John Emil Slinkey, the Colonel
Born: November 3, 1842 in Adelaide, South Australia.
Married: October 13, 1868 in San Francisco, California, USA to Christina Dern by Justice Oscar T. Shuck.
Died: March 4, 1920 in San Francisco, California, USA.
John Slinkey was born in South Australia as Johann Emil Schlinke. His parents were part of a community of Germans who had left Europe in the late 1830s in search of more religious freedom. His father, Johann Daniel Schlinke, was a confectioner and well-known miller. His mother, Bertha (Teusler) Schlinke, died at just 30 years old when John was ten. His father remarried two years later and John seems to have been relatively close to the half-siblings that resulted from this marriage.
Here are the bits and pieces of information that tell us about John Slinkey's interesting life.
1857 - 1860
Johann Emil Schlinke attended St. Peter's College in South Australia, according to the college's archivist there. Emil seems to have left during the course of the year in 1860. (Letter from Robert Fisher, 2 December 2008.)
My great-great grandfather may have been a pretty good cricket player in South Australia. I have found reference to a "J.E. Schlinke" near Adelaide who played for the West Norwood club. (Fifty Years' History of the Town of Kensington and Norwood, 1903, page 229, 230)
December 15, 1865: J.E. Schlinke, who would be involved in fraternal and social organizations his whole life, often acting as secretary, attends the third anniversary dinner of St. Peter's Old Scholars' Association at the college in Adelaide, South Australia. His health is toasted as "their indefatigable secretary," and he plays the pianoforte as part of a duet. This is the earliest reference found so far of Slinkey's musical ability. (South Australian Register, Adelaide, South Australia, December 18, 1865, page 3, column 5.)
March 7, 1866: A young John Emil Schlinke has his first recorded problems with the law, and decides to skip town, heck, skip the whole country:
"A Missing Defaulter—We understand that John Emil Schlinke, a young man of about twenty-three years of age, who has been for some time in the employment of Messrs. Francis Clark and Sons, and who is also well known to the cricketers of the colony, has absconded, leaving a considerable amount of debts behind him. Upon investigation of his accounts, it was found that he had embezzled three or four amounts which had passed into his hands during the preceding week, and Messrs. Clark and Sons immediately placed themselves in communication with Mr. Otto Berliner, formerly of the Victorian detective force, and now manager of the Private Enquiry Office in Melbourne. He succeeded in tracing the fugitive, and a warrant was yesterday issued for his apprehension; but before the needful authority could be forwarded he had sailed for San Francisco in the barque Anna, under the assumed name of Saunders." (Adelaide Observer, 17 March 1866, reprinted in the The Brisbane Courier, Saturday, March 31, 1866, page 6, column 7.)
June 1866: Schlinke may have arrived in San Francisco this month, according to some evidence from his 1868 trouble with the law.
September 15, 1866: Kate Maria Salcombe files birth registration for daughter Annie Sophia Schlinke (Salcombe), born September 15, 1866, and claims John Emil Schlinke as father. Nothing else has been found out about this daughter, but this pregnancy may have been an additional catalyst in sending J.E. Schlinke to San Francisco.
May 8, 1867: An early morning fire destroys a number of buildings on San Francisco's Second Street between Market and Mission streets, including "a book and periodical store, kept by a German, who has recently arrived in this country. [...] The bookstore...was owned by a man named Schlinke, and was insured for $750 in the Home Mutual, which will about cover the loss." (Daily Evening Bulletin, May 8, 1867, page 3, column 3.)
September 7, 1867: Schlinke, J. E. listed in the San Francisco Daily Morning Call as owing $9.70 in delinquent taxes in San Francisco.
September 1867: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory for 1867-1868 as "Schlinke, John E., news depot, 35 Second St. (and J.B. Cone & Co.) dwl. 52 Minna." Likely the listing was created before the May fire?
December 1869: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory for 1869-1870 as "Slinkey, John E. (Regan & Corbett), dwl 783 Market. Wife there as well: "Slinkey, C. Mrs, furnished rooms, 783 Market."
I've searched the U.S. census up and down and all over in Ward 10 where 783 Market Street should be listed. Can't find my Slinkey family anywhere... On vacation in Australia? Elsewhere? Just plain missed by the census taker?
April 1871: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory for 1871 as "Slinkey, John E., real estate agent, dwl 783 Market; Slinkey JE, Mrs., furnished rooms, 783 Market."
August 11, 1871: J.E. Slinkey naturalized in San Francisco as a U.S. citizen in California's 15th district court. The original record seems not to exist, but this information has survived in indexes. Listed as living at 783 Market street.
March 1872: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory for 1872 as "Slinkey, J.E., furnished rooms, 783 Market St."
October 1, 1872: Great Register of San Francisco lists "Voting No.: 32648. Registered No.: 45253. Schlinke, John Emil. Age: 29. Nativity: Australia. Occupation: Lod'g House. Local Residence: 783 Market. Ward: 10. Naturalized: 8/11/71, Cal. 15th District. Date of Registration: 8/21/71."
Either early in this year or late in 1872 Slinkey moves his business to Sacramento street and the "Overland House."
March 1873: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory for 1873-1874 as "Slinkey, John E., proprietor Overland House, 531 and 533 Sacramento."
September 27, 1873: Fire originates in Slinkey's lodging house at 783 Market Street, and does considerable damage to the block before it is extinguished. "The origin of the fire is somewhat of a mystery. One report is, that a drunken woman upset a stove in a room above the restaurant, and thus caused the blaze. Another has it that a coal-oil lamp caused the conflagration, and still another, that it started from the chimney of the Market-street restaurant. [...] The upper portion of this building was rented by J.E. Slinkey, proprietor of the Overland House, for a lodging house. It connected with the two upper floors of No. 9 Fourth street. Mr. Slinkey estimates his loss in the two buildings at $4,000. He was insured for $1,000 in the Hamburg & Bremen, $1,000 in the State Investment, and $500 in another company." (San Francisco Chronicle, September 28, 1873, page 8.)
September 28, 1873: Perhaps not coincidentally, the San Francisco Chronicle announces that "the building on the southeast corner of Sacramento and Leidesdorff streets, extending through to Halleck street and belonging to the French Savings Bank, is undergoing extensive alterations. It has been leased for a term of years by J. E. Slinkey, the proprietor of the 'Overland House,' who is getting it all newly furnished throughout and is going to conduct it as a branch of said house." Could the fire on Market Street have been arson? (San Francisco Chronicle, September 28, 1873, page 5.)
April 1874: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory for 1874 as "Slinkey, J.E., proprietor Overland House, 531 and 533 Sacramento, and branch of Overland House, 519 Sacramento."
July 23, 1874: "San Francisco, July 23. J.E. Slinkey was arrested to-night for grand larceny, and Edward Earell for assault on E. Reinhardt. Slinkey was released on bail." (Daily Nevada State Journal, Washoe County, Nevada. July 24, 1874, page 2, column 4.)
Listed in Bishop's San Francisco directory (no month for publication date) as "Slinkey, J.E., proprietor, Overland House, 531 Sacramento, and Bon Ton Saloon, California Theatre Building, Bush nr. Kearney; residence Overland House."
January 6, 1876: Mr. J.E. Slinkey reportedly purchases "large hotel [...] situated on a beautiful eminence overlooking the bay" in Sausalito from the Sausalito Land and Ferry Company. A gas machine has also been purchased to light the hotel. Called the Bon Ton, this is the earliest mention of what would become the El Monte Hotel, although since Slinkey runs into financial problems later that year, it seems that the Slinkeys have to wait to be the proprietors. (Daily Alta California, page 1, column 3.)
July 21, 1876: A large auction of all of J.E. Slinkey's holdings and properties to pay off creditors is advertised. Includes Overland House at 531 and 533 Sacramento with all its contents; a fifty-vara lot on Bush Street conveyed to him by J.W. Woodley, under the Moore Title; one-half interest in a quicksilver mine in Lake County; a one-tenth interest in a mining claim in the State of Durango, Mexico; an interest in a marble claim in Monterey County; all the furniture in the twenty-one room "Branch No. 2, Overland House" at 528 Sacramento Street; his one-half interest in the Bon Ton Saloon on Bush Street next to the California Theatre; and his right, title and interest in the Bon Ton Hotel in Saucelito (sic), including two horses, one buggy and harness and "one gas machine." Slinkey seems to have survived this pretty well, perhaps with financial help from his father in Australia? (Daily Alta California, page 3, column 4.)
March 1877: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory for 1877-1878 as "Slinkey, J.E., liquor saloon, 514 Bush, and manager, Overland House, 533 Sacramento."
February 1878: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory for 1878-1879 as "Slinkey, J.E. & Co. (Carl Lutz), proprietors Overland House, 533 Sacramento."
August 13, 1878: John Slinkey's father, Johann Daniel Schlinke, dies in Tanunda, South Australia.
August 17, 1878: Benicia Chronicle, Volume 1, No. 36, page 3, column 1: "Overland House - This centrally located establishment is situated on Sacramento street, near Montgomery, and is one of the most comfortable houses in the city. J.E. Slinkey, the proprietor, will be found to be one of the most congenial and accommodating landlords in the Bay City. Give him a call."
August 29, 1878: John Slinkey receives in his father's will (written August 1875) "...the sum of One Pound Sterling as a payment in full for all his just claims and demands to my real and personal estate he having already received an ample share during my life time..."
Listed in San Francisco directory as "Slinkey, J.E., proprietor Overland House 531-533 Sacramento."
April 5, 1879: Slinkey's purchase of Cremorne Gardens in Martinez is mentioned in the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser, page 7. See the businesses page for complete text.
April 13, 1879: According to the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser, page 6, the Cremorne Gardens opens for business. See the businesses page for complete text.
January 28, 1880: "Born to the wife of JE Slinkey (late of the Overland House), a daughter." (San Francisco Call, January 30, 1880. Since we never hear of this daughter again and she doesn't appear with the family in the census taken a few months later, we assume she dies in infancy.)
April 1880: Listed in Langley's San Francisco Directory as "Slinkey, John E., proprietor Overland House, 531 & 533 Sacramento, and Cremorne Gardens, Martinez. r. 533 Sacramento."
June 2, 1880: Enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Census in Martinez, Contra Costa County, California: "Slinkey, John, White, Male, 37 years old, Head, Married, Occupation: Has Picnic Grounds, Born in South Australia. Father born in Germany. Mother born in Germany." Listed with wife Christina, daughter "Lilian," brother Daniel, and boarders E.A. Evans (a music teacher), V. Pichler (another music teacher), Chas. Horner (a "Show Traveler"), and a 36-year-old Irish servant named only "Michael."
April 29, 1881: The Morgan House in Martinez, where J.E. Slinkey leased the bar, burns to the ground. Luckily, Slinkey is insured again!
May 1, 1882: Opening day of the "El Monte Hotel." The Slinkeys took over the old Clifton Hotel in Sausalito. According to the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser of April 29, 1882, page 19: "With his accustomed energy and sagacity, Mr. Slinkey has refurnished and renovated the entire establishment, sparing neither trouble nor expense in making it a first-class Summer resort." See the hotel page for details specific to the operations, advertising, events and renovations while the Slinkeys owned it.
April 1883: Listed in Langley's San Francisco directory as "Slinkey, John Emil, 'El Monte' Saloon, SE cor Kearny & Pine and proprietor 'El Monte' Hotel, Saucelito, r. Saucelito." Brother-in-law John Dern is listed as the bartender at the saloon.
February 12, 1885: Mentioned in a list of advertisers/supporters in the first issue of the Sausalito News: "J.E. Slinkey is the proprietor of that admirable hotel, the El Monte. It is second to no place of resort in the State from any standpoint, and is patronized by the highest circles. Mr. Slinkey is the boss rustler of Sausalito. He has done much for the town and to his efforts is due the fact the News is to-day in existence." Also listed as having a house under construction. (Sausalito News, February 12, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
February 19, 1885: "Mr. J.E. Slinkey is grading the frontage of the El Monte Hotel, and otherwise putting things in shape for the summer business. When he gets through, the institution will look as pretty as a new red coach." (Sausalito News, February 19, 1885, page 3, column 1.)
February 23, 1885: The Society of Old Friends hold a ball at Platt's Hall in San Francisco hosted by Secretary J.E. Slinkey. Plans to start a branch of the organization in Sausalito using the A.O.U. W. Hall are announced. (Sausalito News, February 26, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
February 26, 1885: J.E. Slinkey along with Postmaster John Schnell identified as "duly authorized agents to receive any monies that may be due" for Sausalito News subscribers. (Sausalito News, February 26, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
March 5, 1885: Mr. Slinkey orders material from J.S. Bellrude's new material company to build two more cottages on the El Monte Hotel grounds. (Sausalito News, March 5, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
March 19, 1885: Slinkey is building on the El Monte Hotel grounds a cottage on the bluff overlooking the bay for Captain G.W. Thomas and family. To be ready by April 1. (Sausalito News, March 19, 1885, page 3, column 1.)
March 26, 1885: Plans are being made for a “Bull’s Head Breakfast" to be held the next Sunday next in Read’s Pavilion adjoining the El Monte Hotel. Host will be Slinkey, Secretary of the Society of Old Friends. "The Breakfast will be presided over by Judge T.J. Bowers of San Rafael and Col. R.H. Taylor, F.F. Jones and Judge Robert Ferrall of San Francisco. Barney Galindo of Novato will be chef de cuisine.” There is also mention of a St. Patrick’s Day ball at Barney Galindo’s in Novato. Apparently Mr. Galindo was quite the restaurateur. (Sausalito News, March 26, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
April 2, 1885: The Bull's Head Breakfast on March 29 is proclaimed a success: "A large attendance of the Society of Old Friends from San Francisco were present. Barney Galindo preserved his laurels as a bull’s head cook, and George Davis and Jim McCue with their white aprons as carvers. The host Col. Slinkey, Secretary of the order looked happy and was frequently toasted for his efficiency as such officer and particularly for the excellent manner in which the breakfast had been conducted.” (Sausalito News, April 2, 1885, page 2, column 3.)
May 2, 1885: Slinkey named chairman of citizens' committee to establish a Sausalito cemetery. At the meeting, held at the Workmen's Hall, Slinkey calls on the Sausalito Land and Ferry Company to explain their plans. Getting an unsatisfactory answer, he is appointed one of five representatives to meet with the company to discuss further. (Sausalito News, May 7, 1885, page 2, column 2.)
August 5, 1885: Acts as Master of Ceremonies at a party on the ship "Honolulu." Wife and daughter Lillie also attend; music and dancing lasted 'til midnight. (Sausalito News, August 6, 1885.)
August 9, 1885: A "Bulls-head breakfast" is hosted on the El Monte Hotel grounds by Slinkey under the auspices of the Society of True Friends. "[It] was in every particular one of the most jovial and successful social occasions ever held in Sausalito. A large canvas-covered 'salle a manager' had been put up adjoining the hotel, with canvas furnished by Captain Mallandaine of the ship Imberhorn, and in this three long rows of tables were set. At about 12 o'clock the steaming hot bulls head had been dug up and taken in charge by three carvers of the occasion, George Davis, A. Barbier and A. Meyer, and the waiter lost no time in serving the 130 members of the Society and invited friends who had taken their seats. A good bull-headed menu was before them Spanish-American bulls head and dressing, with bean side dishes of Sausalito lamb, chicken and hard-boiled eggs, French Claret two apiece and Japanese napkins. The order 'send back your plate empty for more' was cheerfully obeyed and it took several hours of good cheer and speech-making before the participants felt the spirit move them to leave their seats." (Sausalito News, August 13, 1885, page 3, column 3.)
August 29, 1885: J.E., Christina, Dan, and Lillie Slinkey host a "Domino Party" (masked ball) at the El Monte Hotel: "The initial domino party of Sausalito was held at the 'El Monte' Saturday evening. The dining room was cleared for the dance hall by a committee of arrangements, and the guests were given full possession of it and the parlor for their ball room, and by 9 o'clock the merry dance commenced. A large number of maskers participated and as many more were present as spectators and all equally enjoyed the evening's merriment. A splendid supper was served by Col. Slinkey at 11 o'clock at which time the masks had been removed, and after the pleasures of the festal board on with the dance again." (Sausalito News, September 6, 1885, page 3, column 2.)
June 7, 1890: Slinkey opens Sausalito Hall, a "place of amusement," on Water Street below the hill that the El Monte Hotel stands on in Sausalito. Daughter Lilian sings as part of the opening night festivities. (San Francisco Morning Call, June 9, 1890, page 6, column 1.)
June 3, 1891: Slinkey participates as a director of a new incorporation, Live Stock Gazette, a publishing company, with capital stock of $50,000. Other directors are A. D. Ball, Ernest Heymans, and J. A. Crist. (San Francisco Chronicle, June 4, 1891, page 12.)
July 13, 1893: Slinkey is called as a witness to Contra Costa County in a suit filed against Ernest Heymans and the Live Stock Gazette over back rent owed to the Union Stock Yard. He has to return as a witness on September 4, 1893 as well. Apparently business started slow for the Gazette? (Case #2269 at Contra Costa Historical Society.)
February 17, 1900: “Business Chances: $200—Half Interest for sale in an established butcher shop and sausage factory; cash trade. $850—Lodging House for sale of twelve rooms; near Taylor and Market sts. See J.E. Slinkey & Co., 877 Market st., corner Fifth, San Francisco, upstairs.” (Oakland Tribune, February 17, 1900, page 10, column 3.)
July 7, 1900: "The engagement is announced of Colonel J.E. Slinkey, late proprietor of the El Monte Hotel, Sausalito, and Mrs. J.C. Heitbahn of Chicago, Ill., who is at present on a visit to this coast." (San Francisco News Letter, July 7, 1900, page 18, column 2.)
October 9, 1902: Wedding of "Col. J.E. Slinkey, formerly of San Francisco, now residing in Seattle" and Mrs. Hattie S. Heitbahn of Chicago by Rev. Herbert H. Gowen of Trinity Church in Seattle, Washington. (The Seattle Sunday Times, October 12, 1902, page 31, column 5.)
September 11, 1903: Party at the Yacht Club House in West Seattle is under-attended because of inclement weather, but recent leasees Col. J.E. Slinkey and Cal H. Barkdull are mentioned as making it pleasant and agreeable for those who did come. (The Seattle Sunday Times, September 20, 1903, part VI, page 1 [?], column 4.)
October 9, 1903: Surprise one-year anniversary party thrown for Colonel and Mrs. J.E. Slinkey at the West Seattle Club house by some of their friends and neighbors. (The Seattle Sunday Times, October 11, 1903, page 6, column 3.)
February 3, 1904: John Slinkey & Co. requested permission to use the town wharf of West Seattle at the foot of Maryland Street for a grand stand for aquatic sports. The request was referred to a committee. (Seattle Daily Times, February 3, 1904, page 7, column 2.)
May 4, 1904: “Messrs. Slinkey and Crowhurst withdrew their petition for a liquor license, as the council would not grant the petition.” (Seattle Daily Times, May 4, 1904, page 2, column 4.
July 8, 1904: "Because the complaint was faultily drawn, the charge of selling liquor without a license against J. E. Slinkey and Harry Crowhurst was dismissed in Justice Gordon’s court yesterday afternoon. The alleged offense was committed in West Seattle. Justice Gordon allowed the prosecuting attorney time to prepare a new complaint, and the two men were immediately rearrested. They will be tried July 19. The goods seized in the first raid made by Deputy Sheriff Livingstone have been ordered held.” (Seattle Daily Times, July 8, 1904, page 7, column 1.)
October 24, 1904: J. E. Slinkey starts a branch of the Society of Old Friends in Seattle: "At a meeting called at the Diller Hotel yesterday, preliminary steps were taken to organize a 'Society of Old Friends,' after the plan of the San Francisco organization perfected in 1864. F. Van Norman was appointed temporary chairman and J. E. Slinkey temporary secretary. S. S. Atwood, Dr. J. E. Tucker and J. E. Slinkey were appointed a commission to draft a constitution to be presented for adoption at a meeting to be held October 30—George M. Stewart was suggested for president of the society, and his name received the unanimous approval of those present. The object of the organization is to promote friendship and sociability, it being proposed to give picnics, excursions, barbecues and Bull’s Head breakfasts. The first public entertainment will be on New Year’s day.” (Seattle Daily Times, page 7, column 2.)
January 1, 1905: "Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Slinkey left yesterday morning for San Francisco to spend the winter.” (Seattle Daily Times, page 4, column 5.)
December 22, 1906: Slinkey moves to the Oakland/Berkeley line in the East Bay, taking his business and fraternal organization with him. "One of the most conspicuous and convenient real estate offices in Oakland or Berkeley is that of the Real Estate Syndicate, located almost on the line separating Oakland from South Berkeley, or at the corner of Sixty-first and Adeline streets. [...] The manager of the Syndicate is Mr. J.E. Slinkey, an old-time hotel man, for twenty-five years conducting the well known and popular El Monte Hotel at Sausalito. Since the earthquake he has engaged in the Real Estate business, locating his office at the place shown in the above picture, where Oakland and Berkeley properties can be thoroughly and conveniently handled. Mr. Slinkey's wife, fearing a repetition of heavy earthquakes, left for the east immediately after the big earthquake, but returned a short time ago, when all fear had passed, and is now settled in North Oakland, where Mr. Slinkey has leased a nice flat for a term of years." Son Milton is listed as working with the company as a contractor and builder. (Oakland Tribune, December 22, 1906, page 67, column 1.)
May 19, 1918: The Society of Old Friends celebrates its 54th anniversary with a stag party and ex-offio secretary "Colonel J. E. Slinkey" apparently hosts in the club rooms at 549 Turk Street [Likely a typo for 459 Turk, the hotel J. E. was managing.] (San Francisco Bulletin, May 4, 1918, page 2.)
August 26, 1933: “Hugh McClusky, special compiler for our old-timers’ department, kicks through with another collection of names of men who once tramped the hills of southern Nevada. Look ‘em over: Major O’Keefe, Colonel Eddy, Colonel Slinkey..." (Nevada State Journal, August 26, 1933, page 1, column 1.)
Images of J.E. Slinkey: