The Story of Joshua H. Bean: San Diego’s First Mayor

When he first came to California in 1849, Joshua H. Bean was a soldier in the Mexican-American War serving under Zachary Taylor. That same year, Taylor would win the election for the 12th President of the United States in 1849. Fans of Wild West stories might know some stories about Judge Roy Bean, who was Joshua’s brother. Judge Bean was a hanging judge by recognition, but reality was a bit different from the fable. He’d only sentenced two men to death, but he’d spent some time owning saloons before he became a judge. Joshua decided to take that profession with him to California.

California had steady foot traffic, and saloons were good business. Life was developing in places like San Diego, and saloons also doubled as trading posts. This opened up a world of business to Joshua, and his military experience earned him the appointment of Major General to the State militia. His work there helped to defend the territory from warring natives in the area.

By the time the California legislature had incorporated San Diego, Bean had worked his way up to alcalde of San Diego. San Diego held its first election in 1850, and it was then that Bean won the title of mayor.

Unfortunately, power proved to be corrupting for Bean. He was involved in several illegal land deals for his own profit and the benefit of a drinking partner. Authorities seized the title for San Diego City Hall from Bean, who was attempting to sell it before he escaped to Los Angeles. Bean’s legacy fizzled in 1852, when he was killed in a scuffle after arguing with the wrong person near a mission outside San Gabriel.

Bio: Retired Archbishop James Provence spends his time blogging about history around the Web. James Provence is also a volunteer docent of the California Railway Museum in Sacramento.

Astonishing Facts About New York at the Dawn of the 20th Century

By Phin Upham

New York is frequently romanticized in television and film, and with its rich history there is no wonder why. The area has always been hotly contested, and wasn’t always the financial hub we know it as today. The New York in 1890 was quite a bit closer to the New York of today, but it had gone through so much change to get to this point.



Alexander Hamilton had cemented New York as a financial hub early on, which meant a great deal of money was flowing through the city. By 1900, Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange had been in full swing for some time. Both were already declared two of the largest financial institutions in the world. It was fitting, then, that skyscrapers would be built in New York City.

This exhibition to man’s ability made New York iconic, but the history that followed would cement its place in history for all time. The skyscrapers themselves sparked a great competition, with the winner being the Empire State Building. Empire held the title until the World Trade Center, which collapsed tragically on September 11, 2001.

Separate Territories

New York became the New York City we know of today thanks to the consolidation of several areas. Residents call them “the Boroughs”: Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and the outlying areas. Many of the thoroughfares and roadways that join these areas are made of trails that date back to the 1500s, when natives used them to hunt or trade.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Twitter page.