The Law and Order Shattucks of San Francisco

Shattuck - Van Blunt announcement in the Oakland Tribune, July 14, 1924

On the 1st of August, 1924, there was a society wedding in Alameda, California (between Oakland and San Francisco on Alameda island) that was the talk of the town. The Petaluma Argus-Courier called it the "event of the season" and said the Shattuck family was well known in Berkeley, with the main street named after a Shattuck pioneer. (Research shows it was named after Francis Kitteridge Shattuck 1824-1898, whose common ancestor with the Alameda Shattucks was William Shaddock 1622-1672, the pilgrim founder of all American Shattucks.)

The marriage was between Adrian Wilbur Van Brunt and Kathrynn Ann Shattuck. The local paper billed at as the unification of "two of the oldest families in America." Indeed that was the case. Kathrynn Shattuck's ancestry can be traced back to William Shattuck (1622-1672), the pilgrim founder of Shattucks in America. He was her 6th great grandfather. Kathrynn was a descendant of the founder's son William Shattuck Jr. (1653-1732)

William Shattuck Jr. was a businessman and civic leader. He not only inherited half the farm, but his father's loom as well, so he inherited the family business. He stayed on the old homestead his entire life, expanding into other businesses, such as brick making. This was a civic-minded, industrious man, qualities that would be found in his San Francisco descendants. Read the bio about him by Lemuel Shattuck in his Memorials.

Kathyrnn Ann's 3rd great grandfather, Robert Shattuck (1721-1802) married Ruhamah Cook (1714-1776), who was a member of a prominent New England family. Ruhamah Cook was descended from Francis Cook, an original Company of Pilgrims member who came over on the May Flower in 1620.

Kathyrnn's 2nd great grandfather, David Shattuck (1758-1840) was a revolutionary soldier. This is what Lemuel Shattuck in his Memorials writes about David Shattuck (p. 165): "David Shattuck was a farmer and blacksmith in West Chester Parish, Colchester, Ct., where he d. Jan. 23, 1840, eb. 81 y. 4 m. 11 d. He served in the Continental Army; was present at the disbanding of the army when Washington took his farewell; and was a pensioner on the United States government."

The Shattucks of San Francisco were old stock New Englanders and participated actively in building the nation.

You can see how this branch of the Shattucks moved from their ancestral landing spot in Watertown, Massachusetts to areas around San Francisco on the west coast.

William Shattuck (1622-1672) Watertown, MA

William Shattuck (1653-1732) Watertown, MA

Robert Shattuck (1698-1723) Watertown, MA

Robert Shattuck (1721-1802) Plymouth, MA - Middletown, Connecticut

David Shattuck (1758-1840) Chatham, Connecticut - Colchester, Connecticut

Judge David Olcott Shattuck (1800-1892) Colchester - Sonoma, California

Judge Francis William Shattuck (1827-1893) NC - Petaluma, Sonoma, Ca.

Arthur Ewing Shattuck (1854-1932) Sonoma - Alameda, Ca.

Kathyrnn Ann Shattuck (1901-1994) Almeda, Ca.

Kathrynn was a graduate of the University of California, and at the time was working as a scientific illustrator in the Zoology department of the university. She must have had an "artistic" temperament. In her high school publication "Target" December, 1915, she has authored a poem celebrating youthful joy and innocence.


(Best Eighth Grade Poem.)

The jolly Christmas time is nigh,

Our term draws to a close,

The winds through the bleak trees


The earth is white with snows.

'Tis time for laughter and for run,

For Christmas trees and toys,

For nuts and candies by the tons

For happy girls and boys.


The groom was descended from the Van Brunts who arrived in 1653 in what was called "New Amsterdam." When the British acquired acquired the colony they renamed it New York.

Arthur Ewing Shattuck (1854-1932) and his wife Margaret (Sharp) (1871-1965)

There are a couple of letters that survive, written by Kathrynn's father Arthur Ewing Shattuck. The letters provide a good portrait of what a loving and considerate man he was. They also give you a sense of life in the early 20th century and his devotion to family history and memories.

Letter of 1912 to his Uncle. He talks about a visit to his old family homestead in Sonoma. When he runs into an old friend of the family, the "war" he is talking about is the Civil War and of course the Rebel was a Confederate soldier.

Letter of 1915 where he describes a visit from his Ewing relatives.

A brief excerpt from a history of California encapsulates Arthur's life and the role he played in the life of the state in its early years.

A History of the New California, Vol. II by Leigh H. Irvine (1905) pp.1027-1028.


"Arthur Ewing Shattuck, for ten years president of the Pacific States Type Company, of San Francisco, was born in Sonoma, California, on the 16th May, 1864, and is a son of Frank W. and Olivia (Ewing) Shattuck, in whose family were two sons and four daughters.

Arthur Ewing Shattuck has therefore back of him an ancestral record of which he has every reason to be proud. He acquired his early education in the public and private schools of Petaluma, California, and at the age of sixteen put aside his text-books to enter upon a business career. When he was eighteen years of age he was appointed deputy county auditor, but on account of his youth he was retired from public office until he had attained his majority, when he was appointed deputy county clerk of Sonoma County and served in Judge Temple's court for a number of years. Subsequently he became a member of the editorial staff of the Santa Rosa Democrat, then published by Thomas Thompson, who was later appointed to the position of United States minister to Brazil, and in 1892 when Mr. Thompson became Secretary of State of California, he appointed Mr. Shattuck as his assistant, and the latter largely had the management of the office until he resigned in 1894 in order to devote his attention to private business interests in San Francisco. He was appointed by Governor Waterman to the position of state's prison director, and upon the expiration of his term he joined his brother in a manufacturing enterprise in San Francisco under the firm name of the Pacific States Type Foundry, of which he has now been the president for almost ten years. Under his guidance the business of the house has been enlarged and extended until it is now an enterprise of considerable magnitude, yielding a good profit to the stockholders."

Arthur Shattuck's patent drawing of the Centigraph Adding Machine with the production machine beside it. Picture by Greg Fudacz. Contact him if you want to buy it: .

Arthur must be considered one of those Victorian people whose lively mind, energy and optimism led him to master several fields. One of the indications of this is the adding machine he invented in his late twenties, shown at left. The Centigraph Adding Machine was sold in small quantities in the 1890s. Arthur had 4 USA and 1 Canadian patent for various adding machines he invented.

The Centigraph Adding Machine was not a calculator, so we cannot say that he was one of San Francisco's computer pioneers! It was a simple adding machine. Nonetheless at least one history of computing counts him among the early pioneers.

Arthur's letters give us an impression of a loving man with a close family, which was true of his own family. His father, Francis William Shattuck (1827-1893), was a judge. His obituary in the San Francisco "Morning Call," October 15, 1893 said he was "well and favorably known throughout the state. In 1851, at the age of 24, he was appointed an inspector of customs at the port of San Francisco. Later he practiced law in Sonoma County, and was subsequently elected as County Judge and Clerk. Judge Shattuck had a pronounced taste for journalism, which he indulged in editorial work on the Daily Courier and as a correspond of the Associated Press of this city." The Petaluma Daily Imprint (Oct. 14, 1893) called him "this kind man, this true citizen, this indulgent and loving father and friend. The earth seldom swallows a man who had more friends and less enemies than Judge Frank W. Shattuck."

Judge David Olcott Shattuck (1800-1892)

Judge D.O. Shattuck (1800-1892)

It was Kathrynn Shattuck's grandfather who had a major impact on San Francisco and the state of California in its earliest years. In a way he brought law and order to the state. The aforementioned biography of his grandson, Arthur Ewing Shattuck, has this to say about David Olcott Shattuck (1800-1892), founder of the Sonoma Shattucks.

Judge D. O. Shattuck, a native of Connecticut, was the first judge of the superior court of San Francisco, being called to that bench in 1852. His name is deeply engraved on the judicial history of the state as that of one of the most eminent lawyers and judges who have practiced at the bar of California. He was the adviser of a number of people who took a prominent part in public affairs at the time of the vigilance committees, and he stood firmly as the conservator of the rights and liberties, the life and property of those who held themselves amenable to law and justice.

The account in the history of California picks up his life during the famous days of the 49ers, when gold fever swept tens of thousands of prospectors into the state, and caused San Francisco to grow into the largest city on the west coast.

Judge D.O. Shattuck was in Louisiana when he heard the thrilling news of the California gold rush. He must have thought there was opportunity for a lawyer in the midst of the gold frenzy, because he immediately set out with two of his sons for San Francisco. The classic image of Americans moving west in the middle of the 19th century is the covered wagon out on the plain, a terrestrial ship buffeted by weather, impassable rivers, hostility from marauding indigenous peoples, stalked by disease and just plain bad luck. But that is not how the judge made his way to the west coast. He took a ship south and crossed over North America where it narrowed down to an isthmus. The story is told in a book published in 2015 by a descendant of early San Francisco settlers, Jean Doolittle Henry, called "San Francisco Stories: Gold, Cattle and Food." She is a descendant of the judge through his daughter Mary Shattuck. (The book combines recipes passed down in her family, along with family stories.)

Apparently her ancestor Mary was fifteen when her father sent for his family. She left Louisiana and crossed the Isthmus of Nicaragua, carried by Indians to the Pacific. When they arrived in San Francisco to tell of their harrowing trip, it included an episode of being shipwrecked on the coast of Mexico. Travelling with his family were two female slaves and a male slave, Sam. The judge promised to free them shortly after he arrived in San Franciso. They were freed in 1852.

San Francisco in 1846-7

While the vast majority of the prospectors who went to the gold fields seeking their fame and fortune came back out broke and demoralized, the 49ers who stayed in San Francisco and pursued business and service opportunities there did very well. That was the case for Judge Shattuck. In two short years the tiny outpost was a bustling metropolis, which ships crowding the port.

San Francisco in 1851, just two years later.

With the population exploding from 900 to over 200,000 in a very short time, the city became lawless and a magnet for criminals from other parts of the U.S.A. and beyond the seas. This led to the formation of the first Committee of Vigilance of 1851. The committee usurped power from corrupt city officials, taking the law into their own hands, conducting trials, lynching and deportations. This is the scene David Shattuck entered into when he arrived in the city in the spring of 1850.

Judge Shattuck sided with the Democrats against the Vigilance Committee, which eventually became the Republican party.

David Olcott Shattuck's qualifications for his role as the leading interpreter of the law in the state of California was not foreshadowed in his early youth. As a young man he was a peddler, an unsuccessful Methodist preacher, a construction worker and a school teacher. But apparently he had people skills that would eventually lead him to his true calling. In the Ladies Repository, Methodist Episcopal Church, published in 1860, there is an anecdote that the author uses to show Judge David Shattuck's special skill.

In early life Judge David Shattuck late resident of Centenary College Louisiana but now in California was a peddler. He had a brother of moderate abilities who was a Baptist preacher This brother was accustomed to preface a rather poor discourse by saying that during the past week he had selected a text bat that since his arrival at Church, God had taken his text from him and given him another. Judge Shattuck then plain David and not a member of any Church was a little mortified at this habit of his brother and determined to break him of it. He did it in this wise: One day he said "Brother I wouldn't preach for the God for whom you preach." In astonishment the question was asked: "Why not?" "When you have leisure you select a text and get it so you can preach on it but when you arrive at the church he takes it from you and gives you another upon which you can not preach at all." The cure was effected perfectly and permanently. The moral intended by this incident is do not make apologies in the pulpit. The application may be wider than its original area.

I think Judge Shattuck knew his criticism of his brother's performance would fall on deaf ears. He simply attributed his criticism to an outside authority. It is testimony to his people skills.

By 1880 Judge Shattuck had acquired a reputation that was encoded in a biography in the book "History of Sonoma County," by Alley, Bowmen & Company.

This picture shows a younger David Olcott Shattuck. I would not like to be on the other side of the bench when this man was sitting in the court room.

"Shattuck, David Olcott. Whose portrait appears in this work, is a native of Colchester, New London county, Connecticut, born March 21, 1800. Here he received a common school education. In 1820 he proceeded to South Carolina, where he found employment for a short time on the canal above Columbia. After drifting about for some time, he found his way into North Carolina and in the Spring of 1821 he taught one term of school in Mecklenburg county, when he proceeded to Chatham county and there engaged in school teaching until 1823, and while here he was licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal church. He then returned to the place of his birth and taught school one term. During this time his name had been proposed to the Virginia Conference and accepted, and he was appointed to the Hanover Circuit in Virginia, which position he held threeyears. He married in Wake county, North Carolina, on May 7, 1827, Miss Elizabeth Ann Saunders, at which time he was engaged in teaching school in Johnson county. Late in the year he moved to Duplin county, North Carolina, and followed his former occupation until 1829. In December of this year he emigrated to Haywood county, in the Western District of Tennessee. Here he was admitted to the Bar and practiced his profession in Brownsville for four years. In 1833 he took up his residence in Carrolton, Carroll county, Mississippi, where he practiced lawuntil 1837, when he was elected District Judge of the Seventh Judicial District.In 1841, while still officiating as Judge, he was nominated by the Whig party for Governor. The all-important question was at that time "Shall the State pay its bonds?" The Whig party said yes in decided terms, while the Democracy said no emphatically. The Democrats were successful, however, and elected their man, Mr. Shattuck being defeated by only two thousand votes in the State.

He then resumed the practice of law until 1843, when he was elected Professor of law in the Centennary College at Brandon, Rankin county, Mississippi. After holding this position for one and one-half years, the Trustees found it necessary to remove the president, which they did, and elected Mr. Shattuck to fill the chair made vacant by the former president. On account of financial difficulties and a poor title, the college had to be abandoned.

Soon after they purchased at auction the Louisiana State college buildings, which were afterwards known as the Centennary College of Louisiana. He resigned the position of president in 1849. Under his management the college was in a flourishing condition, and was entirely freed from debt, with two hundred students in attendance. Soon after his resignation, he took passage on a schooner to Panama and from there on a sailing vessel to San Francisco, arriving in April, 1850.

He immediately began practicing law in San Francisco, and in the Fall of 1850 was elected Judge of the Superior Court. At this time the business of the court was managed by three Judges, and Mr. Shattuck, believing this a useless expense, as one Judge could do all the its business, accordingly, in 1852, petitioned the Legislature that the same should be remodeled and one Judge perform the whole duty, which was accomplished, and he therefore resigned the Judgeship and practiced law.

In 1854 he was elected Judge of the Superior Court, as remodeled, and discharged the duties of that office until 1857, when the act establishing said court was repealed upon Mr. Shattuck's petition. He again resumed his profession. In 1861 he was defeated on the Democratic ticket for Congress. In 1862 he came to this county and settled upon his estate in Sonoma valley (purchasing it in 1850),

where he has since resided, with the exception of three years he spent in Mexico. Returning in 1867, he retired from business and political life. His wife, who died July 9, 1875, was born in Wake county, North Carolina, January 6, 1804.

As is seen by the foregoing, Mr. Shattuck has lead a very active life, is an ornament to society and possesses those traits of character that are

elevating and ennobling. He is now nearly eighty years of age, but remarkably well preserved. Mr. Shattuck claims the credit of never having sought a nomination for any office, from any Convention. That while in office he never received a gift from any person, "to blind his eyes withal," and that he has performed the duties of every office held by him with conscientious assiduity and fidelity. He reflects with pleasure upon the four months' campaign he made in 1841 in Mississippi against the repudiation of her debts, and justice and truth require him to say that while by the popular vote of that State a majority of two thousand were in favor of repudiation, yet the repudiation in the main was voted by those who had nothing to pay—all of the wealthy counties gave a majority for payment. Mr. Shattuck looks also with satisfaction to the

conservative course taken by him in the various mobish excitements and Vigilance Committees of San Francisco; in saving Barden from violent death; in preventing a collision of forces in 1856, and in pouring oil upon the troubled waters generally to the extent of his powers. He looks with sadness upon his many errors, but they have taught him to view with charity the shortcomings of others. Their children are: Frank W., born February 14, 1828; Dickson P., born November 2, 1829; David O., born September 17, 1831; John S., born October 1, 1833; Mary E., born August 17, 1835; James W., born October 15, 1837; Jane T., born December 27, 1839; Albert, born November 17, 1841; Elizabeth S., born

December 22, 1843; Robert P., born March 4, 1847.

Testimony to the creativity, intelligence and energy of this branch of the Shattuck family, Judge David Shattuck was also a rancher and one of the first people to set up a vineyard in the famous wine area of Sonoma. He even tried his hand at growing cotton in Mexico.

Judge Shattuck did not want to bring his family to live in the rough city of San Francisco, so in 1851 he purchased land in the town of Sonoma. He had a 10-room house shipped around Cape Horn in sections and it was put together on his new ranch two or three miles south of town. It was located on Watmaugh road and Fifth Street east. In 1852 his wife and seven other children joined him. According to the 1851 census, the entire population of Sonoma County was only 561. D.O. Shattuck, as he was often known, was chairman of the first board of supervisors.

He had 300 acres, with 100 acres cultivated as a vineyard.

There is an article in the Fort Worth Daily Gazette, dated Aug. 15, 1889 (page 8) recounting a family reunion attended by a Fort Worth Shattuck, A. G. Shattuck (Albert Gallatin Shattuck). The reunion was held at Judge David Shattock's home in Sonoma. The family had scattered from the family home by 1860. Almost thirty years later they barely recognized each other at the reunion, as the men were wearing beards.

The book of recipes and family stories by Jean Doolittle Henry provides us with a clue to what tore the family asunder. By 1865 there were families Shattucks had married into at family dinners. When the Civil War erupted some of the extended family sided with the northerners and some with the southerners. Judge Shattuck refused to take the oath of allegiance to the union and moved to Mexico where he became a cotton farmer. After the war he moved back to Sonoma.

At the Sunday afternoon dinner, of the sixty-five grandchildren, there were fully forty present, and they made a picture as they arranged themselves around the old fashioned dining room to watch the reunion dinner. The table was arranged for exactly eleven, the immediate members of the judge's family. And for the first time in thirty years the old family board was filled. They were arranged as they used to be in old times gone by, commencing with the eldest, who occupied the seat of honor and running around to the youngest. And after they were all seated the venerable judge was brought in and took his accustomed seat at the head of the table. The scene was too much for the pent-up feelings of the participators and during grace, in which the old gentleman thanked Providence for His many mercies and His great goodness to them, there was not a dry eye in the old dining room. Sunday's reunion was probably the happiest moment in the lives of the participants and gave them all such inexpressible satisfaction that it was unanimously agreed to meet hereafter every year at the old homestead.

Judge David Shattuck died three years later. His son Albert and son Captain John Summerfield Shattuck are mentioned in Arthur Erwing Shattuck's letter as the brothers who left home for Texas to enter the Civil War on the side of the Confederates. I have written another page on the life of Captain John Shattuck. It is as remarkable as this story of the Sonoma Shattucks.


Genealogy for Judge David Olcott Shattuck and his descendants can be found at page devoted to the branch of the Shattuck family descended from William Shattuck (1653-1732), the son and namesake of the American Massachusetts Shattucks, William Shattuck (1622-1672) of Watertown, Massachusetts. He can found at this node in the genealogy at the bottom of the page: David Olcott Shattuck 1800–1892