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    Santa Cruz: A History of Boundary Disputes

    Clark Stoner - Wednesday, November 20, 2013


    Henry Cowell, the famous lime and cement baron, also famous for his charitable donations to California State Parks, the University of California (at Santa Cruz), the California Academy of Sciences, and Stanford University, was no stranger to boundary disputes. 


    One such boundary dispute in Santa Cruz County was brought before the United States Supreme Court in 1894.  See CALIFORNIA POWDER WORKS v. DAVIS et al. (151 U.S. 389 (1894)).  Mr. Cowell prevailed.


    Mr. Cowell was also a land baron, at one point owning somewhere around 80,000 acres.  He had purchased a 2,000 acre ranch on the Merced River and wound up in a dispute over a boundary line with his neighbor, Daniel Ingalsbe.  Tragedies being what they are, Ingalsbe later died and after several months had passed his son, Leigh, continued the dispute and confronted Cowell with a revolver and shot him in the shoulder.  On March 2, 1903 a headline in the San Francisco Chronicle read:  "Henry Cowell, wealthy lime merchant shot by a Merced neighbor."


    Cowell died on August 4, 1903 not long after his daughter, Sarah, was tragically killed in a buggy accident.  He had been recovering from his gunshot wound when the news of his daughter's passing struck.  He was 84 years old at the time.


    For more info, please click the following links:

    Santa Cruz Public Libraries

    Cowell Historical Society

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