Isaac J. Harvey was a man of many occupations: Indiana farmer, businessman, and banker, owner of stores, hotels, toll roads, pack mules, and flat bottom boats on the Missouri River. He was a man of letters, a scout for his own wagon trains, a ranch owner in Plumas County, a miner who was a primary backer of the Lost Black Rock Silver Mine, a county judge in Missouri and California, and a mayor of Salinas City.  But foremost, he was a man devoted to his wife, family and home.

Isaac. J. Harvey built his home for his wife, Sarah. She knew what she wanted, “double parlors so that young people could dance between them a palm tree for a touch of elegance, and a Berkshire rose at the end of the porch”. It was one of the first homes to be built in Salinas.


Sophronia Elizabeth (1848-1946) was born in New Castle, Indiana. In1852 the family came to California by covered wagon. “Sophie” spent her winters in Marysville and summers at Spanish Ranch, a mining community near Quincy, CA. When her family moved to Salinas City, Sophronia became the first teacher in the first school organized by the Salinas City School District. The school consisted of an old saloon, an unpainted, boarded shack, with a few chairs, boxes and table, and just nine students, including youngest sister Mabel. The following description of the school appeared in the Salinas Evening Index*. “Recalling vividly the colorful life of 70 years ago despite her advanced Age, Ms. Clark told of the opening of the school in an old saloon in September 1868, shortly after she arrived with her father, I. J. Harvey, who was later to become the city’s first mayor, and his family.” “The building was an unpainted crude board shack located 

on the present site of the Ramona Bakery, which was considered too far out of town to be of any value. The furniture consisted of chairs without backs, a few boxes and a table or two. There were nine students the first week, 11 the second. Six months later the school closed for lack of funds, but reopened the next year. The trustees were F. M. Jolly, William Vanderhurst and Mike Hughs. Jolly didn’t like the idea of a woman teacher, and kept his two girls out of school the first week, which accounted the difference in attendance. “While she was teaching in Salinas, Mrs Clark lived across from the school. In winter the two feet of dust that comprised the street became a quagmire. To oversee this difficulty, Mrs. Clark’s loyal pupils each morning cut great armfuls of mustard stalks and formed a pathway for the teacher to cross dry-shod and safely! The mustard provided a natural playground for the pupils during the recess – Mrs. Clark recalls that at times not a student could be seen although none was more than a few hundred feet from the building. Sister Josephine, became a teacher in Salinas, as well, and both daughters organized the Union Sunday School, which may have had an even greater impact on weekly life in Salinas City. Sophronia and her husband, Nathan Clark, would live in Salinas for the remainder of their lives, living in the house they built on the corner of San Luis and Salinas Street and raising four children.

More About I. J. Harvey, His Family, & Their Salinas Home


Chapter 1.  End of Westering: The Journey of the Harvey Family to Salinas City

Chapter 2. House Restoration, 1998-2005

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