GEORGE J. MOSBAUGH
“The late George J. Mosbaugh,” said a contemporary biographer, “was for many years one of Santa Ana’s most influential and respected citizens, having been officially identified with institutions of great importance to the community, while in private life his sterling qualities and high ideals gained for him the unreserved confidence of all who had the privilege of his acquaintance.”
Mr. Mosbaugh was born in a log house near what is now Cicero, Hamilton County, Indiana, on the 17th of May, 1840, his parents being Conrad and Anna Marie (Brehm) Mosbaugh, both natives of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. Conrad Mosbaugh was reared and educated at the place of his birth and later learned the trade of a weaver. On the 1st of September, 1836, he married Miss Brehm, with whom he crossed the Atlantic to the United States in the following year. They were accompanied by Joseph Mosbaugh, the paternal grandfather of George J. Mosbaugh, together with his entire family. Joseph Mosbaugh was born at Offstein, Hesse-Darmstadt, in 1775, and followed the vocation of farming. He married Miss Justine Rasph, who was born in 1781, and they became of parents of seven children, all of whom they brought to America. The family name was originally spelled “Mosbach,” but in 1848 an uncle named Franz began to write it “Mosbaugh,” because of the various mispronunciations given the name by English-speaking people, and the others members of the family followed his example. On coming to this country in 1837, the family settled in Hamilton County, Indiana, where they bought land, affected a clearing and built a log house with the typical stick-and-mud chimney of that period.
George J. Mosbaugh, who was born three years later, attended the district schools of his home neighborhood, also taking advantage of such other educational opportunities as presented themselves, and eventually began teaching school. He was thus engaged in Hamilton County, Indiana, in 1862 when he enlisted in the Fifty-first Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry under Colonel Streight. However, the quota was not filled and the recruiting officer and Colonel Streight enlisted as privates in another Indiana Regiment. Mr. Mosbaugh then completed his term of teaching and afterward became a student in Bryant’s Business College of Indianapolis. He was employed in a mercantile establishment of that city when in May, 1864, he enlisted in the One Hundred thirty-third Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which command he assisted in guarding the bridge across the Tennessee River, on the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, and in doing picket duty at Bridgeport, Alabama. He was honorably discharged by reason of the expiration of his term of enlistment on September 5, 1864, after which he turned his attention to business college work. He studied in Boyd’s Business College at Louisville, Kentucky, and also attended Indiana State University, from which he was graduated. He became the proprietor of the Terre Haute Business College at Terre Haute, Indiana, and later also of the Bloomington Business College at Bloomington, Illinois. Subsequently Mr. Mosbaugh went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he served for nine years as bookkeeper for Lockhart & Company, becoming a partner in the business in 1873. In 1875 he came west to California and in May of that year settled at Orange, which was then in Los Angeles County, and there resided for about eight and one-half years. During that period he developed one of the early orchards in that locality, and while waiting for the trees to grow he became Secretary of the Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company. Upon the organization of the Commercial Bank of Santa Ana in 1882 he became its bookkeeper and during the ensuing years was a leading factor in its growth and success. He was advanced through the various positions in the institution until he was made its president.
On the 25th of November, 1868, in Indianapolis, Indiana, Mr. Mosbaugh was united in marriage to Miss Melissa J. Harvey, a native of the Hoosier state, who passed away in Santa Ana, California, October 9, 1896. She was survived by three children, namely: Edwin H., who was for many years chief of the Redlands fire department and later was identified officially with the department at Riverside; Maude M., the wife of Dr. J. F. Galloway, a dentist of San Pedro; and Marie, who served as bookkeeper for a San Diego automobile and tire company. On the 16th of May, 1900, Mr. Mosbaugh was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Emma (Palmer) Thelan, widow of the late Charles C. Thelan, who was a pioneer harness-maker of Santa Ana. To Mr. and Mrs. Thelan was born a son, H. Percy Thelan, the father of Ray Palmer Thelan, who in September, 1932, married Miss Norma Entibus and makes his home in Los Angeles, where he is successfully engaged in business. His grandmother, Mrs. Emma (Palmer) Mosbaugh, was born in Santa Clara County, California, her parents being Noah and Susan (Evans) Palmer, the former a native of Lowville, New York, and the latter of Indiana. Noah Palmer came overland to California in 1849, leaving his wife in Indiana, and in 1852 he went back for her. He mined gold at Placerville and later took up a government claim for miles out of Santa Clara, where he engaged in horticultural pursuits. Later he became a very prominent citizen of Santa Ana, being a successful farmer, banker and builder of street railroads. Noah and Susan (Evans) Palmer were the parents three children, namely: Almira, who in 1874 came with her husband, R. E. Hewitt, to Santa Ana, California, where both spent the remainder of their lives; Emma, the widow of George J. Mosbaugh; and Lottie E., of Santa Ana, who is now deceased.
Mr. Mosbaugh gave his political support to the Republican Party, while his religious faith was indicated by his membership in the Christian Church. Fraternally he was affiliated with the Masons, belonging to Santa Ana Lodge, No. 241, F. & A. M. He was also a member of Sedgwick Post, No. 17, G. A. R., of which he served as adjutant and quartermaster for a number of years. His death occurred December 28, 1927, when he had attained the advanced age of eighty-seven years, and his passing was the occasion of deep and widespread regret. Mrs. Mosbaugh, who survives her husband, is keenly alive to all civic affairs and is likewise interested in club work, although not as actively as in former years. She resides at 636 North Broadway, Santa Ana, and also maintains an attractive summer home at Laguna Beach.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 339-342, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 V. Gerald Iaquinta.