MS 70 Churchill Family Papers
Table of Contents
- San Diego History Center Document Collection
- Churchill family
- Churchill Family Papers
- MS 70
- Date [bulk]
- Bulk, 1842-1902
- Date [inclusive]
- 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
- This collection contains correspondence and other family papers of the brothers Charles and Mendal Churchill. Charles was a prospector during the California Gold Rush and Mendal was a storekeeper and then Civil War general who settled in Coronado, CA after his retirement.
Churchill Family Papers, MS 70, San Diego History Center Document Archives, San Diego, CA.
Biographical / Historical Notes
Charles William Churchill was born in Ohio on November 22, 1822. He was in New York by 1842. After spending several years traveling back and forth between Buffalo, New York and Augusta, Georgia, he left New York City on a steamship bound for California via the Isthmus of Panama. He arrived in San Francisco in August 1849 intent on prospecting for gold, but he was not successful. He spent several months on Mormon Island. In 1851 Churchill joined a group of 47 other men in an expedition to Sonora, Mexico. They had heard of a large quantity of gold being unreachable due to a presence of hostile Indians. Expecting a fight, the men were well armed. The Mexican government viewed these men as invaders and ordered them to leave Mexico. Churchill returned to California and prospecting, but gave up prospecting in 1852 and took a position as a clerk for a D. Turner in Mariposa California. He died on Friday, July 13, 1855 at the age of 32 in Mariposa, California.
Mendal Churchill, the younger brother of Charles, was born in Ohio on July 23, 1829. Unlike his brother, he remained in Ohio and prospered. He worked his way up from storekeeper to bookkeeper to become manager of Keystone Iron smelter located in Jackson County, Ohio. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted as a private in July 1861. He was elected to the captaincy of Company E, 27th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. By 1862, he was a major, and at the end of the war he was brevetted a Brigadier General. Following the Civil War, he became president of the Ohio Iron Company. He retired from that position in 1891 and began a tour of the world. This tour brought him to San Diego, where he established a residence in Coronado. He purchased a house that was designed by Irving Gill and remained in San Diego until his death on October 21, 1902.
Scope and Content
This collection contains correspondence and other family papers of the brothers Charles and Mendal Churchill. Charles was a prospector during the California Gold Rush and Mendal was a storekeeper and Civil War general who settled in Coronado, CA after his retirement.
The correspondence is primarily between Charles and Mendal. There is also correspondence between Mendal and William Laughlin, who oversaw Charles’ probate, letters from Charles to his mother, and letters from their cousin William. This collection also contains a copy of Charles’ probate, Mendal’s will, a genealogy of the Churchill family, and typed excerpts from Mendal’s 1891 travel journal.
This collection is arranged by material type and chronologically.
San Diego History Center Document Collection April 5, 2017
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession # 730503 and 750808B.
Collection processed by Robert A. Ross in June 2002.
Controlled Access Headings
- Churchill family
- Churchill, Charles William, 1822-1855
- Churchill, Mendal, -1902
- Laughlin, William
- California Gold Rush
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Some correspondence is fragile, with pieces missing. Preservation copies have been made of the photocopies of the probate proceedings of Charles W. Churchill’s estate, and the original copies have been retained. Preservation copies have also been made of one of the Churchill genealogies, and the original has been destroyed.
The collection was used as the basis for the book Fortunes Are For the Few: Letters From a Forty-Niner, published by the San Diego Historical Society in 1977.
Letters from Charles to Mendal and to their mother.
Letters from Charles to Mendal.
Letters between Charles and Mendal, and letters from their cousin William.
Letters from Charles to Mendal; letters between William Laughlin and Mendal; and a letter from cousin William.
|Correspondence (transcripts), 1844-1854|
Letters between Charles and Mendal; from Charles to Mother; and from cousin William.
|Probate: Charles W. Churchill, 1855-1858||1:6|
|Churchill Family Genealogy, 1889-1894||1:7|
|Mendal Churchill World Tour Notebook, 1891||1:8|
|Will: Mendal Churchill, 1902||1:9|
In memoriam and memorial letters for Mendal Churchill; a note from Virginia McKensie Smith about the family Gill home; and a letter about Churchill genealogy.
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