John Day Bostwick Heads to California

My 2x Great Grandfather, John Day Bostwick, was born 1 May 1851 in Hamden, NY to Jabez Jr and Sarah Jane (Chase) Bostwick. He started life on a farm that was also a hotel but between 1855 and 1860 the family moved to Walton, NY and only ran a hotel. When John was just 9 years old, his dad died in May of 1860. This left Sarah with 3 young children ages 9, 3, and 1 and a stepson that was 17. Both sides of the family had been living in the area of New York for multiple generations so Sarah most likely had plenty of help if it was offered.

The family with his father Jabez were enumerated in the 1855 NY census. Then, the family was found on the 1860 US census in Walton, NY and the 1865 NY census. Then I lost John for 13 years. He wasn’t on the 1870 census and I canvased the country for him. I knew to look for him in California as this is the first ancestor in this line that was known to my grandmother. I heard some stories about him from a source that knew him. I also found his maternal uncle from New York, John Day Chase in Soquel, California. He was on the 1870 census with his family but there is no sign of J D Bostwick. Perhaps he was traveling there during this time period and since the railroad was already built, he most likely traveled this way.  As an aside, I have yet to figure out where the name Day came from but John Day was clearly named after his uncle.

John Day Bostwick migrated from Walton, NY to Soquel, CA sometime before 1878.

On 28 February 1878, John Day Bostwick married Ida Shelby in Soquel, CA. Ida is the daughter of John Lafayette and Jeanette Ann (Hinckley) Shelby. They had 1 child, Charles Jabez 1878. Ida died in September 1879 shortly after giving birth. I have no definitive documentation about the child but family stories are that it was a boy that was named Hugh. I do know that she died of Fever Puerperal which is a complication after giving birth so she must have been pregnant and things went terribly wrong.

Sentinel Newspaper 1878

The other family story is that on Ida’s deathbed, she asked John to marry Delphina Valencia so that Charles (my great grandfather) would have a mother. She felt that Delphina, who helped in the house, was very good with Charles and would raise him with love. Whether this story is true, we’ll not know, but in the 1880 census, Delphina was living in the house with them as a housekeeper but they were not yet married.

1880 US census Soquel, CA

John remarried on 5 September 1880 to Delphina Valencia and they had 8 children: Rosa 1883, Bert 1884, John Day 1886, Flora 1887, Nelson 1888, Frank 1890, Josephine 1892, and Lee 1893. The family with various members can be found on the 1900, 1910, and 1920 US censuses.

John was registered to vote in 1888. Below is the voter log from 1896 which includes a description of him. His height-5’7″ , complexion-dark, eyes-blue, and hair-brown.

Voter Registration 1896

John worked as a butcher and there are a few blurbs in the Santa Cruz Sentinal. First in 1881 he is seen working in Chace’s market which is his uncle’s business and then in 1885, he opened his own meat market and store in Aptos,CA. Finally, there is an article in 1907 that indicates he ran into some difficulty but is opening another market.

Santa Cruz Weekly Sentinel 21 December 1907 p 10

I don’t exactly know what the reverses were, but I saw several notices in the paper that he owed taxes and one article shows that his home was auctioned off due not keeping up with payments.

Santa Cruz Sentinel 3 March 1887 p3

In the 1890s there were several notices regarding delinquent taxes but it was the same property so he must have come up with the money. Of interest, it gives the lot each time so I can pinpoint where it was.

Santa Cruz Sentinel 17 February 1891 p 4

He was active in politics. In 1879 he was a Representative for the Republican County Convention for Sequel, CA. Below he was an Inspector at a polling place in 1902.

Santa Cruz Sentinel 23 October 1902 p3

He also participated in a barbecue for a Democratic Party gathering.


Santa Cruz Sentinel 11 September 1892 p2

John Day Bostwick died February 17, 1921 in Capitola, CA. His obituary indicated that he had been well known citizen that resided there for 50 years. This would put him at moving to California around 1871 which seems correct. It goes on and mentions he was a butcher, a native of New York and 74 years. The age is a bit off as he is thought to be born in 1851 so he would have been 70 when he died. His marriage certificate to Ida shows him as 28 and the censuses in which his mom would have given the information puts his birth at 1851 but other censuses in which his wife may have answered always puts him anywhere from 2 to 5 years older. I will go with the answers his mom and he gave for his birth.

Funeral services were at the Capitola Catholic Church. This is the first time I have seen a Bostwick in this line that practiced Catholicism. The 3 generations in New York were Baptists. John was buried at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Cemetery, Aptos, CA.

photo courtesy R Stauff

Bostwick migration update: the first 5 generations lived in Connecticut, the next 3 lived in New York and now the first one is in California.

Of note, John Day Bostwick is the last Bostwick in my line that is in the Genealogy of the Bostwick family in America. His sisters and half brother were followed one more generation. This is okay since I am able to find my Great Grandfather and Grandmother easily.


Bostwick, Henry Anthon Genealogy of the Bostwick family in America : the descendants of Arthur Bostwick, of Stratford, Conn.1901

United States Census, 1860″, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 30 December 2015), John Day Bostwick in entry for Jane Bostwick, 1860.

New York State Census, 1865,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 February 2017), Delaware > image 6 of 13; citing county clerk, board of supervisors and surrogate court offices from various counties. Utica and East Hampton Public Libraries, New York.

Sentinel Newspaper, March 16, 1878, Santa Cruz, CA.

United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 14 July 2016), John Bostwick, Soquel, Santa Cruz, California, United States; citing enumeration district ED 90, sheet 491C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0082; FHL microfilm 1,254,082.

California Great Registers, 1866-1910,” database, FamilySearch ( : 26 November 2014), John D Bostwick, 01 Jun 1888; citing Voter Registration, Soquel, Santa Cruz, California, United States, county clerk offices, California; FHL microfilm 1,434,238.

United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 February 2017), Lee Bostwick in household of John D Bostwick, Soquel Township, Santa Cruz, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 93, sheet 1B, family 13, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,112.

United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 February 2017), Frank Bostwick in household of John D Bostwick, Soquel, Santa Cruz, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 132, sheet 4A, family 94, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 106; FHL microfilm 1,374,119.

United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 February 2017), John D Bostwick, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, United States; citing ED 220, sheet 12B, line 59, family 345, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 148; FHL microfilm 1,820,148.

Santa Cruz Weekly Sentinel, Dec 21, 1907 p10, Santa Cruz, CA.

Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 3, 1887 p3, Santa Cruz, CA.

Santa Cruz Sentinel, February 17, 1891 p4, Santa Cruz, CA.

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Sept 11, 1892 p2, Santa Cruz, CA.

Santa Cruz Sentinel,Oct 23, 1902, p3, Santa Cruz, CA.

Santa Cruz Evening News Feb 18, 1921 2, Santa Cruz, CA.

Find A Grave .com photo courtesy R Stauff Memorial #149212454.



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