VC woman finds she has connection to historical San Diego cannon find
429 Fifth Street, San Diego, California, left in 1874, and right in 2012
July 18, 2013Longtime Valley Center resident Lael Montgomery discovered recently that her family has a connection to the discovery of an old cannon from the city's early history—a cannon that was lost for many years until its recent unearthing: The Horton Plaza Cannon.
On July 4 the Save Our Heritage Organization announced that it had been the recipient of a donation of an old cannon that, upon close examination turned out to be the famous Horton Plaza Cannon.
The cannon was cast in 1876 to be part of the city of San Diego's centennial celebration of American Independence. It was cast by William Augustus Begole. According to the Save Our Heritage Organization: "The cannon was a special part of the big day. Designed by William Augustus Begole in a simple and austere style, it was cast at the San Diego Foundry and embossed proudly with 1776 - San Diego - 1876. Begole, a tinsmith, hardware and plumbing man, as well as an active leader in the Masonic lodge, hailed from New York state, and had taken the overland route to California in 1849."
William Augustus Begole is known to Lael Montgomery's family as "Uncle Gus." As Dr. Montgomery describes it: "This historical 'find' announced today by the San Diego history folks is about my Uncle Gus's cannon!! He was, it turns out, a miner forty-niner and a San Diego 'founding father.' (And I am here, it seems, atoning for his extractive sins.) I've been researching his history for a few years, ever since I found him in Pourade's History of San Diego. Attached is picture of the old coot in 1874 in front of his store in what is now the Gas Lamp District. This is such light-hearted FUN for the 4th of July!"