Chapter 14: The Coburn Mystery [Original Draft]

We don’t know where they met but Loren married Mary Antoinette Upton, seven years his senior and a native of North Reading, Mass. Mary’s younger sister, Laura, was married to Obadiah Taylor and the couple lived in San Francisco.

The Upton’s father, Amos, was a sailor, who went to Russia, and after the surrender of Napoleon I in 1815, claimed to have met and talked with the French ruler at his headquarters.

Loren’s wife, Mary, had two other younger sisters, Sarah Satira and Anna Celestia, and a brother, Marraton. Later all three would live in Pescadero with their sister and brother-in-law.

About 1855 Mary Antoinette had a son she called Wallace Loren. According to the Coburns, Wallace grew up to be a bright young boy and attended San Mateo Hall, a Redwood City school, operated by Dr. Brewer.

Before they settled on the South Coast, the Coburns moved to different addresses in San Francisco, 1218 Jackson, 2660 Jackson and they lived in a simple clapboard house at Capp & 24th Streets. An 1868-69 directory lists an L. Coburn engaged in real estate at 418 Montgomery, with a residence at 1218 Jackson.

An 1862 directory lists an L. Coburn, livery stable, 610 Sansome; another as Loren Coburn, farmer, 2660 Jackson.

Loren’s San Francisco stable business took off and he built a larger stable, a¬† three-story brick building¬† on the east side of Stockton Street near Washington. His new clientele was rich and they put more cash in his pockets.

But critics charged that he accumulated the money dishonestly. One story alleged that he stole from the “Spanish Dons” who boarded their fine horses wearing good leather saddles featuring expensive gold and silver work. Supposedly Coburn sold the saddles, replacing them with cheap imitations–and when accused of doing it, Loren refused any responsibility–a hard-to-believe story but it hints at how powerless the Spanish were and how much Coburn was generally disliked.

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