The Pioneer

The Society of California Pioneers wrote to William John DeBoom, Emma’s brother, requesting information for their files on Cornelius. For 100 years the only information they had was this response by Willy’s father, RC:

ROMAIN C. DE BOOM                                                                                                     1777 PAGE STREET                                                                                                         SAN FRANCISCO, – CAL.                                        19th May, 1911         
                                   L.S. Eldredge

Dear Sir,

 Answer to Your Favor of 12th Inst., you wrote to my son William, in regard to the 1849 Pioneer C. DeBoom, of our Family .

1) His full name was Jean Corneille DeBoom. Born & Raised in the City of Antwerp – Belgium, when it was part of the Republic of France. (John Cornelius in English, as per the Diploma & naturalization papers), which are “Framed” in my Parlor.

2) Having graduated from the College of Navigation of Antwerp, his Father (my Grand Father) gave one of his vessels to Cornelius, “to go, and to trade,” as “best he could.”

 3) In 1838, this brought him with a Cargo around “the Horn” at Callao & Valparaiso, Chili, where he opened a Branch House of the Firm Des Boom et Cie. of Antwerp.

4) In 1840 the Government of Belgium appointed Cornelius DeBoom Consul of that part of South America. A Regular line of Vessels from Antwerp to Callao & Valparaiso made the two Firms Very Busy & prosperous.

5) When “Gold in California” was the news of 1848, Cornelius D.B. started with two Cargoes for the Gold Gate (November 1848). His Diploma of “California Pioneer,” which Has been a Legacy, Very dear to me, says that he landed in San Francisco 18 February 1849. He bought then a 50 vara Lot on California Str. & Liedersdof Str. upon part of which now stands “the Merchant’s Exchange.

6) Also part of the Block 17°-19 ½  of the Kearny-Merchant-Clay-Montgomery Streets Black. Where the 1906 Fire destroyed 3 of my own Buildings – 60 years after date!!

7) The Firm of De Boom, Grisar & Co. of Chili 1840 made the “Guano of Peru” “Fertilizer” to become a Regular “Farmer’s Help” in the Nederlands & Antwerp Markets.

8. In 1850 Peter Romain DeBoom of Antwerp came out Here, with more Capital to invest. He brought largely near the Pacific Mail Docks, where “DeBoom Street” was named after he died there – 4th March 1857. His Tomb is in the Pioneer Corner of the Adobe Church Cemetery 16th & Delores Streets. The Hunter’s tract & Potrero and several other Large Investments 1849-50-52-55.

9) But then Came the Big Fires of 1850 – 51-52 – “the May Fires,” and you will find in volume 6, page 149 and others, of the Bancroft History of California and San Francisco, that the Several Warehouses of the Firm, De Boom, Grisar and Co, also vessels of theirs, in the Docks were destroyed there.

10) In 1864 Cornelius De Boom left San Francisco for Europe, where his Mother (my Grand mother) could not live any longer without seeing Him again. After her death, he made two more Business visits Here, but he Kept his Country Residence near Paris “Open always to his California Friends.”

11) When the Franco-German War of 1870 Broke out, and William was made “Emperor” at the Palace of Versailles, 12 of the Best Known Americains were sent from Paris “to implore” the German Emperor, there at the “Ferrieres Castle, “not to destroy” or to Bombard the City of Paris.” But Bismark said “no.” Cornelius De Boom was a member of said Deputation and I have in my possession the “Passeport” delivered by the United States Legation of Paris. He died during the siege of Paris.

Very respectfully yours,                                                                                                         Romain C. De Boom

See PDF Files of the original letter                                 28_RCDeBoom_to_SocietyofCalPioneers_p1 29_RCDeBoom_to_SocietyofCalPioneers_p2 30_RCDeBoom_to_SocietyofCalPioneers_p3