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Robert Desty


Picture of Robert Desty
Case and Comment
Date Party Office Votes Result
09-03-1879 Workingmen SD-08 0 Win

Candidate Biography:

Robert Daillebout d'Estimauville de Beaumaucha
Robert Daillebout Destimonville De Beau Monchel
(sometimes shortened to Robert d'Esti Mauville or Robert D'Allebout De Beau)
Born: February 17, 1827 in Quebec, Canada
Military Service: ARMY (Mexican-American War)
Died: September 27, 1895 in Rochester, New York

1850s: District Attorney, ????? County
18??-1867: Editor, San Francisco New Age (Odd Fellows newspaper)
1867: Business Manager, Every Day Life magazine
1867-1878: Principal, West End School (San Francisco)
1880: Seat was declared vacant on March 17 (see note below)

  • In the 1850s, Desty was the teacher in Unionville (now Arcata) and his students included Charles A. Murdock.
  • After being elected to the Senate in 1879, it was found that Desty was not a citizen. He was not allowed to take office and the seat was declared vacant. James D. Byrnes was elected to fill the vacancy on March 30, 1880.
  • Desty returned to New York following the 1879 election (returning to California in mid-January 1880), and found that although he had filed a petition to become a citizen in 1849 (and received a certificate recognizing his application), he never formally became a citizen in New York at that time. He claimed to have been naturalized in San Francisco (but that the records were destroyed in an 1850 fire) and petitioned to have his citizenship take place retroactively. The petition was declined, and he became a citizen on February 24, 1880. On March 2nd, the San Francisco Election Commission ordered that Desty's name be "stricken from the Great Register" of voters, resulting in his disqualification as a Senator. On March 17, the Senate adopted (by a vote of 38-0) a report by the Committee on Elections that found Desty was not entitled to the seat "for the reason that he never became a citizen of the United States until February twenty-fourth, 1880."
  • Desty's attorney during the election challenge was J. Neely Johnson.
  • "While known to the legal profession far and near as Robert Desty, his true name, as he himself wrote it in signing a contract respecting a claim to ancestral estates was Robert Daillebout d'Estimauville de Beaumauchal" Source: Case and Comment

Source: Case and Comment Vol. 2, No. 5 (October 1895)