San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

San Mateo County Cemeteries: Evergreen


On 5 Nov 1877 Agnes Maria Griffith Tilton filed a description and map with the County of San Mateo for a cemetery that was to be located on land that had been deeded to her husband John Quincy Adams Tilton by George Howard in 1865.  The survey describes the land as being on the South Easterly corner of RailRoad and Mount Diablo Avenes.

JQA Tilton died in Sep 1869 at the age of 42.  Where he was buried before the cemetery was established is unknown.  Perhaps he was buried on the family land.  It is also possible that his initial burial was on the grounds of the local Congregational or Episcopal Churches.  He served on the board of elders of both.  Perhaps his grave in Evergreen Cemetery was his original burial place with the cemetery built around him. The Evergreen Cemetery book might provide an answer.

Miscellaneous Book 5 Pg 68

The map which was drawn by AS Easton, a brother-in-law of JQA Tilton, shows a beautifully designed cemetery on a little over 13 acres of land.    




San Mateo County Official Map  Book B p 27















The cemetery was mentioned in the 1883 History of San Mateo County.



History of San Mateo County, California: Including Its Geography, Topography ...

IC Steele, B.F. Alley Publisher 1883

The Tilton House stood just south of the cemetery.  This drawing showing the home in 1878 would be looking over the cemetery towards San Bruno Mountain.  This drawing by Marjorie Boettcher in her monograph for Dr. Frank Stanger's San Mateo Junior College history class in 1939 is most likely based on a drawing in Moore & DePue's,  Illustrated History of San Mateo County, California, 1878.

Marjorie Boettcher, The Tilton Family,
1 Jun 1939 Monograph SMCHA SM129
After JQA's death Agnes turned her home into  a boarding house. In directories she is listed as boarding house proprietress, and later cemetery proprietress was added.

Not long after the establishment of the cemetery, the town of San Mateo felt the need to expand. The land the cemetery was located on was considered prime real estate.

Less than ten years later the cemetery had been closed and burials moved to St. John's Cemetery, which had been dedicated in 1886 with sections for both Catholic and protestant burials.


JQA Tilton Home 1939
38 North Claremont SM
The Tilton Family










Agnes was also struggling to make her boarding house profitable.  In 1886 she sold her San Mateo land back to the Howards who turned the land into town lots.


Read More......

 History of San Mateo Cemeteries, Michael R Luna, student monograph 20 May 1838 - SMCHA SM80

The Tilton Family, Marjorie Boettcher, 1 Jun 1939 Monograph SMCHA SM129
















Wednesday, November 30, 2016

SMCGS Databases: Water Rights Appropriations

These applications for the rights to previously unappropriated state water can include maps, protests of the appropriations and other treasures for those researching in the county.  They date from the 1870s to the 1950s and include applications by both individuals and companies (farms, land developers and water).

The records in the database are located in drawer 67 or in Water Rights Book #1, both in the County Record Repository.


Index to Water Appropriations




Index to Water Appropriations




Index to Water Appropriations

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

San Mateo County Places: City of San Mateo

DiseƱo del torreno [sic] de S. Mateo : [Calif.]
UC Berkeley - Bancroft Library
The Rancho San Mateo, which was comprised of the current Burlingame, Hillsborough and about half of the City of San Mateo was established in 1846 by a grant from Governor Pio Pico to Cayetano Arenas. Cayetano's father Luis sold the rancho to the American mercantile firm of Mellus & Howard with the unpredicibilities of the Bear Flag Revolt and the Mexican American War.

In 1849 Nicolas de Peyster moved into the abandoned outpost on San Mateo Creek, where sheep had earlier been grazed for San Francisco Mission.  He established a roadhouse, the first between San Francisco and San Jose.  A year later he moved the roadhouse to the other side of the creek into San Mateo House.  That structure stood until 1964.  In it's later years it served as a nurse's residence for the adjacent Mills Hospital.


View at San Mateo, San Mateo Co 
Lawrence & Houseworth, 1866 LOC Collections

With the coming of the railroad the area grew.  The first train went through San Mateo of 17 Oct 1863.  The line between San Francisco and San Mateo Was officially completed in 1864. Charles B Polhemus, main architect of the railroad, laid out a town and the population slowly grew.

However, San Mateo did not incorporate until 3 Sep 1894 when by a vote of 150 to 25 it officially became a town.  By then Crystal Springs Dam had been built, giving the area a secure source of water, and a  Fire Department had been established.

Official map of San Mateo County, California. Bromfield, D. (Davenport)
Schmidt Label & Litho. Co.  1894   LOC Collections
In 1902 San Mateo became the terminus of the San Francisco Street Car Line.  The earthquake of 1906 brought refugees down the peninsula and San Mateo along with the rest of the county grew.


City of San Mateo
San Mateo City Charter & Municipal Code
City of San Mateo Document Center
San Mateo Local History Collection - OAC (descriptions and online items)


You will find more information on the history of the City of San Mateo at:



More Maps