When General Otho Hinton died in 1865, all of Santa Rosa mourned. Flags were lowered, courts adjourned and a "large concourse of people" attended his funeral, including the fire department in uniform. His obituary in the Sonoma Democrat cataloged the achievements of this civic leader:
|...our citizens are alone indebted for all the public improvements about the place. For our beautiful plaza, the well arranged, beautiful, and tastefully laid out cemetery, and the engine house with the fire apparatus of the department, we are especially indebted, for through his indomitable energy and public spirit these all were attained...|
Some years later a street was named after him - the only person so honored in the downtown core - and soon Hinton Avenue will spring back to life as part of the Courthouse Square reunification project.
But Santa Rosa didn't bestow a street name because the City Council decided it would be jolly to honor a celebrity criminal; it was presumably because of all the good deeds listed in the obituary - the cemetery, the plaza, the fire department. Yet in the newspapers of the time there is not a speck of evidence that Hinton had a significant role in any of those accomplishments. Never before being someone who hid his light under a bushel, he surely wasn't stricken with modesty once he actually began doing selfless acts. No, more likely he was given undue credit because he did what he always did: He looked you in the eye, oozed with sincerity and graciously allowed you to think the better of him.
(RIGHT: Detail of 1876 Santa Rosa map, showing the Plaza bordered by two unnamed streets. Hinton's office was on the northeast corner, shown here in a red star)
Evidence of Hinton's great good deeds should be easiest to find in regards to Courthouse Square, but before getting in to that, a quick tour of Civil War-era Santa Rosa is needed.
It wasn't called Courthouse Square at the time because the county courthouse was across the street at the corner of Fourth and Mendocino, where Exchange Bank is now. The Plaza was simply a small park criss-crossed by footpaths and surrounded by a fence. The landscaping was haphazard; descriptions mention heritage oaks and evergreens, pampas grass and century plants plus a hedge just inside the fencing. (The complaints today about all the trees lost for the Square reunification project are nothing compared to the howls of outrage when everything was clearcut in 1884 to make way for building the courthouse in the center. "A tree and a bit of grass is worth more than a Court-house," wrote an out-of-town attorney, "I hope every ___ _____ who has a law suit in the new Court-house will lose it.")
Sonoma Democrat editor Thomas L. Thompson was forever boasting it was the most beautiful plaza in the state - even while lamenting it was a godawful mess. The year 1881 was particularly fun; in January a stray pig was rooting up the grass and by summer Thompson was moaning the soil was so sun-baked that grass wouldn't grow, suggesting it would be best to plow it over in hopes that the place wouldn't look so terrible next year. In between those items he wrote about the "beautiful lawns of blue grass" and compared it to Golden Gate Park. Another time the paper cheered the nice new benches, along with commenting the City Council was now determined to keep the Plaza "free from all objectionable persons."
(RIGHT: Detail of 1876 bird's eye view of Santa Rosa looking north, showing the Plaza)
The modern-day Press Democrat gives Hinton credit for all work in beautifying the original Plaza, from planting trees to installing the fencing. But is any of that true? In March of 1859 there was a big public meeting to discuss landscaping, fences and how to pay for it all; Hinton was not on any of the committees formed that night, even though his law office was directly across from the Plaza. Later that year work commenced on the fencing. Was Hinton mentioned? Nope.
All Hinton actually did, according to the 1861 -1863 newspapers, was to pay some guys to do spring cleanups. If there was anything specifically done, editor Thompson - the #1 booster of the Plaza - somehow overlooked it.
A 1876 view of Fourth street looking west from the vacant lot which was the location of Otho Hinton's office. The Plaza fence and shrubbery can be seen to the left and the cupola on the right was the top of the county courthouse, at the corner of Fourth and Mendocino. Photo courtesy Sonoma County Library
Hinton's obituary also credits him for "the well arranged, beautiful, and tastefully laid out cemetery" which is surprising, as Santa Rosa's Rural Cemetery did not really exist in 1865. It would be a couple of years before the Cemetery Association was organized to legally sell deeds to burial plots; when Hinton died it was presumably still just an ad hoc graveyard on a hill. (Since there were no deeds prior to the Association we can't be completely sure he's buried where his newly-added tombstone stands, although that's the same place where a family friend and Otho's wife were later buried.)
In Hinton's lifetime the Sonoma Democrat reported there was interest in "buying a lot where the present burying ground is, and having it properly surveyed and laid off in lots, fenced, and otherwise improved" but apparently nothing was done for lack of leadership. In 1861 another small item appeared: "Efforts are making to purchase a tract of land near Santa Rosa, a part of which has been used as a burying-place by people of that town, to be set apart exclusively as a Cemetery. Those who favor this excellent project will please call at Gen. Hinton's office."
That terse "please call at Gen. Hinton's office" is the only thread linking him to the cemetery at all. We don't know what what he was doing: Forming a committee, signing up volunteer labor, or, lord help them, collecting donations - remember, there is no certainty that folks in Santa Rosa knew his history of stealing money.
There is a traditional story that Hinton did the road layout while August Kohle, a well digger, did the actual work of grading the paths. It's possible; someone had to mark the trails out around that time, and hammering markers into the ground isn't exactly heavy lifting. Peg this claim as a maybe.
Finally we come to the fire department, where there's a chance that the old scoundrel actually did a little something to redeem himself. A side benefit of all this Otho Hinton research is that I've accumulated enough information on the origins of the Santa Rosa Fire Department to tell that story, which will appear in the following article. Covered here are only the details related to Hinton's involvement.
Per usual, Hinton was given undue credit for good deeds. The obituary thanked him "...[for] the engine house with the fire apparatus of the department, we are especially indebted, for through his indomitable energy and public spirit these all were attained." More recently it's been written he bought the town's first fire engine, which absolutely is not true.
The Fire Department dates back to 1861, three years after Hinton arrived in Santa Rosa. He was not a charter member of the Association and later that year a handful of leading citizens arranged to buy a used fire engine. Hinton was not among them. Shift forward two years and $600 is still owed for the engine; the volunteer firemen were paying interest on the debt out of pocket, as well as rent for the firehouse. There were plans to sell the engine and return to being a hook & ladder company only.
"But at least we see a glimmer of light," the Sonoma Democrat gushed in 1863. "The ladies, (Heaven bless them!) are coming to the rescue...Gen. Hinton, we are pleased to see, has taken the matter in hand, and we hope soon to hear of a response on the part of our 'substantial' citizens to the proposition of the ladies." Then on the Fourth of July, 1864, the paper announced:
|Last Saturday afternoon the new Engine House, built by the ladies of Santa Rosa, was formally presented to the Fire Department...The house being well filled with the citizens of the town who have contributed so liberally to the enterprise. On behalf of the ladies, Gen. O Hinton in appropriate and pleasing remarks passed over the property to the Trustees of the Department...after which cheers were given by the firemen for the ladies, the General and the citizens...|
Other accounts at the time and over the next few years tells the same story: It was "the ladies" who paid off the debt and financed the firehouse by hosting dances; the first county history in 1880 mentions also "a fair and a festival" and as above, it was broadly hinted they were strong-arming their loving husbands into making contributions. Meanwhile, General Hinton did...something. Everyone just plumb forgot to mention what.
"He took a lively interest in the matter," it was claimed in an 1877 account of the Department's beginnings. "On account of his efforts in their behalf his memory is today highly revered by all the old members of the company, and they still keep his portrait hanging in their hall as a mark of the esteem in which he was held."
Along with Exchange Avenue, Hinton Avenue was born on July 3, 1872 by order of the City Council. Not that anyone noticed; for many years to come the street was unnamed on maps or sometimes called "9th Ave", which makes no sense in the town's street layout. Exchange and Hinton appeared in the newspapers very rarely - ads described businesses as being "east of the Plaza" or "in the Ridgway Block" or "across from the Courthouse," or similar. It's as if the town were populated by Missouri hayseeds who thought street names were uppity.
Santa Rosa made quite a show of his funeral in 1865 but aside from the street, Hinton's memory faded quickly; he was not mentioned in any local history until Gaye LeBaron's "Santa Rosa: a 19th century town." When his widow, Rebecca, died here in 1882, the Sonoma Democrat didn't report it and the Daily Republican ran only a one-liner when she was buried. His only lasting presence in Santa Rosa was his portrait, which was apparently destroyed in the 1906 earthquake.
But now Exchange and Hinton Avenues are being resurrected - although for some reason, the one-way traffic directions around the Square have been flipped - as part of our new Old Courthouse Square. And soon people will be looking at that prominent street name and be asking: Who was Hinton? Anyone who's read this series knows that will be an uncomfortable question to answer truthfully: "Well, he was an infamous criminal who apparently bamboozled the town's founders."
At the risk of being completely ahistorical, I'd like to make a modest proposal: Should we consider dropping the Hinton from Hinton Avenue?
Maybe we could name it Schulz Ave. or Doyle Avenue (although the other side is already named for his bank). The powers-that-be are itching to name something after recently deceased Santa Rosa nabob Henry Trione, so give him the honor. Or if they are willing to nod towards more appropriate history, call it Muther Avenue, after Santa Rosa Fire Chief Frank Muther who deserves it for saving the town from burning to the ground after the 1906 earthquake, yet currently lies in an unmarked grave. But for the gods' sake, do we really need to still commemorate a con man who died more than 150 years ago?
1947 street view from the same location as the photograph above. Courtesy Sonoma County Library
THE PLAZA.--Gen. Hinton, as is his custom at this season of the year, has had a number of men at work of late, beautifying and improving our town plaza.
- Sonoma Democrat, April 22, 1862
CLEANING UP.-- General O. Hinton, to whom our citizens are much indebted for the very pretty plaza of Santa Rosa, has had several workmen engaged repairing the railing of the sidewalk enclosure, and cleaning and otherwise improving the grounds on the inside. The plaza will be much improved this spring.
- Sonoma Democrat, January 17, 1863
SUDDEN DEATH OF GEN O. HINTON -- General Otho Hinton departed this life at his residence, in Santa Rosa, last Sunday morning, about 10 o'clock. Our citizens were somewhat startled by the announcement of his sudden demise, as he had been seen upon the streets the day preceding. General Hinton was a native of Hagerstown, Maryland, and was 65 years of age. He had resided a long time at Santa Rosa, and to him it may be said, our citizens are alone indebted for all the public improvements about the place. For our beautiful plaza, the well arranged, beautiful, and tastefully laid out cemetery, and the engine house with the fire apparatus of the department, we are especially indebted, for through his indomitable energy and public spirit these all were attained. His death cast a deep gloom over the community, flags were lowered at half mast and the County Court on Monday adjourned in respect to his memory. His funeral took place on Monday, from the M. E. Church, Rev. T. Frazier officiating, and was attended by a large concourse of people. Santa Rosa Engine Company No. 1, whom the deceased had so often befriended, attended in uniform, and by them his remains were consigned to their last resting place.
- Sonoma Democrat, March 11, 1865
A GOOD PICTURE. -- A life size Paintograph of Gen. O. Hinton, deceased, may be seen at the Engine House of Santa Rosa No. 1. It was drawn by Mr. W. H. Wilson, from a photograph likeness. The picture has been pronounced by all who have seen it an excellent likeness. Mr. Wilson has taken a number of pictures at this place which have given very general satisfaction. His art is a very simple one, being a drawing in indelible ink, the entire work being executed with a common pen and very small brush. He is now at Healdsburg.
- Sonoma Democrat, March 18, 1865
Santa Rosa has a beautiful graveyard, and it has been properly named "Rural Cemetery"...We took a walk through its avenues last Sunday. It was in the fall of the dying day, because of its symbolic character. We were alone. There was no one to cheer us "save the low hum of vegetation," and the music of the wind as it played Aeolean cadences in the branches above and the rens beneath. We paused before a neglected grave. A familiar name was graven on an ordinary slab. It carried us back to the days when Santa Rosa was yet in her infancy. Moss had grown upon the stone, and the name had become dim. Brambles of every description covered the spot, in which lay the body whose name we were then contemplating, and--we felt sad. The name was that of Gen. Otho Hinton. It is as familiar to the old settlers of this valley "as household words." His very countenance and benevolent expression is, at this writing, as plainly before us as if we had seen him but yesterday. But why is his grave thus neglected? Have the people forgotten the generous and noble hearted man, who in his life, took such an active interest in the welfare of "our future little city," (as he was wont to call it,) and who sacrificed all health, money and time, during his declining years, for our benefit? His magnanimity and public spiritedness for the public good, should never be forgotten, and his grave should, at least, be kept green as an evidence that we appreciated his many kindness which he did for our future good...
- Santa Rosa Daily Republican, November 10, 1882
Special thanks to Ray Owen, an indefatigable researcher who uncovered many court documents related to Hinton including the case file from San Francisco ; Steve Lovejoy, who found Hinton's application to the bar; genealogists Margie and Ralph Hinton who have spent more than a decade researching their family and shared details of Hinton's divorce suit found in Ohio archives.
History of Delaware County and Ohio 18801847 c.
https://books.google.com/books?id=wRAVAAAAYAAJHistory of the City of Columbus 1892
He was a man of ready tongue, slight education and great assurance, and his public speeches, though often ridiculed by his opponents on account of the grammatical inaccuracies they displayed, were generally effective and well received
He was a pretentious politician, of the most intolerant stripe, and had won his military renown by conspicuous service on the musterdays of the "cornstalk" militia. When the trouble with Mexico began, he denounced the Mexicans as savagely as he had been abusing his follow citizens of opposite politics, arid made a vainglorious tender of his services to the President.
Colton, Kenneth; John Frink & Company, 1846-1854; The Annals of Iowa Fall 19601847 Feb 20 Wisconsin Democrat
O. Hinton & Co. was awarded mail contracts 1846 for Illinois, Missouri and parts of Wisconsin
Frink open letter1847 Apr 28 Milwaukee Daily Sentinel
can't pay a $6 printing bill1848 Aug 14 Zanesville Courier
spoke 2.5 hours in close room 100 degrees "riveted the attention of his delighted hearers...the audience was as large when he finished as when he begun. The speaker that can accomplish that needs no other praise"1850 Aug 6 Baltimore Sun
special agent Shallcross arrested Thomas Burge July 31 in Woodwort NC for letter theft1850 Aug 29 Cleveland Plain Dealer
reprinted in History of the City of Columbus (op cit)1850 Aug 31 Zanesville Courier
Yesterday our town was thrown into great commotion by the announcement that General O. Hinton, a gentleman who has represented himself in these parts as the Ohio Stage Company, but who, in fact, was merely a pensioned agent of said company, was arrested on a charge of robbing the mail of some seventeen thousand dollars. . . . He was arrested in this city yesterday afternoon, and large quantities of the marked money contained in those [decoy] packages found on his person. He was examined before Commissioner Stetson and bound over in the sum of ten thousand dollars. He applied to several of our citizens without effect. . . . The following handbill in glaring capitals met our gaze this morning:
Five Hundred Dollars Reward will he paid for the arrest and confinement, in any jail of the United States, of General O. Hinton, Agent for the Ohio Stage Company. Said Hinton was under an arrest, charged with robbing the mail of the United States on the fifteenth instant, and a portion of said money was found on the person of said Hinton at the time of his arrest. He is a man about fiftyfive or sixty years of age; weight one hundred and eighty or ninety pounds; has dark hair, almost black, very fleshy, stout built, florid complexion, and looks as though he was a hard drinker, but is strictly temperate. D. Haskell, Cleveland, Ohio
another instance, that a man, though he present a fair exterior, may be rotten at the heart1850 Sep 2 Portage sentinel
Gen. O. Hinton, an agent of the Ohio Stage Company, was arrested at Cleveland, on a charge of robbing the mail of some seventeen thousand dollars.1850 Sep 4 Cincinnati Enquirer
suspected because money stolen when he was aboard - marked money found on him - $10k bail
...instead of taking him to jail, as they would a petty thief who had stolen a coat to cover his nakedness, or a few dollars' worth of food to satisfy the cravings of hunger, the officers took him to one of the most popular hotels in the city
handbills offer $500 reward Gen. O. Hinton, Agent for the Ohio Stage Company
The Cleveland Plain Dealer says there is on the another development about to take place, which it is said will throw Gen. O. Hinton into the shade. We long for the denounement"1850 Sep 4 Louisville Daily Courier
Haskel special agent offers $1000 for arrest - was caught with marked money in pocket - was arrested 8/28/1850 on mail robbery1850 Sep 9 Portage sentinel (Ravenna, Ohio)
from Cleveland Herald:
The General, being a gentleman instead of being sent to jail was indulged in his request to be under keepers at his own room at the Weddell House. About midnight he dodged out of the room, shut and locked the door after him; thus caging his three keepers and setting himself free.
Had he been a common rogue, arrested for stealing a sheep, instead of fingering the mail bags, he would have been safely lodged inside the prison walls.
reprint from Plain Dealer1850 Sep 12 Gallipolis journal
Whigs of Central Ohio will meet with an irreparable loss in the sudden demis of Gen. O. Hinton. The General seems to have been chief fugler for the Whighs in those parts.
quotes from 2 papers praising OH comments for speech nominating a candidate
Better have nominated Hinton. He is not only a good Galphin Whig, but a good runner.
reprint from Plain Dealer1850 Sep 13 Sandusky Register
With an eye on him, the word was 'passed along the line' and decoy packages with money marked, were put into the mail on purpose to be stolen out
It appears the General in "The wee' sma' hours of night" committed a 'breach of generous confidence,' as he had often done before. He took his guard, while off their guard, and vamosed [sic] through the door which was left ajar, quickly turning the key upon them, locking them in. Here was a pickle and such a rumpus followed as made night hideous. Stamping, hallooing, and kicking against the door, brought up the sleepers of the Weddell from pit to dome, and in dishabille, such as ghosts are said to wear.
part 1 of cleveland herald coverage four day examination1850 Sep 14 Sandusky Register
The prisoner looks usually hale and hearty...[and] bore himself with his usual self possessed and important air.
8/3 Daniel M. Haskell, Special Agent at Cleveland puts $1,000 in package addressed to fictitious name in Mt. Vernon, tells OH two packages with money were leaving that day
John Wheeler in coach to spy on OH
3AM stage stops at public house outside Mt. Vernon - sees Hinton take mailbag into a shed for 5-8 minutes - "While he was gone heard rustling of papers in that distance."
part 2 of Plain Dealer trial coverage1850 Sep 16 Sandusky Register
lady sleeping with head on his carpetbag - wakes her to put in papers
Haskell: homas McKinstry, deputy United States marshal first to suspect Hinton
A. J. Smith bank in Newark ohio "a practice of the bank to register all notes remitted through the mail" - this was money found on Hinton
Sturges & Wheeler bank in Zanesville lost draft on Philadelphia bank - $220 in Bank of Chester County which OH exchanged
Wheeling postal clerk: packages not in mail bag
charge 1: felony taking mail from those lawfully in possession
charge 2: robbing money from mail
8/15 OH laying down on top of coach next to the bags
8/16 OH at U.S. Hotel in Wheeling - asks for fire despite "quite warm" - slept with windows open - drafts taken with money were burned there
part 3 of Plain Dealer trial coverage1850 Sep 16 Portsmouth ohio inquirer
8/28 arrest - several marked bills from 8/15 robbery - OH at Weddell House/Cleveland before arrest - Haskell invites him to home for cards and "dance a little with a few of his particular friends" as McKinstry searches OH room - unable to open trunk - when arrested "asked them why they did not let him know before" appeared frank, showed a disposition to let us see everything- found $10 in marked bills, 15-30 keys - on 8/26 exchanged $220 "eastern money" for "Ohio money" - escape description at 12:15 AM - Hinton defense: he fled to contact witnesses and returned voluntarily - bail set at $5k on charge 1 $10k on charge 2 - OH asked to speak "his speech was ill-timed in spirit and manner, and regretted by his friends."
he was taken to the Blue Eagle and jugged up. It will be some days before his examination as witnesses will have to be summoned from abroad...1850 Sep 18 Cincinnati Enquirer
...The General complains of the poor accommodations the country affords to one who is in a hurry to 'get along.' He was two days getting to Bedford, and found nothing to eat during that time but a pan of milk and a dried fish, which he helped hiself to out of a farmer's pantry. He footed it to Akron, or near there, where he bought a horse as before described. When he left the Weddell he went [route] and lay in the bushes the first day.
Had he succeeded in his last robbery he would have expended the sum in electioneering for Johnstone, and been heralded as the most talented liberal Whig in Ohio1850 Sep 23 Portage sentinel
William "Booby" Johnston was whig candidate for governor
reprint from Plain Dealer1850 Oct 23 Sandusky Register
OH arrested at Mogadore by lawyer named Grove, who took pity after Hinton: "What will my poor daughters think of this?"
reprint of Cleveland Herald1851 Jan 9 The Republic
denounces reduction of Gen. Otho Hinton's bail from $15000 to $10000
no doubt about the guilt of the prisoner
Shallcross arrests man in Columbus GA1851 Jan 30 The Lancaster gazette
bailed out Jan. 251851 May 3 The Sandusky Register
"The General looks nothing the worse of his long confinement"
(multiple reprints)1851 May 21 The Plymouth pilot
Sandusky Clarion: Mississippi reference - "a gentleman recently returned from California, informed one of the editors of the Sanduskian, that he was saw Gen. Hinton at Cuba, but bearing the name Hanten"
(multiple reprints)1851 May 23 Indiana American
paraphrase of Sandusky story about Cuba
paraphrase of Sandusky story about Cuba - affidavit says he would bury himself and troubles in the waters of the Mississippi1852 Jun 16 Zanesville Courier
(multiple reprints inc. NY Times)1852-1853 House Documents for 1852-1853
reprint from Cincinnati Gazette
Deputy U.S. Marshal Jethiel Mills "traversed California in various directions, crossed over the Sierra Nevada to Utah Territory and visited the most remote places in pursuit of the object of his search. It is fully ascertained that Gen. Hinton was in the state when Mr. Mills arrived, but this fact had found its way into the Atlantic papers, which probably reached there in time to put the General on his guard. The U.S. Marshal, however, has found several gentlemen who were formerly acquainted with Gen. H., who have been cognizant of some of his movements since his arrival in California, and who are fully aware that he some time since left for some other quarter of the world--probably for South America."
https://books.google.com/books?id=6ogFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA1381852 Aug 3 Zanesville Courier
Ithiel Mills $2854.50 "for services and expenses as a special agent to arrest Otho Hinton, a fugitive from justice, charged with robbing the mail
Plain Dealer says OH keeping public house in Portland OR under the name of Gordon1853 May 31
https://secure.sos.state.or.us/prs/profile.do?ancRecordNumber=1135091853 Aug 13 Marysville Daily Herald
marriage to Louisa Hopwood
Gen. Hinton who, some few years ago, committed several extensive robberies of the U.S. Mail in Ohio, and who made his escape to California, was arrested a few days since at San Diego. He will be taken to Ohio for trial1853 Aug 23 Alta California
General Richardson, the U. S. Marshal for the Northern District, came down on the Goliath yesterday for Hinton the mail robber. He will return on the same steamer this afternoon with the prisoner.1853 Sep 10 NY Times
O. Hinton alias S. G. Gordon, who committed a robbery of the U.S. mail in Ohio, has been arrested in Los Angeles and is in jail.1853 Sep 27 Spirit of the times ironton ohio
reprint from The Star1853 Oct 5 The Weekly Wisconsin
On July 25...Samuel G. Gordon, who has been a resident in Los Angeles a short time, was arrested by virtue of the warrant of ...to be held there for three months to await a warrant from the U.S. District Judge of California for his removal to Ohio for trial. The defendant's real name is O. Hinton. According to his statement he was once arrested in Ohio on this charge, held to bail in the sum of $10,000, and subsequently discharged under a nolle pros, entered by the U.S. District Attorney of Ohio...He claims that the charge in this instance is made against him because he would not pay hush money, and that the same thing was attempted to be done at Portland.
Cleveland Herald letter from SF 8/31/18531853 Oct 7 The Evansville iowa daily journal
doughty General is loose again
The writer says that no one appeared against him--that the man who caused his arrest cleared out, and there are no correct papers upon which to act, the General is exempt from arrest
same as above, was arrested in Los Angeles1853 Nov 7 Zanesville Courier
Cleveland Herald stringer describes OH in court - turned in by stage driver - supposedly just arrived in LA from Panama1853 Nov 8
Owen, Ray; The Sonoma Searcher Vol. 29 #2 "General Otho Hinton: Santa Claus on the Run"1853 Dec 1 The Wyandot pioneer
letter from U.S. Marshal Richardson to Mr. Inge, Circuit Court in Ohio: "...the case was examined and on the 26th day of August last, there not being sufficient evidence to authorize his detention, he was, by order of Court, discharged without [illegible]. A few days thereafter he [sailed] for the Sandwich Islands, where I believe he now resides."
reprint from Watchman1853 Dec 21 The Democratic sentinel
We knew him in his palmier days when he was considered honorable and wealthy. He put up a splendid hotel in Delaware in this state, his place of residence, was high in everybody's confidence, his word was good for thousands and his influence in the Whig party of the greatest weight.
nothing about stagecoaches - was mail agent - postmaster gave marked money - gambled away - now in Calif awaiting extradition - has been a vagabond on the earth
reprint from The Star1854 Jan 5 The Jackson ohio standard
was general agent of Ohio mail stage company - often rode on top of stagecoaches at night - had mail keys - after escape gave himself up, nearly famished - Calif released him under writ of habeas corpus, "testimony at hand there not being judged sufficient to warrant him being held" - immediately fled to Hawaii
released on habeas corpus and has fled to Sandwich Islands1855 Jan 10
https://books.google.com/books?id=M6kFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA1061855 Feb 8 Washington DC Evening star
Senate asked to return bond monies
bill for relief of Rebecca Hinton was taken up by Senate and passed1855 Feb 15 The Jackson standard
reprint from the Chicago Press (also NY Tribune)1855 Feb 21
A private letter received in Cincinnati from Honolulu, a few days since, contains the following item of intelligence respecting the great mail robber, Gen. O. Hinton:
"Among the foreigners residing in this city is Gen. O. Hinton, well known to many of the older inhabitants of Chicago as a mail contractor, &c. When I arrived here he was attempting to practice law. Subsequently he kept a hotel, but with indifferent success. Latterly he is working as a journeyman house-carpenter, and, as I understand, makes a good living at it. He is sober, industrious and quiet, and seems disposed to acquire the reputation of a good citizen."
joint resolution for relief of Rebecca Hinton was taken up by House and passed1855 Mar 16 Fremont ohio journal
a joint resolution has lately passed Congress, which is very gratifying to every person acquainted with the circumstances of the case...This action of Congress will restore to this much afflicted but most excellent family the small private property of Mrs. Hinton, and she will be able to avoid years of poverty and toil...1855 Mar 21 Daily Milwaukee News
(multiple reprints)1856 Jun 7 Polynesian
Congress resolution to return property forfeiture from bail
moving law office1857 Jun 2 Washington Evening Star
(multiple reprints)1857 Aug 8 Polynesian
The prosecution instituted some years against Otho Hinton, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of Ohio, for alleged depredations on the mails, was, at the term of that court held this month at Cincinnati, finally dismissed by order of the court.
first ad as lawyer1857 Aug 29 Polynesian
Honolulu probate attorney1858 Feb 9 Cincinnati Enquirer
is Honolulu attorney1858 Feb 25 Wyandot pioneer Sandusky
card arrives Honolulu "attorney and counselor at law"1858 Apr 22 The Highland weekly news. hillsboro ohio
Honolulu correspondent for plain dealer1858 Jun 26 Polynesian
Gen. O. Hinton, the noted mail-robber of Ohio, is a resident here. He came down from California four years ago with his wife and they kept a boarding house, but lost money at it, and the old man was finally reduced to working by the day at carpenter work. Finally, the rheumatism prevented him doing even this, and now he has turned lawyer, and manages, I presume, just to live and no more. I sincerely pity the old man, and I think that he is truly repentant.
last notice found probate for estate of Kuokoa1858 Oct 21
application to the bar District Court Minutes Book B: 1191858 Nov 4 Sacramento Daily Union
petition to practice law in Sonoma County "The undersigned members of the Bar beg leave respectfully to report that we have examined the applicant [illegible] and find him qualified to practice law as an attorney and counselor of this Court. But there being in his past history some charges touching his moral character which although probably acceptable of full explanation, yet not having the evidence before us to satisfy us in that respect we recommend a postponement of his application as a member of the Bar until further explanation can be made."
OH admitted as attorney and counsellor in the Supreme Court yesterday, on motion of P. L. Edwards1858 Nov 11 date on first law office ad in Sonoma Democrat
1859 Mar 31 Sonoma Democrat
public meeting on plaza fencing and improvements - committee appointed - resolutions outlining improvements - $350 raised in subscriptions, over $200 still needed - no mention of OH in lengthy article - "The present primitive and rude appearance of the public Plaza fronting the Court House, is a matter to be regretted," read the opening to the resolution that came out of the meeting. It was agreed there should be "a good, substantial and ornamental fence" as well as ornamental trees, while the grounds were to be immediately plowed and sown with alfalfa.1859 Jun 3 Delaware gazette
legal notice foreclosure on $2000 mortgage1859 Jun 9 Sonoma Democrat
place of residence unknown
fencing of plaza underway - surveyor marking - men digging postholes1859 Jul 26 Sacramento Daily Union
from Sonoma County Journal Independent Democratic candidate for the office of County Judge
from Bulletin1859 Aug 24 Red Bluff Beacon
discusses crimes at length - If the candidate for County Judge in Sonoma county is the same Gen. O. Hinton who robbed the mail in Ohio, it is to be hoped he will not be elected
OH who committed heavy mail robberies in Ohio is candidate for County Judge1859 Sep 3 Daily State Sentinel Indianapolis
The Republican papers have been making a fuss over the supposed nomination of General O. Hinton as a Democratic candidate for Judge in California -- Hinton having been a mail robber in Ohio some years ago. It turns out that the man nominated is W. O. Hinton, altogether a different man from the General, who is no doubtless, as he was in Ohio, violently opposed to the Democracy.1859 Sep 1 Sonoma Democrat
OH not listed in county Democratic slate1859 Sep 8 The Wyandot pioneer
candidate for office of judge in Sonora county1859 Sep 14 The Pacific Commercial Advertiser
Gen. Otho Hinton, formerly of Honolulu, is running for the office of County Judge of Solano County, under the regular Democratic colors1859 Nov 24 Sonoma Democrat
About a year ago, there was some talk among our citizens, about buying a lot where the present burying ground is, and having it properly surveyed and laid off in lots, fenced, and otherwise improved...We would be glad to see the subject renewed, and the plan carried out; and for that object would suggest that a meeting of the citizens be held at some convenient time, say on Friday evening of next week, when farther and more definite action may be had.1859 election results
Hinton 665 - Churchman 24031860 census Delaware ohio
Rebecca age 55 property worth $45001860 Feb 3 Delaware gazette
public sale of Delaware OH property1860 Dec 18 Sonoma County Democrat
(multiple ads for years)1861 Jan 3 Sonoma County Democrat
Will continue the business at the old stand; the firm of Hinton & Wilks having been dissolved by mutual consent.
Streets in very bad conditions because of heavy rains - OH has proposal to improve main street from Plaza to bridge that will cost less than $800 - assessment to be presented to Main street property owners.1861 Jan 21 Sonoma County Democrat
"We are pleased to observe that Gen. O. Hinton, to whom the good citizens of Santa Rosa are so much indebted for the improvements of the Plaza, had commenced the work of renovating and cleaning the grounds for the approaching spring..."
Efforts are making to purchase a tract of land near Santa Rosa, a part of which has been used as a burying-place by people of that town, to be set apart exclusively as a Cemetery. Those who favor this excellent project will please call at Gen. Hinton's office.1862 Apr 22 Sonoma Democrat
Gen. Hinton, as is his custom at this season of the year, has had a number of men at work of late, beautifying and improving our town plaza.1863 Mar 9 Sacramento Daily Union
OH speaks at railroad meeting in Windsor re: building railroad from bay or deep water to Healdsburg1863 Dec 25 Delaware gazette
legal notice court ordered sale of property Delaware1863 Jun 13 Oath of Allegiance sworn
Otho Hinton and Mary Ellen Hinton of Santa Rosa
1865 Mar 18 Sonoma Democrat
description of OH painting in firehouse1866 Aug 3 Delaware ohio gazette
Legal notice from Rebecca against Mary Ellen and Oscar, all 3 residents of SonCo to sell two lots in Delaware1870 census
Rebecca in Petaluma alone property worth $9500 personal worth $16001872 naming of Hinton Ave
https://archive.org/stream/historyofsonomac00alle#page/4061881 Jul 14 Daily Republican
Munro-Fraser; History of Sonoma County 1880, pg. 406
No mention of any City Council proceedings for that meeting in Sonoma Democrat
On 1885 Sanborn map: "9th Ave" On 1888 Sanborn map: "Hinton Av. or 9th Av."
General Otho Hinton came to Santa Rosa more than twenty-five years ago. It was owing mainly to his energy that the land was purchased and laid out for a cemetery. It did well enough for that early day, but is now nearly all filled. His portrait, representing an old man, now hangs in the City Council chamber.1882 Feb 5 The Louisville, Kentucky Courier Journal
history of 1840s Whigs and the 1846 militia - educated wealthy man in Delaware, Ohio - Hinton House one of the finest hotels in the state - was Brigadier of the Central Militia District and was always to be seen on muster days on a white charger, dressed in a uniform that would have made Phil. Sheridan ashamed of himself - wanted to take brigade to Mexico, mounted one of his stages and proceeded to Cleveland and thence by steamer to Buffalo and then on to Washington. In a little over six weeks he returned confident, at own expense visiting regional militia captains - but Gen. Morgan selected by War Dept. Hinton disappeared - boards stagecoach, cuts mailbags and steals over $100,000 - $10,000 reward for capture - turned in by friend - OH arrives with mashal at Weddell House in Cleveland and escapes while waiting for steamer - OH next supposed to be in san fran under alias - next in Oregon running hotel as Hume - escapes ahead of capture - "Hinton was not heard of again for about a year [after he fled to Hawaii], when one of his sons, who was home in Delaware on a visit, and stated that his father was in Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, practicing law. He remained there for years, until finally the case was dropped from the docket in the United States District Court."1882 Nov 1 Oakland Tribune
Rebecca obit d. Oct 22 (no mention in Democrat, 1 line on burial in Republican Oct. 25)1882 Nov 10 Santa Rosa Republican
His very countenance and benevolent expression is, at this writing, as plainly before us as if we had seen him but yesterday. But why is his grave thus neglected? ... Have the people forgotten the generous and noble hearted man, who in his life, took such an active interest in the welfare of "our future little city," (as he was wont to call it,) and who sacrificed all health, money and time, during his declining years, for our behest? His magnanimity and public espiritness for the public good, should never be forgotten, and his grave should, at least, be kept green as an evidence that we appreciate how many kind acts which he did for our future good..1884 Central Sonoma: A Brief Description of the Township and Town of Santa Rosa, Thompson
pg 140: "a tree and a bit of grass is worth more than a Court-house"1890 May 13 The Wheeling daily intelligencer
in 1847 he weighed about 200 lbs close shaven and fashionable2000 Dec 17 Press Democrat
retelling of Shallcross version of mail theft story
"[Hinton] 'adopted' Julio's plaza in its pre-courthouse days, landscaped it, planted trees, installed wrought-iron fencing and hitching posts and benches. And he arranged to keep it clean...Gen. Hinton bought the town's first fire engine."