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Guide to the William Bowers Bourn Family Papers, 1845-1985
BANC MSS 86/94 c  
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Collection Overview
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Collection contains correspondence, maps, photographs, account books, genealogies, financial and legal papers, wills, deeds, diaries, memorabilia, architectural drawings, and newspaper clippings pertaining to the San Francisco family. Also included is a scrapbook devoted to the Friends of France.
William Bowers Bourn I, (1813-1874 ) a wealthy merchant born in Massachusetts, came to San Francisco in 1850 with his new bride Sarah Esther Bourn(1829-1919). Bourn founded the Empire Mine in Grass Valley, California,which was in financial straits at the time of his death at the family home in San Francisco on July 24, 1874. He was survived by his wife Sarah and their children Mary (Maye), William II, Sarah (Zaidee), Ida, and Maud. Another son, Frank, died at the age of 11 in 1872 from a fall off a wall at the family's home.Once becoming allied ... Bourn and Polk lost no time in complementing each other's creativity and originality. First, at Bourn's Empire Mine in Grass Valley, Polk was commissioned to build the Empire Cottage (1896), the owner's private residence. This was followed by the Mine Office Building (burnt down in the 1930's), the Ophir Cottage, for Bourn's cousin, Superintendent George Starr, and the Empire Club (c. 1905), a social club to be used by the Mine's management personnel. Surrounding the Empire Cottage was a twelve-acre park with pools and an artificial lake. And in 1907, the post-earthquake year, Bourn as president of the Pacific Union Club, was influential in having the club buy the ravaged shell of the James Flood mansion and commission Polk to rebuild what is today one of the monumental buildings on California Street. It is still occupied by the Pacific Union Club.A thrilling book of boy adventure could be written of his experiences before he was out of his teens. Born in Richmond, Va., October 25, 1845, a scholar at the English Rugby while his father, Nathan Beverly Tucker, was Consul-General at Liverpool, he also attended school at Vevey, Switzerland, when his father was Minster to Spain. At sixteen he entered the Confederate service in the Civil War and was commissioned by Mason and Slidell in Paris to bear dispatches to the Confederacy. In running the blockade the ship on which he had sailed was wrecked but he was saved by swimming and duly delivered the dispatches to President Jefferson Davis. A member of the Second Virginia Cavalry under General Stuart, he went through the war, was wounded more than once and witnessed the surrender at Appotomax. After the war he joined his father in Canada and attended the University of Toronto. All this for a youth hardly twenty would make in itself a record of his early days as enthralling as any California tales of our young mining life. But there was more. As a young soldier of fortune his ardent spirit led him to allay himself with that tragic Mexican Empire of Maxmilian and he was in charge of a guard of honor which escorted poor Empress Carlotta from the City of Mexico, he escaping from the country when Maxmilian was shot. All this happened before he came to Califronia in 1869, having corossed the Mexican border at Brownsville Texas. The first twenty-five years of his life were thus abundant in strenuous action in the tented field. Then came his more normal California occupations. Five years in the service of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, that having its own memorabilia including a shipwreck of the Costa Rica. He was also connected with mining interests in Lake County and for twelve years at the United States Custom House served as Chief Appraiser under Presidents Harrison and Cleveland. WILLIAM BOWERS BOURN, II Former Owner and Builder of FILOLI San Mateo County, California FI = Fight LO=Love LI = Live by F. Bourn Hayne ----------41 Diablo Drive, Kentfield ----------June 7, 1958 California
29 boxes, 4 cartons, 1 album, 1 oversize folder, 1 tube 18.8 linear feet
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library.
Restricted to the use of Ferol Egan until April l, 1991, or until completion of the Bourn biography, whichever occurs first.