Last Bonanza Kings
The Bourns of San Francisco
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Nevada Press
Download PDF (211.5 KB)
Download PDF (42.3 KB)
Download PDF (37.6 KB)
1 Planting the Seed
Download PDF (391.7 KB)
...sailed aboard the Arbella, the flagship ofthe fleet, young Bourn had signedon as an indentured servant, obligated to pay for his passage by working forPuritan elder William Colborne for five years. At the end ofhis servi,e, hewas to receive some land to mark his change of position from indenture ship to that ofa freeman. Yet during the first weeks at sea, after the depar ...
2 Westward Vision
Download PDF (359.8 KB)
W illiam Bowers Bourn was a tall, handsome young manwho was no more than seventeen years old when the callofthe sea roared into his ears. As a sixth-generation de scendant of Jared Bourn, young William could pointwith pride to his pioneer ancestry, but as the sixth ofseven children ofFran cis Bourn III and Mary Bowers, there was not time for young William toconsider the history ofthe Bourns in America. I To young William Bourn,Jared was only a vague memory pictured in his mind through family tales....
3 Bound for California
Download PDF (460.8 KB)
By the time Captain Chase's letter reached William Bourn at hiswaterfront office in New York, a shorter, faster route to Cali fornia had been developed across the Isthmus ofPanama. Suchenterprising men as William Henry Aspinwall and his cousin,William Edgar Howland, were involved in a steamship business that car ried passengers and freight between New York and other ports, such as NewOrleans, to Chagres, Panama. Beyond Chagres, businesses like the PacificMail Steamship Company made agreements with officials in Panama to...
4 San Francisco: Rough City of Golden Dreams
Download PDF (477.5 KB)
...band, she seldom saw him during the day. Will was establishing himself asa banker and as a man willing to make investments in anything that showedAs Sarah became acquainted with this Gold Rush city, she gave a goodpicture ofliving conditions in her letters to her brother Philip. In describ ing the weather, she stated, "the winds are severe, but ... one can with com ...
5 Interlude of Family Happiness
Download PDF (582.2 KB)
I n the fall of1865, the Bourns awaited the arrival ofHannah and Willie,coming by steamship from the East via Panama. Suddenly, Will re ceived distressing news from the Imperial Silver Mining Companythat indicated its dealings were not what he expected from a well-runbusiness. On September 24, 1865, Bourn wrote to the mine's president andMine in Grass Valley-Captain S. W Lee and A. H. Houston-had pur chased additional property and had pumped water from the mine for abouttwo months. On September 1864, they began to operate the mine on a sys ...
Bourn's Nevada Adventures
Download PDF (544.5 KB)
I n the latter months of 1866 and the beginning of 1867, WilliamBourn held positions that would have been too much for an ordinaryman. In his San Francisco office, he carried out the combined dutiesof president and director of the board ofthe Fireman's Fund Insur ance Company. At the same time, he served as president of the combinedImperial-Empire Mine at Gold Hill, Nevada; found the energy to add moreshares to his portfolio ofmining stocks in the Comstock Lode and the Em pire and North Star mines in Grass Valley, California; and continued to in ...
7 Bourn's Luck
Download PDF (457.5 KB)
AWiliiam Bourn profited from both the Comstock Lode andthe silver strike in Nevada's White Pine County, so too didthe city ofSan Francisco, for it was silver and not gold thatturned San Francisco into a major city on the Pacific Coast.During these boom times, the old wooden and canvas buildings ofthe CityofHills gave way to buildings ofbrick and stone. Gas lights became muchbetter than they had been, and rough wooden sidewalks changed to sub stantial plank sidewalks, though during windy days dust from the many...
8 Tragedy and Responsibility
Download PDF (462.8 KB)
W hile William Bourn continued to spend most of histime in San Francisco watching over the many aspects ofhis business empire, Sarah threw her energy into makingMadrofio an ideal country estate as well as a workingranch. At the beginning of1873, she was learning all she could about tend ing her vineyards. She questioned local vintners about the proper care ofthevineyards and about the best grapes to plant if she planned on makingAs Sarah watched over the final touches on the new family home, Will...
9 Cambridge Years
Download PDF (491.7 KB)
Xer the death of her husband, Sarah Bourn insisted that her sonreturn to the University School in the fall term to completehis studies. During this period, cousin William Ingalls agreedto stay with him at the family home; while young Bournfinished his courses, Ingalls worked in the Bourn office. Sarah was in andout ofSan Francisco as she settled her late husband's affairs and tried to learnas much as possible about his investments and his key business ventures.For Sarah, the months after her husband's death until the end of 1874...
10 Young Bourn and the Empire Mine
Download PDF (591.6 KB)
U pon William Bourn's return home in the latter part of 1878,he was no longer a growing young man. His face was muchfuller, and he had long, dark sideburns and a well-trimmed,full mustache. His dark eyes appeared to be even deeper thanhis sisters had remembered, but his quick wit and sense ofhumor were asdelightful as ever. The major difference that his mother noticed was his se rious side, for he had matuted greatly during his years at Cambridge. Nowthat he was home at Madrono, he had long talks with his mother about the...
11 Napa Valey Years
Download PDF (498.0 KB)
...surgeon-called his land grant Rancho Carne Humana. This large ranchstretched from just south ofthe future site ofthe town ofSt. Helena to thecountry around Calistoga in the northern portion ofthe Napa Valley.!In late February 1888, Will's driving interest was to -rebuild the familyhome. The first steps included removing the remains ofthe terrible fire and...
12 San Francisco: City of Promise
Download PDF (680.5 KB)
...s the decade of the 1890S began, William Bourn felt the call of astock Lode lingered in the building of individual fortunes, San Franciscowas becoming a city of promise. As Will wrote: "No stranger could comehere without encountering habits of life and thought in which she differsnot only from his own home but from every other American city." 1...
13 Expanding Horizons
Download PDF (682.7 KB)
I n the beginning of 1895, William Bourn learned that conditions atthe Empire Mine continued to deteriorate. Ever since George Starr'sdeparture for SouthMrica, his replacement, Robert Walker, had gonethrough one barren zone after another. The owner, James D. Hague,received no profit from the mine, but he had a daily payroll to meet andall the expenses associated with searching for gold. In addition, there werecomplaints from investors who were not realizing any return from theirstock. Rumors reached Bourn that the mine might soon be for sale. Will...
14 The New Century
Download PDF (829.1 KB)
W ill Bourn saw the beginning of 1899 as the end of onecentury and the beginning of a new era, but there wasstill business left over from the past. He faced the secondphase of a lawsuit brought against him in 1890, whichchallenged his handling ofhis father's estate. The dispute had its origin in1884, when he was asked by his mother and sisters to assume control oftheWill believed that this whole matter should not have been put into thehands oflawyers, because he saw no reason to have a private problem escape...
15 Growing Fortunes
Download PDF (885.6 KB)
Five years into the new century, Will Bourn could look at hisbusiness empire as though he were a successful cash-crop farmer.Instead ofproducing grain, fruit, or produce to take to market,his specialty lay in growing fortunes. & 1905 moved into the fallseason, the Empire Mines and Investment Company showed net profits ofwell over two million dollars from the last six months of1900 through mostof1905.1 Although this was a major source ofWill's income, it did not in clude returns from his holdings in Spring Valley Water Company stock or...
16 Water, Land, and Politics
Download PDF (1.6 MB)
California's need for water was something that William Bournunderstood very well. Most ofthe state was semi-arid, and un til a major water system was developed, there was the constantthreat ofdrought when local reservoirs would run low. Even innormal fall and winter seasons, the San Francisco Bay Region had a rainfallhistory that showed twenty-five inches ofrain as an expected annual amount.Anything more was considered a bonus. Anything less became a problem.In the foothill country ofGrass Valley, water power was vital to the op ...
17 The Changing Times
Download PDF (1.1 MB)
...building of such Peninsula mansions as William H. Crocker's New Place,Charles T. Crocker's The Uplands, George A. Newhall's La Dolphine, andHarriet Pullman's Carolands. Although the Bourns did not want a homeas large as any ofthese, they realized that their time at Sky Farm had madeit impossible to consider living full time in their Webster Street home in...
18 The Final Years
Download PDF (1.7 MB)
T he new decade ofthe Roaring Twenties opened with gala partiesat Filoli. Invitations to these parties were prized, for Filoli hadbecome synonymous with elegance. The great home was sur rounded by beautiful gardens that formed outdoor rooms witha significant pattern for each room. Designed as an extension ofthe house,the gardens offered walks ofbeauty. In addition to the pathways in the gar den world ofFiloli, strollers had a view ofthe Coast Range to the west andCrystal Springs Lake to the north. As guests arrived at Filoli, they were...
Download PDF (1.0 MB)
Sources and Acknowledgments
Download PDF (102.9 KB)
In writing this biographical history ofthe William Bowets Bourn Family, I have had theuse of the extensive collections ofprimary documents, letters, and papers of the BournFamily. In addition, I have used primary materials related to the business affairs of theBourns and their associates; correspondence with friends and relatives; and the key col lections ofpapers regarding the Empire Mine, the Spring Valley Water Company, Filoli...
Download PDF (389.7 KB)
Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2009