I was surprised to learn that four of Amos Catlin’s children, buried in the same cemetery as he and his wife, had no headstone to mark their grave sites. In March 2022, the grave marker for the children that I bought was placed next to their mother and father.
It was a pandemic lengthen 2-year project to research and write a book on the life of Amos Catlin. In the course of the research, I could not locate the burial site for several of Amos Catlin’s children. Historic Sacramento Cemetery documents indicated that some of the children had been moved closer to their mother Ruth Anne (Donaldson) Catlin who died in 1878. However, there were no headstones in the plot with Ruth Anne and Amos.
Catlin Children Grave Marker, Sacramento Cemetery
When the cemetery sent me the plot inventory, it showed four of Amos’ children were buried in the same plot along with several members of the Donaldson family, immediately family members of Ruth Anne.
Emily Butler Catlin was the first child born to Amos and Ruth Anne who were married in 1860 and residing in Folsom, California. There is some confusion over her birth month being either September or October 30, 1865. Records indicate she was born in Vacaville. Emily died on July 27, 1866. Ruth Anne’s father was Dr. Alexander Donaldson of Folsom, so mother and child had access to better medical care than many women in California at the time.
Ruth Anne gave birth to a set of twins, boy and girl, on July 25, 1867. The twins were pronounced dead the same day as their birth.
Amos and Ruth Anne would have four more children who all survived to adulthood
Alexander was born in Lassen, California in 1871. He grew up in Folsom and Sacramento. At one point he became a Notary Public and worked out of Amos Catlin’s law office. However, he inherited his father’s interest in mining. He died at a mining camp in Searchlight, Nevada in 1908.
John was born in 1871, also in Lassen, California. John followed his father into the legal profession. As an attorney, he practiced law in Sacramento, then after his father’s death in 1900, eventually migrated to San Francisco and then Monterey. Before John left Sacramento, he married Lucie Routier and gave Amos a grandchild. John died in 1951 in Monterey, California.
Ruth was born in Sacramento in 1873. She married after Amos’ death. Unfortunately, Ruth died young in 1904.
Harry was born in 1875 in Sacramento. Similar to his siblings, he attended Sacramento public schools. Harry took some art classes at the Sacramento School of Design at the Crocker Art Museum. The Sacramento Union reported, “Harry Catlin’s work shows him to be quick, active, of a fine temperament, but lacking somewhat in application. Judging from his beginning to his present, the lad progresses, and with increased age, will apply himself to develop a natural talent.”
Harry would attend dances with Ruth at the Amico Club that were held at Turner Hall in Sacramento. In the summer, Harry and Ruth would travel with Amos’ cousin Julia Grannis, who was living with the family, down to Pacific Grove for vacations. In 1897, Harry was appointed a clerk to Judge Hart in Sacramento.
With a strong sense of curiosity, Harry was examining a new road excavator that was parked by the Odd Fellows’ Temple on Ninth Street. He inadvertently released the brake and in the darkness of night the machine start rolling. Harry was caught in the excavator suffering a broken arm, broken leg, and severely bruising his face.
The Sacramento Union updated the public on Harry’s condition. “Harry C. Catlin, who was so severely injured on Wednesday night, is getting along as well as could be expected. The physicians say he will be confined to his bed about six weeks. Mr. Catlin says he thinks he now understands the mechanism of that road machine quite thoroughly.”
When Amos died in November 1900, Harry and John became the executors of the estate. Harry moved to San Francisco where his brother John was practicing law. Harry married Marie Sellar Dixon in 1909. Harry died in 1916 in San Francisco. He was then laid to rest next to his mother, father, and siblings who he never knew.
To learn more about the life of Amos Catlin, visit Amos Catlin: From Mormon Island to Sacramento.