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of Museums

Courthouse Docket

The Life and Times of Dennis Martin

On Saturday, February 6 at 1 p.m. the Courthouse Docket continues with a presentation by local author Bo Crane on his latest book, The Life and Times of Dennis Martin.
Left: Dedicated in 1853, St. Dennis was the Peninsula's first Roman Catholic Church. It was on the property of Dennis Martin.

Dennis Martin, an Irish immigrant, arrived in San Mateo County in 1844 while it was still part of Mexico. He purchased ranch land from a fellow Irishman in 1846. After statehood he acquired additional land, a redwood forested gulch where he started a sawmill business. Martin soon had a warehouse and a schooner operating out of Redwood City, now Redwood Landing. His ranch and sawmills were near the town of Searsville. Martin used his own property to provide a church and a cemetery for the community. All have since disappeared.

Unfortunately, his success was short lived. A United States federal survey done to establish the boundary between adjacent land grants nullified his 1846 deed and a post-gold rush depression ended his lumber dreams. He died in San Francisco destitute, laid to rest in an unmarked grave in his own abandoned cemetery miles west of the Menlo Park depot.

Bo Crane is a native and current Palo Altan and a Stanford graduate, having majored in English and Creative Writing. The author of three previous books, Crane is an avid bicyclist and has had several articles published annually by Cycle California magazine since 2004. His website is bocranebooks.com.

Next on the Docket

Saturday, February 6: Bo Crane, The Life and Times of Dennis Martin
Saturday, March 12: Museum Auxiliary, Notable Women of San Mateo County: From Ranchos to Rockets
Thursday, April 21: San Mateo County Immigrant Stories told through Pecha Kucha

The Courthouse Docket is a monthly series of presentations held in the History Museum's Historic Courthroom A. The Courthouse Docket Series is sponsored by Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation.
Saturday, February 6, 2016
1 p.m.
History Museum, Courtroom A
Free with museum admission;
$6 for adults, $4 for students/seniors
Click here for event flyer.
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