Honoring Our Veterans: Adrian D. Temple (1893-1934)

by Paul R. Spitzzeri

On this Veterans Day, originally established as Armistice Day to mark the end of World War One on 11 November 1918, we’re paying tribute to Adrian Davoust Temple (1893-1934), son of John H. Temple and Anita Davoust, owners of the Homestead from 1888 to 1899.

Adrian, named for his maternal grandfather, was born in the Workman House here at the Homestead and was the fourth of eight children in the Temple family.  When he was six years old, however, his father John, having borrowed from a bank during years when the nation was in depression and the region in drought, lost the ranch to foreclosure.

John H. Temple and Anita Davoust with their seven surviving of eight children, ca. 1917.  Adrian is at the far left. 

The family lived in Boyle Heights and south of downtown Los Angeles during Adrian’s youth.  By 1910, while still in his teens, he enlisted in the Navy and served for four years.  As a 1920s history of Los Angeles expressed it, Adrian

has had a romantic life .  He enlisted in the navy when a mere boy, and during his service of four years traveled practically all over the world.  He and his comrades were received by the nobility of England, and visited such historic shrines as the Pyramids and the Sphinx in Egypt and the Rock of Gibraltar.  He and his fellow soldiers were in Sicily three days after the big earthquakes [1913] . . . He was stationed on the U.S.S. Vermont, being captain of one of the big guns, with sixteen men under him.

The sketch went on to note that he had a gold medal for marksmanship and then was discharged and returned home to his family, who’d recently bought a new home in the Florence-Graham (now Florence-Firestone) area of south Los Angeles–which was discussed in yesterday’s post.

Adrian was listed with his fellow seamen aboard the U.S.S. Vermont when the 1910 census was taken in mid-April.

Adrian became a firefighter for the city of Los Angeles  and worked at a station at 2nd Street and Western Avenue in what is now the Koreatown neighborhood. However, when the United States entered what was then known as “The Great War” in 1917, Adrian

immediately offered his services to the Government as an aviator.  He was schooled at Pensacola, Florida, was sent to France, served on the allied lines about eight months, and was then transferred to England . . .

In fact, two of his younger brothers, George and Edmund, also enlisted in the service during the war and a third, Robert, was preparing to when the war came to an end.

Adrian in a ca. 1920s studio portrait.

Upon returning home after concluding his war service, Adrian went to work for Los Angeles iron works company manufacturing elevators.  He never married and continued living at the family home in Los Angeles until his death in 1934.

Adrian’s tombstone at El Campo Santo Cemetery here at the Homestead.

Adrian was buried in El Campo Santo Cemetery here at the Homestead and, though I have worked here a looooong time (28 years!), I didn’t notice until today, Veterans Day, while taking some of his Temple relatives on a tour of the cemetery, that Adrian’s headstone has a reference to his military service, specifically his work as an aviator during World War One, on his tombstone.

Instead of an em-dash between Adrian’s years of birth and death, this faint emblem referencing his service as an aviator during World War I bridges those figures instead.

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance in the war and the Homestead will be offering programming to commemorate what has largely been an under-recognized conflict.   More on our slate of programs will be available soon.

It seemed pretty obvious that discovering that little reference was a prompt to recognize Adrian D. Temple for his military service during the 1910s and, on behalf of the Homestead’s paid and volunteer staff and the City of Industry, which owns and funds the museum, thank you to all veterans for their service to the country.

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