J. P Munro-Fraser.

History of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. online

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Rev. Bishop Kip, read the service and a sermon. On Sunday, the 22d of
October, the Bishop himself officiated, and administered the Holy Commun-
ion. From this time the services were regularly maintained, and a chapel
was fitted up in the Masonic Hall early in 1855. On the 13th of February,
1855, a parish was formed under the name of St. Paul's Parish, to which
the Bishop gave his approval on the 22d. The Vestry then organized,
electing Paul K. Hubbs, Senior Warden ; Eugene Van Ness, Junior Warden ;
the other Vestrymen being John Curry, Joseph Durbrow, C. W. Hayden, J.
Howard, and John Taylor. Some of these names must sound familiar here,
even at this late day. Col. Van Ness and Col. Hubbs have gone to the
eternal world. Gen. Townsend is now Adjutant-General of the United
States at Washington, where, also, Mr. C. W. Hayden resides. Judge
Curry and Mr. Durbrow are among the honored citizens of San Francisco.
Among the others that have since been Wardens and Vestrymen of St.
Paul's, may be mentioned the names of Gen. John S. Mason, U. S. A., Hon.
E. W. McKinstry, Dr. Robert Murray, Hon. S. F. Reynolds, Capt. F. F. Flint,
Dr. Cooledge, Col. J. McAllister.

The first missionary to St. Paul's Church was the Rev. David F. McDon-
ald in 1856. He had then recently been ordained deacon in San Francisco.
He is now a D.D. ; rector of a church in Dardanelles, Arkansas.

Since his time the church at Benecia has been served with more or less
regularity by Rev. E. W. Hager, Rev. James Cameron, Rev. E. G. Perryman,
Rev. Dudley Chase, Rev. Henry G. Perry, and Rev. J. L. Breck, D.D. Mr.
Cameron was rector from 1860 to 1865, and Dr. Breck from 1868 to 1876.
Since the death of Dr. Breck, Bishop Wingfield has accepted and exercised
the office of rector.

A church edifice was erected in the fall of 1859, and consecrated in
February, 1860. In 1863 it was greatly enlarged and improved by the


addition of transepts, mainly through the liberality and exertion of the
Rev. James Cameron, who, at the same time, presented the church with a
very acceptable pipe organ, that is still in use. At the same time a par-
sonage or rectory was built and presented to the church by Col. Julian
McAllister, now Senior Warden of the Parish. In 1873, under the admin-
istration of Dr. Breck, the church was again enlarged by lengthening the
nave, and it is now, in its interior arrangements, one of the best planned
and most attractive churches in California. Being attended regularly by
the pupils of St. Mary's school and St. Augustine College, and a goodly
share of the town's people, the congregations are generally large and the
services full of interest, being participated in very heartily. It is quite
refreshing to one accustomed to the low murmur of our city congregations
to listen to the outspoken responses characteristic of this wide-awake

There are many other topics that might properly have been introduced
into this sketch and have proven, perhaps, more interesting than those
actually touched upon, such as the history of military officers and their
operations at the arsenal; the barracks and the Quartermaster's department;
the pleasant character of the society that for so many years, during Benicia's
palmy days, became a distinguishing feature in its history ; the visit of
Com. Perry's squadron in 1854, after its voyage around the world and its
brilliant achievement in causing the ports of Japan to be opened to our
commerce ; the many attempts at railroad building that have from time to
time been unsuccessfully made and the hopes still entertained of success in
the near future ; the many fires that have destroyed once valuable property;
the founding and maintenance of manufacturing establishments for cement,
leather, flour, etc., as well as personal reference to many friends, once resi-
dents, now scattered all over California and other parts of the United
States; but it is already too long, and this task must be considered com-

It has cost much time, application, research, labor, and self-denial, but if
it shall have afforded entertainment, instruction, and food for thought to
you who have so courteously bestowed upon it your attention, it will not
be in vain that the sacrifice has been made."

With reference to the Deed mentioned in the foregoing lecture of Mr
Gray, the tenor of it is in a few words : Five miles of land in the Suscol
estate was ceded, transferred, and bestowed, freely and spontaneously to
Don Thomas O. Larkin and Don Robert Semple, and their heirs and success-
ors, by General Vallejo, as per measurement made by Don Jasper O'Farrell:
" Beginning at a stone marked ' R. S.' and running N. 76 degrees W. to a


corner or angle five English miles ; from thence in the direction S. 14
degrees W. to an angle one mile, a little more or less ; thence following the
sinuosities of the bay, of the straits to the place where the measurement
commenced., which, altogether, makes an extent of five English miles ; fol-
lowing the turn of the bay, the sinuosities of the land, according to the
measurement of plan above referred to." To this gift were attached the
under-mentioned provisions : " First. — The grantees were to bind them-
selves to found a city to be named Francesca or Benicia, and to divide the
land into lots to be disposed of by sale, and establish ferry boats on the
Staits of Carquinez. Second. — As soon as the city should contain one
hundred families a magistrate or municipal authority shall be named. The
ferry boats, together with the landing places, shall belong to the town, and
their products used for the establishment of public schools. Third. — Until
such hundred families are established the ferry boats and landings to belong
to Robert Semple." The deed was executed on May 19, 1847, before Lilburn
W. Boggs, Alcalde of the District of Sonoma.

This transaction afterwards proved invalid, the General, it was held, not
having a good title to the lands of Suscol ; therefore a new form was gone
through to establish the claim of Messrs. Semple and Larkin. Pursuant to
an Act of the Legislature of the State of California, entitled "An Act to settle
the title of lands in the town and city of Benicia, in the county of Solano,
approved February 20, 1866," and in accordance with an Act of Congress,
entitled " An Act to quiet the title to certain lands within the corporate
limits of the city of Benicia and the town of Santa Cruz, in the State of
California, approved July 23, 1866," notice was given to claimants to file
their respective claims for lots and parcels of land.

An Act to incorporate the city of Benicia was passed April 24, 1851,
bounding the site thus : " And that tract of land lying on the north side of
the Straits of Carquinez, as surveyed by Benjamin W. Barlow, Esq., late
City Surveyor, and designated by his map now on file in the office of the
Clerk of Solano county, the southern boundary shall extend to the middle
of the channel of the Straits of Carquinez." Following this the city was
divided into two wards. Article two of the Act provides for the election of
city officers ; article three apportioned their duties and powers ; article four,
their compensation ; article five, the establishment of Recorder's and Jus-
tice's Courts. Supplementary to the foregoing, was passed on April 13,
1854, an Act incorporating the city and granting additional powers to the
Council ; while the water front was ceded to the corporation by Act of the
Legislature approved May 3, 1855.

After the survey of the site in 1847 it was laid out in streets and squares,
there being twenty lots retained for public uses, besides the City Hall lot and
two half blocks for parks, etc, From its start until April 18, 1859, the city
was governed by a Mayor and Corporation, when on that date an Act to


repeal the several Acts incorporating the city of Benicia, was approved, and
placed the town under the government of Trustees, who were to be elected
to serve, thus : The party receiving the highest number of votes was
chosen for three years, the second, for two, and the third for one year ; and
each following year, one Trustee should be elected for three years. A list of
the Mayors has been already given, let us now present one of the Trustees :
Those called upon to serve during the first term were George H. Riddelh
three years, May, 1859 ; John J. Barry, two years ; C. W. Hayden, one year,
Thereafter there ensued a yearly election for a term of three years : 1860 —
C. W. Hayden, G. H. Riddell, J. J. Barry. 1861— S. C. Gray, C. W. Hayden,
G. H. Riddell. 1862— T. B. Storer, S. C. Gray, C. W. Hayden. 1863— E. Dan-
forth, T. B. Storer, S. C. Gray. 1864— S. C. Gray, E. Danforth, T. B. Storey
(resigned), C. B. Houghton, (elected). 1865 — C. B. Houghton, S. C. Gray,
E. Danforth, (resigned), J. Hatch, (elected). 1866— E. H. Von Pfister, C. B.
Houghton, S. C. Gray. 1867— J. F. Swain, E. H. Von Pfister, C. B. Hough-
ton. 1868— C. B. Houghton, J. F. Swain, E. H. Von Pfister. 1869— E. H.
Von Pfister, G. B. Houghton, J. F. Swain. 1870— J. F. Swain, E. H. Von
Pfister, C. B. Houghton. 1871— C. B. Houghton, J. F. Swain, E. H. Von
Pfister. 1872— James Flannery, C. B. Houghton, J. F. Swain. 1873—
John J. Barry, James Flannery, C. B. Houghton. 1874 — C. B. Houghton,
J. J. Barry, James Flannery. 1875 — J. R. Brown, C. B. Houghton, J. J-
Barry. 1876— J. J. Barry, J. R. Brown, C. B. Houghton. 1877— C. B"
Houghton, J. J. Barry, J. R. Brown! 1878— D. N. Hastings, C. B. Hough-
ton, John J. Barry. 1879 — James Barry, D. N. Hastings, C. B. Houghton.
The office of City Clerk was filled by the following gentlemen: 1850-51 —
B. D. Hyam and John B. Dow. 1851-54— B. C. Whitman. 1854-56—
David F. Beveridge. 1856-57— E. H. Von Pfister. 1857-59— J. W. Kin-
loch. Since the election of Trustees one of their number has officiated as
Clerk until 1878. The City Assessors were : 1850-51 — Stephen Cooper.
1851-53— Singleton Vaughn. 1853-54— H. P. Ammons. 1854-55— H.
Norton. 1855-56— J. W. Kinloch. 1856-58— Peter Wright. 1858-59—
H. Norton. From this year up until 1877, inclusive, the county officials
assessed, collected, and disbursed the funds. In 1877 E. H. Von Pfister was
elected to the office, a position which he still retains. The City Marshals
have been : 1850 — John S. Brown. 1851 — Beebe Robinson. 1852-53—
A. H. Estell. 1854-55— A. J. Bryant. 1856— D. F. Beveridge. 1857-58—
Luke Bond. From this period until the year 1872 the city was without a
Marshal; in that year Jeremiah O'Donnell was appointed. In 1873 he again
held the office. 1874— Patrick McNally. 1875-77— A. J. Glover, and
1878-79 — F. P. Weinmann. The City Treasurers have been during that
period, respectively : Messrs. D. F. Beveridge, Edward Crocker, R. M.
Holladay, John J. Barry, with a long interregnum wherein the County
Treasurer performed the duties for the city, when, in 1877, the present


incumbent, John Reuger, was chosen to fill the office. Space will not per-
mit of our entering more fully into the names of the other officers who
served Benicia, indeed it has been an arduous task, the tracing these we
have enumerated. Suffice it to say that among the City Attorneys we find
such well-known names as Leslie and Wells ; while her Surveyors were
Barlow, Patton, and De Hemmecourt.

Mention has, in a general way, been made of the schools of Benicia. We
will now present the reader with a slight sketch of two of the principal
seats of learning in the city :

The Young Ladies' Seminary. — This school was established in 1852,
and was managed by a Board of Trustees for two years and a half. The
following named gentlemen served on the Board : Hon. S. Bvnam, Hon. S.
Cooper, Capt. D. M. Fraser, S. C. Gray, B. W. Mudge, Dr. W. F. Peabody,
Capt. J. Walsh, C. E. Wetmore, Rev. S. Woodbridge, E. Crocker, J. W. Jones,
D. N. Hastings.

During the latter part of 1854, Miss Mary Atkins became the Principal of
the school ; but in January, 1855, the proprietorship and sole management
passed into her hands.

For nine years she labored successfully to bring the institution up to the
highest standard, and when, in 1864, she was compelled to take a season of
rest, she rented the Seminary to Miss Lammond, it then having about one
hundred and fifty pupils, and an unequaled reputation for giving thorough
training and a solid education.

Within a year Miss Atkins returned to her school, and found so few
pupils that much of the work of building up had to be done once more. By
untiring energy she re-established it, and it took, again, its place as the first-
class school of the State.

In 1865, worn by years of unceasing labor, Miss Atkins retired from
teaching. She sold the Seminary to Dr. and Mrs. C. T. Mills. They faith-
fully labored to maintain the high position of the institution, and had six
years of uninterrupted success. In 1871 they removed from Benicia to
Seminary Park, Alameda county, where they had" erected large and well-
adapted school buildings.

Rev. Charles H. Pope then took charge of the Benicia Seminary, a trust
which he faithfully administered for three years, when he removed from
the State, and the school came under the principalship of Miss Snell.

In the spring of 1878 Miss Snell organized a school in Oakland, and Miss
Atkins, after years of pleasant wandering, full of rich experience, has come
back to the old roof-tree.

The following address was delivered by the Rev. Sylvester Woodbridge,
D.D., of San Francisco, on October 11th, 1878, at a re-union of former
pupils, held for the purpose of organizing a society to perpetuate the history


of the school, as well as making a presentation to Mrs. Atkins-Lynch on
her return to Benicia :

" Memory and Hope are two angels that with golden chains bind the past
to the future. We cannot afford to lose either. Without the former, our
identity of being would cease, our treasures be lost, our responsibility be
overwhelmed in the cold waves of oblivion. Without the latter, the future
could have no encouragement, nor could we press forward and upward to
success, reward, and the crown of glory.


We cannot live over the past. We would not if we could. What once
was vivid in its freshness and novelty would now seem cold and effete.
The pleasures that once stirred the pulses to impetuous rebound, would
cause them to thrill no more. The pains, then half neutralized by the daily
stimulus of duty and zeal, would cling with iron grasp to us till we sank
down exhausted.

But when we relegate the past to Memory's bright domain, the sweep of
her magic wand spreads enchantment over the scene. The pains become
but the foil and the background which serve to set off the successes and the
joys, and bring them out in more brilliant colors. There we see the fields
of usefulness, where the precious harvests were reaped ; there the forms of
beauty that ' are a joy forever ; ' there were awakened the friendships,
whose light will endure beyond the shining sun.


Radiant in the history of this State of California, lighted up by the glory
of past years of success and great usefulness, stands this distinguished
institution of learning. It began when innumerable and apparentty insur-
mountable obstacles stood in the way of success. But the need of its
establishment, and the pressure of what they esteemed to be duty, rested
upon those who felt called upon to engage in the enterprise. Therefore they
manfully undertook the task, girded themselves for the arduous duty, made
the great and needful sacrifices of money, time and toil, and in the year
1852, the Seminary was launched forth on the perilous seas of California's
fluctuating fortunes. Often was the institution near bankruptcy and de-
struction. But a kind Providence still and ever interposed, and in nothing
more decidedly than when that eminent teacher to whom to-night we render
the just honor which is her due, took charge of the Seminary.


We would diminish nothing from the respect due to the principals and
teachers who had charge of this institution during the earliest years of its


existence. Mrs. Wells, assisted by an able corps of teachers, took charge at
the inception of the work, and toiled faithfully and successfully. Then
Mrs. Nevins, whom we are pleased to see present to honor this occasion, and
who labored unweariedly at her task. But the difficulties, chiefly pecuniary,
and the burden of carrying the institution when there were so few young
ladies yet in the State, and so small a proportion of that number seeking a
liberal education, was calculated to paralyze the energies of the patrons of
the institution. "


At the hour of utmost discouragement, Miss Atkins (that was, and she
will allow me to recall the name which is so fragrant in our memories)
became principal of the Seminary. She took upon herself with daring zeal
all the responsibilities of its management and pecuniary liabilities. She
became by purchase the owner of the buildings and other property, and
boldly went forth to meet the dangers of the way.

Let no one suppose them to have been small. What perils were encoun-
tered ; what lonely hours of weakness, weariness and discouragement were
passed ; what tears flowed, and saddened prayers were offered, and pangs of
disappointment were suffered before the sunlight rose, God only perfectly
knows. It is well that the memory, or at least the vividness of the memory
is hidden in the sombre shadows of the night of the past.

Then the Seminary began to rise before our people in all its excellence.
Miss Atkins' high repute spread abroad. As fast as her means would allow,
she surrounded herself with teachers of superior excellence. Classes of
young ladies from the best families in the State gathered in these halls,
The successful examinations, the fine exhibitions of talent at the Commence-
ment exercises, the eclat given by the learning, refinement and superiority
of the graduated pupils, placed the Benicia Young Ladies' Seminary in the
front rank with the best institutions in America.

And the credit of this is due to Miss Atkins. Her pupils have made
their mark in the world, and speak for themselves. They are among the
most distinguished women in this State for all that makes women pre-emi-
nent in intelligence, position and piety. On this platform I see one lady,
(Mrs. Kincaid,) a graduate of this institution, who has made teaching her
profession. She is one of the most distinguished and successful teachers in
the Girls' High School in San Francisco. Everywhere in the families, the
neighborhoods, the schools, the cities of our State, have the instructions
and influence of Miss Atkins left an impression, deep, broad and abiding.

Nor is that influence confined to us. Many of the bright pupils who once
lent radiance to these scenes, have left the dark earth, guided by that
divine faith which led their steps up the heavenly way. The earliest and
foremost of the graduates (Mrs. Walsh Ferguson) thus departed in the hope


of glory. Others have followed her. But last week there was one in San
Francisco (Miss Mary Dollarhide) who hoped to have been present on this
occasion. But this very week we have been called to follow all of her that
was mortal to the house appointed for all living. But it is believed by
many that the dead are sometimes permitted to revisit the earth, and
though unseen by us, pass through our midst and rejoice in our joy. It is
in speaking of the faithful dead that the Scriptures say : ' Seeing therefore
that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses!'' The beautiful
dead who have gone up from us may return to hail and applaud our con-
tinued zeal and efforts for good.


The Word of God forbids us to dwell amid the former scenes ' Forgetting
the things that are past, press toward the mark for the prize ' which God
from on high is calling to us to attain, Mr. Moody's favorite song is one that
it behooves us all to sing :

' More to follow, always more to follow ! '

It is consumate folly always to be dawdling over what might have been.
The past is gone. Nothing can recall it. The present and the future, un-
der God, are ours.

It was a most noble suggestion to bring back to this school the person who
at an early day made it so famous. She comes indeed under better auspices
than before. She is no longer alone, but with her much esteemed and
honored husband (Mr. Lynch) she brings accumulated force and courage to
her grand task. It seems to us that there is almost everything to encourage
and hope for in this renewed undertaking. Certainly the field is very
different from what it was formerly. Schools for young ladies, distinguished
for the character of the teachers and their elegant adornings, are numerous.
The public schools are aiming at the most thorough training of their pupils.
But this Seminary, under the experienced, skillful 'and kindly direction of
Mrs. Lynch, need not fear to enter into competition with any or all of them.
Her reputation goes before her, and is known of all. The many superior
ladies, graduates of this school, who adorn California society, are her stand-
ing advertisement.

We tender to the citizens of Benicia our hearty congratulations for the
great acquisition to this Young Ladies' Seminary of its eminent former
principal, and to Mr. and Mrs. Lynch our best wishes and prayers that they
may secure the triumphant success they justly deserve."



Mary Atkins Lynch, Principal; Martha Hathaway, Latin, Litera-
ture, History and Geography ; Francis C. Bauman, Mathematics ; Anne C.
Craig, Natural History, Elocution and Drawing ; A. Roger, French ;
Josephine Abele, French, German and Piano ; F. Corbaz, Piano ; Susie
I. Morgan.. Singing ; Harrie H. Riddell, Painting ; Eliza E. Crocker,
Matron ; Laura Lamme White, Assistant Matron and Teacher of Saving.

The College of St. Augustine — Was founded A. D. 1867, and in-
corporated in 1868. It is under the Rectorship of the Rt. Rev. J. H. D.
Wingfield, D.D., LL. D., and is governed by a Board of Trustees and a
Board of Instructors ; is located at Benicia, California. The buildings oc-
cupy an elevated site and command an extensive view of the Straits of
Carquinez and the beautiful hills beyond, with Mount Diablo on the left
and San Pablo Bay on the right. The grounds are sixty acres in extent, a
portion of which is tastefully laid out and decorated with flowers, orna-
mental trees and shrubberry. Having been erected expressly for Academical
purposes, the buildings are strictly adapted to the needs of the students,
being commodious and inviting, well ventilated and heated. In the
domestic arrangements eveiy care is taken to unite the culture and comforts
of a Christian home with the strict discipline of a school. Attention is paid
to the personal habits and manners of the Cadets. They sleep in single al-
coves, in dormitories, under the charge of Teachers and Military Officers.
The Teachers and Cadets meet as one family in a commodious Dining Hall,
and attend Divine Service daily in the College Chapel.

It is designed in this Institution to combine with moral and mental
education a thorough course of Military instruction, consisting of daily ex-
ercise in Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery Tactics, in which every Cadet is
required to participate. In all the routine of duties, each Cadet is subject
to a system of regulations, designed to make him prompt, systematic, and
gentleman-like. This Military Discipline, by its thoroughness and impar-
tiality, is eminently fitted to perfect the physical man, and to give habits of
quick obedience, order, politeness and manliness.

The spacious parade-ground affords a superior and attractive place for
drill and physical recreation, while a large building, erected for the
Eulexian Literary and Dramatic Society, and for an Armory, with Gym-
nasium attached, furnishes the Cadet with unusual advantages of in-door

In the work of instruction, the Rector is aided by a Corps of Experienced
and Competent Professors and Teachers, who devote their time exclusively
to the business of the College.

Each Instructor has been selected because of his peculiar fitness for the

Online LibraryJ. P Munro-FraserHistory of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. → online text (page 19 of 57)