Large crowds turn out for Fourth of July 1899

Claude Tibilier, one of San Diego’s most prominent citizens, died on March 6, 1899 after becoming paralyzed following several days of dengue fever. He was buried the following day with Father J. P. Bard officiating over a Catholic funeral. Serving as pall bearers were Paul Bears, W. W. Meek, C. H. Hufford, P. Eznal, Frank Feuille, S. H. Woods, and B. Miret.

The Corpus Christi Caller reported the funeral was one of “largest seen in San Diego”. The funeral procession left the Tibilier home for St. Francis de Paula Catholic Church and from the church proceeded to the San Diego Cemetery. Tibilier was survived by a wife, eight children, a brother, and several sisters. He was a member of the fraternal organizations the Knights of Honor, the Knights of Pythias, and the Woodmen of the World. He believed in “Republicanism of the heart and Democracy of the fireside”.

Two months later, Tibilier’s widow was building a $1,200 home. M. D. Cohn was also building a $1,500 residence, showing San Diego still possessed economic vitality. In another sign of this healthy economy, John A. Cleary bought the E. D. Sidbury lumberyard in San Diego.

The Texas Mexican Railroad, meanwhile, named A. Puig of San Diego as its agent, replacing D. M. Morris who the railroad transferred to its Monterey depot. The post office, located at E. C. Cadena’s store, also made changes, naming L. Fernandez assistant postmaster and bookkeeper to take over from Santos Ramirez. A prominent Mexican politician, Amado Garcia Hinojosa, was visiting in San Diego.

Over in Realitos, large crowds came out to celebrate the Fiesta de San Juan. The newspaper reported that the town was filled with “gamblers, smugglers, illicit liquor dealers, and soiled doves. Open-air gaming, brass bands, and hoodlums with all calibers of pistols from 45 Colts to 22 Winchesters make night dangerous.” Chuck-luck lotteries and Monte tables attracted gamblers and other louts.

In San Diego, local residents were also partying in observance of the Fourth of July, with large crowds gathering around the picnic grounds. Judge J. O. Luby donated ammo for 12-pound cannon which arrived by train. Pedro Cruz, who was in charge of the cannon, fired a 21-gun salute. Bands played music throughout the day and political types made speeches. Among the orators were A. D. Smith and Alice resident T. E. Noonan who “made one of his characteristic speeches, logical and eloquent.”

Johnnie Nichols, the only greased pole contestant, tried to climb the pole time after time but failed each time. Someone felt sorry for him and gave him a quarter. Frank Feuille Jr. won the watermelon-eating contest and also received a quarter for his effort. Willie Hoffman and Claude Tibilier Jr. tied in the potato race. The tub race provided the most hilarity and paid half a dollar to winner Willie Nichols. Lawrence Tibilier also took home a half dollar after he easily won the swimming competition. Other winners included George Lewis in the wheel barrel race; Eugene Spence in the sack race; and Jorge Rodriguez in the greased pig challenge.