Santa Cruz County History - People

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

LODGE, MICHAEL (1839-1931)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 28, 1929)

Nineteen Survivors of the Early Wars Will Be Guests of Honor this Memorial Day

Photograph of Michael Lodge
Michael Lodge
Photo courtesy of Helen B. Collins

Michael Lodge

The oldest Civil War veteran in Santa Cruz now is Michael Lodge, now 90 years old and will be 91 in July.

A native of Soquel, born in the old Noble adobe house, now practically in ruins.

Twenty six years old when he enlisted. Entire service was here in California and Washington. Private in the 2nd U.S. Artillery.

Carries on a very good conversation but will not accept a ride, as riding seems to make his body ache. Has a very clear memory and likes to talk about his experience of early days. Lives just south of Soquel on the Soquel Watsonville Highway.

Santa Cruz Evening News (May 30, 1930)

GAR Well Represented

Michael Lodge, the oldest member of Wallace Reynolds post of Santa Cruz is a native of Santa Cruz county, who enlisted for his service in the Union army in Santa Cruz.

He is Michael Lodge, who was born at Soquel on July 29, 1838 on what is now known as the Noble farm, and who is still living on the Watsonville highway near Soquel.

He was a volunteer in Co. A 8th Infantry of California Volunteers and was mustered into service November 12, 1864. All of his service was on the Pacific coast, where he was stationed as a member of an artillery unit at For Cape Disappointment on the Columbia River.

. Lodge's father was born in Dublin and came to America when a lad. He was a sailor on a whaling vessel out of Boston and was shipwrecked in the Bay of Monterey. His mother as Martina Castro, a daughter of Don Rafael Castro.

Since the close of the war, Mr. Lodge has lived quietly at his Soquel home. His longest trip in the past 65 years was when he went to Salinas to repair and engine.

For 27 years he was an engineer in the tannery at Soquel operated by Benjamin Porter.

Santa Cruz Evening News (May 4, 1931)

Michael Lodge 93, Grandson of Settler of 1798

Michael Lodge, member of a family which has been in Santa Cruz and Soquel for 188 years, died last night at 10 o'clock at the home on the Watsonville Highway between Soquel and Aptos, where he had lived for the last two score years.

Michael Lodge's grandfather was Joaquin Castro, an invalided soldier of the Spanish army who settled in Villa Branciforte in 1798.

Michael Lodge's mother, Martina Castro was at one time owner of 35,000 acres in Santa Cruz county in Soquel rancho and Soquel Augmentation rancho, both granted her by the Mexican government at Monterey and confirmed by the United States government.

Father Was Sailor

Michael Lodge's father was a native of Dublin, also named Michael Lodge, who after running away from his home in Ireland, was a sailor on a whaling vessel out of Boston which was wrecked in Monterey bay in 1822. Michael Lodge the elder established himself as a carpenter in Monterey, but in 1829 married Martina Castro, a daughter of Joaquin, and a sister of Don Rafael Castro who was the best known of the family of that name, on the north shore of Monterey bay.

Michael Lodge the elder, who had until that time made his home on his mother's ranch near Soquel, "went to the mines" in 1848, taking his family with him. Late that year an epidemic of scarlet fever resulted in the death of three of this children and he sent the rest back to Soquel, intending to follow later.

Never Returned from Mines

The father, who had operated as a freighter and trader, driving mule teams between Stockton and Calaveras, never reached Santa Cruz. The presumption of his family has always been that he was killed by bandits, who robbed him of the gold he was bringing back and did away with the body.

Michael Lodge the younger whose death occurred last night enlisted in the union army in the civil war and served his entire enlistment on the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. Returning to Soquel he was for 27 years engineer in the Porter tannery near Soquel. In the last 66 years he had never been over the mountains" from his home except for one trip to Salinas.

Remembered Fremont

Michael Lodge remembered John C. Fremont when "the pathfinder" camped at Santa Cruz the last three days of February 1846 on his way to Gavilan peak where he raised the American flag for three days in defiance to the Mexican authorities.

On of the three sisters of Michael Lodge the younger whose death occurred last night was Carmelita Lodge, who married Thomas Fallon and who's large properties largely in Monterey county, were in litigation until a year or so ago and widely known as the Carmel Fallon estate.

Ninety Three Years Old

Michael Lodge would have been 93 years old if he had lived until July 29. He had been cared for many years by his daughter Carrie Lodge, who is the only immediate surviving relative. Dr. A. N. Nitter had been his physician for the last years of his life.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 O'clock from Wessendorf's mortuary, with burial in the Soquel cemetery

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 7, 1931)

Many Friends Attend Funeral Michael Lodge

Relatives, friends, and neighbors of many years gathered at the Wessendorf mortuary yesterday afternoon, for services held for Michael Lodge, one of Soquel’s oldest settlers, who died at the old family home on the Soquel Watsonville highway May 4. Rev. J.J. Kelly, pastor emeritus of Soquel Congregational church, and W.A. Hensel, had charge of the services, in which the G.A.R. Wallace Reynolds post and the W.R.C. had a part. Mrs. Margaret Riordan and Mrs. Abra Budworth sang, “No Night There,” and “Lead Kindly Light,” at the service ins Santa Cruz and Mrs. Mattie Tucker and Miss Susan White sang at the cemetery in Soquel where the body was interred.

Neighbors who bore the deceased to his last resting place were O.R. Nutter, Tom Lindsay, Lee Esty, Walter Noble, Ed Noble and Ed West.

The immediate family circle is composed of Louisa Lodge, Carrie Lodge and Julia Lodge, daughters, and two sons Mike Lodge Jr. of Soquel and Frank Lodge of San Francisco. A nephew, Frank Valencia of Sea cliff, a direct descendant of Don Rafael Castro, was with the family party. There were many relatives present from various parts of the state as the family was a large one.

The death of Michael Lodge removes the last remaining member of a family of five sisters and one brother, Carmel Fallon of San Francisco; Mrs. Ellen Littlejohn of Soquel, Mrs. Antonia Peck of Santa Cruz, Mrs. Ruth Clements of Soquel, and Mrs. Mary Averon of Soquel. The brother died when very young.

Michael Lodge as next to the youngest in the family and was in his 93rd year when he died. He has always been a great lover of the sea and would have like to have followed it, as when quite a youth he had several voyages which his parents allowed him to take, hoping it would cure him of his desire, but it only served to strengthen his love for it. He was greatly enamored with the Hawaiian Islands, which he visited, when quite a lad. He was not of age so had to return home upon the request of his parents.

He was a member of the California regiment during the Civil War, but never saw any fighting, as he remained in the west during this enlistment. There were quantities of flowers, both at the mortuary and at the grave, sent with loving greetings of friends near and far.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

National Archives and Records Administration Research, February 2004
Michael Lodge Certificate #1703.017

Antonio Michael Lodge was born in what is today Soquel, Santa Cruz County, California on July 29, 1838. His parents were Michael Lodge born in Ireland and Martina Castro born in California. On November 24, 1864, he was mustered into Co A of the 8th California Infantry at Watsonville was stationed at Ft. Point and on the Oregon Coast prior to his discharge on October 24, 1865 at Ft. Point. He has resided at Soquel since that time.

While it is somewhat illegible his initial request for pension claim indicated that he had was married to a Nancy Castillo and Jane (or June) Molares, both of whom died. Michael indicated that he was married by a Catholic priest at Holy Cross church but could not remember the dates. To these unions the following children were born: Ellen, Michael, Felix, Louisa, Frank, Carrie and Julia however he could not remember their age or dates of birth. He indicated that they were recorded in a family book, which has since been lost. His death certificate also indicated that he had been married to a Margaret Lodge who proceeded him in death.

He indicated that his occupation was that of a “currier”, that he was 5’8” in height, dark complexioned with black eyes and having black hair. He also said that he had been a laborer.

Within the file are a number of applications for increase of pension between the years 1891 and 1931. Rupture, asthma, heart condition are all listed as reasons for the need of pension however in 1893 he also noted that he had broken his left collar bone after having been thrown by a horse.

The accompanying death certificate signed by Dr. A.N. Nittler noted that he had died on May 4, 1931 of myocarditis and chronic nephritis with arteriosclerosis as a contributing condition. Wessendorf and Son were the undertakers and Soquel cemetery was the location of burial.

Notes from Marion Pokriots, November 2002

Michael Lodge was born in 1838. His mother was granted the Soquel Rancho in 1833. His parents had an adobe on Hill Street on the ocean side of the freeway. Michael was probably born in the Soquel adobe.

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