Friday, July 18, 2008

Vincent Milatovich - Provided Delicacies and Liquor to Gold Rush Miners

[Milatovich gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]

Vincent Milatovich emigrated from Dubrovnik, Dalmatia and operated a grocery store and saloon in and around Virginia City. His store became one of the largest foreign delicacy business in Nevada. In 1870, Milatovich opened a grocery and liquor store in Reno. His stores specialized in French and Italian wines, truffles, Italian mushrooms, roasted chestnuts, imported cheeses, sardines, herrings, Russian caviar and Pagoliano syrup.

Many Croatians arrived during the Gold Rush to work as miners, settling primarily in Virginia City, Carson City, Reno, Gold Hill and Eureka City. Many Croatians, like Milatovich, chose to make their living in businesses that supported the miners.

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Louis Buddemer - Died at Stanford-Cal Football Game

[Buddemer gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]

Louis Buddemer (1847-1904) owned one of the largest plumbing companies in Portland, Oregon. A large man with an enormous appetite for sports, Buddemer died when he became excited at the annual “Big Game” between Cal and Stanford and fell from the bleachers.

Although it was initially believed that he had a heart attack, an autopsy revealed that he fractured his upper backbone.

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Gideon Aughinbaugh - Founder of Alameda

[Aughinbaugh gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]

For a great biography on Gideon Aughinbaugh, read the article by local historian and Mountain View Cemetery docent Dennis Evanosky at:

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Guido Kustel - Famous Mining Engineer of the Comstock Lode

[Kustel gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]

Guido Kustel (1817-1882), was a mining engineer and metallurgist who was active in the Comstock Lode and other regions of the west. At one time, no mining engineer on the West Coast was better known than Kustel. He was one of the few engineers who was willing to publish about his experience for the benefit of others.

Mr. Kustel was born in Galacia, Austria (once a part of Poland), and was educated at Freiberg, Saxony. He came to California in 1851, and became a pioneer in the mining regions. When the Washoe excitement broke out he went to Nevada and was among the first to work the silver ores. He started amalgamation works there on the Tyrolean tub-amalgamation principle, and later the pan amalgamation principle. He introduced the roasting and barrel-amalgamation process at the Ophir works, and was for a long time connected with the metallurgical progress of that region.

In 1863 Mr. Kustel published his work on "Processes of Gold and Silver Extraction," which created a sensation. His next works were "Concentration and Chlorination" and "Roasting of Gold and Silver Ores."

With his nephew Ottokar Hoffman, he experimented with the lixiviation of ores. Kustel obtained several patents and he discovered a new mineral, a combination of lead and gold, found on the Comstock Lode. It was subsequently named 'Kustelite'.

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DeWitt Clinton Thompson - Civil War Leader, Businessman, Politician

[DeWitt Thompson gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]

Dewitt’s insurance certificate reads in part: “...assured is to take his own risk of death from hostile Indians.”

DeWitt Clinton Thompson (1826-1919) arrived in San Francisco on the steamer California in 1849 where he became one of the founders of the California guard. He distinguished himself by recruiting members for the California Hundred and the California Cavalry Battalion, whose men served in the Civil War. Thompson accompanied the latter group as commanding officer when it went east to join the Massachusetts Cavalry.

After the war Thompson became prominent in San Francisco real estate, brokerage, banking and became a city official in San Francisco. In 1854, he became one of the founders of the State Agricultural Society. In 1865 he organized the National Insurance Company and three years later he founded the California Trust Company. In 1876, he went on to found the Bank of Commerce.

He was appointed Major General of California in 1874.

He died at his home in Santa Rosa on May 13, 1919.

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View Through the Trees

[Photo by Michael Colbruno; click on photo for larger view]

The light at Mountain View Cemetery was particularly intense on July 1, 2008 after days of being covered in a smoky haze from the forest fires in the areas. This view through one of the many old oak trees was particularly intense.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Henderson Luelling - Father of the Pacific Fruit Industry; Founder of Fruitvale

[Luelling gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]

Plot 10

Henderson Luelling (1810-1879) was a pioneering nurseryman who introduced varietal fruit to the Willamette Valley in Oregon and later to California. In 1847, Luelling, his wife, and eight children came west on the Oregon Trail, bringing a wagon loaded with an assortment of 50 or 60 varieties of apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, quince, black walnuts, hickory nuts, gooseberries, currants, and grapes. All told, the wagon had about 700 young plants, which he loaded into two long, narrow boxes in his wagon that were filled with charcoal, manure, and soil. He assiduously cared for them every day during the long journey, prompting his daughter to exclaim that he cared more about the trees than his family.

In spite of everyone’s advice that he would never get them across the Plains, Luelling got the plants and trees to Oregon, where he took them out of their boxes, wrapped them carefully, and took them to the Columbia River to start a nursery. Ultimately Luelling’s fruit trees became the parent stock of most of the orchards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Settling in Milwaukie, Oregon, Luelling started a nursery with his son-in-law, William Meek. He planted his "traveling orchard," and began grafting trees. By 1853, he had 100,000 trees for sale, selling them for $1 to $1.50 each. By bringing the finest varieties of fruit to Oregon, Luelling greatly advanced horticulture on the west coast.

In 1853, taking advantage of the Gold Rush, Lewelling sold his share of the business to Meek, moved to California, established a nursery and founded the community of Fruitvale in Oakland. Today, Lewelling is known as the Father of the Pacific Fruit Industry. The fruit industry ended up bringing greater wealth to the State of California than all of the gold ever produced there.

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Frederick Gardner Cottrell - Inventor of Electrostatic Precipitators for Pollution Control

[Cottrell gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]

Frederick Gardner Cottrell (1877-1948) was born in Oakland, California, and his childhood hobbies included photography, electricity, telegraphy, and publishing a weekly newspaper. Cottrell received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1896 and did one year of graduate work there; next he taught high school in Oakland for three years, then journeyed to Europe to study first with Jacobus Henricus van't Hoff in Berlin and later with Wilhelm Ostwald in Leipzig, where he received his doctorate in 1902. He was a professor of chemistry at the University of California, at Berkeley from 1903 to 1911.

However, his primary source of fame is as the inventor of electrostatic precipitators for removal of suspended particles from gases. These devices are widely used for abatement of pollution by smoke from power plants and dust from cement kilns and other industrial sources. He conducted his earliest ventures into electrostatic precipitation at the University of California, at Berkeley. As industrial smokestacks became a common sight at the turn of the century, Frederick Cottrell realized that pollution might be controlled and that valuable raw materials were vanishing into the atmosphere with the unwanted gases.

Cottrell entered the pollution cleanup business because DuPont wanted to eliminate a problem in a process designed to manufacture sulfuric acid. DuPont hired Cottrell in 1906 as a consultant at its facility at Pinole.

In 1907 he applied for a patent that passed high-voltage direct current to a discharge electrode which leaked the charge onto particles passing by in the fumes. These charged particles were then electrically attracted to an electrode with an opposite charge, where they could be collected and retrieved as valuable minerals or chemical compounds. Cottrell's electrostatic precipitator, which became known simply as a 'Cottrell,' used high voltage electricity to remove from 90-98% of the ash, dust, and acid which industrial smokestacks spewed into the air. Today electrostatic precipitators are found mainly on large power plants, cement plants, incinerators, and various boiler application. The term 'cottrell' can still be found in the unabridged dictionary.

In 1911 he resigned from the university to join the United States Bureau of Mines, of which he eventually became director in 1919. There he worked in the World War I programs to develop processes to fix nitrogen for explosives and to distill helium from air for lighter-than-air craft. From 1922 to 1930 he served as the director of the Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory in the Department of Agriculture.

Next to the electrostatic removal of particles from smokestack gases, Cottrell is probably best remembered for his creation of the Research Corporation in 1912 with the help of Charles Walcott, then secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. This foundation was set up to receive income from his patents and the patents of other public-spirited inventors and to distribute these funds to university researchers in the physical sciences as seed money. The Research Corporation provided funds for Ernest Lawrence's development of the cyclotron, R.H. Goddard's experiments with rockets, the processes for volume production of vitamins A and B1, and some of Robert Burns Woodward's early organic syntheses of complex organic molecules like the drug reserpine.

The foundation continues to underwrite scientific research that might not otherwise gain support and has helped to secure and develop over 750 patents.

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Flora Haines Loughead - Mother of Lockheed Corporation

[Loughead gravestone photo by Michael Colbruno]

Flora Haines Loughead (1855-1943) was born in Wisconsin to John Penly and Mary Haines. Loughead was a woman ahead of her time. She was a journalist, married three times, had five children by two husbands, worked her own mining claims, farmed thirty-five acres, wrote many articles, short stories and more than a dozen books. Today, she is probably best remembered as the “Mother of Lockheed Corporation.”

Her first marriage to architect Charles E. Aponnyi ended in divorce after years of physical abuse. The marriage yielded three children, May Hope, Victor Rudolph and John Haines, who died as an infant. In 1886 she married John Loughead (pronounced Lockheed), who adopted the children. Loughead was of Scots-Irish descent, the name indicating that his family lived at the head of a lake. John and Flora had two sons, Malcolm and Allan. Her third husband was David A. Gutierrez, of whom little is known.

In 1902, Flora moved the children, without her husband, to a thirty-five-acre ranch near Alma, California where she raised grapes, prunes and other fruits.

At the turn of the century, making a living on a ranch of this size was difficult, so she began writing feature articles for the San Francisco Chronicle and Sunset magazine. She also embarked on a successful book-writing career, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her novels included The Man Who Was Guilty, The Black Curtain, and The Abandoned Claim--the last one a children's book featuring a girl heroine named "Hope" after her daughter. She also wrote two standard library reference works, The Libraries of California and The Dictionary of Given Names. She had a scientific as well as a domestic bent, writing The Natural Sciences and Quick Cooking, the latter dedicated to "busy housewives."

In 1912, her sons Allan and Malcolm Loughead founded the Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company. This company was renamed the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company and located in Santa Barbara, California. In 1926, following the failure of Loughead, Allan Loughead formed the Lockheed Aircraft Company (the spelling was changed to match its phonetic pronunciation) in Hollywood, California. In 1929 Lockheed sold out to Detroit Aircraft Corporation.

In her eighties, Flora returned to mining and she prospected for opals in mines near the Nevada-California border. Living alone, , she supplemented her income by sealing as many as three dozen opals in small, half-round glass paperweights that sold in department stores for up to five dollars each.

This indomitable mother of an aviation family died on January 27, 1943, the apparent victim of heart failure.

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