A Few Last Items About the Crosbys

Just a few last tidbits about Elisha O. Crosby and Maria Crosby, to wrap things up.

Elisha O. Crosby married in Fremont, Nebraska in 1874 and his son was born there in 1875. After having lived in California and Guatemala, the cold Nebraska winters must have been unendurable. It wasn’t long before he decided to return to California. Who can blame him?

In early 1875 he was writing to the Los Angeles Herald, asking for their pamphlet on the wonders of Southern California, and later that year he was living again in the Golden State.


Los Angeles Herald, 8 May 1875

All he had to do was get on a train. But he didn’t go to Los Angeles; he went back to San Francisco, where he had friends and property. And a “wife” in San Jose, who sued him in court as soon as he returned.


Daily Alta California, 8 September 1875

ecrosbThe case, whatever it was, was dismissed by the court.  If they were never married, she couldn’t sue for divorce or accuse him of desertion. Also, he may have had more political pull than she did.

But there is nothing to indicate that she was in poverty. She was probably still living on Hensley property in San Jose. Still, E.O. Crosby seems to have treated her shabbily.

Crosby, with his new wife Frances and their son Edward, settled in Alameda. He was elected as a Justice of the Peace and was later appointed to the office of City Recorder.

Maria L. Crosby continued living in San Jose until her death in 1879. If the newspapers are to be believed, she was well-known and well-liked in the community. The part she played in the admission of California to the United States was celebrated in an Admission Day speech given in 1877 and reported in the San Jose Herald.

The news of the admission was brought by the steamer “Oregon,” which connected with the steamer “Cherokee” that left New York on the 13th of September. The “Oregon” arrived at San Francisco on the 14th [18th] of October, 1850. On that steamer was General Bidwell, the bearer of the authentic documents of admission, and with him was our beloved (now departed) friend, one of the noblest of the early Pioneers, Major Hensley. On that steamer also was a lady, Mrs. Crosby, now an old and respected resident in our midst, the mother of Mrs. Hensley, who was then coming to California with her young daughter. [Mrs. Crosby, not her daughter, was coming with her young daughter.] (San Jose Herald, 8 September 1877)


About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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