Saturday, September 15, 2007

Philetus Everts (1830-1914) - Lumber and Railroad Magnate

[Family mausoleum photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 14B

Philetus Everts, a native of New York, was born in 1830 and came to California in 1852 where he dabbled in various businesses. He was a major owner in the Eureka Lumber and served as superintendent of the Eureka & Palisade Railway Company from 1873-1882

Everts and railroad lobbyist Stephen T. Gage [see posting on this blog], hosted an annual affair at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco celebrating their departure from Astabula County, Ohio in 1852.

Mountain View docent Stafford Buckley has pointed out that this crypt is unique in that it is the only crenalated crypt at Mountain View. Crenellation is the distinctive pattern found on the tops of the walls of many medieval castles, generally known as battlements. Crenellation is the irrlegular pattern of squares and/or rectangles along a roofline which historically was used for archers to mount their bows and arrows in defense of a castle.

Perhaps the most famous crenallation is at the Great Wall of China.

Sadly, the interior of this crypt is in need of major maintenance.

Edward & Kate Newland

[Gravesite photo by Michael Colbruno; Portrait from Oakland Tribune]

Plot 14B

A popular monument which I often see being photographed.

Edward Newland was born in Kirkdale, England in 1828 and moved to Boston in 1837. In 1849, after hearing about gold in the California hills, he chartered a boat with 360 others and headed west.

Rather than heading to the mines with the others, he started a stage line. He soon established a draying business and began amassing a small fortune.

He moved to Oakland in 1859 and resided at 2nd & Webster Street. He was one of the first people in the area to start a livery stable business in the area and he was known to have some of the finest thoroughbreads in Northern California. After his retirement, he bred horses for Senator Stanford, many who were frequent champions at local race tracks.

Newland was a member of the vigilance committees who took law and order into their own hands, frustrated with alleged corruption and inaction from law enforcement officials.

Josiah Stanford (1817-1909) and Josiah W. Stanford (1864-1937)

[Stanford monument photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 14B

Josiah Stanford moved to California in 1849 and sold supplies to gold miners. One of his brothers was Leland Stanford, the founder of Stanford University, former Governor and Senator and one of the Big 4 railroad barons.

Josiah Stanford and his second wife Helen lived in the Camron-Stanford House, which remains to this day at 1418 Lakeside Drive by Oakland’s Lake Merritt. They split their time between their Oakland home and the family ranch east of Fremont near Warm Springs, which was originally the site of the fashionable resort for wealthy San Franciscans in the 1850s. There Josiah and Helen helped to established a large and prosperous grape vineyard. In addition to wine, Stanford Brothers Winery produced California’s first champagne.

Josiah W. Stanford, the son of Josiah and Helen, ran the Warm Springs Ranch after his father's death, producing hay, barley and beef as well as wines. Years later, Stanford Brothers Winery became Weibel Winery.

 The original brick winery from the Stanford era still stands at the end of Stanford Lane in Fremont, near the Mission Peak Regional Park staging area, in the Warm Springs district of Fremont. The olive trees that formed an allee on Stanford Lane were relocated to Mission Boulevard when the vineyards became a subdivision.

Josiah, often in conjunction with his brothers, struck up many business ventures. During and after the Gold Rush they imported oil and kerosene from the East Coast. When the Civil War drove prices higher as supplies to the West Coast dwindled, this created a climate for a short-lived California oil boom that took place around Sulphur Mountain in Ventura County.

Josiah Stanford became the first person to establish commercial production of petroleum in the state and a principal in one of California’s first major oil companies. By 1866, his digs, incorporating Chinese labor, began to produce 20 barrels a day that were loaded and sent by ship, to the Stanford Brothers Refinery in San Francisco for processing.

The font on the gravesite monument is the same one used by Stanford University.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Random Picture

Kraft Family - Tehama County Millionaire

The Kraft Family were pioneer Tehama County residents active in retail and banking activities.

Herbert Kraft was one of the wealthiest men in Tehama County in the late 19th century. He was born in Wurtemberg, Germany on March 15, 1831 and was a banker, farmer and politician. He owned some of the primest real estate in the County for farming and timber, most of which he eventually sold. He also owned the Bank of Red Bluff, and was a major shareholder in the Mutual Savings Bank of San Francisco.

His parents came to the United States when he was ten years old. At eighteen he left home without his father's permission after having learned the tinning trade. When he left home his worldly wealth amounted to $9. He arrived in Placerville (then Hangtown) on August 2, 1852 and worked in the tinning business for one month and then left for Sacramento, where he found employment and saved his money.

In 1854 he headed north, on foot and alone, traveling through southern Oregon and northern California, in search of a permanent location. He ended up in Red Bluff and opened a small tin-shop and continued to save his money. Before long he had the largest hardware and tin business north of Sacramento, which he operated for twenty-one years. Kraft married Elizabeth Krauth on March 15, 1861 in Louisville, Kentucky, the home of her parents. They had eight children, all born in Red Bluff: George H., Edward C., Augustine, Elmer, Nettie and Gertrude.

Edward Kraft created a scholarship fund in his will in 1920, which to this day provides scholarships primarily to freshman college students from the counties surrounding Tehama County.

The Kraft family plot is one of my personal favorites at Mountain View, with the beautiful crypt and adjoining markers. The attention to detail is magnificent.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Charles Henry Holt - Tractor Pioneer

[Gravesite photo by Michael Colbruno; Tractor photo from Sacramento Public Library]

Plot 33

Charles Henry Holt was born in London, New Hampshire. He went to school in Boston, where he subsequently studied accounting. After periods working in his family's business, and then in the accounts department of a New York shipping company, he embarked on a ship in 1865 and sailed to San Francisco. For two years he worked as a teacher and a bookkeeper in the North Bay, saving $700 and returning to San Francisco.

His family was in the timber business back in Concord, New Hampshire. They specialized in the supply of hardwoods used in the construction of wheels and wagons, so Charles Holt established himself, as C. H. Holt & Co, by buying timber from his father and selling it to Californian wagon and boat builders. There was considerable demand for this service because of the scale of developments then taking place in California. One of his brothers, Frank, also moved out to California and established a branch of the business to produce wheels and their respective components. This was not entirely successful as the wheels made in the wetter atmosphere of the east were not suitable for the much drier western summers and frequently failed.

To try to overcome this problem, wood was shipped to California and seasoned before being made into wheels, but this, too, was not wholly successful and the brothers looked for a place where the climate was more suited to their particular needs. They settled on Stockton, 150km/90 miles inland lr from San Francisco and formed the Stockton Wheel company.

After around 60 years of successful manufacture of steam engines, and some of the first viable crawlers, the Holt and Best companies merged to form the Caterpillar Tractor Company in 1925. In 1931 the first Diesel Sixty Tractor rolled off the new assembly line in East Peoria, Illinois, with a new efficient source of power for track-type tractors. By 1940 the Caterpillar product line included motor graders, blade graders, elevating graders, terracers and electrical generator sets.


[Twombly angel photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 13

Charles "C.H." Twombly was a San Francisco capitalist who in May 1875 was one of the founders of Oakland's First National Gold Bank. He was an active member of the Oakland Lodge of Masons and the Oakland Commandery, Knights of Templar. Twombly's wife Mary was from the Burchard family, who are also buried in the crypt.

Rev. John L. Burchard moved from Missouri to Marysville, California, remaining there four years, followed by six years in Stockton and four in Gilroy. After returning to Marysville he was appointed Indian agent at Round Valley. In 1872 the family removed to Oakland, in order to afford their children better educational advantages.

Abraham Powell (1828-1895) - Politician and Master Joiner

[Gravesite photo by Michael Colbruno]

 Plot 12

Abraham Powell was born on January 24, 1828 in Philadelphia, Pa. As a youth he was employed in the Philadelphia Navy Yard and learned the trade of ship-joiner and civil engineer. He made numerous sea journeys in his youth, traveling to the West Indies and Europe.

In 1849, Powell joined the rush to California and boarded the ship "Oseola" in Philaelphia with sixty-four of his fellow pioneers. The ship went around Cape Horn and arrived in San Francisco on August 5, 1849. Upon arrival Powell entered into partnership with a fellow traveler as builders and joiners. Together they constructed numerous houses and buildings around San Francisco.

In 1850, Powell returned to Philadelphia. He was appointed Master Joiner at the Mare Island Navy Yard in 1854. Until 1858 Powell had full control of the yard operations on the Island. He was also Naval Constructor during this period, but continued as Master Joiner down to 1864.

In 1865 Powell entered into the private sector and became general manager of the Puget Sound Lumber Company. He first established a retail yard in Vallejo and then extended his operations by building yards in Napa, Suisun, Colusa, and in Yolo County. He also owned a redwood mill at Stuarts Point in Sonoma County. Powell was active in the Masonic Order, both in Philadelphia and California.

He served as Mayor of Vallejo for eight years and was a member of the board of Supervisors of Solano County

Governor Henry Huntly Haight (1825-1878)

[Monument photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 11

Henry Huntly Haight was born in Rochester, New York, on May 20, 1825. He graduated from Yale University in 1844, studied law, and then joined his father in a law practice in St. Louis, Missouri. Eventually he moved to San Francisco, where he prospered and earned a reputation of his own.

In 1859, Haight became chairman of the California State Republican Committee, however he later returned to the Democratic Party. On September 4, 1867, he was elected California's 10th governor, and on December 5, 1867, he was sworn into office. Haight ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1871, and left office on December 8, 1871.

During his term, the transcontinental railroad was completed, the Golden Gate Park was designed, and the San Jose Teachers College was established. The state debt was reduced under Haight's administration, and the State Board of Health and the University of California were established, both of which had only been in the planning stages prior to Haight's term. After his defeat, he returned to his law practice, and served as a member of the board of trustees of the University of California.

Haight was elected to the 1878 state convention, but died before taking his seat

Though commonly thought to be true, San Francisco's Haight Street is not named in his honor, but rather that of his uncle, the pioneer and exchange banker Henry Haight (1820-1869)

John Augustus Bohn, Sr. (1911-1986) - Noted Attorney

[Family mausoleum photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 11

John Augustus Bohn was the chief architect of Guam's legal system and co-editor of the Alaska state code.

John Bohn graduated from Stanford University and the law school of the University of California at Berkeley. In 1951, he was asked to draft Guam's legal code in the territory's transition from Navy control to civilian status.

He set up Guam's court system, served as counsel for the territory's Legislature and practiced law. In 1976, he filed suit on behalf of Guam to recover land he charged had been taken by the Navy with only minimal compensation. Mr. Bohn went to Alaska while it was preparing to become a state in the late 1950's and served as co-editor of its state code.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Andrew Jackson "A.J." Stevens (1833-1888) - Builder of Locomotives

[Statue and plaque photos courtesy of Dennis Evanosky; Gravesite photo by Michael Colbruno; letter and locomotive photo from Sacramento Public Library]

A.J. Stevens was born in Vermont Sep. 14, 1833. In 1869 he was hired by Leland Stanford, President of Central Pacific (parent organization of Southern Pacific) as Master Mechanic. He was responsible for many locomotive inventions until his death in 1888.

Perhaps Stevens is best remembered for having built "El Gobernador," which at the time was the largest railroad locomotive in the world. Sadly, this engine appears to have largely been a victim of impatience on the part of the railroad's president, Leland Stanford. A locomotive this size had never been constructed before and proved to be a unique engineering challenge. As soon as Stevens was able to figure out a part, Stanford would order it built and installed on the new engine, without giving any proper time for testing. Stanford also apparently kept the other members of the The Big Four (minus Mark Hopkins, who had died several years before) in the dark about the project as well.

Once, while Stanford was away, Charles Crocker came through the locomotive works on a tour of inspection and saw the partially completed El Gobernador under construction. Having not been told about the project, he angrily demanded to know what they were up to. When told by A.J. Stevens that they were attempting to build the largest engine in the world, Crocker ordered all work stopped immediately. Meanwhile, Stanford returned to find that no new work had been done on the engine and when informed of the events that transpired, Crocker's orders were reversed.

William Walkerley (1818-1887)

In 1887 William Walkerley died in East Oakland leaving an estate valued at $650,000*. He left a young widow to whom was born a son shortly after her husband's death. Numerous claims against the estate were made and the case landed in the California Supreme Court. The issue at hand was whether a trust could be made in perpetuity. Numerous heirs were paid off in an out of court settlement and the widow reportedly received $500,000.

The son, Willie Walkerley, died at the tender age of six.

* The value of his estate has variously been listed as anywhere from $650,000 to $40,000,000.

Hooker Memorial - Members of High Society

Charles (left) and Osgood Hooker (right) (Photos from SF Call)
Family mausoleum photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 18A

C. Osgood Hooker was a native of California, born in 1860, and was the son of Charles G. Hooker, a prominent hardware merchant of California, who came to this State in 1852. He lived and owned a business in San Francisco. His company, Truman, Hooker & Co. were the manufacturers and dealers of agricultural implements, hay presses, baling presses, wagons, buggies, steam engines, threshing machines and hardware.

John Hooker (1838-1911) and his wife Katharine Putnam Hooker (1849-1935) were important figures in the early days of West Adams high society, between 1886 and 1911. John, born in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, was a hardware and steel-pipe millionaire. John went to California in 1861, living first in San Francisco. In 1869 he married Katharine Putnam of San Francisco.

John D. Hooker paid for one of the telescopes at the Mount Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Charles Hooker (1821-1905) was born in Hillsdale, Massachusetts in 1821 and came to California in the 1850s. He opened up a hardware store in Sacramento, but left the city after the flood of 1861. He moved to San Francisco and opened up Hooker & Company on California Street. 

Sources: San Francisco Call, Berkeley Gazette

Charles Main (1817-1906) - Main St. in SF named after him

[Family mausoleum photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 18A

Charles Main made his fortune boating supplies on the Sacramento River. In fact, Main owned that river's first side-wheeler, the New England.

He was later a partner in Main & Winchester, what was said to be San Francisco's largest saddle and harness business. He also held an interest in San Francisco's "street railroad" business. He had a hand in widening Kearney Street from Market Street to Broadway to accomodate the "railroad."

In his last few months he deeded a large portion of land in Oakland known as Alameda Point to his daughter Flora McDermot.

Main Street in San Francisco is named after him.

Upon learning that Main was building a grand mausoleum to his own memory, the biting satirist Ambrose Bierce penned this piece:

A Word to the Universe by Ambrose Bierce

[Charles Main, of the firm of Main & Winchester, has ordered a grand mausoleum for his plot in Mountain View Cemetery.
--City Newspaper.]

Charles Main, of Main & Winchester, attend
With friendly ear the chit-chat of a friend
Who knows you not, yet knows that you and he
Travel two roads that have a common end.

We journey forward through the time allowed,
I humbly bending, you erect and proud.
Our heads alike will stable soon the worm--
The one that's lifted, and the one that's bowed.

You in your mausoleum shall repose,
I where it pleases Him who sleep bestows;
What matter whether one so little worth
Shall stain the marble or shall feed the rose?

Charles Main, I had a friend who died one day.
A metal casket held his honored clay.
Of cyclopean architecture stood
The splendid vault where he was laid away.

A dozen years, and lo! the roots of grass
Had burst asunder all the joints; the brass,
The gilded ornaments, the carven stones
Lay tumbled all together in a mass.

A dozen years! That taxes your belief.
Make it a thousand if the time's too brief.
'Twill be the same to you; when you are dead
You cannot even count your days of grief.

Suppose a pompous monument you raise
Till on its peak the solar splendor blaze
While yet about its base the night is black;
But will it give your glory length of days?

Say, when beneath your rubbish has been thrown,
Some rogue to reputation all unknown--
Men's backs being turned--should lift his thieving hand,
Efface your name and substitute his own.

Whose then would be the monument? To whom
Would be the fame? Forgotten in your gloom,
Your very name forgotten--ah, my friend,
The name is all that's rescued by the tomb.

For memory of worth and work we go
To other records than a stone can show.
These lacking, naught remains; with these
The stone is needless for the world will know.

Then build your mausoleum if you must,
And creep into it with a perfect trust;
But in the twinkling of an eye the plow
Shall pass without obstruction through your dust.

Another movement of the pendulum,
And, lo! the desert-haunting wolf shall come,
And, seated on the spot, shall howl by night
O'er rotting cities, desolate and dumb.

Joe Shoong (1879-1961) - Founder of National Dollar Stores

[Gravesite photo by Michael Colbruno]

End of Main Road on the right

Joe Shoong (1879-1961) was the patriarch of an Oakland Chinese-American family affiliated with the once widely known National Dollar stores. Born in San Francisco, the son of immigrants from the Guangdong province of China, Shoong opened a small retail clothing shop called "China Toggery," in 1903 at age 24, along with three other partners. Within four years, Shoong had bought out his partners and established more branches. He renamed the new retail chain National Dollar Stores, which grew to more than 50 outlets in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, Washington and Utah.

Shoong became a millionaire many times over, say history files.

Longtime Oaklanders may remember the Oakland National Dollar Store at Washington and 11th streets, for many years the heart of downtown shopping. Nothing in the store sold for more than $1. The Shoong family home was in the Adams Point district, north of the lake where he kept his five cars. Their Mediterranean-style two-story home on Bellevue, now a city landmark, was designed by architect Julia Morgan. The cost to build the house in 1922 was $13,000.

In the decades to follow, Shoong's Adams Point home "became a hub of Chinese-American society," with such luminaries as Madame Chiang Kai-shek coming for visits, causing the entire block to be "roped off and guarded around the clock by the FBI and the local police," say the files. During his later years, Shoong donated much of his wealth to philanthropic causes, including building a community center in Chinatown, still in use today (at 9th and Harrison streets) and endowing scholarships for Chinese-American students at the University of California. Shoong, as well as son Milton, contributed to the restoration of the landmark Paramount Theatre in the 1970s, and to a tree-top teahouse and dragon slide in Children's Fairyland.

In 1938, Shoong's stores began having labor problems. National Dollar's women's dresses, once manufactured on the premises were being supplied by a factory in San Francisco's Chinatown. Chinatown was the only part of labor-minded San Francisco without labor unions.

Mountain View Cemetery docent Jane Leroe discusses Joe Shoong:

Into Chinatown went an organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and before long organized the union's first Chinese local. A National Labor Relations Board election in January 1939 established it as sole bargaining agent. Negotiations started. Two weeks later Joe Shoong sold the factory to his foreman Joe Sun and another man. The union thought he had acted in bad faith and its members walked out.

Picket lines were thrown around Joe Shoong's factory and Joe Shoong's three San Francisco stores. Members of A. F. of L.'s Department Store Employes' Union, with whom Joe Shoong had a closed shop agreement, refused to cross the lines. Joe Shoong's three stores closed down. These were the first Chinese picket lines in the U. S. Joe Shoong eventually filed suit against the Ladies' Garment Workers for $500,000 damages and finally got an injunction to stop the picketing

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Paul Breon - Produce Merchant

The crypt of San Francisco produce merchant Paul Breon. There is a gate dedicated to his memory at 19th Ave. & Lincoln in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.