Studio portrait of a young man, posed with a chair and holding a hat.

Studio portrait of Harmon Denslow, posed with a chair and holding a hat, 1875 – 1879. (Gift of Alice Earl Wilder)

April 22, 1879 – Harmon Denslow died at the age of 23, due to complications from typhoid fever.

Born in Connecticut in October 1855, Harmon was the son of Charles Denslow and his second wife, Martha Harmon. The Denslow family moved to Mendocino in 1866 when Charles became the bookkeeper for the Mendocino Lumber Company. They resided in the Freundt House, the company-owned house that sat on the Mendocino bluffs on the south side of Main Street, overlooking Mendocino Bay.

Harmon received his early education at the first Mendocino schoolhouse located near the northeast corner of Lansing and Ukiah Streets. From 1873 to 1877, he attended the University of California, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering Degree from the College of Science. According to Harmon’s classmates, writing in the Oakland Tribune following his death, “in his thesis he demonstrated a problem in the use of a Plane-table, that none had solved before him. He graduated with distinction in his college, and followed up his theoretic knowledge by work in the field at his home in Mendocino County.”

Upon his return to Mendocino, Harmon was also active in the social life of the community. He organized a string band to furnish music for dances and other events and was elected Secretary of Mendocino’s Debating Society. He also performed in a Festival given by the Ladies Presbyterian Society on the second floor of the Masonic Hall. The Beacon reported that the young people involved in the production constructed a stage in the hall, and the program of comedy and song delighted and amused the audience, raising $130 for the church.

Harmon was buried in Evergreen Cemetery on the day after his death. The funeral was held at the Denslow family’s home, and “the remains were accompanied to their final resting place by an immense concourse of friends.”

Join us for a special tribute to the beloved actress, Angela Lansbury on Friday, May 5, 5pm-8pm. The evening begins with a hosted reception at the Blair House Inn, followed by a screening of clips from Angela Lansbury’s career at the Matheson Theater. $60 Members, $70 for General Public.