|Whipple Avenue exit in Redwood City|
Willard Whipple was one of many area lumbermen who dragged logs to the port at Redwood City. His Whipple's Mill Road has come to be known as Whipple Avenue. He was a Union sympathizer in the Civil War and named the creek on which his mills operated West Union Creek. Whipple built his steam-powered Upper Mill in late 1852 at the site of today’s Phleger House (now occupied by Gordon and Betty Moore) on the Phleger Estate.
Willard Whipple is the name most associated with the history of the area, since busy Whipple Avenue in Redwood City is named for him. The thoroughfare was originally called Whipple's Mill Road because of the lumber he hauled on it and then Whipple Road, before its current appellation.
The National Park Study goes on to say:
Whipple was born in New York around 1803. He married Elizabeth Hayes in 1824 and followed his parents by entering into the Mormon Church. It is thought he left the Mormon settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois in 1844, and then came to California.
I combed the Web, but found no indication that Willard had ever lived in Nauvoo. Might I find Willard in a census? To my surprise I found him in a California census!
1852 California Census
The 1852 California State Census of San Francisco County (FamilySearch FHL film 004640622, image 709, lines 31-35) lists a Willard Whipple and family:
- Willard Whipple, 41, Lumber Manufr, b. VT, last residence PA
- Mrs Whipple, 39, b. NY, last residence PA
- H Whipple, 11, male, b. NY, last residence PA
- Eloise Whipple, 7, b. PA, last residence PA
- Rosette Whipple, 5, b. PA, last residence PA
Willard and Eli Whipple win a suit in 1854
I have seized and taken into execution the following property, to wit: All the interest of the said defendants, any or either of them, in and to the steam sawmill known "Richards' Mill," situated on the mountain in the Redwoods, near the Pulgas Ranch, in San Francisco county.
It looks like Willard, whoever he was, won the suit.
The 1852 California census mentioned that Willard Whipple and family had last lived in Pennsylvania. On a long shot, I checked Ancestry and found a Willard there!
1850 Pennsylvania Census
Willard Whipple lived in Bradford, McKean County, Pennsylvania, on 16 Aug 1850:
- Willard Whipple, 35, carpenter, b. VT
- Betsy Whipple, 33, b. NY
- Orrison Whipple, 8, male, b. NY
- Alvira Whipple, 3, b. NY
- Rosetta Whipple, 1, b. PA
It turns out that Willard and Eli were nephews of Edson Whipple, who was converted to the Mormon Church on 15 Jun 1840 while living in Philadelphia. After moving to Nauvoo, Joseph Smith sent him to Pennsylvania as a missionary. He tried to convert his relatives, but only Eli appears to have been converted. (Eli was baptized in 1844.)
I was beginning to suspect that I was on the right track
More California Documents
In 1855 Willard traveled from Santa Clara to Utah with a William McBride Company:
This small company consisted of 24 people with 8 wagons when it left Santa Clara, California. They were joined by 13 others six days later and traveled down the coast and then inland from Los Angeles to San Bernardino. ... From there they traveled northward over Cajon Pass across the Mojave Desert on the California Road to Salt Lake City.
Among those in this company were:
- Whipple, Henry Willard, 43, b. 5 Jan 1812, d. 11 Mar 1889
- Whipple, Elizabeth Dorothy, 41, b. 27 Feb 1814, d. 18 Nov 1871
- Whipple, Charles, 22, b. abt 1832
- Whipple, Cynthia Jane, 19, b. 14 Jun 1834, d. 5 Nov 1874
- Whipple, Orson, 13, b. 30 Mar 1842, d. 17 Feb 1905
- Whipple, Mary Rosetta, 6, b. 23 Jul 1848
So now we have seemingly impossible conflicts:
- One source says that Willard left Nauvoo, Illinois in 1844 for California.
- The U.S. Census says that Willard and his family lived in Pennsylvania in 1850.
- The California State Census says that Willard lived in San Francisco in 1852.
- Willard leaves for Utah in 1855.
This company left Redwood City, California, with 19 missionaries and a few families. They traveled down the San Joaquin Valley, crossing Tejon Pass, and were joined by a few others going across the Mojave Desert to Utah. They reached Cedar City in late May 1858 and most of the company traveled north to Salt Lake City.
Included in this company were:
- Whipple, Eli, 37, b. 17 Oct 1820, d. 11 May 1904
- Whipple, Patience, 42, b. 5 May 1815, d. 17 Jan 1890
- Whipple, Ann, 16, b. 15 Mar 1842, d. 31 Dec 1927
- Whipple, Marian, 13, b. 13 Mar 1845, d. 5 Jun 1901
- Whipple, Patience Emma, 3, b. 4 Jul 1854, d. 16 Aug 1864
Still not convinced?
- "Eli, Patience, and their family, came west by way of the Isthmus of Panama during the gold rush days of 1849. They landed at San Francisco."
- It shows a photo of Eli in the 1850's "about the time he was operating the sawmills at Redwood City, California, just south of San Francisco in San Mateo County."
- After Eli traveled to Utah in 1858, he apparently remained there, at least for awhile. He set up a sawmill in Pine Valley (north of St. George, Utah).