header chapter 07

Excepting the few intrepid squatters who situated themselves proximate to the old Peralta Road, the East Berkeley area remained virtually uninhabited until very late in the 1860's. Apart from the handful of monied visionaries, few took seriously the dubious potential of this remote corner of the county. It was not until the railroad spur that connected the Oakland Railroad Terminus to the College campus was announced, would the town Berkeley become a reality. This news came together with the State's announcement that it would locate its new university on the (as yet unoccupied) site of College of California, news which began to inspire settlement in that area. These two decisive factors were unquestionably connected, one to the other.

With the signing of the Homestead Law in 1852, the alien encroachment upon Domingo Peralta's property accelerated. Temescal, the area around Vicente Peralta's reserve, because of its nearness to the incorporated portions of the Encinal, was already well populated in comparison to Domingo's land, leaving the Berkeley property the opportune focus of land entrepreneurs.

The names of the earliest, and the mostly transient, settlers in the East Berkeley area bore the names Heyland, Thornton, Millington, Colburn, Connolly, Hathaway, Maxwell, Shattuck, Blake, Leonard, Hillegass, Harwood, Madison, and Naylor. Many of these men sold out their peremptory claims to the McAllister group, but some remained long enough to leave the hint of an influence on the events which were to follow. The acreage claimed in many instances provided a basis for the distinctions that were formalized by Kellersberger when he worked up the partitioning of this land. The improvements made upon the claims tended to be uniformly minimal, each squatter contributing only so much as to legitimize his claim within the guidelines provided by the Possessory Rights Act. It would appear that most squatted with the design of an early sale and quick profit; few pursued their claims in a way consistent with the spirit of the law.

In some cases their peremptory rights were sold to other squatters. George Blake was among this group of secondary squatters who purchase these "rights" of his predecessors. Heyland, Thornton, and Donald sold to Blake quite early, placing him in a position of at least partial ownership of properties that have not been customarily associated with his known Berkeley holdings. This arrangement likewise permitted Blake to acquire acreage in excess of the mandated limit of 160 acres. This practice was widespread and not in any way controlled. Similarly, Millington and Colburn, two other early claimants, sold their "squatters rights" to Orrin Simmons, paving the way for his substantive contribution to the development of the College and the adjoining neighborhood.

But of all the earliest squatters of East Berkeley, it is only the Connolly family whose eventual impact would have a noticeable effect on the events to follow. This family, by dividing their household, was able to hold the possessory rights to two significant parcels of land. The western most parcel, which lay between Addison Street and Dwight Way, San Pablo Road and Sacramento Street, was the property that was later sold to Wm. Tierney, Michael Higgins, and to the State University Homestead Association. The eastern plot, spanning the distance from Martin Luther King, Jr. Way to Arch Street, Hearst Street to Eunice Street, was later held by Napolean Bonaparte Byrne, Henry Berryman, Hiram Graves, Henry Taylor, and T. M. Antisell. It embraced the area which was to become known as Berryman Station. It was a Connolly daughter, Margaret Connolly Leonard, whose eventual influence was perhaps the most observable.

In the Spring of 1852 Horace Carpentier, with the willing collaboration of several new arrivals from the gold fields, “squatted” a portion of Domingo Peralta's land. His reason for doing this was to become apparent only much later. Anticipating the sale of Domingo's land, Carpentier took steps to establish an early advantage through the creative employment of preemptive claims. Having already exhausted his homesteading privilege with the Oakland property, he accepted the cooperation of these new arrivals, directing them to claim collectively a square mile of prime land near, but not into, the Berkeley Hills. They were directed to secure any title from any other claims to that land. Not coincidently, this claim spanned the old Peralta Road, offering a special kind of threat to the already flabbergasted Domingo Peralta.


George Blake

George Mansfield Blake was born in Elizabethtown, Essex County, New York in 1823, and was educated at Middlebury College in Vermont. He was provocatively described by the contemporary press as having "... a massive brain and an unusually great memory. His reading was extensive and profound."

In February of 1850 Blake arrived at the foot of Clay St. in San Francisco with his brother-in- law Francis Kittredge Shattuck. It was George Washington's Birthday. Before leaving New York he had married Shattuck's sister, Millicent, who followed them to California only a short time after her young groom had made his decision to remain in this environ.
George and Frank left New York in January of 1849, on the steamer Cherokee. After several en route transfers, they landed on the eastern coast of Panama and thence proceeded on foot across the isthmus. Making suitable connections on the Pacific side, they boarded the steamer Oregon and continued on to San Francisco.

The adventurers then took a steamer to Sacramento, and from there by Whitehall boat to Marysville, where they met James Leonard. From Marysville they went on foot to Rose's Bar. Two months later they ventured on to Nye's Crossing on the Middle Yuba River. The party broke up and Shattuck, Blake, a man named Kleinfelter, and Leonard worked as partners out of Nevada City, sustaining their efforts until December and the rainy season. From there they moved on to Goodyear's Bar on the North Yuba and then mined at Downieville until January of 1852. Blake teamed up with James Leonard on the mining proper, while Shattuck worked with a wagon and team of donkeys, hauling pay dirt down from the diggings, at $20.00 a load.

In the Spring of 1852 George Blake and James Leonard returned to San Francisco from their venture in gold prospecting, temporarily leaving Shattuck behind to finish his portion of the work. Having realized a modest success for their efforts, Blake and Leonard had fully intended to return to their homes in the East. While awaiting Shattuck's arrival and their transportation out, they were invited by their Captain to the home of Victor Castro who, coincidently, had only just then established a "business" relationship with Horace Carpentier.

Encouraged by Castro to settle in California, with the hint of particular opportunities abounding in the area just south of the Castro's Rancho San Pablo, they accepted his suggestion that they talk with Carpentier regarding local real estate opportunities. The upshot of Blake's meeting with Carpentier are events which neither of these men could then hope to imagine.


Frank Shattuck

arrived in town several weeks following the Carpentier-Blake meeting and was introduced to Carpentier along with his new friend, and partner, William Hillegass. According to Shattuck, he had met Hillegass on his way back to Oakland, discovering this man sick and in need of care. Bending to assist, his return was slightly delayed but good fortune became his reward. Until Hillegass' death, all of the eventual success realized by Francis Shattuck would be the proximal result of his association with Hillegass. As with virtually every other feather in the Shattuck hat, it was his association with someone significantly more enterprising than himself that brought him his acclaim.

July 1, 1852 was the first day possible to file under the Possessory Rights Act which was enacted by the legislature on April 20, 1852. Blake managed, somehow, to file on his 160 acre parcel one day early. Leonard and Hillegass filed by the end of the first week. Shattuck filed a few days after that. Blake had first pickings as he laid out his claim, and Leonard located himself directly east, Hillegass took the portion immediately east of Leonard. With no more flat land east of Hillegass, Shattuck who straggled in as the last of the four took his 160 acres to the west of his brother-in-law. The story of the four drawing straws now appears to be somewhat apocryphal in light of the chronology of these choices Their properties neatly covered the major streams in the area and occupied the largest single portion of land nearest the hills without involving themselves with the uncertain terrain above the flatland. Blake's property neatly enclosed that portion of the Peralta Road between what is now Russell Street and Addison Street. Overall, the four partners in this homesteading venture claimed all of the land from College Avenue to Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Russell Street to Addison Street.

Once the four had filed their claims, Carpentier approached Domingo Peralta, pointing out the presence of interlopers upon his property, the possibility of interference with the route between his and his brother Vicente's haciendas, and the advisability of his right to legal assistance in dealing with this shameless Anglo nuisance. With Domingo's acceptance of this offer of professional guidance, Carpentier had become the attorney of record for both Victor Castro and Domingo Peralta. As the Peralta attorney, he had placed himself in the position of representing the man who would soon be selling most of his land to the partnership that excluded Carpentier, and with whom he enjoyed a rivalrous relationship. But this time he had established himself in an advantageous position early enough to make a difference. Within a couple of months he gained a foothold in that area designated as the Peralta Reserve through the corrupt device of the "sheriff's sale." It is unlikely that either Domingo Peralta or the McAllister group had at that time any inkling of the advantage of Carpentier's representation.

In the meanwhile, Frank Shattuck had entered into the employ of Horace Carpentier. There was work that needed to be done, and Frank was there to help him do it. While never described as an especially bright man, Shattuck clearly had the capability of recognizing opportunity. Energetic and willing to follow, he allied himself politically with Carpentier and commercially with William Hillegass. Whatever uncertainties he may have entertained, his future had become secure.

George Blake was elected to the first city council of Oakland, serving the 1854-55 term. Historically, this council was anti-Carpentier, these feelings being the result of his infamous waterfront maneuver.

Blake is listed as the Alameda County District Attorney in September of 1855. He had previously replaced Edson Adams as a justice-of-the-peace for Contra Costa County. In 1859-60, he served as City Superintendent of Schools. In March of 1862 Blake was elected Mayor of Oakland, and following his term in this office he served as City Attorney, during the year of 1864 to 1865.

On April 4, 1870 along with Shattuck, J.Ross Martin and a man named LeRoy, Blake petitioned for two railroad lines, one to connect Oakland with Fruitvale, this one crossing over the much disputed 12th Street Bridge, and the second to extend up Adeline Street from Oakland, to the then embryonic town of Berkeley. This was in 1870, when “Berkeley”, for all intents and purposes, simply did not exist apart from the entrepreneurial imagination of Horace Carpentier and his associates.

On October 16, 1875 George Blake died while on a hunting expedition with Dr. Pardee, the incumbent Mayor of Oakland and father of a future governor of the State. George breathed his last at a place called Davis' Ranch, about 60 miles from Shasta in Trinity County. It is reported that he had contracted pneumonia, and upon hearing of his illness, his wife Millicent, along with his brothers-in-law Henry Robinson and Frank Shattuck rushed to his bedside. It is not unlikely that he had contracted typhus, a disease epidemic in the area during that time. His body was returned to Oakland, and he was buried in Mountain View Cemetery. His residence had been on Washington Street, between 11th and 12th, today’s Oakland City Center.

In his will (drawn up in May of 1868) he left his wife their city block in Oakland, laying between Broadway and Franklin Street, 12th and 13th Streets (block #174 on the city grid). Millicent's inheritance also included their house and the property at Oakland Point known as Eureka Livery Stable, the lot, the horses etc. He left his law library to a legal partner, Wm. Van Voorhies who some eight years prior had represented James Leonard in his divorce from Margaret. To his niece Martha Barker, he bequeathed two shares of San Francisco & Oakland Railroad stock. He left a little to each of his brothers, Alanson of Wisconsin and William M. in San Francisco. To Frank Shattuck, he left his gold watch and chain and 500 dollars in gold coin. Shattuck and Millicent Blake were appointed executor and executrix.


Francis Kittredge Shattuck

Frank Shattuck was born on March 6, 1825 on the banks of Lake Champlain, at Crown Point, Essex, Essex County, New York. Frank ShattuckHis parents were Weston and Elizabeth (Betsy) Mather Shattuck, natives of Massachusetts, and of colonial New England ancestry. His mother was a descendant of Israel Increase Mather, the first president of Harvard. His father, a farmer, died when he was twelve, and Francis was on that account obliged to direct his attention to the family farm. At sixteen he became a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Essex and remained so until his death.

At eighteen he entered the teaching profession, without benefit of much education for himself, and taught school for the next 4 years. He then spent 2 years clerking in Vermont before he headed for the "Gold Rush", at age 24. Shattuck, still the farm boy at heart, spent his time hauling other's diggings to the sluices, rather than actually getting himself into the mining. After Blake and Leonard left the gold country for the Bay Area, Shattuck remained to dispose of their equipment.

Messrs. Shattuck and Hillegass settled in Oakland Township and established themselves jointly in the livery business at the foot of Broadway. From hauling on the farm, to hauling at the mines, and now transporting people in the town, his fascination with conveyance would soon culminate with his involvement in the East Bay's romancing of the railroad.

The waterfront was as yet sparsely developed, but directly across the street from their livery was a building, owned by Horace Carpentier's primary associate, Edson Adams, which housed the Live Oak Chapter of Oakland's first Masonic Lodge. The building, typical of the genre, was of two stories, and described as a dinky 18'x 24' structure "built on piles, over the water on the west side of Broadway between First Street and the estuary. The walls and ceiling were covered with cotton cloth."

Their livery business quickly grew into a stage line which connected Oakland with San Pablo and Martinez, along the San Pablo Road which Carpentier had politically engineered. Eventually Shattuck and Hillegass were operating stage lines to Martinez, Mt. Diablo, Mission San Jose, and Warm Springs, from their central Broadway location, on the wharf.

Parallel to his commercial endeavors, Shattuck, pursued a civic career and comported himself well under the supportive guidance and emphatic influence of Horace Carpentier. On this account he was made clerk to the town's Board of Trustees; under the first organized government for Oakland he was "elected" on May 17, 1852 and he served in this position until his resignation in January, 1853.

But even before the election, on May 12, 1852 Shattuck attended the first Oakland town council meeting as the acting Town Clerk. He was also serving as the Secretary to the Board of Trustees, and as such played a crucially instrumental role in the signing away the waterfront to Horace Carpentier.

In late 1855, Shattuck returned east to his home in New York State and married Rosa M. Morse on December 30, 1855. It remains unclear whether Rosa had been his student, or his school mate, back at Crown Point.

On June 6, 1853, having just retired as Town Clerk, and with the creation of the new Alameda County, Shattuck was named Supervisor of Road District 6. Three years later, in 1856, he was elected to his first stint on the Oakland City council, along with Hillegass. In March of 1856 he and A. J. Croley were appointed by the Board of Supervisors to locate (that is, lay out) a road from a point on the Temescal (Peralta) Road to San Pablo Road. This would become Addison Street, and would presumably connect the properties Carpentier had acquired via Shattuck, Blake, Hillegass and Leonard with the thoroughfare along the shore. Addison Street was the northern-most boundary of this property. It should be noted that the area to which this roadway was planned was virtually unpopulated, there was no university, no railroad spur, no commercial facilities, nothing. But plans for the development of this area were already in the making. For the next twenty years, as evidenced by the plaudits in every contemporary and posthumous biography, Frank Shattuck enjoyed no less than a whirlwind political career, as he continued to ride the coattails of Horace Carpentier.

On September 2, 1857 Shattuck was elected to be a member of the County Board of Supervisors. On the occasion of his first meeting (10/5/1857) he was also listed as clerk and sheriff. As his first term with the supervisorial boarded ended, he was reelected (on 3/3/1858) to the Oakland City Council and was elevated to the position of president of the council by the 8th of that same month.

Five months later, Shattuck was re-elected to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors 9/7/1858. By October first he was listed as "interim chair". A month later Shattuck was the permanently ensconced chairman of the board of supervisors. In March of 1859 he was elected Mayor of Oakland. In September of 1859 he was elected assemblyman to the State Legislature as a "Broderick Democrat." If one does not consider the machinery at work, this could easily be mistaken for a whirlwind career.

During his campaign, Shattuck was "strangely quiet about the waterfront issue and Mr. Carpentier, an issue which rang loudly from the offices of his predecessors and successors." Not always quick, but hardly a fool, he shortly afterward joined the Republican party.

Shattuck stuck with Carpentier long after George Blake had backed away from the political tarnish that accompanied this association. Weighing carefully both the advantages and the disadvantages bestowed upon those who enjoyed the blessings of the Carpentier association, it was Francis Shattuck who remained the most loyal, for the longest time, and was the most suitably rewarded.

As each of his political positions concluded, Frank returned to his home base on the County's Board of Supervisors. On November 3, 1862 he was again chosen chairman. He held that position for the remainder of his tenure. During the years 1861-62 Shattuck was the City's Superintendent of Schools and on March 5, 1862 he was again elected to the city council, and by virtue of successive re-elections, held a seat in that body until 1867. During this time he functioned as the major officer of both the city and county governments, wearing his two hats with dignified aplomb.

In 1861 Shattuck and Hillegass invested in Mt. Diablo coal mining by purchasing the Stewart Mine, and renaming it the Central Mine. Their company was incorporated in 1863. When the Central Pacific Railroad offered them $250,000.00 for it they held out. . . too long; when they finally sold it they realized only $10,000.00. After Hillegass died in 1876 Frank sold his livery stock and concentrated on real estate in Berkeley and Oakland.

Shattuck was involved with the development of local railroads, utilities, and public facilities, including the opera house that he and Hillegass opened on the 16th of January, 1869. That same year, no longer an officer of either city or county, he made a final and unsuccessful attempt at politics.

In 1860 the Shattucks lived on Broadway between 7th and 8th Streets. In 1871 they moved to Berkeley from Oakland. In April of 1870 he petitioned to build a wharf on the Oakland Waterfront, extending from a point in line with the south end of his Berkeley property, Russell Street. The wharf that was built is now recognizable only as a small roadway at one end of Aquatic Park, named Bolivar Dr.

The original Shattuck home in Berkeley was built in 1871 (2222 Shattuck Ave.) in the block behind the Central Branch of the Public Library. Ownership was transferred into his wife's name on 6/22/1875, almost immediately following the death of his brother-in-law George Blake. In June of 1879 the Shattucks moved back to their Oakland home, renting the Berkeley residence to a Mr Findley. Returning to Berkeley for awhile, in 1886 they again moved back to Oakland.

Frank found work in Benjamin Ferris' 1st National Bank in 1880 and served as a director until about 1892. He returned to live in Berkeley in 1891 and in 1892 opened that city's first bank in his new Shattuck Hall at Allston Way.

As Shattuck's political career waned in the absence of Carpentier’s support, his commercial persona faded together with the passing of his prime business associates: William Hillegass, George Blake, and Benjamin Ferris. All three died in 1875. Frank Shattuck was, in retrospect, little more than a reflection of his affiliations.
Frank Shattuck died on September 9, 1898, in Berkeley, on Admission Day. He had no children. He left an estate estimated at $2,000,000.00.

Of the Shattuck family, Frank and Millicent were not the only members present for the early events of East Bay life. Their sister Eliza, married to a man named Benjamin Lee, resided with him in San Jose. There were no children of that union either. There was another sister, Elizabeth, who married into the Havens clan, and yet another sister, Mary, who never married, taught at Millicent's school in Oakland, The Oakland Seminary for Young Ladies. She died in 1894.


The Oakland Seminary for Young Ladies

The Oakland Seminary for Young Ladies was started by Millicent Blake on November 8, 1858 in a private parlor at Broadway and 6th with four young women in the class. This first location was right next to where Durant's first school was housed in the "Pavilion", on the corner now occupied by the Oakland Police Department. In April of 1859 Millicent moved to a larger room at Broadway and 8th, adjacent to the Shattuck-Hilligass Livery and later to the building which housed the Shattuck-Hilligass Opera House, where she remained until March of 1860. At that point she moved to the corner of 5th and Jackson, the former home of J. Ross Browne. It remained at that location for the next 4 years. It was next located at 528 11th Street, between Washington & Clay. This move would end her odyssey, for this was her own building with construction beginning in June of 1863, and completed in October. The building became known as "Blake House." Oakland City Center now occupies this site.

Millicent sent for her sister Mary who arrived to teach History and Literature, while Mlle. Ferrier taught Dancing. In 1881 Millicent, now six years a widow, was living at Blake House, where she was listed as being its "proprietor." In 1887 she resided around the corner at 1121 Washington St., probably in the same building, with her sister Mrs. Elizabeth Shattuck Havens, also a widow. At the time of Millicent's death, on November 27, 1907, she was almost 86 years old.


Elizabeth Shattuck Havens

Elizabeth Shattuck Havens was born in Crown Point, New York on January 29, 1835. She married Henry Havens in New York in August of 1855. Elizabeth was the mother of Roscoe Havens (also known as Henry R., who at the time of her death was the president of Blake Real Estate Co.) and John Weston Havens.


Henry Havens

Elizabeth's husband Henry was born January 2, 1826, in Moriah, Essex County, N.Y. He was the son of John and Orillie (Pratt) Havens. Henry studied law and was admitted to the Supreme Court of New York in July of 1852. He had practiced law at Crown Point for 16 years, and was a justice-of-the-peace there for 12.
The Havens arrived in San Francisco on December 20, 1868 and settled in Oakland, where Henry began yet another success in his legal career. Between 1869 and 1872 he served as Oakland's City Attorney.

Besides their three sons, the Havens' also had three daughters, Mary Justina who in 1887 married Thomas M. Robinson, who later became the assistant Assessor of Alameda County, and Ethel Maliscent (sic), who married Mason Whitney Mather, a famous mining engineer. The third daughter, Florence Elizabeth, never married.


William Hillegass

William Hillegass was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1827. In August of 1849, at the age of 22, he was grubstaked by several of his less adventurous associates and departed to seek his (and their) fortunes in the gold country of California. While so engaged William became ill and lay by the roadside in hopes of recovery or rescue. It was there that he was found lacking in health, hope, and means by Francis Shattuck. Shattuck nursed him back to health, and as Shattuck's own account goes, at times he had to virtually carry him along their way. This experience has been described as being so profound for the two men that they remained close friends and partners until Hillegass's death. For Frank Shattuck, this was a truly propitious circumstance.

Upon their return to the Bay Area, the two men entered, as partners, into the livery business. Their shop was located at First Street and Main (now Broadway), at what would now be the foot of Jack London Square. They eventually went on to operate several stage lines throughout the Contra Costa. By 1872 they had expanded the livery business, and one additional location of the Shattuck & Hillegass Livery was situated on the south side of 8th between Broadway and Washington.

When, in May of 1852, Contra Costa County created its board of supervisors (Alameda County was still a year short of its inception), Hillegass was appointed a justice-of-the-peace. This appointment occurred literally days after he first arrived, on his return from the gold country. Others in the new local government included George Blake who was also given a job as a justice-of-the-peace, Horace Carpentier who was an Assemblyman, and W. W. Chipman who was public administrator.

In April of 1853 Hillegass and Shattuck sold their first piece of Oakland property. We have no evidence, however, of them buying this or any other land in Oakland. The impression we are left with is one of collusion on the part of Horace Carpentier, since the parcel lay within his part of Oakland and the Berkeley claim was his idea.

In April of 1854 Hillegass ran for Marshall but was defeated. His failure to win this election suggests the possibility of a lapse of favor in his relationship with Carpentier, who was at that time elected mayor and clearly, with the results of the entire election in his pocket. In spite of this initial failure in politics, Hillegass apparently regained favor and served on the City Council from 1856-58, and in 1859-60 he was serving on the Board of Education.

On February 27, 1860, Hillegass petitioned for a road bisecting his, and his neighbors' "Berkeley" property. With this roadway in place (later named Dwight Way), all four of the parcels claimed in the name of Shattuck Blake, Leonard and Hillegass were effectively divided into two halves: the northern half which was to be involved with city plating, and the southern half that would be developed otherwise by their owners. Within a very few years the northern portions would be absorbed by the College of California; transactions in which three of the four partners would realize generous profits. Although later credited with donating this parcel to the College, Hillegass and his wife, Eugenia, were paid $2,000.00 by the College of California for 17.31 acres of their land. In August of 1864, Hillegass sold to the College of California 40 more acres for $9,000. This was more than the amounts realized by any of his partners in similar transactions. The forty acre parcel became part of the College Homestead Association Tract. On an initial investment of $5000, he had at this point realized a profit of $6,000 and he still retained more than half of the property. In 1871 Hillegass finally moved to Berkeley. His home was on College Avenue near Bancroft Way.

William Hillegass was married twice, his first wife was named Eugenia. They had one son, his name was Eugene. The second wife was Marie Louise. William Hillegass died on March 20, 1875 in his Berkeley home; his estate was estimated at $200,000.

Until the time of his death, William remained associated in business with Frank Shattuck. Never as public as his partner, he remains something of a shadow from the historical perspective. Seemingly the most stable, adept, and possibly the more conservative of the two, William Hillegass left no hard evidence behind as to his having been significantly involved with Horace Carpentier.

Following his death, several of the Pennsylvanians who had grubstaked him in his mining enterprises attempted to acquire half of his holdings from the estate. Shattuck stepped in to explain that Hillegass had made nothing in his mining venture, and in doing so provided the courts with the facts which aided his family in retaining their rightful inheritance.

The Widow Hillegass continued to live in the Bancroft Way house for another few years, and then moved to a lot purchased from Mrs. Leonard on Carleton Street, near Dana Street. In November of 1900, Mrs. Hillegass sold to the Regents of the University that land bordered by College and Telegraph Avenues, Bancroft Way and the University, the approximately 13 acres which remained of the north forty, for $123,900.00. The Hillegass family had realized a total of $134,900.00 for the forty acres squatted in 1852.

Of the four who shared that square mile of choice Berkeley real estate, the lives of Hillegass and Shattuck were most closely associated, the familial ties abiding between Shattuck and Blake notwithstanding. Shattuck and Blake, conveniently regarded as a tight twosome in previous accounts of Berkeley's history, actually had little to do with one another as the years wore on. By character they were unalike, and the Shattuck affiliation with Carpentier certainly did little to increase the affection which at one time may have flourished. In considered retrospect, it was the women of the Shattuck family which most held them together, and after the death of George Blake it was the women who continued to find profit in their various ventures. George Blake had been a man committed to the law, and had little taste or time for the pursuit of commercial success. Those relatively few real estate transactions to which he is a party seem to define the exception of his career, rather than the rule. His wife Millicent, however, realized considerable success in her educational and real estate endeavors, and it was Millicent who founded the M. K. Blake Properties Association which maintains to the present day. It would appear that it was Millicent, together with her sister-in-law Rosa Shattuck, who engineered the latter accomplishments that have been historically credited to Francis Kitteridge Shattuck.

While the association between Shattuck and Hillegass seemed a natural, with the latter's business acumen leading the pair into favorable commercial circumstances, it is perhaps more difficult to understand the affinity which maintained between George Blake and James Leonard. While teaming up as partners during their younger, and perhaps for Blake, more boisterous days, their personal characters sufficiently differ to an extent that a later relationship seems improbable. Still, there is evidence that George stood by his old partner, and maintained no less than an amicable association until his death.


James Leonard

James Leonard was born in Ireland. As a young man he migrated to New York and accepted work as a stores helper. Leonard then came to California on the Ship Areatus which sailed from Boston on April 5, 1849. Also so on board was James McGee who would soon become a Berkeley neighbor. Upon Leonard's arrival in California, with nothing much else to do, he headed straight for the gold fields. There he met George Blake. The meeting took place at Rose Bar adjoining Nye's Crossing on the Middle Yuba River.

The new partners took up an abandoned claim and are said to have realized a reasonable profit from this initial venture. They were apparently satisfied with their initial success, for in 1852 Blake and Leonard left the gold fields, with a resolve to return to their homes in the East. After their arrival in Oakland, and having already booked suitable passage on a ship, they were invited by the ship's captain to their portentous meeting with the Castro family. They secured horses and rode through wheat fields and grazing lands to spend a night and a day with their host. Immediately afterward, a refund on their passage was secured.

Leonard obtained the 160 acre parcel of land that lay immediately to the east of his partner, George Blake. The property lay roughly from Ellsworth to Regent Streets, Addison to Russell Streets. As with the property laid out by the others, the northern end intruded well into what is now the University campus; and virtually all of Berkeley’s share of Telegraph Avenue lies within the Leonard property.

Leonard married Margaret Connolly, on May 10, 1853. Margaret was the daughter of Tom Connolly, a pioneer shipbuilder from Montreal and one of Berkeley's earliest settlers. The Leonards reared a family of 5 and lost 3 others as infants. James Jr. was the eldest, then came Jennie who married Richard Kennedy, a pioneer dry goods merchant in San Francisco. Jennie died in 1913. In 1885, the Berkeley Gazette reported the death of James Jr. in Washington Territory, of diarrhea, and his burial there. On receipt of this news, his younger brother Thomas, then living in Santa Barbara, removed himself to the burial site, dug up the remains, hauled his brother's rapidly decaying corpse back to Berkeley, and arranged for a decent Catholic burial.


Margaret (Jr),

Mrs. Martin Dunn was the second daughter whose dentist husband was the son of yet another of Berkeley's pioneer families. Their sumptuous home stood, until fairly recently, on the corner of Parker Street and Telegraph Avenue.

By 1855 Leonard was residing with his family on his Berkeley ranch. The ranch house was located south of Dwight Way, about mid way between Telegraph Avenue and Fulton Street. In 1865, in the midst of growing marital discord, Leonard left Berkeley for temporary respite, moving to Ventura County where he bought some land. He remained away from his family for about a year. It was in Ventura County that he later made a fortune in the cultivation of lima beans which had only recently been developed by the lima bean king, J.M. Mackie.

On March 11, 1867 the Leonards were divorced; Margaret's attorney was William Glascock, a close friend of the Hillegasses; James' was William Van Voorhies, the law partner of his friend George Blake. At the time of the divorce the children ranged in age from 1 to 11 years.

It was a nasty proceeding, with Margaret charging James with extreme cruelty. To quote the proceedings: "In October of 1862 he beat and bruised her and she did not ask to be knocked around. In July of 1865 he assaulted her with feet and fists. In July of 1866 he beat her so bad the 11 year old daughter ran to a neighbor, some 1/2 mile away, terrified and seeking help. On October 15, 1866 he beat her and threw her through the door." James Leonard was a strong man, powerfully built, weighing between 160 and 180 pounds.

Jim struck the final blow on Jan. 25, 1867 when he did it all again but this time in front of his employees, the farm hands. After watching for about 10 minutes they stepped in and made him stop. Margaret left with the kids to live with friends in Oakland on the next day. Two days later, to make matters just a little worse, Jim moved into the house with his floozy, one Mary Mahoney, committing, it is assumed, various adulterous acts.

Margaret got the farm valued at $15,000, all 80 acres of it, including the horses, mules, farm implements, and kids. Jim, we assume, got Mary. Margaret stayed on the Berkeley property and managed it until it was subdivided into city blocks.

In 1868 James Leonard was listed as owning 1000 acres in Ventura County where he had settled on the Colonia Rancho. He was associated with a man named M. C. Bouchard. Leonard died in Ventura County in 1893. There was a grandson, Jim Leonard, of Oxnard, at least 12 other grandchildren and some 18 great grandchildren. Margaret divided and marketed the remaining south half of their Berkeley property, bisecting that portion with Humboldt Street. Humbolt Street was that portion of what is now Telegraph that ran from Dwight Way —where it became Choate— and Claremont Blvd, where it became Telegraph. Margaret Leonard died in her Berkeley home in 1896.

Among those who had an early influence upon the formation of East Berkeley, one man in particular, a man who bore considerable influence, has received virtually no attention, and even now remains a relatively silent partner in the proceedings which took place following the passage of the Possessory Rights Act. While remaining as indistinct in the exact influence he had on the events of those days, his money clearly did play a part.


Benjamin Ferris

Benjamin Ferris was one of 1300 passengers who sailed to California on the steamship Georgia in March of 1850. For this trip he paid $300.00 for a ticket, and slept on the cabin floor. Upon his arrival he, like so many before him, headed for the mines. Ferris was quicker than most in his return to San Francisco where he engaged in the wholesale grocery trade as Ferris, Crowell and McCullom. He was also keeper of the U. S. Temperance House on Kearney Street. However, by 1852 he was selling redwood in Oakland at $100.00 per 1000 feet and in September of the next year Ferris was serving as a Justice of the Peace in Contra Costa County.

In Oakland's first mayoral election (1854), Ferris ran against Carpentier and lost. Taking into account that Carpentier's election was a completely fraud, we must assume that Ferris was "chosen" as an opponent, thereby providing the appearance of a real contest.

With his wife, Helen C. Ferris, Ben was buying and selling property in Oakland during the early '50's and became Oakland's justice of the peace in 1857. Ferris was eventually elected to the mayors seat, in March of 1865. In May of 1866, Ferris joined other prominent men in signing a petition for a railroad to Berkeley. In this he was associated with Francis Shattuck, Ferdinand Delger, Edward Walsworth, Israel Knox, Isaac Brayton, Samuel Willey and others.

In 1867 Ferris set up the first local private bank, the First National Gold Bank of Oakland, which became the First National Bank in 1800. He was also the president of the "Savings & Loan Society".

The records indicate that Ferris was unquestionably a financial backer for the commercial efforts of George Blake, and as a partner owned a substantial share of Blake's Berkeley property. It may well be that he provided the financial backing to Shattuck, Leonard, and Hillegass as well.

On May 20, 1876, at about four o'clock in the morning, Benjamin Ferris took his own life by jumping overboard and drowning in the Sacramento River, in the vicinity of the Chicory Ranch. He had taken passage on the steamer "Amador" at San Francisco the previous afternoon. One of his contemporaries noted that his death came as the result of his "...temporary insanity caused by financial embarrassment." An evaluation of his estate indicated that he had debts to the extent of $15,534.04; his assets at the time of death were a paltry $1,825.00 It is likely that Ferris' downfall came, as it did for many so involved, with the descending financial fortunes of William Ralston.

[Chapter 06] -[Chapter Index] - [Chapter 08]

[TOP]