Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918

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Guinn was Secretary of the Historical Society of Southern California.

From the description of History of the Stanton Post 8055 G.A.R., [1890?]. (Natural History Museum Foundation, Los Angeles County). WorldCat record id: 23250333

James Miller Guinn (aka J.M. Guinn), was a prominent educator and historian in southern California during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Guinn maintained an active role in his community, having membership in several local historical and fraternal societies, and kept lifelong affiliations with the Presbyterian Church and the Republican Party. By the end of his life, Guinn had produced a voluminous literature on California and its prominent residents. Born in Houston, Ohio on November 27, 1834, Guinn grew up working on his family's farm, garnering his primary education during the winter school sessions. He became a teacher at eighteen years old, a vocation he utilized to earn his way through college - first at Antioch, and later at Oberlin. When the news of the fall of Fort Sumter reached Guinn at Oberlin in 1861, he immediately volunteered to fight for the Union Army, serving as a member of Company C of the Seventh Ohio Infantry. He participated in the early West Virginia campaign, serving under Rosecrans, then later under McClellan. During this campaign, Guinn's company saw heavy combat in the battles of Green Lane, Winchester, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, and Gettysburg. At Cedar Mountain, Guinn was only one of six soldiers from his unit to emerge unhurt. After Gettysburg, his superiors promoted Guinn to corporal and sent his regiment to serve under William Tecumseh Sherman in the Tennessee and Georgia campaigns. During this service, Guinn again saw fighting at the battles of Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, and Ringgold. He mustered out in June 1864.

In poor health after leaving the army, Guinn traveled to California by way of Panama. Shortly after settling and finding a teaching position in Alameda County, however, Guinn got wind of gold finds in Idaho and walked three hundred miles to the Boise Basin to seek his fortune. After failing to strike it rich after three years of mining, Guinn returned to California, this time to the southern portion of the state. Here he took a position as the superintendent of Anaheim schools. The administrator took a fancy to a young teacher in the Anaheim schools, Dapsiliea Marquis, whom he married in 1874. The marriage produced three children: daughters Mabel Elizabeth and Edna Marquis (deceased at Guinn's death), and son Howard James. In 1873, he narrowly lost an election to the state assembly. In 1881, after Anaheim schools showed marked improvement, the city of Los Angeles hired Guinn to superintend their school system. After two years in this position, Guinn shifted his vocational interests into real estate and merchandising, although he maintained a strong interest in Los Angeles' history and educational facilities for the remainder of his life. Guinn was a long time (and founding) member of the Stanton Post (Los Angeles) chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was a member of the American Historical Association, a founding member of the Historical Society of Southern California, an officer in the Pioneers of Los Angeles County, served on the LA Board of Education between 1904 and 1914, and received a gubernatorial appointment to serve on the California Historical Commission in 1914. As an historian, Guinn became very prolific towards the end of his life, producing a number of massive volumes on numerous California counties and notable residents after the turn of the century. Guinn died at his home in Highland Park after a short illness in September 1918, weeks shy of his eighty-fourth birthday.

From the description of Papers of James Miller Guinn, 1824-1918 (bulk 1870-1918). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 299167713

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Manly, William Lewis, b. 1820. Letter : College Park (Maryland) to [J.M.] Guinn, 1896 December 26. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. History of the Stanton Post 8055 G.A.R., [1890?]. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. The capture of Monterey, Oct. 19, 1842. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. The plan of old Los Angeles and the story of its highways and byways, 1895. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. History of county division, 1889. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Smith, E. L. D. Letters : Meade, Kansas, to J[ames] M[iller] Guinn, Los Angeles, Calif., 1910 August. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. Pioneer school superintendents of Los Angeles, undated. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. Old schools and schoolmasters of Los Angeles, 1896 May 22. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. The historic houses of Los Angeles, 1896. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. Date of the first discovery of gold in California, 1895 Sept. 8. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. Dictation from J. M. Guinn : typescript, 1888. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Guinn, J. M. (James Miller), 1834-1918. Papers of James Miller Guinn, 1824-1918 (bulk 1870-1918). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Nevin, J. C. Letter, Los Angeles, to J[ames] M[iller] Guinn, 1890 June 6. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
referencedIn Pioneer Society of San Diego County Records, 1898-1987 San Diego History Center Document Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Grand Army of the Republic. corporateBody
associatedWith Grove, C. C. person
associatedWith Historical Society of Southern California. corporateBody
associatedWith Hubert Howe Bancroft collection. person
associatedWith Manly, William Lewis, b. 1820. person
associatedWith Nevin, J. C. person
associatedWith Oberlin College. corporateBody
associatedWith Pioneer Society of San Diego County. corporateBody
associatedWith Smith, E. L. D. person
associatedWith Strabel, Max. person
associatedWith United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 7th (1861-1864) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Kern County (Calif.)
Los Angeles (Calif.)
California--Los Angeles
San Pedro Bay (Calif. : Bay)
Los Angeles (Calif.)
California
Ventura County (Calif.)
Los Angeles (Calif.)
Santa Barbara County (Calif.)
California--Los Angeles
Orange County (Calif.)
San Louis Obispo County (Calif.)
Monterey (Calif.)
California--Los Angeles
Ownes River (Calif.)
San Diego County (Calif.)
California--Los Angeles
Orange County (Calif.)
Los Angeles Plaza (Los Angeles, Calif.)
California
El Camino Real (Calif.)
Subject
Historic buildings
Historians
Education
Schools
Architecture, Domestic
Teachers
Roads
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1834

Death 1918

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