Friday, March 28, 2008

John Norton Pomeroy - Eminent Legal Scholar

[Photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 15

Born in Rochester, New York, in 1828, John Norton Pomeroy graduated from Hamilton College in 1847. After graduating, Pomeroy taught school for a short period of time in Lebanon, Ohio, and then at the Academy in Rochester, New York. He studied law in Cincinnati with Senator Thomas Corwin and in Rochester with Judge Henry R. Selden. Pomeroy was admitted to the Bar of New York in 1851.

After practicing law for a number of years he returned to teaching, during which time he wrote his first book, Introduction to Municipal Law. In 1864 he accepted the chair of Professor of Law at the University of the City of New York (now New York University), and later became the dean of the legal faculty. In 1865 he received an honorary LL.D. from his alma mater, Hamilton College. In 1871 he returned to the practice of law in Rochester, and continued his writing.

In 1878 he accepted the position of Professor of Municipal Law at Hastings College of the Law and was responsible for teaching most, if not all, of the students who studied at the college during its first four years. During this time Professor Pomeroy not only wrote a significant treatise on equity jurisprudence, he edited (with one of his sons) the West Coast Reporter, and contributed a number of essays and book reviews to this publication.

Though primarily a teacher and a scholar, Professor Pomeroy was counsel in three significant California cases: San Mateo County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. (C.C.D. Cal. 1882), Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Co. (C.C.D. Cal 1883), and Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. (C.C.D. Cal 1883) and (C.C.D. Cal. 1884).

[Biography from the Univ. of California, Hastings Law School website]

His tombstone reads: "Erected to his memory by his students of the Hastings College of the Law"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Alexis "A.W." Von Schmidt - "Water-stealer of the century"

[Photo of von Schmidt grave by Michael Colbruno; von Schmidt Dredger photo from San Francisco Library photo archives]

The Prussian-born Alexis “A.W.” Von Schmidt arrived in San Francisco in the Gold Rush year of 1849, but didn’t partake in mining endeavors. A civil engineer by training, Von Schmidt worked as a surveyor, mapping public lands and Spanish land grants throughout the state and became a controversial figure in the California and Nevada’s water wars.

Although he was a very successful businessman in the dredging and water business, Von Schmidt is best known to history for three endeavors, none of which was completely successful.

In 1872 and 1873, von Schmidt was hired to mark the state line between Nevada and California. His survey erred slightly creating a crooked boundary that had to be corrected. There is a California State Historical marker commemorating his efforts on the border.

He will also be remembered as the man who devised a scheme to divert water from pristine Lake Tahoe, through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to San Francisco. Luckily, for future generations of people who have enjoyed the beautiful waters of Lake Tahoe, Nevada won this water war.

His third semi-failure occurred in 1873, when Von Schmidt was hired to find the perfect location for an astronomical observatory, funded by James Lick who made his fortune in real estate and the Gold Rush. Von Schmidt determined that the best location was on Dollar Point east of Tahoe City, but ultimately it was built in San Jose. In the case, hindsight may have proved the confident Von Schmidt correct.

Although he may be remembered for his grand failures, Von Schmidt had some major successes as a businessman. In June 1857, along with Mountain View Cemetery denizen Anthony Chabot and John Bensley, he found the San Francisco Water Works. The new company created the first regular supply of water from Lobos Creek, which previously was brought in on carts and sold at exorbitant prices.

In 1869, Von Schmidt titillated the residents of San Francisco with his plan to dynamite the submarine shelf between Alcatraz and Yerba Buena Island to open the channel for shipping. Residents gathered on Telegraph Hill to view the event, which Von Schimdt promised would “rock windows” and create an “earth wave.” Although the blast was successful, sending a column of water 200-feet in diameter into the sky, residents went home disappointed when the shockwaves failed to reach shore.

Alexis von Schmidt never built his “Grand Aqueduct,” but the water wars that he was so intimately involved with rage on with battles over Hetch Hetchy, north-south water rights and irrigation rights for the Central Valley.

Perhaps the Wednesday, April 25, 1900 issue of the Reno Gazette provided the most fitting epitaph for Von Schmidt when they lambasted him as “the would-be water stealer of the century” for his proposal to pipe water from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Joseph Dieves - Oakland Brewer and Hotelier

[Photos of Dieves gravesite by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 8

Joseph Dieves was an innkeeper and co-owner of the Oakland Brewery at 9th & Broadway Street in Oakland (later located at Telegraph & Durant).

Dieves was born in Heimetzheim on the Rhine in Germany and emigrated to the United States in 1847 after spending time in France, Holland and Belgium. He made a living as a cabinet maker and farmer. In 1853, he arrived in San Francisco where he lived for a year, before finally settling in Oakland.

In 1856, he opened the Eagle Hotel at 2nd & Broadway, one of Oakland’s busiest hotels. He ended up owning other hotels in the area before investing in the Oakland Brewery with Charles Kramm. During their ownership steam superceded horsepower and the brewery capacity increased from 250 barrels a year in 1853 to 18,000 in 1886. Kramm and Dieves were not only business partners, but they were next door neighbors for many years.

The Dieves gravestone is inspired by the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens in London. The design appeared twenty years earlier in Scotland, but became popular after Queen Victoria erected the Gothic style memorial in 1872.

Theresa Olanie - Cast Iron Gravestone with Interesting Elements

[Photos by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 5

This post isn’t so much about the person buried here, but it’s about her gravestone, which has some fascinating elements. From a distance her gravestone looks like a typical marble marker, but on closer inspection one can spot rust. Theresa’s gravestone is made out of cast iron, which according to Douglas Keister in “Going Out in Style” was an option provided to families without a lot of money. Cast iron gravestones are relatively rare and this is a particularly special one since it has other interesting features.

The broken column, which one often sees in cemeteries, is usually a symbol of a child or young person whose life was cut short. In this case, Theresa Olanie died of hepatitis at 35 years of age, leaving behind her 4-year-old daughter Jenny, who was born in East Oakland and barely survived a childhood bout with typhoid fever.

The base of the gravestone is adorned with four slightly rusty flames, which are a symbol of eternity.

Theresa and her husband Felix Xavier (F.X.) Olanie came to Oakland from Alsace-Lorraine while France was under the rule of Napolean III. They sold their house and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the ship New York. They made their way to San Francisco where they lived for seven years where F.X. worked as a patternmaker. The family became very involved with the local French community, which clustered around Clay Street.

The Brooklyn referred to on her gravestone is the old Oakland neighborhood, not the New York borough of the same name. According to family histories, F.X. married two more times to Jane and then to Katherina, both of whom the family records claim are buried in the family plot in Oakland. Felix died in 1907 of myocarditus and is also buried in the family plot.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Beverlee Peace Knudsen Holly Scott - Pioneering Editor

The name Leland Stanford Scott, Jr. caught my eye on this gravestone, but it turns out that his wife has the interesting biography. Not only does she come from interesting stock, but she had a pioneering career as a woman in journalism. Here's her obituary from the December 11, 1999 Contra Costa Times:

Beverlee Peace Knudsen Holly Scott died at her home in Kelly Ridge, Oroville, on Thanksgiving Day after a brief illness. She was the daughter of the late telephone pioneer, Ralph E. Knudsen, known as the "Man who linked the East to the West" when he made the last splice in the nation's first transcontinental telephone line at Wendover, Utah on June 17, 1914. Born the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the year the Great War ended, her middle name "Peace" was given to commemorate this day.*

The native Californian was born in Winters (Yolo County) and raised in Berkeley, where she attended school and served as president of the Theta Gamma Sorority.

She was a long time resident of Walnut Creek. In 1971 she married Leland Stanford Scott, Jr. They moved to Kelly Ridge in Oroville in 1975. They enjoyed world travel, fishing, hiking, and camping. He preceded her in death in 1995.

Mrs. Scott was a journalist and was the first editor of Tempo, a magazine for the State Farm insurance companies in Berkeley. She was a member of the Pacific Coast Association of Industrial Editors and was elected Corresponding Secretary, the first woman to hold this office. She was on staff of the Lafayette Sun prior to becoming founding editor of the Valley Pioneer Newspaper in Danville. She worked for the San Francisco Chronicle writing the Women's World column, also known as East Bay Banter. She served as Assistant Editor at Children's Hospital in Oakland prior to becoming Public Relations Director for Samuel Merritt Hospital, a position she held for fifteen years.

* Beverlee Scott's mother was Beulah Beryl Wallace, whose parents were Joseph M. and Augusta (Ruggles) Wallace of Yolo County.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Henry Brevard Davidson - Confederate General

Henry Brevard Davidson (1831-1899) was a Brigadier General who, according to Mountain View historian Dennis Evanosky, is one of only three Civil War veterans who fought for the Confederacy buried at the cemetery.

Davidson fought in the Mexican War at the Battle of Monterey and subsequently received an appointment to West Point. Davidson resigned his commission in the United States Army to serve his native state of Tennessee on the side of the Confederates. He rose to the rank of Brigadier General in 1863. He served under General Joe Wheeler in Rome, Georgia, where he created quite a ruckus with the troops when he adorned their horses with bright red calico sashes.

He later moved to California and became a civil engineer with the Southern Pacific Railroad.

From 1878 to 1886 he was inspector of United States public works at San Pedro, California and a year later was appointed deputy Secretary of State of California.

According to Evanosky, his grave remained unmarked until November 1990, when the Civil War Roundtable placed the bronze marker shown above at his gravesite.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Charles Lux - Once owned 1/7 of California

[Photos by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 28

Charles Lux was born in Hatten, Alsace in 1823. In 1838, he ran away from home and made his way to New York City where he landed a job as a delivery boy with Fulton Meat Market. In 1853, he made his way to San Francisco where he opened his own meat market on Washington Street in 1857.

Originally he worked as a butcher, before seizing the opportunity to buy cattle and land. He expanded his holdings to include 80,000 head of cattle and 700 miles of telegraph property. In 1858, he entered into business with fellow butcher and competitor Henry Miller. They formed Miller & Lux and their properties eventually included parts of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Monterey, San Benito, Merced, Stanislaus, Fresno, Tulare, Kern and San Louis Obispo counties, as well as additional properties in Oregon and Nevada. At one time, it was reported that Miller & Lux owned one-seventh of California. It was said that they could start their cattle at the southern limit of Arizona and drive them to Oregon without ever leaving their property.

Miller & Lux was located at Sacramento & Kearney in San Francisco and also had offices in the Central Valley.

He died of pneumonia on March 15, 1887, leaving half of his $20,000,000 estate to his wife and eleven heirs. One of his heirs, his nephew Charles Lux died penniless in 1910 after living life as a playboy and bon vivant from San Francisco to Paris London and Rome.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Clover and Elk

[Photo by Michael Colbruno. Click on the image for a larger view]

One of the most famous monuments at Mountain View Cemetery is the giant statue of an elk. Usually when you see a photo of the elk it's a typical straight on shot of the statue, often with a dramatic sky in the background. I took this shot from afar with the exploding blooms of clover in the foreground and the usually dominant elk a mysterious figure in the background, almost seeming alive and roaming around the grounds.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Samson Palmer and Aaron Boswell, King of the Gypsies

[Gravestone photos by Michael Colbruno; Drawings from the Oakland Tribune]

Samson Palmer, Plot 11
Aaron Boswell, Plot 14B

About a year ago, on one of my many walks through Mountain View Cemetery, I stumbled across a tombstone that read, “Samson Palmer, Killed by Dick Woodruff, In Minn., Oct. 25, 1885. Aged 45 years.’ I had never seen a grave marker with someone’s killer on it before so I ran home to Google the name, but nothing came up. Finally, a few weeks ago, I found an old newspaper article from 1906 that solved the mystery and created a new one.

Samson Palmer was a gypsy who was killed by his nephew Dick Woodruff “in a fit of temper,” according to a 1906 article in the Oakland Tribune. But the article went on to state that Aaron Boswell, the King of the Gypsies, was also buried at Mountain View Cemetery. With the help of docent Stafford Buckley, who often accompanies me on my walks, we located the location of his grave. I was shocked to find that Aaron Boswell, King of the Gypsies, lies under an old oak tree not far from the glorious Colton mausoleum, with nothing left but a broken and abandoned gravestone. Boswell’s cemetery records read, “Aaron Boswell aged 47. Born in England and Died of Dissipation.”

The newspaper accounts describe a funeral service that many of us probably never imagined occurred in Oakland. I have never heard about the gypsies in Oakland and I’ve read most Oakland histories and spent countless hours in the historical archives at the Main Library.

According to the Tribune of Sunday, December 3, 1907:

“The cemetery attendants who were at the funeral say the kings were buried in iron coffins and that the funeral services were conducted by Episcopal ministers. The Gypsies came in their camp wagons and wore their usual gaudy colors and bright beads. All except the royal family. They never wear bright colors or anything showy.
“King Boswell was born in England…He did not have to work unless he wished, for the band always supported him and everything he said was listened to and abeyed with the greatest of reverence. He was a handsome, dignified old man, very popular with his people. When he died he had wagons, harnesses and other property which was valued at over $8,000. These were all destroyed, for it is a custom of the Gypsies to burn everything belonging to the dead – their wearing apparel, wagons, harnesses and even the jewelry. The silver after it is melted is sold again.”

Old newspaper accounts tell of gypsy encampments in the city of Oakland and Emeryville as well as in the East Bay hills, where they could be found cooking vegetables and rabbit, or other animals hunted down in the vast wilderness.

According to the article on Boswell and Palmer, Gypsy encampments had been in Oakland for twenty-five years at the time of their deaths.

Around the beginning of the 20th Century, Gypsy populations in California were estimated at around 300 people. American gypsies generally came here from Europe, often England and Scotland, and their roots can be traced back to India. Even their language, which is a peculiar form of English, has Sanskrit elements. Gypsy lore claims that the Romany people started to drift into Europe after the Tartar Khan drove them from India around 1235. After about 1300, they began spreading throughout Europe and much later made their way to America.

The preeminent gypsy historian Konrad Bercovici claims that gypsies first came to America around 1790.

The rule of the Gypsy King was a tradition of English gypsies that made its way to the clans who settled on the West Coast. Occasionally, they would be ruled by a queen, but it was uncommon. The flashy gypsies of modern folklore who traveled with monkeys and other animals were rooted in southern European gypsy culture and not common to this area. Most of the gypsies in Oakland wore plain clothing and traveled in drab wagons, unlike their flashier counterparts.

They moved around in caravans for two reasons, work and social attitudes. For many gypsies in California seasonal farm work was all that was available to them. They would pick crops during the harvest season and then move on. Upon arrival in Oakland they would set up carts on street corners and offer services like fortune-telling, knife sharpening or sell their wares. Because they were often unkempt and mistrusted, they were asked to leave and, thus, they were nomadic.

There is some dispute as to the religious beliefs of gypsies. Most of the Oakland gypsies were descendants of the Catholic or Episcopalian faiths. A 1923 Oakland Tribune article claimed that “the Romany tongue holds no words for God, the soul, or immortality” However, records show that parts of the Bible have been translated into the Romany language.

Thirty years after Boswell and Palmer were buried, the Gypsies made news again in Oakland when a 15-year-old girl was kidnapped by a band of Gypsies. An account from the December 10, 1915 Oakland Tribune gives her account of life with the Gypsies:

“The life in the Gypsy camp was horrible. For over a year I have not had a bath. It was hard to be allowed even to wash my face and hands. I was made to sleep sometimes upon the bare earth
“Last night one of the Gypsy women became a mother. They gave her a piece of canvas for a bed. No doctor was called, but she did not seem to mind. She had no trouble, and if her man ordered her she would carry her day-old baby along the road or sit in one of the wagons all day while the camp moved to another city.
“It was a horrible life. It has left its mark upon me and life will never seem the same.
“There are other girls who have been kidnapped who have never been heard of. I have talked with them in other Gypsy camps. They have never been able to escape and the terrible life has ruined their bodies and their feelings.”

After her story made the news, federal authorities began an investigation and local authorities from the health department checked out the conditions in the camps and promised that the Gypsies would be permanently removed from Oakland. Apparently, the authorities weren’t completely successful, as I found accounts of gypsies in Oakland for a revival meeting in 1923, led by their then King, Naylor Harrison.

According to Dr. Walter Starkle, a leading expert on gypsies, their demise in America occurred around 1933 when the United States abandoned the gold standard. Gypsy wealth was predicated on their ownership of gold and once it was abandoned their wealth was quickly squandered with the new paper currency.

[Original text by Michael Colbruno]

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Henry Bratnober - Mining Legend; Associate of Guggenheims and Rothschilds

[Photo of grave by Michael Colbruno; Third photo, Henry with niece Pauline]

Plot 45

Henry Bratnober was born in Castrine, Prussia in 1849 and immigrated to Galena, Illinois with his family in 1854. In 1864, he joined the 36th Wisconsin Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. In 1866, he traveled to Montana and began a career as a miner. In 1897, he traveled to the Klondike country in Alaska where he became an associate of the Guggenheims, worked as the western representative for the Rothschilds and bought and sold mines for the London Exploration Company.

Bratnober played a major role in the development of the Alaska gold and copper mines and the construction of a 400-mile Alaskan rail line for J. Pierpont Morgan and the Guggenheims. Bratnober settled in many previously unexplored regions of Alaska looking for gold. The records show many great successes as well as some massive failures. Historical accounts also seem to indicate that he was a colorful figure with and oversized personality.

In 1903, Bratnober made national news when he rescued three men from starvation in the outlands of Alaska and managed to alert authorities who were then sent to assist hundreds of other men who were left behind without provisions.

At the end of the 19th Century, Henry and his wife Ella purchased the Gamble House (see photo) in Piedmont, located at Piedmont Avenue and Bonita. The mansion which no longer exists was located on seven acres and had a carriage house. News accounts claim that Henry’s den had one of the largest collections of animal heads on the West Coast, including bison and reindeer.

By 1907, Bratnober’s fortunes apparently took a turn for the worse and he sold his impressive house. Records show that he briefly lived in East Oakland and eventually lived with his brother. In 1914, he applied for a Civil War pension from the federal government. His brother Augustus wrote to his sister that Henry had “wasted half a million dollars.”

The Bratnobers had no children. He died in Livermore, California in 1914 after a brief illness.

Bratnober has a mountain named after him in the Yukon Territory, Canada.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Edward B. Pond - Mayor of San Francisco

[Photos of Edward Pond gravesite by Michael Colbruno; Photos of Edward Pond and Pond residence from San Francisco Public Library photo archives]

Plot 33

Edward Pond (1833-1910) was the Mayor of San Francisco from 1887-1891 and the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of California in 1890, a race he lost to Henry Markham. Pond succeeded Washington Bartlett as Mayor, who is also buried at Mountain View Cemetery and whose bio can be found on this blog.

Pond was a descendant of some of this country's earliest settlers. His family settled in America just fifteen years after the landing of the Mayflower and his grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War.

Pond was raised and educated in New York, but was lured to California by tales of gold in the hills. In 1854, he settled in Chico where he lived until he moved to San Francisco in 1857. In San Francisco he ran the wholesale house of Pond & Reynolds and became a prominent grain merchant.

He served for two term on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (1882-1886) before easily being elected Mayor in 1886. As Mayor, Pond became known for regularly vetoing legislation passed by the Board of Supervisors. They regularly overturned the Mayor and became known as the "Solid Nine." Upon taking office he inherited a debt of $520,000, which was substantial for the time. Pond discovered that the gas and water companies had not been paying their share of taxes. He negotiated a settlement and turned the deficit into a surplus.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rev. Horatio Stebbins - Successor to Thomas Starr King; U.C. Trustee

[Photo of Stebbins gravesite by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 2

Reverend Horatio Stebbins was the successor to the famed orator Thomas Starr King at San Francisco's First Unitarian Church. Stebbins preached at the church for 30 years.

Stebbins attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard College and finally Harvard Divinity School. During the Civil War years Stebbins preached in Portland, Maine where he attracted attention for his independence of thought. Meanwhile, Thomas Starr King was waging an oratorical war to keep California in the Union. Exhausted from his lecture tour King died of diptheria at age 39. Stebbins was summoned to California in 1864 to replace King.

Stebbins also involved himself in civic affairs, serving as a trustee of the University of California for twenty-six years and serving as president of the trustees of the College of California.

Stebbins was a workaholic, who preached twice a day and rarely took a vacation.
After his health began to fail, Stebbins moved back to his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he died.

Henry P. Coon - San Francisco Mayor, Teacher & Businessman

[Photo of Coon gravesite by Michael Colbruno; Entry excerpted from Wikipedia]

Plot 2

Henry Perrin Coon (September 30, 1822 - December 4, 1884) was the 11th Mayor of San Francisco 1863 to 1867. Henry Perrin Coon was one of the most versatile men ever to hold the office. He worked as a teacher, doctor, lawyer, druggist and businessman.

Henry Perrin Coon was born in Columbia County, New York, the youngest of 13 children. After college, a severe cold settled into his throat that spoiled his voice for public speaking, which he ultimately regained in California's milder climate. At that point, he selected medicine as his profession. After receiving his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Medicine in 1848, he returned to Hudson, New York where he married Ruthetta Folger on September 18, 1849. He then established a medical practice in Syracuse, New York. In 1853, he left for California, leaving his wife and infant daughter behind for the time being, although they joined him the following year. He and Ruthetta ultimately had four children: three sons and a daughter.

After arriving in San Francisco in 1853, he established a new medical practice, complete with an apothecary shop and a chemical-importing company. Coon also participated in organizing manufacturing and wholesale vinegar businesses. He was an active member of San Francisco's Vigilance committee of 1856. When the Vigilance committee transformed itself into a political party called the Peoples' Party later that year, he was the party's nominee for police judge. He was elected to the judgeship on November 4, 1856, receiving 8,706 votes out of 11,038 cast.

Coon established a reputation for being tough on criminals (compared to the previous attitude of leniency toward them). Coon also gained notoriety for refusing to stop a duel between California Supreme Court Justice David S. Terry and U.S. Senator David C. Broderick, in which Broderick was killed. At the end of his second term in 1860, Coon stepped down from the post to return to his medical practice. In early 1861, he and his family traveled to the East Coast but returned to San Francisco late that year when he again resumed the practice of medicine.

Coon reluctantly ran for mayor in 1863 after being approached by the People's Party, winning by nearly a thousand votes in the election of May 16, 1863. While he spent his first two years in office with ceremonial duties, including participating in the opening of the Bank of California, and leading a procession through the streets after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, his second two-year term would be quite traumatic.

In the same election in which Coon was first elected, there had been a bond measure known as the Railroad Subscription Act. The measure -- which easily passed -- called for the city government to issue $650,000 in bonds for an equal amount of stock in the Central Pacific Railroad Company. Coon, at first, refused to issue the bonds. After the railroad company obtained an injunction ordering him to do so, he acquiesced.

He also opposed William Ralston's plan to extend Montgomery Street past Howard Street in the South of Market area, even though he helped Ralston open the Bank of California. Ralston had bought land south of the intersection and had obtained approval from the Board of Supervisors. However, after Coon's veto, Ralston had to content himself with building the Palace Hotel.

Coon also turned his energies to adorning the city. He hired a crew to survey a very sandy area in the western part of the city. This sandy area would be the site of Golden Gate Park.

After leaving office in 1867, he did not resume the practice of medicine but engaged in the insurance business as well as dealing in real estate. He amassed enough wealth to purchase two large ranches, one of them became part of the campus of Stanford University.

His wife, Ruthetta, died in 1877 and he remarried the next year to the widow of a Navy doctor.

Coon died of heart failure on December 4, 1884 at Ralston's Palace Hotel.

View of Oakland from Mountain View Cemetery

[Photo by Michael Colbruno]

Edward Stanly - Fiery Politician in Two States

[Photo of Stanly gravesite by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 2

The Stanly family plot at Mountain View is always one of the best maintained in the entire cemetery. Someone always comes by to change the flowers and keep everything tidy. Edward Stanly was from a family of spirited and temperamental men who made their mark in politics and battle.

Edward Stanly was the son of North Carolina Congressman John Stanly whose claim to fame was killing the state’s former governor Richard Spaight, Sr. in a duel in 1802. Two of his uncles were also killed in duels and Edward Stanly was involved in two non-fatal duels, as well a couple of fistfights on the floor of Congress.

Stanly was elected to Congress from North Carolina at age 27 where he served from 1837-1843 and again from 1849-1853. Between his Congressional terms, he served in the North Carolina House of Commons and was the State’s Attorney General for just over a year.

Although a Whig, he was so devoted to the Union that he was referred to as a “Southerner with Northern principles.” Unfortunately for Stanly, his fellow Southerners practically considered him a traitor, while Northerners never quite trusted his loyalty.

After leaving Congress he moved to California and set up a successful law firm in San Francisco. He made a small fortune as an attorney and attempted a political comeback. In 1855, he unsuccessfully ran for the California State Senate as a Whig. By 1856, the Whig’s were pretty much out of existence and Stanly became a Republican. In 1857, he became the Republican candidate for Governor, beating eight challengers at the State Convention. He was trounced in the General Election by Democrat John Weller.

Stanly was appointed as a military governor by Abraham Lincoln and agreed with him that the primary purpose of the Civil War was to restore the Union. However, the issue of slavery created tension between the two men. Against Stanly’s advice, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation leading Stanly to believe that the President was yielding to Congressional radicals and that his action would only prolong the war.

Stanly returned to practicing law and was so frustrated with Lincoln and the Republicans that he was buried as a Democrat.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Otis Painter - Dapper Crime Victim

[Photos by Michael Colbruno]

Otis Painter wasn't famous like most of the people on this blog, he was a clerk at a local store. But there is something special about this post, because of all the graves in Mountain View Cemetery the photo on his grave is my absolute favorite. He looks like quite the character with his mischievous grin, giant derby and oversized collar set off by a pipe that seems strangely out of place.

Unfortunately, Otis Painter wasn't around for long to make his mark on society. At the age of 20, he was attacked on Broadway Street in downtown Oakland by three men looking for money. During the attack Otis Painter's skull was fractured and although he somehow managed to make his way to Alameda County Hospital, he died eight days later.

John H. Tingman - Comstock Lode Pioneer and Noted Editor

[Photo of Tingman gravesite by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 6

John Henry Tingman (1848-1907) was a miner who played a prominent role in the development of the Comstock Lode. In 1861, he was named the first Treasurer of Douglas County, Nevada.

He later became the editor of the famed San Francisco weekly the City Argus. That career ended with the great fire and earthquake of 1906. He was actively involved in the San Francisco Stock Exchange and later became involved with the journal Commerce. In 1904, he published a booklet entitled “The Comstock Lode.”

Tingman was born in Alabama and moved to Sacramento, California with his parents at age two. He died of a heart attack in San Francisco.