From the Horse’s Mouth-Literally

William Perry Bevington, like a lot of other San Diego County residents in the 19th century, originally came from elsewhere. Born in the Midwest in 1850, he’d come to southern California with his family in 1871, originally settling in San Jacinto. In 1873 he married and in 1875 he and his wife Elizabeth acquired land in the San Pasqual Valley. In the 1880 United States Census he is listed as a farmer. But in 1887 he moved to the budding new town of Escondido where he started pursuing a different line of work, one still critically important to San Diego County life in that era, a “liveryman.”

In the 1892-93 city/county directory, Bevington is listed as the proprietor of “Fashion Stable.” Below is a view of his corral and stables, also known as “Fashion Livery,” from an 1892 fire insurance map of Escondido, part of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection of the Library of Congress. It was a pretty large operation, covering most of a block along the intersection of Ohio Avenue and Ivy Street:

From the early 1890s until Bevington’s death in 1917, Escondido newspapers frequently ran ads for his stable, offering horse breeding as well as stabling services, as shown by the ad below from the March 24, 1911 Escondido Times-Advocate:

An add from June 30, 1905 shows another service Bevington offered:

Equine dentistry may have become his primary business, as the 1910 U.S. Census lists his occupation as “Veterinary Surgeon.”

When he died in September 1917 one of Escondido’s prominent citizens, Judge J. N. Turrentine, gave the eulogy, and the Times-Advocate noted “Many beautiful flowers and floral pieces were brought by loving friends in token of the high esteem in which they held the memory of the departed.”


2 thoughts on “From the Horse’s Mouth-Literally

  1. Thank you for the really interesting part of our history. The career path of a liveryman at that time usually began as a blacksmith. Their veterinary skills were usually pretty crude. Mr. Bevington must have been a man that relied as much on his intellect as brawn. From the accounts of th news release/obituary he must have also been a very caring man with regards to his animals and humane friends.

    • Thank you for the comment. The language of some of the ads Bevington posted do indeed indicate a man of intelligence as well as the physical strength such an occupation would require. His story also demonstrates the importance of “the original horsepower” to life at that time.

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