Merced Evening Sun
Tuesday, April 17, 1900


The Death of J. C. Smith.
His Residence in Merced, A California Pioneer

The sad news was circulated in Merced this morning of the death of J. C. Smith which occurred last night at 11:30 at his residence in this city in the presence of his family.

The news of his death came as a shock to the community, although it was known that his health was on the decline. A couple of months ago Mr. Smith's health became very poor and he went down to San Francisco to Dr. Lane's hospital where he remained several weeks under treatment at the hands of San Francisco's most eminent physicians. He came home about two weeks ago, apparently slightly improved, but he failed to resume his old familiar place in his elegant Cosmopolitan saloon, and his old friends expressed the opinion that "Johnnie" would never regain his vigor.

Mr. Smith while being unable to attend to business since his return from San Francisco, has been able to walk around and came down town occasionally, until a few days ago when he was taken down with a relapse. His decline has been rapid during this time and last night marked his end.

John C. Smith was one of California's pioneers. He was born in Ohio about 70 years ago and came to California in 1850 via Panama. He began mining on the American River, near Murderer's Bar, himself and partner dividing $6000 profits at the end of three months. He then resumes his business of bar-keeping in San Francisco, remaining there for about two years when he went to Tuolumne county where he engaged in saloon-keeping until 1858. He again turned his attention to mining for the ensuing five years with varied successful in the end. Mr. Smith then opened a saloon in Sonora, which soon took the lead in that place. In 1871 he opened the pioneer saloon of Yosemite Valley, and on December 9, 1878, the Cosmopolitan of Merced was opened by Mr. Smith, he being the purchaser of the first lot in Merced at the auction sale held by the railroad, Feb. 8, 1872.

Since that time Mr. Smith has been a resident of Merced where he built a handsome residence at the coroner of Huffman avenue and 19th street. He leaves a wife and two children - Miss Edith, and John Jr.

The funeral will be held from the residence tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock.

Transcribed by Alma Stone