George Hartley was born 3 Jul 1878, on a farm about 5 miles east of Waverly, Bremer, Iowa, to James "Jimmy" Monroe Hartley and Mary Jane "Jennie" Tibbetts. He was their second son and 4th child. His early childhood consisted of an impressive series of moves that did not completely abate until he was into his 30's. Although his mother Mary Jane was raised on a farm, George's father James was more of a city boy, and more comfortable as a salesman than a farmer.
When George was about 2 years old his parents had moved from Waverly to 170 miles due west in Marcus, Cherokee, Iowa, where he and his family were staying with his father's older brother, uncle George Washington Hartley and his family.
By 1881 George and family had again moved (almost 390 miles due south) to Oswego County, Kansas, where a number of George's mother Mary Jane Tibbetts's people had already settled, but by 1882 George's parents and grandfather Henry Charles Tibbetts all moved to San Diego (about 1,280 miles). George's uncle Marquis "Mark" Hartley was already in the San Diego area.
James Hartley bought 10 acres in the Tijuana River Valley area (near where the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve is--there are still a few farms in that area), right on the border between the US and Mexico. George's grandfather Henry Charles Tibbetts also bought land there, where he remained for the rest of his life.
But just as soon as George's family had settled there they traveled over 400 miles north to a small coastal town called Soquel, where they planned to buy a large house and have a lot of boarders. It did not pan out, though.
So by January 1883 George, 5, and his family were back in San Diego, living at 19th and J st. George's little brother Joey died of measles and whooping cough, and then the family moved to Dehesa (near El Cajon), where James purchased 372 acres (the outline of which is still visible in an aerial shot, and is right next to the present Sycuan Casino and Resort). They lived there until they moved in 1892, and then rented it out.
[James and Mary (Tibbetts) Hartley, with their children in the early 1890's. Clockwise from left: Delia, John "Jack", Mary Catherine, and George in the center. Maud is at the bottom. From my personal collection.]
In 1892, George, 14, and his family moved to Los Angeles for a few years, where his father had been made a special agent for his insurance company. This was a change of scenery for the whole family as they were able to go to the theater and enjoy city life. But just as abruptly James purchased land in North Park, where the family then proceeded to use as a citrus farm. They lived between Dehesa and North Park (need to verify this).
In 1895, when George was 17, his parents home in Dehesa burned down and they came to stay in North Park, a community in San Diego.
When the Spanish American War in 1898 broke out, George, 20, wished to enlist, but his mother would not permit it. It seems to me he was of age to decide for himself, but I think that is a testament to Mary Jane's role in the family. So instead George turned to being a farm hand for his father in North Park.
[George about 1900]
George married his first wife, Jane "Jennie" Denby, born in England, on 9 Feb 1901. They were both 21. She and her sister Kate were orphaned when their parents died in the 1880s, and they came with their maternal grandmother, Mrs. Jane Hemsley and uncles Joe and Charles Hemsley, to San Diego. Tragically she died 2 years later, only a few months after the birth of their only child, James "Jim" Denby Hartley.
George took a business course at Kelsey-Jenney (now defunct) about 1904, when he was about 26. I am unsure who helped him take care of little Jim, although I imagine it was family who pitched in. When George was 28 he married my great grandmother Minnie Etta Nosler, 23, a former pupil of his sister Delia in Dehesa. They married in Los Angeles (not sure why) and then moved to Riverton, Coquille, Coos, Oregon (over 800 miles away from San Diego).
Riverton was near the coast, on the river between Coquille and Bandon, and there they lived in a rented house at Johnson's Mill, where he worked as the bookkeeper there. It was here that his second son, George Hartley, Jr was born (when George was abt 29). His daughter Mary Esther Hartley was born there when George was 33 (in 1911). (In 1910 son Jim was living in San Diego with George's mother Mary Jane Tibbetts Hartley and some of his aunts and uncles.)
After Mary Esther was born George bought a small ranch in Lakeside, San Diego, California. They lived there for a few years but by 1915 were back in San Diego. I believe they lived in a variety of houses, fixing them up and selling them.
The 1918 WWI registration card revealed that he was 40, of medium build and height, with light blue eyes and dark brown hair. At this point he worked as a bank clerk at 1st National Bank (1007 Fifth Ave).
In the 1920 Census he was 42 and living at the rented house 1372 7th Street, San Diego. He was employed as auditor at Title and Trust.
A year later this amusing incident occurred:
San Diego Union
17 Sep 1921
Rides Home in Wrong Auto, Cop Wakes Him
F. M. Umbarger, a carpenter living at 2965(?hard to read) Logan avenue, and George Hartley, 2241 Fourth street, parked their Overland cars almost identically the same, at Seventh street and Broadway, yesterday afternoon. Umbarger was the first to go back for his automobile. Without paying much attention to the license number of the car, which he thought to be his, he jumped into the driver's seat, put his key in the switch and drove the car home. He ran the automobile into the garage and went to bed.
In the meantime, Hartley had gone to get his car. An Overland car, license number 170-727, was standing at the curb, but there was no trace of Hartley's auto, and he notified police that it had been stolen.
About 7 o'clock the attention of the police was called to the fact that an Overland car had been parked at Seventh street and Broadway for several hours. Sergt. Henry Churchman traced the ownership of the car to Umbarger through its license number and had Patrolman Parrott investigate the case.
When he discovered his mistake Umbarger was dumbfounded. He said he had noticed the windshield of the auto was a little loose and the cushions did not seem just right, but he had not paid any attention to it. That just shows.
By the 1930 Census he was 52, and owned a radio and the house at 3765 Herman Ave, San Diego (worth $7500), and was still employed as auditor for Title and Trust.
In 1935 he and Minnie bought or leased a large house at the corner of 4th and Nutmeg, and converted some of it into a restaurant, "The Hartley House," which was forced to close during WWII due to food rations.
George and Minnie divorced in 1937, when he was 59. Since the 1940 Census reveals that they were still in the same household, now with daughter Mary Esther and her husband Graydon Treadgold, along with a number of roomers, I am not sure of that divorce date, or if they were still living together for convenience. 1940 is probably the year he retired as VP after working 20 years at Title and Trust.
In 1942 he was quoted in a 'half-minute interview':
San Diego Union
19 May 1942
Half-Minute Interviews by Forrest Warren
(excerpted for George Hartley's 'interview')
George Hartley: "You ask why I hum a tune while at work. Well, I have one son who has made his medical grade and is at work for the government in Washington. Then another son is a dentist. With doctor and dentist bills all cared for--why shouldn't I sing at my work?"
From 1942-1947 George worked as deputy county assessor before retiring for good 12 Apr 1947.
About 1944, when George was about 66, he married his last wife, Florence "Flo" Sydney Martin, 62, the widow of fisherman Elmer Clapp. I'm not sure how they met, but she owned a house in Descanso and was an apartment manager (of her own house I'm assuming?) with a few lodgers about the time they married. She had had one son, who had died as a teenager.
[George Hartley with his grandchildren George (my father) and Margaret Ann, probably about 1945. From my personal collection.]
Abt 1948 he and Flo are listed as living at 2133 2nd avenue. He died a year later, at age 70, of heart failure. Private services were conducted in Bonham Brothers Mortuary. He was cremated and his ashes(?) are buried at Mt Hope Cemetery.
He was affiliated with a number of clubs and associations, including Lodge No. 168, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Woodmen of the World. He was an officer for Townsend Club 20 (of the 23rd Congressional District Townsend Clubs), which lead a memorial service for him. I'm unsure what these groups did, and this is an area I need to research.
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