MS 26 Alonzo and Lydia Knapp Horton Collection

Summary Information

Repository
San Diego History Center Document Collection
Creator
Horton, Alonzo E., 1813-1909
Creator
Horton, Lydia Knapp
Title
Alonzo and Lydia Knapp Horton Collection
ID
MS 26
Date [inclusive]
1863-1976
Extent
0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
Language
English
Abstract
This collection contains deeds and business correspondence of Alonzo E. Horton and some personal papers of Alonzo E. Horton and Lydia Knapp Horton.

Preferred Citation

Alonzo and Lydia Knapp Horton Collection, MS 26, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

Alonzo Erastus Horton, known as the “Father of San Diego,” was born in Union, Connecticut on October 24, 1813. He moved to Wisconsin in 1836, where he founded and developed the town of Hortonville. In 1850, he sold those lands and moved west to San Francisco to take advantage of the gold boom, and he found success selling supplies to miners and running a used furniture store. In 1867, he turned his attention south to San Diego, where he bought 800 acres of public land at auction for $265. Two years later he bought an additional 160 acres to complete Horton’s Addition in New San Diego. Horton was an active promoter and returned to San Francisco with maps and brochures to pitch the growing city. He partnered with San Diego businessman Ephraim W. Morse and sent him a stream of tourists, settlers, and speculators. In addition to selling his lots at high profit, Horton encouraged community growth by donating lots to religious organizations, building the wharf at the end of Fifth Avenue, opening the first bank in New San Diego, and helping to promote and finance a post office, a telegraph line, and increased railroad service. He lost most of his holdings after a series of real estate boom-and-bust cycles and by 1903 he was left dependent on the income of his third wife, Lydia Knapp Horton. Alonzo died on January 7, 1909.

Lydia Knapp Horton was born Lydia Maria Smith on August 7, 1843 in West Newbury, Massachusetts to Daniel and Charlotte Bailey Smith. She moved to San Francisco in 1868 and then San Diego in 1869 with her first husband, Lieutenant William Knapp. They had two sons, William Bailey and Philip, and in 1877 Lydia and the boys moved back to Massachusetts, where she supported them by teaching art and selling paintings. In 1885 William died, and in 1888 Lydia returned to San Diego to settle her business affairs. She decided to stay, and took up an art instructor position at the Southwest Institute. In 1890, she married Alonzo Horton, whose second wife, Sarah, had died the previous year. Lydia was active in San Diego civic life, particularly the Wednesday Club and other women’s organizations. She was instrumental in founding the San Diego Public Library and was on the board of the 1915 San Diego Exposition. In 1903, she went to work as Librarian of the State Normal School to supplement her husband’s sudden loss of income. She supported them until after his death, and in 1910 she was able to retire with financial support from her sons. Lydia remained active in San Diego civic life until she suffered a stroke in 1924. She remained in ill health till her death on October 17, 1926.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains deeds and business correspondence of Alonzo E. Horton and some personal papers of Alonzo E. Horton and Lydia Knapp Horton. Alonzo’s correspondence is primarily addressed to Ephraim W. Morse regarding real estate development in San Diego. Personal papers of Alonzo include records of memorials enacted in his honor and extended family information. Personal papers of Lydia Knapp Horton include correspondence and an autobiographical note, as well as several papers from the extended Knapp family.

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Arrangement

Collection is arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection March 21, 2013

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
619-232-6203

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Samantha Mills on March 21, 2013.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence

Geographic Name(s)

  • Hortonville (Wis.)
  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Horton, Alonzo E., 1813-1909
  • Horton, Lydia Knapp
  • Morse, Ephraim W.

Subject(s)

  • Abstracts of title
  • Deeds
  • Real property
  • Trial and arbitral proceedings

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Collection Inventory

Box-folder
Real estate: deeds, 1867 May 4-1868 December 24

Includes:

Records of city lands bought by Alonzo Horton and lots in Horton’s Addition bought and sold by Alonzo Horton.

1:1
Real estate: deeds, 1869 February 15-November 24

Includes:

Records of city lands bought by Alonzo Horton and lots in Horton’s Addition bought and sold by Alonzo Horton.

Deed for 1/2 of Lot D, Block 58 of Horton’s Addition, sold by M.P. McLaughlin to Alonzo Horton, dated May 19, 1869 (in F4D1)

1:2
Real estate: deeds, 1870 February 7-1894 November 7

Includes:

Records of city lands bought by Alonzo Horton and lots in Horton’s Addition bought and sold by Alonzo Horton.

1:3
Real estate: Abstracts of Title, 1885 September 17-1887 September 28

Includes:

Abstract for the southern half of Block 178 of Horton’s Addition

Two copies of an abstract for Lot J of Block 112 of Horton’s Addition

1:4
Real estate: correspondence, 1867 August 26-1868 March 1

Includes:

Correspondence from Alonzo Horton to E.W. Morse.

1:5
Real estate: correspondence, 1868 May 25-1873 July 19

Includes:

Correspondence from Alonzo Horton to E.W. Morse and A.C. Wright, and one letter from the San Diego Board of Supervisors to Alonzo Horton.

1:6
Real estate: miscellaneous land developments, 1870-1976 and undated

Includes:

Article about the Horton House

Recollections of Horton House architect W.W. Bowers

Correspondence regarding Horton Plaza

Pamphlet about Hortonville, Wisconsin

Full issue of the Hortonville Star, May 7, 1971 (in F4D1)

1:7
Legal proceedings, 1869-1882

Includes:

Printed court proceedings from Charles E. DeWolf vs. A.E. Horton et al., and Savings & Loan Society vs. Horton et al.

1:8
Alonzo Horton memorials, 1908-1972 and undated

Includes:

Resolution No. 71330 to install a plaque at Civic Center Hall

Correspondence and pledges to the Horton Bust Fund

Programs for Alonzo Horton Day

Certificates from the Chamber of Commerce Centennial

1:9
Horton family, 1866 November 12-1948 May 24 and undated

Includes:

Invoice for work at Mrs. Horton’s house

Horton family tree

Postcards and correspondence about Barnabas Horton

Correspondence from brother

1:10
Lydia Knapp Horton correspondence, 1888-1924 and undated1:11
Lydia Knapp Horton miscellanea, 1903 April 20-1924 March 6 and undated

Includes:

Affidavit of election expenses

Autobiographical notes

Transcript of a public address

Library reference questions

Notes on news items

1:12
Knapp family, 1863 October 21-1971 May 11 and undated

Includes:

Military record of William Knapp

Estate of William Bailey Knapp

Record book of Smith/Bailey/Knapp family births and deaths

Several photos and sketches

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