Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

H. D. Percival Alert!

I have an account for and have had this for several years. I set up an alert for H. D. Percival, my dad's grand uncle (or great uncle) for a specific time period. I get alerts on him fairly frequently, and today, BINGO.

A little refresher on the backstory for H. D.  His name is Herbert D. Percival. I suspect the D is for Davidson, his mother's maiden name.  Herbert was born in 1859 in Lafayette county, Missouri, most likely in Dover or Waverly. His younger brother, my great-grandfather, was John Henry Percival.  Their father was John Stearns Percival, Jr, who died during the battle of Bayou Meto Pass, Arkansas in 1863. Herbert went to live with his Uncle Jabez Percival, in Covington, Kentucky. He would study medicine and get his M.D. at the University of Cincinnati. While in Covington, he met and married his wife, Catherine "Kate" Gray. They lost a child there. Later they would migrate to Dakota Territory and then on to Los Angeles where Uncle Jabez and family had moved.

While attending University, with his cousin, William Bush Percival, I get the impression that William outshined Herbert. William had a thriving medical practice in Los Angeles, while Herbert, or H. D. as he was known by now was in practice with a Doctor Adams in Monrovia.  This is where fact and fiction are thrown in.  

The family story is that Herbert was out collecting accounts and that he was waylaid and probably murdered as he was never seen again.  There is some truth to the story, he was collecting accounts. 

A Monrovian Gone.

Dr. H. D. Percival Suddenly Disappears

Much to the Grief of a Large Number of Creditors.

Correspondence of the Express.

Monrovia, Oct. 20. - Has anyone seen anything of Dr. H. D. Percival? A short time ago he retired from the firm of Adams & Percival, at the former's wish, because Percival had collected money to the amount of $500, and had neglected to give credit for the same on the books of the firm. Dr. Adams will not be the loser for the reason that there is enough on the books yet uncollected to save him from loss. But other citizens have not fared so well. He owes about $500 to different persons here - some of it to merchants, but mostly borrowed. The morning before he left - the 8th instant - he drove to a near-by canyon and borrowed $6 from an Italian gardener. Mr. Lancaster is out $125, money loaned. His worst escapade was with a man named Hodge, an employe on the Baldwin ranch. Hod had a $500 time check, but could not get it cashed immediately. Percival told Hodge that he could get it cashed for him, and the unsuspecting fellow let Percival have it. Investigation shows that Mr. Unruh gave Percival $260 in three checks, but of this some Hodge only received $36. Percival agreed to pay Hodge the balance on the 8th, but he has not been seen since.  Hodge swore out a warrant for his arrest. Percival is, or was, a member of the Democratic County Central Committee from this place, and was a delegate to the State Convention and an ardent supporter of Colonel Messmore. He left his wife without a cent of money, and she very much worried over his disappearance. He has turned her husband's horses and buggies over to the creditors.

Copyright 2010-2023, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Wow! I commend you for your research. Have you ever thought about putting things all in a book?

    1. No. I’d rather research. The blog lets me share what I’ve found.

  2. Your blog has become a virtual classroom, offering lessons that extend beyond the screen.