Wednesday, July 30, 2014

L.A. Times Publisher Harrison Gray Otis 1917 Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Harrison Gray Otis (February 10, 1837 – July 30, 1917) was the second publisher of the Los Angeles Times.


Born near Marietta, Ohio, Otis was part of the Republican National Convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for president. After the American Civil War, he worked as a publisher before moving to Los Angeles, California in 1876, where he would eventually become affiliated with the Los Angeles Times. He wrote editorials and local news there before buying a half interest in the paper. He then named himself president and editor-in-chief.

He was married to Eliza A. Otis, "patriot, poet, philanthropist." [1] Mrs. Otis was a member of the staff at the Times working at such departments as "Woman and Home" and "Our Boys and Girls."[2] A daughter, Marian Otis, married Harry Chandler, the son-in-law who succeeded Otis as Times publisher. Otis was known for his conservative political views, which were reflected in the paper. His home was one of three buildings that were targeted in the 1910 Los Angeles Times bombing.

His support for his adopted city was instrumental in the growth of the city. He was a member of the San Fernando Syndicate, a group of investors who bought land in the San Fernando Valley based on inside knowledge that the Los Angeles aqueduct would soon irrigate it.

Military service

Otis volunteered for the Union army during the Civil War—entering as a private—and fought in William McKinley's regiment, the 23rd Ohio Infantry. He was wounded twice in battle, was "twice breveted for gallant and meritorious conduct," and promoted seven times[3]—ultimately receiving the rank of Brigadier General. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Otis asked his former commander, then President McKinley, for an appointment as Assistant Secretary of War. But Secretary of War Russell A. Alger did not want the conservative Otis serving under him. Otis thereupon again volunteered for the Army and was appointed brigadier general of volunteers. He served in the Philippines. He did not see any action against the Spanish, but commanded the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, VIII Corps during the Philippine-American War. He died on July 30, 1917.


1.^ Photo of Mrs. Otis' burial inscription at Find-A-Grave
2.^ "Eliza A Otis." Magazine of Poetry: A Quarterly Review Oct. 1892: 375. Print. Vol. IV No. 4.
3.^ "Eliza A Otis." Magazine of Poetry: A Quarterly Review. Oct. 1892: 375. Print. Vol. IV No. 4.

Harrison Gray Otis and his wife Eliza are buried together at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

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