George Proctor and George Davis

On December 26, 1867, Samuel A. Pollard sold a 31.5 acre portion of his land to George W. Proctor and George S. Davis for $410. Although this was a tiny portion of the 1010 acre parcel which Pollard owned, it contained much of what eventually became Cambia’s East Village.

George William Proctor was born in East Providence, Rhode Island, on May 5, 1823. His father, William Proctor, Jr., was a native of New Hampshire as was his grandfather, William Proctor, Sr., who was a descendant of English settlers in this country. His mother, Betsey Thompson Proctor, was born in Andover, New Hampshire, and was a daughter of Peter Thompson, a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

George Proctor and his ophicleide

Proctor’s father was married twice and George was the youngest of a family of four children by his father’s first marriage. George was brought up in Andover, Massachusetts, attended the district school, worked on the farm and learned the blacksmith trade. He then went to Ashburnham, Massachusetts and worked with his brother, after which he took a contract to make 100 tons of railroad spikes at Nashua, New Hampshire. After completing this contract, he worked in railroad shops for three years in Vermont and Rhode Island.

George W. Proctor married Elvira Cooper in 1844. She was a native of New York and the daughter of Rev. David Cooper, a Universalist minister of Saratoga, New York. They had two children, Elvira E., born in Ashburnham, Massachusetts and George E, born in Nashua, New Hampshire. After four years of wedded life, Proctor’s wife died. In 1851, George W. Proctor married Lucinda T. Norris, a native of Corinth, Vermont and a daughter of Rev. John Norris, and they had seven children.

In 1858, George Proctor came to California. He first worked at a quartz mill in West Point, Calaveras County, and there he became interested in mining even though that mine was not profitable. From there he went to Pine Grove in Amador County and, since no survey had been made there, Mr. Proctor fenced in 100 acres of land and built a shop. Around 1860 he sold this property and moved to a place twenty-two miles southeast of Sacramento, which he named Elliott (San Joaquin County), where he built another shop on a quarter section of land. In 1861, he sold the property for $2,000, and moved to Cambria where he bought about 400 acres including an 80 acre parcel on the north side of Santa Rosa Creek near the corner of the Rancho Santa Rosa and, with George Davis, the 31.5 acre plot in Cambria. Proctor and his family lived in a house on the northwest corner of Lee Street (now Burton Drive) and Center Street where Heart’s Ease is presently located. Proctor Lane, across the street on the north side of the Cambria Historical Museum is named for him.

Around 1880, Mr. Proctor moved from Cambria to near San Miguel. He settled on government land, and, as at other places where he had located, he built a shop. By 1891 he owned 800 acres of land six miles east of San Miguel. With an additional 560 acres owned by other family members, he engaged in raising wheat and cattle. In 1888 Mr. Proctor opened the Occidental Hotel in San Miguel which was run by George Davis. He died in San Francisco on August 23, 1904 and is buried in Tucson, Arizona.

George Stevens Davis was born in 1833 or 1834 in either Maine or Massachusetts and became an engineer. In 1857 he came to California and in 1867 he came to Cambria and immediately met and married Elvira E. Proctor, daughter of George W. Proctor and his first wife, Elvira. George S. Davis was very active in the Masons of Cambria. The San Simeon Lodge was organized in 1869 and Davis was elected Secretary. In 1871 he became Senior Warden, in 1878 he was elected Junior Deacon, and in 1881 he became Tyler (doorkeeper). In 1882 he was made district clerk of the Hesperian School District. If one travels north on Wall Street from Main Street, it makes a sharp right turn and then intersects Bridge Street. The short portion of Wall Street that parallels Main Street was known as Davis Street as late as the early 1900s.

When Proctor and Davis bought the property in Cambria in 1867, there was a blacksmith shop operated by John Hector and his two sons located on the southwest corner of Main and Bridge Streets, where Bob and Jan’s Bottle Shop currently resides. By 1874, the blacksmith shop was operated by Proctor and John Hockney. In 1880, George Proctor built the Proctor Hotel, the first three-story building in San Luis Obispo County on the site. Early in the morning of October 1, 1889, the Proctor Hotel was destroyed by the “great fire” which started behind the hotel. A detailed description of this event can be found in Geneva Hamilton’s book, “Where the Highway Ends”.

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