Capt. Robert D. Israel (1826-1907)

robertisraelCaptain Robert D. Israel is one of the few “real pioneers” still living [in 1907]. He is a native of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Served in the Mexican War, in the Second Division, in the Rifles, and saw much hard service. Immediately after being mustered out, in 1848, he came to San Diego. He lived at Old Town several years, engaged in blacksmithing, keeping a saloon, and doing contracting with his brother, Joséph H. Israel. He became keeper of the lighthouse on June 14, 1871, and served until January 6, 1892. He was orderly sergeant in the Garra campaign and in charge of the firing squad which executed that brave man. He served as policeman and jailor in the early 50’s, in 1858 was Justice of the peace, and in 1865 school trustee. He married María Arcadia Alipás, daughter of Damasio and Juana Machado de Alipás, Their children are: Henry C., Joséph P. ( died young), Robert L., and Joséph P., second. Since 1895 he has lived in Coronado. His memory is clear and his stories of early days most interesting and valuable.

[from Smythe, William Ellsworth. History of San Diego, 1542-1908. San Diego: History Co., 1907. (page 276).]

Return to Biography.