Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

In Memoriam: Henry Clay Wiley, 1829-1898.

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Webmaster's note.

Locally — Wiley Canyon, Wiley's Station, Wiley Canyon Elementary School (which came many decades after his death), etc.

The following entry quotes James F. Burns, L.A. County Sheriff from 1868-1872. Henry C. Wiley was his Undersheriff. Burns states that Wiley had been elected (and served as) sheriff of San Diego County in the 1850s. Wiley's obituary in the L.A. Herald also claims he served in that capacity for two years. However, as local historian Stan Walker points out, that is incorrect. There were seven different San Diego Sheriffs in the 1850s, and Wiley was not one of them. He was, instead, a constable for San Diego County. Historically, sheriffs and constables (and marshals) served different courts and had different non-court functions.

Wiley was a charter member of the Los Angeles Society of Veterans of the Mexican War, which was organized on September 27, 1873 (source: "An Historical Sketch of Los Angeles County, California," Louis Lewin & Co., Los Angeles, 1876, pg. 30). Walker notes that in April 1876, Wiley and the other Mexican War veterans living in Los Angeles received a special medal from the veterans society (Los Angeles Herald, April 18, 1876, inset).


Dr. J. C. Fletcher, a graduate of Brown University in 1846, and for many years a resident of Rio de Janeiro and of Naples, Italy, but now a citizen of Los Angeles, contributes the following data concerning Mr. Wiley's boyhood. He says:

"My earliest recollections of him were in the thirties, about 1832. He was a small boy when his father came to Indianapolis. His father was a merchant tailor, and he was a fine-looking man. I went to school with two of Henry's brothers. His eldest brother was a man of fine parts, and a well-known citizen (now deceased) of Indianapolis, whose daughter married the son of Gov. Wright of Indiana. The next older brother, James, entered the navy; and I last saw him as an officer, in 1853, on the U.S. steam man-of-war Saranac at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was distinguished as a good officer and a fine, benevolent man.

"When in 1890 I came to Los Angeles, one of the first persons to greet me was H.C. Wiley, and never did I have more cordial greeting or, afterward, more kindly treatment.

"As Henry C. Wiley was contemporary with my younger brothers, I did not see so much of him in his boyhood days as I did of his elder brothers with whom I went to school."

Of his later years, J.F. Burns, an early pioneer of Los Angeles, says:

"Henry C. Wiley, a member of this society [Historical Society of Southern California], passed away on Tuesday, October 25, 1898, which takes away another of the old pioneers of Southern California who lived nearly half a century of his allotted 69 years in this sun-kissed country. He was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1829; here, and later at Indianapolis, he received a liberal education, when, at the age of 18 years, he joined the commissary department of the United States army in the campaign against Mexico; and he faithfully served his country until the close of the Mexican war. Leaving the army, he resided and traveled in all the coast States of Mexico, till 1852, when he arrived at San Diego, Cal., where he resided during the '50s. He was elected and served as Sheriff of said county, with ability and honorably discharged the duties of his office. In the '60s, after his term expired, he removed to Los Angeles county, where he permanently settled. He soon became noted among his friends for his traits of true friendship, frankness and liberality. He loved outdoor active life and sports, and was a generous giver to the needy. In 1868 to 1872 he was Under-Sheriff, serving with J.F. Burns, Sheriff of this county. In the discharge of his official duties he was brave and fearless, just and generous. In 1872 Mr. Wiley formed a partnership with D.M. Berry in the real-estate business; and they were the resident agents for the "Indiana Colony," now Pasadena, "The Crown of the Valley." Through their energy and activity and foresight they laid the foundation of the fairest city in our land. Mr. Wiley was always a consistent Republican in politics, and ever ready to render valuable service to his party . He was one of the pioneers who from the first saw that Los Angeles would be a great city, and was a judicious investor in Los Angeles realties.

"He leaves a devoted widow and two daughters to mourn his demise. He was kind in word and manner and gained a wide circle of friends and very few, if any, enemies."

Courtesy of Stan Walker. Download pdf.


• Lyon's Station


Obituary d. 10/25/1898


Bio, HSSC 1898


"Wiley's Windlass"

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