by Paul R. Spitzzeri
Continuing with our post on the “Makers of Los Angeles,” comprising short biographies of over 100 notables of Los Angeles, as selected by editors and publishers Charles F. Lummis and Charles Amadon Moody, in the April 1909 issue of Out West, an Angel City magazine, we look at a second sampling of notable Angelenos.
Eli P. Clark (1847-1931), president of the Los Angeles Pacific Company street railroad line, was from Iowa, where he began teaching after attending Iowa College. When his family relocated to southwestern Missouri, Clark continued in that line, as well as doing carpentry work, while helping on his family’s farm. In the mid-1870s, he ended up in Prescott, Arizona and married the sister of Moses H. Sherman, recently discussed in a post here, while working as a merchant and serving as postmaster. He also was, for a decade, auditor of Arizona Territory, working with John C. Frémont, the colorful and controversial figure who was governor for part of that period.
Clark was also an officer of the Prescott and Arizona Central Railroad and he continued with his involvement in the rail world when he joined Sherman in Los Angeles to be superintendent and vice-president of the Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway, precursor to the Los Angeles Railway (LARY). With the acquisition of all city lines in Pasadena and then the building of the Pasadena and Los Angeles Electric Railway and then the later sale of all of these to Henry E. Huntington, the genesis of the massive Pacific Electric Railway (PERY) was inaugurated.
Sherman and Clark became the owners and operators of the Los Angeles Pacific between Los Angeles (which had not yet annexed the large territory to the west) and Santa Monica. Not mentioned in the bio, though, is that E.H. Harriman, who seized control of the Southern Pacific (SP) several years prior and cut Huntington loose, once the latter’s uncle and president of the company died, took a controlling interest in the Los Angeles Pacific, although Sherman and Clark continued to run it. About a year after the Out West issue was published, the two retired and sold their company shares to the SP, which also effected the same result on Huntington and his PERY. In 1911, the so-called “Great Merger” brought about an all-encompassing Pacific Electric system under the control of the SP.
Isidore Dockweiler was one of the few notables in this publication to be a native of Los Angeles, being born in 1867 to German migrants Margaretha Sugg and Henry Dockweiler. The elder Dockweiler was a rope maker when he first came to the Angel City in the early 1850s and later ran a saloon that was under the Temple Block. In the first city directory, issued in 1872, Henry Dockweiler advertised his business, including the offering of the choicest of oysters and, in a town infamous for its violence, added (as something of a joke?) that there was “No Killing 300 Yards of Here.”
Isidore attended St. Vincent’s College, earning what was basically his high school diploma there before going on to get college degrees in the late 1880s. During that period of higher education, he was a bookkeeper and surveyor before “reading” law with a firm (this was done rather than going to a law school) and being admitted to the bar in 1889. In addition to his law practice, Dockweiler was a long-time trustee of the Los Angeles Public Library, St. Vincent’s and the State Normal School for teacher education at San Diego.
While the bio stated that he was a Democratic Party candidate for lieutenant governor in 1902 and a delegate at the party’s national convention in Denver six years later, Dockweiler went on after the publication of the bio to be a major figure in party politics even though he held no office. He ran in the 1926 primary for United States Senator but as defeated by the Democratic nominee who then lost in the general campaign. As a prior post here noted, Dockweiler was joined in local Democratic Party prominence by Mary Foy, the first local woman to attain national committee positions in the party. After he died in 1947, a local beach was renamed for Dockweiler and retains that designation today.
Henry C. Dillon (1846-1912) was from Lancaster in the southwestern part of Wisconsin and worked in sales, was a bookkeeper and then was cashier in a bank in his hometown before he was admitted to the bar in 1874. Two years later, he was in Denver, Colorado and practiced there for fifteen years, becoming a prominent figure in the Mile High City and at the mining boom town of Leadville. As was often the case, poor health led him to Los Angeles, where he arrived just as the Boom of the 1880s, late in the decade, was coming to an end.
Dillon resumed his practice and also served as Los Angeles County district attorney from 1893-1895, with one of his innovations being the introduction of an official auditor to keep the books for the office. He was also very interested in mining and citrus raising, having the “Colorado Orchards” near Long Beach, as well as a Nevada railroad (he’d had rail experience in Colorado, as well.) Dillon was involved with the Los Angeles Police Commission, headed the Juvenile Court Association, and was a well-known writer and orator.
One of only two Latinos (the other was Arcadia Bandini de Baker, featured in the first part of this post) among the “Makers of Los Angeles” was Tomás Lorenzo Duque (1853-1915). A native of Havana, Cuba, Duque was educated at a Quaker school in Philadelphia while in his early to mid teens and, at sixteen, was part of failed coup attempt that was captured in the Bahamas. After a brief period in Jamaica, Duque went to Panama and worked for a railroad and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.
Duque spent a few years in his native Cuba during the 1880s, but came to Los Angeles in April 1888 as that boom mentioned above was about to wind down. Within a few years, he became a director of the prominent Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank of Los Angeles and was also president of the Security Savings Bank of Los Angeles, as well as president of the Main Street Savings Bank before it merged with Security. Duque also served as consul for Cuba, Ecuador and Honduras and, in San Diego County, was president and operator of the San Felipe Land and Water Company, which was engaged in a controversial removal of indigenous people, and a director of a bank in San Diego.
Edwin T. Earl (1858-1919) was a remarkable figure who got into shipping fruit at just age 18 and later invented a refrigerated railroad car with his Continental Fruit Express company becoming a great success in the last decade of the 19th century before he sold it to Armour and Company of Chicago for several million dollars. Earl, who moved to the Angel City in the mid-Eighties, purchased the Los Angeles Express newspaper and revitalized the sheet, which, after thirty years, was in a downtrodden state. Continuing his interest in fruit orchards and also a major real estate investor and builder, Earl was the subject of a prior post here.
Charles Forman (1835-1919) had a connection to the Rowland family of Rancho La Puente, though somewhat indirectly. A native of Owego, New York, west of Binghamton and near the Pennsylvania border, he came to California in 1853 and joined an uncle, who was postmaster at Sacramento. After four years when the relative finished his term, Forman traveled overland to Washington, D.C. to finalize his uncle’s accounts, following that with a brief stay with his family in New York.
Returning to California, Forman served as deputy secretary of state for a couple of years and, completing his stint, went to the silver mining boom town of Virginia City, Nevada, where he made a small fortune there and with cattle and lumber along Lake Tahoe and also served as a Major-General of Nevada Volunteers in conflicts with native people. When his uncle was both a militia officer (and commander of Camp Drum at Wilmington for part of 1863) and commissioner of a state boundary commission and spent time in Los Angeles, Forman was apparently with him because, in 1862, he met and married Mary Agnes Gray, whose father died on an overland migration to Los Angeles and whose mother Charlotte, subsequently became the second wife of John Rowland.
Though the bio stated that “as early as 1865 General Forman made investments in the pueblo of Los Angeles,” perhaps through holdings associated with his wife, a permanent move to the Angel City did not occur until 1882. A tidbit about that is that the family house from Virginia City was actually dismantled and moved all the way to Los Angeles and to a 20-acre property on Pico Street west of Figueroa, though it was torn down in 1914. As the Boom of the Eighties subsided, Forman invested in property in the San Fernando Valley which later became the small tony enclave of Toluca Lake, a name which he apparently chose with “Toluca” said to be a Paiute (Nevada Indian) word for “fertile/beautiful valley.”
In 1887, Forman joined banker Isaias W. Hellman, James F. Crank and others in forming the Los Angeles Cable Railway, which established a substantial system in the Angel City including in Boyle Heights. There was subsequently a dust-up involving the consolidated electric line mentioned above with respect to Eli Clark and Forman bowed out of the cable firm in 1890 before the controversy arose. He turned to water and utility development, including as founding president of the Kern River Company and secretary of the Pacific Light and Power Company.
Herman W. Frank (1860-1941) is one of the few Jews included in the “Makers of Los Angeles” section. Born in Portland, Oregon and educated there and at what is now Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, he worked first in a store in his home state before going to San Francisco and becoming a traveling salesperson for a wholesale mercantile establishment. In 1887, during the great boom, he relocated to Los Angeles and joined the firm of Leopold Harris, who came to the Angel City in the mid-1850s and became one of a cadre of Jewish merchants in town. Frank married Harris’ daughter and was a partner in what was the London Clothing Company and which became Harris & Frank, a very successful enterprise.
Frank was also a member of the city’s Board of Education and chair of its finance committee; a director and president of the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Association and, for ten years to date, president of Associated Charities, with special attention given to the work he and Judge Charles Silent did in dealing with large numbers of unemployed men who came to the city in 1898, including forming work crews for building roads and the Fremont Gate at Elysian Park. Frank was also secretary of the Leopold Harris Realty Company, director of the National Bank of California, and secretary of the Riverside Vineyard Company, which managed 1,800 acres of vineyards in Los Angeles County. Not mentioned in the bio was that Frank was secretary of the Congregation B’nai B’rith.
One of the few women featured in the “Makers of Los Angeles” roster was Dr. Elizabeth A. Follansbee (1839-1917), who was from Pittston, Maine, situated just southeast of the state capital of Augusta, but who lived most of her childhood in Brooklyn, then an independent city. She was educated at the Clarke Institute in Brooklyn and then studied in France while still a teenager and (this is not in her bio) became a teacher and administrator in Vermont and New Jersey.
It was, once more, poor health that intervened and led to a new direction as Follansbee came to California to recover and taught at Napa north of San Francisco. In 1875, she was one of the first two women in the University of California’s medical school, but, though the bio said nothing further, difficulties with the male students led her to withdraw and go to the University of Michigan to pursue her medial education. She was then offered an internship at a Boston hospital for women and children and then completed her education in 1877 at the Woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia, winning a prize for best graduation essay.
Returning to California, Dr. Follansbee opened an office in San Francisco and also was physician at a women’s and children’s hospital there, but working two jobs caused another breakdown in her health as she contracted pneumonia. She decided to migrate to Los Angeles for the salubrious climate and arrived in February 1882 “being the first woman physician recognized by the medical profession here.” She specialized in treating women and children “and is held in the highest esteem, both socially and professionally,” while also teaching at the University of Southern California on diseases affecting children and working in pediatrics with Rose Bullard, highlighted in part one of this post.
A dedicated woman suffrage supporter and women’s club member, including the very prominent Friday Morning Club, Follansbee died in the county hospital in August 1917 and it was said of her that
She . . . was noted for her liberality and friendship for any woman in distress. She gave away practically all her large income to charity . . . As a last tribute to an honored associate the pallbearers will be Los Angeles physicians and surgeons . . .
Among these were Henry Brainerd, Frank Bullard (also featured in the first part of this post along with his wife Rose) and Walter Lindley, while Joseph P. Widney, who left medicine to become a Methodist minister, presided over her funeral. Follansbee was interred at Rosedale Cemetery.
We’ll return tomorrow with part three of this post and feature more “Makers of Los Angeles,” so be sure to check in then.