JP Garlick 7Joshua Platt (J.P.) Garlick (March 15, 1837 – February 19, 1931) was an educator, and was principal of Cole Grammar School when Jack London was there. He was later the Alameda County superintendent of schools (1894-1898), and then principal of Lincoln School (1898-c.1902). 4

Jack London connection

J.P. was principal of Cole Grammar School from (1885–c.1891) during which time Jack London attended the school. Apparently young Jack was not a stranger in Mr. Garlick's office:

'The leader of the Cole School toughs was a budding young thug named Mike Pinella, who called Johnny a sissy, threw a book he was reading across the schoolyard, and was surprised to learn the "sissy" could hold his own. Both boys ended up in Mr. Garlick's office, who ruled that they would not be punished if they would embrace and make up. Mike Pinella was willing, but Johnny, his keen and growing sense of injustice offended, refused. "I'll take the licking, Mr. Garlick," he said. "I know I was in the right, and I'll do it again if I have to." ' 1


J.P. was married to Etha Frances Sproul Garlick (June 17, 1851 – January 7, 1942). Etha was a member of the Ebell Society. 3

They had a daughter, Etha Rebecca Garlick (October 8, 1874 – August 2, 1913). She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1897, and she and P.G. married in 1902 in Los Angeles. Etha Rebecca died in 1913. 2

Son-in-law Dr. Perley Glenn (P.G). Garlick (July 22, 1875 – January 27, 1918) graduated from the Hahnemann Homeopathic College (Hahnemann Medical College of the Pacific in San Francisco) on October 15, 1903. He was appointed to the San Francisco Health Board in April 1907 by S.F. mayor Eugene "Handsome Gene" Schmitz, despite the fact that Dr. Garlick was six months short of the necessary qualifications. 6 The mayor withdrew the nomination the following week. (Mayor Schmitz was later famously convicted for extortion and removed from office. The conviction was overturned, but Schmitz was never again mayor although he was elected to the Board of Supervisors.)

In an odd coincidence, P.G.'s last name was the same as the family he married into, and both P.G.'s father and Etha Rebecca's grandfather were named James Garlick, and came from England. P.G. died of an aortic aneurysm in 1918.


Etha Frances Garlick was involved in a bit of a mystery. In October 1902, a body was found floating in the estuary near the foot of Adeline Street. Etha identified it as being Mrs. Ophelia Wells of Selma, Alabama, who had recently approached her for help as she had no money. The woman had said she needed $3 to purchase a ticket to Truckee where her brother recently moved from Texas; Etha gave her 50 cents towards her goal.

But Mrs. L.B. Gibson, proprietress of the Merritt Hotel, said that Ophelia Wells had stayed at the hotel several nights, and left for Waco, Texas. Mrs. Gibson saw her depart by train. Mrs. Gibson said that while there was a "startling resemblance", she was able to positively identify the body as not being that of Mrs. Wells based on other features. It seems Mrs. Wells had also been asking the Rebekahs, the Odd Fellows, and the Presbyterians for money, too, claiming affiliation with all of them, and managed to get $3 from Charles H. Townsend and Joseph Chappie of the Berkeley Odd Fellows. She then (wisely) left town. 5

So who was the body in the estuary? The body was identified by a policeman who recognized it was Mary Miller, who he had arrested in September for drunkenness ("stupefied from liquor"). "[A]lthough the resemblance is very great", "police authorities are positive that the identification is complete." 8


According to the 1892 voter registration, they lived at 1016 14th Street. In the 1900 census, they lived at 649 Oakland Avenue, and Etha's parents (Andrew and Rebecca Sproul, formerly of Fairfield and San Francisco), were living with them. They lived for some years (?-1928?) in Piedmont. J.P. died in 1931, and by 1935 Etha lived in a boarding house at 148 Bayo Vista in Oakland.

Links and References

  1. Wolf: The Lives of Jack London, James L. Haley
  2. Obituary Notes, SF Call, August 5, 1913
  3. Bright Talks by Visitors at Ebell Luncheon, SF Call, November 15, 1905
  4. A Change of Positions, SF Call, November 22, 1898
  5. Strange Case Develops From the Suicide in the Estuary, SF Call, October 16, 1902
  6. Appoints Ineligible Health Board Member, SF Call, April 12, 1907
  7. Alameda County: The Eden of the Pacific. Tribune Publishing Co: 1898.
  8. A Woman Supposed to Have Been Drowned Is Alive, LA Herald, October 17, 1902