bridged the gap between the Chinese and the white establishment of his day.
“Ah Quin was born on Dec. 5, 1848 in a small village in the Hoiping (Kaiping) District of Guangdong Province of southern China. He was the eldest son of parents who were farmers.… His family moved to Canton when he was young providing him with an opportunity for an education, which included English at an American missionary school. Like many Cantonese of the period, his family sent him to California (Gold Mountain) in 1868. He spent his first six years in San Francisco’s Chinatown, where he continued his studies at a Christian mission and worked at a variety of jobs including that of houseboy and cook.
“Around 1873, Ah Quin moved to Santa Barbara where he began to learn merchandizing from an uncle.… While in Santa Barbara he decided to sign on for a year as a cook with a company that mined coal in Alaska. While in Alaska he decided to cut off his queue, which was a demonstration that he was planning to make America his home. It was also upon leaving Santa Barbara for Alaska in 1877 that Ah Quin began his first diary. This is one of the most unique contributions that he made in his lifetime. The keeping of a diary, which was continued intermittently for about twenty-five years, was most unusual for a Chinese immigrant in the nineteenth century, especially when the diary was in English.
“On returning to Santa Barbara, Ah Quin began to survey the job possibilities elsewhere in California. He visited San Diego in 1878 and established contacts with friends and relatives, and met George Marston and Rev. Camp.…
“Finally in 1880, he received letters from George Marston and Rev. Camp asking him to come to San Diego to serve as labor broker for the California Southern Railroad. He started a store in San Diego’s Chinatown as a base of operations and worked for the railroad for five years procuring their Chinese labor, supplying the work gangs with goods from his store. At this point he felt he was well situated and wanted to start a family. He went to San Francisco to marry Sue Leong whom he had met at the Presbyterian Mission. After he left the railroad he began to expand his merchandising business and branch out into real estate. He acquired property around the city and county and leased land to farmers to raise vegetables in Mission Valley and in Bonita along the Sweetwater River.…
“Ah Quin’s children made significant steps in achieving acculturation and had American citizenship, which Ah Quin was never able to have because of the exclusion laws. Unfortunately, he never lived long enough to see his grandchildren grow up because in 1914 he was struck by a motorcycle near his home and died at the age of 66.”
Horton continued his walk, moving into a newer section. About halfway into the section, he came across the future grave site of Nathan Harrison. Lockwood writes that the “first non-Indian on the granite ridge [of Mt. Palomar] was a Negro” named Nathan Harrison.
“Nate told visitors he was a runaway slave who didn’t discover until some years after the Civil War was over that he was free. He had an orchard, a garden, and a kindly word for everyone who passed by his cabin. He died in 1920 aged 101 and the road on which he lived was then named Nathan Harrison Grade.” However, his death certificate at the county reveals that Nathan Harrison was born on January 1, 1823, in Kentucky and that he died on November 10, 1920, at age 97.
Horton walked 15 paces directly east from Nathan Harrison’s tombstone and found the site where a decade later Silas St. John would be buried. He had heard St. John’s story a number of times.
As the December 15, 1985, San Diego Union tells it, “St. John was hired by Butterfield to oversee construction of way stations along the historic Butterfield route.
“In the Dragon Springs area of Arizona territory, St. John and his crew were to complete construction of the last fortified station on the western run deep in Apache country.…
“Early one morning in September of 1858, St. John recalled later, he was attacked by the three Mexicans in his crew. They came at him with a chopping ax, a broadax and a heavy stone sledge, after they evidently had shot three other crew members.
“St. John couldn’t reach his weapons, but he slugged one of the three, knocking him down. Eventually he was overpowered and cut deeply by blows from the axes.
“ ‘I had retreated far enough to reach for my rifle, but as I did so the ax descended again. I felt no pain but was conscious that my hand did not lift the rifle,’ St. John related. ‘My left arm was almost entirely severed.’
“St. John finally reached his revolver and shot down one of the attackers. They fled with their fallen companion.
“With his crew members either dead or dying and deserted, St. John lay alone for days through the hot sun and bone-chilling nights, his body blood-soaked and raw. He fired his pistols to keep vultures and wolves at bay.
“He listened to the moans of two mortally wounded crew members who finally died.…
“On the fourth day, a Sunday, a reporter for the Memphis Avalanche rode near the station. He was attracted by the silence and the odor of dead bodies. He found St. John, who could scarcely say ‘water’ because his tongue was so swollen.
“Four days later, on Sept. 16, R.J.D. Irwin, assistant U.S. Army surgeon general, rode to Dragon Springs and removed St. John’s left arm.
“ ‘He never complained or flinched for a moment,’ Irwin wrote later. St. John’s empty sleeve was a constant reminder of his courage and remarkable recuperative power. The motive for the attack is not known to historians.
“Six weeks after the attack, St. John rode horseback to Tucson, Ariz., then returned to New York. But he came West again in 1859 as federal Indian Agent in the Gadsden Purchase Territory. Then it was back to New York as an express-company executive.
“In 1896, St. John migrated to Arizona, where he was farm editor for a Phoenix newspaper. In 1911 he went to Prescott as an assistant superintendent of the Pioneer Home. Injured when he was thrown to the road in a buggy accident, St. John at last returned to San Diego.
“His last home was on Kensington Drive. His death from cancer on Sept. 15, 1919, was noted in the newspapers only in a classified ad.”
Horton now retraced his steps, coming back across the small valley to the older portion of Mount Hope Cemetery. He went past the Confederate section, and after 30 paces he came to the grave of Philip Crosthwaite, a true San Diego pioneer.
Pamela Tamplain, in her article entitled “Philip Crosthwaite: San Diego Pioneer and Public Servant,” in The Journal of San Diego History, summer 1975, writes that “While in Rhode Island, Philip and another student signed aboard the schooner Hopewell for a short voyage to the Newfoundland fishing banks. The college lark turned into a more serious matter when the youths discovered the true destination of the Hopewell, San Francisco. The two adventurers left the ship when it reached San Diego on October 16, 1845. The only eastbound ship in the port had but one berth available so the friends tossed a coin for the space. Crosthwaite lost and remained on the west coast for the rest of his life.
“Like other foreigners in Mexican San Diego, Crosthwaite turned to otter hunting and became fairly successful.… While on a hunt with four other Americans in 1846, Crosthwaite learned that war had broken out between Mexico and the United States. The group returned to San Diego and all five enlisted in the service of the United States for a period of three months.…
“In 1847 Crosthwaite served as second Alcalde for San Diego. The next year he married María Josefa López and leased the San Diego mission property. When news of the gold strike in northern California reached San Diego, Philip went to the gold fields leaving Bonifacio Ignacio López, his father-in-law, in charge of the mission lands.… When he returned home in August, 1849, Crosthwaite discovered that the infantry had taken possession of the mission despite his 1848 lease which still had two years to run.…
“San Diego County held its first election on April 1, 1850. Crosthwaite opposed Agoston Haraszthy for the position of County Sheriff. Haraszthy won the election by a vote of 107 to 47. Although defeated for County Sheriff, Crosthwaite became the first County Treasurer when Juan Bandini declined the position.…
“The City of San Diego conducted elections on June 16, 1850. The voters elected Charles P. Noell to a seat on the first City Council. Noell resigned on August 24, 1850, and the mayor called a special election which Crosthwaite won.…
“In 1861 Crosthwaite left San Diego and took up residence at his newly purchased San Miguel Rancho near Ensenada, Baja California. He remained there, except for occasional trips to San Diego, until 1868 when he returned to the city to re-establish his residence. In the spring of that year, he visited his sister in San Andreas, California, where her husband Jeff Gatewood published the San Andreas Register. Crosthwaite proposed that Gatewood move his operation to San Diego which did not have a newspaper. Gatewood travelled to San Diego and found the people responsive to the idea. His press arrived on September 19, 1868, and the first issue of the San Diego Union went on sale on October 10, 1868.”
Crosthwaite was appointed chief of police in 1869, and that year he and Thomas Whaley became partners in a general store. In 1874, Crosthwaite returned with his family to Baja California, where they had 45,000 acres on which they ran 5000 cattle and 400 horses. He died in San Diego on February 19, 1903.
Horton moved along the road until it curved to the east. Turning to the right, he walked about 20 steps into this section. This grave site was a sad one. He foresaw that eight years later in 1917, his sister Lucy and her husband Bill Bowers would both be dead. He lingered a long time, reminiscing about the days in Wisconsin when Bill was courting Lucy. Their deaths would close a major chapter in the lives of the Horton and Bowers families in San Diego.
He recalled how Bill Bowers had helped him purchase furniture for his hotel, Horton House, and he remembered that Bill had written something about that in his manuscript on the early days of New San Diego: “For about four months the building grew as fast as a large force of carpenters and other workmen could push it; but the summer of 1870 proved a dull one for the sale of lots. The $40,000 Horton had to begin with had been eaten up by the building, and many of the workmen were laid off. Only the men who could afford to take lots in payment for from one-third to one-half of the amount of their wages could be retained. The work dragged on until July, when Horton’s means were exhausted. The outlook for its completion was very dark. At this time I proposed to Horton that I should go to San Francisco, in the hope of finding some hotel man who would furnish it and open it on condition that no rent should be charged for the first three years. I had fears that I might not be able to put over such a proposition, but I did believe that I could find some one who would sell us the furniture on time. However, as Mr. Horton was opposed to such a plan I did not mention it to him.
“Horton borrowed $150 for my expenses. Immediately upon my arrival I put advertisements in the papers. I also approached some of the proprietors of the leading hotels, but Mr. Horton’s plan had no takers. After four or five days I decided to give mine a try. I went to the office of Goodwin, the furniture man, and told him about the hotel and Horton’s situation. I explained that he owned a large amount of valuable property, all free of encumbrance, that the hotel was ready for furniture, and was paid for and free of all liens, that it was only a question of time until he would again be able to sell property, and that the opening of the hotel would answer that question. The result of our thirty minutes’ talk was that Goodwin’s agreed to furnish the hotel at once, and assigned a salesman to show me the goods.
“For the next three days I was busy selecting the furniture.…
“Just at the time I had got the furniture selected the Western Union telegraph wires reached San Diego. Among the first messages that went over them was my telegram to Horton telling him that there was no hope of leasing the hotel, but that I could get all of the furniture for it on time, and had it all selected. My answer came quickly and was to the point: just three words: ‘Take the furniture.’
“Since this was two days before the steamer Orizaba would sail, I brought forty tons of the furniture with me. On the morning of the arrival of the steamer at San Diego nearly the whole population of the town was on the Horton wharf. As the steamer was made fast, and before the gangway was run out, one of the men on the wharf called out to captain Henry Johnson.
“ ‘Captain, have you really got some furniture for the Horton House on board?’
“ ‘Yes, sir, forty tons of it!’
“Then the crowd gave a great laugh. Times had been very dull, and many were despondent. Work on the hotel had been stopped and it looked as if Horton’s Addition was going to meet the fate that befell Davis’ New Town. The arrival of the furniture gave assurance that the hotel would be opened, and changed the appearance of things.”
Bill had also helped Horton in the first meeting to plan this cemetery, and MacPhail discusses Bowers’s own excursion into the hotel business: “In 1883, W.W. Bowers announced he had acquired the block bounded by Third, Fourth, Fir and Grape, and would build a luxurious hotel on the site. True, this was way up on the hill, far from the center of town, with only a rough dirt road leading to it. It had previously been the site of Indian huts, and sheep still grazed in the vicinity.…
“The new hotel opened on February 24, 1884, with a gala ball and became the show place of the city during the boom days. It was called The Villa, or The Florence, and the surrounding area became known as Florence Heights.…
“…Its gardens and grounds were especially beautiful. The Florence in later years became the Casa Loma and then was torn down, leaving on the site only a rare Moreton Bay fig tree, which, in spite of neglect, still fights for its life.”
Nearby the Bowers grave site would be the unmarked grave of Dr. Thomas Magee, a leading physician in San Diego. Dr. Magee was a Civil War veteran who was at Vicksburg under General Sheridan.
Dr. Magee used to say that Sheridan had praised him for his fine service record, and for a while he was, at age 26, the youngest surgeon in command. He had amputated hundreds of legs and arms in field hospitals and had attended thousands of soldiers in some of the bloodiest fights of the Sheridan campaign. Dr. Magee was active in the Masonic order in San Diego for many years.
A few steps north and east of the Bowers grave site was another unmarked grave, that of Robert J. Pennell. Pennell was in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War. Frank G. Forward, in The Southern California Rancher (August 1944) describes Pennell: “He was a person of dynamic energy, and was endowed with a marvelous power of oratory and keen sense of humor and was unquestionably the greatest auctioneer and land salesman that ever operated in San Diego.…
“When the Coronado Beach Company decided upon the subdivision of the tract now known as Coronado, Mr. Pennell was employed as the general auctioneer and handled the first auction of lots in October 1886, and in subsequent auctions held during the years 1887, 1888 and 1889.…
“…One of the larger undertakings of the Pacific Coast Land Bureau was the laying out of and the auctioning of the huge Rancho El Cajon. This auction sale was handled by the redoubtable Robert J. Pennell.” Pennell died in 1889, at 42.
Horton looked across the road and saw a tombstone near the roadway that read “Kurtz,” where Daniel B. Kurtz was buried. Kurtz had been the second mayor of San Diego, as well as a state senator, a county judge, and an assemblyman.
To the north of the Kurtz tombstone, Horton foresaw that there would be a tombstone with what would look like a ball on the top. Walking that way, he came across the place where Dr. Charles Merwin Fenn was buried. A sketch of Dr. Fenn in the Fenn Biographical File at the San Diego Historical Society states: “Charles Merwin Fenn was born June 18, 1835 in Hamilton, Ohio, the son of William and Ann Maria (Merwin) Fenn.… In 1836 Dr. Fenn’s father William and two uncles Norman and Ira Ives Fenn purchased a large body of land on the Illinois River north of Peoria, Illinois and founded the city of Lacon.
“Soon after their arrival in Illinois, the Fenn family became acquainted with the young lawyer Abraham Lincoln. They supported him, in his early political career. Dr. Fenn’s lawyer uncle, Ira Fenn, was associated with Lincoln in local legal matters.…
“…In 1868 Dr. Fenn closed his private medical practice in San Francisco and visited San Diego. He immediately purchased twenty acres of land in San Diego and moved to the new community, recently founded by his fellow San Franciscan Alonzo Horton. Dr. Fenn opened his first San Diego medical office at 629 Fifth Avenue.
“In 1870 Dr. Fenn was one of the seven founding members of the San Diego Medical Society and began his long career of medical practice and public service in San Diego.”
Horton next visited the future grave site of Joseph Jessop, whose tombstone would have the ball on top. Jessop was born in Highburton, Yorkshire, England. Horton recalled when Joe arrived in San Diego in 1890. A descendant of watchmakers in England, Joe set up a watch repair workshop in his farmhouse in Miramar.
A San Diego Historical Society biographical sketch indicates that “In 1891, he opened San Diego’s first watch repair and jewelry shop at 1317 F St., not far from the harbor that sustained the town of 14,000 persons. Jessop would row out to meet the sailing ships that anchored in the bay and repair the ship chronometers.
“Jessop not only repaired watches, he made them. San Diegans came to recognize his skill, integrity and fair prices. The business grew and prospered. One by one, his five sons entered the trade.…
“About 1898, the entire family was offered free ferry service for three years as an inducement to help populate the wilderness area of Coronado. Jessop tore down the house at Miramar and had it rebuilt on Coronado, where the family lived until the children married. As the years passed and the city’s downtown area moved northward, Jessop relocated his shop, always staying close to George Marston’s store.…
“Joseph Jessop’s richly useful life ended in 1932. He was fatally injured at the age of 82 when struck by an automobile while attempting to cross a street.”
Looking to the north, Horton saw G.A.R. Hill. The Grand Army of the Republic, or the G.A.R., as it was often called, was a group of Union veterans of the Civil War. Many members of this organization had decided to be buried together, and some grave sites were now filled on the hill.
Horton walked down the slope from the Jessop grave site, and as he started up the rise of G.A.R. Hill, about 40 paces below a large palm tree he saw where his barber, a black man named Amos Hudgins, would be buried. Amos would have a government tombstone, and Horton recalled that he had talked about being in the Civil War. Amos and his wife Cynthia lived in Coronado, and Horton foresaw that Amos would die in 1926 and Cynthia in 1934.
Walking up G.A.R. Hill about 38 steps, just south of the palm, he came upon the future grave site of William Ober. Bill learned the blacksmith’s trade and served in the Civil War from Pennsylvania. He later worked in San Francisco and came to San Diego in 1870 on the Orizaba. Here, he drove stage from San Diego to Yuma, then moved to Bernardo, where he farmed for nine years.
San Diego County, California: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement notes that “In 1882 he went to the present site of Ramona and built the first house in that community, being still known as the father of the town.… [In 1902] he moved to his present ranch of one hundred and seventy-five acres in the Tia Juana valley and has since given his entire time to its scientific development and improvement.… As a farmer Mr. Ober is ranked among the most progressive in the state and few men have accomplished more beneficial and lasting results in the promotion of higher and more scientific agricultural standards. Under his able management his ranch has become a most valuable and productive property and in addition to this he owns one hundred acres in Bernardo.”
Across the street Horton saw the grave of William Bailhache, who had died four years earlier. According to An Illustrated History of Southern California, “After leaving school he was trained in the newspaper business under his father’s direction, with whom he became associated in 1850 in the publication of the Alton (Illinois) Telegraph. He removed to Springfield in 1855 to take the general management of the Illinois State Journal, and held that position about eighteen years, except while absent during the war. He was on the most intimate terms with Abraham Lincoln from 1856 until he became President, and the State Journal, published in his home city, was regarded as his mouthpiece.…”
After serving in the Civil War, William Bailhache and his family moved to Wisconsin, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and finally settled in San Diego in 1886. Bill became assistant editor of the San Diego Union until 1892, leaving due to ill health. He died in 1905.
North of the Bailhache grave site in later years would stand the impressive tombstone of Martin Hamilton, who lost an arm in the Civil War.
Buried just beyond was General Datus Coon. General Coon had fought in famous Civil War battles, including New Madrid, Franklin, and Nashville. An Illustrated History of Southern California states: “Immediately after the battle of Nashville, which occurred on December 14 and 15, 1864, the subject of this memorial was appointed by the President, Brevet Brigadier General, for gallant conduct on that memorable battle-field.” When the war was over, General Coon returned to Selma, Alabama, where he raised cotton. He was a member of the Alabama State Senate and State House of Representatives. After he came to San Diego, General Coon was accidentally shot by a fellow Civil War veteran friend in 1893 and died the same evening. A year later, a San Diego G.A.R. chapter was named in his honor.
Horton walked 28 paces east and came to the grave of Isaac Palmer. His brother, John, was nearby. The Palmer brothers were from Ohio. When their mother died in 1852, their father Oscar moved to California the next year. Both sons served in the Civil War, and John then migrated to San Diego in 1884. He began a contracting, building, and house-moving business, and one of the buildings he moved was Horton House Annex, which was transported to another location in preparation for the building of the U.S. Grant Hotel.
Brother Isaac was a surveyor and civil engineer who set the first stake for the California Southern Railroad. Don Stewart in his book Frontier Port discusses the City Guard Band, which gave concerts at Horton Plaza on summer evenings. “As a part of the band, of course, was the essential drum major, in this case a man of about six feet, four inches, I. L. Palmer; he was broad-shouldered and somewhat portly, weighing probably 250 pounds. I have no recollection of the major going through any calisthenics or playing boomerang stunts with the baton. He was simply in evidence! While in an eastern city, a large card was appended to his back reading, ‘Raised in San Diego Without Irrigation.’ ”
On the north slope of G.A.R. Hill, another Civil War veteran, Marcus Sullivan, would be buried in an unmarked grave. Sullivan had participated in major Civil War battles such as Fairfax Court House, Bull Run, Richmond, Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Spottsylvania Court House.
Horton now took the road that descended the north side of G.A.R. Hill. At the bottom he turned right and after a few paces walked up the rise on his left to where one day a twisted juniper would grow. Beneath the tree would lie Kate Sessions, the “Mother of Balboa Park.” A San Diego Historical Society biographical sketch describes her life: “Katherine Olivia Sessions was born on Nob Hill in San Francisco November 8, 1857.… After a brief time in business college, she entered the University of California at Berkeley in 1877, where she studied science and graduated in 1881. Her essay for graduation was entitled ‘The Natural Sciences as a Field for Women’s Labor.’
“Miss Sessions’ horticultural career began after teaching briefly in San Diego where she accepted a position in 1884. She accepted a teaching position in San Gabriel, but returned to San Diego after a short time there. In 1885, she joined her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Solon Blaisdell, as partner in a new venture — the purchase of the San Diego Nursery.
“As owner of a flower shop and a succession of nurseries in Coronado, City Park, Mission Hills and Pacific Beach, she became a central figure in California and national horticultural circles with her landscaping, plant introductions, and classes.…
“It is in Balboa Park that the legacy of Kate Sessions is most obvious. She leased land in what was then called ‘City Park’ in 1892 for a nursery. For this privilege, she was to plant one hundred trees a year in the park and furnish three hundred more for planting throughout the city. In 1902 she was instrumental in the formation of the park Improvement Committee with her friends George Marston and Mary B. Coulston. Their work resulted in assuring the park’s place in the life of the community.
“Kate Sessions died March 24, 1940.”
Leaving Kate Sessions’s grave, Horton walked northeast about 100 paces until he came to the grave of Anna Sandrock, the German woman who was so brutally murdered in Mission Valley one day in 1895. He recalled reading about her death in the newspapers and knew that an Indian had been charged with the murder.
Just beyond Anna Sandrock’s grave was the grave of Kate Morgan. He could see that a benefactor, taken with Kate’s story, would in later times place a small tombstone here with an angel on top of it. In November of 1892, Kate had checked into the Hotel del Coronado alone under the name of Lottie Bernard, a name which was also now on her tombstone. Several days later, she was found dead on the exterior stairs leading to the beach, of a gunshot wound to her head. Some people thought Kate haunted the room that she had occupied at the hotel, and hotel guests who had stayed in that room reported strange activity there. Some even claimed that they had seen her ghost.
Horton now retraced his steps until he once again was standing before G.A.R. Hill. Turning east, he encountered a grave stone that said “Waterman.” This was the burial location of Robert, Waldo, and Hazel Waterman. Robert Waterman had once been governor of California.
An article in a San Bernardino newspaper, the Sun-Telegram, says of Robert Waterman: “Born in 1826, he first came to California in 1850 when the Golden State was luring countless thousands of other young men. Crossing the continent with a plodding ox team the 24-year-old Waterman started digging gold in the Feather River Canyon but soon decided that trade offered a greater chance for advancement than digging. He opened a store at Oroville and there sold foodstuffs, powder, hardware and general merchandise but refused to sell whiskey.…
“After a few years in California Waterman returned to Illinois, arriving at his former home state in time to take an active part in the 1856 formation of the Republican party.
“Waterman is said to have been convinced that the Democratic Party intended to do nothing about the border warfare in Kansas and felt the only method to halt such bloodshed was to prohibit further extension of slavery into the west.…
“After the Fremont defeat by James Buchanan Waterman continued his Republican activity, becoming one of the first to urge Abraham Lincoln as the party’s 1860 candidate, and saw his choice win the nomination and election.”
Henrietta Holland’s sketch on Waterman in the Waterman Biographical File at the San Diego Historical Society tells of an amusing incident: “Waterman crossed the plains, with other ’forty-niners, landing in San Francisco, where he remained for some time and finally became a traveling salesman for an implement company. In the course of his travels he came to San Bernardino and settled on a ranch in Waterman Canyon, near the present site of the Arrowhead Springs Hotel, now a naval hospital. There he raised cattle and bees until he went broke. Looking for something more remunerative, he turned to prospecting.
“With the traditional pick, shovel, and burro, he started for the Mojave and one day pitched camp at a small settlement now known as Barstow. During the evening, while he was talking with some of the cowboys from a neighboring ranch, they suggested that he begin his prospecting by going up into the hills where an old desert rat by the name of Lee had a quicksilver mine.
“The next morning he made his way to the mine, only to find it deserted. Wandering about the dump, he stuffed some of the rocks into his pocket and took them back to San Bernardino to be assayed.
“The specimens proved to be silver ore, but Waterman didn’t dare mine it until he located Lee, whose tools had been left at the entrance to the mine, indicating that he planned to return.
“Waterman advertised, but found no trace of him. Then some San Bernardino residents started a search for Lee and unearthed some distant relatives in New York, who were invited to come to San Bernardino to set up a claim for the mine.
“Before anyone could inherit it, however, the fact of Lee’s death had to be established. Not at all daunted, the ‘heirs’ produced a skeleton which they had found in the wash, and along with it several witnesses to prove that the bones were those of Lee, whom they had seen buried there several years before.
“Waterman contested the case and hired an expert from Berkeley to pass upon the bones. When the expert had examined them, he announced:
“ ‘Your Honor, these are the bones of a female aborigine — an Indian squaw — upward of 45 years of age, who in her lifetime had borne half a dozen children or thereabouts.’
“This testimony ruined the case for the would-be heirs, and Waterman began to work the mine — which proved to be so rich that in six years he took out $7,500,000.”
The Sun-Telegram article takes the story into San Diego County: “Once firmly planted in mining Waterman came in contact with other properties. One that appeared rich but poorly exploited was near the little town of Julian in the mountains of San Diego County. The Julian district property was known as the ‘Stonewall Jackson’ mine. Waterman bought it, promptly shortened the name to ‘Stonewall’ and spent large amounts in development.…
“Waterman bought the Stonewall for $45,000 and immediately spent $50,000 for a mill, shafts, etc. The improvements turned a losing property into a bonanza. Returns from both the Waterman and Stonewall mines were described as ‘quite large’ by T. S. Van Dyke, who wrote a history of San Diego County in 1888.”
When Waterman purchased the Stonewall Mine, MacPhail writes, “he also purchased the entire Cuyamaca Grant on which it was located. His cattle ranch later became Cuyamaca State Park. In 1887, while Lieutenant Governor, he succeeded to the office of Governor upon the death of Governor Washington Bartlett, and served until January 8, 1891. He made his home in San Diego in a beautiful house at First and Kalmia, which still stands in a state of perfect preservation. Waterman died of pneumonia in his San Diego home on April 12, 1891.” Horton noticed a simple flat marker on his grave that read: Robert Whitney Waterman 1826–1891.
Nearby was the grave of Waterman’s son Waldo Sprague Waterman, who operated the Stonewall Mine for his father. San Diego Architects 1868–1939, discusses Waldo Waterman’s wife Hazel Waterman, who after Mr. Waterman’s death became a well-known San Diego architect: “In 1903 just before her 38th birthday, Hazel Wood Waterman became a widow. Left with limited funds and three young children to raise, Waterman embarked on an education in architecture. She took basic courses in mechanical drawing and drafting from the International Correspondence Schools. She learned to do ink tracings on linen by working for the San Diego architectural firm of Hebbard and Gill. During this time, Waterman improved her skills, as she spent five to six hours a day drafting at home.
“By 1906 Hazel Wood Waterman received her first commission for architectural work on three houses, followed by a commission in 1908 to restore the dilapidated landmark Estudillo House in Old Town. Waterman was a charter member and vice-president of the Wednesday Club. In 1910 her fellow club members selected her to design their new clubhouse. The building at 6th Avenue and Ivy Street was praised for its proportions and the use of skilled artisans in its execution. By 1911, she began plans for the four-story Ackerman residence at 3170 Curlew Street.”
Horton left the Waterman graves and moved northeast toward the spot where a cross as large as his own monument would be erected. Beside the spot was the tombstone of Elisha Babcock. Babcock! This Civil War veteran was a wealthy man when he arrived in San Diego.
In a sketch on Elisha Babcock in Coronado: We Remember, Bunny MacKenzie says, “In 1884 Mr. Babcock came to California for his health and established residence in San Diego.
“During his first year in San Diego Mr. Babcock spent his entire time hunting and fishing to recuperate. That year he met Hampton L. Story from Chicago, Illinois, a member of the famed Story and Clark piano manufacturers. One of their pastimes was to row across the bay and hunt rabbits. On one of these outings they rested on the rise near the center of the island-like peninsula. Looking across the brush covered land to the ocean, Babcock exclaimed, ‘What a splendid site for a resort hotel! Let’s build one here that will attract people from all over the world.’ Story soon agreed and in November 1885, Story and Babcock along with Jacob Gruendike, a banker, purchased the property of 4,185 acres for $110,000.
“They decided to begin improvements on South Island because it was nearer to San Diego. The land was cleared, surveyed and platted.…
“In April 1886 the San Diego and Coronado Ferry Company was organized and the first ferry arrived from San Francisco in August. The Coronado Railroad was organized early in 1886.…
“It was decided to dispose of the first lots by auction and on November 13, 1886, the first auction was held at the site of the later hotel. In December 1886 Babcock brought the Reid brothers, well known architects from Evansville, Indiana to Coronado.…
“Construction began in March. In April the first floor frame work was completed and by the summer the giant structure began to take shape. Originally there were 750 rooms in the hotel, nearly every one had a fireplace (steam heat was installed in 1897). There were 399 bedrooms and only 73 baths — a total floor area of 7H acres. On February 19, 1888 the hotel opened for business with E.S. Babcock Jr., as manager.”
Horton walked 24 paces southeast from the Babcock grave and came upon the grave site of Adam and Carrie Lithgow, who were the parents of Carrie Bentzel Hackett. A sketch about the Lithgows appears in San Diego County Pioneer Families. “Adam Lithgow was born in Lancaster, Pa. of Scottish parentage. In 1853 he, his wife, Carrie Woodward Lithgow and four girls started from Barry, Illinois to cross the plains to California.… Adam Lithgow was elected captain of the ox train of ‘300 souls.’ It took six months. On the way out he took the measles and had to lie under the wagon for three days. They came out partly because of the health of Louisa Elizabeth Lithgow (1834–1853) who died in Wyoming on the way out.… They settled in Ione, Amador County, California. Not finding much gold, and since they could not get title to their land, he and his wife and the Josephus H. Rickey family came overland to southern California where Alonzo E. Horton (Father Horton) was laying out the new town of San Diego. Adam raised bees and farmed in Chollas Valley. He also raised milk cows and peddled milk to many early San Diego residents.”
A few steps east of the Lithgows was the grave of Judge William McNealy. Judge McNealy had served in the Confederate army. He came to San Diego in 1869 and was elected district attorney, being the youngest in the county’s history at age 21. Later he became a district judge.
Leland Ghent Stanford, in his book San Diego’s Legal Lore and the Bar, writes, “For years McNealy had fought the white plague, and was forced by ill health to resign his judgeship in 1886, while still in his thirties! He lived until 1909 in partial retirement.”
South of the Lithgows were the Gunn and Hamilton grave sites. Lewis Gunn was an anti-slavery activist from Philadelphia who married Elizabeth Stickney, a Quaker of Newsburyport, Massachusetts. Lewis was editor of the Sonora Herald for several years, and his son Douglas learned his trade as printer. In 1860, the family moved to San Francisco. They remained there until Douglas and his brother Chester came to San Diego in 1869. The rest of the family soon followed. Anna Gunn later married merchant George Marston and her sister Elizabeth married Marston’s one-time partner Charles Hamilton.
Douglas was editor of the San Diego Union from 1870 to 1886. Horton recalled a book Douglas Gunn had written, entitled Picturesque San Diego — With Historical and Descriptive Notes. It was published to boost San Diego to other parts of the country.
On November 29, 1891, the headline in the San Diego Union, “Douglas Gunn Dead,” shocked many people. His brother-in-law, Charles Hamilton, said Douglas had been depressed about financial affairs and had apparently suffered a heart attack at his office in the Express Block downtown. One laudatory article in the San Diego Union the next day stated: “…Douglas Gunn made the best county paper in the state, and this was not slight praise.” He was 50 years old when he died.
Just steps south of the Gunn tombstones, Horton located the future grave site of Charles and Elizabeth Hamilton. Charles had been one of Horton’s honorary pallbearers this day.
“At 18,” a November 3, 1928, article in the San Diego Union states, “young Hamilton left the home of his father, who was a grain speculator in Toledo, [Ohio], and struck out for himself. He came west in 1869 and lived for a time in San Francisco.… He failed to get a satisfactory job there, and came on to San Diego. He went to work for Joseph Nash, pioneer merchant. Shortly afterwards George W. Marston, of the present Marston’s store, also went to work for Nash. In 1873 the two young store clerks bought out their boss.” By 1878, the partners had split up, Hamilton beginning a grocery store while Marston opened a department store.
Horton knew that Hamilton’s went on to become a specialty food store in San Diego, importing foods from all over. Charles Hamilton built an imposing home at the corner of Seventh and Beech which was often called the “Gunn House” because his in-laws Lewis and Elizabeth Gunn lived there until they died.
Horton looked around, surveying this area of Mount Hope Cemetery for the last time. This was the earliest section for burials at Mount Hope, and it was populated by people from New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Some were tragic stories, and the Gregg family came to mind. Horton moved north from the Hamilton burial site toward the Babcock cross. He turned right, walked about 45 paces, and located the Gregg tombstones.
William Gregg was a merchant who had arrived in San Diego by 1870 from Pennsylvania. Horton knew that Gregg’s wife and some Gregg children died a few years after their arrival here. Two tombstones bore this out. He saw a stone for William Gregg’s wife Mary Brice. The inscription said she died in 1875. Another stone stated that a William Gregg died in 1879, at age 32. Cemetery records reveal that four-month-old Mabel Gregg died in 1875, and six-month-old William H. Gregg died in 1876.
Going back to the Babcock cross, Horton walked north across the road and saw the Choate memorial. The inscription read: “Daniel Choate / Born in Maine 1827 / Panama to San Francisco / to Placer County 1849 / To San Diego 1869 Died 1899.”
In an oral history interview, located at the San Diego Historical Society, Daniel Choate’s son Rufus says: “My father was born in Augusta, Maine, and at the age of twenty traveled to California, going by way of Panama. After a short stay at San Francisco, he proceeded to Auburn in Placer County, where he stayed for some seventeen years. He was first engaged in placer mining and, thereafter, attempted a combination of merchandizing and mining.
“He then went to San Francisco and opened a place of business on the corner of Kearny and Pine Streets. There, A. E. Horton, whom my father had known in Placer County as a broker buying up gold and nuggets, told my father of the wonderful opportunity in San Diego, and that it was going to be another San Francisco. My father was so much impressed with this description of San Diego, especially its climate, that he took the next steamer to San Diego to see its potentialities for himself. He immediately wired his brother in San Francisco to dispose of the business and bring his family, my father’s family, down to San Diego. We established ourselves at about 940 State Street…in October, 1869.
“My father immediately went into the real estate business.…
“In 1875 my father was appointed the second postmaster in San Diego and he continued in that office until about 1882 when he again returned to real estate. He plotted some ten different subdivisions ranging from 20 to 1,000 acres.”
Horton walked north 33 paces and down a slope. Here was the grave of Judge Edwin Parker. The Parkers were Massachusetts people who had migrated to Canada. “Although his parents were of Puritan Massachusetts stock,” Stanford writes, “Judge Parker was born in Canada, November 3, 1832, and there spent his early youth.…
“Parker came to Contra Costa County, California, in the early ’50s where he served as deputy county clerk. About 1857 he was elected district attorney of that county. Shortly afterward, however, he resigned to go to the mines, and later to try ranching in San Diego County.
“In 1875 the young man attracted the attention of local Sheriff, N. Hunsaker, and served as his under-sheriff. He became a member of the San Diego Bar on July 20, 1876, and was State Assemblyman during 1883–1884.…
“For fifteen months… Judge Parker presided in boom-town San Diego, with a court calendar probably more difficult than that of any other judge in the whole state.…
“Political immigrants from the north won control of San Diego at the polls, and Judge Parker was obliged to return to the ranks of the lawyers.”
Horton returned to the Choate marker and walked east along the road. After 55 paces, he came to the grave site of George White Marston’s parents, the place where George and his wife would one day be buried. George had served today as another of Horton’s honorary pallbearers. He was an early clerk at Horton House who married Anna Gunn and later went on to become one of the most influential and gracious benefactors in San Diego. Horton had known the Marstons back in Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin. This particular grave site, thus, held a lot of memories for him.
The spring/summer 1990 edition of The Journal of San Diego History was dedicated to the Marstons’ house, on Seventh Avenue, in the northwest corner of Balboa Park, and an article by Gregg Hennessey discusses George Marston’s life and family connections: “In 1870 Marston came to San Diego with his father who was seeking a more healthful climate for his chronic respiratory ailments.… Six months later, following his father’s wish that he enter the mercantile life, young Marston became the book keeper and clerk at Aaron Pauly’s general store.… ‘I learned more in my year there than in any other year of my life,’ he recalled many years later. By mid-1872 Marston had moved on to Joseph Nash’s general store, where his new friend Charles Hamilton worked. After a year they bought out Nash, with borrowed money, and ran the business profitably for the next five years.… In 1878, Hamilton and Marston dissolved their partnership with Charles taking the hardware and grocery business, while George took over the dry goods.…
“By the turn of the century, The Marston Store was located in a large new four-story building at Fifth and C with an electric elevator and a hundred employees. With a very secure financial position, Marston entered more directly and actively into the public affairs of the town.…
“During four decades at the Seventh Avenue home George Marston became the most prominent and remembered San Diegan of his era. His most renowned legacy was his work to build and preserve public parks and open spaces. From his earliest days in San Diego he played a key role in saving Balboa Park from developers and later contributed tens of thousands of dollars and innumerable hours to improve it for public use. Marston also privately developed, at a cost of $400,000, the forty acre Presidio Park and its Junipero Serra Museum.”
Horton knew that Marston would live a long life, dying at age 96.
Traveling east toward the corner of the section, Horton located the grave of a man who was instrumental in developing the area later known as Santee. A December 11, 1966, San Diego Union article states: “George A. Cowles was a man of energy and talent and there still are those who feel that he should have had a town in San Diego County named after him — but Fate is fickle, Cupid is a mischievous little imp, and Cowles had to settle for a mere mountain.
“Cowles — he came here in 1877 and died 10 years later — was born at Hartford, Conn., in 1836, and got his modest start in life by clerking in a local store. He saved his money and a few years later started his own cotton mill, whose life ended in such a spectacular fire as only a cotton mill can put on.
“Undismayed, our young hero moved on to New York, where he entered the cotton business as a broker.…
“…He continued to do rather well for himself in New York — but ever since the Gold Rush, California had been on people’s minds, so after a few years he headed west. He took one look at the El Cajon Valley, closed up his affairs in the east and settled down as a working rancher.”
An article in The Golden Era (July 1888) entitled “George A. Cowles from El Cajon” adds more information: “Here, now, as elsewhere before, his enterprise soon manifested itself in improvements and new undertakings on a large scale. In place of the winding, narrow roads, he laid out and fenced and planted with trees the straight broad avenues leading through the valley north and south, east and west. On his home ranch, ‘Woodside,’ by the river, he raised the finest horses and cattle, and planted many hundreds of acres with cereals; while on the ‘Magnolia’ ranch he planted three hundred acres with a great many varieties of ornamental trees and roses, fruit trees and vines; to ascertain by practical experiment what kinds were best adapted to the locality.”
George Cowles went on to serve on the board of the California Southern Railroad. By 1885, he became active in real estate and started a settlement called “Cowles.” He died at the Florence Hotel in the fall of 1887.
An interesting thing happened after Cowles died, and the San Diego Union article of December 11, 1966, continues the story: “Cowles died in the autumn of 1887, at the height of the boom. His widow kept the ranch and, in fact, was listed in the city directory as ‘Occupation — rancher’; his funeral was one of dignity and distinction, and his passing was widely mourned.
“There were, of course, other developers — hordes of them, in fact. One of them had been a prominent real estate broker in Los Angeles who saw a bright future for the whole San Diego area and moved here in 1885. Like Cowles, the foothills intrigued him, and from his modest office at Sixth and F streets, he conducted a literally land-office business. His specialty was acreage in the Ramona area, so it was inevitable that he should meet the attractive Mrs. Cowles.
“In time she succumbed to Cupid’s darts…and on Nov. 5, 1890, they were married.… And all the while, the little settlement of Cowles was slowly but surely growing, and people were getting used to addressing the former Mrs. George Cowles as Mrs. Milton Santee.
“Now there was talk of a post-office and so, of course, the matter of an official name for the place became important. Mrs. Santee herself, it is said, seemed to feel that there was no percentage in naming the place for No. 1, now that she was happily married to No. 2. In its infinite wisdom, Washington handed down the decision — and the post office at Santee, Calif., opened up on June 17, 1891.
“The name of Cowles Mountain — and rather a nice little mountain it is — was left alone. Newcomers can distinguish it from a big letter hacked into its dark brush, but the letter is not ‘C’ for Cowles; it is ‘S’, for State — San Diego State College.”
Walking northwest about 40 paces to the top of the hill and starting down the other side, Horton found the burial location of Sam Brannan. As the sketch of Brannan in the Brannan Biographical File at the San Diego Historical Society relates, “Sam Brannan once owned a fifth of all the real estate in San Francisco, he owned a fourth of Sacramento, he owned 160,000 acres of land in Los Angeles county, he owned practically all of Napa county, and he owned 2,000,000 acres in Mexico.
“Sam Brannan was born in the state of Maine in 1819. In about 1845 Brigham Young started westward with his band of Mormons in search of the promised land. Brannan, as a presiding elder in his church, chartered the little ship Brooklin, took on board 236 Mormons and started on his search of the ‘promised land.’ On July 31, 1846, Brannan and his Mormons sailed through the Golden Gate.”
A January 25, 1959, San Diego Union article continues the story: “Things boomed for Brannan, who apparently was a natural businessman. He became a friend of John Sutter and was a partner in the general stores of the gold country when the great rush began. He began to accumulate land in downtown San Francisco and purchased a fifth of Sutter’s Sacramento holdings.…
“Sam’s fortunes reached a peak in the ’60s, when he built a railroad and developed the spa at Calistoga. But it was there — where he spent more than a million dollars — that, as one biographer says, the wheel of fortune turned against him.
“Later his wife, with accusations of infidelity, took a half-million dollars in a divorce settlement. And the final fall came in his love for whiskey and wine.
“By 1870 Sam Brannan was a poor man who was rarely sober after the noon hour. In poverty and despair in 1876 he tried a new start at Sonora, Mexico, on lands granted him by the government. But the Midas touch was gone. He was 64 years old and broke.
“In 1887 he came to San Diego, attempted to sell real estate and failed. Then he moved to Escondido, a broken man but cured of drinking, and according to his historians, at peace. He sold a little real estate and puttered in his fig groves until his final illness.
“When he died, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, the Mormon newspaper, commented, with understandable bitterness:
“ ‘He had some redeeming qualities and it is to be hoped that these will outweigh the faults which were manifested in his adventurous and eventful life.’
“For 18 months his body was unclaimed until a relative sent $60 to cover fees. Not until 1926 was a stone erected. The stone still stands on a slight hillside. In the afternoon sun the letters form shadows on the stone — but the message is clear: ‘Dreamer — Leader — and Empire-Builder.’ ”
There was one last grave for Horton to visit. It was the grave site of A.B. Morey, who was buried just north of his own site in a cornerstone lot of the cemetery. He knew that Morey served in the Civil War from Illinois and died after suffering a fatal heart attack at age 40.
Horton’s tour around Mount Hope Cemetery was now complete. He vowed that a little part of him would always remain to guard this city and this last resting place that Augusta Sherman had so long ago named Mount Hope.