Monday, July 16, 2012

Colonel W.S. Paisley (approx. 1860-1894) - "Martyr to the Cause of Humanity"

Colonel W.S. Paisley's gravestone in the unendowed area

Colonel W. S. Paisley was a member of the Industrial Army. In 1894, Ohio businessman Jacob Coxey organized an "Industrial Army" to protest the federal government's inaction in the face of the Great Depression of the 1890s. Class tensions were at an all-time high in American history and unemployed “tramps” or “hobos” traveled on freight trains begging for work or food. Many in the upper class feared anarchy or violence and labor conflicts sprung up across the country, including the Pullman Strike, Homestead Strike and Carnegie Steel Works Strike. Coxey’s plan was for these trains to converge on Washington D.C. to put pressure on President William H. McKinley. 

The "Industrial Army" en route to Washington D.C. in 1894

Colonel W.S. Paisley, who had worked as a steampipe-fitter and mechanic for the Union Iron Works and Mills Building in San Francisco, seized a train in Oakland with 400-700 other men under the command of General Denning Smith. The train headed into Rocklin in Placer County where it was met by Constable J.B. Fleckenstein* who attempted to detain General Smith. Court records tell of varying accounts of what happened next. One thing seems clear, a struggle ensued and the Industrial Army tried to wrestle away Fleckenstein’s gun. He apparently tried to shoot Smith, but missed, and instead hit Paisley, who died during his medical examination.

The (SF) Morning Call, May 12, 1894
The ensuing trial created a sensation and newspaper accounts proclaim that the court was standing room only with people shouting from the galleries, conflicting testimonies, flashy cross-examinations, salacious accusations and even some humorous moments. At the end of the trial, Judge Gwynne ruled that Fleckenstein acted in self-defense.

The judge also criticized Paisley, stating to the court: 
“W.S. Paisley, then the highest officer in command of the Industrial Army mentioned, instead of making an endeavor to restrain his men or followers from committing unlawful acts, aided and assisted in hampering, harassing and retarding the officer in the performance of his legal and obligatory duty by laying violent hands on the officer, while others, persons under his command, were endeavoring to take from the officer his pistol, the only defense he had on his person.”

Paisley’s body was transported to Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery for burial. But before the body arrived a crowd gathered at 10th & Broadway where angry condemnations and speeches ensued. The group passed a resolution with a resolved clause that stated:
“That the action of the said officer in slaying an unarmed citizen was hasty and unwarranted and should be condemned by all good citizens.”

The group raised the money to transport Paisley’s body from Rocklin and to have him buried. A number of prominent Populists showed up at Paisley’s funeral to demonstrate their support. His epithet reads "Martyr to the Cause of Humanity."

Jack London
Another person who joined Coxey’s Industrial Army in Oakland in 1894 was a man who had been shoveling coal for an electric railway power plant. The man quit when he discovered that he has been exploited, having performed the work of two men. He then joined the march East to protest unemployment. That man was the writer Jack London.

*Some newspaper accounts list him as Fleckenger, Flickenger or Flickenstein.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

William Hayes Hilton (1829-1909) - California Artist

Hilton Gravestone, Plot 36, Lot 287; The backside reads "Pioneer of 1849"

William Hayes Hilton was born in New York City in 1829.

He enlisted in the Mexican War and served under Army General Zachary Taylor, who would later become President of the United States. Hilton participated in the Texas-Mexican broder skirmishes of 1845-46 before heading home to New York. In 1849, he headed to California in search of gold. While in the gold country he sketched the mining camps and scenes of everyday life. Apparently unsuccessfl as a gold miner, he began raising cattle.

"The Butterfield Overland Express Approaches" by William Hayes Hilton
Over the ensuing years Hilton created some enduring images of the Gold Rush era, including his 1861 painting "Pack Mules Climbing the Sierra Grade," an image of the "Washoe canaries" that carried treasure and mail. In later years, he would sketch images of Lake County, Sonoma County and San Francisco.

"Maricopa Village" by William Hayes Hilton
Many of Hilton's works appear in Edward Vischer's "A Pictorial of California," including Overland Mail Service, Stage Sleighing, Teaming up the Sierra Nevada and Treasure and Letter Express. There are also collections of his drawings of Mexico, Arizona and Texas done between 1858-1877.

Hilton lived in Virginia City in the early 1870's and was superintendent of a mine until 1873. Later in life he gave up a property in Glen Ellen and moved to Oakland.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dr. David D.T. Nestell (1819-1900) - Sketched the Civil War

Dr. David Nestell is buried in the grassy area of Plot 15, Lot 65

Daniel D. T. Nestell was born in New York in 1819. In 1843, he graduated with honors from the City University of New York's Medical College. Following graduation, Nestell, accompanied by one of his professors, Dr. Valentine Mott, traveled abroad for two years in furtherance of his medical studies. Upon his return to the United States, Dr. Nestell reportedly worked as a physician or apothecary until 1862.

On January 25, 1862, Dr. Nestell was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon, to serve on the side wheel steamer U.S.S. Clifton. While assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Clifton participated in the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Phillip in April 1862, the Siege of Vicksburg in June 1862, and the First Battle of Galveston in October 1862, before being captured by Confederate forces at Sabine Pass, Texas on September 8, 1863. Nestell was subsequently held as a prisoner of war until January 1864, when he was released. 

"Prof" the Hypocrite by Dr. David Nestell

After his release from Confederate captivity, and a subsequent furlough, Nestell was assigned to the side wheel steamer U.S.S. Alabama, again serving as Acting Assistant Surgeon. Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Alabama took part in the Union attacks on Fort Fisher from December 1864 to January 1865. During the action at Fort Fisher, Nestell suffered irreversible hearing damage. Five months later, on June 6, 1865, Dr. Nestell's appointment as Acting Assistant Surgeon was revoked, and he was honorably discharged from the Navy in August of that year. 

On September 9, 1869, Nestell received an appointment as Acting Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Army, and served at Camp Warner, Oregon until April 1871. After serving briefly in California and the Arizona Territory, Nestell returned to civilian life in May 1872, and served in private practice in California.

Dutch Gap, April 9, 1865 by Dr. David Nestell

Nestell made numerous sketches during the Civil War and over 80 of them are preserved in a collection at the Nimitz Library. They can also be found in "The Southern Journey of a Civil War Marine: The Illustrated Note-Book Of Henry O. Gusley." Although Nestell and Gusley served on different war ships, much of their Civil War history was at the same locations.

Capture of USS Harriett Lane, Galveston by Dr. David Nestell

Nestell and Gusley's written and illustrated account of the Civil War provide us with some of the best accounts of key moments during this period. Together they document the capture of New Orleans, the Confederate victories at Galveston and Sabine Pass, as well as glimpses into the everyday life of Civil War soldiers.

Dr. Daniel D. T. Nestell died on October 24, 1900. Dr. Nestell was survived by his wife, Maria Louisa Whaites Nestell, whom he married in 1864, and his daughter, Ella. Cemetery records list the cause of death as "Senility."

[Biography primarily from the Nimitz Library]

Friday, July 6, 2012

Clarissa Chapman Armstrong (May 15, 1805- July 20, 1891) One of first missionaries in Hawaii

Clarissa Chapman Armstrong

 Clarissa Chapman Armstrong  was born in Russell Hampden County, Massachusetts to a family of Puritan descent. Her brother Reuben Chapman was the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

In 1831, she married Dr. Richard Armstrong who boarded his young bride on the whaling ship the Averick and sailed to Hawaii. Clarissa’s journals show a rough trip around the Horn, with a pleasant stop in Rio de Janeiro. Clarissa was often to sick to leave her room, which was below deck in steerage. She later learned that she was pregnant for much of the voyage. The couple finally set foot in Hawaii 172 grueling days later.

During her stop in Rio de Janeiro, she enjoyed fine fruit and other delectables, but also witnessed slavery for the first time in her life. Years later she wrote the following:

“It was indeed a paradise, but the trail of the serpent was there. On an open road I saw a long train of black men, miserably clad, chained together…From that day my sympathies went out to the poor slaves everywhere, but little did I think that I should live to rear a son who lead Freedman to victory in the great contest which in future years should come in my native country.”

The couple spent a year in Molokai, Marquesas and Maui before being transferred to the central mission in Honolulu where Richard Armstrong became the spiritual advisor to King Kamehameha II. Armstrong viewed the natives as “naked, cannibalistic and warlike” and was appalled by the nakedness of the women, men and children. Eight years later he was made the minister of public instruction, a post he held until his death in 1860. The couple were among the first missionaries to permanently establish a church in Hawaii.  

When Richard encountered Chief Hape, who refused to accept the Christian God, Hape suggested that he swap Clarissa for one of his wives. Diplomatically, Armstrong refused, but as a compromise offered to name his first son Hape.

Clarissa taught the natives the English alphabet, led Bible studies, administered medical treatment, showed the women how to braid mats out of pine and even taught some of the men carpentry. She developed the trust of the native Hawaiians by learning their language. 

Clarissa Armstrong's gravestone in Plot 21, Lot 50

In 1860, her husband was thrown from a horse and died a few weeks later. Her husband had made provisions to ensure that Clarissa could stay in the stone house that they had built. She continued to lodge strangers, relieve the afflicted and minister to visitors.

Clarissa’s son Samuel Chapman Armstrong is known for establishing the Hampton Institute, which is best known for training black teachers in the South after the Civil War.

Clarissa Armstrong died on a visit to San Francisco to see her daughter. Stepping out of a carriage she slipped and hit her back on the iron step. She lived in excruciating mental and physical pain for about a year before dying at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco.

Her gravestone has her name and two simple inscriptions: “Aloha” on the backside and “She hath done what she could” on the front. Her husband is buried at the Kawaiahao Church Cemetery in Honolulu.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

James Graham Cooper (1830-1902) Famed Naturalist, Conservationist and Surgeon

[From Cal Central by Frank Perry]

James G. Cooper was born June 19, 1830, in New York City and was no doubt influenced early in life by his father, William Cooper. His father was a skilled naturalist and founder of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York. The elder Cooper was one of the first Americans to publish articles on vertebrate paleontology, and the Cooper's Hawk was named in his honor. Unfortunately, James's mother, Mary Wilson Cooper, died when he was about five. In 1837 the family moved to a farm in New Jersey where young James grew up hunting, fishing, and collecting shells, birds' nests, reptiles, and other natural history specimens. He kept squirrels, a raccoon, and an opossum as pets.

The Wells Family Lot where James Cooper is buried
PLOT 31, LOT 15

There were few jobs in the natural sciences in those days so, typical of many naturalists at that time, James Cooper pursued and received medical degree. He graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City in 1851. The medical training also gave him a general background in science and would enable him to, if necessary, earn a living as a physician while pursuing his nature studies on the side.

Over the next decade, however, he worked at a series of government jobs where he used both skills. In 1852 Cooper learned of plans for a series of government surveys and explorations of the West. So he wrote to Spencer Fullerton Baird, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian, who helped find scientists for the expeditions. Baird liked Cooper's enthusiasm. It would indeed be strange, Baird wrote back, "if the son of one so intimately connected with the progress of American science as your father should not have some of his tendencies."

The following year Cooper was assigned the job of surgeon and naturalist on a government expedition in search of a transcontinental railroad route through the Northwest. Young Cooper, thrilled at the opportunity to explore new lands, set off on April 28th, 1853, on a steamer for the Washington Territory. They traveled by way of the Isthmus of Panama and arrived at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River in mid June. The survey was to be made by the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, under the leadership of Captain George B. McClellan (later to gain fame during the Civil War). The government wanted to know not only about topography, but also about fauna, flora, and geological resources. Wrote Baird:

"The general principles to be observed in making collections of natural history in a new country or one previously unexplored, is to collect everything which may present itself, from time to time, subject to the convenience or practicality of transportation. The number of specimens secured will, of course, depend upon the dimensions, and the variety of form or condition caused by the different features of age, sex, or season. ...In collecting specimens of any kind, it will be important to fix, with the utmost precision, the localities where found. ...It will not be possible to collect minerals, fossils, and geological specimens in very great quantity or dimensions...."

The team set out in mid July to explore the Cascade Range, with hopes of finding a pass over the mountains. Over the next ten months, Cooper took notes and collected birds, plants, and other specimens for shipment back to the Smithsonian. He was paid a salary of $70 per month. Even after the expedition disbanded, Cooper remained in Washington Territory, exploring the region between the Columbia River and Puget Sound.

Over the next few years Cooper participated in several other government explorations including the Wagon Road Expedition of 1857 and the Military Expedition to the West in 1860. He also hiked through New England and traveled to Florida (partly with his own funds) in search of specimens for museums.

Smithsonian circa 1865
When not traveling, he kept busy at the Smithsonian, writing up the results of his investigations. In Washington he worked with other important scientists, and made connections with high ranking military and political figures, including President Buchanan and Ulysses S. Grant. There were other amenities too: "Saturday, P.M. I went on an excursion to Arlington and had a pleasant time -- dined at Colonel [Robert E.] Lee's with a large party, many of them charming damsels, and walked home with two of the beautifullest girls in Washington."

But Cooper became depressed at the amount of time it took to get his reports published and soon longed for the wilds.
"I wish I could find pleasure in any of the common ways, but boating, theatre, opera, and all other such things have not charm for me, and I fear if I do not soon get away from civilized life into the wild woods of Florida or most anywhere else I shall get sick..."

In 1860, Cooper returned to the West Coast, eventually landing a job with the Geological Survey of California, led by Professor Josiah D. Whitney. The state legislature had appointed Whitney State Geologist and directed him: ³With aid of such assistants as he may appoint, to make an accurate and complete Geological Survey of the State, and to furnish, in his Report of the same, proper maps and diagrams thereof, with a full and scientific description of its rocks, fossils, soils, and minerals, and of its botanical and zoological productions, together with specimens of the same.² Cooper worked on and off for the survey, which suffered from sporadic funding, over the next ten years. He explored southern California, the Farallons and Channel Islands, the Sierra, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, among others.

Cooper visited Monterey in 1861, where he hired a boat to help in dredge for marine life in Carmel Bay. He first visited Santa Cruz as in 1864. Here, he hoped to find people with a love "...of simple pleasures and rural life..." He predicted that someday the town would become a second Newport (referring to Newport, Rhode Island). The place apparently appealed to him. In early 1866, after marrying his wife Rosa, they moved to Santa Cruz, and he set up a medical practice. In September he wrote to Baird:

"I am not making expenses yet at practice, but hope to make a living at it after a while. It however keeps me pretty close [to] my office and prevents my collecting much, as I have to be on hand in case of accident and not let them go to one of the six other doctors in town."

Another letter from Santa Cruz, to British malachologist Philip Carpenter, reveals Cooper's frustrations trying to carry out his scientific work:

"As to the pay, I care little, for it is not enough in this country to be worth the trouble of working for; in fact, I got only half paid for my report on the four classes [of] vertebrates and Mollusca. ...I have been following your example and getting married, and now have to pay closer attention to my profession, which in this country will not allow me to study the natural sciences very deeply, as the practical Americans always consider a man either deranged or neglectful of his business if he is known to be a naturalist."

Cooper, his wife, and newborn son left Santa Cruz in 1867 and eventually settled in Hayward where he finally managed to balance the practice of medicine with the study of natural history.

Cooper was a Renaissance man of natural science back at a time when it was still possible to hold such a title. He published on an incredible variety of topics: medicinal plants, forest trees, birds, mammals, reptiles, land snails, freshwater clams, coal distribution, marine mollusks, fishes, and fossils. In all, he wrote over 150 papers. With regard to paleontology, his greatest contribution was assembling a catalog of fossils collected by the California Geological Survey, published in 1888. He also wrote a "Catalogue of Californian Fossils," published in 1894. In it he described several new species of fossil mollusks. He published separate reports on the Pliocene, Miocene, and Eocene paleogeography in California. In his 1874 paper "California in the Miocene Epoch," he correctly concluded that much of the Coast Ranges south of San Francisco were under water during that time period.

James Graham Cooper died in Hayward in 1902. William Healy Dall, at that time America's preeminent authority on living and fossil mollusks, paid tribute to the pioneer naturalist:

"He was one of the original group of young naturalists which gathered around Professor Baird in the early days of the [Smithsonian] Institution...and whose names are classic in the annals of zoology in this country. ... Dr. Cooper ... for years ... was dependent upon his medical practice for support. But in spite of these handicaps his work on the Pacific coast has been of primary importance, and by his death passes away the last member of a group of men to whom American zoology is permanently indebted."

Several species of marine mollusks, as well as the Cooper Ornithological Club, were named in his honor.

He is buried in the family lot of Rev. Samuel Taggart Wells, a founder of Mountain View Cemetery. He married Rosa Wells in 1866,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Theodore Sherman Palmer (January 26, 1868 - July 24, 1955) Audobon Society Co-founder; Famed Ornithologist; Conservationist

Theodore Sherman Palmer

East end of the endowed portion of Plot 5

Theodore Sherman Palmer was born in Oakland, California on January 26, 1868. In 1886, his family moved to Pomona, California where his father started a bank.

He studied at the University of California at Berkeley where he took an interest in the flora and fauna of the California mountains. A year after graduating in 1888, he joined the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy of the United States Department of Agriculture under Clinton Hart Merriam. In 1891, he led an expedition to study the biology of Death Valley and adjacent territories. He edited and published "Place Names of the Death Valley Region in California and Nevada” and “Chronology of the Death Valley Region in California, 1849-1949.”

Theodore Palmer's grave
After successfully helping organize exhibits for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, he was named the Assistant Chief of the Department, where he served from 1896 to 1902, and again from 1910 to 1914.

He seemed to have a penchant for compiling information into books and during these years he published books about the history of hunting licenses, private game preserves, game protection, bird legislation, jack rabbits, economic ornithology and the benefits of game protection. An 1899 publication on “noxious animals” led to the Lacey Act of 1900, which protects both plants and wildlife by creating civil and criminal penalties for a wide array of violations. The Federal act prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, and plants that have been illegally taken, transported or sold. The law is still in effect.

Palmer became interested in legislation affecting all wildlife, but especially birds. This led to an association with George Grinnell and William Dutcher who co-founded the National Audobon Society. Palmer served as a vice-president of the organization from 1905-1936.  He also helped found the Washington D.C. chapter of the Audobon Society and served as its president from 1924-1941.

Pelican Island
In 1916, he wrote the preliminary draft of the treaty which protected birds migrating between Canada and the United States. In 1918 he was the Chairman of the Committee that prepared the first regulations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He played a key role in creating Pelican Island in Florida, the first federal bird sanctuary, which was set up to prevent the slaughter of pelicans by fisherman.  

He also became interested in publishing the obituaries of ornithologists and chaired a Committee on Biography for the American Ornithologists’ Union from 1915-1919. Palmer was so dedicated to the work that he made pilgrimages to the burial places of ornithologists and recorded them. Much of our historical knowledge of ornithologists comes from Palmer’s published works. He published the compilations at his own expense.

Palmer spent the last 2 ½ years of his life confined to his house after breaking his hip.

Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull and wife Faith
Palmer was the great-great-great grandson of American founding father Roger Sherman. His uncle, Ira Hart Palmer, married Harriet Trumbull; who was the daughter of Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., who was the son of Roger Sherman's fellow judge on the Connecticut Superior Court, and who was also the son of Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr..