Born in Ireland in 1825, young Philip was left in the care of his grandmother while his parents, naturalized citizens who were vacationing in their homeland, returned to America. In 1845, while a student at Ireland’s Trinity College, he went to the United States to visit his mother. While in Rhode Island with another student they mistakenly signed aboard a schooner bound for Newfoundland, which they mistakenly thought was going to San Francisco. When the ship docked at San Diego and another headed for the Bay area arrived, the two friends tossed a coin for the space. Croswaithe lost and stayed.- https//www.sdhistory.org; Pamela Tamplain – San Diego Historical Society – Journal Of San Diego History, Summer 1975; Vol. 21: 3: pp. 43-49
Otter fishing was a lucrative occupation at the time and the coat of Baja proved a prime source for him. One skin brought as much as $40. In 1846, when word of the Mexican war reached Croswaithe, he was hunting with four companions. The five men returned to San Diego and enlisted for three months. He served at the December 6 Battle of San Pasqual and was slightly wounded by Pico’s Rangers. –https//www.sdhistory.org; William E. Smythe – San Diego Historical Society; History of San Diego; 1908; pp. 269-272
The year following his military service, Croswaithe served as second Alcade (administrative officer) for the city. He later became San Diego County’s first treasurer when Juan Bandini, who was originally elected to the position, declined. On August 24, 1850, Councilman Charles P. Noell resigned his position on the first city council, mandating a special election. Croswaithe won this election and took the seat (which had no salary) on September 9. He continued to serve until the end of the term in January.
It was in 1861, while Croswaithe was living in Baja, California, that he visited his sister and her husband in San Andreas, California. Jeff Gatewood was the publisher of the San Andreas Register. San Diego did not have a newspaper and Croswaithe suggested that he move the paper there. When Gatewood found the idea to be lucrative, the transfer took place on September 19, 1868. The first issue of the San Diego Union went on sale October 10. – Tamplain, San Diego Historical Society
When he returned to San Diego in January 1869, County Clerk George Pendeleton appointed him Deputy County Clerk. Eight months later the City Board of Trustees named him Chief of Police. He was also a business partner of Thomas Whaley at a store in Old Town. – Smythe, San Diego Historical Society
Philip Croswaithe died at 77 on February 19, 1903. He is buried in the Masonic section of Mount Hope Cemetery. – Tamplain, San Diego Historical Society