John E. Feliciano (1917/06/19)

A young army bugler was consumed by the rushing Feather River.

It is believed that John E. Feliciano was born in Watsonville about 1899. No additional information regarding his birth, family or formative years has been located.

John enlisted as a bugler in Company L of the National Guard in the summer of 1917 as its members were returning from Nogales, Arizona, where they had been serving in the 1916 Mexican Incursion.

After their return, the company was sent to Las Plumas, California, on the Feather River to guard the power plant of the Great Western Power Company against possible sabotage.

The Watsonville Evening Pajaronian of June 20, 1917, provided details on Private Feliciano's death.

“John Feliciano, bugler for Company L of the Second Regiment, was drowned in the Feather River at Las Plumas shortly after noon yesterday. Feliciano and three companions were crossing the river on an improvised raft when it suddenly went to pieces, throwing the guardsmen into the water. Feliciano was swept away and Frank Berden would have suffered the same fate had it not been for William Moore, who managed to get Berden ashore and then went after Feliciano. He was unable to reach the struggling soldier and threw him a board hoping it would hold him up until he could reach him. But Feliciano was swept away and drowned. Lawrence Bisby, the fourth member of the party, managed to reach the shore in safety.”

The body of John Feliciano was recovered and returned to Watsonville; his funeral was held at the Christian Church with fellow members of Company L serving as pallbearers. Civil War veterans of the local R. L. McCook Post of the Grand Army of the Republic provided the guard of honor for Feliciano, whose remains were buried in the Watsonville Pioneer cemetery.

When the Victory Byway Memorial obelisk was erected in Santa Cruz, the name "Ferdinand" accompanied his name rather than John. No explanation has been found for that discrepancy.

(CAG; WEP June 19, 20, 21, 1917)

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010.
Date: Undated
Type: OBIT
Coverage: 1910s
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson and The Museum of Art & History.
Identifier: RO-FELICIANO

Citation

Nelson, Robert L. “John E. Feliciano (1917/06/19).” Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010. SCPL Local History. https://history.santacruzpl.org/omeka/items/show/4555. Accessed 2 Oct. 2022.