Samuel Marshall Perry

My great-grandmother's older brother, Samuel Marshall Perry, known as "Uncle Marsh" to his brothers' and sisters' descendants, had always been a mystery to me until 1999, when I was put in touch with his granddaughter, Virginia (Perry) Culbert, by a cousin who had been corresponding with her. S. M. Perry's obituary does not exaggerate when it says he "lived an interesting and varied life". The following is a brief chronology which Virginia prepared:

*1836May 12Samuel born in Venango County Penna.1
*1852Dec 15bought first diary in Piqua, Miami County, Ohio
*1854 belonged to IOOF in St.Paris, Ohio
*1854Jul 31commenced work for D.F. Naghel
*1855Jan 15commenced work for Dom - thru May 26
*1855Jun  1thru Nov. 14 worked for Naghel & Wosencraft
*1860Mar 16arrived in New York - beginning of first diary
 Mar 20sai1ed, on North Star from NY
 Mar 28arvd in Aspinwall,2 went by train 47 mi to Panama, onto the ferry to steamer Golden Gate2
 Mar 30sailed on Golden Gate
 Apr 12Golden Gate docked in San Francisco
 Apr 14thru 26 walked most of way to Sacramento, Nevada City, Grass Valley, Sweetland.
 May  6last entry in first diary3
*1860Oct  9second diary dated in Marysville (probably date bought)
*1861Jul  8commenced rooming with Hill (notation in diary)
 Jul 22commenced partnership with Hill (notation in diary - could be E.M. Hill, Hardware Dealer, Marysville, whose business card was found in book)
*1862May  1(beginning of second trip kept in diary form) left Marysville
 Nov 16arrived St. Louis
 Nov 27went to Louisville as Packer in Govt. Service
 1868Jan  3Urbana, Ohio, note for payment to S.M.Perry by James Perry4
*1868Dec  9married Harriet Southgate Sargent at home of Dr. J.C. Hall in Charleston, Ill.
 1869May  4Urbana, Ohio, note to S.N.Perry by James Perry
 May 25Urbana, Ohio, note to H.S. Perry by D.S. Perry
*1870Nov  5John Sargent Ferry born, in Nashville, Tenn. (son of Samuel)5
*1873Jun 26Mary Sylvia Clarine Perry born in Knoxville, Tenn. (daughter)
 1874Sep 14Charleston, Ill., note of J. C. Hall
 1875 Samuel came to to Los Angeles
*1875Aug 20Grace Margaret Perry born at 934 Olive, Los Angeles (daughter)
*1877Nov 17Arthur Marshall Ferry born 309 Louisiana St., Boyle Heights, Los Angeles (Tim's grandfather) (son)
*1878 elected City Councilman from 4th. Ward (L.A.)6
*1881Nov 10Evangeline Perry born at 1881 Pleasant St., Brook1yn Heights, L. A. (daughter)
 1881 delegate to Republican State Convention in L.A.
*1884Jan  1Oliver Hazard Perry born at 219 Aliso St., LA (son)
*1885Dec  7elected City Councilman, 4th. ward
 1885 had hardware shop near 1st & Main.
 1888 elected to L. A. County Board of Supervisors7 - 2nd Dist. - Chairman for 4 years during which time the Courthouse was built (probably held office through 1896) and County Farm was created.
 1889Union League had a picnic at Catalina Is.
 1889July -Boyle Heights - St. Louis & First.
*1894Jan 15Notary Public Commission - 1952 Lovelace Ave., LA
*1898Jan 29Notary Public Commission
*1898died in L.A. [probably August crossed out] Aug 17 (P)
 1898Aug 19Obit in De Graff, Ohio, Journal by Portland Maine friend.
Miscellaneous facts -- most from newspaper articles & interviews from my aunts...
Samuel was a charter member of the Los Angeles Lodge #55 of A.O.U.W.
Locations where family lived in Los Angeles 1st & Cummings; corner of Chicago & Michigan Avenues in a lovely big house where they were for 4 years;
Samuel lost everything in a depression. At the same time a cousin Will Begoine absconded with $12,000 from the business which he was running while Samuel was Chairman of the Board of Suprs. The business was at 6th & Broadway. After that the family moved to Lovelace Ave. where Samuel died. Before that he sold everything to pay creditors -- a ranch in Beaumont, property in Clearwater, a vineyard in the Wilshire Dist., etc.

According Los Angeles County deaths: 1873-1899, S. M. Perry's death occurred 21 Jul 1898. In a note in his file at the L. A. Public Library, it was said that S.M. Perry's last job was as the head of the City of L.A.'s Free Labor Bureau. The following article appeared on page 12 of the 22 Jul 1898 issue of the Los Angeles Times:


The Passing Away of Ex-Supervisor Perry.

Samuel Marshall Perry died at his residence, No. 1952 Lovelace avenue, at 1:30 o'clock yesterday morning after a long illness. Mr. Perry was born in Venango county, Pennsylvania, May 12, 1836, and was educated in Piqua, Ohio. He came to California in 1860, engaging in the hardware business in Maryville, in which business he continued until the breaking out of the John Day River excitement8 in 1862, when he joined the crowd of adventurers that sought fortune in that then unexplored gold field. He afterwards returned East, and, on Christmas of 1868, at Coles county, Illinois, married Hattie Sargent, whom he now leaves a widow, together with six children, three sons and three daughters.

Mr. Perry was a well-known and highly respected citizen of Los Angeles, having come here in 1875. In 1878 he was elected a member of the City Council, and reëlected in 1886. He was elected County Supervisor from the Second District in 1888, and acted as Chairman of the Board for four years, during which time the Courthouse was built.

Mr. Perry has ever been an active, enterprising and useful citizen. During the boom he, like thousands of others, became involved in the wild speculations of the hour. He struggled hard to extricate himself from financial ruin, but he could not stem the time [sic], and at last turned over everything to his creditors, giving up even his home to the payment, as far as he could, of his obligations. A more honorable, upright man never lived. About four years ago his health commenced to fail, during which time he has battled with disease bravely, but finally succumbed, surrounded by his wife and children.

His funeral will take place from his late residence at 10 o'clock a. m. today. The remains will be interred in Evergreen Cemetery.

The resolutions of the Board of Supervisors honoring Samuel Perry were reported in the same issue, on page 10:

Tribute of Respect to an Old Chairman of the Board.

Yesterday afternoon the following resolutions were unanimously adopted out of respect to the memory of the late S. M. Perry:

"Whereas, S. M. Perry, an ex-member and chairman of this board, has departed this life; therefore, as a tribute of respect to his memory, be it

"Resolved, that this board do hereby extend to his bereaved family its sincere condolence in this hour of their great sorrow.

"Resolved, that in the death of S. M. Perry, Los Angeles suffers the loss of an honored and useful citizen; a man who was always upright in all the walks of life, honest in his dealings, and who, as a member of this board, served this county faithfully and well.

"Resolved, that this board do now adjourn out of respect to Mr. Perry's memory.

"Resolved, that this board attend the funeral of deceased.

"Resolved, that these resolutions be inscribed on the minutes of the Board of Supervisors, and that an engrossed copy of the same be sent to his family."

The following day, the report of S. M. Perry's funeral appeared on page 11 of the Los Angeles Times:


Interment of S. M. Perry, Prominent as Supervisor and Citizen

The funeral of S. M. Perry, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors7 of Los Angeles county from 1888 to 1892, occurred yesterday, with services at his late home, No. 1952 Lovelace avenue9, East Los Angeles, and interment at Evergreen cemetery.10

Mr. Perry was a California pioneer, and had lived an interesting and varied life in the west. He was born in Venango county, Pennsylvania, May 12, 1836,1 and educated at Piqua, Ohio. He was a hardware merchant in Marysville from 1860 to 1862, and then, at the outbreak of the John Day River excitement,8 went to the gold fields. On December 25, 1868, he was married to Hattie Sergent, in Coles county, Illinois. He lost most of his property when the boom came to an end, and turned everything over to his creditors. For the past four years he has been in poor health. He leaves a widow and three daughters.

Another article, on page 7 of the 23 July Times, touched on S. M. Perry's last position:

Many Applications for S. M. Perry's Late Position.

The death of Samuel M. Perry, manager of the Free Labor Bureau, places at the disposal of the City Council another easy position with a salary of $100 per month. Of the expenses of this bureau the city pays one-half and the other half is allowed by the county. The appointments are made alternately by the City Council and the Board of Supervisors, but whichsoever body appoints, the appointments must be confirmed by the other. Mr. Perry was appointed to the position by the Council, and if the rule as to alternate appointments is followed strictly the Board of Supervisors should appoint his successor. It is probable, however, that the City Council will be permitted by the board to name Mr. Perry's successor for the unexpired term.

Anticipating such an appointment by the Council, a number of persons have made application for the place. One member of the Council has been asked by eight persons to vote for them and each of the members has had a number of applications for support. The Council may act in the matter Monday.

After S. M. Perry's death, Hattie and the children moved to 1722 Iowa Street, where they were counted in the 1900 census. This is an address which no longer exists, but to judge by the names of some adjacent streets, it may be in what is now known as the Pico-Union district of Los Angeles. In 1910, Hattie and Grace were living in the same neighborhood, but at 1723 Bonnie Brae. Grace is also listed as "widowed", and one of Hattie's six children is no longer living. In 1920, we find Arthur living on 27th Street, near the USC campus, with his wife Mary Louise, and three children, including little Virginia.

1 The family Bible which belonged to his parents gives Samuel's date of birth as 12 May 1835. He was named for his uncle, Samuel Marshall (1801-1835).
2 Colón, Panamá. At least one of my other family members arrived in San Francisco aboard the Golden Gate.
3 Between the two diaries, the 1860 census took place and S. M. Perry was enumerated in the remote mining town of Bridgeport, in Nevada county, CA, sharing accomodations with three other young men. Two of his fellow fortune-seekers were named Winans, and were listed as being born in Ohio. There was a Winnans next door from New Jersey, which was the ancestral Winans home. This was a very common surname in Miami county. Could it be that S. M. traveled with, or was able to locate, some acquaintances from back home?
4 Samuel's younger brother, James Perry (1839-1936).
5 At the time of the census, in June 1870, S. M. (listed as a "tinner") and Hattie were living in Nashville. Although we often think of the South as being "segregated", the Perrys were living in a very racially-mixed neighborhood where about half the residents were listed as "black" or "mulatto".
6 The 1880 census lists Samuel and Harriet with their first four children, with Grace being listed as Sylvia. His age, as given in this census, and that of 1870, agrees with an 1836 birth date.
7 According to the Los Angeles Almanac, S. M. Perry served the 2nd District for two two-year terms, beginning in 1889 and 1891. At the time he took office, Los Angeles county was larger than it is today (see map on right), but much less populous. Orange county was split off in 1889.
8 The U. S. Forest Service's web site for the North Fork John Day Wilderness informs us:
Gold mining was the primary activity which first brought substantial numbers of people to the Blue Mountains in the 1860's, and evidence of this "gold rush" still exists along the river. Evidence of this history includes various structures for habitation and use, mines, prospect holes, and other related developments. Other minerals such as silver, copper, lead, zinc, chromite and manganese were produced in small quantities.
9 Yahoo Maps shows this address to be near the corner of Washington and Figueroa, next to where the Harbor Freeway was built. The address isn't exactly in what we now consider East Los Angeles.
10 According to its Wikipedia entry:
Evergreen Cemetery is a cemetery located at 204 North Evergreen Avenue, Los Angeles, California. It is in the Boyle Heights area on the East Side, between East 1st Street and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue (formerly Brooklyn Avenue), near Downtown.

Founded in 1877, Evergreen is the oldest existing cemetery in Los Angeles. It is also one of the largest cemeteries, with over 300,000 interments.
See S. M. Perry's grave marker at Find A Grave.

This photo, believed to be of S. M. Perry, was provided by Mary Pierotti.

This page was last updated 21 Apr 2015.