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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

San Mateo County Families: Who is E.S. Maynard?

In October 1856, E.S. Maynard filed an inventory of her property with the San Mateo County Court.  This was one of the first entries in the San Mateo County Sole Trader’s Register.  The filing permanently protected her separate estate consisting of more than 1000 acres of land, , “seven horses, six cows, 12 Chinese Sheep, two ploughs, three double and one single set of harness, two buggy waggons and a lot of fowls numbering one hundreds and twenty five or thereabout.”(1)

San Joaquin Republican
(Stockton, CA)
   V: 6-1 P: 3
But who was E.S. Maynard?  Early San Mateo county land records offered a few clues including a deed dated 29 Oct 1856 which like the sole trader document names her husband John C. Maynard.  The 1860 census lists the family in Township 3 (post office Woodside).  S. Ella, who is 23, was born in MIS.  Her husband, John C., age 29 was born in Virginia.  There is a 4 year old son, Gwesing(?), born in California.  Also in the household are a number of farm laborers and servants and a George F. Maynard born in Virginia who is assumed to be John’s brother.

Another clue to the identity of E.S. can be found in a newspaper article dated Saturday, November 19, 1859.  It was printed throughout the state. This article identifies E.S. as the adopted daughter of Sen. William Gwin and his wife.  The article does not identify the actual parents of S. Ella, however.  

Various sources (none documented - see books and website below) identify her father as Samuel, the brother of William. He died in 1837/8 when E.S. was a baby.

It turns out, Samuel led a colorful life.  Born in Tennessee he relocated to Mississippi in 1831.  The following letter written after his appointment as land registrar in Mount Salus explains a bit about his life.  

"Washington, October 14, 1831 Hon. George Poindexter, United States Senator: Sir- My recent appointment, Register of the Land Office at Mount Salus, makes it my duty to explain to you why I sought the position, and to say something of my antecedents. I am a native of Tennessee; was a volunteer under Jackson in his Indian campaigns; was in Coffee's brigade in the assault and capture of Pensacola in 1814, and in all the engagements with the British below New Orleans. I lost my health by long protracted exposure, and to this day am a habitual sufferer. In 1829 the Postmaster General was good enough to give me a clerkship in his department, since which time I have never been absent from my post. My beloved wife is now threatened with consumption, and I am advised that the only hope for her is to take her to a warmer climate. Under this advice, and with this hope, and for the happiness of a young family, I submitted the case to the President, and, with the noble sympathies of his nature, he conferred on me the Mount Salus appointment.

I do not apprehend that anyone will doubt my qualifications or character, but I fear my non-residence may be considered an objection. For this I must ask indulgence. I have never resided in Mississippi, but have shed my blood on her soil in her defense, as the records of our battles will attest. My venerable father and his six brothers were soldiers of the Revolution. Respectfully, your obedient servant, Sam'L Gwin "

It turns out, Senator Poindexter did resent the appointment and managed to defeat the nomination of Colonel Gwin in the Senate.  The Gwins, in turn, led the successful fight to defeat Poindexter in the next election.  The result was that in 1835 Judge Isaac Caldwell, Poindexter's law partner, and Colonel Gwin engaged in a dual. Each armed with six revolvers and agreeing to move forward as they shot, the inevitable happened and both parties fell. Caldwell died within a few hours. Gwin, shot through the lungs, survived a year, dying in New Orleans in 1838.

So we are still left with the question, is ES (S Ella) the daughter of Samuel?  The obvious next step is to find probate records for Samuel.  We know he owned land in Hinds Co., Mississippi and he reportedly died in New Orleans.  Probate records for both are available online and he is not found in New Orleans nor in the index for Hinds County thru 1842. It is possible that the probate was filed at a later date as there were land records in his name (listing multiple patentees) at least as late as 1841, it is also possible that he still had holdings in Tennessee and that the official probate was filed there The Elite Directory for San Francisco and Oakland (Argonaut Publishing 1879) notes that Mrs. "Gwin's daughter married Mr. Evan Coleman, and her charming niece, Miss Ella Gwin, was led to the altar by John C. Maynard."  Again Ella's father is not named but it does corroborate a close relationship.  It does not note that Ella by this point is already deceased.

Locating E.S. in 1850 might also give a clue to her identity.  She was not found with the family of William, who was living in Virginia at the time.  A search for Gwins born about 1837 in Mississippi found Samuella Gwin age 12 living in Warren, Mississippi with the family of James C. Mosby.  While my first thought was that her mother had remarried, James' wife Sarah was only 22 making it impossible for her to be Samuella's (ES/S Ella) mother.  The second thought that Sarah was an older sister is also unlikely as "again undocumented" sources suggest instead that James' first wife was Elizabeth Gwin the sister of Samuel and that Sarah was his second wife.  

Adding credence to the ancestry of Samuella are the fact that her name is a feminine version of Samuel, she named her first son Gwin, and a daughter Edith.  She was definitely connected to Samuel's brother William as he acknowledged her as an adopted daughter.  Leaving the door open to a change, however, is the fact that Samuel came from a large family.  His father James had moved to Mississippi, so any of his children could have had a child born there, and no documentation has been found to date proving her parentage.  

The sources previously mentioned provide a death date for Samuella of 9 Dec 1862.  While no death record, obituary, or grave has been found, we do know that John had remarried before 1870.  In fact no record has been found for Samuella  after the 1860 census was taken.  A thorough search of land record documents should verify a time of death, however, as those lands would have been been inherited by family members.  One possible source of further information might be a court  case in which William M. Gwin was involved which was reported in the San Mateo County Times Gazette on 7 Feb 1863. 

July 13, 1874    San Francisco Bulletin   V: XXXVIII-82   P: 3. 
 E.S. and John C. Maynard reportedly had four children. Two, Edith and Hylton, most likely died in childhood as they are not found in the 1870 census. Perhaps Samuella died in childbirth and the three were buried on Oak Hill Ranch grounds or in the defunct and lost West Union Cemetery as they are not found with the rest of the family burials.

Gwin was born 15 Dec 1856 and died in 5 Jul 1874 according to his tombstone (FindAGrave#85676932)  which is located in St. John’s Cemetery in San Mateo.  One source says that he was killed, but I have found no record to back that up, surely anything spectacular would have been reported in the newspaper.  The only newspaper notice I've found is shown here. Perhaps an unspectacular accident, or a suicide by a seventeen year old might have been kept quiet?

Mary, the daughter of E.S. and John,  was born 8 Nov 1858 She married Henry Stanley Dexter about 20 Jun 1887(Dexter Henry S 26 Napa Valley Maynard Mamie 25 San Mateo 17-Jun 18853 278 San Mateo) . Mary died just over two years later on 29 Oct 1887 according to her tombstone (FindAGrave85676933) . 

See the May SMCGS Families posting for more on JC Maynard

Sources and Research Possibilities

Schellen’s Collection

  • E.S. 1856 Oak Hill Ranch 3 41.1 8,10

SMCGS - Early Land Record Index
  • Maynard E.S. 29-Oct-1856 D1 41 Grantee wife of John C. 
  • Maynard E.S. 2 Apr 1858 D1 328 grantee 
  • Maynard E.S. 26 Jun 1858 D2 52 thru 53 grantor 
  •  Maynard E.S. 9 Sep 1859 Mort1 326 thru 327 Mortgagor \
  • Maynard E.S. 4 Feb1860 D2 251 thru 252 grantor  

Census Records 

  • 1850 James C. Mosby Household, Warren, Mississippi; Roll: M432_382; Page: 210B
  • 1860 - Township 3, San Mateo, California; Roll: M653_65; Page: 83 (1)

  • Founding the Far West: California, Oregon, and Nevada, 1840-1890  By David Alan Johnson p.118 (2)
  • George Archer I of the Umberslade Archers of Henrico County, Virginia and his descendants by Randolph, Wassell. 1987 p. 11
  • Jackson, Andrew Message from the President of the United States, with Documents Relating to the Character and Conduct of Samuel Gwin.   Washington, D. C. 1837 (Charges of Fraud and Favoritism in Land office Dealings) 
  • Virginia Cousins  By G. Brown Goode, Goode p353

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