John Daubenbiss was born in Bavaria, Germany, March 29, 1816, and died at Soquel, California, February 10, 1896,
when eighty years of age. He was one of a family of seven, all of whom are deceased. At the time of his death he
was survived by a brother, Henry, who died in 1908, at the age of eighty years. In 1835, when a youth of nineteen
years, John Daubenbiss came to America and settled in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Not long afterward he had the honor
of being the guest of President Andrew Jackson at a banquet in the city of New Orleans, where he had the privilege
of chatting with the president. In 1841 he crossed the plains and settled in Oregon, while in 1843 he made his
way to Sacramento, California. Thence he went to the Mission San Jose, where he remained for a while and then with
a handful of American settlers went over a mountain trail to the Mission Santa Cruz, which at that time consisted
of only a few adobe shacks. With John Hames he purchased the Rancho del Rodeo, which included all the land between
the Soquel and Rodeo creeks, and stretching from the mountains to the bay of Monterey. Here at the town of Soquel
he built his home, which is still standing, although many alterations have been made since the first house was
In 1846, Mr. Daubenbiss married Sarah Lard, a member of a wealthy Santa Clara family. Eleven children were born
of this union, namely: John, James, Martha, William, Fanny and an infant son, all of whom are deceased; Mrs. Rachael
E. Swann; Frank P.; Kathrine Mills; Fred B.; and Florence Bedell.
John Daubenbiss built and operated the first flour mill in the state of California at the village of Santa Clara.
He also built another mill at Soquel on the present site of the paper mill, and this was a custom mill, the farmers
bringing their wheat and other grain to the mill and exchanging it for flour. Mr. Daubenbiss also erected the first
sawmill in the state at Soquel and furnished the lumber and pilings for the long wharf at San Francisco, at the
foot of Commercial street.
The military record of Mr. Daubenbiss is a most interesting one. He served in Fremont's battalion in the war with
Mexico and was among the fortunate ones to march into the City of Mexico when it surrendered to the Americans.
While with Fremont he had many exciting adventures with the Mexicans near Salinas and also battled the Mexicans
at Vallejo. He was with Commodore Sloat when the American flag was raised at Monterey in 1846. He was selected
as a messenger to carry the news from Monterey to Sutter's Fort that California was in the possession of the Americans,
and while passing through San Jose was captured by the Mexicans and arrested for treason, but was released upon
investigation and allowed to go forward on his mission and joined the American party. On the 9th of September,
1850, when California was made a state, he raised the flag and read the new constitution at Santa Cruz, California.
He gave the first land and built the school at Soquel, California, and was a school trustee for many years. He
served the county of Santa Cruz as supervisor for many years. His last appearance in public was at a union of the
California pioneers at Capitola, September 9, 1895. He was a ready talker and loved to discuss the tales of early
days. He treated the poor with the same consideration as the wealthy, and no one was ever turned away hungry.
"John Danbenbiss was a charter member of Santa Cruz lodges of Masons, Odd Fellows and Pioneers. Funeral services
were conducted by the three lodges. At the cemetery, Naval Battalion Fourth Gun Division and Veterans of the Mexican
War fired a farewell salute and sounded taps over the grave of him who will ever be fresh in the hearts of the
people of Santa Cruz county. Thus was laid to rest one of the noblest of his kind, one who left a grand impression
upon the state and the Pacific coast."
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931
San Francisco, CA
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