History of Northern California



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ABNER ABELE, a farmer of Yolo County, is a son of Joseph and Francisca (Yeager) Abele, natives of Germany. He was born in Wiirtembiirg, Germany, August 7, 1826, lost his parents when fourteen years of age, and when twenty-five years old emigrated to this country. The first five years here he spent in Buffalo, New York, following his trade as cooper; spent one year in Canada; returned to Buffalo, and next was in Erie, Pennsylvania, two years, where in 1856 he married Theckla Heemle, also a native of Wiirtemburg. After following his trade two years in the latter place he went again to Canada and conducted a cooper-shop of his own three years, when he came to California, via the Isthmus route. Going to Yolo, he first worked as a day laborer until 1862, and then purchased a place of his own. He now has 1,120 acres two miles west of Cacheville. He has three sons and three daughters living, namely: Joe, Alois, John, Francisco, Josephine, Mary and Ragena. Two of his children are deceased, Adolph and Agata, besides a grandson named Joe Abele.



PERSON E. READING, one of the two or three most conspicuous fathers of Northern California, was born in New Jersey, November 26, 1816, and died at his ranch, Buena Ventura, in Shasta County, on the 29th of May, 1868, aged fifty-one years and six months. For about a quarter of a century' he had occupied a prominent position in California. In 1843 he crossed the plains in company with the late Samuel J. Hensley, and some twenty-five others, and from that period was thoroughly identified with this region of the continent. The route by which the party arrived is thus described by Hon. John Bidwell:


"The route by which they had come had never to my knowledge been visited or traversed by any save the most savage Indian tribes; namely, from Fort Boise, on Snake River, to the Sacramento Valley, via the upper Sacramento or Pit River. The hostility as well as courage of those savages is well known; and I may refer to the conflicts with them of Fremont in 1846, of the lamented Captain Warner in 1849, and of General Crook in 1867.


In 1844, Reading entered the service of General Sutter, and was at the Fort when Fremont first arrived in California in the spring of that year. In 1845 he was left in charge, while Sutter marched with all his forces to assist Micheltorena in quelling the insurrection headed by Castro and Alvarado. The former had shown his partiality for Americans by granting them lands, and this led to the espousal of his cause by our people. Reading, in 1844, had received a grant in what is now known as Shasta County. Later, in 1845, he visited, on a hunting and trapping expedition, nearly all the northern part of California, the western part of Nevada, as also Southern Oregon. He was afterward extensively engaged in trapping in 1845-'46 on the lower Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. In all these dangerous expeditions his intelligence, bravery, and imposing personal appearance exercised over the hostile Indians a commanding influence that protected himself and party not only from hostile attack, but also secured their friendly aid in his undertakings.


When it became probable that war would be declared against Mexico, Reading enlisted under Fremont; and on the organization of the California Battalion by Commodore Stockton, was appointed [Paymaster, with the rank of Major, and served until the close of the war in this country. After its termination, Reading returned to his ranch in Shasta, which he made his permanent home.


In the events preceding and accompanying the acquisition of this territory, the knowledge and experience of Reading were of great advantage to the Government, and that the flag of our Union instead of that of another nation now waves over it, is in a great measure due to those early pioneers who entered California before the existence of gold in its soil was even surmised.


In 1848 Reading was among the first to visit the scene of Marshall's gold discovery Coloma and shortly after engaged extensively in prospecting for gold, making discoveries in Shasta, at the head waters of the Trinity, and prospecting that river until he became satisfied that the gold region extended to the Pacific Ocean. A portion of these explorations were made in company with Jacob R. Snyder. A large number of Indians were worked with great success, until all were disabled by sickness.


In 1849, with Hensley and Snyder, Reading engaged extensively in commercial business in Sacramento, and continued the firm until 1850. In the fall of 1849 Major Reading fitted out an expedition to discover the bay into which he supposed the Trinity and Klamath rivers must empty. The bark Josephine, in which the party sailed, was driven by a storm far out of her course to the northwest of Vancouver's Island and had to return. Others, subsequently, acting on the idea, discovered and called the bay after that world renowned traveler Humboldt, by whose name it is now known.


In 1850, Major Reading visited Washington to settle his accounts as Paymaster of the California Battalion. The disbursements exceeded $166,000, and had been kept with such neatness and accuracy, supported by vouchers, that the auditor considered them as being the best of all presented during the war.


While in the "States," on this occasion, he visited his old home, Vicksburg, where in 1837 he succumbed to the crisis which caused such wide-spread ruin among the merchants of the Southwest. His object was to pay in gold the principal and interest of his long outstanding and almost forgotten obligations. This he did to the extent of 860,000 an instance of commercial integrity of which California has reason to be proud.


In 1851 Major Reading was the candidate of the Whig party for Governor of Californian, which exalted position he failed to obtain only by a few votes. Since then he was frequently invited to become a candidate for political positions, but declined. For many years previous to his decease, agriculture, with a view of developing the interests of the State, occupied his attention. In 1856 Major Reading married, in Washington, Miss Fanny Washington, who, with five children, was left to mourn the death of their beloved protector.


BARNEY PARISH, a farmer near Cacheville, is a son of James and Nancy (Mc-Can) Parish. the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Virginia. He was born in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, September 18, 1835. In 1858 he came by water to California and soon went to Virginia City, where he was engaged in mining one winter. In the spring he went to Grass Valley, and in a month to Yuba County, where he was employed by a mining company for five months. Purchasing then a team, he began freighting from Marysville to the mountains, which business he followed two years. Selling this outfit, he went to San Joaquin County and then again to Virginia City, Nevada, in 1862, but within a few weeks he returned to Yolo County and worked for George and William Woodard for four years. In 1865 he bought 217 acres of land, of M. Lowe, and in 1869 purchased the farm of fifty acres where he now resides, a half mile from Cacheville and five miles from Woodland. In 1865 he was united in marriage with Mary Boub [Transcriber's Note: Mary's surname is hard to read, it may be Bonb], and they had five children, all of whom are dead but one son, named Edward. Mr. Parish, for his present wife married Miss Autiie Weamer, and by this marriage there are six children: Eiizabeth, William, Annie, Otto, Theodore and Minnie.


BENJAMIN OLIVER was born in Vermont, May 6, 1833. His parents, Alexander and Sarah (Robinson) Oliver, natives of Ireland, came to America a newly married couple, in 1827, and settled in Essex, Vermont, They resided on a farm there for many years, and there reared a family of nine children, the subject of this sketch being the oldest. He received his education in the common schools of the Green Mountain State, and assisted his father in farm work.


In 1852 he came to California. For nine years he worked in the mines in Shasta County, without large results. At the end of that time he turned his attention to farming. He purchased seven and a half acres in the corporation of Redding. From time to time he bought other lands until he owned 600 acres. This he disposed of at a liberal advance, and afterward  repurchased twenty-five acres of the property, on which he has built a nice large residence. He is engaged in raising fruit and vegetables, giving most of his attention to horticulture.


Mr. Oliver was united in marriage, in 1874, to Mrs. Ellen Carine, a native of Michigan. They have eight children, all born in Redding, Sarah, Maggie, Ella, Lucy, Winnie, George, Benjamin and Charles, all at home with their parents at this writing. Mr. Oliver came to the vicinity of Redding in 1859, long before there was any thought of a town here. He has seen its wonderful growth and development, and has aided in the advancement of its best interests. He is a Democrat; was elected by his party to the office of Supervisor, holding the office from 1871 till 1876. He is now a nominee for the same position. Mr. Oliver's father died in 1870, after which his mother and sister came to California. The mother died in 1889, and is buried at Redding.


BENJAMIN H. PICKETT, one of the early and reliable citizens of California, was only one year old when he arrived in this State, and consequently has seen all of her wonderful growth. He was born at White River Junction, Vermont, October 23, 1824, the son of John Pickett, who was also a native of that State. His grandfather, David Pickett, was an Englishman, who left that country for the colonies in their early history, and took a hand in the war for independence. He was one of General Washington's staff officers, and was a prisoner on the old Dutch prison ship 109 days, and with eight others escaped, the remainder dying of disease and hardships. Mr. Pickett's father married Miss Candace Lewis, a native of New Hampshire, and the daughter of Professor Lewis, President of Dartmouth College. He was an Englishman, and came to America with his parents when he was a child. Mr. Pickett's parents had six children, four of whom still survive.


Our subject, the third child, received his education in Vermont, Indiana, Mexico and California, the practical part of which was received in the two latter States, as he was a volunteer American soldier in the war with Mexico from its commencement until the capture of the capital of Mexico. So he was one of the brave little army who attacked and defeated a far superior army in numbers in their own- country, and drove them time and again from their strong fortifications and captured their capital. No wonder General Taylor said of them, " They did not know when they were whipped." The remainder of his practical education was obtained in the mines and mountains of California in the early days, and there is no doubt that he was an apt scholar in digging gold, pursuing Indians and hunting deer, elk and bear, and notwithstanding he is sixty-five years of age, he still takes pride in a good shot. Mr. Pickett's first work in this State was on a farm, and then in a saw-mill. He mined at Placerville for two years and took out $16,000; next he mined for a time at Shasta, and only made $300, and at that time his flour cost him $1.25 per pound and other things in proportion. From there he went to Yreka, where he mined ten months, and took out $10,000. He then returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and after a visit came again to California and became a rancher. He secured a homestead of 120 acres, and afterward made other purchases until he has now a fine ranch of 1,380 acres. He has built three dwelling houses on this ranch as his necessities' required, and he now has a pleasant home and good farm buildings. He is engaged in raising hay, grain, hogs and cattle, in which he has been very successful.


Mr. Pickett was married in 1847, to Miss Melita Mohan, a native of Indiana, and this union has been blessed with one child, a daughter, whom they named Candace. She was born in Indiana, and is now the wife of Elias Brown, and resides on their ranch near her father. They have seven children. Mr. Pickett has been a Republican since the organization of that party, and in 1856 took a part as a free State man in the Kansas troubles. 'In 1855 he was a volunteer against the Indians on the Rogue River. Fourteen men from his vicinity started on that expedition, and only himself and another man went through. The expedition was a success, the whites running the Indians into a cave and killing them. At the tight on Klamath River there were a large number of Indians in a tamarisk swamp. Mr. Pickett, with thirteen others, volunteered to go around behind them and drive them out, which was accomplished, the men in front being ready to shoot as soon as they came out. Nearly all the Indians were killed and this ended their depredations. Mr. Pickett has many interesting reminiscences of the early days. He has a good retentive memory, and is quite strong and capable for a man of his years. The value of such brave men to the State and the society which they protected and helped to build, can never be over- estimated. "May they live long and be happy.'


W F. REID, a retired farmer residing seven miles southeast of Davisville, ' Yolo County, was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, June 20, 1812, his parents being Joseph a-id Elizibeth (Slavin) Raid, the former a native of Virginia, born in 1779, a farmer by occupation, and the latter a native of North Carolina. They moved to Adair County, Kentucky, when the subject of this notice was a year and a half old, and six and a half years afterward they moved into Tennessee; two years subsequently to Franklin County, that State; in 1829 into Alabama; in 1844 back to Tennessee; in 1853 to Arkansas; and in 1857 to California, landing at Sacramento. He bought a place in Yolo County, which he still owns, containing 320 acres, seven miles south- east of Davisville.


October 6, 1834, Mr. Reid was united in marriage with Elizabeth Shores, a native of Tennessee, and a daughter of Levi and Mary Shores, natives of North Carolina. She was born in 1818, and died October 11, 1889, the period of their married life being fifty-five years, lacking only twenty-five days. In their family have been sixteen children, three of whom are deceased. The living are: Joseph B., Alexander H., Eliza A., Mary I., Reuben E., Sarah F., Alfred, William F., Jr., John M. Margaret E., James H., Louis L. and Emma; and the deceased are: Levi, who died in 1861; Lucie E., who died in 1876; and Hannah W., who died in 1884.


M H DRUMMOND, a merchant at Davisville, was born May 1, 1859, about seven miles southeast of that village, on a ranch where he lived until he was fifteen years old. He then moved into town, attended school, and finished his education at Sacramento, at the age of twenty years. In 1882, in partnership with E. W. Brown, he started in the hardware business at Davisville; and nine month afterward he sold out his interest in that business and bought an interest in the hardware and grocery trade of D. F. Liggett, and they carry a stock of about $20,000, doing a large and prosperous business. March 13, 1884, Mr. Drummond was married to Eliza Callaway, and they have one son, named Lester C. Mrs. Drummond was killed in Oregon by a horse running away and throwing her and her little babe out of the buggy, July 15, 1885. She was killed in the instant, but the babe escaped unhurt!


E M. Hall, Jr., is the owner of Glendale one of the finest estates in every respect in this part of California. It has a magnificent stretch of 1,400 acres, reaching from hill crest to hill crest and occupying the whole of the upper end of Conn Valley. When Mr. Hall took possession of it six years ago it was a cattle range and wholly in a state of nature. There are now ninety acres of choice grapes, such as Zinfandel, Burgundy, Pinot, Riesling, Chasselas, Carignane, etc.; and eventually the vineyards will be increased to 200 acres. The cellar contains cooperage for 50,000 gallons of wines, and tunnels are being run into the hill that will give unlimited storage capacity. This year's make was 30,000 gallons. Upon the place are two fine, hard-finished residences, well kept gardens and grounds, and the usual barns, corrals, etc., of a gentleman's country-seat. Mr. Hall is a native son of California, born February 10, 1859, at Auburn, Placer County. His father, E. M. Hall, Sr., is a prominent pioneer and now a member of the well-known firm of T. Whiteley & Co., stockbrokers of San Francisco. Mr. Hall was raised and educated in this State. He is married to Miss Lillian Tubbs, the daughter of H. Tubbs, Esq., the well-known merchant of San Francisco. They have three children: Hiram, now seven years old; Edward, now five; and Susie, an infant daughter.


F N HENDRICK, proprietor of a packing house and manufacturer of ice at Madison, Yolo County, is one of the enterprising and leading business men of that county. Hard work and good management have brought him to his present business standing and financial status. He was born in Cz'ernach, Germany, March 17, 1848, the son of Philip F. and Barbara (Frcdner) Henrick, relatives of the same town; his father was born in November, 1817, was a butcher by trade and dealer in live-stock, and finally died in his native country, in 1859. His wife, born May 11, 1822, is still living, at the old home. The genealogy of the family is traceable back for three centuries, in Cziernach.


In 1864 Mr. Henrick, our subject, came to California, by way of New York and the Isthmus; on the Atlantic side he sailed on the steamer Arizona, and on the Pacific side the Golden City. He was on the sea thirteen days from Germany to New York, and twenty-four days thence to San Francisco. After remaining some time with his uncle on a ranch in Solano County, he entered the butcher business in San Francisco and Sacramento at the time time. Seven years afterward, in 1870, he went to Cottonwood (now Madison), Yolo County, where he was manager and book-keeper for a large packing house and meat market owned by James Asbury of Woodland. Two years after- ward he went into the business for himself again, on a small scale, and now he has a large ice manufactory and packing house there, and meat markets in a number of towns. He kills yearly about 5,000 hogs, and he also packs and wholesales all the other staple meats, lard, etc. He also has 220 acres of well-improved land within a quarter of a mile of Madison. He is a member of Madison Lodge, No. 287, I. O. O. F., and of the Encampment, No. 62.


He was first married in Sacramento in 1870, to M. L. Rehmke, and they had five children, namely: Frederick C, Adolph T., Anna M., Julius E. and Philip T. Frederick and Adolph T. were taken to Europe by their father to school for three years, and have just recently returned. Mr. Henrick's second marriage was in 1884, to Miss Caroline Bachstein.


A POTTERTON, fruit-grower and vine-yardist, is one of the pioneer and prominent fruit-growers of the upper part of Napa Valley. His fine ranch and orchards are located about a mile and a half almost east of St. Helena, just at the edge of the foothills, and include both hill ranges and fertile bottom lands. In all he has about forty acres in trees and vines. The trees most planted are silver prunes, French prunes, and peaches and pears, although a variety of other kinds are grown for table use. He has erected a dryer of his own device that is certainly of most admirable construction, being so arranged that the fruit is evenly dried without the necessity of shifting the trays. The capacity of the dryer is about 2,000 pounds per day of ten hours. He has separation, dippers, etc., such as are usually found in like establishments. The dried fruit presented a very fine, glossy appearance, and the writer was much surprised to learn that artificial glossing was not required.


Mr. Potterton was born in Lancaster, England, December 6, 1820, his parents being both of English stock. In 1846 he left England for the United States and for a time was engaged in wool-combing in Massachusetts. In the fall of that year he returned to England, but sailed again for America in March, 1847, it being a curious circumstance that both trips were made on board the same ship and with the same captain; and while the first voyage took four weeks the latter took four weeks and one day. He took up wool-combing again, but after about six months engaged in a woolen manufactory in Connecticut. Finally he determined to come to California, and sailed via Nicaragua in the fall of 1855. Although ship-wrecked and having to put into Norfolk, Virginia, he finally reached San Francisco in safety, in the early part of 1856. He went first to the mines on Dry Creek, Nevada County, where he stayed two years. He then started for the Fraser River, but on reaching San Francisco was so discouraged by the reports of some returning that he gave up the trip. He took a position as butcher on a Pacific mail steamer and went on from Panama to New York. He remained East until 18?? , then went out to Oregon, but not liking it came back to California and engaged in the chicken business at the corner of Folsom and Twenty-second streets, San Francisco. He afterward worked for a time in Mission Woolen Mills. In the fall of 1868 he purchased his present snug farm of 160 acres, and in March, 1869, came up here to reside. Since that time he has transformed it from a wilderness into almost a garden, and now has a very valuable piece of property, with a comfortable residence on the hillside beside the road. This was built about four years ago, as the house he had formerly occupied was accidentally blown up in December, 1885.


Mr. Potterton was married October 11, 1862, to Mrs. S. M. Boyd, nee Anderson, at Aurora, Illinois. They have had four children: Frank, born January 24, 1870; William, August 30, 1872; Eugene, August 6, 1874, and Nellie, born 1877, but died young. Frank is learning the trade of blacksmithing. William is now in the mountains for his health and Eugene at home. Mrs. Potterton has a daughter by a former marriage, who is now Mrs. Annie Macauley, lives at Calistoga, and has three children. Her brother, John Anderson, was the first man to locate in the Yosemite and was the first white man to be buried there. Mr. Potterton is a Democrat of pronounced but liberal views.


L  DUCKWORTH is now the sole proprietor of the St. Helena Foundry and Machine Shops, the only establishment (>f its kind in the vicinity. The business was begun originally in July, 1883-, under the firm name of Taylor, Duckworth & Geraing, all these gentlemen having been previously in the employment of the Government at the Mare Island Navy Yard. In 1886 Mr. W. L. Russell bought out Mr. Taylor's interest, and the firm was; then Duckworth, Geming & Co. At the end of that year Messrs. Duckworth & Geming bought out Mr. Russell, and finally in October, 1889, Mr. Duckworth bought out his remaining partner, and is conducting the business alone. From the first he had been the moving spirit; and it was largely owing to his energy and business tact that it was a success from the very first, and has possessed constantly increasing dimensions. It was begun first as a planing-mill, but was soon expanded to include also the general work of a foundry and machine shop. In addition, all kinds of job work is done, the making of presses, pumps, etc., etc. The specialty of the establishment is wine machinery of all kinds, as screw and toggle and hydraulic presses, elevators, crushers and stemmers, pomace cars, and in fact everything pertaining to wine-machinery. It is generally conceded that they manufacture the best hydraulic wine-press on the coast. At the Mechanics' Fair, 1888, they carried off first premium. General agricultural work, making and repairing of machinery, blacksmithing, etc., are also included, and the setting tip of boilers, engines, mills, etc. In the summer of 1889 a disastrous fire occurred, involving a loss of $15,000, and leaving nothing but the substantial stone walls of the main building standing and a damaged engine and boiler. This building is 75 X 45 feet in size and two stories and a half in height, and at time of visit preparations were being made for a large addition to contain the dynamo room and blacksmith shop, for Mr. Duckworth is the Superintendent of the St. Helena Electric Light and Power Company, and supplies the power by which the dynamo is run. A new 125-horse-power engine has just been placed in position, to afford greater power. The situation of the works is near the Southern Pacific Railroad depot.


Mr. Duckworth was born in 1850, in Stark County, near Peoria, Illinois, where his parents still reside, his father being a farmer of the section. Young Duckworth was raised as a farmer, and brought up to the hard work and honest endeavor that farmers' sons usually experience. Failing health induced him to come to California in 1878, and for a time worked in the railway shops at Sacramento, and later for five years at the Mare Island Navy Yard, in the employment of the Government. In 1883 he came to St. Helena, and has since then been identified with the progress of this section. When he began here he had only his hands and a determination to do his best. He prospered with the prosperity of the town, and notwithstanding the severe losses by tire, is now well above circumstances and commands the fullest confidence of the community by his promptness and integrity, as good an example as can be cited of what may be accomplished by industry and rectitude in this country, and a splendid instance of the self-made man. He has a family consisting of wife and three children, his oldest daughter being married. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias. It should be further stated that he employs from ten to thirty men according to the season.


M F. INMAN, orchardist and nursery- man at St. Helena, was born in Rodman, Jefferson County, New York, June 25, 1839. His early life until his eighteenth year was passed as a farmer's boy at the paternal homestead. After attending for two years the Union Academy at Bellevue, in his native county, he became a teacher in the public schools. In 1860 he began to be occupied in various pursuits in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. In January, 1862, he enlisted as a private soldier at Dubuque, Iowa, in the Thirteenth United States Regular Infantry, commanded by Colonel (now General) William T. Sherman. This regiment was first stationed at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, and at Alton, Illinois, and then ordered to Covington, Kentucky, to check Morgan in his raid. In December they moved down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Memphis on the transport Forest Green, convoyed by gunboats, and led the fleet down the river to break the Rebel blockade. They afterward engaged in the battles of Chickasaw Bayou .and Yazoo Bluffs, camped at Milliken's Bend, assisted Grant in canal digging above Vicksburg, crossed the Mississippi at Grand Gulf, formed a column in the investment of Vicksburg, captured Fort Gibson, Grand Gulf and Jackson, engaged at Raymond, Edward's Station, upper crossing of Black River, Champion Hill and in the advance line at the storming of Vicksburg, May 19, 1863. In the meantime Mr. Inman passed through the various grades of noncommissioned officers, being Sergeant and Captain, and leading the column of occupation into the city of Vicksburg. In the summer of 1863 he was attacked by fever and ague, the direct result of exposure and a partial sunstroke, which in course of time developed an affliction of the lungs. In 1864, on the advice of medical authority and on a surgeon's certificate of disability, he resigned and returned to the scenes of his boyhood.


After partially recovering his health he engaged in the manufacture of lumber for a time; 1871-'73 was in a mercantile business, and, again losing his health, as a last resort he moved to California, with his wife and two sons, arriving in January, 1876, and settling at St. Helena, Napa County. There he began farming, on thirty acres of land within the corporate limits of the town, with direct reference to his health. He has planted and developed an orchard and vineyard, and in 1880 he added the nursery business, and now has the leading nursery of the upper valley. Out-door work and climatic influences have greatly beneficed his health; still he does not believe that absolute recovery is possible. He is now serving his second terms a member of the Board of Education and a fourth term as a Town Trustee, being at this time President of the Board. He is also serving for the fourth year as Secretary of the Royal Arch Chapter of Freemasons. He is named by the local paper as a candidate for County Clerk in the coming election, of November, 1890. He is an honorable, hard-working and public-spirited citizen, and a faithful public servant, a sound business man, able, energetic and reliable.


G. B. CARR is the leading dentist of St. Helena, enjoying a large and increasing patronage, and being the successor of  Dr. C. E. Davis, whose practice he purchased  in June, 1885. Dr. Carr is a native of California, born at Grass Valley, Nevada County,  November 16, 1861. His father is L. M. Carr, a native of Maine, a well-known and prominent citizen of Grass Valley, a '49er, a carpenter and millwright by trade, and a miner in the early days. Dr. Carr was brought up and educated in Grass Valley, and pursued the study of his profession at Virginia City', Nevada, where he practiced until he removed to Los Angeles in 1884, and conducted a large business in partnership with Dr. W. R. Bird, now of Bird & Palmer, and one of the leading dentists then. Dr. Carr was married to Miss Scott at Sacramento in 188-. They have no children. Dr. Carr is a prominent member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, of which body he has been Second Vice-President. He is a popular and progressive young man with a bright future before him.


HENRY W. CRABB, the owner of the celebrated To Kalon vineyard at Oakville, Napa County, is one of the leading and most experienced and successful viticulturists of California. While others, such as Messrs. Krug and Pellatt, preceded him by a few years in the actual manufacture of wine, he is yet a true pioneer in the business, by virtue of the fact that he was the first to introduce machinery into the working of grapes (in 1874), and was one of the very earliest to import foreign varieties and improve the Californian stock. Pie searched all over the world, bringing in about 300 varieties, and as a result of his experience, finds that about the best white wine grapes are the Sauvignon Vert and Golden Chasselas, while in red wine grapes come Black Burgundy, Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to the grapes from the 360 acres of his own vineyard, Mr. Crabb buys extensively from the surrounding country, and his vintages range from 200,000 to 500,000 gallons, according to the season. The cellars at To Kalon are plain and unpretentious, but very spacious and scrupulously clean the machinery and appliances of the most approved pattern; and the very greatest care is taken in every process, from picking the grape to sending out the finest wines. Comparatively little wine is bottled at the cellar, most of it being shipped in bulk. What is bottled is all three years old and must be perfect in every regard. 


The tine display at Piatt's Hall, San Francisco, bearing the To Kalon trade-mark, will give an idea of the line wines bottled at this winery. Mr. Crabb has agencies as follows: Pohndorff & Co., Washington, District of Columbia; G. Zoll, Chicago; Napa Valley Wine Company, Minneapolis; Connor & Hughes, Kansas City, Missouri, and B. Forget, New Orleans. Through these he has a large and increasing trade throughout the United States. The estate is a fine one, stretching from the county road back to the foothills, and has all kinds of soil from which to select the most suitable for the different vines. Abundant supplies of pure water for all purposes is obtained in the hills. Besides the vines, there are also thriving orchards of almonds, oranges and lemons, per- simmons and general fruits  the whole place, indeed, being an orderly wilderness of vines and trees. The vines are chiefly foreign varieties grafted on resistant stocks, and the most celebrated wine is a Burgundy, produced from what is known as Crabb's Black Burgundy Grape, whose virtues Mr. Crabb was the first to discover. Most of the vines are from twelve to eighteen years old, and are well sheltered. As a successful wine-maker Mr. Crabb is without a peer in the State, and his ideas are frequently embodied in papers which are read at the meetings of the Grape-Growers' and Wine-Makers' Association in San Francisco, exciting much favorable comment. There is also a very complete distillery, with appurtenances. It should be stated further that Mr. Crabb ships the To Kalon wines frequently to England, Belgium and other European countries. He carried away a bronze medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889, and has taken gold and silver medals and awards of merit at every local or State fair at which he has exhibited.


Mr. Crabb was born in Jefferson County, Ohio, January 1, 1828, and is the eldest child of Henry and Esther (Walker) Crabb. When twelve years old the family removed to Adams County, Ohio, where he received his education at the schools of the district. January 4, 1853, he sailed from New Orleans for California, arriving in this State on the last day of that month. He went at once to the mines, and for six months worked in Placer and Nevada counties. He then settled in Alameda County, near Haywards, and followed farming, until in 1865 he came to Napa County and purchased his present beautiful and valuable property. He was married in 1851 to Miss Rebecca A. Donohoe, who died in 1862, leaving three children: Amanda M., now Mrs. AV. T. Johnson; and Adda H. and Horace A., both of whom assist their father. He married, secondly. Miss Elizabeth P. Carnier, a native of New York, and by this union they have one daughter, Cora Carmer.


THOMAS G. ROGERS, who is one of the older settlers on the Pacific coast, was  born in Eamsgate, Kent, England, April 18, 1818. The family removed thence to Shropshire, England, and there resided until, in 1888, they sailed for America, landing in the city of New York on Christmas day of that year. They stayed there through the winter and in the spring came on up into Ohio, where they suffered much, with the fever and ague. His father and sister died within six months. His mother took a farm and remained there for five years. They then went on to Iowa, settling on the banks of the Mississippi, two miles below Fort Madison. When the next purchase of Indian lands was made, they moved on to that, being the first settlers there. Here they remained for two years, when they moved to the Des Moines River opposite Fort Keosauqua Thence Mr. Rogers went back to England, remaining in the old country a twelvemonth and returning in 1846. He then got ready and crossed the plains by ox team to Oregon, the train consisting of eighteen wagons, and being called the Oscaloosa Company. They had a rather serious time, breaking up with the loss of forty head of draft cattle. He settled on the banks of the Columbia River opposite and above Fort Vancouver. In 1848 he came down to California and mined on the American River. He wintered at Hangtown, and upon his mother joining him next spring they came up to Napa County. They stayed successively at Bald- ridge's, Bale's, and Comb's, finally in 1851 purchasing his present place in the lower end of Conn Valley. He owns about 700 acres of land, some of the finest under the sun, of his own, and in addition his wife owns 300 or 400. This is devoted to the raising of cattle, horses, grain, hay, etc., and about 100 acres are farmed generally.


Mr. Rogers was married August 11, 1879, to Mrs. Cord, formerly a Miss Henson, of Indiana. She had four children, two sons and two daughters, of whom the oldest son and youngest daughter reside, with Mr. Rogers, the others being married and away. Mr. Rogers is a Republican, and a highly respected citizen.


H. CASTNER, Sr., grape-grower and wine-maker of Napa Valley, has been ' a resident of California since 1861, the last twenty years of that time having been spent in Napa County. Mr, Castner was born in Waldoboro, Lincoln County, Maine, March 8, 1829, his father being a ship-builder at that point. He was brought up to the business of shipwright, following that avocation until he went West, at the age of twenty-eight, to Wheat- land, Rice County, Minnesota. There he followed farming for two years, and then until the spring of 1860 he followed his trade on the Mississippi, when he sailed for San Francisco via Cape Horn. After a tedious voyage of 162 days he reached his destination and immediately began to work at his trade for the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, remaining with them until 1870. He then came to Napa County and purchased his present place. He owns a line tract of fifty-one acres, thirty-five of which are set out in vines, adjoining Krug Station. His eldest son, W. H. Castner, Jr., owns forty acres not far off, thirty of which is in vines. On this latter place is the winery and cellars conducted by the two, which are very solidly constructed of stone and have a tunnel dug into the side of the hill for the better storage of wines. The capacity is 70,000 gallons. Only dry wines, such as clarets and white wines, are manufactured, no distillery being connected with the establishment. For the purpose of securing the best market possible the son conducts a wholesale and retail wine and liquor store at No. 5, Ninth street, San Francisco, near Market.


Mr. Castner was married in Lincoln County, Maine, to Miss Sarah C. Soule, a native of that county. They have live living children: William H., Jr., born October 1, 1856, in Maine, who is married and has three children, named re- spectively, John William, five years old; Ralph Waldo, aged three, and Elmer, aged one; Lewis Preston, born 1858, is married and has two children, and resides at Weaverville; Frank Ellsworth, now twenty-one years old, and is in Washington Territory; Albert Wendell, nine- teen years old, in charge of the San Francisco store, and Mary A, fifteen years old and residing at home. J.


AIKEN, M. D., Medical Director of » the Veteran Home Association, was appointed to this position September 1, 1888, where he has for treatment cases especially of rheumatism, asthma, catarrh, etc. He was born in Ohio in 1841, and as he grew up he was employed for a time in the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, afterwards in the United States Signal Service; was attending Washington (Pennsylvania) College when the war broke out; and he enlisted in 1862, at the age of nineteen years, and served until in 1865. He studied medicine at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, and afterward practiced at Virginia City, Nevada, for five years; next at Winters, Yolo County.


He has four sons and two daughters. The eldest son is attending University, the second is at Yountville, the third is attending high school, and the fourth is at home.


FRED W. LOEBER is the pioneer in his department, namely, the breeding of standard and blooded horses, in Napa County, and it is chiefly to his exertions that the Napa and Solano Agricultural Association, with its unequaled fair grounds and speeding track at Napa City, owes its existence. When Mr. Loeber came to this valley in 1876, very little, if anything, was being done in the way of raising or breeding high-grade horses. He set the example, however, and already this portion of the State has attained a name for what is being done.


Mr. Loeber was born at Baltimore, Maryland, November 5, 1856, the son of John and Caroline (Sommerlatt) Lioeber. His father has a prosperous stock business in that city. Fred was educated for the life of a teacher, but did not pursue that calling, preferring to become his father's book-keeper. In 1876 lie came to California, finally settling at his present location, about a mile below St. Helena in the spring of 1877. While the home place is rather small, the owner controls a large number of acres on the bottom lands, where the grass is green almost all the year round, with a good water supply and plenty of trees to shelter the broodmares and the foals when they desire to get out of the sun's rays. In addition he has a mountain ranch above St. Helena, where he runs stock and other animals. His younger brother, Charles E. Loeber, has charge of this for him. The first stallion that Mr. Loeber used for breeding purposes was Naubuc, a full brother of the famous Thomas Jefferson. Now he devotes himself to Hambletonian stock altogether, being the owner of Whippleton, a stallion that has become famous as the sire of fast horses. He is a beautiful black stallion with tan muzzle and flanks, stands almost if not quite seventeen hands, and is well finished in every particular. He is an exceptionally well put-up animal, strong and muscular, with the well developed Hambletonian characteristics. His colts are uniformily cast in his own mould, and all of them are speedy.


On the same farm there are two other stallions standing for public service, both of which are worth more than passing mention.


The first of these is Alcona 730, by the great Almont the Kentucky horse, by Alexander's Abdallah (sire of Goldsmith Maid, 2:14), he by Rysdyk's Hambletonian, Alcona's dam, Queen Mary by Mambrino Chief, the celebrated Lillie Stanley, record 2:17^, belonging to Hon. Mr Coombs, and Homestead, 2:16^, belonging to Senator Hearst, are both of same get.


Alcona is a beautiful chestnut 16.3 hands high, of grand conformation and undoubted speed. Since his advent into California the mares served by him have not been gilt-edged, as far as fashionable breeding is concerned, yet his colts all show good speed, several of which are far above the average.


Grandissimo is a full brother to Grandee, 2:23^, made as a three-year-old. He is by Le Grande (son of Almont, and out of Jessie Pepper, by Mambrino Chief; dam Norma by Arthurton ; Grandam Nourmahal. Grandissimo is only three years old, is a magnificent mahogany bay, and will be when at full growth over sixteen hands in height. He is a splendid specimen of the perfect horse, and should be a valuable adjunct to the Vineland Farm.


Mr. Loeber has made careful selection of the mares on his place, and they are all individually of great merits, of which he has a large number. He has worked himself up from bedrock, as the saying is, beginning in a very small way, and gradually increasing his business as opportunity offered, and arousing a great deal of enthusiasm throughout the county. As already stated he was one of the most active movers in the organization of the Napa and Solano Agricultural Association as a distinct body from the well-known Sonoma and Marin Association. It is admitted on all hands that they have the best track in America, if not in the world, and is utilized by leading horse-breeders throughout the continent for speeding trials. Mr. Loeber was the president^ of the association for the first two years of its existence, and is still a director. He is on the high road to success, and he fully deserves it, for he is an earnest, conscientious horseman, liked by all who know him, and with well wishes, whose name is legion. He is an ardent and active Democrat, having taken part in all their conventions of late years, although refusing himself to accept office. He was married February 5, 1880, to Miss Alice Griffith, daughter of the well-known pioneer Calvin C. Griffith, of the Napa Valley. They have three children.


CAPTAIN M. G. RICHIE. We take pleasure in according herewith a position of prominence to the following sketch of the eventful and interesting life-history of Captain M. G. Richie, an Argonaut of California and one of the most esteemed and representative citizens of Napa County. He has the honor, moreover, to have visited these shores long before the tide of gold-seekers set in, con- sequent upon the discovery of the precious metal in 1848, and is consequently entitled to speak with authority upon all questions of the older days.


Captain Richie was born September 26, 1813, on the banks of the noble St. Lawrence River, in Jefferson County, New York, about two miles below the town of Cape Vincent. Being of an active disposition, he manifested a preference for the sea, starting out before the mast on the rivers and lakes first and afterward on deep water vessels. He made many long voyages, visiting, in the course of them, almost all portions of the globe. It was on a whaling voyage to the Pacific Ocean that he visited California, as already stated, running into Yerba Buena for water and supplies and wintering at Sausalito. This was in 1836, during the Mexican occupation, when Yerba Buena was a very insignificant little village, little foreshadowing the great city that was afterward to rise upon its site. Captain Richie was also for a number of years upon the great lakes, spending his summers there during the season of navigation, and the winters upon the Mississippi and tributary rivers, in command of schooners and of steamers on the Mississippi. He also spent considerable time in traveling over a great portion of Canada, making collections for a Connecticut firm of clock-makers, and in other employments. Captain Richie started at the bottom, without financial assistance of any magnitude from his parents, but honorably making his own way and earning every dollar he could call his own. The best part of his education has been gained in the practical school of experience, for being watchful and observant he was always ready to take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that upon the news of the discovery of gold flying over the land, he should turn his face again to this fair land of California; and accordingly, in the summer of 1849, he crossed the Isthmus of Darien, made his way to San Francisco, and at once went on to the diggings at Hangtown, now Placerville* He engaged extensively in the business of carrying goods by pack train throughout the northern diggings, also running trading posts at different points, such as Nevada City, Grass Valley, Minnesota Bar, etc., etc. He continued in the mines, meeting with fair success until 1857, when he came down to Sonoma County, purchased a ranch on Mark West Creek and engaged extensively in the stock business, raising cattle, horses and sheep. During his residence there he discovered the Mark West Springs, now so celebrated for their medicinal virtues, and popularity as a summer resort. Later on be engaged again in mining, making a trip through Mexico with an eye to investing in mining property, but finding nothing satisfactory. He got back to San Francisco on the very day the ship Aquilla was sunk at Hathaway's Wharf in 1865. The Captain then began the development of quartz mining at Agua Caliente, in the mountains back of Los Angeles, erecting a mill, and engaging extensively in business. He still owns mining properties in that section, but is not at present working them. In 1867 he came up to the Najia Valley and commenced farming on a ranch of 250 acres, which he rented of the Money estate, but has since purchased. Later on he bought the ranch on which he now resides, lying just south of the other place. The soil comprised in these ranches is the fertile black alluvium for which the valley is celebrated, there being no better land anywhere under the sun than it is. Here lie carried on general farming for many years, until feeling a desire to enjoy the pleasures of a quiet life during his latter years so amply deserved by his long, active and energetic youth and man-hood  he has given over the management of affairs to his step-sons, and is himself living the life of a retired gentleman in his comfortable home.


He was married September 28, 1S67, to Mrs. Elizabeth Money, in Napa County, she being a native of Illinois, and her maiden name was Miss Elizabeth Martin. By her first husband she has four sons, of whom two, John C. and Cornelius C, are engaged successfully in business in St. Helena; and the other two, Thomas P. and Joseph C, live on the ranches, and are carrying them on. They are all married, and are doing well for themselves, being sensible, energetic and deserving young men, in every respect. Captain Richie is a member of the Masonic order, of high standing. He became a member of Occidental Lodge, No. 22, F. & A. M., December 21, 1862,; of St. Helena Chapter, No. 63, R. A. M., June 16, 1886, and of Santa Rosa Commandery. No. 14, Knights Templar, August 2, 1886. He is a shareholder and director of the Carver National Bank in St. Helena. Captain Richie has led a very active and useful life, full of change and variety. In all he has been the soul of honor and uprightness, winning the respect and confidence of everyone, and is able now to look forward with calmness to a serene and happy old age, surrounded by his excellent family, and in possession of all the comforts of life.


GEORGE P. WALLACE. This worthy pioneer and respected citizen of Napa County was born October 6, 1812, near Murfreesborough, in middle Tennessee, his father, who was a native of the State of Georgia, bearing the same name. He is the sixth child of a family of nine children, of whom three sons and two daughters were older, and two sons and one daughter were younger. The boys were all tall and well-built men, having a united length among the six of them of thirty-nine feet and a weight of l,200pounds! Mr. Wallace was, until bowed down by sickness, a man six feet six inches in height, and of fine proportions. From the first he had to make his own way, being raised on his father's farm and taught to work hard. In 1835 he left Tennessee and went to Benton County in Northwestern Arkansas, where he farmed, until, in 1852, he determined to come to California with a band of cattle, his brother-in-law, Mr. Calvin Holmes, now of Knight's Valley, coming with him. They made the trip overland to Nicolaus, on the Feather River, in five months, bringing a band of between 500 and 600 cattle, — a pretty good record. From Nicolaus Mr. Wallace went to Mark West Creek, in Sonoma County and purchasing a place carried on general farming until, in 1862, he sold out and went to the Loconomo Valley, settling where Middletown is now situated. From there he came to Pope Valley in 1868 and bought 500 acres, which he still owns, and is now being farmed for him by his son George P., Jr. This is a very valuable piece of property, having a hill of limestone, upon which Mr. Wallace has constructed a lime-kiln, one of the few in the county. In October, 1887, he came to St. Helena and bought his present pleasant residence on Spring street, with the two lots adjoining, where he is spending in comfort and quiet the evening of a long, eventful, energetic and useful life. He is a decided, out-and-out, straight Democrat of pronounced principles. His hosts of friends have repeatedly solicited him to allow himself to be put up as a candidate for County Judge, for the Legislature, for Justice of the Peace, etc., but he always consistently refused, pi-eferring to devote himself strictly to private affairs. Mr. Wallace is a man of immense determination and an iron constitution, otherwise he could not have accomplished what he has and to go through what he has. On December 10, 1867, he had a stroke of paralysis, from which he is still a sufferer, but yet clear-headed, bright, and, considering the circumstances, remarkably active. He was married at Osage Prairie, Arkansas, to Miss Cynthia Holmes, and when he crossed the plains had four small children. His wife and two sons, and two daughters, now lie buried in the cemetery at St. Helena. Three sons and one daughter are still alive. They are: Clarence H., a civil engineer in San Francisco; Phineas, who is farming 320 acres in Pope Valley; George P., Jr., on the home place, also in Pope Valley, and Sarah P., with her father at home.  


A Memorial & Biographical History of Northern California: Chicago :

The Lewis Publishing Company, 1891

Transcribed by Martha A Crosley Graham,  06 October  2008 

Pages 790 - 804


Site Created: 06 October 2008

Martha A Crosley Graham

Rights Reserved: 2008