Newlyweds, Francois & Marguerite Gracia, initially lived at 13001/2 Stockton Ave, from 1877. Known as Montreal House, it was a three story lodgings and saloon at the north eastern corner of Stockton & Broadway. Francois aka Frank worked for the Hotel, providing furnished rooms by the night, week or month, and Marguerite, aka Maggie, worked as dressmaker while raising their growing family.
Marguerite “Maggie” MAHOOD was the first child of Eliza Ann BUCK & Sergeant John MAHOOD, Royal Artillery, stationed with the British Army in Ireland. Maggie was born in July 1856, shortly before the outbreak of hostilities in the Second Opium War. Her father shipped out to China before the year’s end and would not return for all almost three years.
This article recounts the dramatic, traumatic, and tragic events leading to the first immigrant to California from the Gracia & Marchetti family. It is remarkable that one man’s life can be so thoroughly documented, placing him as, not only an eye witness, but a participant in historical events.
John Mahood was born 1825, son of Adam Mahood, in Magherally Parish near Banbridge, County Down, in Northern Ireland. The town of Banbridge was the centre of the ‘Linen Homelands’ owing its success to flax and the linen industry. Naturally, John became a weaver.
Ireland had witnessed a massive surge in population from 2.6 to 8.5 million by 1845 when blight struck the staple food of the masses – the potato. Two-fifths of the population were totally dependent on the potato and it was the major food-source of the rest. Between 1845 and 1849, the potato crop failed in three seasons out of four. The result was starvation and the spread of the “road disease” – dysentery, typhus and cholera.