The Coburn Mystery: Chapter 43 (original ms.)

By June Morrall

The Coburns Move Into the Town of Pescadero

Up until the 1880s, the Coburn family had been residing near Pigeon Point. My research indicates that they lived on land near Pigeon Point called the “Butano Dairy.”

All of Coburn’s holdings had names–one of them that comes to mind, a favorite of mine, was called the “Pocket Ranch,” and it may be known as that today.

I don’t know what type of accommodations they had at the Butano Dairy; there must have been a ranch house. During one six month stretch, Loren’s younger brother Jehiel (“JC”) and his wife, Lucy, and ten-year-old adopted son Carl came west from Vermont and stayed with the Coburn family. Though merely a boy, Carl impressed his Uncle Loren.

In the 1880s the Coburns leased the dairy and moved into an eight-room house on San Gregorio Street (Stage Road) in Pescadero.

Coburn purchased the home from Silas Swanton, the brother of Charles, whose wife was the famous Sarah Swanton. As you recall, Sarah and Charles owned the popular Swanton House a few steps away from the Coburn’s new residence on San Gregorio Street.

I believe Silas owned a stable in town, and perhaps Loren also bought that because the controversial landowner did open a stable. The checkerboard shingle that hung outside identified it as the “Eureka Stable.”

This was a business Loren knew very well. It was a business that had brought him good connections as well as financial success in San Francisco.

The stable also provided an escape from the heartbreaking situation at home where Wally’s failing mental condition set the tone. Not many guests came to the house, other than lawyers as Loren was constantly involved in lawsuits. These lawyers met Wally and described him as well cared for.

One of Loren’s first attorneys was William Craig; later Craig’s son J. Early would also represent Coburn–but Coburn did not practice loyalty. He had a string of attorneys from the Bay Area, names that must have been famous at the time.

Wally was a crushing disappointment for his energetic father. When Wally was young, Loren dreamed of his son taking over the business interests some day. But that would never be possible.

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