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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

San Mateo County Cemeteries: Oakwood Community

Google - Map see link on left
Located on the grounds of Sacred Heart School at 140 Valparaiso Ave in Atherton, this small burial ground serves the nuns of the religious of Sacre Coeur of Jesus (RSCJ).  Also located here is a retirement home for the religious community.  

Alden R. Tagg, on surveying this cemetery in August of 1998, noted that "Stones are mostly alike, at ground level, rectangular most with Alpha/Omega symbol, others with a cross, all with "RSCJ' prominently marked.  The area is well cared for.

"The cemetery is laid out in rows which are oriented roughly N-S, with a central path and a statue in the trees at the western end. Facing toward the statue, left is northerly, right is southerly. The school track is adjacent north, a road is adjacent west and south, a very visible water tank tower is east across another road."

Oakwood Community Cemetery - Find A Grave  Lists 282 burials, 98% have photographs

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SMC Places: Stanford Village

a submission to SMCGS Sharing Stories 2017

Stanford Village, Menlo Park

Sara Tanke

My first view of Stanford Village was in late June 1961. My husband had been accepted into the Stanford University graduate program in Asian history, and we had secured an apartment in Stanford Village, student housing located in Menlo Park. The week we moved in, the temperature in Menlo Park was 107°, and I was eight months pregnant. My clearest memories from the days before my son was born on July 17 are of decorating his room with large copies of Tenniel illustrations from Alice in Wonderland and of refinishing, outside on the back porch, an antique cradle that his aunt had given us.

We rented our two-bedroom apartment for around $59 a month. But the low rent was not the most important advantage of living in Stanford Village. I was a twenty-four–year-old inexperienced mother whose own mother and mother-in-law were many miles away. In Stanford Village I found friendly mothers older than I who had two or more children and were very helpful and supportive.

It was a congenial environment, with a babysitting co-op, other young families to socialize with, and experienced moms to go to for advice. The back porches of the apartments faced each other across a large grassy area shared by children and parents. 

Stanford Village had 300 apartments, dorms to accommodate 1,500 men, a laundry, general store, and nursery school. It was located on Middlefield Road at Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park, where SRI International stands today. The map on the next page shows Stanford Village in 1954. The buildings not shaded in black included barracks-style apartments and dorm rooms. I read in the Stanford Daily of 1964 that there had also been a post office, barber shop, drycleaners, soda fountain, butcher shop, bowling alley, service station, and a chapel. Truly a village!

Here is a picture of me, my son, and a little of our apartment.


Stanford Village in 1954
(Stanford Research Institute buildings are shaded in black)
 Map courtesy of SRI International

In researching the history of the land on which Stanford Village stood, I learned that Ohlone Indians inhabited the area when the Spanish colonized Alta California in the late 1700s. The Spanish government granted a tract of land to José Dario Argüello in 1795. Among Argüello’s posts were commandante of the presidios of San Francisco and Monterey, and, briefly, governor of Alta California. This land grant, named Rancho de las Pulgas, was confirmed later by the Mexican government and, subsequently, by the U.S. government, as Alta California changed hands. Rancho de las Pulgas contained around 35,000 acres; it was bounded by San Mateo Creek on the north, San Francisquito Creek on the south, the Bay on the east, and the hills on the west. The rancho was sold by the Argüello family in 1859.

The development of the Peninsula—as the area south of San Francisco, bounded on the east by the Bay and on the west by the Pacific, was called—was facilitated by the completion of the railroad from San Francisco to San Jose in 1864. People and cargo could travel back and forth easily, and many wealthy San Franciscans built summer homes on large estates on the Peninsula. 

In 1864, William Barron, one of the directors of San Jose’s New Almaden mine, purchased 280 acres, bounded by the railroad, San Francisquito Creek, and what would be Middlefield Road and Ravenswood Avenue. Barron developed the estate, bringing in water for lush landscaping and a trout pond, and creating a deer park. He had a gatehouse built as the entrance to the estate, the sole remaining building today.

Milton Latham, former senator from California (1859–1863), bought the estate when Barron died in 1871. Latham purchased the fountain, which remains on the property, in France.  He sold the estate in 1883 when he moved to New York. 

The estate was purchased by Mary Hopkins, the widow of the railroad magnate Mark Hopkins, who, along with Leland Stanford, was one of the “Big Four,” the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad. The estate was not far from the summer estate of Leland and Jane Stanford. In 1888 she gave the 280-acre estate to her adopted son, Timothy Hopkins, as a wedding gift.


From the 1890 official map of San Mateo County,
Library of Congress

 A page from the Sunset Seed and Plant Co. catalog of 1895

The Sunset Seed and Plant Company on the map on page 3 was Timothy Hopkins’s business from about 1881 to 1898. The page from the 1885 catalogue on page 4 shows the greenhouses of the nursery. Hopkins was on the board of the Southern Pacific Railroad, which founded Sunset magazine in 1898. According to Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California, the magazine was named in honor of the passenger train, the Sunset Limited, which began operation in 1894 between New Orleans and San Francisco via Los Angeles. The name “Sunset” was already in use by Timothy Hopkins’s business, so it’s unclear which came first. In 1951 Sunset magazine moved from its San Francisco offices to a remnant of the Hopkins estate, where the Hopkins Sunset Seed and Plant Company’s nurseries had been located. 

The 1906 earthquake damaged the Hopkins summer residence so severely that he moved his summer home to the gatehouse, which he enlarged. Timothy Hopkins, who was president of Stanford University from 1908 to 1914 and a trustee until his death in 1936, bequeathed the property to Stanford. His wife continued to live there until her death in 1941.

In 1942 the estate buildings were demolished except for the gatehouse and its gate. The United States Army leased the gatehouse to use as officers’ quarters during World War II.  The US government bought 140 acres of the Hopkins estate. And in 1943 the Army built the Palo Alto General Hospital, soon renamed the Dibble General Hospital (after Colonel John Dibble who was killed in a military transport plane crash in 1943).  The hospital cared for soldiers injured in the South Pacific. It specialized in plastic surgery, blind care, neuro-psychiatry, and orthopedics. At its peak it had 2,400 beds. (For comparison, the entire town of Menlo Park in 1940 had a population of only 3,258 residents.)

At the end of the war, the City of Menlo Park purchased twenty-nine acres of the Dibble General Hospital grounds on which the civic center buildings were erected. 

Stanford University took over around eighty-six acres to provide needed housing because of the increase in student enrollment caused by veterans entering on the G.I. bill. Stanford remodeled the hospital buildings, installing bathrooms and kitchens, to accommodate approximately 2,000 students. The area was known as Stanford Village, and existed as student housing until the mid-1960s. This land was also the site of the Stanford Research Institute, a think tank established by Stanford. In 1970, in response to Vietnam War protesters at Stanford who claimed that it was part of the military-industrial complex, Stanford Research Institute became independent and was renamed SRI International.


We moved out of Stanford Village in 1962 because my husband left graduate school to return to his previous position at Stanford University Press. However, my son went to the Stanford Village nursery school from 1964 until the nursery school on the Stanford campus was built in 1966.

The gatehouse of the Hopkins estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. It is the oldest existing structure in Menlo Park. The Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula and the City of Menlo Park renovated the gatehouse in 1996, and the Junior League became the tenant.

In August 2014 I moved into an apartment across the street from the gatehouse.

One day on a walk down Laurel Street, which borders SRI, I noticed some army-barracks-style buildings. They were clearly from the era of the Dibble General Hospital. A chainlink fence prevented me from exploring. I knew that SRI had a closed campus and was reluctant to visit.

The gatehouse, built by William Barron in 1864, with
the fountain, purchased by Milton Latham in France, in the foreground

Fellow students in my genealogy class encouraged me to pursue my interest, so one day I braved the receptionist at the main entrance to SRI. It turned out that “braved” is the right word. The receptionist was a fierce guard dog, who not only refused me entrance, but also refused to contact a superior to inquire whether I could enter or even to give me the name of anyone I could write or call. It was fortuitous that someone of authority walked through the lobby during this exchange. The receptionist directed me to him, and, unsurprisingly, he was very hospitable and, after I explained my mission, took me on an extended tour of the old buildings that were on the grounds. I took some photos of the exterior of several buildings, but declined his offer to go inside since the interiors had been extensively remodeled. This aerial view of SRI shows some original buildings from the Dibble General Hospital that are still in use.

With the visit to SRI, I feel that my story of Stanford Village is now complete.


  • Cain, Julie. “From Floral Paradise to Commercial Nursery and Back: The Saga of the Barron/Latham/Hopkins Estate.” Eden: Journal of California Garden & Landscape Society, Vol. 15, no. 1 (Winter 2012).
  • Gulker, Linda Hubbard. "Menlo’s oldest mainstay: The Gatehouse." January 24, 2010. Accessed March 12, 2017.
  • “The Junior League of Palo Alto-Mid Peninsula.” Accessed February 18, 2017. 
  • "Menlo Park City School District." History of the District & Community / Thurlow Estate becomes Dibble General Hospital becomes SRI Int. Accessed February 16, 2017.
  • San Mateo County Genealogy Blog, “San Mateo County Places.” Accessed February 16, 2017.
  • The Stanford Daily, Volume 125, Number 47, 28 April 1954, “Future of Stanford Village”; Volume 145, Number 67, 28 May 1964, “Last Days of the Village”; and Volume 154, Number 21, 18 October 1968, “Last Days of the Village” [again].
  • Streatfield, David C. "The San Francisco Peninsula's Great Estates." Eden: Journal of California Garden & Landscape Society, Vol. 15, no. 1 (Winter 2012).
  • Sunset Magazine, 1888-1998 - Historical Portraits and Bibliography. Accessed March 03, 2017.
  • "Sunset Seed & Plant Co. (Sherwood Hall Nursery Co.): Internet Archive. Accessed February 20, 2017.
  • “Timothy Hopkins: Palo Alto Founder.” The Tall Tree: Newsletter of the Palo Alto Historical Society, Vol. 35, no. 3 (December 2011). Accessed April 25, 2017.
Sara Tanke, an on and off member of SMCGS for several years. has lived in the SF Bay area since 1959.  Prior to that she lived in Pocatello, Idaho and Fayette, Missouri.  Sara has been passionately engaged in genealogical research and writing about her family history since 2004. You can contact Sara at tankesara @

© 2017 Sara Tanke - Please contact author for use of any portion of her story.
Get ready for the next Story event!   
Craig  Siulinski  is presenting Life Story Writing, Enriching Your Family History at CGS this Saturday May 27.  He will also be teaching a 10 week class at the College of San Mateo  Continuing Education on Saturdays in the Fall, watch for details.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Barry's Bits & Sharing Stories

culled from the San Francisco Examiner by Barry Goyette 

Impetuous Women

Sharing Stories
May 20, 10:30 am - 1 pm
Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo.

The May 20 monthly meeting is the celebration of our Sharing Stories event. Join the fun and write a family history or local San Mateo County story and submit it by April 30 to

The meeting will be full of excitement from reading aloud selected stories, to giving everyone who submitted a story a small gift, to the drawing for three $25 cash prizes from all stories submitted, and an extra drawing for three SMCGS tote bags from stories that mention San Mateo County. The meeting wraps up with a Pot Luck lunch for time to discuss our stories with fellow attendees. 

Everyone is welcome to attend. If you submitted a story, be sure to come so that you may receive your small thank you gift. 

See you there!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

More About - Who is ES Maynard

By Sue Meinyer Rocha, Ed. D. 

E. S. Gwin was Samuella Gwin. According to the book Virginia Cousins: A Study of the Ancestry and Posterity of John Goode of Whitby, a Virginia Colonist of the Seventeenth Century, With Notes Upon Related Families, a Key to Southern Genealogy, and a History of the English Surname Gode, Goad, Goode, or Good by G. Brown Good, Samuella Gwin was born on July 29, 1837 in Richmond, Virginia. 

Samuella Gwin was related to a very prominent family in American history. Her grandfather was Rev. James Gwin, a famous Methodist minister, who served under Rev. William McKendree, the first nativeborn Methodist bishop in America. Rev. James Gwin also served as a soldier on the frontier under General Andrew Jackson (who later became President Jackson). He and Andew Jackson remained friends throughout their lives. 

Col. Samuel Gwin was Rev. James Gwin’s second born child. Col. Samuel Gwin fought under Andrew Jackson, and his days as a soldier effected his health. By 1831, his wife was ill with consumption, and he was advised that her only hope was to take her to a warmer climate. He asked for President Andrew Jackson’s assistance, and he was appointed as Register of the Lane Office in Mississippi. Col. Gwin was appointed to the new Land Office in Choccchuma, Mississippi. Senator Pointdexter resented the appointment, and Judge Isaac Caldwell, a former partner of Senator Lynch Pointdexter’s law practice, sided with Pointdexter. Eventually, a dual between Col. Gwin and Judge Caldwell occured in June 1836. Judge Caldwell was shot, and died within a few hours of the dual. Col. Samuel Gwin was shot through the lungs, but survived the dual, and lived another couple of years. Col. Gwin’s wife, Edith, died in 1837. Col. Gwin died on July 25, 1838, while he was in New Orleans. No information has been found at this point about what happened to Samuella from 1838 to 1850. 

As per the 1850 Census record for Warren County, Mississippi, Samuella lived with Elizabeth and her husband, James C. Mosby. This was Elizabeth Gwin Mosby, who was the daughter of Rev. James Gwin and his wife, Mary Adair McAdams Gwin. Elizabeth Gwin Mosby was also Col. Samuel Gwin’s sister, and Samuella’s aunt.

In the late 1850s, Samuella Gwin lived with her uncle, Senator William McKendree Gwin and his family. William McKendree Gwin, who was named after Rev. William McKendree by his father, Rev. James Gwin, was Col. Samuel Gwin’s brother. Samuella was adopted by Senator William McKendree Gwin, and throughout the late 1850s, he helped Samuella obtain control over her estate, which was valued at $50,000.

John C. Maynard was a native of Richmond, Virginia. He arrived in California in the early 1850s. 

John C Maynard married Samuella Gwin September 20, 1855 in San Francisco.

The 1860 US Census shows that she was married and living with him, a child, and John C. Maynard’s brother, George F. Maynard.  George F. Maynard married Sarah Parker, and they had a daughter, Blanche. In November, 1871, Blanche Maynard married the son of Senator William McKendree Gwin, William McKendree Gwin, Jr

Early in 1862, John C. Maynard returned to Virginia with Samuella and their children, where he became a quartermaster in the Confederate army.

Samuella died in on December 9th, 1862 in Warsaw, Virginia; she was 26 years old. Her funeral was held on December 11, 1862 at the St. Peter’s Cathedral in Richmond, Virginia.  Since St. Peter’s Cathedral was located in Richmond, Virginia, near St. Paul’s Cathedral and cemetery, it is believed that Samuella may have been buried there.


  • Virginia Colonist of the Seventeenth Century, With Notes Upon Related Families, a Key to Southern Genealogy, and a History of the English Surname Gode, Goad, Goode, or Good.
  • Richmond enquirer, Richmond Virginia, June 24, 1836, page 4, column2.
  • Cisco, Jay Guy. “Colonel Samuel in Historic Sumner County, Tennessee. 1909. Retrieed from:
  • “FATAL DUAL”. Richmond enquirer, Richmond, Virginia, June 24, 1836, page 4, column 2 1860 US Census, Township 3, San Mateo, California; Roll: M653_65; Page: 83 (1)
  • San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, June 27, 1901, page 1
  • Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, California, September 24, 1855, page 2, column 5
  • Daily dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, March 12, 1862, page 4, column 2
  • Daily dispatch, Richmond, Virginia, December 10, 1862, page 2, column 2

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

SMCGS Databases: Creditor's Claims

Located in drawer 3 or Cabinet RC5B1 is a small collection of Miscellaneous Creditor's Claims Filed in Estate Which are not recorded. Most are claims for cemetery costs or doctors fees.  There are also claims by the county for Social Service funds, claims for clothing and hospital room and board.  Not quite fitting into the record set are two receipts for payment of inheritance tax and a Judgement against P J Olmo Stables & Co.

  • 4/25/1932 Thomas Anderson - Creditor Claim - Olivet Memorial Park
  • 5/14/1929 William Diechle - Creditor Claim - Dr. Benner / Dr Gehrels
  • 4/9/1930 John Doe - Creditor Claim - Cypress Lawn Cemetery Assoc.
  • 3/10/1932 Daniel D Gonzales- Creditor Claim - Franz Gehrels
  • 6/16/1932 Marie Carlier- Creditor Claim - Social Service Commission SMC repayment  of money  total over 2800
  • 4/7/1924 William Gualaume - Creditor Claim - Community Hospital note: room and board in hospital 15 a week at this time
  • 12/6/1932 Harry Harris - Creditor Claim - RJ Gerloagh MD
  • 7/6/1931 Alice McClelland - Creditor Claim -  Social Service SMC total over 1700
  • 6/24/1931 Marie Miller - Creditor Claim - Cypress Lawn Cemetery Assoc.
  • 1/14/1933 Carl Philip  - Creditor Claim -  Mills & Hagborn Tailors remained for 2 sack suits
  • 1/1/1931 Edwin Joseph Scott - Creditor Claim - Social Service Commission of San Mateo County
  • 4/11/1932 Edwin Joseph Scott- Creditor Claim - Community Hospital 2 days at $5 a day
  • 4/16/1930 Wilmar Dewitt-Weston - Creditor Claim - California Memorial Columbarium
  • 3/10/1932 Louis H Willats - Creditor Claim -  Franz Gehrels
  • 12/20/1947 C C Kriemle - Creditor Claim - Alfred C Reed MD
  • 7/5/1945 Diedrich J Schaffer - Creditor Claim - Crosby-N. Gray  & Co
  • 10/27/1949 Norman Butcher - Creditor Claim - TG McCarthy & Sons
  • 8/11/1955 Eleanor S Rognas Receipt for Inheritance tax $10 pd by Robert Rognas on $63 bill
  • 8/8/1955 Elizabeth A Gow Receipt for Inheritance tax $277.18 estate to daughter 18858.81
  • 11/9/1951 George Olmo Judgement P J Olmo Stables, Co & Co-Partnership Judgement for $1250 plus costs
  • 11/9/1951 William David Judgement P J Olmo Stables, Co & Co-Partnership Judgement for $1250 plus costs

The California State Archives has a new exhibit! Visit the California Digital Archives for links to all exhibits and digital collections available.

California Goes to War: World War I and the Golden State
State Archives Digital Exhibit Documents California Experience During World War I

SACRAMENTO – April marks 100 years since the United States entered World War I, and the California State Archives has released its latest digital exhibit, “California Goes to War: World War I and the Golden State”.

A turning point in global history, the First World War shaped the twentieth century in immeasurable ways. It slaughtered millions of people, wounded countless more, obliterated entire towns, and all but annihilated an entire generation of young European men. The four-year war destroyed major empires and redrew the European map in ways that led to another, even more destructive world war less than two decades later. 

This exhibit presents an overview of the U.S. entry into World War I, the actions taken by California to prepare for war, and instances of support and opposition to the conflict. The actual war in Europe is then viewed through the experiences of a young Californian, Stanley Cundiff, who served in the 322 Field Signal Battalion of the American Expeditionary Forces and the Army of Occupation. The exhibit follows Cundiff from enlistment, to the theater of war in France, occupation in Germany, and finally, back home to the United States. 

“This exhibit is rich with century-old documents and photographs that provide a vivid narrative of the role of Californians and their sacrifices during World War I,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “I am in awe of the work of our talented state archives staff in assembling this true and well documented story so that we can share it with the public,” Padilla added.  

“California Goes to War” is the latest exhibit released in partnership with Google. The State Archives have now posted seven digital exhibits though the Google Cultural Institute. Prior exhibits have explored: California during World War II, the construction of the Bay Bridge, California’s first motorists, roads and highways, the history of California state parks, the office of the California Secretary of State, and the nation’s first political consulting firm, Campaigns Inc.   

To view all of the State Archives’ exhibits available through Google Cultural Institute visit: