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 The Whaley House San Diego CA

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raven

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Number of posts : 124
Age : 46
Location : Arkansas
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PostSubject: The Whaley House San Diego CA   Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:34 am



The reason I posted this story is because Fellow Taylor fan Connie aka Browneyes has been there 2 times & gotten some pretty odd pics. She was there about 2 weeks ago & got some pics as soon as she joins im sure she will get around to posting them or I will. In the mean time read the story & find pout about the hisory.

BTW Most Haunted will be airing their story on the Whaley House Saurday at 4pm central time on the Travel channel. Check it out.




The Whaley Family


Thomas Whaley came to California in 1849 during the Gold Rush. He left New York City, the place of his birth, on January 1, 1849, on the Sutton and arrived 204 days later in San Francisco. He set up a store with George Wardle on Montgomery Street where he sold hardware and woodwork from his family's New York business, Whaley & Pye, and offered mining equipment and utensils on consignment

This young entrepreneur, born on October 5, 1823, came from a Scots-Irish family, which immigrated to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1722. His great-grandfather, Alexander Whaley, a gunsmith, participated in the Boston Tea Party and the Revolutionary War where he provided flintlock muskets for soldiers and the use of his house on Long Island by General George Washington. Thomas' father, Thomas Whaley, carried on the family gunsmith business, and served in the New York Militia during the War of 1812. He married Rachel Pye, whose father, William, manufactured locks in Brooklyn.

Whaley's business acumen, acquired in part from his education at the Washington Institute, proved beneficial in San Francisco. He was so successful that he was able to establish his own store on Montgomery Street, erect a two-story residence near the bay, and rent out Wardle's edifice. After an arson-set fir destroyed his buildings on Montgomery Street in May 1851, he relocated to Old Town San Diego upon the advice of Lewis Franklin, a merchant who operated stores in San Francisco and Old Town. Whaley set up various businesses with Franklin, Ephraim Morse, Francis Hinton, and even his brother, Henry, and amassed enough money to return to New York to marry his sweetheart, Anna Eloise DeLaunay, the daughter of French-born parents, on May 14, 1853.

Upon the couple's return to San Diego, Whaley entered various business general store partnerships, most of which lasted less than a year. He purchased this property in September 1855, which had been the site of the hanging of the infamous Yankee Jim Robinson in August of 1852. He first built a single-story granary for 300,000 to 400,000 pounds of grain in May 1856, with bricks manufactured in his brickyard on Conde Street. The adjacent two-story $10,000 Greek Revival style brick residence, designed by Whaley, commenced construction in September 1856 and was finished in 1857. The home, acclaimed as the "finest new brick block in Southern California" by the San Diego Herald, contained mahogany and rosewood furniture, damask drapes, and Brussels carpets.

In August 1857, Whaley established his general store in this residence, and solicited cash customers only. As this location proved too far from the center of the small community, he relocated his business in a frame building on the Plaza, which he rented.

By 1858, Thomas and Anna Whaley had produced three children: Francis Hinton (named for a business partner), Thomas (who died at just 18 months), and Anna Amelia. In August 1858, another arson-set fire destroyed Whaley's business on the Plaza. Despondent over this loss and the death of Thomas earlier that year, the family moved to San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Whaley worked as an U.S. Army Commissary Storekeeper. Three more children, George Hays Ringgold (named for a business partner), Violet Eloise, and Corinne Lillian, were born. In 1867, Thomas Whaley assisted in the American takeover of Alaska, where he established stores at Sitka, helped set up an American base, and served as councilman. Anna and the family, during this time, remained in San Francisco.

After a major earthquake in May 1868, the Whaley couple and their five children returned to the brick house in San Diego, out of which Whaley & Crosthwaite ran a general store. From October 1868 to January 1869, the Tanner Troupe Theatre operated out of the front upstairs bedroom. The San Diego County Courthouse utilized the former granary in August 1869 and rented three upstairs rooms for records storage. After the establishment of New Town San Diego by Alonzo Horton in 1868, the town focus changed to present day downtown San Diego. During a March 1871 raid, courthouse documents were removed from the Whaley House and taken to Horton's Hall on 6th and F in San Diego. After the County's exit, Whaley connected the former granary and courtroom to the residence, changed windows and doors, and altered the front portico.

From 1874 to 1879, Thomas Whaley returned to New York, supposedly to settle his father's estate (his father died in 1832), and then journeyed to San Francisco seeking employment, which eluded him. During this time the Whaley family in San Diego lived in dire straits and was dependent upon Francis Whaley for support.

On January 5, 1882, Violet Whaley and Anna Amelia Whaley married in Old San Diego, probably in this house. Anna married her first cousin, John T. Whaley, and Violet wed George T. Bertolacci, which proved unbearable. After a divorce, which caused Violet tremendous humiliation in 1884 and a period of great depression monitored by the local physician, she committed suicide at the home by shooting herself through the heart on August 18, 1885.

After this tragic event, Thomas Whaley built a single-story frame home for his family at 933 State Street in downtown San Diego. Attempting to capitalize on the boom in that area, he maintained a real estate office at 5th and G in the First National Bank Building, with various partners. After retirement from business in 1888 due to ill health, he died at the State Street address on December 14, 1890.

The Whaley House on San Diego Avenue remained vacant and fell into disrepair until late 1909 when Francis Whaley returned to the old brick and undertook the restoration of the building which greatly improved its appearance. Rehabilitated at the same time as the Estudillo House on the Plaza (which became publicized as Ramona‚s Marriage Place), and the establishment of the San Diego Electric Railway down San Diego Avenue, Francis utilized the family home as a residence and a tourist attraction where he posted signs outside promoting its historicity and entertained visitors with his guitar.

Anna, Thomas' widow, Lillian (Corinne), then assistant at the Public Library, Francis, and George, a musician, all lived in the old dwelling in 1912. On February 24, 1913, Anna died in the house. Francis passed away in the home on November 19, 1914. Lillian continued residency in the structure until her death in 1953. Because she had spent the better part of the first half of the twentieth century in the house alone, it had fallen once again into a terrible state of disrepair.


Corinne Lillian Whaley was born on September 4, 1864 in San Francisco, and moved with her family to her father's brick mansion in Old Town San Diego when she was four years old. On June 15, 1883 she became one of the first graduates of Russ High School (predecessor to San Diego High School), having received a teaching certificate the previous year. She taught school in San Luis Rey and National City for a few years, and then abandoned that career to study opera singing under Mrs. Caroline Pettinos-Hall. She went on to sing in productions at Rosario Hall, the Leach Opera House, and Louis Opera House. In 1897 she became a librarian for the San Diego City Library, a position she held for 35 years. She lived from about 1909 until 1953 in her childhood home, now the Whaley House Museum, on San Diego Avenue. A member of the San Diego Historical Society, her recollections of nineteenth century Old Town San Diego were invaluable to many historians, especially William E. Smythe, who's 1907 History of San Diego is considered definitive. In 1951, Mr. and Mrs. Edward V. Matt, who lived in the house directly behind Miss Whaley's on what was once Whaley property, discovered in their garden a five-inch revolver that had once belonged to Lillian. "I do remember that gun," she said. "When I was employed at the city library, I carried that gun for protection. All the women on the library staff carried small revolvers in their handbags for protection." Who knew working in the library would be such a hazardous profession? Miss Whaley died in a Lemon Grove rest home on September 14, 1953, ten days after her 89th birthday.

A Rodeo
By C. Lillian Whaley

I set up an oil can near the old wooden gate in that part of the adobe wall which divided our lot into two sections which we called respectively "the front yard" and "the back corral." The thick old wall with its thatch of brush completely enclosed the lot. I mounted my can which brought my chin on a level with the top of the wall. I rested my chin on my hands lying flatly on the top of the wall, with fingers interlaced. Then I watched the rodeo. On ordinary occasions, I sat on the wall or walked all around it if I did not happen to land on the ground in the meantime, without giving notice. I neither sat nor walked or tumbled today for self-evident reasons.

The back corral was crowded with a pushing, rushing, bellowing mass of horned animals, hence my position on the oil can on the right side of the fence. Vacqueros dressed in buckskin breeches, loose shirts, red silk handkerchiefs about their necks and flapping sombreros were seated on mustangs with heavy saddles from the high stout pommels of which riatas hung in loops when not whirling around their heads and flying swiftly through space to fall over the heads or horns and to trammel the hoofs of the flying animas singling out one that had not been branded, the vacqueros would chase him up among a crowd of others. The rush and stampede was tremendous, to me. All the while he kept the lasso whirling over his head. The favorable moment arrived. The riata uncoiled and hissed like a swift, flying snake, the loop had caught the hind hoofs of the fleeing animal, the well-trained mustang braced back, the riata was drawn taut like lightning and the plunging beast was whirled about and thrown down by a dextrous pull of the ropes, another of which had been flung over the creature's horns. Then came the tying of the animal. The red hot brand was brought and pressed upon the haunch of the poor, bellowing beast. Its bonds were then loosened and it was allowed to go. And so on, until all the unbranded stock had been either branded or identified as belonging to someone else. It made an animated picture, this small "round-up" and which I appreciated in the highest degree from my side of the fence.

A selection of the writings of Lillian Whaley including "A Rodeo" have been collected in the book California's Oldest Town, which can be purchased at the SOHO Museum Shop at 2476 San Diego Avenue in Old Town.


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PostSubject: Whaley House <cont.> Chronology pt 1   Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:57 am

Had to do this in sevral posts the the entire thing is too big

Thomas Whaley


10/5/1823 Thomas Whaley was born in New York City to Rachel Pye and Thomas Alexander Whaley, the 7th of 10 children.

This branch of the Whaley family came to Plymouth, Massachusetts from Northern Ireland in 1722. Alexander Whaley, the great grandfather of Thomas Whaley, a gunsmith, participated in the Boston Tea Party, and was with George Washington during the Battle of White Plains. He provided flintlock muskets for the Revolutionary War and his house in Long Island was General Washington's headquarters. Thomas Whaley was born into a family of blacksmiths, gunsmiths, and locksmiths. The Whaleys were Presbyterian, Whigs, comfortably fixed financially, hard workers, bright, and spirited.

1832 Thomas Whaley's father died in New York and his will stipulated that Thomas should receive a liberal education.

1830s-1840s Thomas attended boarding school in Colchester, Connecticut, then Washington Institute, after graduation, he was sent to Europe for study and travel with French tutor, Emile Mallet.

3/31/1832 Anna Eloise DeLaunay, daughter of Louis and Victoria Elizabeth DeLaunay born in New York City.
1846 Thomas returned home from Europe, and assisted his widowed mother in the management of her properties, which included various pieces of real estate and the lock business. For a while he worked for the Sutton Company, a shipping firm, then later was hired as a clerk with the Thomas Wardle Co.
1/1/1849 Thomas Whaley left New York for the gold rush in California on the Sutton; after 204 days sailing around Cape Horn, he reached San Francisco.
7/1849 He worked with George Wardle in the store on Montgomery Street between Jackson and Pacific in San Francisco, disposed of consignment miners‚ equipment from Flintoff & Co. of New York, sold his own stock of hardware produced by his relatives in New York, was successful enough to build his own 2-story store on Montgomery Street on leased land and rented Wardle's store out to Lewis Simons.

1850 Thomas Whaley built 2-story house with balcony and view of the bay in San Francisco, also invested in side venture with Lewis and Maurice Franklin.

1/22/1851 An arson-set fire in San Francisco destroyed the Montgomery Street buildings. Whaley lost $600 worth of merchandise, which ended Whaley's "grand speculation on Montgomery Street".
9/1851 Thomas Whaley sailed for San Diego upon advice of Lewis Franklin.

10/4/1851 Thomas Whaley arrived in Old Town, in which there were 6 or 8 stores, 2 hotels, an apothecary shop, a physician, 3 lawyers, a Catholic Church, and no amusements except for fandangos, which were frequent at night. Franklin set up a 2-story building as a store and residence where both he and Whaley lived. Whaley studied Spanish so he could do business with the "natives".

1851 Thomas Whaley ran a store in Old Town called Tienda California with Lewis Franklin.

11/1851 Antonio Garra, chief of the San Luis Indians, upset because the sheriff wanted to collect taxes on Indians‚ cattle, led his and several other tribes in insurrection against Americans in southern California. The area was under martial law and the County had only a small detachment of soldiers at the old mission under Lt. Col. Magruder. Warner's Ranch was attacked by Indians, which alarmed the town. Every able-bodied male enrolled in the volunteer unit commanded by Major Edward Fitzgerald and sentries were posted at all town entrances. When the men went out to fight, only 35 men, including Whaley, were left in San Diego to defend the town. When on guard duty, Whaley wore a "brace of six shooters and kept a horse ready to saddle". Five Americans were killed at Warner's Ranch and Agua Caliente; the Indian trouble ended with the capture of Antonio Garra.

1/10/1852 Thomas Whaley was one of 12 men on the firing squad in Campo Santo at the grave site, which ended the life of Antonio Garra, found guilty of the uprising at Warner's Ranch on this date and executed this date.

3/1852 Lewis Franklin sold out to Whaley

4/1852 Francis Hinton and Thomas Whaley became partners and ran Tienda General in Old Town. It was a 1-year partnership in which Whaley & Hinton made $18,000 profit, preferring cash-and-carry trade to avoid bad accounts.

8/17/1852 Yankee Jim Robinson was found guilty of grand larceny on August 17th and sentenced to be hanged to the nearest tree by the neck until dead on August 18th. However, it appears that the hanging was delayed until September 18th and local men took turns guarding him until then. No Herald issues exist for September so it is difficult to say exactly where Yankee Jim was hanged, although an early photograph does show trees near where the Whaley House now stands.

8/28/1852 From the Los Angeles Star: "At the recent term of the County Court at San Diego, James Robinson, otherwise called "Yankee Jim," was tried for burglary, and sentenced to be hung. Two accomplices, Gray and Harris, were each sentenced to be imprisoned one year in the State Prison. The charge upon which they were tried was for stealing a boat, but they are strongly suspected of horse stealing and even murder. Yankee Jim made powerful resistance to the arrest, and was finally captured by the aid of the "lasso", which in the hands of a person expert in its use is irresistible. His execution is fixed for the 18th of September, and he says that before that time he will make a confession that will tonish the natives. (The Los Angeles Star is missing for September 1852 and the first half of October 1852.)
~~~~~~~~~~~
1853 Congress authorized reconnaissance surveys for rail routes from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, surveys showed that a southern route along the Mexican border had fewer obstacles.

4/1853 Whaley & Hinton dissolved their partnership, citing Hinton's poor health. Increased competition contributes to the marked decline in Whaley's fortunes.

4/1853 Thomas Whaley and Ephraim Morse join as partners in general store in Old Town.

5/8/1853 The organization of Pacific & Atlantic Railroad Co. with Col. J. Bankhead Magruder, commandant of Army installation elected president, was never chartered by the State government.

8/14/1853 Thomas Whaley and Anna Eloise DeLaunay were married at the Church of the Ascension on 4th Street in New York City by Rev. Dr. Seabury.

1853 While Whaley is gone to New York to marry, Juan Bandini opened a new store and sold goods at half price.

12/7/1853 Thomas and Anna Whaley arrived in San Diego and moved into the Gila House, Thomas Whaley also escorted the wives of Ephraim Morse and Charles Poole back to join their husbands in Old Town.

9/1854 San Diego & Gila Southern Pacific & Atlantic Railroad Co. were organized by Judge James Robinson and Louis Rose. Thirty men, including Thomas Whaley, pledged to invest in the company's stock.

12/28/1854 Francis Hinton Whaley, their first child, was born in Old Town, in the Burkholz House, where the family continued to live until the brick residence was completed in 1857. Their son was named after former business partner, Francis Hinton.

3/18/1855 Partnership with E.W. Morse was dissolved.

5/1855 Thomas Whaley along with his brother Henry Hurst Whaley reopened the General Store. Henry Whaley and his wife, Annie, came west from New York and after having arrived, lived with the Whaleys. They quarreled frequently and were often inebriated in public and private.

5/18/1855 Whaley entered the brick manufacturing business with George P. Tebbetts in La Playa (for trade) and in Old Town on Conde Street (for local consumption)

9/2/1855 Thomas Whaley purchased lot 1 of Block 480 in Old San Diego from the City of San Diego.

10/1855 Tebbetts sold out of the brick manufacturing business to Whaley & Whaley, who continued the operation alone.

11/10/1855 Whaley & Co. was dissolved, Thomas was no longer a partner with his brother Henry Whaley. Henry often overcharged customers and was loud and often inebriated. When Thomas severed their working relationship, Henry assaulted Thomas in the store, and when Henry was sent out to the street, he shouted insults and obscenities and challenged Thomas to come out and fight. Much to the chagrin of their mother, Rachel, this ended their business and personal relationship.

1856 The Whaley family lived in the Buckhart, or Burkhart, or Burkholz house in Old Town.
5/1856 Construction began of a 1-story brick rat-proof granary to hold 300,000-400,000 pounds of grain.

8/18/1856 Thomas Whaley, Jr., born in Old Town.

9/1856 Whaley began construction of his $10,000 2-story Greek Revival residence and store building on San Diego Avenue to be completed by May 1857, as his lease of the Burkholz house expired then. He planned to pay for labor in trade, and bricks were made in Whaley's brickyard on Conde Street. It was called the "handsomest and the most convenient house within 150 miles". The upper floor was to be the family's living quarters and the lower level for store. Across the 32-foot wide front there were 5 pairs of doors, which corresponded to 5 windows upstairs. The new home was the gathering place for San Diego, but despite apparent prosperity, Thomas Whaley wanted the railroad to come so he could subdivide his lots, make money and return to New York.

1857 Panic of 1857, worldwide economic depression.

8/22/1857 Whaley's new brick block was called the finest in Southern California by the Herald; it was furnished with mahogany and rosewood furniture, Brussels carpets, damask drapes and was quite a mansion for its time and place. The envy of many, Whaley had a rockaway carriage, which held six people comfortably, and a span of Sorrels (reddish-brown horses) with a silver-mounted harness in which he transported his family and friends.

1857 An adobe wall about 7 feet high surrounded the entire lot, a gate within a high wooden frame divided the front wall in the middle and a similar gate formed the entrance to the back corral. An adobe wall separated the back corral from the front yard, and an outhouse built of brick stood in the front yard (actually the side yard to the rear) close to the dividing wall.

8/1857 The General Store reopened, along with rat-proof storage for grain, in Whaley's new brick building, where he solicited CASH CUSTOMERS and dealt liberally for cash against credit and large profits. Strictly a cash operation, Whaley's motto was "Quick returns, small profits". He had no customers, no one came to buy anything, and Thomas felt he was too far away from the Plaza, which was the center of Old Town.

9/1857 Thomas Whaley, County Clerk

10/1857 Thomas Whaley moved into Mrs. Kerren's frame store near Old Town Plaza, which had recently been occupied by Pendleton & Co. where he was assisted by George Hay Ringgold. It was a CHEAP CASH store, which was a new merchandising concept in San Diego, a concept not successful with Franklin before and was not successful then either.
~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Chronology pt 2   Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:00 am




10/31/1859 Whaley terminated Frank Ames as the caretaker of his property and holdings.

June 1860 Census report indicated that occupants of the Whaley house were: Robert E. and Sarah Doyle (mail agent - both from New York); James E. Mason (mail carrier); Samuel A. Ames (mail carrier); Gabriel Parades (from New Mexico), the Doyles were evicted for non-payment of rent.

July 1860 Augustus S. Ensworth, a lawyer and justice of the peace, moved into the rat-infested Whaley house and managed Whaley's business interests.

1862 Augustus wrote of earthquakes and severe rains in Old Town, tried to repair the house rood and corral wall, which had fallen down.

11/5/1860 George Hay Ringgold Whaley, son of Thomas and Anna, born in San Francisco and named after his good friend, Major George Ringgold.

1861-1865 American Civil War, supposedly it did not affect Whaley.

10/14/1862 Violet Eloise Whaley was born to Thomas and Anna Whaley in San Francisco.

9/4/1864 Corinne Lillian Whaley was born to Thomas and Anna Whaley in San Francisco.

2/19/1865 Whaley's superior officer, Major Kirkham, received request for Whaley's dismissal - "complaints to detriment of Department constantly made against Whaley in Washington" - Whaley claimed his conduct had been honorable, but resigned to avoid dishonorable discharge.

2/1866 Whaley's business on the side failed and he had heavy financial losses. He applied for and received another position with the Army's Quartermaster Department in San Francisco. He had worked as an issuing clerk but the position had been dissolved in September 1867. Now Whaley was obliged to accept a position he had earlier rejected, that of issuing clerk with the Army in the territory of Alaska, he was paid less and had to be removed from his family.

9/3/1867 Thomas Whaley took charge of 3 government transports with stores at Sitka, Alaska Territory, before American takeover on 10/18/1867. Whaley, in the company of others, assisted in raising the American flag on the island of Japonski opposite Sitka. Anna welcomed this separation from Thomas because his business reverses had had an adverse affect on his disposition and her health had not been too good, these factors produced a strain in their relationship. Anna stayed with Ringgold's wife, Mary, and her mother, Victoria DeLaunay.

11/25/1867 Thomas Whaley was elected councilman of Sitka by unanimous vote.

1867 Alonzo Horton purchased 960 acres in downtown San Diego and began the development of New San Diego.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1/1868 Thomas Whaley received word that his mother had sold some property in New York for $40,000. She had consented to divide half that sum among her children, and so Thomas would have to go to New York to collect his share.

2/1868 Thomas, Anna, and son Francis sailed for New York, the younger children stayed in San Francisco with their grandmother, Victoria DeLaunay.
Summer, 1868 Whaley family is back in San Francisco, Thomas invested some of his new capital in stock of merchandise and headed once more for San Diego. The region was growing and Alonzo Horton was developing New Town (downtown San Diego). Because prices were so high in New Town Thomas reopened his store in Old Town. He found his brick house in a sad state of disrepair and would have sold it had he found a buyer. Anna waited to return until Thomas had remodeled the house, patched the leaky roof, replaced rotten floors, attached the granary to the house, probably put in two front windows, changed the front entrance from a loading platform, and put in the front and back doors.

10/10/1868 Meeting of the stockholders of the San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic RR Company at the office of W.H. Cleveland in San Diego. Thomas Whaley, Louis Rose, D.B. Kurtz were appointed to submit names of 13 stockholders for election as Directors of Company. They selected the following: Louis Rose, Thomas Whaley, George Hyde, A.E. Horton, O.S. Witherby, J.S. Mannasse, Wm. Jeff Gatewood, Wm. H. Cleveland, Wm. N. Robinson, G.A. Pendleton, E.W. Morse, James Pascoe, and George Lyons.

10/10/1868 Reopening of the General Store, For Sale Cheap For Cash, dry goods, clothing, etc., received direct from the East by Thomas Whaley, West Side Plaza, Old Town.

10/24/1868 Whaley's General Store also sells large assortment of calicos and mourning prints, Delaines, Alpacas, furniture chintzes, brown and bleached sheetings and shirtings, long cloths for pillow slips, brown and blue drills, blue and white checks, brown and bleached jeans, cambric linings, paper muslins, fine blue, white and scarlet Shaker flannels, family white blankets, towels, handkerchiefs, hoop skirts, gloves, children's caps, boys clothing, Shaker socks, business suits, Marseilles vests, diagonal and Belknap overshirts, fancy and Wamasutta white shirts, linen bosoms, etc.

10/24/1868 Whaley home for sale or let for residence, hotel or business, commands a fine view of the Harbor, within 700 feet of the plaza, on the principal street leading to New Town, having a front of 32 feet and a depth of 42 feet with a one-story wing attached, size of lot, 150x217 1/2 feet, divided into 2 large corrals, having arched gateways 10 and 12 feet wide, a well of good water and force pump. Buildings are substantial with an outlay of $1500 maybe made the finest and most comfortable in the Southern part of the State, will sell premises as they now stand or put the same in complete order and finish, for any responsible party desiring to take a lease.

10/24/1868 Thomas Whaley ad in Union: To Capitalists - Store wanted - I will agree with any person who will erect a building suitable for my business in New Town, to lease the same upon such terms that will pay fair interest on the amount invested.

11/21/1868 Meeting of Directors of the San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic RR Company held in their office in San Diego, Thomas Whaley, director.

12/2/1868-1/1869 The Theatre, run by the Tanner Troupe, in the Whaley house, operated out of the front upstairs bedroom. It had a small stage and benches for 150 people. The T.W. Tanner group offered moral, chaste, and versatile entertainments, consisting of drama, farce, comedy, singing and dancing, laughable burlesques, negro delineations, etc. and hopes his untiring efforts to please, will meet with a liberal share of patronage, the rent to Whaley was $20 in gold coin. Mr. Tanner died within 17 days of opening.

12/5/1868 Meeting of Board of Directors of the San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic RR Company in San Diego, Thomas Whaley was appointed Stock Commissioner and was appointed to Finance Committee with Gatewood and Robinson.

12/12/1868 Anna Whaley and the family arrived on the steamer.

12/19/1868 Thomas Whaley as Stock Commissioner of the S.D. & G.S.P & A. RR Co. offered subscriptions for stock in this Company to be received by him "at my office in the brick building on San Diego Avenue", 10% of the stock subscribed for will be required to be paid at the time of subscription.

1/1869 Whaley's General Store, corner of San Diego Avenue and Harney Street, wholesale and retail at the lowest market rates for cash, dry goods, millinery, embroideries, laces, hosiery, boots, shoes, hats, curtain damasks, shades, carpets, Chinese matting, wines, tobacco, wood, willow ware, and wash boards.

2/15/1869 Whaley & Crosthwaite, successors to E.W. Morse, wholesale and retail for cash, now sells hardware, cutlery, iron and steel, timber, co-partnership for general merchandise business signed this day.

2/20/1869 Whaley & Crosthwaite at the old stand on the Plaza

6/26/1869 Meeting of citizens at Franklin Hall to plan celebration for the upcoming "Anniversary of American Independence". The plan was to celebrate with an excursion and picnic at Rose's Canon, one mile east of the L.A. Stage Road; Thomas Whaley and others were appointed the Committee of Arrangements.

6/30/1869 The Union published a list of who in the county paid U.S. Internal Revenue tax. Thomas Whaley paid the lowest of any at $132; the highest were A.E. Horton at $8,228 and John Forster at $8,000.

7/19/1869 The Convention of the Union Republic Party of the County of San Diego assembled for the purpose of nomination candidates for ensuing general election in a suit of rooms in the 2nd story of the brick building belonging to Thomas Whaley of Old Town.

8/1869 County of San Diego signed 2-year lease for courtroom and use of 3 rooms upstairs in the Whaley house for $65 a month.

9/18/1869 The newspaper said this was "one of the brightest in the history of the place, destined to be the Pacific terminus of the second Trans-continental Railway of America." Hon. Wm. H. Seward and traveling party, Hon. S.B. Axtell, Member of Congress, Hon. L.G. Roots, Member of Congress, Gen. W.S. Rosecrans, etc. came, Thomas Whaley was one of the committee appointed to prepare the reception.

10/4/1869 Board of Supervisors paid Thomas Whaley $130.

11/8/1869 Whaley & Crosthwaite are selling off their extensive stock of goods at cost.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Chronology pt 3   Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:21 am

2/10/1870 From the Union: "Rev. I.H. Cox will hold Divine Service at Whaley's brick building on Sunday next at 11 o'clock a.m. and at 7 o‚clock p.m. All are cordially invited to attend."

3/17/1870 Whaley & Crosthwaite, wholesale and retail dealers leased Horton's Hall in South San Diego for their grocery, crockery, china, glass and Queensware, liquor, dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, carpeting and hardware business. The Union of this date contains an ad announcing the above. It is interesting they are now in New Town in Horton's Hall to where the courthouse moves in 1871.

5/19/1870 County Court proceedings for May term - J. Bush: People v Charles Skovel, alias Schofield - forgery (discharged from custody); People v Elizabeth Harrington and Henry C. Dyer - grand larceny (continued); People v Daniel McLaughlin - assault and battery (sentenced to pay a fine of $180 or in default to be imprisoned 90 days); People v Henry Heiler - assault to murder - verdict of guilty - sentenced 2 years in State prison.

June 1870 Census reported the following occupants in the house: Thomas (46); Anna (32); Anna (11); Violet (7); Lilly (5); Francis (15); George (9); Sh Yow (16), domestic from China.

7/14/1870 From the Union: Removal of the County Records - "The Board of Supervisors has passed an order directing the removal of the County Records from Whaley's building in Old San Diego to the Express Building in New Town, and designating Horton's Hall as the future place of meeting for the Courts. This action was taken in answer to a petition signed by nearly all the citizens of New San Diego praying for such removal on the ground that the latter was the most central point and that a great majority of the people of the county would be accommodated thereby."

10/1870 Thomas Whaley granted license to sell spirituous and other liquors in the Court House Building, Old Town through January 1871.

10/6/1870 S.D.G.S.P & A. RR Co. annual meeting - elected new Directors for ensuing year - Thomas Whaley elected - group felt that work would soon commence upon line.

12/1870 Whaley & Crosthwaite remove their business to Whaley's brick building in Old Town where they offered the balance of their stock to the Trade at "Less than cost prices!"

4/1/1871 The District Court and Judge Morrison ordered the removal of the records and Court House furniture to the southern part of the city in order that the April term of Court could be opened without delay.

4/4/1871 Board of Supervisors ordered that the Sheriff and Supervisor French take charge of, and proceed to move the Court room furniture to the new court house at 6th & G, a brick building owned by Alonzo Horton and rented by the County for $95 per month - also ordered that the County Clerk proceed at once to move the papers and records of his office to the new rooms - ordered that Thomas Whaley be notified by the Clerk that as soon as his building shall be vacated by the County Officers, the County will no longer be responsible for the rent of the same after they shall be so vacated (these records and furniture were supposedly forcibly removed from the Whaley house in the middle of the night.

4/14/1871 Communication from Thomas Whaley to Board of Supervisors where he claimed rent due from the County for the brick building, formerly occupied as the Courthouse, etc and proposed that he be allowed to rent the building to other parties, deducting the amount so received from the rent due from the County laid on the table.

8/1871 Thomas Whaley wrote a letter to the county regarding payments due him for broken glass in the house and rent payment for April, May and June.

10/4/1871 San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic RR Company election of Directors - annual meeting of stockholders held in Old Town - Directors were: C.L. Carr, E.W. Morse, J.S. Mannasse, Louis Rose, Thomas Whaley, Gustave Witfeld, Wm. N. Robinson, Thos. S. Sedgwick, A.E. Horton, James McCoy, J.G. Estudillo, M. Schiller, Bryant Howard.

2/1872 Pioneer Society organized - based on date of arrival in California - Thomas Whaley, a member, arrived on July 22, 1849 - other members included: W.B. Couts, Jose Estudillo, George Lyons, Marcus Schiller, James Connors, E.W. Bushyhead - Jose Estudillo was secretary.

5/9/1872 Thomas Whaley announced himself as a candidate for city trustee of the First Ward - articles in that issue claim that, "Whaley is a good man, but the fact that he is ardently supported by the bankers will cause many of his friends to vote for Mr. Estudillo, whose election was assured in any event" - another article entitled "Old Town Politics" said that Jose G. Estudillo "will have a clear field before him, and will leave his opponent so far behind in the race that he will never think of running for office again."

5/10/1872 Board of Trustees election results First Ward - Estudillo, 50; Thomas Whaley, 17.

7/2/1872 From the Union: "A large number of friends of Miss Annie Whaley were invited to participate in a party given to her at the residence of her father, at Old Town, on Saturday night last. The gathering was to celebrate the young lady's birthday, and was merrily enjoyed by all who attended."

8/1/1872 From the Union: Emulating the example of the Grant boys, the Greeley boys of Old Town organized a club the other day, and elected the following officers: F.M Whaley, president; E. Evans, v.p.; James Connors, secretary; Wm. Connors, treasurer; Albert Smith, captain; M. Stewart, standard bearer - organization of Democrat boys.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1873 The Great Register of 1873 lists Thomas Whaley, age 44, native of New York, merchant of San Diego, date of registration - October 6, 1868.

1873 Panic of 1873 - worldwide depression, the firm of Whaley & Crosthwaite failed. Being deeply in debt, Thomas Whaley appealed to his mother for a loan; he still believed holdings would some day net him a fortune. He went to New York to force his mother to settle his father's estate. Thomas Whaley Sr. had died in 1832 and his will was to be divided when the youngest child reached 20 years, which had long passed. Thomas received $5,000, which went to pay his debts in San Diego, but he remained in New York as an agent for Edward P. Young, a Trans-Atlantic brokerage merchant. Whaley managed Young's properties and pawned Mrs. Young's jewels for her as she aspired to a singing career and was frequently in need of money to finance her dream.

4/29/1873 From the Union: "We are glad to learn that Mr. Thomas Whaley has recovered from his recent severe illness, and is now able to be out."

5/4/1873 From the Union: "We are pleased to see Mr. Thomas Whaley on the street today, he has nearly recovered his usual health.

5/21/1873 Thomas Whaley of Old Town and Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Morse of San Diego will leave for the East today by the steamer Arizona, they will probably be absent 3 or 4 months.

7/3/1873 Thomas Whaley writes from New York that he has fully recovered his health and is enjoying his trip - "He says that there is a great deal of inquiry in the east concerning San Diego, and that a large number of visitors may be looked for in the fall and winter.

7/4/1873 A boys and girls dance took place at the residence of Mrs. Whaley and all wished that the "Fourth" would come more than once a year.

7/16/1873 Francis Whaley, local agent for Pacific Monthly, a magazine for boys and girls published in San Francisco.

12/9/1873 Chamber of Commerce meeting cited a communication from Thomas Whaley in New York, an old member of the Chamber, as well as correspondence between Whaley and the vice president of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company on the subject of the connections of the steamers of the Panama line with this port - the communication and accompanying correspondence was read and placed on file.

7/8/1874 Reunion in Mrs. Whaley's residence - dancing kept up to late hour.

12/24/1874 Frank Whaley, president and F.H. Connors, secretary to the Clavelle Social Club state that the Christmas Tree party to be given at Old Town this evening is strictly a private gathering - cards of invitation will be presented at the door.

3/31/1875 Clavelle Social Club held at residence of Thomas Whaley - officers were Francis Whaley, William E. Connors, Alexander Lyons, and George Lyons. It was a young men's social organization and the San Diego Historical Society has an invitation to on of the group's events at the Whaley house - the group gave "a pleasant dancing party at their hall at the residence of Mr. Thomas Whaley, the party broke up at 1 o'clock, everything having passed off to the utmost satisfaction, the music was supplied by the band of the club, and received many compliments. After the dance, the band serenaded the young ladies of the place and were greeted with a light in the window wherever they went."

10/20/1875 Thomas Whaley, who has been absent in the East nearly 2 years, returned to San Diego by steamer.

7/4/1876 The Old Town folks celebrated the 4th of July with a picnic to Rose's Canon and in the evening there was a dance at the house of Mrs. Thomas Whaley - all had a happy time.

10/31/1876 Frank Whaley left for the Centennial today.

9/28/1877 Frank Whaley, called by the Union "a bright young gentleman who was graduated as a fellow of art preservation" in the Union office has entered upon the publication of a neat and interesting literary weekly named The What Not in San Bernardino."

11/1879 Thomas Whaley in San Francisco attempted to procure employment with the Quartermaster Department and solicited contributions for lands for Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. No position was offered and he returned to San Diego in low spirits. His family was in dire straits, Whaley had no position and no money, his property was held by his friend, E.E. Morse. He was on delinquent tax rolls, his only income was $25 a month paid in city script for his services as clerk for city trustees, and the script was redeemable for 40 cents on the dollar. Without aid sent by Francis Whaley, the family would have gone hungry. Idleness, poverty and despair affected Whaley's disposition, his wife and children complained of abuse. George Whaley particularly suffered; Thomas constantly criticized him for wanting to be a musician. George left home and found refuge at Doc Thompson's Stingaree, a downtown dive, where he played his violin. He then left town for a while and adopted his mother's maiden name, DeLaunay.

12/23/1879 From the Union: "We had the pleasure yesterday of shaking hands with our old friend, and one of San Diego's oldest citizens, Mr. Thomas Whaley, who has been absent from our city for nearly 6 years. Strangely, his name did not appear in the last steamer passenger list, and very few of his old townsmen knew of his return. Mr. Whaley has been living in New Your City since he left San Diego, but has always kept us in view, and has now returned to stay. He has a strong faith is the present railroad outlook, and expects to realize, in the immediate future, the fruition of the expectations of the last 10 years."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Chronology pt 4   Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:43 am

3/4/1880 First public appearance of George Whaley, a violinist, at Horton Hall. The Union reported, "Considering the short time he has been practicing, the music he draws from the violin is really wonderful." He began practice 2 years ago, self-taught.

10/2/1880 Thomas Whaley has been commissioned and has filed his bond as Notary Public for San Diego County. He is fixing up an office on the corner of Fifth & E above Joe Faivre's.

10/1880 Thomas Whaley formed a real estate firm with E.W. Morse, C.P. Noell at 5th & E Streets in downtown San Diego.

1881-1882 Thomas Whaley, City Clerk.

7/15/1881 Francis Whaley published first edition of San Luis Rey Star newspaper in Oceanside; he had learned the trade from an internship in the San Diego Union office in Old Town.

10/19/1881 Francis Whaley appointed Justice of Peace at San Luis Rey. He has had considerable legal experience, and according to the Union, "will no doubt be a faithful and fearless dispenser of justice."

1/5/1882 Violet Whaley and George T. Bertolacci married in Old San Diego by Rev. Dr. Bunker along with her sister, Anna Amelia Whaley who married John Thomas Whaley, a first cousin and son of Henry Hurst Whaley.

4/27/1882 Judge Whaley (Frank) is referenced as head of the San Luis Rey Star.

9/24/1882 From the Union: "Mr. Thomas Whaley announces himself as a candidate for County Treasurer, subject to the decision of the Republican County Convention."

10/5/1882 Thomas Whaley's birthday was celebrated on the same day a grand daughter, Mabel Eloise, was born to Anna Amelia and John T. Whaley.

4/13/1883 From the Union: "Bertolacci vs. Bertolacci. Motion for a new trial granted. Trial proceeded with, and decree of divorce granted." Superior Court - McNealy, J. - April 12.1883.

6/1883 Lillian Whaley was the first girl in a class of 6 to graduate from Russ High School, which became San Diego High School.

8/1883 Lillian (Corinne) Whaley engaged as assistant teacher in National City.

3/30/1884 Francis H. Whaley was appointed Notary Public for San Diego County.

6/25/1884 From the Union: "The case of Jones vs. Whaley, for a long time pending before Judge Foss, is to be called for trial. This case involves the liability of Judge Whaley in issuing an execution. Jones sued Whaley for damages. Works & Titus represent Jones, and Wallace Leach appears for Whaley."

7/29/1884 From the Union: "The case of Jones vs. Whaley has been compromised. Judge Whaley paying all the costs."

10/8/1884 The bond of Thomas Whaley, as a Notary Public, was filed in the office of the County Recorder. The bondsmen named therein are E.W. Morse and George Geddes.

1885 The transcontinental railroad is finally connected to San Diego.

8/19/1885 Violet Whaley shoots herself in the heart with her father's 32-calibre Smith & Wesson pistol in the privy. Thomas Whaley found her and carried her into the house where she died on the lounge. Despondent over her bad marriage which lasted 2 weeks to a man who deserted her (he had several aliases: George, Edson, was supposedly Steward of the Poor House in Old Town at the time of the marriage), and subsequent divorce and humiliation to her parents and herself, she had attempted to take her life by drowning outside in the cistern on July 5, 1885, and was under the care of Dr. Gregg. She lived with her parents and 2 sisters (probably Anna Amelia and John T. Whaley also lived here with Lillian Corinne); she was interred at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Violet left a note:
"Mad from life's history,
Swift to death's mystery;
Glad to be hurled,
Anywhere, anywhere, out of this world."

8/23/1885 The Union published the following: "We desire to express our heartfelt tanks for the many kindnesses shown us by loving and sympathetic friends, both Spanish and American, during our recent terrible bereavement. To Mr. Restarick, our generous pastor, for his kind consolation: to Mr. Mason and the school children of Old Town, for their thoughtfulness in singing their parting songs at the late home (Whaley House) of their beloved friend: and to the press of San Diego and National City for their consoling notices, we extend assurances of our grateful remembrance. Wishing all our friends happiness and lives free from the trying ordeal, such as has been our experience, we remain, Thomas Whaley and Mrs. Thomas Whaley."

1885 Thomas Whaley, City Trustee.

11/1885 Thomas Whaley commenced building of 1 story frame, 30x38, on the property near the junction of E and State Streets in San Diego, this became the family residence for a number of years.

8/24/1886 From the Union: "W.H. Gould has assumed control of the San Diego County Star published at Oceanside, Francis H. Whaley is retiring, ill health is assigned by Mr. Whaley as the cause of his retiracy."
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PostSubject: Chronology pt 5 Final   Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:43 am

1888 Thomas Whaley retired from his real estate business because of ill health, Francis Whaley, his son, took over.

12/31/1888 Francis Hinton Whaley and Susan E. Murray, daughter of Senator & Mrs. J.P. Murray of Mendocino, married in Mendocino, California.

1889 From The Golden Era: "The Whaley house in Old Town is occupied by Mr. W.M. Barnes, and extensive mine owner from El Paso, Texas, who while conducting his heavy mining operations at Camp Alamo, in Lower California, has his family occupying this quiet and romantic house."

11/22/1889 Mrs. Francis Whaley presented her husband, the editor of the El Cajon Star with a daughter.

1890 In the Great Register of Voters for this year, Thomas Whaley listed himself as a "capitalist".

12/4/1890 Thomas Whaley put in a claim of $50 for damage to his property in Old Town through its use by the Election Board, and was allowed $50 on the recommendation of a committee appointed to investigate.

12/14/1890 Thomas Whaley died at 933 State Street in San Diego.

4/12/1891 John T. Whaley, the husband of Anna Amelia and son of Henry Whaley, was appointed deputy constable.

5/12/1893 Mrs. V.E. DeLaunay, Anna Whaley's mother, a native of Rouen, Normandy, France, died at age 90 at the State Street address.

12/18/1905 Anna Amelia Whaley, Thomas and Anna's daughter, died at Modesto, California.

1909 Social event, a dance, was held at the Whaley house in Old Town for the first time in 25 years, the residence of Mrs. Anna Whaley. Fifty couples attended, there was old time music of guitar and violin, and the hostess served a delightful supper. The attendees wished to be invited again to party at the "old historic house".

Late 1909-1910 Francis (Frank) Whaley lived in the Whaley House and undertook restoration of the structure which had been abandoned, for sale for a number of years, and in disrepair.

1912 George H. Whaley, musician; Lillian Whaley, asst. at the Public Library; Francis H. Thomas; Anna E. Whaley (widow of Thomas) reside in the restored Whaley House which is now utilized as an Old Town tourist attraction. The restoration of the Whaley House coincided with the restoration of the Estudillo house now promoted as Ramona's Marriage Place and the establishment of the San Diego Electric Railway down San Diego Avenue.

2/24/1913 Anna Whaley, widow of Thomas, died in the house in Old Town, at 80 years of age. She was survived by Francis, George and Lillie C. Whaley.

11/19/1914 Francis Whaley, first born child of Thomas and Anna Whaley, died in the brick house. He suffered from rheumatism, ran the San Luis Rey Star in 1880's, was Justice of the Peace in Old Town, was a familiar figure at Old Town, and interested tourists is San Diego early history. In his later years he lived with his sister, Corinne, in the family home. The funeral was held at the home.

1915 George H. Whaley, musician, and Lillian Whaley, asst. at the Public Library now live in the Whaley House.

1916-1930 Lillian Whaley, accession clerk, San Diego Public Library, resides in the Whaley House alone.

1/5/1928 George H. Whaley dies in San Diego.

1932-1935 Lillian Whaley lived in the house with cousins, Mr. & Mrs. Frederick James and their son, Frederick Jr.

1953 Corinne Whaley entered a nursing home due to a fall and the infirmities of age.

8/10/1953 Old Whaley house is placed under a Court Order for immediate liquidation to provide physical care for Corinne Whaley. A progressive Old Town realtor, Heffner, listed the property for sale, possibly as a site for a motel, activists rallied to save the Whaley house.

9/14/1953 Lillian Corinne Whaley died in San Diego, a member of the first graduating class of San Diego High School and schoolteacher at San Luis Rey and National City, and asst. librarian at the Carnegie Library.

1/31/1956 The County of San Diego assumed ownership of the dilapidated Whaley house and undertook its renovation.

1956-2000 The Historic Shrine Foundation, under the guidance of June and Jim Reading, took charge of the Whaley house as a historic site.

Sept. 2000 SOHO took over the stewardship of the property for the County of San Diego and is in the progress of restoring the Whaley house back to its original appearance.
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PostSubject: Squire Ensworth's Letter   Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:53 am

Squire Ensworth



Squires letters
Provide Insight to 1860's San Diego
By Dean Glass
1858 brought hardship and disaster to Thomas Whaley and his family. Their son Thomas Jr. died in January, and in August, an incendiary fire in Whaley's store on the north side of the plaza caused the loss of the building and $3000 dollars in merchandise. Discouraged, Whaley decided to leave San Diego and return with his family to San Francisco.

When he left in January of 1859, Whaley turned his affairs in Old Town including his house over to Wells Fargo agent Frank Ames, whose employment was terminated the following October. The 1860 Census recorded the occupants of the house for June of that year; they included Robert E. and Sarah Doyle. Doyle was an agent from the San Antonio - San Diego overland mail line. Living with them were two of the company's mail carriers, James Mason and Samuel A. Ames, and Gabriel Padres of New Mexico, for whom no occupation was listed. That summer the Doyles were evicted for non-payment of rent, and in July Augustus S. Ensworth moved into Thomas Whaley's house and managed his business interests.

According to William E. Smythe's History of San Diego, "A. S. 'Squire' Ensworth came to San Diego as a teamster in government employ. He was elected justice of the peace in 1856 and assemblyman in 1859. He was a 'self-made man,' who studied law after being elected justice, and later engaged in the practice of law, with considerable success. He was quite a reader and had a large library, for the times."

In May of 1863, Ensworth filed claim to 160 acres of land that included a spring. He built a two-room adobe on the property, the first house erected by a white man in the eastern part of San Diego County. The wood used for beams and doorways was salvaged from the ship Clarissa Andrews, which had run aground in San Diego Harbor. Before Ensworth died, he sold the property to Captain Rufus King Porter for $400. (It was Captain Porter who renamed the area Spring Valley and was its first postmaster, and named Mt. Helix after a newly discovered snail.) The house still stands and is now operated as the Bancroft House Ranch Museum.

Although information about Ensworth's activities before arriving in San Diego in the early 1850s is elusive, the University of Texas at Austin's Handbook of Texas Online lists an Augustus S. Ensworth who was a "soldier, land commissioner,and legislator, [who] probably arrived in Texas during the Texas Revolution. He served in the Army of the Republic of Texas from November 3, 1836, until November 11, 1837, and settled at Goliad, where he was elected chief justice on January 1, 1840. He resigned to become commissioner to inspect the county land office on January 31, 1840. He later served in the House of the Fifth Congress of the republic, from November 2, 1840, to February 5, 1841. On February 24, 1851, he was issued an unconditional land certificate at Goliad. He was not listed in the 1850 Census." Given the fact that the Texas Ensworth disappeared from that state around 1850, and the San Diego Ensworth arrived in Old Town around the same time and seemed to have a healthy interest in the state of Texas (he mentions five different books about the history of Texas in his letters to Whaley), it seems likely that they are one and the same.

Ensworth died at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Los Angeles on September 13, 1865 at the age of 54.

While he resided in the Whaley House between 1860 and 1863, Augustus S. Ensworth corresponded regularly with Thomas Whaley. While Whaley's replies are evidently missing or no longer exist, transcribed copies of the text of most of the letters written by Ensworth can be perused at the Whaley House or by logging on to www.whaleyhouse.org. Since there was no newspaper published in San Diego for most of the 1860s, these letters provide a rare glimpse into the day-to-day existence of San Diegans during those depressed times.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Letters

There are toooo many letters to post here so Ill post the link to the letters page & you may read them at your leisure

http://whaleyhouse.org/ensworth/letters.htm
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PostSubject: Whaley House   Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:07 am







There are some human beings who are dimly aware of their own deaths, yet have chosen to stay on in what used to be their homes, to be close to surroundings they once held dear. --Hans Holzer

Few houses in San Diego are as historically important as the Whaley House. In addition to being the Whaley Family home, it housed a granary, the County Court House, San Diego's first commercial theater, various businesses including Thomas Whaley's own general store, a ballroom, a billiard hall, school, and polling place. Significant events, such as the siezure of the court documents and records in 1871, and the suicide of Violet Whaley in 1885 profoundly affected Thomas and Anna Whaley. These events, as well as the hangings which occurred on the property before the house was constructed, have suffused the Whaley House with an air of mystery and added to its reputation as something more than just California State Historic Landmark #65.

According to the Travel Channel's America's Most Haunted, the house is the number one most haunted house in the United States. The alleged hauntings of the Whaley House have been reported on numerous other television programs and been written up in countless publications and books since the house first opened as a museum in 1960. Although we cannot state positively that the Whaley House is really haunted, the voluminous documentation of paranormal occurances at the site makes a compelling case. But, if there are ghosts at the Whaley House, who are they and why are they here?

The earliest documented ghost at the Whaley House is "Yankee Jim." James (aka Santiago) Robinson was convicted of attempted grand larceny in San Diego in 1852, and hanged on a gallows off the back of a wagon on the site where the house now stands. The local newspaper reported that he "kept his feet in the wagon as long as possible, but was finally pulled off. He swung back and forth like a pendulum until he strangled to death." Although Thomas Whaley had been a spectator at the execution, he did not let it disuade him from buying the property a few years later and building a home for his family there. According to the San Diego Union, "soon after the couple and their children moved in, heavy footsteps were heard moving about the house. Whaley described them as sounding as though they were made by the boots of a large man. Finally he came to the conclusion that these unexplained footfalls were made by Yankee Jim Robinson." Another source states that Lillian Whaley, the Whaleys' youngest daughter who lived in the house until 1953, "had been convinced the ghost of "Yankee Jim" haunted the Old House." A visitor to the museum in 1962 mentioned that "the ghost had driven her family from their visit there more than 60 years [earlier], her mother was unnerved by the phantom walking noise and the strange way the windows unlatched and flew up."

Many visitors to the house have reported encountering Thomas Whaley himself. The late June Reading, former curator of the museum, said, "We had a little girl perhaps 5 or 6 years old who waved to a man she said was standing in the parlor. We couldn't see him. But often children's sensitivity is greater than an adult's." However, many adults have reported seeing the apparition of Mr. Whaley, usually on the upper landing. One said he was "clad in frock coat and pantaloons, the face turned away from her, so she could not make it out. Suddenly it faded away."

The specter of Anna Whaley has also been reported, usually in the downstairs rooms or in the garden. In 1964, Mrs. Whaley's floating, drifting spirit appeared to [television personality Regis] Philbin. "All of a sudden I noticed something on the wall," Philbin reported. "There was something filmy white, it looked like an apparition of some kind, I got so excited I couldn't restrain myself! I flipped on the [flash]light and nothing was there but a portrait of Anna Whaley, the long-dead mistress of the house."

Other visitors have described seeing or sensing the presence of a woman in the courtroom. "I see a small figure of a woman," one visitor said, "who has a swarthy complexion. She is wearing a long full skirt, reaching to the floor. The skirt appears to be a calico or gingham, small print. She has a kind of cap on her head, dark hair and eyes and she is wearing gold hoops in her pierced ears. She seems to stay in this room, lives here, I gather." None of the Whaleys fit this description, but the house was rented out to numerous tenants over the years. Perhaps the mysterious woman in the courtroom was one of these.

Another presence reported by visitors and docents is that of a young girl, who is usually found in the dining room. Psychic Sybil Leek encountered this spirit during a visit in the 1960s. "It was a long-haired girl," Sybil said. "She was very quick, you know, in a longish dress. She went to the table in this room and I went to the chair." Urban legend has it that this is the ghost of a playmate of the Whaley children who accidentally broke her neck on a low-hanging clothesline in the backyard, and whose name was either Annabel or Carrie Washburn. There are no historic records of any child dying this way at the Whaley House; nor is there record of any family named Washburn residing in San Diego at the time. It is believed that the legend was started by a one-time employee of the Whaley House, in an effort to add to the house's mystique.

Even animals aren't left out of the singular occurances. A parapsychologist reported he saw a spotted dog, like a fox terrier, that ran down the hall with his ears flapping and into the dining room. The dog, he said, was an apparition. When they lived in the house, the Whaley's owned a terrier named Dolly Varden.

The Whaley House stands silently watching over San Diego Avenue as it has done for a century and a half. Every day visitors come from around the world to tour the historic museum. It contains so much history within its walls, that even the non-believer will enjoy the tour. For believers and sceptics alike, the house draws them back time and again, in search of those elusive ghosts. As Regis Philbin once said, "You know a lot of people pooh-pooh it because they can't see it. But there was something going on in that house."
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