Major Richard M. Deasy Collection

GOGA-1766 Major Richard M Deasy Collection Murphy's Daily Journal August 1893 PSF
This 1893 Daily Journal was used by Isabel J. (Murphy) Deasy as a scrapbook for periodical clippings documenting troop activity in San Francisco and on post at the Presidio.

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Major Richard M. Deasy Collection, GOGA-1766

During the Spanish American War, 1898-1899, the Presidio of San Francisco was the main training and embarkation point for regiments from all over the United States. Often, soldiers would encamp on post for months at a time while awaiting orders to embark for Cuba or the Philippine Islands. These idle soldiers generated considerable curiosity from the citizens of San Francisco, particularly the town's female population. It was quite common for ladies and their consenting families to make picnics and spend their afternoons entertaining the troops.

GOGA-1766 Major Richard M Deasy Collection Murphy with Soldiers
In this photograph, Isabel J. (Murphy) Deasy poses at an encampment on the Presidio of San Francisco with men from “her” volunteer regiment, 1898.

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Major Richard M. Deasy Collection, GOGA-1766

The items in this collection belonged to Isabel Josephine (Murphy) Deasy, who was born in San Francisco circa 1880. In the featured photograph, 18-year-old Isabel has just been made "Honorary Colonel" of a Volunteer Regiment encamped at the Presidio of San Francisco awaiting deployment to a theater of the Spanish American War in 1898. As a symbol of her command, she was presented with a small .22 caliber slingshot Derringer pistol, which she carried in her purse until a miniature holster was made for her by one of the men in "her" regiment. She carried these items whenever she was "on duty" at the Presidio. In addition, she was awarded custodianship of the U.S. flag which flew over the camp the day she oversaw a retreat parade on post.

GOGA 26116 Major Richard M Deasy Collection 45-star flag
This 45-star U.S. flag flew above the encampment of Isabel’s regiment and was given to her as a memento by “her” soldiers, 1898.

Golden Gate NRA, Museum Collection GOGA 26116

In September of 1905, Isabel married San Francisco Superior Court Judge Daniel C. Deasy, a native San Franciscan with pioneer lineage in California. In 1917, she published a book titled "The Princess Eileen" which was illustrated by Ambrose M. Barnett, Jr. and published in San Francisco by J.J. Newbegin. Then, from 1918 to 1921, she served as Vice President of the Pacific Coast Women's Press Association. She died on March 8, 1927, survived by her sons and nine grandchildren.

The collection was donated to the Presidio Army Museum by her son Major Richard M. Deasy in 1975 and also includes the abovementioned Derringer pistol.


For more information visit:

SAW and the Philippine American War
Golden Gate NRA - Spanish American War

Honorable Daniel C. Deasy: - SF County Biographies


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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