Another grave at this location was reserved for him, of course, and looking ahead, he could see that his wife Lydia would be buried near him. She would die in San Diego on October 17, 1926, at the home of her son. In 1944, her son’s name, William Knapp, would also be added to the family tombstone.
Adjacent to the site were the remains of his nephew Horton Burleigh, who had committed suicide by gunshot a few months earlier. As the San Diego Union reported on August 22, 1908: “Horton Burleigh, aged 21 years, a nephew of ‘Father’ A. E. Horton, fatally shot himself yesterday morning at 9 o’clock in the binding room on the second floor of the public library at Eighth and E streets.…
“Beside the body was discovered a note, stating that the victim had committed the deed of his own volition, but giving no reason for the action.”
The thought of his nephew’s death so disturbed Horton that he could no longer remain at his family’s burial location. Looking over the landscape that was Mount Hope, he decided to tour the cemetery a final time, for he had many friends here to say good-bye to. He knew that later in the century, local historians such as William Smythe, Elizabeth MacPhail, Richard Pourade, Rufus Choate, Frank Forward, Herbert Lockwood, Murray Lee, Gregg Hennessey, Don Stewart, Pamela Tamplain, Henry Schwartz, Leland Ghent Stanford, and others would research the individuals he would visit today, and his thought process mingled with theirs as he took his final walk around Mount Hope Cemetery.
About 20 paces directly east of his family’s burial location was the grave of Charles Noell, a merchant, real estate man, and public servant. He had come to California from Virginia and owned a store in San Francisco. William E. Smythe, in his History of San Diego, notes that in San Francisco Noell had “lost all he had in one of the great fires. In February, 1850, he came to San Diego and put up the first wooden building in the place. Here he conducted a general store, in partnership with Judge John Hays, for eighteen months. In company with M. M. Sexton and James Fitten, he bought a schooner in San Francisco, loaded it with a miscellaneous cargo, and went on a trading expedition up the Gulf of California. They bought a band of sheep in Sonora, shipped them across the gulf, and drove them to San Diego overland. This was the first large band of sheep ever brought to San Diego County.…
“…In 1850, he was chosen one of the first councilmen; while serving in that capacity, he did everything in his power to prevent the looting of the city treasury by the ring which were then in the majority. Finding he could accomplish nothing, he resigned, in disgust. Two years later, when the treasury was empty and the town impoverished by the folly of his opponents, he was chosen a member of the first board of trustees (the city charter having been abolished).”
Noell later sold his interest in the Old Town store and went to South America to prospect for gold. When he returned to San Diego, he went into real estate with Ephraim Morse and Thomas Whaley. Noell died in 1887. Horton noticed that the inscription on the tombstone illustrated how Noell felt about things. It said: “An Honest Man Is the Noblest Work of God.”
Immediately to the south of his own burial location, Horton saw the gravestone of Jesse Aland Shepherd, an Englishman who had served as his first bookkeeper and confidant. Elizabeth MacPhail writes in her book The Story of New San Diego and of Its Founder Alonzo E. Horton: “Jesse Aland Shepherd, a native of England…arrived in the United States at the age of fifteen and was apprenticed as a printer. In 1848 he went to Ft. Atkinson to work on The Wisconsin Chief. He married Fidelia Kinney, a first cousin of Horton’s. His health had never been good, and when other Ft. Atkinson residents announced plans to go West, he and his wife decided to go along and try their fortune in cousin Alonzo’s new town. Upon his arrival, in 1870, Horton employed Shepherd as a confidential assistant, at a salary of $100 a month, a post he held until his death.…”
Horton recalled seeing Shepherd’s diary one day. In it was a notation that read: “Wealth makes work as much as poverty. A rich man has no time to be idle. I don’t speak from experience — only from association. Looking after Horton’s Addition is no small task, especially when taxes are delinquent.”
In another place in his diary, Shepherd had commented about conditions in early San Diego: “I wish the wind would postpone the sweeping of D Street until it rains, for sandpaper is hard writing material…Dust and flies! San Diego is flying in all directions. Tries one’s patience and piety to write on sandpaper and whip flies off the end of your nose at the same time.”
Shepherd died in March of 1878, at the age of 50.
Returning to his own burial location, Horton looked west across the road. Here were the earliest graves in the cemetery. The Dievendorff family from New York was buried here. Three children of this family had died early: Emma in 1874, at age 10; William in 1875, at age 1; and Henrietta in 1876, at 9 months. Their father Henry also died in 1876, at age 52. Next to the Dievendorffs were the Youngs from New Brunswick, who were furniture merchants and upholsterers. They had purchased one of the first grave sites, in 1869, to bury Mrs. Lucy Young. To the north, in a corner plot, was the Hodge family from Pennsylvania.
Several steps west of the Dievendorff burial location, he saw the grave of Henry Bentzel. The poor Bentzels! Father Henry died in 1879 at age 35, and two sons died young, Henry, stillborn, in 1875; and Frank, 10 months, in 1879. As the book San Diego County Pioneer Families indicates, Henry M. Bentzel “was employed at Lankershim’s Flour Mill, as a miller. He married Carrie Victoria Lithgow on December 31, 1873. They had three sons.… Only one survived and Fred lived to be almost 94 years old. He was born in Dover, Pa. when his parents were visiting his home during the Centennial, and lived the rest of his life on First Ave. in three different homes between Beech and Cedar.… [Father] Henry M. Bentzel served one term as City Assessor, and was elected for a second term in May 1879. However, his health failed and he passed away in July 1879 at the age of 35 years.” Henry Bentzel served in Company A, 6th Iowa Cavalry during the Civil War.