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

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

SMCGS Databases: Brands filed in adjoining counties

One drawer in the County Record Center contains filings of out of county brands.  Most were originally filed in either Santa Clara or Santa Cruz counties.  A few were filed in Alameda. Brands filed in San Mateo County have not been located at the record center.

The filing includes name, description of brands and ear marks as well as a sketch.  Also included is residence of the person filing brand.

The Act of May 1, 1851, concerning Marks and Brands took effect in August of that year.  It required the owners of horses, mules, cattle, sheep, goats and hogs to keep a mark, brand and counterbrand (venta - legal sale Sp.) that was different from those of his neighbors including anyone living in the county and as near as possible from anyone in the state.  The recorder was to be paid a dollar for the recording.

The law set out the schedule for when the livestock was to be branded and restricted how many brands an individual could use. (Only one per ranch per owner).

A counterbrand (venta) was required when an animal was sold and no bill of sale was created.

Section 11 of the law requires the recorders of each county to submit a list of brands to the recorders of adjoining counties.  The index here is the result of that section of the law.  In the earliest years the the recorders submitted lists as seen in the picture above.  Later, each brand was reported in a separate document.

Index to Brands Originally Filed in Other Counties

Early Brands Lists from other counties - with drawings
Act of 1851 Concerning Marks and Brands
Current California Brand Law

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

NARA: Criminal Case Files 2

Part II  Civil Rights
By Martha Wallace and Cath Trindle

The violation of an individual's civil rights is one of the crimes tried in US Federal Court.  Among the cases heard in San Francisco in the late 1800s are those of John Jackson, tax collector for Trinity County, and Thomas Stapleton (Thomas Breeze) tax collector for El Dorado County.  The indictments were for demanding, exacting, and collecting a Foreign Miners Tax of $4 

Sacramento Transcript, 
Volume 2, Number 132
29 March 1851
In 1850 the first California state legislature passed the first Foreign Miners Tax Law, levying a twenty dollars per month tax on each foreigner engaged in mining. A revolt resulted and it was repealed in 1851. The Foreign Miners Tax Law was reenacted in 1852. By 1853 the Foreign Miner's Tax stated in Section 6, "The amount to be paid for each license shall be at the rate of four dollars per month, and said license shall in no case be transferable."  

Collections of the tax in 1850 amounted to more than $26,000 and between 1850 and 1870 provided more than 1/2 of the tax revenue for the state. Controversy over the tax was immediate. The Daily Alta California article, "Murders & Robberies", claims that the law caused an increase in crime in the gold country.  In fact, the tax was rigidly enforced against Mexicans and Chileans to encourage them to leave the gold region which in some cases prompted revenge.

By the 1870s the law was mainly enforced against the Chinese miners. The case against Sheriff John Jackson was instigated by the complaint of Ah Koo, who also claimed to be a citizen.

Sheriff John Jackson was found guilty. However, as the The Daily Alta California reported in  The Sentence of Sheriff Jackson on 26 Mar 1871 the judge, stating that although he was guilty he was acting under the color of the law,  only fined him $20. He also implied that the case could be immediately appealed to a higher court so the legality of the law could be determined.
In the second case, the complainants claimed they should not have pay this tax, as the tax was not collected from white miners (implying white "foreign" miners.) On 15 Dec 1873 the case was ordered nolle prosequi (will no longer prosecute.)


Daily Alta California, Volume 28, 

Number 9420, 20 January 1876  

Just a few years later in 1876 another set of civil rights cases was heard.  Both cases were against Thomas Maguire, the proprietor of a San Francisco theater.

Charles Green and George M Taylor and purchased theater tickets bur were not allowed to enter the theater and be seated in the seats they had purchased.  They claimed this was a violation of their civil rights.

The case of Charles Green was heard and a jury determined that Maguire was not guilty.  The judge in this case had excluded testimony that the doorkeeper had acted on orders of Maguire. The jury therefore found that the doorkeeper had acted on his own authority and therefore Maguire was not responsible.

The case of George M Taylor was ordered nolle prosequi on 16 Jul 1877.  The book  Children of Fire: A History of African Americans by Thomas C. Holt discusses how the second case involving George Taylor helped to gut the Civil Rights Act of 1875.


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