What’s in a Name: Caroline Street
The Island City’s Caroline Street bears the name of Caroline Elizabeth McLean Chipman Dwinelle.
Caroline was born on March 18, 1833, in New York City and was educated at Rutgers College in New Jersey. In 1852 she and her four sisters — Josephine, Amanda, Virginia and Eugenie — sailed around Cape Horn to join their father and mother, Edward and Elizabeth, in San Francisco. Caroline also had two brothers, Edward and Alfred.
The family patriarch was a ’49er who had failed in an attempt to bring a rock-crushing machine to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. He later found a livelihood in what his obituary called “mercantile and mining interests,” both in California and Nevada.
Caroline married William Worthington Chipman on April 7, 1857. At the time, William and Gideon Aughinbaugh were struggling with land-grabbing squatters on the Alameda peninsula. Chipman was an attorney who had run an “intelligencer office” — a news and registry facility — on Clay Street in San Francisco. William and Caroline had three daughters — Elizabeth, Alice and Frances — and two sons, William Farragut and Sheridan.
Lizzie was born in 1857; Alice, in 1861; and Fanny in 1867. William, affectionately known as “Willie,” was born in 1863. Sheridan was a year younger.
William passed away in 1873 and Caroline married John Whipple Dwinelle on Oct. 29, 1877.
Caroline’s new husband played a prominent role in poltics. He sat on the San Francisco City Council. Dwinelle also served in the State Assembly. in 1868, he introduced the act onto the floor of the Assembly that created the University of California. He also sat on the school’s Board of Regents.
In 1877 he married Caroline McLean Chipman. Sadly, Dwinelle was an absent-minded man. He would often meet his own relatives and not remember who they were. He was known to walk right past his intended destination, not realizing he had arrived at where he was going.
This absent-mindedness likely cost him his life. Dwinelle died on Jan. 28, 1881, when he ran off the Port Costa ferry pier while trying to catch the ferry he had missed. He wanted to ride the boat across the Carquinez Strait to Benicia at the last minute. Rough waters in the strait washed his body away; it was not found for three weeks.
Caroline lived out her days on Weber Street. In 1896, Marcuse & Remmel built a home for her daughter Alice at 1282 Weber. Alice never married. She died in 1911.
Willie married Bernice Harrell. The couple lived at 1290 Weber St.; Willie developed some of the family’s property and served as police and fire commissioner. Fannie lived at 1270 Weber. Caroline’s father passed away there in 1890. Caroline also died in this house after suffering a stroke on April 16, 1912.
Caroline’s second son, Sheridan, suffered a sad fate. He was murdered in San Francisco.