He resided in Redwood City, San Mateo, CA 1893.
John Cotter Pelton was orphaned while young, and getting such educati on as he could at Madrid, Phillips, New Sharon, and Farmington in the sta te of ME. John devoted himself to the free public school, and early beg an teaching. Intending to be the apostle of free schools upon the Pacif ic slope, he studied as he taught. When the news was received of the disc overy of gold at Sutter's Sawmill in CA, he was principal of Phillips Fr ee School in Andover, ME and a student in Phillips Academy, His term at t he free school ended he determined to go at once to California. Furnish ed by friends with funds and an abundant supply of books, maps, and globe s, by Professor Cale Pelton with a set of outline maps, and by Ho n. D. F. Whittemore with a library, he with his newly married wife and t wo hundred and ten other passengers set sail in the old ship 'New Jersey ", from Boston, for San Francisco. After many delays, they arrived abo ut Oct, 1849. Mr. Pelton with on dollar and a half in his pocket spe nt it for passage to the shore. Good business management in the cour se of two or two and half months made him the happy possessor of four or f ive hundred dollars. Then he began agitating for the establishment of h is proposed free school. A notice in the " Daily Pacific News" on D ec 3, 1849 saying a free public school would commence on Dec 26the insta nt in the Baptist Church on Washington St. Mr and Mrs Pelton being the te achers. Thus began the public school system of San Francisco. On Mar 2 8, 1850, the school adopted by resolution of the city fathers, which resol ution or resolutions also named a salary for the Peltons, to begin on Apr il 1st next month.
After the establishment of other schools, Mr. Pelton was elected to fir st Superintendent of Schools in San Francisco, county and city. He was ag ain elected Superintendent of Public Schools in 1865. And was a trust ee of the first State Reform School and its superintendent. Afterward he w as superintendent of the Industrial School of San Francisco which positi on he took, after much persuasion, in 1869. Here, after some three year s' service and while the institution was in a state of successful usefulne ss, his health failed, from excessive care and mental strain. A fall fr om a carriage upon his head and shoulders now completely disabled him a nd laid him up for a long time. Partially recovered, he, broken in heal th and fortune, went to Southern California in hopes of at least measurab le recovering both. Settled in San Diego he, in the course of years, aga in made a competence, which was again lost through the great fall of re al estate in southern California. In 1883 he resided with his family in R edwood City, CA, engaged in literary pursuits. See his writing "Life's Su nbeams and Shadows", and other works. For his public career, see the publ ic records of San Francisco. All honor to the man who left New England a nd planted her public free school system within the Golden Gate.