GEN Richard W. Heath

Prince George's County, Maryland, USA
Death Feb 1875 (aged 52)
Saint Helena, Napa County, California, USA
Burial Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Memorial ID 193803477 · View Source
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(from the Examiner)

Richard W. Heath, called in the war with Mexico "Strong-armed Dick," and in the Quarter-Master's Department "Dick Heath," and during latter years, through well-earned promotion, "Gen. Heath," having first seen the light on the 30th of January, 1823 in Prince George County, Maryland—the banner tobacco county of the Union—was cared for by those who saw in the boy "the farther [sic] of a man" of mark, and who lost no opportunity to afford him it means of development. At an early day crossing the Potomac and entering a series of scholastic efforts, which extended through all the gradations, front the primary school to the college, in the city of Richmond.

He was at twenty years of age, fully imbued with the warm patriotism of a true Marylander, improved by the high and chivalrous bearing of a noble Virginian. He believed that Texas ought to form an integral part of the United States, and that justice demanded the ratification of the declaration of Texan Emancipation from servitude with such a people. Keenly alive to every passing event, young Heath soon became greatly imbued with the patriotic spirit then pervading a large portion of the country, and thoroughly improving every opportunity for active service soon became an object of attention. Naturally a leader, the military authorities readily apprehended the bent of his mind, and called him to service.

He was "in the saddle" when the Mexican war "broke cover" at Palo Alto, and in the front of the chase "at the death." In short he was all through the war which resulted in the acquisition of California by the United States, everywhere intelligent, at all times forcing the fight.

In testimony to his superiority though very young ire years, he was chosen a member of the first Legislature of California and a member of the first Council upon the organization of the city of Stockton in 1849. In1852 he was a delegate to the National Convention which nominated Gen. Winfield Scott for the Presidency and Wm. A. Graham, of North Carolina for Vice President. In 1855 he was appointed Pilot Commissioner of the harbor of San Francisco, and in 1856 was promoted to the command of a brigade as full Brigadier General.

In 1868 he was a member of the National Democratic Convention which met in New York and nominated Horatio Seymour for Presidency. During the latter year he was also appointed one of the Wardens of the Port of San Francisco. In all these public positions General Heath so demeaned himself that no whisper of unfaithfulness, or want of true devotion to the interests of the country, has ever been heard. Having completed this long series of arduous public services, the general retired to a country-seat and engaged in viniculture.

In a short time after his arrival in California, as soon as he could properly arrange his affairs pending his absence, he returned to the home of his youth and redeemed the sacred pledge of his life by marrying his early choice, to whom he was ever a faithful and devoted husband and by whose wise counsels and wifely care he was directed and sustained in the vicissitudes and ordeals of his careen as a merchant and as a public man.

Of this wife, the General delighted to muse, as he paced the broad veranda of his mansion, or meditated among his vines and garden pathways—and well, He Might for he could say of her:

"She is mine own:
And as rich in having such a jewel,
As twenty seas, if all their sands were pearl,
The water nector, and the rocks pure gold."

A benificent Providenc blessed their union with a large family, eleven children, among whom the General passed the evening of his life. The General with his interesting household resided in Oakland for years, where his elegant homestead was the center of refinement. Three years ago he removed to his country-seat, one of the most delightfully located villages in the charming Napa Valley. From the elevated plateau on which the family mansion stands, surrounded by an almost endless variety of native and exotic trees and shubbry with the beautiful village of St Helena below and the breadth of the valley in front, facing the rising sun.

The funeral Obsequies of General Heath took place on Monday last from St. John's Church Oakland, the city which he had for so long a period made his home. The remains were brought from St. Helena, via Vallejo, and they were received on the steamer New World, at the latter place, Capt. Geo. Gedge, in command, placed his flag at half-mast, and it so remained until the steamer reached the wharf, as a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased.

The funeral was attended by a large concourse of citizens of Oakland and friends from other portions of the State, who held in high esteem the virtues of the General. The following named Gentlemen acted as pall-bearers: Wm. F. Babcock, A.B. Forbes, R.H. Bennett, Jno. J. Williams, Dr. Edward Gibbons, Major Richard P. Hammond, Henry F. Williams, William C. Ralston, Isaac Friedlander, Thomas Brown, Ramon B. Sanchez, Rodmond Gibbons, M. Fallon, Major Cargill, and Wm. L. Higgins.

St. Helena Star, February 18, 1875


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  • Created by: Connie
  • Added: 7 Oct 2018
  • Find A Grave Memorial 193803477
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for GEN Richard W. Heath (18 Jan 1823–Feb 1875), Find A Grave Memorial no. 193803477, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA ; Maintained by Connie (contributor 47390019) .