Friday, June 29, 2012

Luther Fillmore (1826-1905) - Railroad Pioneer; Erie Canal Contractor

Fillmore family lot (Photo by Michael Colbruno)
Oakland Tribune, Dec. 18, 1905



Luther Fillmore, formerly superintendent, of the Southern Pacific Coast Railroad between Oakland and Santa Cruz, died this morning.

Mr. Fillmore was one of the early pioneers and was prominently identified with the early settlement of Colorado and California, and helped to blaze the railroad trail into the Far West.


Mr. Fillmore, was born at Fayetteville, N. Y., and at an early age decided to fling his fortunes into the lap of the West. When only twenty-one years of age Mr. Fillmore took a contract to grade a section of the Syracuse and Binghampton Railroad in New York State, and in 1848 was the principal contractor in the rebuilding of the Erie Canal. He then went over to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, with which road he was associated for fifteen years, attaining to the highest positions in its service.
Southern Pacific Coast Railroad


In 1869 Mr. Fillmore went to Denver and was instrumental in pushing much of the railroad 
work which at that time sent Denver and the State of Colorado ahead with such rapid strides. 
From there Mr. Fillmore went to Wyoming and became division superintendent at Laramie on 
the Union Pacific Railroad. He was later superintendent of the Union Pacific from Cheyenne 
to Ogden, when his name, was interwoven with the names of D.C. Dodge, Sidney Newton and 
the late Senators Fair and Leland Stanford in many big enterprises. In March, 1884, Mr. 
Fillmore accepted the management of the Southern Pacific Coast Railroad, under the Fair regime, 
and made that road one of the best paying systems in the West, and was instrumental in
improving the ferry service between San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda.


In 1896, after twelve years active service, he was compelled on account of ill health and 
advancing years to retire, much to the regret of the Southern Pacific employes, with whom, he 
was most popular, and who regarded him more as a friend than an employer, and he had at the 
same time the faculty of getting more conscientious attention to duty from his subordinates than any
other man on the road. During the last few years of his life Mr. Fillmore has been residing at 
Laramie, Wyoming, looking after his large cattle interests in that State. About a year ago he
returned to California in search of a less rigorous climate.

Mr. Fillmore came of an old railroad family, and his nephew, the late J.M. Fillmore, was manager 
of the Pacific Coast Railroad between Port Hartford and San Luis Obispo. He mas born 
near Syracuse, N Y, and was a relative of President Millard Fillmore, his father being a cousin of 
the President.


At the time of his death Mr Fillmore was seventy-nine years of age. He is survived by a widow 
and four daughters. Mrs. Luther Fillmore, the widow is at present with her daughter, Mrs. Clyde 
Opelt and owing to sickness and old age will be unable to be present at the funeral. Mr. 
Fillmore’s daughters are Mrs. W.H. Adams of 123 Eighth Street Oakland, Mrs M.C. Brown 
of Seattle, Mrs. C. Opelt of Denver, and Mrs. G. Tinkham of Chicago. A son-in-law, W.H.
Adams the capitalist, resides at 123 Eighth Street.

The funeral services will be held at the home of his daughter on Wednesday next. Dr. 
Homer J. Vosburgh of the First Baptist Church will officiate. The remains will be Interred in 
the Oakland cemetery.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Angels, Cherubs and Puttos at Mountain View Cemetery

Crocker Angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Schmidt Angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)

The Crocker and Schmidt angels have become the unofficial icons of Mountain View Cemetery. An angel sitting on a grave, like these angels,  represents an untimely death. Albert Schmidt, a prominent real estate developer, erected this angel in memory of his daughter who died from a bout with acute appendicitis. You can read about Henry Crocker at a previous post.

These two angels are probably the most photographed graves at Mountain View Cemetery. There are entire websites and photo sites dedicated to funerary angels and they seem to fascinate people of all ages. Angels are generally thought of as messengers to heaven and therefore always have wings, although that wasn't always the case. Originally, angels were depicted as young men and didn't appear with wings until the 5th century. As you can see from these pictures of some of the more prominent angels at Mountain View Cemetery, they can evoke a number of moods and are often covered with symbolism.

Edward Bushell Angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Edward Bushell was described by the Oakland Tribune as a "capitalist."

Edward Newland (photo by Michael Colbruno)
 You can read about Edward and Kate Newland at a previous post.

Tribute to Ralph & Nellie (photo by Michael Colbruno)
This putto appears to be in honor of Ralph Mead's children Ralph and Nellie. A putto is a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually nude and sometimes winged. In decorative art they represent the purveyor of love.

Crane putto (photo by Michael Colbruno)
This is another version of a putto. The realistic face set in wings evolved from the skull set in wings known as "Death's Head." Other symbols to look for that honor children are an angel holding flowers, which usually indicates the death of a child.  Angels with daisies represent the innocence and purity of a child and an angel with roses is an appeal to the Virgin Mary.

Conrad Liese Angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)
The Conrad Liese angel is packed with symbolism. An angel pointing one finger upward is leading the soul toward heaven (two fingers pointing up represents the hand of God); the trumpet represents the Archangel Gabriel who stands ready to issue the call to resurrection; the star on an angel's crown indicates the spirit rising to heaven. You can read more about Conrad Liese at a previous post

Other symbols that can be found with angels include:
  • Swords, which convey protection, leadership, purity in thought and valor. 
  • Scrolls, which represent messages, oracles, divine communications, faith or sacred knowledge 
  • Roses in the hand of an angel can represent everlasting love or purity. A lily can represent either purity or faith in God.    
  • Flames and torches convey the inner light of the soul. Occasionally, and angel can be found at the grave of a child with an upside down torch, which represents a life extinguished too soon. 
  • The wings are symbols of the higher realms of existence, ascension and spiritual mobility.
  • Hearts can convey health, healing, love, devotion and compassion. These are more common in Catholic cemeteries.     
  • Trumpets and horns announce important news or a triumphant declaration.
Bradbury Angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)
The angel sits on a track that moves when the door of the family mausoleum is opened. You can read about Simona and Lewis Bradbury at a previous post

Below you'll find a weeping angel grieving over two hearts, which is one of the more recent additions to the cemetery. Below that is an angel embedded in a gravestone, which honors Thomas Rickard, an early pioneer of Berkeley.

Emma Au weeping angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Thomas Rickard (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Hugh McCormick Angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Nancy Joyce Nutter Angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)

JR Hord Angel (photo by Michael Colbruno)
We don't know much about J.R. Hord, but he's one of the few burials who was born in the 18th century.
Kittie's Angel  (photo by Michael Colbruno)
This angel, who has unfortunately lost her left hand and a cross from her right hand to the ravages of time, was built in memory of Catherine Bathrust Thomson. Known as Kittie, she lived from 1861-65. Her father was a prominent politician and trustee at Mountain View Cemetery. You can read more about him at a previous post.

Elizabeth Miller (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Nelly Albeck (photo by Michael Colbruno)
The laurel wreath that this angel is holding can represent spiritual victory, eternity, immortality and chastity. Laurel leaves represent the concept of eternity and immortality because they don't fade or wilt.

Elizabeth Martin (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Barsam Movessian (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Jane Anne Grening 1927-28 (photo by Michael Colbruno)

Leonard Overton (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Charles Twombly (photo by Michael Colbruno)
Like the Bradbury angel above, the Twombly angel sits on a track that moves when the door of the family mausoleum is opened. You can read about the Twombly and Burchard families at a previous post.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Edwin Baird Mastick (1824-1901) Alameda Pioneer, Attorney, Politician

E.B. Mastick Family Plot
PLOT 27, LOT 70

By Dennis Evanosky
Edwin Baird Mastick was born in Burton, Ohio on March 22, 1824, to Benjamin and Elizabeth “Eliza” Tomlinson Mastick.  He was the second of nine children. While Edwin was still an infant, his parents moved to Rockport, Ohio. Edwin attended law school in Cleveland and began his practice there. When he was 24, he married Lucretia Mary Wood whose family lived in Rockport.

Three years after his marriage Edwin set off for California. Just after his arrival, he obtained a clerkship at the California Supreme Court.

Over the next 43 years Edwin built a large law practice with offices at 520 Montgomery Street in San Francisco.  He sat as a senior partner in the firms of Mastick & Mastick, Mastick, Belcher & Mastick and Mastick, Van Fleet & Mastick.

Oakland Mole, Station for the San Francisco and Oakland Railroad
Edwin lived in Alameda for thirty-seven years from 1864 until his death in 1901. He had a large estate bordered on the north and south by Pacific and Railroad avenues and on the east and west by Wood and Prospect streets. The city renamed Railroad Avenue to Lincoln Avenue in 1909. Wood Street was named for Lucretia’ s family; Prospect Street is Eighth Street today.

Edwin sat on the board of directors of A.A. Cohen’s San Francisco & Alameda Railroad. Cohen, a fellow Mountain View Cemetery denizen, named the railroad’s first locomotive "E B Mastick" for Edwin and placed one of SF&A’s stations at Edwin’s doorstep on today’s Lincoln Avenue.  

Mastick School in Alameda (circa 1908)

Edwin also served as a member of Alameda’s board of trustees (an entity comparable to the modern-day city council) from 1878 to 1893. He served as the board’s president (the equivalent of today’s mayor) from 1883 to 1893.

Edwin died on February 17, 1901. His funeral took place at Mountain View the following Thursday, Feb. 20. “Sacred music appropriate to the occasion was furnished by the Knickerbocker Quartet,” The Oakland Tribune reported the following day. “The floral tributes were both numerous and beautiful.” The Tribune also informed its readers that, “A host of  friends, among them some of California’s most distinguished public men, attended the funeral and paid their last respects to the departed.” 

Edwin and Lucretia had five sons: George, Edwin Jr., Charles, Reuben and Seabury. They all served as pallbearers at Edwin’s funeral. The couple had a daughter, Lucretia—known affectionately as “Lulu.” She married another prominent Alameda resident, Edwin’s law partner and future mayor Frank Otis. 

It is sometimes incorrectly stated that Mastick was Alameda's first mayor. That honor goes to Mountain View denizen Henry Haight, who had already served as California's governor and lived on a large estate in Alameda. The city of Alameda was incorporated in 1872 and governed by a board of trustees. That was when Haight served as president of the city's board of trustees (roughly the equivalent of mayor).
Alameda didn't have "mayors" until it changed its charter in 1916. The first "mayor" was Edwin Mastick's son-in-law Frank Otis.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fallen Officers: Wendell Troyer, David Guider & Jimmie Rutledge

Officer Wendell Troyer

   Buried almost right next to each other on a hillside are Oakland Police Officers David Guider and Wendell Troyer.      

   Officers Wendell Troyer and David Guider were assigned to ARGUS, the Oakland Police helicopter, on the evening of October 2, 1973. Troyer, 47, was a 22-year veteran of the department and the pilot that evening. Guider, 26, had 4 years with Oakland Police Department He was assigned the observer position in ARGUS.   

Officer David Guider
   At 9:35 p.m. as they were patrolling over East Oakland, they received a dispatch directing them to assist downtown units in a robbery. As they flew west, the helicopter suddenly lost power and plummeted to the ground. The helicopter crashed in a large explosion and fire. Both officers were trapped in the flaming ARGUS and were unable to escape.

     The initial investigation revealed a possibility that the officers were victims of a sniper. Troyer had a gunshot wound to the head. Witnesses claimed that they heard gunshots prior to the crash of the helicopter.

     It was later released that the helicopter suffered a mechanical failure that resulted in the loss of power and subsequent crash.

     Troyer was married with two children. Guider was survived by his wife.


Sgt. Jimmie Rutledge


     Sergeant Jimmie Rutledge was born in Oakland, California. He attended local schools and graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1942. He later attended both the City College of San Francisco and the University of California at Berkeley. Sergeant Rutledge enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was honorably discharged in 1948 at the rank of Radioman 1st Class. He was later recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served overseas from 1951 to 1952. Sergeant Rutledge was appointed to the department as a Patrolman-Clerk assigned badge #94. On December 1, 1972 he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and assigned Badge #S-15.

         During his tenure with the Berkeley Police Department, Sergeant Rutledge held positions in Patrol Division, Service Division, the Patrol Special Detail and Juvenile Bureau. In addition he was also a department Range Master. Sergeant Rutledge was involved in several youth programs, including Sea Scouts. After his death the local Boy Scout Council named a Sea Scout Vessel the "Jimmie Rutledge" in his honor.

        At 5:23 a.m., Officers were dispatched to the 2200 block of Russell Street on a report of a prowler. Initially officers were unable to locate the prowler and Sergeant Rutledge remained in the area to watch for the suspect. Sergeant Rutledge subsequently contacted an individual and attempted an arrest on his own. The subject, later found to be an ex-felon, resisted handcuffing and a struggle ensued. During the fight, the suspect gained control of Sergeant Rutledge's gun and shot the officer, fatally wounding him. The suspect also wounded a neighbor who had come to render assistance to Sergeant Rutledge. Following the shooting, the suspect forced his way into an acquaintance's home and took several hostages. At the conclusion of the standoff, the suspect killed one of the hostages, a 4-year old girl. The suspect then chased the remaining hostages from the house with gun in hand and was killed by police. 

[From the Berkeley Police Department]

Click HERE to read about Office John Hege, who is also buried at Mountain View Cemetery. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Nancy Hannaford Doe Kezar (1831-1898) - Stadium named in her honor

Doe family vault (photo by Michael Colbruno)

Inside the Doe family vault on Millionaire’s Row is Nancy Kezar, who like her brother Charles Doe, was immortalized by a structure built by a famed architect. Doe, who is featured on this site, bequeathed a portion of his estate to build the Doe Library at the University of California at Berkeley, which was designed by John Galen Howard.  

Nancy Hannaford Doe was born on May 6, 1831 in Parsonsfield, Maine. She married Samuel F. Kezar on December 4, 1853., with whom she had two children, John (1855-1898) and Mary 1859-1917), who like her uncle, Charles Doe, never married.

We know little else about Nancy Kezar other than the famous stadium in San Francisco bears her name. At her death in 1917, Mary Kezar bequeathed $100,000 for the construction of a “playground” for the San Francisco Polytechnic School to honor her mother. The executors decided to build a stadium in Nancy Kezar’s honor, after debating whether it was consistent with Mary’s wishes. The probate judge ruled that a stadium was an appropriate use and construction began in 1924.  The City of San Francisco kicked in an additional $200,000 to finance the stadium.

Kezar Stadium

The stadium was designed by Willis Polk, who designed some of the Bay Area’s most historically significant homes. Unlike most stadiums that are oriented from north to south, Kezar was oriented from east to west at the request of Park Superintendent John McClaren. The orientation was intended to protect acreage belonging to the park.

The stadium was dedicated on May 2, 1925 before 22,000 celebrants with a track race that featured Finnish runners Paavo Nurmi and Willie Ratola.  The San Francisco 49ers called Kezar home from 1946 until 1971, as well as the Oakland Raiders for one season.  After the 49ers left, Kezar became a popular concert venue that featured the greatest musicians of the time, including Led Zeppelin, The Doobie Brothers, Jefferson Starship, Tower of Power, Joan Baez, The Clash, The Grateful Dead, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, Carlos Santana, Waylon Jennings, and Neil Young.

Future United States President Gerald Ford played an East-West Shriners game there in 1935. In 1971, several scenes of the movie “Dirty Harry” were filmed there.

The original stadium was demolished in 1989 due to structural deficiencies and rebuilt with less than half the original capacity.  The arch is a replica of one that was part of the original stadium.