San Francisco History

John Meirs Horner


Passengers of The Brooklyn, 1846

Passengers of steamer Pacific, 1852

Horner's in the 1852 California Census

Noe Valley

Chapman Duncan

Noe Valley

John Meirs Horner was one of the Morman passengers on the Brooklyn who sailed into Yerba Buena in 1846 and help mold the early beginnings of the City as we know it today. Although his influences were greater in the East Bay and around San Jose, within San Francisco he was responsible for creating the current Noe Valley neighborhood. He purchased the area, known then as San Miguel Rancho, from Jose de Jesus Noe in 1853. This area is still named Horner's Addition by the city assessor's office.

"In San Francisco county, we paid two hundred and eighty-five thousand dollars for five thousand two hundred and fifty acres of land adjoining the city of San Francisco, and expended nearly eight thousand dollars upon it in surveys, fences and other improvements. One thousand and fifty acres of these lands we surveyed and staked into streets, blocks, and lots, extending the streets of San Francisco over it. It is now, and has been for over thirty years, a part of that flourishing city." —John M. Horner
Although the north-south streets were probably already named, he was probably responsible for the naming of these east-west streets (current street names in parantheses): John (22nd street)—his first name, Hill (Alvarado street), Horner (23rd street)—his last name, Elizabeth—named after his wife, Park (24th street), Jersey—named after where John M. Horner was born, Temple (25th street)—probably after the LDS Temple, Clipper—named after the old ships?, Navy (26th street), Army (Caesar Chavez), Figg (27th street), Duncan—probably for Chapman Duncan, Vale (28th street), Valley, Dale (29th street), Junction (Beacon/Day street), and Grove (30th street).

There is an interesting account of the early days of the development of Horner's Addition in the writings of Caroline Barnes Crosby who lived with the Horner's during 1854 and 1855. One the accounts read:

"Sun 29th [January 1854] A beautiful pleasant morning. . .Alma Frances and myself took a walk over the hills, to take a view of br Horners new purchase, and to get a peep at the Spanish house where we expect to reside, after a few weeks. We admired the scenery very much; and think in short time it will be a great place. We walked from bluff to bluff untill we arrived at the top of a high one nearly in front of the dobie house where the spaniard resides of whom Mr H bought the land. We then sat down to admire the prospect. And we came to the conclusion that altho it was not quite retired, yet it was a most beautiful and romantic place. . ." [pages 239-240]
In 1895, descendants of Jose de Jesus Noe filed a lawsuit that stated that half of the land sold to Horner legally belonged to them.

California State Census, September 1852, Santa Clara County
Horner, Stacy, 59, male
Horner, Sarah, 57, female
Horner, John M., 31, male
Horner, William J.Y., 25, male
Horner, Johnston, 22, mlae
Horner, Edward, 16, male
Horner, Isaac, 33, male
Horner, Redbon, 27, male
Horner, William, 4, male
Horner, Joseph, 2, male
Horner, Sarah E., 3 days, female
Horner, Stacy, 3, male
Horner, Raymond, 1, male
Horner, Lucretia, 18, female
Horner, Ann Eliza, 14, female
Horner, Edward, 16, female
Horner, Elizabeth, 26, female
Horner, Tilpha, 36, female
Imley [sic], William, 23, male
Horner, Ridbin C., 28, male
Horner, Ann C., 18, female 

Bancroft, Hubert Howe, The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, The History Company, San Francisco, 1888.
California State Census, Santa Clara County, California, 1852.  (pgs. 96, 133, 160)
City and County of San Francisco,  map drawn by V. Wackenreuder, Langley San Francisco Directory, 1862.
City Tax Rolls, San Jose, California, 1853.  (6-2-1 N, 7-2-1 N).
Lyman, Edward Leo; Payne, Susan Ward; Ellsworth, S. George; editors; No place to call home: the 1807-1857 life writings of Caroline Barnes Crosby, chronicler of outlying Mormon communites; Utah, 2005.
San Jose Mercury News, San Jose, California, September 16, 1977.
Sandoval, John, S., The History of Washington Township, California, 1985.

Chapman Duncan

"...Returned to San Francisco [from a Mission to China] got on shore August Tuesday 23, 1853. Tarried with the brethern, health poor not able to labor. Have a returned direct to Salt Lake City. . .Bro. J. M. Horner promised me a birth [sic] soon. I visited and preached amongst the Saints in California about two months. Then Bro. John M. Horner gave me real estate in San Francisco County for my labors, he gave me $300.00 cash and two city lots in his extension [Horner's Addition] to San Francisco City worth $100.00 each the lots cost. . ."

Source: Biography of Chapman Duncan, Copied by the Brigham Young University Library, 1952, pages 14 and 15.

"Sun 23rd [October 1853) . . .At ten the meeting convened according to appointment. Quite a number of elders present among whom was br Wandall missionary from Australia, br C[hapman] Duncan late from China br Sparks from San Bern a br Meeks from Union City Tho Williams from Salt Lake City A br [Isaac] Nash and wife from Union City, beside those who belong to the brank. Br Horner was chosen president of the conference C Duncan chosen clerk protem in consequence of br Morey who declined. . ."

Source: Lyman, Edward Leo; Payne, Susan Ward; Ellsworth, S. George; editors; No place to call home: the 1807-1857 life writings of Caroline Barnes Crosby, chronicler of outlying Mormon communites; Utah, 2005.


Return to San Francisco Genealogy
Public Commons License