Portrait of an older man wearing a suit

Portrait of David F. Lansing, c. 1870. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

November 14, 1877 – Captain David F. Lansing died in Mendocino. Born in Albany, New York in 1809, Lansing came to the California coast in 1849 with his wife and two oldest children. He sailed on several successful whaling voyages, and then, in 1852, Captain Lansing arrived in Mendocino in command of the brig Ontario, which brought the first sawmill to Big River.

Unlike the other pioneers who settled Mendocino, Lansing already had a wife and daughters living in San Francisco. He needed an immediate home for them, so he imported lumber milled in San Francisco and built one of the first houses here. This home still stands on the northeast corner of Main and Howard streets.

Lansing was employed by the lumber company, serving as Harbor Master, then Superintendent at the Point until 1874. He was also a major real estate owner in early Mendocino, and his holdings included most of the town east of Lansing Street.

The Beacon praised Lansing in his obituary, “He was highly respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. In his business affairs he was noted for his honesty and fair dealings. His most intimate friends, and those with whom he had daily contact, through all these long years, speak of him as an exemplary man.”

Capt. Lansing left four daughters and many friends to mourn his loss. On the day of his funeral, businesses closed and flags were displayed at half-mast. Lansing was buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

How Mendocino Evolved by Chuck Bush – A Kelley House Museum publication covering the history of Mendocino and coastal growth during the logging years. $15.