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Hubon Family Papers
MSS 0663  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Historical Background
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Hubon family
    Title: Hubon Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1802 - 1922
    Extent: 0.20 linear feet (1 archives box)
    Abstract: The Hubon Family Papers contain largely correspondence to San Diego pioneer Frederick Hubon (1827-1882). The papers include correspondence from three generations of Hubons, with some correspondence from other relatives and friends. The correspondence touches upon major events of the nineteenth century, including California's "gold rush" and the Civil War, as well as personal Hubon family concerns. The papers include a small amount of miscellaneous materials such as a carte-de-visite photographic portrait of Frederick's mother, Sarah Allen Livingston Hubon; genealogical information; and a poem by Frederick's daughter, Fannie Hubon Stedman.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0663
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Hubon Family Papers, MSS 0663. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Historical Background

    The Hubon Family Papers provide a glimpse into the lives of three generations of San Diego pioneer Frederick Hubon's (1827-1882) family. The earliest history of the family's migration from France to America is unclear but the family's only reporter, Frederick's niece, Emily Hubon, said their branch of the family lived in Baltimore, Maryland, in the late 1700s.
    Frederick's grandfather, Stephen Hubon, moved to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, perhaps to be employed with the tobacco or sugar plantation trade. St. Thomas is where Frederick's father, Henry, is said to have been born, ca 1788. When Henry was approximately fourteen years old, he was sent to the United States for his education. However, shortly before the boat sailed, according to the family reporter, a slave revolt occurred on St. Thomas Island, many people were murdered, and these grandparents were never heard from again. The ship captain then allegedly stole the boy's education money and deposited young Henry into an apprenticeship in Salem, Massachusetts. Henry spent time at sea and eventually became a Salem undertaker.
    Henry is first found in the 1812 Salem historical records when he married Ann Beckford. Ann bore one child, Eliza Ann, and died shortly thereafter at age 22. Henry was at sea and reportedly did not know he had a daughter for a number of years. The child may have been adopted as marriage records later cross-reference the last name Caban in addition to Hubon, and these circumstances are confirmed by Emily Hubon's family history.
    When Henry returned to Salem from sea, he met and married Frances (nee Dwyer or Dwire, probably the daughter of Edmund and Anna Grant Dwire of Salem) Hubon on December 13, 1818. Their children included Frederick (born Stephen Frederick), Henry G., Edward, Mary, and possibly others. Frederick's brother, Henry G., with whom he remained close all his life, became a carpenter, followed Frederick to California in 1949, and later returned to Salem to take over the family undertaking business.
    Frederick was born in Salem on September 19, 1827. At age 22, he joined the many infected with "gold fever" and ventured off to become a California "forty-niner." He arrived in San Francisco on September 26, 1849 on board the "Cordova." Shortly thereafter, he was joined by his brother, Henry G., and they were in Stockton and the new town of Benicia, perhaps utilizing their carpentry skills in helping to build those cities. Henry G. became sick and returned to Salem, and within three years, Frederick also returned to Salem. A miniscule glimpse of their adventures in this period are captured in Henry G.'s letter to Frederick when he was in Panama on his way back to Massachusetts.
    In 1858, in Salem, Frederick married Sarah Livingston Allen (born October 27, 1829 and reportedly a descendant of Dr. David Livingston of African exploration fame) who was born on Prince Edwards Island, Canada. After beginning a family of four children (Frederick Lincoln, 1-16-1860; Clarence Edward, 9-1-1862; Fannie Dwyer, 11-17-1864; Irving Allen, 11-19-1867) in Massachusetts, Frederick and Sarah sailed to San Francisco and then moved south to San Diego, arriving on September 23, 1868. Their fifth and final child, Leonard James, was born on September 22, 1870, in San Diego.
    When the Hubon family arrived, San Diego was primitive and sparsely populated (the 1870 census showed a population of only 2,300). A terrible smallpox epidemic had ravaged the region six years earlier, and the first public school house was only two years old. At first, Frederick, much to Sarah's dismay, tried farming, and so moved his family to an even more isolated area. Sarah wrote of her fear when a drunken man came to their farm house when she was alone with the children. Farming was not successful for Frederick, so the family moved back to town, much to Sarah's relief. The 1880 census lists Frederick as a carpenter and Sarah keeping house with the five children.
    Frederick died at the family's San Diego residence at the corner of Seventh and D Streets on May 15th, 1882. The SAN DIEGO UNION of the following day stated his death was "after a long and painful illness." They also noted that, "San Diego numbered him among her best citizens." Frederick and Sarah's second son, Clarence Edward, died three years later, of unidentified causes, at age 23.
    Widow Sarah Hubon lived on into her ninth decade, passing away on October 21, 1923. The remaining four children prospered in San Diego. In 1890, Irving was a surveyor and civil engineer for the city of San Diego, Frederick Lincoln was a deputy city clerk, and youngest son, Leonard, was a clerk at the Horton House pharmacy. Daughter Fannie married Charles A. Stedman, who became the harbor-master of San Diego. When Fannie died in 1950, the SAN DIEGO UNION would recognize her life as a San Diego pioneer, as well as a poet and writer. Many of the Hubons are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.
    These materials were collected by John B. Goodman, III, and were donated by him to UCSD.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Hubon Family Papers consist largely of correspondence of the family of Frederick Hubon (1827-1882), a California "forty-niner," and pioneer settler of San Diego in 1868. The papers are arranged in chronological order in two series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE and 2) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series contains letters from three generations of the Hubon family, beginning with a letter from Frederick's grandfather Stephen to his son Henry as a fourteen-year old boy in 1802. The second generation is represented in letters from Henry and Frances Hubon to their sons, Frederick and Henry G. Finally there are letters between Frederick and his siblings, mostly from his brother Henry G. Correspondence from friends and others make up the balance of the series and include a letter from a Civil War soldier and friend stationed at a fort along the Arlington line defending the city of Washington, and a letter from a stranger, describing to a Mrs. Henderson, the illness and death of her sister, Mrs. Caroline Hubon, at a hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, leaving behind an unidentified Mr. Hubon, too distraught to write himself, and a small child.
    The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series contains genealogical notes created by both the family and by John B. Goodman, III, the original collector of the papers in this collection. Also included is a handwritten transcription (1880) of an 1801 letter, not otherwise represented in the collection, from Frederick's grandfather to Frederick's father; a handwritten account of Frederick's mother's recollections of the familys' earliest experiences in San Diego written by daughter Fannie after her death in 1923; a carte-de-visite photographic portrait of Sarah A. Hubon (ca. 1860s); a typescript of sister Fannie Hubon Stedman's poem, "The Hills at Eventide;" a handwritten transcript of Fannie's obituary from the SAN DIEGO UNION, dated in 1950, and niece Emily Hubon's 1922 letter to Fannie regarding early Hubon ancestors.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Hubon family -- Archives
    Gold mines and mining -- California -- History -- Sources
    San Diego (Calif.) -- History
    California -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources