Mrs Edward Martin



Eleanor (Downey) Martin (1826-1928) was born in Ireland, and immigrated to the U.S., to Maryland, in 1851 with her mother, sister and brother. Eleanor, with her sister Annie and brother Patrick moved to California in 1856. In 1858 she married Major Walter Harris Harvey (1820-1867) who had been appointed Register of the Land Office. In 1869 she married Edward Martin (1818-1880), an Irishman who had struck it rich mining gold, became Secretary of Hibernia Savings and Loan, Director of the First National Bank, and invested in real estate, becoming the "greatest Irish landowner" of the far West. In 1859 he opened a liquor house in San Francisco called E. Martin & Company that became very successful. Eleanor inherited Edward's wealth when he died in 1880 and became the toast of San Francisco society, known as the "Irish czarina", outliving her husband by almost 50 years. Eleanor's brother, John Gately Downey (1827-1894), served as Governor of California from 1860 to 1862, succeeded by Leland Stanford. Her sister, Anna "Annie" (Downey) Donahue (1836-1896), was also a wealthy society matron.

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