San Diego County









            A venerable citizen of La Jolla, William Edward Sawtelle is still hale and hearty, despite his eighty-two years, but has retired from business, and although an officer of the Williams Gold Mining Company is not active in its management.  In former years a prominent realtor of Los Angeles, he brought about the incorporation of Sawtelle, which town was named in his honor, and much of the development and progress of that district is due to him.  He was born in Norridgewock, Maine, August 26, 1850, a son of George and Sarah H. (Peet) Sawtelle, and is a member of one of America’s oldest families.

            Mr. Sawtelle was reared and educated in New England and his initial step in the business world was made in Massachusetts.  Coming to California in 1895, he first located in San Diego and spent four years in that city.  With his removal to Los Angeles in 1899, he took up subdivision work as an executive of the Pacific Land Company, which acquired large tracts of Los Angeles county [sic], and had two partners in that enterprise.  As the territory developed and residents increased, he saw the necessity and wisdom of incorporating the community into a city and worked hard to bring this about.  In 1906 a city of the sixth class was incorporated under the law of California and named for Mr. Sawtelle.  The same year the Citizens State Bank (afterward the Security Trust and Savings Bank) opened its doors in Sawtelle with W. E. Sawtelle as one of its incorporators.  Called to the office of vice president, he continued in that capacity for many years and materially advanced the interests of the bank.  At the incorporation election held November 15, 1906, E. E. Mudge, C. J. Nellis, J. E. Osborne, A. J. Stoner and F. C. Langdon were voted in as trustees of Sawtelle, with Leroy Fallis as city clerk, George W. Wiseman as city treasurer, J. P. Keener, city marshal, O. W. Jewett, city recorder, and W. B. Taylor, city attorney.

            About six years ago Mr. Sawtelle came to La Jolla, purchasing a desirable home at 7379 Fay avenue [sic], near the ocean, and here he has since resided.  For nearly nine years he has served as treasurer of the Williams Gold Mining Company, whose vice president, Howard Williams, was one of his close friends.  The daughter, Miss Williams, whose sketch is published elsewhere in this work, resides in San Diego and has contributed several fine paintings to the world of art.

            On April 1, 1924, the state of California issued a charter to the Williams Gold Mining Company, capitalized at one hundred thousand dollars.  The incorporators were: R. F. McClellan president; Howard Williams, vice president; W. E. Sawteele [sic], treasurer; C. D. Ballard, secretary; and M. B. Williams, a director.  The principal place of business is in Los Angeles and the mining property is located at Julian, in San Diego county [sic].

            The corporation was formed to open up the old Owens mine [sic] and prospect [sic] and virgin ground, including the Jeanette claim adjoining. The claims consist of the Old Owens, the New Owens and Jeanette.  The two Owens claims parallel each other and are three hundred by fifteen hundred feet each, overlapping at the easterly end.  The Jeanette is six hundred by fifteen hundred feet and joins the westerly end of the Owens claims.  They are patented and all three are owned by the Williams Gold Mining Company free and clear.

            Probably the most authentic date of the discovery of gold on the Owens claims is contained in a telegram dated November 10, 1869, and set forth in the files of the Mining and Scientific Press.  “San Diego excited over reported discovery of rich gold mines sixty miles north of town. Quanities [sic] of dust and of gold worth ten dollars are brought in.”  It is self-evident that work was immediately begun on the Owens claims by a physical view of the large dump, the old shaft house and gallows frame, assay office and ten-stamp mill still standing on the property.

            From the opening of the mine until it was closed in 1874, Mr. Kelly, the superintendent, and C. O. Gunn who had charge of the mill during most of that period, estimate the production at two hundred thousand dollars.  Because of litigation and dissension among the owners the mine was closed in 1874.  However, some time between that date and 1893 a new shaft was sunk and a second ledge, known as the “red edge,” was discovered and worked to a depth of two hundred feet, the ledge varying in width from two to eight feet of low grade free milling ore.  By sinking a new shaft the Williams Gold Mining Company tapped the center of the gold-bearing ledges and is profitably developing these claims, which are yielding a large body of excellent free milling ore.

            In 1882 Mr. Sawtelle was married to Miss Mary Wheeler, now deceased, and they were the parents of two daughters.  Catherine, the elder, who was born in 1884, became the wife of John McIntyre, and they had three children; Mary, who was graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with the class of 1932; Margaret, a young girl of eighteen and a high school graduate; and Neil McIntyre, aged seventeen years, who is a senior in the high school at La Jolla.  The mother of these children died in 1931 but the father lives in La Jolla, occupying the family home at 7302 Fay avenue [sic].  The second daughter, Barbara Sawtelle, born in 1888, was united in marriage to Dr. Lee S. Seward and passed away in 1915, leaving an infant son, Will Seward, now seventeen years of age.  Mrs. Seward’s sister, Mrs. John McIntyre, was a talented artist whose canvases were much admired by connoisseurs.  Mr. Sawtelle has watched with interest the growth and development of his grandchildren, who reside near him, and delights in their society.  His forbears fought valiantly for American independence and he belongs to the Sons of the Revolution.  He has played well his part in life and is a man of broad outlook, genial nature and high standards, esteemed and respected by all who know him.




Transcribed by Jeanne Turner.

Source: California of the South Vol. II,  by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 309-312, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012 Jeanne Turner.