The University Library, UC Santa Cruz, The Friends of the UCSC Library
and Researchers Anonymous of the Museum of Art & History
cordially invite you to
A Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of
the Arrival of Frederick Augustus Hihn
in California for the Gold Rush
To Honor the Contributors to The Hihn-Younger Archive
in UCSC Library Special Collections
A Lecture on the Life of F. A. Hihn
and Introduction to the Hihn-Younger Archive
by Stanley D. Stevens
Librarian Emeritus & Coordinator, The Hihn-Younger Archive
Saturday, October 16, 1999, 10 am to 12 noon
Auditorium, Museum of Art & History, at the McPherson Center
705 Front Street, Santa Cruz
Hihn’s portrait was the frontispiece of E. S. Harrison’s History of Santa Cruz County. San Francisco, Cal.: Pacific Press Publishing Company, 1892
The Hihn-Younger Archive has the steel plate engraving used in the original publication, a gift of Jane Younger McKenzie.
Brief Biography of
F. A. Hihn, Friedrich August Ludewig Hühn, better known by his American name, Frederick Augustus Hihn
Friedrich August Ludewig Hühn, was only nineteen years-old when he left his native Germany in the Spring of 1849 for California’s Gold Rush. Born in Holzminden (Duchy of Brunswick, Germany) in 1829, his family was comprised of nine children. He had six brothers and two sisters. The family name was spelled Hühn. His brother Hugo, one of two brothers to join him in Santa Cruz, who owned the “Flatiron” building at the intersection of Front Street and Pacific Avenue, was sometimes known by Hühn. After a voyage of almost six months (173 days from Bremen, 107 from Rio de Janiero), during which he celebrated his 20th birthday, his ship sailed through the Golden Gate.
October 12, 1849 On board the Reform
“This morning we all got up early to look at the coast of California. There is land on both sides, bare hills; yet there seems to be enough grass since we see cattle grazing in many places. We are now close to the entrance of the harbor. There are boats and bigger vessels moving out of the harbor; we do not know why they are traveling in this direction, and we surmise that they are looking for gold, so much do we expect of California. We pass through the entrance of the harbor at noon. On one side there is an old Spanish fort which seems to be deserted. At one o’clock in the afternoon we anchor in the harbor in front of San Francisco. There are several ships, and others are coming in. Some passengers go ashore with the captain. I am staying on board till tomorrow; von Langerke came back and told me he did not intend to rent a store because the rents were too high. Therefore I decided to go to the mines with some other passengers. We stayed in San Francisco for about a week, looking the city over, which consists for the most part of shacks, and preparing for our trip to the mines. We took passage on a schooner bound for Sacramento. ...”
Excerpt from F. A. Hihn’s Tagebuch
F. A. Hihn arrived in San Francisco in October and proceeded to Sacramento, en route to prospect for Gold. He joined a party of seven in San Francisco, led by Friedrich Gerstaecker, who had joined Hihn’s ship Reform en route to California. After innumerable troubles they reached the south fork of the Feather River in the early part of November. They bought a mining claim and prepared to locate for the winter, but it commenced to rain, the river rose and washed away their tools, and for a time they were forced to subsist on manzanita berries. After two weeks it was decided to leave their camp for Sacramento, where they arrived about December first, and there the party disbanded.
In Sacramento, Hihn and Johann Ernest Kunitz manufactured candy. Kunitz, 20-years-old, was another German immigrant that accompanied Hihn on the Reform and to the Feather River. Like Hihn, he later moved to Santa Cruz where he manufactured glue and soap. In January, 1850, after enjoying success for about two weeks, the Sacramento and American Rivers overflowed and the candy factory and all its contents were destroyed.
In the summer of 1850, Hihn had enough luck in the gold mines at Long Bar on the American River that he was able to enter the hotel business in Sacramento. He became one of the two proprietors of two hotels: the Uncle Sam House, and the Mechanics Exchange. However, due to the aftereffects of flooding, business was not good. In the winter of 1850-51 he sold his interest and moved to San Francisco.
In San Francisco, Hihn engaged in an occupation that he had studied during his apprenticeship in Germany, collecting medicinal herbs and preparing them for market. He opened a drug store on Washington Street near Maguire’s Opera House, but on May 4, 1851, one of the many San Francisco fires destroyed almost the entire city and nearly all of his worldly goods. Another fire, on June 22, consumed what was left.
Having suffered from two floods and poor business results in Sacramento, and two fires in San Francisco, it was no wonder that he wanted to return home. He was on his way to board a ship to return to Germany when he met one of his friends whose premises had also been destroyed by fire. “What are you doing?” Hihn asked when he saw the friend shoveling ashes; “Building a new store,” was the reply. Hihn questioned why anyone would want to continue, having been burned out twice. His friend pointed out that someone would eventually build another business there, and it might as well be him. Hihn thought that made good sense.
Still cautious of the threat of disaster but encouraged enough to begin again, Hihn, together with Henry Hentsch, moved out of the City and headed to Mission San Antonio with a load of goods. At San Juan Bautista he met with instant commercial success. From San Juan Bautista he changed his route and headed north. He arrived in Santa Cruz in October 1851, just two years after his arrival in California. Here, in one of California’s most active commercial centers of the era, Hihn began a grocery store at the hub of today’s business district: at the Lower Plaza (“Flatiron Building” site).
About the time Hihn arrived in Santa Cruz, the landscape was sparsely settled, and the population of Santa Cruz County, initially named Branciforte, was only about 650.
“Hihn’s California of 1851”
Mining District of California by Wm. A. Jackson. 1851
Map courtesy of California Historical Society, Library collection, FN-31600
View of Sacramento City, As It Appeared During Inundation, January, 1850. California Historical Society, Library collection.
We had found no gold, but what matter, we were all healthy yet, and had seen the mines at least — the next time better luck — and laughing and talking we clambered down the steep ridges till night overtook, and found us round a large fire and a splendid panful of most excellent dumplings, Huhne [Freidrich August Ludewig Hühn], a very good hand at such things, had prepared to get our rather weakened stomachs in good working order again. That night though, we tasted, in spite of the dumplings, the pleasures of mountain-life again in bumpers. At about ten o’clock, it commenced raining, and never left off for a single minute during the whole night. ... Monday, the 26th of November , reached Sacramento City ... But what a difference there was between the Sacramento of four weeks and no
Friedrich Gerstaecker California Gold Mines Oakland, Cal.: Biobooks, 1946. pp. 30, 34-35.
Gerstäcker had joined Hihn’s ship, the Reform, in Valparaiso, Chile, en route to California. He was a German novelist and writer of travels. In 1837 he went to America and travelled widely in the U.S., and he subsequently published several works, including California Gold Mines, first published in Germany and later translated in England.
Frederick A. Hihn died in 1913 at eighty-four. For at least five decades, Hihn was considered Central California’s “most important citizen.” His position was recognized by Edward S. Harrison when his History of Santa Cruz County was published in 1892. Hihn’s portrait is the frontispiece.
He had a lengthy list of accomplishments:
[adapted from Santa Cruz County Place Names by Donald Thomas Clark]
His Letters, one volume now transcribed, allow us to add the following to what we formerly knew about Hihn:
Description of the Hihn~Younger Archive
Charles B. Younger Sr.
played an important role in F. A. Hihn’s life.
He was the Referee who Partitioned
the Shoquel Augmentation Rancho
in which Hihn acquired important tracts of timber.
Hihn’s daughter, Agnes, married Charles B. Younger Jr.
DONORS TO COLLECTIONS
1976-79 Donald and Marion Younger
Hihn & Younger documents-letters, books, & family pictures
1985— Gloria Hihn Welsh
documents, letters, records & maps, F. A. Hihn’s Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. Citizen, & Marriage Certificate
1989 Noel Patterson [associated with the Hihn Family for 70 years]
maps, property appraisals, and Hihn Company documents
1990-93 Louis Edwin Hihn
family memorabilia; established Louis E. Hihn Endowment
1992— Robert & Helen Hihn Younger Goode
family pictures, Coleman Younger letters, and documents
1993— Jane Younger McKenzie
F. A. Hihn’s Diary, family pictures and letters
1993— Donald & Mary McKenzie
family pictures and genealogy
1993— Marji (Wilhelmina Hihn) Englander
books, pictures and documents
1996 Geoffrey Dunn
Deeds, 1870 & 1888, F. A. Hihn with John B. Grimwood, and Darius Washington Day (Day Valley)
1997 Estate of Teresa Agnes Hihn Moore, Gordon Benner, Executor
books, pictures and documents, creative writing
1998- Ronald Powell
Collection of 20-years+ research on & photos of the Shoquel & Shoquel Augmentation Ranchos
1999- Lisa Farrand
memorabilia from the home of Frederick Otto Hihn
The Louis E. Hihn Endowment
Created by the Great-Nephew of Frederick Augustus Hihn
In his 1992 autobiography, From Childhood to My Last Hurrah, Louis Edwin Hihn expressed his desire to support the research and development of the Archive. He died in 1993, and left a major part of his estate to the UCSC Foundation for a dynamic Santa Cruz County history collection which records the life and enterprises of F. A. Hihn, his descendants, and those associated with him. Endowment income supports the acquisition of materials, as well as the compilation, publication, and distribution of publications.
In addition to the principal donor of the Endowment, The University Library acknowledges the following Donors who have made supplementary contributions in Memory of Louis E. Hihn:
The following have been issued under the auspices of the Endowment:
These publications were published in limited editions, and are available in the UCSC University Library as well as other research libraries.
THE HIHN-YOUNGER ARCHIVE FUND
Created in 1999 by the Descendants of Frederick Augustus Hihn and Charles Bruce Younger to support The Hihn-Younger Archive, The Hihn-Younger Archive Fund provides immediate and short-range support for the coordinator, including but not restricted to: hired assistance, care and restoration of items in the Archive, inventory, description, organization, integration, research travel expense.
Special Collections, McHenry Library, University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (phone 831-459-2547)
Librarian Emeritus Stanley D. Stevens provides reference assistance, coordinates the receipt of gifts of material and other contributions, and is the compiler-editor of publications related to the subjects of the Archive. His part-time assistant is UCSC Substitute Librarian Jennifer Fosgate, who also designed the distinctive bookplate for the Hihn-Younger Archive. The Coordinator may be reached as follows:Stanley D. Stevens
231 13th Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062-4831
ph.: 831-475-9172 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Items Related to F.A. Hihn
F. A. Hihn’s Jupiter is in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. It was built for F. A. Hihn’s Santa Cruz Railroad Co. in Philadelphia by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, and in August, 1876, it was shipped to Santa Cruz on a railroad flatcar. The Smithsonian acquired the Jupiter for its 1976 Bicentenial exhibit, and it has been on exhibit in the Arts & Industries Building in Washington, D. C., until 1999. The Jupiter has been moved to the National Museum of American History where it will become part of the SI’s new railroad exhibit planned for 2003. For more on the Jupiter, see the Smithsonian’s Internet site at: http://www.si.edu/nmah/objects/locomove/locomj.htm (note: this page is no longer available -- 1/21/2003)
SOME EXCERPTS FROM TITUS HALE'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY
[Titus Hale was President of the Society of California Pioneers (San Francisco) for two terms, 1911-1913.]
1849: [In Sacramento] ... During [this] time I was peddling nuts, Mr. F. A. Hihn of Santa Cruz was peddling candy.
1872: In 1872 the Santa Cruz people thought we needed a Railroad to connect at Pajaro with S. P. RR for San Francisco. We organized a company to build it. The Directors were F. A. Hihn, Claus Spreckels, B. F. Porter, George E. Logan, and Titus Hale. Mr. Hihn was President and I was Treasurer. Mr. Hihn and I were authorized by the Board of Directors to build the road. ...
1879: First year after [the] road was finished our receipts were about $75,000 - by that time the South Pacific Coast R.R., a line from San Francisco direct to Santa Cruz was completed and thereafter we never made running expenses. In 1879 we transferred our stock to the S.P. Co. Mr. Hihn made the negotiation with Chas. Crocker. Mr. C. came to Santa Cruz and looked the situation over. When he returned to [San Francisco] he said “well boys, you’ve got an elephant; your road is not worth what you owe on it, but if you will pay us $25,000 and turn the majority of the stock over to us, we will take it.” Mr. Hihn paid the money out of his own pocket and the S. P. Co. became the owners under [a threat of] foreclosure of mortgage. Mr. Hihn paid this in order to protect small stockholders from liability in case [the] Road should not bring enough to pay [the] mortgage and floating debt. This is the same Hihn that peddled candy in Sacramento winter ‘49, and is one of the wisest and most honorable men it has ever been my good fortune to meet.
FROM LOCAL NEWSPAPERS
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel 1869-08-14 2:1
A Call—Endorsement, Etc.
F. A. HIHN, Santa Cruz:
We, the undersigned, business men and citizens of the County of Santa Cruz, name you as an Independent Candidate for the Assembly, and ask your acceptance:
James Wilson Brown
Samuel Wallace Blakeley
Horace Webster PopeRichard Cornelius Kirby
Hiram Hays Hobbs
George Cortland Stevens
John Willis Towne
David John Cumming
George Tickner Gragg
Sedgwick James Lynch
Benjamin Franklin Porter
Charles Edwin Burrows
Jonathan Harwood Guild
John Thomas Porter
David Wallace Cumming
Benjamin Cahoon Nichols
Charles Henry Hall
SANTA CRUZ, Aug. 7th, 1869.
To F. A. HIHN, Esq.— The Democratic Convention, having considered the call of Messrs. Anthony, Kirby, Porter and others, naming you as an Independent Candidate for Member of Assembly, decided to endorse said call.
J. N. BESSE, Secretary of Convention.
Source: Santa Cruz Surf 1891-09-10 1:1-4
“ADMISSION DAY. — Celebration of the Forty-First Anniversary of the Event — BY NATIVE SONS AND PIONEERS. — Santa Cruz Witnesses a Magnificent and Memorable — PARADE OF PIONEERS AND PARLORS. — A Superb Demonstration of the Strength and Beauty of the — YOUNG MEN OF THE GOLDEN WEST. — Characteristic California Hospitality Dispensed at the Various Headquarters. — AMUSEMENTS AND ENTERTAINMENTS. — The Pioneers Present a Cane — Grand Ball With Costly Souveniers Closes the Public Festivities a Full Day. —
Wednesday, September 9th, 1891, will ever be a notable date in local history, marking as it will the grand culminating celebration of California’s natal day, participated in by nearly equal numbers of local pioneers and local Native Sons. ...
THE PIONEERS’ BANQUET.
By the time the long parade was finished the populace and the paraders were famished and thirsty and every place in town which afforded something to eat and drink was jammed at once.
The Pioneers of Santa Cruz entertained all visiting Pioneers and many other friends at a fine banquet provided by the Catholic Ladies Aid Society. A pleasant event was the presentation to Pioneer F.A. Hihn of a gold-headed cane of artistic make. The handle of gold and quartz was finished with a bear’s head. The presentation was made by Charles Younger.
Source: Santa Cruz Evening Sentinel May 12, 1903 1:3-6
THE VISIT OF PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT.
GIVEN AN ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME BY A GREAT CROWD
OF PEOPLE IN SANTA CRUZ.
President Roosevelt’s reception Monday morning will always occupy a place in the most important historical events of our city. For the second time in its history a President has visited Santa Cruz. The disappointment over the failure of President McKinley to come here is still fresh in the minds of our people. President Harrison was the first Chief Executive of the nation to honor Santa Cruz with his presence.
After the cheers subsided the President spoke as follows:
“Mr. Mayor and my fellow citizens, I thank you for the greeting that you have extended to me. I wish to say a word of special acknowledgment to the men of the Grand Army and the representatives of the Pioneers, to the men who proved their loyalty in the supreme task of ’61 and ’65 and Pioneers who showed the same qualities in winning this great west that you of the Civil War showed in this feat. And I also wish to say how pleased I am to have as my escort the men of the Naval Militia.” ...
When he had finished, F. A. Hihn, his appearance evidencing the pride he felt, stepped forward and on behalf of the Pioneers, presented the President with a silver plate suitably inscribed and a badge of the Pioneers. The President warmly grasped Mr. Hihn by the hand saying: “I am delighted, I thank you very much. I am greatly pleased.” On his coat the President wore a hand painted badge, having big trees on it.
Mr. Hihn addressed the President as follows:
“Mr. President: — The little remnant of the California Pioneers who made Santa Cruz their home bid you welcome. As a token of our regard we tender you a certificate of honorary membership and a Pioneer rosette and badge. May you live long and may you visit us again.”
The certificate is engraved on a plate of silver in the following words:
“This is to certify that Theodore Roosevelt is an honorary member of the Society of California Pioneers of Santa Cruz County.” F. A. HIHN President; E. A. CULVERWELL Secretary
Source: Santa Cruz Surf 1903-08-17 2:1-3
MR. F. A. HIHN’S BIRTHDAY.
In no other county in California does the birthday of a private citizen rise to the dignity of a public event as does that of F.A. Hihn in Santa Cruz.
There are reasons for this fact other than the one that Mr. Hihn is able and inclined to entertain his friends on a lavish scale.
Owing to its isolation, for the first twenty-five years of American development, California was virtually an island, and Santa Cruz county owing to its topography, was peculiarly isolated from other parts of the State. During the quarter century, covered by what we now call the “early days,” by reason of his intellectual strength and assertive force Mr. Hihn was the dominant spirit in the new community, then, gradually wealth gave him greater prestige, and he became permanent President of the Pioneers, just as Chiefs arose when men held tribal relations, and as Kings acquired thrones in the primitive days of nationality.
To these pioneers, Mr. Hihn was not only a leader but a veritable patriarch.
At the banquet table on Saturday afternoon Mr. Ed. Martin said that the mere accidental date of arrival, did not settle a man’s status in the esteem of his fellow men, but the real test was, What had he done since he came?
What Mr. Hihn did in those early days was to so direct this crude community, composed of citizens of all races and nationalities, and kindreds and tongues, into a local body politic, in which the paramount public spirit found its expression — and does to this day — in good schools and good roads, prime factors of civilization. ....