Studio portrait of a Victorian woman wearing earrings, a brooch and lace collar

Wedding portrait of Elizabeth Broderick Carlson, 1859. (Kelley House Collection, Kelley House Photographs)

November 28, 1880 – Mrs. Elizabeth Carlson died. She was born in County Cork, Ireland around 1828, and it’s unknown when she immigrated to the United States. She first married Mathew Kupp, who was born in New York. In 1853, their son, John, was born in Newark, New Jersey, and the following year Mathew died there. A few months after her husband’s death, Elizabeth moved to Mendocino.

In 1859, she was married to John Edward Carlson in St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco by Rev. Father Gallagher. Carlson was one of the first Mendocino settlers, arriving on the brig Ontario in 1852. He helped build the sawmill and worked there until 1857 when he decided to build the community’s first hotel. This hotel, located on West Main Street in Mendocino, was destroyed in the disastrous fire of 1870. Carlson rebuilt on the same site and continued to run the hotel until he retired in 1882. The Carlsons had four children together: twin daughters Bessie and Kate, a son Eddie, and Julia, who died in infancy.

A life-long member of the Catholic Church, Elizabeth was attended in her sickness, death, and burial by Rev. Father Sheridan, pastor of the Catholic congregation at Mendocino.

From her obituary in the Beacon: “She lived an industrious and useful life and endeared herself to numbers by her many acts of kindness. Her demise is deeply regretted by her many friends and acquaintances and will be a severe loss to her family, who have the sincere sympathies of our community.”

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