HVNA Community – History Presentation

The Corbett Family of Hayes Valley ©

Patrick Corbett and Catherine McDonald, both Irish immigrants, met in San Francisco in 1858, married and eventually settled into rented apartments on the corner of Natoma and Russ Streets in the south of Market area where many immigrant working class families lived and worked. In 1875 they built and moved into a new home and livery stables on the north side of Hayes Street between Octavia and Laguna Streets. Their Hayes Valley Livery Stables became a well-known establishment and it was where they raised a family of ten children. One would go from working as a banking clerk on to win the World Heavy Weight Boxing Championship in 1892 in an epic battle in New Orleans holding the title until 1897 taking on the ring name of “Gentleman Jim Corbett”, another, Joe, would become a major league baseball player,pitching for the Baltimore Orioles and play in a Temple Cup Championship (which later became the World Series), two brothers, Harry and Tom, would become leading pool sellers and odds makers for the sports and betting parlors where wagers were placed on anything from horse and grey hound races to the outcome of political elections, another would end up an inmate in San Quentin prison until his pardon by the governor. The family would live through triumphs and the tragedy of a murder suicide. The celebrity and notoriety that came with fame acquired in the sporting and betting worlds of Victorian San Francisco lived on into the twentieth century through the Corbett family. They left a rich legacy and treasure trove of true San Francisco based stories which will be shared this evening by, Robert F. Bailey, one of the last Corbett descendants living in San Francisco.

About the Presenter:

Robert F. Bailey is a Civil Engineer who grew up in Northern California and has lived and worked in San Francisco for the last 31 years. He is a 5th generation Californian with several ancestral connections to San Francisco that date back to the late 1850’s and a portfolio of family stories and tales handed down as oral histories and family photo albums from generations of relatives supplemented by many years of genealogy research.