Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

BRIDGEWATER, CYRUS W (1843-1921)

History of the state of California and biographical record of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo Counties, James Miller Guinn

Photograph of Cyrus W. Bridgewater
Cyrus W. Bridgewater

CYRUS W[RIGHT] BRIDGEWATER. During his service for eight terms as city marshal of Watsonville Mr. Bridgewater has won the confidence of all the best citizens, and his faithful service is appreciated by them. He was born [February 16, 1843] in Cass County, Ill., and grew to boyhood on the farm of his parents, John and Belinda (Haynes) Bridgewater [where his father was a trustee of the Primitive Baptist Church]. When the newly opened territory of Kansas was attracting thousands by reason of its intimate connection with events culminating in the Civil War, the family identified themselves with the anti-slavery party in Lynn county, Kans., where they settled during 1857. A part of the farm they purchased was in Lynn county, and the balance in Bates county, Mo. The father died in 1862 at fifty years of age, and during the same year the son enlisted for service in the Union army, becoming a member of Company F, Sixth Kansas Cavalry. After two years of faithful service in the ranks he was promoted to be second corporal, and served as such until the end of the struggle. Much of his service was on the frontier, where he participated in several skirmishes, but escaped being wounded or imprisoned. On his return from the war he bought a farm in Bates County, Mo., where he followed farming and cattle raising, and met with fair success. However, the climate did not prove satisfactory and when he learned through a friend of the ideal climate to be found in California he decided to spend the remainder of his days upon the Pacific coast. Selling out in 1875, he came west the next year and settled in the thriving city of Watsonville, in the heart of the Pajaro valley. For a few years he engaged in teaming and jobbing, after which he was employed as engineer in a mill on Main Street. The latter position he resigned on securing an appointment as night watchman. After serving as watchman for four years, he was elected city marshal and has been re-elected eight consecutive times. This appointment comes to him from the people, irrespective of politics, he being independent in his views and not identified with any party. In religion, as in politics, he has not associated himself with any particular organization. For many years he has been an officer in the Knights of Pythias, and he is also connected with the Eagles. The first wife of Mr. Bridgewater was Elizabeth Perry, of Brown county, Ill., who died at twenty-nine years. Three children were born of their union: William L., who is a plumber in Watsonville; Ethel, deceased; and James H., a businessman of Redwood City. The present Mrs. Bridgewater was Emma Shankland, daughter of James Shankland, and a native of Kentucky. To their union two children were born, namely: Edgar, who is a druggist; and Harry, who is employed as a mail carrier. (p. 553-554)

Editor's Note: History of the state of California and biographical record of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo Counties incorrectly lists the surname of Emma and James Shankland as Shankman.

Watsonville Pajaronian (August 18, 1921)

Watsonville Pioneer Passes to Last Rest

Cyrus W. Bridgewater, veteran police judge of this city and pioneer resident of the Pajaro valley, died last night at 10 o'clock at his home on Rodriguez street following an illness of two months. He had been failing for the last year or more and about two months ago a general breakdown occurred from which the venerable judge failed to rally.

Judge Bridgewater was a man of sterling character and he enjoyed the esteem and confidence of all who knew him. He had been prominent in the official circles of Watsonville for the past thirty years having held the office of chief of police or police judge almost continuously since 1890, and was the incumbent in the latter office at the time of his death.

The deceased was born in Illinois February 16, 1843, and grew to boyhood on the farm of his parents John and Belinda (Haynes) Bridgewater. When the newly opened territory of Kansas was attracting attention by reason of its connection with events culminating in the Civil War, the family identified themselves with the anti-slavery party in Lynn county Kansas, where they settled in the year 1857. The father died in 1862, and during the same year the son enlisted in the Union army becoming a member of Company F, Sixth Kansas cavalry, and after two years of faithful service in the ranks he was promoted to the second corporal, and served as such to the end of the war. On his return from the war he bought a farm in Bates county, Missouri, but not being satisfied with the climate there he finally decided to move to the Pacific coast, so selling his Missouri farm in 1875, he came west the next year and settled in Watsonville. For a few years he engaged in teaming and jobbing, after which he was employed as an engineer in a mill on Main Street; this position he resigned to accept the appointment as night watchman which he held for four years. He was then elected city marshal, to which position he was re-elected for eight consecutive terms.

The deceased first wife was Elizabeth Perry, of Brown county, Illinois who died at the age of twenty-nine years. Three children were born out of this union, William L., Ethel (deceased), and James H. Bridgewater. The present Mrs. Bridgewater was Emma Shankman, a native of Kentucky. Two children, Edgar and Harry, were the result of this marriage.

The arrival of Judge Bridgewater in Watsonville in 1878 was coincident with the building of the city hall, in which building he was a prominent figure for more than thirty years.

The deceased was 78 years, 6 month and 1 day old at the time of his passing and is survived by his wife, Mrs.

Emily Bridgewater, and four sons, W.L. Bridgewater of Salinas, J.H. Bridgewater of South San Francisco, Edgar Bridgewater of Colfax, and Harry Bridgewater former acting postmaster of Watsonville.

He was a member of Lolanthe Lodge Knights of Pythias and Pythian Sisters.

The funeral will be held from Burland Bros. funeral parlors Friday, August 19th at 2:00 o'clock p.m.

Correction to article submitted by Vern Paul from Family Genealogical Records

The Pajaronian article states that three children were born to Cyrus and Elizabeth, and two children were born to Cyrus and Emma. However, there were four children born to Cyrus and Emma. Their first two children were Myrtia J. Bridgewater [26 Feb 1871-22 May 1874] and Charles Bridgewater [29 Sep 1873-18 Nov 1874] who both died in their infancy and are buried in the Robinson Cemetery at Rich Hill, Bates Co., Missouri. In the same cemetery is Cyrus’ and Elizabeth’s daughter Clara Bridgewater [7 May 1868-15 Nov 1870].


>>Return to Home Page of Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans

>>Return to "B" Index Page

View similarly tagged articles:

cemeteries, Civil War

Disclaimer:

It is our continuing goal to make available a selection of articles on various subjects and places in Santa Cruz County. Certain topics, however, have yet to be researched. In other cases, we were not granted permission to use articles. The content of the articles is the responsibility of the individual author. It is the Library's intent to provide accurate local history information. However, it is not possible for the Library to completely verify the accuracy of individual articles obtained from a variety of sources. If you believe that factual statements in a local history article are incorrect and can provide documentation, please contact the Webmaster.