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.

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