History of Northern California
…is one of the first settlers and
one of the most prominent business men of Redding, Shasta County, California.
He is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Philadelphia, November 1, 1831.
He comes of good old Scotch-Presbyterian stock. His grandfather, John McCormick, was one of
the hardy sons of Scotland who settled in County Donegal, Ireland, and reared his family there. His son James was born at that place, and
when he grew to manhood, in 1829, married Isabella Black, also a native of Donegal County.
Immediately after their marriage they emigrated
direct to Philadelphia to make their fortune in the United States.
They settled in Philadelphia and Mr. McCormick engaged in the
manufacture of starch. O the two
children born to them in that city, the subject of our sketch was the
family removed to Quincy, Illinois, where the father purchased and
improved a farm. The mother died in
1845, and the father lived on the property until his death occurred, in
1886. He lived the life of an upright
and worthy citizen.
James was given his father’s name
that he might be an honor to it and perpetuate it in the world. He was reared to manhood on his father’s
farm, went to school in winter and drove the team and held the plow in
summer. When he reached his majority,
like his parents, he started out for himself.
He left his home in Quincy, Illinois, in December, 1852, and arrived at San Francisco, February 5, 1853, making the trip via the Isthmus of Panama.
Little did he think when he came to the El Dorado of the West in search of gold, that he was going to help improve and build the
grandest commonwealth of the United States.
His first venture was to dig for gold in Tuolumne County.
Some months later he went to Coloma.
The business of teaming was then very profitable and he engaged in that
for a time. He afterward purchased a
miners’ supply store in El Dorado County, and conducted it for two
years. After this, and until its
collapse, he was n the employ of the Adams Express Company. Then he acted as Wells Fargo & Co’s. agent nine years, and
purchased millions of dollars worth of gold dust. He removed to Woodland, Yolo County, and worked in the interest of the
Western Union Telegraph Company two years.
In 1873 Mr. McCormick came to Redding, and the following three years was
operator for the Western Union Telegraph Company.
In 1876 he went East
to the great Centennial and also visited his father and his friends whom he had
not seen for twenty-five years. On his
return to Redding the firm of McCormick, Saeltzer
& Co. was formed, Mr. W. L. Smith being the other member. They started with $9,000 capital, and
conducted the business with remarkable success for ten years. At the end of that time they incorporated
under the firm name of the McCormick-Saeltzer
Company, their capital having increased to $100,000. They have built a brick store, 70 x 200,
which comprises five departments, each 40 x 70 feet. They wholesale and retail general merchandise
and furnish supplies to Northern California and a part of Oregon.
Mr. McCormick has been one of the busy factors in building the city of Redding; was one of those who aided in its
incorporation; served two terms on its board of trustees. He was one of the originators of the Shasta
County Bank and its first vice-president; also aided in starting the Bank of Northern California, and is its present vice-president.
The day after he
was twenty-one years of age Mr. McCormick voted for General Scott for President
of the United States.
Since the organization of the Republican party
he has been one of its consistent adherents.
His marriage occurred at the residence of Judge Bush, December
the lady of his choice being Elizabeth Buckingham, a native of Whitestown, New York.
He is now engaged in building one of the finest residences in the city.
…a general farmer of Murray Township, Alameda County, was born in Holstein, Germany, January 19, 1840, and was brought up as a farmer. In 1864 he emigrated
to America, stopping in New York a short time and then came on by
way of the Isthmus to California, landing at San Francisco.
Going direct to Murray Township, he has since
then, in partnership with another man, been cultivating a tract of 570 acres,
with good success. He is a member of Vesper Lodge, No. 62, A O. U. W., of Livermore, and he was married in San Francisco, September 23, 1867, to Miss Margaret Steinboch. Their
children are Lena, Tillie, Mary and Frederick. (Page 335)
W. A. C. Smith
…real estate and insurance dealer, St. Helena, was born in Lincolnshire near the celebrated St. Botolph’s Church with its 365 steps to the top of its
steeple, the date August, 1834. He was
intended for a shoemaker, and learned that trade while a boy, and from the
premature age of ten years having to depend solely upon his own support. Drawn irresistibly to this land of liberty
and opportunity, in 1851 he used his earnings to bring him across the Atlantic
to Philadelphia, and to set him up as a farmer in the Conestoga Valley,
Pennsylvania. He was not satisfied,
however, with a life of manual labor, and had been profiting by every chance to
enlarge his knowledge and complete his education, stinting himself to get the
necessary books, and studying far into the night to master their contents. By the winter of 1852-’53, he was prepared to
take and teach a country school, this employment being only the stimulus to
further studies, as from this time until 1875, when he finally gave up the teacher’s
occupation, he was a very hard student, and becoming so proficient especially
in mathematics as to win a solid and lasting reputation. To give an idea of the energy and economy
which the Professor manifested at this early and formative period of his life,
it may be stated that he walked a distance of three and a half miles night and
morning to the Pennsylvania school, in order to save $2 out of his meager
salary of $18 per month. Later he went
to Onodaga County, New York, where he taught for some
time. In 1857, he came to California,
via the Isthmus of Panama, and for three years devoted himself to mining in
Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, but afterward engaged in teaching in the
mining regions, until in 1862 he removed to Vacaville in Solano County, taking
charge of the public schools in that town.
His eminence as a mathematician at this time led many of the pupils then
in attendance at Vacaville College to resort to him to perfect themselves in
that science. In September, 1863, he was
appointed principal of the St. Helena schools, giving up that position in the following year to
accept the professorship of mathematics in the Academy at Healdsburg. In 1865 he purchased the Democratic
Standard newspaper in that town, and for two years conducted it as editor
and proprietor, in an able and efficient manner. In 1866, he was recalled to St. Helena to resume the principalship
of the public schools, a position he held for nearly ten years continuously,
with great efficiency. Meantime, he became extensively interested in vineyard and other
business, and finally in 1876 opened a private bank in St. Helena, at that time the
only banking establishment in the town. This he
carried on until in 1886 he gave up the banking business and has since then
devoted himself strictly to real-estate, insurance and conveyancing
business, having also a large interest in internal revenue broking for the many
distillers and others in his county.
Professor Smith is a Democrat in
politics, decided yet liberal in his sentiments, and a leading man in his
party, having frequently been chairman of county and other conventions. His family consists only of wife and one
child. (Pages 335-336)
…a farmer near Livermore, was born in Holstein, Germany, September 10, 1858, and was brought up as a
farmer. In 1882 he emigrated
to America, stopping a short time in New York and then came across the continent
by rail direct to Livermore, near which place he has since
resided. He is in partnership with his
father-in-law, C. Stohl, in the cultivation of 570
acres of ground devoted to farm products generally. He is a member of the Sons of Hermann, of Livermore, is a liberal Republican, but
spends no time in politics. He was
married in San Francisco, October 18, 1885, to Miss Lena Stohl,
and he now has two children, --
Bertha and Minnie. (Page 336)
The fine ranch belonging to Colonel
J. D. Fry of San Francisco, situated near Yountville, Napa County, has been
under Mr. McVicker’s management for over twelve years,
and its present high state of cultivation and fine appearance is due to his
care. He is moreover a practical
horse-breeder, taking an enthusiastic interest in the Colonel’s fine stud of
horses under his charge, and breeding the fast animals that have made the stud
famous, such as Arab, out of Arithon, dam Lady
Hamilton, and other well-known horses.
He is also engaged in rearing Holstein and short-horn Durham cattle and Southdown sheep.
was born in Napanee, Canada, in 1851, where his
father, John McVicker, is a farmer. He left there in 1868, when nineteen years of
age, and has resided almost constantly in California since, engaged entirely in
the business of horse breeding and raising, sometimes on his own account and at
other times in the employment of others.
For four years he was with Mr. Tallant in
Wheatland, for two years with Mr. Jasper, and then at San Jose with Frank
Malone, as also in Sacramento and elsewhere for himself. He owns some property in Sacramento, which he is improving, and is an
active, energetic and thoroughgoing man in all he undertakes. He was married to Miss Annie McLennan, in San Francisco, in 1886. They have one child. (Page 336)
…a Yolo County farmer,
was born June 5, 1822, in Worcester County, Massachusetts, a son of Cheney and Anna (Walker) Olds, natives of Massachusetts.
The father, a farmer and shoemaker, was a soldier in the war of 1812 and
received a pension from the Government.
He was a pioneer settler in Illinois, in 1836, in Whiteside County, where he lived until his death in
1874; his wife survived until 1883. They
had six sons and three daughters. Lewis
was raised on a farm, and when of age he engaged in lead-mining in Wisconsin for several years. In 1850 he came across plain and mountain to California with horse teams, the trip
occupying four months. He arrived at
Hangtown and commenced mining at Coloma.
In the fall he went down in the valley to sell some stock, and he also
killed some animals and elk. Late in
that season he went to San Jose and spent the winter. In the spring of 1851 he was a short time in San Francisco, and then spent three years in the
mines at Yanke Jim’s and Michigan Bluff, with moderate success. In 1854 he settled upon his present property,
six miles from Woodland, which he obtained from the
Government by pre-emption, and on this he made all the improvements now
existing there. The place consists of
160 acres, and he carries on general farming and stock-raising.
C. Olds, his brother, was born in
August, 1832, in Cattarangus County, New York, was
raised on a farm in Illinois, and was twenty years of age when in 1852 he came
across the plains to California with ox teams, the time of the journey being
five months. After arriving here he spent
five years at the mines at Yankee Jim’s with moderate success, in collecting
gold. Then, in 1857, he settled in Yolo county upon a farm adjoining his brother, where he has ever
since been a constant resident engaged in agriculture. In 1868 he returned to Illinois by way of the Isthmus, and in 1889
he visited Illinois again, but is more than ever
satisfied with his location in the Golden State. (Pages 336-337)
Honorable Chancellor Hartson
…deceased, was born in Otsego County, New York, in 1824, his parents being Horace
and Asenath (Lidell) Hartson. The Lidells were of English descent and had long lived in that
State, and the family seat was Exeter, where the mother of our subject
was born. The Hartsons
were of Scotch ancestry, and the founders of the family in this country settled
England. His grandparents on this side were John and
Sybil (Hitchcock) Hartson. His father early engaged in the tanning
business, but later in life established himself in agricultural pursuits. The subject of this sketch graduated at Madison University, New York State, and then at Fowler Law School, at Cherry Valley, in 1848. In 1850 he was admitted to the bar of the
Supreme Court of New York.
Came to California the same year.
In July of the following year he
came to Napa, where he at once entered upon the practice of law, and
soon became popular. In September, 1851,
he was elected to the office of District Attorney, and at the close of his term
the people chose him for the more important position of county judge, which he
filled with ability until 1858. In the
meantime, in 1856, the Republican party first entered
the field as a national organization, and Judge Hartson,
who had previously been a Whig, threw the whole force of his strong nature into
the service of the new party of progress.
Almost alone he stood at that day a champion of the party’s cause in the
community, but his strength proved of untold benefit in the cause of
Republicanism. He was a regular and
interested reader of the New York Tribune, and as the tone of that paper
was exceedingly radical in favor of the new party and indeed of abolition, the
fact of his taking it caused murmuring and even threats among the extremists in
the ranks of the opposition. Observing
this, Judge Hartson sent for additional copies of the
great journal, saying that if one copy of the Tribune causes such a
commotion, he would like o see the effects of two dozen! which he subscribed for and distributed
among the people; but the threats against him were not carried out. He felt that there were troublous times ahead
for the country, and bent every energy to the task of building up a strong
support for the Government, with the result that when the civil war came on he
was conceded the greater part of the credit for the strong organization of the
Republican party which then existed. In
1861 he was elected to the Lower House of the State Legislature, and when the
Assembly was organized for the important work of that session, the “war
Legislature, “ he was chosen Chairman of the Judiciary
Committee. In 1862 he was elected to the
State Senate, and in that body was also appointed by its president to the first
place on the Judicial Committee. His
record in the Legislature of California during these, the Nation’s darkest
hours, is a part of the State history; and his unselfish services were duly
appreciated by the constituents who sent him there, and who, by their
suffrages, kept him in the Senate continuously until 1866, when affairs again
began to wear their former peaceful aspect.
He then felt that he deserved a rest
from his arduous labors in the public behalf, and returned to the practice of
his profession, which had naturally suffered while he was in the Senate. The law claimed almost his entire attention
until 1871, when, for the first time, he entered extensively into the fields of
finance. In that year he aided in the
establishment of the Bank of Napa, and upon its organization was
elected president. He conducted the
affairs of the bank with unusual executive ability until January
and his management gave it wide prestige.
In the meantime he also took a prominent part in the organization of the
Bank of Lake, at Lakeport, and of the board of
directors of which he was for years a member.
In 1879 W. J. Maclay
was elected to the Assembly, but shortly afterward his death occurred. To fill the vacancy thus caused so much
pressure was brought to bear upon Mr. Hartson, that,
despite his earnest protestations, he was compelled to accept the nomination,
which was heartily ratified by the people at the ensuing election. In this session of the Legislature, with the
prestige of his former service and the advantages of the ripe judgment and
mature mind he then possessed, he stood the peer of any man upon the floor of
either House, and his natural ability as a shrewd financier came into splendid
play upon the question of revenue and finance.
His speech on Assembly Bill No. 404, embodying these subjects, was
conceded to be the master effort of the session, and so great was the demand
for it that an edition of 75,000, subsequently published, was in a very short
time exhausted. An extract from this
address, which will not be out of place in this connection, will give the
reader an idea of the force and character of the man who uttered these sentiments:
“I rise under deep feelings of
embarrassment and regret, inspired principally by the painful recollection that
in the advocacy of this great constitutional measure, I am in conflict with the
wishes of many highly esteemed friends, in and out of this House, whose good
will I crave, and for whose opinions I entertain the highest respect. Nothing but a strong sense of duty and a
clear conviction of right has impelled me to take so decided a stand, and
maintain it with whatever of vigor and ability I possess. So far as I am concerned, I have no trouble
in so construing that language as to tax all credits, all stocks and all
property. I am decidedly in favor of
rolling back and off the industries and lands of this State, and back up on the
bondholders and stockholders, the great burden of taxation that belongs to the
latter class to bear. I came here to do
a great constitutional duty. I promised
the suffering men and women of my home, when elected, that I would stand up for
their rights against power and wealth and prerogative. I am here by my voice to fulfill that
promise. My judgment approves that
measure, and the work done for its accomplishment is the work of my hand and my
heart as well as my intellect.”
In November, 1880, Judge Hartson was reelected to succeed himself in the
Legislature, and took an active part in the sessions of that and the following
year. In 1881 he received, at the hands
of President Garfield, the appointment as Collector of Internal Revenue for San Francisco district, and filled out his term
of office in a masterly manner. This was
his last public position. His death,
which occurred suddenly, September 25, 1889, was a shock to the community, and
drew forth expressions of profound regret throughout the entire State. From the Napa Daily Register is taken
the following account of the circumstances of his death: “About one o’clock, to-day, as Hon.
Chancellor Hartson was passing from the library of
his home into the sitting room, he fell to the floor as if in a faint, when a
gentleman, who happened to be present, placed him upon a lounge and ran for a
doctor. Meanwhile Mrs. Hartson worked incessantly over the loved and lifeless form
of her husband with the restoratives she had at hand, but in vain. Drs. Wrightman and Hostetter soon arrived, and one glance at the ashen face of
the prostrate man was enough to tell them that the vital spark had fled.
had been complaining of not feeling well for a week or more, but he was up and
about all the time, engaged in the temperance work he had so cordially
espoused, and no one had any idea that his end was so near—that the rest he had
so royally earned was at hand. Death was
probably occasioned by paralysis of the heart.”
The eulogies recited after his death
show forth a character of greatness and nobility and true integrity, such as
falls to the lot of but few men. That
those who knew and respected him in life may tell further of his history and
characteristics, the following extracts are here given. In the course of the funeral address
delivered by A. J. Nelson, D. D., pastor of the Epworth Church, San Francisco, that eloquent divine took occasion
“His life was an unceasing
benediction to the community, the church and the State. In the history of the State, I find him in
her legislative halls again and again, both in the Assembly and the Senate; the
choice of the best people of the State more than once for Governor and for
Congress. But he was no politician. Too honest to be a demagogue, too wise to be
deceived by political tricksters, he preferred integrity to office, and manhood
to money. But he left his impress on the
political history of the State and party he loved so well.
“He was the friend of the common
people. He stood like a wall of granite
against political power, the influence of money, and the prerogatives of office
and party. He was a financier of no
ordinary ability, and had he loved money as he loved integrity, he would have
been a millionaire. In every position he
has occupied, he has shown himself the peer of any man in the management of the
affairs of State.
“He was a beneficent man as well as
benevolent: his purse and heart were
open alike to all good works. In the
early history of your city he is found on the board of trustees of the
Presbyterian Church. He was president of
the board of directors for the Insane Asylum, and president of Napa County
Bank. His name is but a synonym for Napa College.
On every board he was the chief brain and inspiration of all forward
movements. He represented his own church
at the last general conference held in New York City, in May, 1888. He took a part in the great debate—the right
of women to a seat in the general conference of the Methodist Episcopal
Church. He voted for and maintained with
his usual enthusiasm the right of his sisters to a seat in the highest councils
of his church. General conference
elected him a member of the National Committee of the American Sabbath Union.
“We admire a man that stands for
something; some thought; some great principle; some party; some church. When such a man dies, the world loses
something; his friends have something to bury, and posterity something to honor
and to copy,--some incarnation of some living issue.
“The evening work of his life was an
original and well-planned assault on the saloons, that
have blasted the hopes of thousands of families, and are the chief blight upon
all the prospects of the State. He fell
in the midst of his plans, a martyr to the cause; an overworked brain and a
burdened heart which gave way under this great pressure.
“He was my friend and brother: a
truer heart never beat in the mortal bosom.”
Rev. John Coyle, pastor of the
Methodist Episcopal Church of Napa city, and Rev. Richard Wylie, of the Napa
Presbyterian Church, each delivered an eloquent address, in which they paid
tribute to his many noble qualities of head and heart. The newspapers of the State expressed the
general sorrow felt upon the death of Judge Hartson,and the following extracts are but expressive of the
“Thus suddenly one of the most
kingly of men has been summoned from earth.
It is as if some grand temple had fallen—some mighty oak had been
twisted from its well-rooted foundation—and so sudden we are dazed by the unlooked-for
blow. The eulogies that shall be spoken
over his casket need no artificial force.
They will partake of the sincere sorrow that dwells in every true heart
that knew and appreciated Judge Hartson—the loyal
head of a beloved home, the sympathizing friend of suffering humanity, the one
out of the few who ever said by his acts, ‘I dare do all that may become a
“Napa is in mourning, for she is in the
shadow of a great affliction: her truest
and best citizen is no more.”--Napa Daily Reporter.
“In the death of Hon. Chancellor Hartson the State loses one of its most honored
citizens. As a citizen, his integrity of
purpose was unimpeachable, and as a politician he stood on the highest
plane. He was honest in all his
dealings, whether with men, the interests of the State, or her relations to
political matters. He was a man of great
force of character, and during many years of public life made a marked
impression on the affairs of the State, always for the best interests of the commonwealth. His death causes sincere regret in all
parties; and hundreds of intimate friends, familiar with his sterling traits of
character, will regard his sudden death as a personal bereavement.”—Oakland Times.
“The State of California has met with an irreparable loss in
the death of Chancellor Hartson, which occurred at Napa yesterday. He was one of our ablest and purest men, and
as a citizen, and a man of business, his equal is seldom found. As a lawyer Mr. Hartson
was able, and as a public speaker he had few equals. His political record had no stain. As a business man he was a model. But those admired and loved him most who knew
him as a true and unselfish friend.”—Oakland Inquirer.
These references to Judge Hartson show him to have been one of the strongest and
truest of characters—a might power in whatever he participated. In his home life he was exceedingly happy,
and a brief reference to his immediate family will be fitting in this
Mrs. Hartson was, previous to her marriage, which occurred
January 26, 1854, Miss Electa Burnell.
She is a native of Sinclairville, Chautauqua County, New York, and a daughter of Rev Joel and Electa (King) Burnell, both of
whom were natives of Massachusetts.
After their marriage in that State, they removed to western New York, where they took up a large
farm. While living there, Mr. Burnell studied law, was admitted to the bar, and afterward
became Judge, in which capacity he served many years, being one of the leading
men of western New York, and one of the most active figures in public affairs
though in no sense an office seeker. He
afterward became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, serving the
churches throughout Chautauqua County, where he was loved and honored to
a high degree. He and his wife both died
York. Of their sons five grew to
maturity, viz.: Madison, who became
distinguished as one of the ablest jury lawyers of the nation; he died in 1865,
in New York; Lorenzo, who followed the ship-building industry, and afterward
was navigator, died in California, in 1857; Joel, who became a minister of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, now resides at Eureka, where he supplies the local
congregations; Ransom, a lawyer, came to California in 1850, practiced in the
courts of this State served in its Legislature, and died in February, 1879; and
Philo, a physician, died in 1857.
Judge and Mrs. Hartson
reared four children, viz.: Burnell C., Ernest, Channing and
Ernest died August 22, 1884, being thus cut off
at an untimely age from what would have undoubtedly been a brilliant
career. He was a lad of great promise,
of an unusually manly demeanor, and gave evidence of signal musical ability in
addition to other qualities, which made him a general favorite. He was the pride and almost constant
companion of his father, who was grief-stricken beyond expression by the loss
of his boy. He never recovered from the
shock, and indeed his own death is thought by many to have been hastened by
this cause. (Pages 337-341)
A Memorial & Biographical History of Northern California: Chicago : The
Lewis Publishing Company, 1891
Transcribed by Janice Giachino, February, 2007 Pages 334-341
Martha A Crosley Graham
Reserved – 2007