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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

San Mateo County Places - Menlo Park

Oliver Diary
Menlo Gate
In 1854 two Irishmen, Dennis Oliver and D.C. McGlynn purchased acreage bordering County Road (El Camino Real) and built two houses with a common entrance.  They erected a wooden gate with high arches displaying Menlo Park, for Menlough in County Galway, in foot high letters  and the date Aug. 1854.

Nine years later the railroad arrived.  Though it was just the end of the line at the time, the station needed a designation.  A railroad official eyeing the gates as a discussion was held decided Menlo Park was an appropriate name.

On 23 Mar 1874, needing to raise money for road repairs, Menlo Park became the second city to incorporate in San Mateo County.  The city which included Fair Oaks (now Atherton) and Ravenswood (now East Palo Alto) was fleeting.  It dis-incorporated in 1876.

By 1911 Menlo Park was again discussing incorporation.  However, border disputes with neighboring Atherton kept the status as a village for another sixteen years.  In the meantime the establishment of WWI's Camp Fremont led to electrification and other improvements in the area.  Businesses grew up and the population grew from the prewar count of 2300.  The end of the war left enough service center activity that even after the camp's dismantlement that there was another effort to incorporate with the same boundaries as the city of 1874.  Atherton, however, had different plans and their representatives beat those of Menlo Park to the courthouse.  Final incorporation of Menlo Park took place in November 1927.


Books and Articles
At Last: Menlo Park beyond the Gate
WorldCat Book List - Menlo Park   
SMCHA, La Peninsula, "Menlo Park-Oldest Railroad Station" May 1964

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SMC Families - J.C. Maynard

John Cringan Maynard was born 26 Jul 1837 in Richmond, VA, the son of Stith Maynard and Lucy Hylton. 

His first wife was Samuella Gwin, (SMCGS Blog 14 Apr 2015) one of the first women to be listed in the San Mateo County Sole Traders register. One always wonders what triggers such filings.  In this case John and E.S were probably newly married, so this might have just been a move to protect her significant estate.  I found another reason why they might be concerned.  In  spring 1856 John, Wm. H. Werth, Austin E. Smith and H.C. Logan were indicted by Grand Jury for assault with a deadly weapon. (SF Bulletin 1 Apr 1856 v1 issue 149 pg 2)  Perhaps they were anticipating some liability in the case.

Most likely it was within the next few years that J.C. wrote A New revelation : the title to the San Mateo Rancho explained ; plates showing the true boundaries as defined by the Mexican government, and the fabricated boundaries, as claimed by the grantees.  This fifty page manuscript is available in UC Berkeley's Libraries.

During the civil war John served in the Quartermaster's Department of the Confederate States of America with a rank of Major. According to a newspaper article written in 1937 he served as Superintendant of Libby Prison which was located in the Confederate capital of Richmond.  His obituary verifies that he returned to Virginia in 1862 and returned to California at the end of the war.  A couple of notices in the Richmond Dispatch verify his presence there.  "Major John C. Porter Provost Marshal of the City, with Godwin commanding eastern half and John C. Maynard the western half." (Richmond Dispatch, 3/13/1862, p. 2, c. 3) and "John C. Maynard, Capt. AQM Camp of Instruction, taking bids for construction of frame chapel at post." (Richmond Dispatch, 11/12/1862, p. 1, c. 5).   The Stranger's Guide and Official Directory for the City of Richmond (No. 1 Oct, V.1, Geo P. Evans and Co 1863) lists under Various Duties, "Major J. C. Maynard, purchases and forwards forage, fuel and lumber, and superintends local transportation. Entrance to office, on 9th st., near Main".  Further research in Confederate records for Libby Prison might verify his actual assignment there.

John married Kate Heth on 5 Oct 1863 in Richmond Virginia.  Although the family was living in San Francisco at the time the 1870 census was taken, they had moved back to San Mateo County by 1880. 
Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner

John, from then on commuted to San Francisco to conduct business.  He was appointed as California Insurance Commissioner in 1878, serving at least until 1880 as that is the occupation listed in the census that year.

San Mateo Times 17 May 1937

A couple of newspaper articles written in 1937 give a bit of insight into the character of J.C, the second notes that he "seems to have been a man of considerable influence."  He served on many commissions and committees and at one point was Superintendent of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco.    The article was about a book from his library.  It notes that the book was one of about 450 volumes purchased by the municipal library.

San Mateo Times 24 Feb 1937

 John died 30 Jun 1893 in San Mateo. Kate died 1 Dec 1912 in Richmond Virginia where she was living with her son Joseph Stith.

John and Kate had three children:

Estelle bn. 13 Jul 1864 and d. 7 Oct 1887.  She is buried in St. John's cemetery. (FindAGrave85676931)
Joseph Stith b. 13 Apr 1866 
John Heth b 28 Oct 1867 d. before 1912

Schellens Collection Index
  • J.C. 1866 Mechanics Liens 1 37.2 130
  • J.C. 1859 Agricultural Society 2 38.1 8
  • J.C. 1856 county affairs 2 39.1 29
  • J.C. 1859 lost mare 3 41.1 19,34
  • J.C. 1866 road 6 47 104
  • J.C. 1866 new road 6 48 1
  • J.C. 1882 residences 7 49 159,222
  • J.C. 1876 on dance committee 14 58.2 191
  • John 1850 Belmont history 6 47 22
  • John C 1883 History of Newspaper Publishing in RC 1 6.2 44,47,66,128
  • John C. 1889 Redwood City Club Notes 1859-1971 1 16 282
  • John C. 1891 Electric RR 2 40.2 125
  • John C. 1856 Oak Hill Ranch 3 41.1 8,10
  • John C. 1887 death of Estelle Maynard 7 49 187,188
  • John Cringan 1888 Great Register 7 49 201
  • John Heth 1888 Great Register 7 49 201
  • Joseph Stith 1888 Great Register 7 49 201
  • K. [Mrs.] 1889 directory 7 49 222

  • 1870 San Francisco Ward 8, San Francisco, Roll: M593_82; Page: 427A 
  • 1880 San Mateo, San Mateo, California; Roll: 80;  Page: 384D; Enumeration District: 237 


  • Maynard J.C. 9 Sep 1859 1M 326 to 327 Mortgagor
  • Maynard John C. 15 Jan 1857 1M 37 to 38 Rancho Canada Raymundo Mortgagor
  • Maynard J.C. 9 Sep 1859 Mort1 326 thru 327 Mortgagor
  • Maynard John C. 10-Nov-1868 P1 269 22-Oct-1870 patent from United States Government
  • Maynard John C. 15 Jan 1857 Mort1 37 thru 38 Mortgagor Rancho Canada Raymundo 
  • Maynard John C. 23 May 1857 D1 144 thru 145 grantor
  • Maynard John C. 24 Jan 1856 D1 41 grantor
  • Maynard John C. 26 Jun 1858 D2 52 thru 53 grantor 
  • Maynard John C. 4 Feb1860 D2 251 thru 252 grantor
James Crowe Register
MAYNARD John C. 62 4 9 Virginia 6/30/1893 San Mateo Married M White Geul Amassara??? Henry B. Lalbrook St. John's, San Mateo 7‐1‐1893 James Crowe

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SMCGS Databases Online: Tax Sales and More

This month two new indexes have been added to the SMCGS website.

The first is Certificates of Sale, Executions and Attachments.  It is an index to documents held in drawers 19 through 24 covering the years 1856 thru 1929 in the San Mateo County Record Repository.  The documents include:
  • Sheriff's Certificate of Sale names include sheriff and purchaser of land (p) and if found name of original land owner (o) a plaintiff is also often listed as in the case of a lawsuit the land is sold to satisfy it.  In a tax delinquency the plaintiff is the people.
  • Sheriff's Certificate of Sale on Foreclosure - specific to mortgage holders.
  • Sheriff's Certificate of Redemption
  • Copy of Writ of Attachment is a court order to "attach" or seize an asset. It is issued by a court to a law enforcement officer or sheriff. The writ of attachment is issued in order to satisfy a judgment issued by the court.
  • Copy Writ of Execution is a court order granted to put in force a judgment of possession obtained by a plaintiff from a court.[1] When issuing a writ of execution, a court typically will order a sheriff or other similar official to take possession of property owned by a judgment debtor. Such property will often then be sold in a sheriff's sale and the proceeds remunerated to the plaintiff in partial or full satisfaction of the judgment.
  • Release of Attachment
  • Sale on Execution  - a sale of property by the sheriff under authority of a court's writ of execution in order satisfy an unpaid obligation
  • Constable's Sale - Sold at township rather than county level
  • Sale by City Treasurer - Usually for non-payment of improvement bonds.  Most of these sales were redeemed.
  • Conveyance of Real Estate for Delinquent Taxes.
 Check the about page for lists of County Sheriff's, County Recorders and City Treasurers.

The second index is to Sales by the County Tax Collector for the years 1857 to 1894.  Some of the sales are recorded in Sheriff's Tax Certificate Books A-G.  Certificates are located in drawers 25-34. Some certificates for sales to the People of the State of California were not found.  A few other certificates are also missing from the drawers.  Information includes owner, purchaser, a description of the land and whether the land has been redeemed. 

It is apparent from the large number of "sales" to a few men, that they did not for the most part intend to buy this land.  Instead they were the "money lenders" who would pay the taxes and then collect interest until the land was redeemed.  By following the records you get a picture of who was living on the edge, checking the date of the sale and the redemption gives you an idea of how long it look to pay the bill.  For some individuals this was an annual process and they paid back within the year.  Others missed their payments for a few years.  They might eventually redeem the land after three or four years.  For others this was a final sale and they left the land.

You can order these records from the County Recorders Office.  Be sure to give them a description of what you are looking for and its exact location as these records are very infrequently accessed and they are not likely to be familiar with them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

San Mateo County Cemeteries: Salem Memorial Park

"So Teach us to number our days so that we may get us a heart of wisdoms"
Chapel Inscription in Hebrew and English

Originally established in 1877 as a designated area in City Cemetery near Ocean Beach, Salem (Peace) Memorial Park was the third of the Jewish Cemeteries to be reestablished under the hills of Colma.

On 21 Dec 1891 the San Francisco Bulletin reported "Salem Cemetery, the new burial place of the Hebrew Congregation Beth Israel, in San Mateo county, was dedicated yesterday. A special train carried the congregation down to Colma, which is near the cemetery. The dedication services were conducted by Rev. Dr. M.S. Leavy. Addresses were made by President Peckerman and Secretary Leavy. A corner-stone was laid which contained various records and publications. The site purchased by the congregation embraces thirty-five and one-third acres. Contracts have been let for buildings to cost $6,400. A handsome mortuary chapel will be erected near the main entrance to the cemetery. A side track has been laid to near the entrance for railroad trains. It is expected that all the buildings will be completed within ninety days. The old Salem Cemetery has not been closed but the officers of the society will discourage interments there.  

(Monday, December 21, 1891, 

San Francisco Bulletin 


I: 64 

P: 2)

Around 700 bodies were moved from City Cemetery to the new cemetery.

    In 1974 Congregation B'nai Emunah erected a monument in the center of the cemetery dedicated to the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the holocaust.
      • FindAGrave (3935 burials listed with 90% of them photographed.)

      1171 El Camino Real, Colma
      Hours: 8:30 to 4:00
      Sunday through Friday