Santa Cruz County History - People



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

DARLING, WILLIAM R (1837-1901)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (November 14, 1891)

Headstone of William R Darling
William R. Darling
Evergreen Cemetery

W. R. Darling, who rented the Dill ranch one mile below Soquel, has returned to the Powder Mill to work.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (September 28, 1894)

The other day W.R. Darling, while making connections with the gas main in the Leonard building, became overpowered by the gas and was rendered unconscious for ten minutes.

Santa Cruz Sentinel April 19, 1899)

All About a Cow
Poundmaster Darling's Experience While Trying to Do His Duty

Poundmaster Darling in pursuance of his duty discovered that a cow owned by Mrs. Bertha Leibbrandt, near the beach, was using a street for a pasture. In order to comply with the ordinance the Poundmaster deemed it his duty to take the cow to the pound. On Monday evening he started after the cow, but he met with an adventure he did not expect. When he reached the street on which the cow was reducing the quantity of grass he found Mrs. Leibbrandt ready to receive him. She claimed that a boy had been hired to watch the cow, so the Poundmaster had no right to take the animal. The discussion became so warm that, according to Darling's story, she grabbed the whip from the socket of the buggy and broke it in half. Darling retained one-half while she kept the other.

The question now is as to who struck the first blow. Darling claims it was Mrs. Leibbrandt, while the latter accuses the Poundmaster of being the first to begin the battle. Anyway it was blow for blow for a time. Mrs. Leibbrandt has bruises on her arms and hands, while Darling has welts on his neck. Each swore out a warrant for the other on a charge of battery, Darling appeared in Justice Craghill's Court and plead guilty, but Mrs. Leibbrandt owing to illness was unable to make her appearance. No time was set for trial.

The cow, the cause of all the trouble, peacefully continued to munch grass near the beach, for Darling after his experience, did not care to take the animal to the pound.

When the case comes to trial each side will be given an opportunity to be heard, so it is expected that the question as to who struck the first blow will be judicially determined.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 19, 1899)

Poundmaster Darling says that he is an old soldier and never runs away when he has a duty to perform. He says that he plead not guilty in Justice Craghill's Court. He denies the story that he failed to take Mrs. Bertha Liebbrandt's cow to the pound. The Poundmaster Managed to get the cow to the pound and also received the fee allowed by law for the animal's release.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 12, 1899)

Poundmaster Darling pled guilty to a charge of battery in Justice Craghill's court yesterday and will be sentenced today.

The charges of battery against Mrs. Leibbrandt have been dismissed in Justice Craghill's court on request of the complainant.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 13, 1899)

Poundmaster Darling was Friday fined cost of court by Judge Craghill for battery of Mrs. Leibbrandt.

POSTCRIPT
(Santa Cruz Sentinel June 5, 1921)
Mrs. B. Leibbrandt Adjudged Insane

Mrs. Bertha Leibbrandt was up for examination before Judge Knight yesterday and was adjudged insane and was committed to Agnews.

She alleged that she is charged with electricity, which comes from the powerhouse at the beach, and that when a person points their finger at her she alleges that electricity is shot into her body.

It was said that she took breakfast food, which she rubbed over her body to keep warm.

She boasted that she sneaked at night from her watchers, after they had gone to sleep. At that time she would go to the neighbors in her night robe.

Santa Cruz Surf (July 8, 1901)

Three Mills At Powder Works Demolished by Explosion This Morning-
William R. Darling an Old Employee, Dead, and J Maynard, Wounded.

Three loud reports were heard in town this morning which caused a general shaking up and people ran out of doors. Up the San Lorenzo canyon could be seen a cloud of white smoke which told the tale that another explosion had occurred at the Powder Works.

This time the corning mill and what are known as the No. 6 and No. 7 single wheel mills where sporting powder is manufactured went up. W.R. Darling, one of the oldest employees at the works was killed and Joe Maynard injured.

The cause of the explosion will never be known. The first mill that went up was the corning mill and the concussion from this mill set off the two wheel mills a few hundred yards distant.

W.R. Darling was in charge of the corning mill and was instantly killed, being found in an awful burnt condition about seventy five feet from the mill. The mill is a three-sided affair, the walls being of concrete and the roof of corrugated iron. Inside was about thirty barrels of powder and the force of the explosion lifted the roof off. Scarcely any of the wood work remained. The heavy machinery, unfit for further use, was thrown against the concrete walls. The machinery is very expensive and it will take several thousand dollars to replace it. This is the same mill in which J. Steiner and C. Larsen were killed nearly two years ago.

The wheel mills are also completely wrecked. Joy Maynard, foreman of this department, was leaving one of the mills and was thrown some distance and struck against the walls. He was badly shaken up, his head was cut but he was not seriously injured. The machinery in this department is also unfit for further service.

Employed here are John Geyer, John Farrar and Geo. Robinson, but they were on the grounds at work outside.

They are only in their mills when a charge is placed and this is done every two hours. They had left their place of work at nine and were not due again to take off the charge until eleven o'clock. Only 2 1/2 barrels of powder were in each mill.

George Bros., who works in the process sixty feet from the corning mill, got a bad shaking up.

A number of panes of glass in the cartridge factory, a glass in the cabinet in the office and other windows around the works were shattered. Soon as the explosion occurred the entire works were closed down and all the men were at work removing debris and fighting fire. The woods caught fire from the explosion and for a time the fire spread up the hill quite rapidly, but the men by hard effort soon had it under control.

A large number of persons went from town by team and by bicycle to the scene, but could not get further than the gate, where a watchman was stationed and allowed no one to enter but the undertaker and Doctors Maguire, Christal and Morgan.

William R. Darling, who was killed, was among the oldest employees at the works, and has been there about thirty years. For a few years he was not employed, but for the last six or seven months he has been in his old place. He was a native of Massachusetts and was 64 years of age. He leaves a wife and three children, Mrs. Carlos White and Harold and Cassius Darling.

He was a brother of Rev. C.H. Darling at one time pastor of the Methodist church at Soquel. Mr. Darling was a member of the Adventist church and was a staunch member of that body of Christians.

Editor's Note: A similar article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 9, 1901 indicates that William R. Darling served as Poundmaster during the years that he was not employed at the mill, and that he was a member of a California Company during the Civil War.

For information about the previous Powder Mill explosion mentioned in this article, see local history topic A Walk Through Time: The 1898 Powder Mill Explosion.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 11, 1901)

Laid To Rest
The Funeral of W.R. Darling from the Blessed Hope Church

"When the Lord calls, I am ready to go," Such were among the words Wm. R. Darling wrote in his last letter to Rev. C.H. Darling, who had written to him expressing fear for his safety at the Powder Works. The deceased was a member of a California company during the Civil War, having been stationed at Fort Yuma Arizona. His father was the Colonel of the 9th Massachusetts, and his two brothers were members of regiments from that State. It was a brother of deceased who arrested Mumford in New Orleans for pulling down the flag from the U.S. Mint. Mumford dared any "Yankee," as he expressed it, to lay hands on him. Wm R. Darling's brother, who was acting as Provost Marshal, stepped up and placed Mumford under arrest.

Mrs. Hattie D. Walker, a sister of deceased, who resided in Santa Cruz in 1876, is now State Secretary of the W.C.T.U. of Massachusetts. She was among the first five women preachers licensed by the Methodist Church.

The funeral of the deceased took place Wednesday afternoon from the Blessed Hope Church. The Powder Mill employees attended in a body and preceded the hearse to the Odd Fellow's Cemetery. The choir, the Misses Hunt, Clarence Archibald and T.W. Fields sang "Asleep in Jesus" and "Saved By Grace". The prayer was by Rev. I. N. Archibald and the funeral sermon by Rev. Virgil Hunt.

The pallbearers were A. Monseau, John Dennett and George Dennet, of the Powder Works and Comrades Sweet, C. Craghill and J.D. White of the G.A.R.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 16, 1915)

Encampment of Grand Army
by T.E. Blanchard

Mrs. Darling, a member of Wallace Reynolds corps met with a serious accident, which will prevent her return for a week or more. In alighting from a conveyance she missed the step and fell heavily, rendering her unconscious for a time.

The list of officers elect having been given I will not repeat them.

Editor's Note: William Darling was later removed from IOOF and re-entered in Evergreen.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson (October 10, 2003)

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Pension/Military Research

In April 1891, William R Darling 48, a powder maker who was described as being 5'4 1/2", 150 lbs and originally from Leciminster, MA applied for a pension as a result of scalded feet. Following his death on July 9, 1902 his widow applied for his pension noting that she (Mary E Blackman) had married William Darling on Oct. 26, 1881. To that union 4 children were born; Mary A. August 18, 1882; Grace E, Nov. 29, 1884; Harold A, Jan 31 1890 and Cassius W July 29, 1891.


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