The Journal of San Diego History
San Diego Historical Society Quarterly
April 1959, Volume 5, Number 2
Jerry Macmullen, Editor

TO WHAT EXTENT was the growing of tobacco developed in the San Diego area?

On February 12, 1875, the San Diego Union carried a small item about a sample of tobacco, grown in the Tijuana, which had been brought in to the office the previous day. Obviously the editor sampled it — editors were likely to sample anything, their pay being what it was in those days — for the statement was made that it “smokes well, in a pipe.” By 1879, there appears to have been at least a small attempt to produce tobacco in paying quantities in the San Diego area, and as recently as forty years ago, there was a movement afoot to grow cigarette tobacco at Jamul. Climate and soil were supposedly just right, and there was hopeful talk of San Diego taking the market away from Turkey.

It would be interesting to know the extent to which tobacco culture flourished in San Diego County in bygone years.

ON MARCH 3, 1851 a bill was introduced in Congress — it was H.R. Bill No. 95, 31st Congress, Second Section — to set up a “Post Road from Fort Smith to San Diego.”

Apparently, the introduction of the bill was the whole story, for the highway from that important Arkansas outpost into Southern California never was built. An interesting sidelight is the fact that, in support of the bill, there was a highly enthusiastic report signed by a man identified only as Lt. M. F. Maury. It does not say whether or not he was in the Army, although such would be the natural assumption. On the other hand – could it have been Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury, U.S.N.? If so, this is indeed a matter which should be cleared up. In the light of San Diego’s present importance in the field of oceanography, a visit here by Lieutenant Maury, even to survey for a stage line, is of interest. His research in oceanography and meteorology, a century ago, were of vital importance to shipmasters all over the world.