Historic photos of the Whaley House and Whaley family members
save our heritage organisation

Whaley Family Chronology

Scroll to view all

10/8/1823

Thomas Whaley was born in New York City to Rachel Pye and Thomas Alexander Whaley, the 7th of 10 children.

This branch of the Whaley family came to Plymouth, Massachusetts from Northern Ireland in 1722. Alexander Whaley, the great grandfather of Thomas Whaley, a gunsmith, participated in the Boston Tea Party, and was with George Washington during the Battle of White Plains. He provided flintlock muskets for the Revolutionary War and his house in Long Island was General Washington's headquarters. Thomas Whaley was born into a family of blacksmiths, gunsmiths, and locksmiths. The Whaleys were Presbyterian, Whigs, comfortably fixed financially, hard workers, bright, and spirited.

1832

Thomas Whaley's father died in New York and his will stipulated that Thomas should receive a liberal education.

1830s-1840s

Thomas attended boarding school in Colchester, Connecticut, then Washington Institute, after graduation, he was sent to Europe for study and travel with French tutor, Emile Mallet.

3/31/1832

Anna Eloise DeLaunay, daughter of Louis and Victoria Elizabeth DeLaunay born in New York City.

1846

Thomas returned home from Europe, and assisted his widowed mother in the management of her properties, which included various pieces of real estate and the lock business. For a while he worked for the Sutton Company, a shipping firm, then later was hired as a clerk with the Thomas Wardle Co.

1/1/1849

Thomas Whaley left New York for the gold rush in California on the Sutton; after 204 days sailing around Cape Horn, he reached San Francisco.

7/1849

He worked with George Wardle in the store on Montgomery Street between Jackson and Pacific in San Francisco, disposed of consignment miners' equipment from Flintoff & Co. of New York, sold his own stock of hardware produced by his relatives in New York, was successful enough to build his own 2-story store on Montgomery Street on leased land and rented Wardle's store out to Lewis Simons.

1850

Thomas Whaley built 2-story house with balcony and view of the bay in San Francisco, also invested in side venture with Lewis and Maurice Franklin.

1/22/1851

An arson-set fire in San Francisco destroyed the Montgomery Street buildings. Whaley lost $600 worth of merchandise, which ended Whaley's "grand speculation on Montgomery Street."

9/1851

Thomas Whaley sailed for San Diego upon advice of Lewis Franklin.

10/4/1851

Thomas Whaley arrived in Old Town, in which there were 6 or 8 stores, 2 hotels, an apothecary shop, a physician, 3 lawyers, a Catholic Church, and no amusements except for fandangos, which were frequent at night. Franklin set up a 2-story building as a store and residence where both he and Whaley lived. Whaley studied Spanish so he could do business with the "natives."

1851

Thomas Whaley ran a store in Old Town called Tienda California with Lewis Franklin.

11/1851

Antonio Garra, chief of the San Luis Indians, upset because the sheriff wanted to collect taxes on Indians' cattle, led his and several other tribes in insurrection against Americans in southern California. The area was under martial law and the County had only a small detachment of soldiers at the old mission under Lt. Col. Magruder. Warner's Ranch was attacked by Indians, which alarmed the town. Every able-bodied male enrolled in the volunteer unit commanded by Major Edward Fitzgerald and sentries were posted at all town entrances. When the men went out to fight, only 35 men, including Whaley, were left in San Diego to defend the town. When on guard duty, Whaley wore a "brace of six shooters and kept a horse ready to saddle". Five Americans were killed at Warner's Ranch and Agua Caliente; the Indian trouble ended with the capture of Antonio Garra.

1/10/1852

Thomas Whaley was one of 12 men on the firing squad in Campo Santo at the grave site, which ended the life of Antonio Garra, found guilty of the uprising at Warner's Ranch on this date and executed this date.

3/1852

Lewis Franklin sold out to Whaley.

4/1852

Francis Hinton and Thomas Whaley became partners and ran Tienda General in Old Town. It was a 1-year partnership in which Whaley & Hinton made $18,000 profit, preferring cash-and-carry trade to avoid bad accounts.

8/17/1852

Yankee Jim Robinson was found guilty of grand larceny on August 17th and sentenced to be hanged to the nearest tree by the neck until dead on August 18th. However, it appears that the hanging was delayed until September 18th and local men took turns guarding him until then. No Herald issues exist for September so it is difficult to say exactly where Yankee Jim was hanged, although an early photograph does show trees near where the Whaley House now stands.

8/28/1852

From the Los Angeles Star: "At the recent term of the County Court at San Diego, James Robinson, otherwise called "Yankee Jim," was tried for burglary, and sentenced to be hung. Two accomplices, Gray and Harris, were each sentenced to be imprisoned one year in the State Prison. The charge upon which they were tried was for stealing a boat, but they are strongly suspected of horse stealing and even murder. Yankee Jim made powerful resistance to the arrest, and was finally captured by the aid of the "lasso", which in the hands of a person expert in its use is irresistible. His execution is fixed for the 18th of September, and he says that before that time he will make a confession that will tonish the natives. (The Los Angeles Star is missing for September 1852 and the first half of October 1852.)

Back to top of page

1853

Congress authorized reconnaissance surveys for rail routes from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, surveys showed that a southern route along the Mexican border had fewer obstacles.

1853

While Whaley is gone to New York to marry, Juan Bandini opened a new store and sold goods at half price.

4/1853

Whaley & Hinton dissolved their partnership, citing Hinton's poor health. Increased competition contributes to the marked decline in Whaley's fortunes.

4/1853

Thomas Whaley and Ephraim Morse join as partners in general store in Old Town.

5/8/1853

The organization of Pacific & Atlantic Railroad Co. with Col. J. Bankhead Magruder, commandant of Army installation elected president, was never chartered by the State government.

8/14/1853

Thomas Whaley and Anna Eloise DeLaunay were married at the Church of the Ascension on 4th Street in New York City by Rev. Dr. Seabury.

12/7/1853

Thomas and Anna Whaley arrived in San Diego and moved into the Gila House, Thomas Whaley also escorted the wives of Ephraim Morse and Charles Poole back to join their husbands in Old Town.

9/1854

San Diego & Gila Southern Pacific & Atlantic Railroad Co. were organized by Judge James Robinson and Louis Rose. Thirty men, including Thomas Whaley, pledged to invest in the company's stock.

12/28/1854

Francis Hinton Whaley, their first child, was born in Old Town, in the Burkholz House, where the family continued to live until the brick residence was completed in 1857. Their son was named after former business partner, Francis Hinton.

3/18/1855

Partnership with E.W. Morse was dissolved.

5/1855

Thomas Whaley along with his brother Henry Hurst Whaley reopened the General Store. Henry Whaley and his wife, Annie, came west from New York and after having arrived, lived with the Whaleys. They quarreled frequently and were often inebriated in public and private.

5/18/1855

Whaley entered the brick manufacturing business with George P. Tebbetts in La Playa (for trade) and in Old Town on Conde Street (for local consumption)

9/2/1855

Thomas Whaley purchased lot 1 of Block 480 in Old San Diego from the City of San Diego.

10/1855

Tebbetts sold out of the brick manufacturing business to Whaley & Whaley, who continued the operation alone.

11/10/1855

Whaley & Co. was dissolved, Thomas was no longer a partner with his brother Henry Whaley. Henry often overcharged customers and was loud and often inebriated. When Thomas severed their working relationship, Henry assaulted Thomas in the store, and when Henry was sent out to the street, he shouted insults and obscenities and challenged Thomas to come out and fight. Much to the chagrin of their mother, Rachel, this ended their business and personal relationship.

1856

The Whaley family lived in the Buckhart, or Burkhart, or Burkholz house in Old Town.

5/1856

Construction began of a 1-story brick rat-proof granary to hold 300,000-400,000 pounds of grain.

8/18/1856

Thomas Whaley, Jr., born in Old Town.

9/1856

Whaley began construction of his $10,000 2-story Greek Revival residence and store building on San Diego Avenue to be completed by May 1857, as his lease of the Burkholz house expired then. He planned to pay for labor in trade, and bricks were made in Whaley's brickyard on Conde Street. It was called the "handsomest and the most convenient house within 150 miles". The upper floor was to be the family's living quarters and the lower level for store. Across the 32-foot wide front there were 5 pairs of doors, which corresponded to 5 windows upstairs. The new home was the gathering place for San Diego, but despite apparent prosperity, Thomas Whaley wanted the railroad to come so he could subdivide his lots, make money and return to New York.

1857

Panic of 1857, worldwide economic depression.

1857

An adobe wall about 7 feet high surrounded the entire lot, a gate within a high wooden frame divided the front wall in the middle and a similar gate formed the entrance to the back corral. An adobe wall separated the back corral from the front yard, and an outhouse built of brick stood in the front yard (actually the side yard to the rear) close to the dividing wall.

8/22/1857

Whaley's new brick block was called the finest in Southern California by the Herald; it was furnished with mahogany and rosewood furniture, Brussels carpets, damask drapes and was quite a mansion for its time and place. The envy of many, Whaley had a rockaway carriage, which held six people comfortably, and a span of Sorrels (reddish-brown horses) with a silver-mounted harness in which he transported his family and friends.

8/1857

The General Store reopened, along with rat-proof storage for grain, in Whaley's new brick building, where he solicited CASH CUSTOMERS and dealt liberally for cash against credit and large profits. Strictly a cash operation, Whaley's motto was "Quick returns, small profits". He had no customers, no one came to buy anything, and Thomas felt he was too far away from the Plaza, which was the center of Old Town.

9/1857

Thomas Whaley, County Clerk

10/1857

Thomas Whaley moved into Mrs. Kerren's frame store near Old Town Plaza, which had recently been occupied by Pendleton & Co. where he was assisted by George Hay Ringgold. It was a CHEAP CASH store, which was a new merchandising concept in San Diego, a concept not successful with Franklin before and was not successful then either.

Back to top of page

6/27/1858

Anna Amelia Whaley born in Old Town

8/16/1858?

Fire broke out in Whaley's wooden store on the north side of Old Town Plaza, the work of an incendiary. The first men to arrive rolled out the liquor barrels, but more could have been saved if someone had not raised the alarm that there was a store of powder inside, $3,000 worth of merchandise was lost. Whaley learned that his real estate investments, including the house, were netting him nothing. His house would not rent for more than $40 per month and associations in San Diego had gone sour as a result of efforts to collect money owed him; Whaley could be very unpleasant when someone was indebted to him. Despondent over the fire and the death of Thomas Whaley, Jr., Thomas and Anna decided to move to San Francisco upon the invitation of Maj. George H. Ringgold.

1/1859

Thomas Whaley turned his affairs in Old Town over to Frank Ames, the Wells Fargo agent, including his house. The list of accounts due included a large number of worthless lots, 2 brickmaking machines, a lot of bricks, and his brick house. The Whaley family arrived in San Francisco, uncertain of the future, and was joined by Anna's mother, sister, and brother who came to live with them.

3/31/1859

Thomas Whaley was appointed Commissary Storekeeper, U.S.A., under Capt. M.D.L. Simpson in San Francisco due to the efforts of Maj. George Ringgold.

10/31/1859

Whaley terminated Frank Ames as the caretaker of his property and holdings.

6/1860

Census report indicated that occupants of the Whaley house were: Robert E. and Sarah Doyle (mail agent - both from New York); James E. Mason (mail carrier); Samuel A. Ames (mail carrier); Gabriel Parades (from New Mexico), the Doyles were evicted for non-payment of rent.

7/1860

Augustus S. Ensworth, a lawyer and justice of the peace, moved into the rat-infested Whaley house and managed Whaley's business interests.

11/5/1860

George Hay Ringgold Whaley, son of Thomas and Anna, born in San Francisco and named after his good friend, Major George Ringgold.

1862

Augustus wrote of earthquakes and severe rains in Old Town, tried to repair the house rood and corral wall, which had fallen down.

1861-1865

American Civil War, supposedly it did not affect Whaley.

10/14/1862

Violet Eloise Whaley was born to Thomas and Anna Whaley in San Francisco.

9/4/1864

Corinne Lillian Whaley was born to Thomas and Anna Whaley in San Francisco.

2/19/1865

Whaley's superior officer, Major Kirkham, received request for Whaley's dismissal - "complaints to detriment of Department constantly made against Whaley in Washington" - Whaley claimed his conduct had been honorable, but resigned to avoid dishonorable discharge.

2/1866

Whaley's business on the side failed and he had heavy financial losses. He applied for and received another position with the Army's Quartermaster Department in San Francisco. He had worked as an issuing clerk but the position had been dissolved in September 1867. Now Whaley was obliged to accept a position he had earlier rejected, that of issuing clerk with the Army in the territory of Alaska, he was paid less and had to be removed from his family.

9/3/1867

Thomas Whaley took charge of 3 government transports with stores at Sitka, Alaska Territory, before American takeover on 10/18/1867. Whaley, in the company of others, assisted in raising the American flag on the island of Japonski opposite Sitka. Anna welcomed this separation from Thomas because his business reverses had had an adverse affect on his disposition and her health had not been too good, these factors produced a strain in their relationship. Anna stayed with Ringgold's wife, Mary, and her mother, Victoria DeLaunay.

11/25/1867

Thomas Whaley was elected councilman of Sitka by unanimous vote.

1867

Alonzo Horton purchased 960 acres in downtown San Diego and began the development of New San Diego.

1867

Alonzo Horton purchased 960 acres in downtown San Diego and began the development of New San Diego.

Back to top of page

1/1868

Thomas Whaley received word that his mother had sold some property in New York for $40,000. She had consented to divide half that sum among her children, and so Thomas would have to go to New York to collect his share.

2/1868

Thomas, Anna, and son Francis sailed for New York, the younger children stayed in San Francisco with their grandmother, Victoria DeLaunay.

Summer, 1868

Whaley family is back in San Francisco, Thomas invested some of his new capital in stock of merchandise and headed once more for San Diego. The region was growing and Alonzo Horton was developing New Town (downtown San Diego). Because prices were so high in New Town Thomas reopened his store in Old Town. He found his brick house in a sad state of disrepair and would have sold it had he found a buyer. Anna waited to return until Thomas had remodeled the house, patched the leaky roof, replaced rotten floors, attached the granary to the house, probably put in two front windows, changed the front entrance from a loading platform, and put in the front and back doors.

10/10/1868

Meeting of the stockholders of the San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic RR Company at the office of W.H. Cleveland in San Diego. Thomas Whaley, Louis Rose, D.B. Kurtz were appointed to submit names of 13 stockholders for election as Directors of Company. They selected the following: Louis Rose, Thomas Whaley, George Hyde, A.E. Horton, O.S. Witherby, J.S. Mannasse, Wm. Jeff Gatewood, Wm. H. Cleveland, Wm. N. Robinson, G.A. Pendleton, E.W. Morse, James Pascoe, and George Lyons.

10/10/1868

Reopening of the General Store, For Sale Cheap For Cash, dry goods, clothing, etc., received direct from the East by Thomas Whaley, West Side Plaza, Old Town.

10/24/1868

Whaley's General Store also sells large assortment of calicos and mourning prints, Delaines, Alpacas, furniture chintzes, brown and bleached sheetings and shirtings, long cloths for pillow slips, brown and blue drills, blue and white checks, brown and bleached jeans, cambric linings, paper muslins, fine blue, white and scarlet Shaker flannels, family white blankets, towels, handkerchiefs, hoop skirts, gloves, children's caps, boys clothing, Shaker socks, business suits, Marseilles vests, diagonal and Belknap overshirts, fancy and Wamasutta white shirts, linen bosoms, etc.

10/24/1868

Whaley home for sale or let for residence, hotel or business, commands a fine view of the Harbor, within 700 feet of the plaza, on the principal street leading to New Town, having a front of 32 feet and a depth of 42 feet with a one-story wing attached, size of lot, 150x217 1/2 feet, divided into 2 large corrals, having arched gateways 10 and 12 feet wide, a well of good water and force pump. Buildings are substantial with an outlay of $1500 maybe made the finest and most comfortable in the Southern part of the State, will sell premises as they now stand or put the same in complete order and finish, for any responsible party desiring to take a lease.

10/24/1868

Thomas Whaley ad in Union: To Capitalists - Store wanted - I will agree with any person who will erect a building suitable for my business in New Town, to lease the same upon such terms that will pay fair interest on the amount invested.

11/21/1868

Meeting of Directors of the San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic RR Company held in their office in San Diego, Thomas Whaley, director.

12/2/1868-
1/1869

The Theatre, run by the Tanner Troupe, in the Whaley house, operated out of the front upstairs bedroom. It had a small stage and benches for 150 people. The T.W. Tanner group offered moral, chaste, and versatile entertainments, consisting of drama, farce, comedy, singing and dancing, laughable burlesques, negro delineations, etc. and hopes his untiring efforts to please, will meet with a liberal share of patronage, the rent to Whaley was $20 in gold coin. Mr. Tanner died within 17 days of opening.

12/5/1868

Meeting of Board of Directors of the San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic RR Company in San Diego, Thomas Whaley was appointed Stock Commissioner and was appointed to Finance Committee with Gatewood and Robinson.

12/12/1868

Anna Whaley and the family arrived on the steamer.

12/19/1868

Thomas Whaley as Stock Commissioner of the S.D. & G.S.P & A. RR Co. offered subscriptions for stock in this Company to be received by him "at my office in the brick building on San Diego Avenue", 10% of the stock subscribed for will be required to be paid at the time of subscription.

1/1869

Whaley's General Store, corner of San Diego Avenue and Harney Street, wholesale and retail at the lowest market rates for cash, dry goods, millinery, embroideries, laces, hosiery, boots, shoes, hats, curtain damasks, shades, carpets, Chinese matting, wines, tobacco, wood, willow ware, and wash boards.

2/15/1869

Whaley & Crosthwaite, successors to E.W. Morse, wholesale and retail for cash, now sells hardware, cutlery, iron and steel, timber, co-partnership for general merchandise business signed this day.

2/20/1869

Whaley & Crosthwaite at the old stand on the Plaza

6/26/1869

Meeting of citizens at Franklin Hall to plan celebration for the upcoming "Anniversary of American Independence". The plan was to celebrate with an excursion and picnic at Rose's Canon, one mile east of the L.A. Stage Road; Thomas Whaley and others were appointed the Committee of Arrangements.

6/30/1869

The Union published a list of who in the county paid U.S. Internal Revenue tax. Thomas Whaley paid the lowest of any at $132; the highest were A.E. Horton at $8,228 and John Forster at $8,000.

7/19/1869

The Convention of the Union Republic Party of the County of San Diego assembled for the purpose of nomination candidates for ensuing general election in a suit of rooms in the 2nd story of the brick building belonging to Thomas Whaley of Old Town.

8/1869

County of San Diego signed 2-year lease for courtroom and use of 3 rooms upstairs in the Whaley house for $65 a month.

9/18/1869

The newspaper said this was "one of the brightest in the history of the place, destined to be the Pacific terminus of the second Trans-continental Railway of America." Hon. Wm. H. Seward and traveling party, Hon. S.B. Axtell, Member of Congress, Hon. L.G. Roots, Member of Congress, Gen. W.S. Rosecrans, etc. came, Thomas Whaley was one of the committee appointed to prepare the reception.

10/4/1869

Board of Supervisors paid Thomas Whaley $130.

11/8/1869

Whaley & Crosthwaite are selling off their extensive stock of goods at cost.

Back to top of page

2/10/1870

From the Union: "Rev. I.H. Cox will hold Divine Service at Whaley's brick building on Sunday next at 11 o'clock a.m. and at 7 o'clock p.m. All are cordially invited to attend."

3/17/1870

Whaley & Crosthwaite, wholesale and retail dealers leased Horton's Hall in South San Diego for their grocery, crockery, china, glass and Queensware, liquor, dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, carpeting and hardware business. The Union of this date contains an ad announcing the above. It is interesting they are now in New Town in Horton's Hall to where the courthouse moves in 1871.

5/19/1870

County Court proceedings for May term - J. Bush: People v Charles Skovel, alias Schofield - forgery (discharged from custody); People v Elizabeth Harrington and Henry C. Dyer - grand larceny (continued); People v Daniel McLaughlin - assault and battery (sentenced to pay a fine of $180 or in default to be imprisoned 90 days); People v Henry Heiler - assault to murder - verdict of guilty - sentenced 2 years in State prison.

June 1870

Census reported the following occupants in the house: Thomas (46); Anna (32); Anna (11); Violet (7); Lilly (5); Francis (15); George (9); Sh Yow (16), domestic from China.

7/14/1870

From the Union: Removal of the County Records - "The Board of Supervisors has passed an order directing the removal of the County Records from Whaley's building in Old San Diego to the Express Building in New Town, and designating Horton's Hall as the future place of meeting for the Courts. This action was taken in answer to a petition signed by nearly all the citizens of New San Diego praying for such removal on the ground that the latter was the most central point and that a great majority of the people of the county would be accommodated thereby."

10/1870

Thomas Whaley granted license to sell spirituous and other liquors in the Court House Building, Old Town through January 1871.

10/6/1870

S.D.G.S.P & A. RR Co. annual meeting - elected new Directors for ensuing year - Thomas Whaley elected - group felt that work would soon commence upon line.

12/1870

Whaley & Crosthwaite remove their business to Whaley's brick building in Old Town where they offered the balance of their stock to the Trade at "Less than cost prices!"

4/1/1871

The District Court and Judge Morrison ordered the removal of the records and Court House furniture to the southern part of the city in order that the April term of Court could be opened without delay.

4/4/1871

Board of Supervisors ordered that the Sheriff and Supervisor French take charge of, and proceed to move the Court room furniture to the new court house at 6th & G, a brick building owned by Alonzo Horton and rented by the County for $95 per month - also ordered that the County Clerk proceed at once to move the papers and records of his office to the new rooms - ordered that Thomas Whaley be notified by the Clerk that as soon as his building shall be vacated by the County Officers, the County will no longer be responsible for the rent of the same after they shall be so vacated (these records and furniture were supposedly forcibly removed from the Whaley house in the middle of the night.

4/14/1871

Communication from Thomas Whaley to Board of Supervisors where he claimed rent due from the County for the brick building, formerly occupied as the Courthouse, etc and proposed that he be allowed to rent the building to other parties, deducting the amount so received from the rent due from the County laid on the table.

8/1871

Thomas Whaley wrote a letter to the county regarding payments due him for broken glass in the house and rent payment for April, May and June.

10/4/1871

San Diego and Gila Southern Pacific and Atlantic RR Company election of Directors - annual meeting of stockholders held in Old Town - Directors were: C.L. Carr, E.W. Morse, J.S. Mannasse, Louis Rose, Thomas Whaley, Gustave Witfeld, Wm. N. Robinson, Thos. S. Sedgwick, A.E. Horton, James McCoy, J.G. Estudillo, M. Schiller, Bryant Howard.

2/1872

Pioneer Society organized - based on date of arrival in California - Thomas Whaley, a member, arrived on July 22, 1849 - other members included: W.B. Couts, Jose Estudillo, George Lyons, Marcus Schiller, James Connors, E.W. Bushyhead - Jose Estudillo was secretary.

5/9/1872

Thomas Whaley announced himself as a candidate for city trustee of the First Ward - articles in that issue claim that, "Whaley is a good man, but the fact that he is ardently supported by the bankers will cause many of his friends to vote for Mr. Estudillo, whose election was assured in any event" - another article entitled "Old Town Politics" said that Jose G. Estudillo "will have a clear field before him, and will leave his opponent so far behind in the race that he will never think of running for office again."

5/10/1872

Board of Trustees election results First Ward - Estudillo, 50; Thomas Whaley, 17.

7/2/1872

From the Union: "A large number of friends of Miss Annie Whaley were invited to participate in a party given to her at the residence of her father, at Old Town, on Saturday night last. The gathering was to celebrate the young lady's birthday, and was merrily enjoyed by all who attended."

8/1/1872

From the Union: Emulating the example of the Grant boys, the Greeley boys of Old Town organized a club the other day, and elected the following officers: F.M Whaley, president; E. Evans, v.p.; James Connors, secretary; Wm. Connors, treasurer; Albert Smith, captain; M. Stewart, standard bearer - organization of Democrat boys.

Back to top of page

1873

The Great Register of 1873 lists Thomas Whaley, age 44, native of New York, merchant of San Diego, date of registration - October 6, 1868.

1873

Panic of 1873 - worldwide depression, the firm of Whaley & Crosthwaite failed. Being deeply in debt, Thomas Whaley appealed to his mother for a loan; he still believed holdings would some day net him a fortune. He went to New York to force his mother to settle his father's estate. Thomas Whaley Sr. had died in 1832 and his will was to be divided when the youngest child reached 20 years, which had long passed. Thomas received $5,000, which went to pay his debts in San Diego, but he remained in New York as an agent for Edward P. Young, a Trans-Atlantic brokerage merchant. Whaley managed Young's properties and pawned Mrs. Young's jewels for her as she aspired to a singing career and was frequently in need of money to finance her dream.

4/29/1873

From the Union: "We are glad to learn that Mr. Thomas Whaley has recovered from his recent severe illness, and is now able to be out."

5/4/1873

From the Union: "We are pleased to see Mr. Thomas Whaley on the street today, he has nearly recovered his usual health.

5/21/1873

Thomas Whaley of Old Town and Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Morse of San Diego will leave for the East today by the steamer Arizona, they will probably be absent 3 or 4 months.

7/3/1873

Thomas Whaley writes from New York that he has fully recovered his health and is enjoying his trip - "He says that there is a great deal of inquiry in the east concerning San Diego, and that a large number of visitors may be looked for in the fall and winter.

7/4/1873

A boys and girls dance took place at the residence of Mrs. Whaley and all wished that the "Fourth" would come more than once a year.

7/16/1873

Francis Whaley, local agent for Pacific Monthly, a magazine for boys and girls published in San Francisco.

12/9/1873

Chamber of Commerce meeting cited a communication from Thomas Whaley in New York, an old member of the Chamber, as well as correspondence between Whaley and the vice president of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company on the subject of the connections of the steamers of the Panama line with this port - the communication and accompanying correspondence was read and placed on file.

7/8/1874

Reunion in Mrs. Whaley's residence - dancing kept up to late hour.

12/24/1874

Frank Whaley, president and F.H. Connors, secretary to the Clavelle Social Club state that the Christmas Tree party to be given at Old Town this evening is strictly a private gathering - cards of invitation will be presented at the door.

3/31/1875

Clavelle Social Club held at residence of Thomas Whaley - officers were Francis Whaley, William E. Connors, Alexander Lyons, and George Lyons. It was a young men's social organization and the San Diego Historical Society has an invitation to on of the group's events at the Whaley house - the group gave "a pleasant dancing party at their hall at the residence of Mr. Thomas Whaley, the party broke up at 1 o'clock, everything having passed off to the utmost satisfaction, the music was supplied by the band of the club, and received many compliments. After the dance, the band serenaded the young ladies of the place and were greeted with a light in the window wherever they went."

10/20/1875

Thomas Whaley, who has been absent in the East nearly 2 years, returned to San Diego by steamer.

7/4/1876

The Old Town folks celebrated the 4th of July with a picnic to Rose's Canon and in the evening there was a dance at the house of Mrs. Thomas Whaley - all had a happy time.

10/31/1876

Frank Whaley left for the Centennial today.

9/28/1877

Frank Whaley, called by the Union "a bright young gentleman who was graduated as a fellow of art preservation" in the Union office has entered upon the publication of a neat and interesting literary weekly named The What Not in San Bernardino."

11/1879

Thomas Whaley in San Francisco attempted to procure employment with the Quartermaster Department and solicited contributions for lands for Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. No position was offered and he returned to San Diego in low spirits. His family was in dire straits, Whaley had no position and no money, his property was held by his friend, E.E. Morse. He was on delinquent tax rolls, his only income was $25 a month paid in city script for his services as clerk for city trustees, and the script was redeemable for 40 cents on the dollar. Without aid sent by Francis Whaley, the family would have gone hungry. Idleness, poverty and despair affected Whaley's disposition, his wife and children complained of abuse. George Whaley particularly suffered; Thomas constantly criticized him for wanting to be a musician. George left home and found refuge at Doc Thompson's Stingaree, a downtown dive, where he played his violin. He then left town for a while and adopted his mother's maiden name, DeLaunay.

12/23/1879

From the Union: "We had the pleasure yesterday of shaking hands with our old friend, and one of San Diego's oldest citizens, Mr. Thomas Whaley, who has been absent from our city for nearly 6 years. Strangely, his name did not appear in the last steamer passenger list, and very few of his old townsmen knew of his return. Mr. Whaley has been living in New Your City since he left San Diego, but has always kept us in view, and has now returned to stay. He has a strong faith is the present railroad outlook, and expects to realize, in the immediate future, the fruition of the expectations of the last 10 years."

Back to top of page

3/4/1880

First public appearance of George Whaley, a violinist, at Horton Hall. The Union reported, "Considering the short time he has been practicing, the music he draws from the violin is really wonderful." He began practice 2 years ago, self-taught.

10/2/1880

Thomas Whaley has been commissioned and has filed his bond as Notary Public for San Diego County. He is fixing up an office on the corner of Fifth & E above Joe Faivre's.

10/1880

Thomas Whaley formed a real estate firm with E.W. Morse, C.P. Noell at 5th & E Streets in downtown San Diego.

1881-1882

Thomas Whaley, City Clerk.

7/15/1881

Francis Whaley published first edition of San Luis Rey Star newspaper in Oceanside; he had learned the trade from an internship in the San Diego Union office in Old Town.

10/19/1881

Francis Whaley appointed Justice of Peace at San Luis Rey. He has had considerable legal experience, and according to the Union, "will no doubt be a faithful and fearless dispenser of justice."

1/5/1882

Violet Whaley and George T. Bertolacci married in Old San Diego by Rev. Dr. Bunker along with her sister, Anna Amelia Whaley who married John Thomas Whaley, a first cousin and son of Henry Hurst Whaley.

4/27/1882

Judge Whaley (Frank) is referenced as head of the San Luis Rey Star.

9/24/1882

From the Union: "Mr. Thomas Whaley announces himself as a candidate for County Treasurer, subject to the decision of the Republican County Convention."

10/5/1882

Thomas Whaley's birthday was celebrated on the same day a grand daughter, Mabel Eloise, was born to Anna Amelia and John T. Whaley.

4/13/1883

From the Union: "Bertolacci vs. Bertolacci. Motion for a new trial granted. Trial proceeded with, and decree of divorce granted." Superior Court - McNealy, J. - April 12.1883.

6/1883

Lillian Whaley was the first girl in a class of 6 to graduate from Russ High School, which became San Diego High School.

8/1883

Lillian (Corinne) Whaley engaged as assistant teacher in National City.

3/30/1884

Francis H. Whaley was appointed Notary Public for San Diego County.

6/25/1884

From the Union: "The case of Jones vs. Whaley, for a long time pending before Judge Foss, is to be called for trial. This case involves the liability of Judge Whaley in issuing an execution. Jones sued Whaley for damages. Works & Titus represent Jones, and Wallace Leach appears for Whaley."

7/29/1884

From the Union: "The case of Jones vs. Whaley has been compromised. Judge Whaley paying all the costs."

10/8/1884

The bond of Thomas Whaley, as a Notary Public, was filed in the office of the County Recorder. The bondsmen named therein are E.W. Morse and George Geddes.

1885

The transcontinental railroad is finally connected to San Diego.

8/19/1885

Violet Whaley shoots herself in the heart with her father's 32-calibre Smith & Wesson pistol in the privy. Thomas Whaley found her and carried her into the house where she died on the lounge. Despondent over her bad marriage which lasted 2 weeks to a man who deserted her (he had several aliases: George, Edson, was supposedly Steward of the Poor House in Old Town at the time of the marriage), and subsequent divorce and humiliation to her parents and herself, she had attempted to take her life by drowning outside in the cistern on July 5, 1885, and was under the care of Dr. Gregg. She lived with her parents and 2 sisters (probably Anna Amelia and John T. Whaley also lived here with Lillian Corinne); she was interred at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Violet left a note:

    "Mad from life's history,
    Swift to death's mystery;
    Glad to be hurled,
    Anywhere, anywhere, out of this world."

8/23/1885

The Union published the following: "We desire to express our heartfelt tanks for the many kindnesses shown us by loving and sympathetic friends, both Spanish and American, during our recent terrible bereavement. To Mr. Restarick, our generous pastor, for his kind consolation: to Mr. Mason and the school children of Old Town, for their thoughtfulness in singing their parting songs at the late home (Whaley House) of their beloved friend: and to the press of San Diego and National City for their consoling notices, we extend assurances of our grateful remembrance. Wishing all our friends happiness and lives free from the trying ordeal, such as has been our experience, we remain, Thomas Whaley and Mrs. Thomas Whaley."

1885

Thomas Whaley, City Trustee.

11/1885

Thomas Whaley commenced building of 1 story frame, 30x38, on the property near the junction of E and State Streets in San Diego, this became the family residence for a number of years.

8/24/1886

From the Union: "W.H. Gould has assumed control of the San Diego County Star published at Oceanside, Francis H. Whaley is retiring, ill health is assigned by Mr. Whaley as the cause of his retiracy."

Back to top of page

1888

Thomas Whaley retired from his real estate business because of ill health, Francis Whaley, his son, took over.

12/31/1888

Francis Hinton Whaley and Susan E. Murray, daughter of Senator & Mrs. J.P. Murray of Mendocino, married in Mendocino, California.

1889

From The Golden Era: "The Whaley house in Old Town is occupied by Mr. W.M. Barnes, and extensive mine owner from El Paso, Texas, who while conducting his heavy mining operations at Camp Alamo, in Lower California, has his family occupying this quiet and romantic house."

11/22/1889

Mrs. Francis Whaley presented her husband, the editor of the El Cajon Star with a daughter.

1890

In the Great Register of Voters for this year, Thomas Whaley listed himself as a "capitalist".

12/4/1890

Thomas Whaley put in a claim of $50 for damage to his property in Old Town through its use by the Election Board, and was allowed $50 on the recommendation of a committee appointed to investigate.

12/14/1890

Thomas Whaley died at 933 State Street in San Diego.

4/12/1891

John T. Whaley, the husband of Anna Amelia and son of Henry Whaley, was appointed deputy constable.

5/12/1893

Mrs. V.E. DeLaunay, Anna Whaley's mother, a native of Rouen, Normandy, France, died at age 90 at the State Street address.

12/18/1905

Anna Amelia Whaley, Thomas and Anna's daughter, died at Modesto, California.

1909

Social event, a dance, was held at the Whaley house in Old Town for the first time in 25 years, the residence of Mrs. Anna Whaley. Fifty couples attended, there was old time music of guitar and violin, and the hostess served a delightful supper. The attendees wished to be invited again to party at the "old historic house".

Late 1909-1910

Francis (Frank) Whaley lived in the Whaley House and undertook restoration of the structure which had been abandoned, for sale for a number of years, and in disrepair.

1912

George H. Whaley, musician; Lillian Whaley, asst. at the Public Library; Francis H. Thomas; Anna E. Whaley (widow of Thomas) reside in the restored Whaley House which is now utilized as an Old Town tourist attraction. The restoration of the Whaley House coincided with the restoration of the Estudillo house now promoted as Ramona's Marriage Place and the establishment of the San Diego Electric Railway down San Diego Avenue.

2/24/1913

Anna Whaley, widow of Thomas, died in the house in Old Town, at 80 years of age. She was survived by Francis, George and Lillie C. Whaley.

11/19/1914

Francis Whaley, first born child of Thomas and Anna Whaley, died in the brick house. He suffered from rheumatism, ran the San Luis Rey Star in 1880's, was Justice of the Peace in Old Town, was a familiar figure at Old Town, and interested tourists is San Diego early history. In his later years he lived with his sister, Corinne, in the family home. The funeral was held at the home.

1915

George H. Whaley, musician, and Lillian Whaley, asst. at the Public Library now live in the Whaley House.

1916-1930

Lillian Whaley, accession clerk, San Diego Public Library, resides in the Whaley House alone.

1/5/1928

George H. Whaley dies in San Diego.

1932-1935

Lillian Whaley lived in the house with cousins, Mr. & Mrs. Frederick James and their son, Frederick Jr.

1953

Corinne Whaley entered a nursing home due to a fall and the infirmities of age.

8/10/1953

Old Whaley house is placed under a Court Order for immediate liquidation to provide physical care for Corinne Whaley. A progressive Old Town realtor, Heffner, listed the property for sale, possibly as a site for a motel, activists rallied to save the Whaley house.

9/14/1953

Lillian Corinne Whaley died in San Diego, a member of the first graduating class of San Diego High School and schoolteacher at San Luis Rey and National City, and asst. librarian at the Carnegie Library.

1/31/1956

The County of San Diego assumed ownership of the dilapidated Whaley house and undertook its renovation.

1956-2000

The Historic Shrine Foundation, under the guidance of June and Jim Reading, took charge of the Whaley house as a historic site.

Sept. 2000

SOHO took over the stewardship of the property for the County of San Diego and is in the progress of restoring the Whaley house back to its original appearance.

Back to top of page

The Whaley Family Chronology was compiled by Kathy Flanigan.

HISTORY & RESTORATION

Share

2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
Home | Contact