Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Hubon Family Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1802 - 1922
0.20 linear feet
(1 archives box)
Abstract: The Hubon Family Papers contain largely correspondence to San Diego pioneer Frederick Hubon (1827-1882). The papers include
correspondence from three generations of Hubons, with some correspondence from other relatives and friends. The correspondence
touches upon major events of the nineteenth century, including California's "gold rush" and the Civil War, as well as personal
Hubon family concerns. The papers include a small amount of miscellaneous materials such as a carte-de-visite photographic
portrait of Frederick's mother, Sarah Allen Livingston Hubon; genealogical information; and a poem by Frederick's daughter,
Fannie Hubon Stedman.
University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Collection number: MSS 0663
Language of Material:
Collection materials in English
Collection is open for research.
Hubon Family Papers, MSS 0663. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
The Hubon Family Papers provide a glimpse into the lives of three generations of San Diego pioneer Frederick Hubon's (1827-1882)
family. The earliest history of the family's migration from France to America is unclear but the family's only reporter,
Frederick's niece, Emily Hubon, said their branch of the family lived in Baltimore, Maryland, in the late 1700s.
Frederick's grandfather, Stephen Hubon, moved to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas, perhaps to be employed with the tobacco
or sugar plantation trade. St. Thomas is where Frederick's father, Henry, is said to have been born, ca 1788. When Henry
was approximately fourteen years old, he was sent to the United States for his education. However, shortly before the boat
sailed, according to the family reporter, a slave revolt occurred on St. Thomas Island, many people were murdered, and these
grandparents were never heard from again. The ship captain then allegedly stole the boy's education money and deposited young
Henry into an apprenticeship in Salem, Massachusetts. Henry spent time at sea and eventually became a Salem undertaker.
Henry is first found in the 1812 Salem historical records when he married Ann Beckford. Ann bore one child, Eliza Ann, and
died shortly thereafter at age 22. Henry was at sea and reportedly did not know he had a daughter for a number of years.
The child may have been adopted as marriage records later cross-reference the last name Caban in addition to Hubon, and these
circumstances are confirmed by Emily Hubon's family history.
When Henry returned to Salem from sea, he met and married Frances (nee Dwyer or Dwire, probably the daughter of Edmund and
Anna Grant Dwire of Salem) Hubon on December 13, 1818. Their children included Frederick (born Stephen Frederick), Henry
G., Edward, Mary, and possibly others. Frederick's brother, Henry G., with whom he remained close all his life, became a
carpenter, followed Frederick to California in 1949, and later returned to Salem to take over the family undertaking business.
Frederick was born in Salem on September 19, 1827. At age 22, he joined the many infected with "gold fever" and ventured
off to become a California "forty-niner." He arrived in San Francisco on September 26, 1849 on board the "Cordova." Shortly
thereafter, he was joined by his brother, Henry G., and they were in Stockton and the new town of Benicia, perhaps utilizing
their carpentry skills in helping to build those cities. Henry G. became sick and returned to Salem, and within three years,
Frederick also returned to Salem. A miniscule glimpse of their adventures in this period are captured in Henry G.'s letter
to Frederick when he was in Panama on his way back to Massachusetts.
In 1858, in Salem, Frederick married Sarah Livingston Allen (born October 27, 1829 and reportedly a descendant of Dr. David
Livingston of African exploration fame) who was born on Prince Edwards Island, Canada. After beginning a family of four children
(Frederick Lincoln, 1-16-1860; Clarence Edward, 9-1-1862; Fannie Dwyer, 11-17-1864; Irving Allen, 11-19-1867) in Massachusetts,
Frederick and Sarah sailed to San Francisco and then moved south to San Diego, arriving on September 23, 1868. Their fifth
and final child, Leonard James, was born on September 22, 1870, in San Diego.
When the Hubon family arrived, San Diego was primitive and sparsely populated (the 1870 census showed a population of only
2,300). A terrible smallpox epidemic had ravaged the region six years earlier, and the first public school house was only
two years old. At first, Frederick, much to Sarah's dismay, tried farming, and so moved his family to an even more isolated
area. Sarah wrote of her fear when a drunken man came to their farm house when she was alone with the children. Farming
was not successful for Frederick, so the family moved back to town, much to Sarah's relief. The 1880 census lists Frederick
as a carpenter and Sarah keeping house with the five children.
Frederick died at the family's San Diego residence at the corner of Seventh and D Streets on May 15th, 1882. The SAN DIEGO
UNION of the following day stated his death was "after a long and painful illness." They also noted that, "San Diego numbered
him among her best citizens." Frederick and Sarah's second son, Clarence Edward, died three years later, of unidentified
causes, at age 23.
Widow Sarah Hubon lived on into her ninth decade, passing away on October 21, 1923. The remaining four children prospered
in San Diego. In 1890, Irving was a surveyor and civil engineer for the city of San Diego, Frederick Lincoln was a deputy
city clerk, and youngest son, Leonard, was a clerk at the Horton House pharmacy. Daughter Fannie married Charles A. Stedman,
who became the harbor-master of San Diego. When Fannie died in 1950, the SAN DIEGO UNION would recognize her life as a San
Diego pioneer, as well as a poet and writer. Many of the Hubons are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.
These materials were collected by John B. Goodman, III, and were donated by him to UCSD.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Hubon Family Papers consist largely of correspondence of the family of Frederick Hubon (1827-1882), a California "forty-niner,"
and pioneer settler of San Diego in 1868. The papers are arranged in chronological order in two series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE
and 2) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series contains letters from three generations of the Hubon family, beginning with a letter from Frederick's
grandfather Stephen to his son Henry as a fourteen-year old boy in 1802. The second generation is represented in letters
from Henry and Frances Hubon to their sons, Frederick and Henry G. Finally there are letters between Frederick and his siblings,
mostly from his brother Henry G. Correspondence from friends and others make up the balance of the series and include a letter
from a Civil War soldier and friend stationed at a fort along the Arlington line defending the city of Washington, and a
letter from a stranger, describing to a Mrs. Henderson, the illness and death of her sister, Mrs. Caroline Hubon, at a hotel
in St. Louis, Missouri, leaving behind an unidentified Mr. Hubon, too distraught to write himself, and a small child.
SERIES 2: MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series contains genealogical notes created by both the family and by John B. Goodman, III, the
original collector of the papers in this collection. Also included is a handwritten transcription (1880) of an 1801 letter,
not otherwise represented in the collection, from Frederick's grandfather to Frederick's father; a handwritten account of
Frederick's mother's recollections of the familys' earliest experiences in San Diego written by daughter Fannie after her
death in 1923; a carte-de-visite photographic portrait of Sarah A. Hubon (ca. 1860s); a typescript of sister Fannie Hubon
Stedman's poem, "The Hills at Eventide;" a handwritten transcript of Fannie's obituary from the SAN DIEGO UNION, dated in
1950, and niece Emily Hubon's 1922 letter to Fannie regarding early Hubon ancestors.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Hubon family -- Archives
Gold mines and mining -- California -- History -- Sources
San Diego (Calif.) -- History
California -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources