Thursday, November 26, 2009

Requa & Long - Mining Magnate; Political Insider; Military Hero; Businesswoman

[Requa family portrait - the family is sitting on the front porch steps. In the center are Mrs. and Mrs. Isaac Requa; to the left are Col. and Mrs. Oscar Long and their two children Amy and Sally; on the right are Senator and Mrs. Mark Requa with their two children; Photo from City of Piedmont website]


[Photo of Requa family plot by Michael Colbruno]


Isaac Requa (1828-1905) Plot 9

Isaac Requa, descendant of a family that arrived in the New World in the 17th Century, was born in Tarrytown, New York. Like so many others, he came to California in 1850 on a clipper ship, looking for gold. Unsuccessful at placer mining, he finally succeeded in a fluming operation at Big Bar on the American River in 1856.

Two years after the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada, Requa moved to Virginia City where for a number of years he was superintendent of several successful silver mines.

In 1863 he married Sarah J. Mower with whom he lived quietly in Virginia City. As their fortunes improved, they bought property in Piedmont for their future home which they built and occupied around 1880. Their home, The Highlands, became a social center and boasted one of the first demonstration telephones in the area.

Requa was for fourteen years president of the Central Pacific Railroad, and also headed the Oakland Bank of Savings.

His wife, Sarah Requa, counted among her community efforts a part in founding the Old Ladies’ Home and Fabiola Hospital.

[Biography courtesy of Mountain View Cemetery docent program]


[Hoover and Requa during the 1932 presidential campaign]


Mark Requa (1866-1937) - Mining Magnate; Confidant to President Hoover

Mark Requa was a leader of the Republican Party and one of President Herbert Hoover’s most trusted advisors. He directed Hoover’s presidential campaign in California in 1928 and for the entire West in 1932. At the Republican Convention in 1928, it was Requa who placed the name of his fellow engineer into nomination for President. The two men became close friends while attending engineering classes at Stanford University.

In his professional life, Requa was a successful mining magnate, founding the Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, owning gold and silver mines, and serving as vice president of the American Institute of Mining and Metalurgical Engineers. He also played a major role in building the Nevada Northern Railway, which transported his metals to the Pacific coast for shipping.

Requa was born on Christmas Day in 1866 and was educated in private schools. In 1895 he married the former Florence Herrick of Oakland, with whom he had three children.

Requa died from complications following an operation. Upon his death, Herbert Hoover proclaimed:

“Mark Requa was one of the most honest, the most loyal, the most idealistic men that California has produced.”
[Biography by Michael Colbruno]



Oscar Fitzalan Long (1851-1928) - Military Hero

PLOT 9

Oscar Long born in Utica, N.Y. on June 16, 1852 and was the great-great-grandson of Cornelius Mabie, an officer in the Revolutionary War.

Long graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1876.

Shortly after graduation he became a hero in the Indian Wars. During the summer and early fall of 1877 the U.S. Cavalry was in pursuit of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indian tribe as they attempted to cross through Montana and reach Canada.

After numerous battles, including the battle of the Little Big Hole in early August, the Cavalry found it difficult to follow and locate Chief Joseph and his traveling tribe. After a forced march of several days, the Indian camp was located near Bear Paw Mountain, where the final battle that lead to the surrender of the Nez Perce nation occurred on September 30. When a troop of cavalry was ordered to advance into a heavy enemy fire and both officers were killed, Second Lieutenant Long voluntarily assumed command and led the charge, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic leadership in the face of intense enemy fire. He was one of nine men awarded the Medal of Honor in the battle of Bear Paw Mountain.

Oscar Long married the former Amy Requa, daughter of Isaac and Sarah Requa. She was almost a quarter-century his junior when they married. They are all buried at the same family plot.

He was commissioned Captain and Assistant Quartermaster in 1892. In 1896, Captain Long was assigned to San Francisco with the Quartermaster Corps and served in that post during the Spanish-American War. Here he equipped the army sailing to the Philippines, and organized overseas transport service between San Francisco and the Philippines. His work was highly praised, as American troops in the Philippines were never without their needed provisions. He retired as a Brigadier General in July 1904.

He made his home in Piedmont, California, after his retirement, and became president of the California Wire Cloth Company of Oakland.

He died on Dec. 28, 1928.
[Biography by Michael Colbruno]


Amy Long (1876-1960), a.k.a. Mrs. Oscar Fitzalan Long, was one of the East Bay’s most prominent socialites who later became a successful businesswoman in her own right.

The year her husband died she made headlines by purchasing two banks in Willits, this coming on the heals of a number of successful real estate deals. Amy Long got involved in real estate when she led the effort to subdivide the Requa estate on Highland Avenue in Piedmont near their home at 65 Hazel Lane. The Requa house was known as “The Highlands” and could be seen from San Francisco. It contained 40-acres of gardens, but was razed in 1923.

After Long’s death, she remarried Homer Mitten of Willits.

She was also the President of the Women’s Athletic Club of Alameda County and served on their board of directors for many years.

She was a regular fixture in the local society pages.
[Biography by Michael Colbruno]

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