History of Northern California

1891

Biographies

Note: Use CTRL-F to Search

 

 

J E. LA RUE, a farmer near Davisville, Yolo County, is a son of H. M. and Elizabeth (Lizenby) La Rue, and was born four miles from Sacramento, September 19, 1859. In 1870 he moved into Sacramento city, where he received his education, graduating in 1880 from the University of California at Berkeley with the degree Ph. 15. He then went into Yolo County and took charge of his father's farm near Davisville, a beautiful place of 2,100 acres, in which he now has an interest. There are ninety acres in grapes and sixty in almonds, but his attention is chiefly devoted to the rearing of horses and mules and grain-raising.

 

April 20, 1887, he was united in matrimony, in San Francisco, with Miss Addie E. Rankin, who was born in that city October 29, 1860. They have one child, born May 6, 1888, named Morgan E. [Page 496]

 

 

SAMUEL L. MONDAY, a farmer of Yolo County, is a son of James and Elizabeth (Burdon) Monday; mother a native of New Jersey. The nativity of his father is not known. He obtained his surname from the fact that he was found on Monday as an infant on board of a wood-boat at Philadelphia. He was a farmer during his life, finally locating in Ohio. Mr. Monday, the subject of this sketch, was born December 6, 1813, in Philadelphia, and was but two years of age when his parents moved with him to Ohio; in 1838 he went to Illinois and bought a soldier's warrant to a piece of land, settled upon it, ,as he supposed and after gathering one crop from it he found  that he had located on the wrong quarter. He then rented twenty acres of land and improved that for four years. Next he went back to the vicinity of his old place and purchased 160 acres, which he occupied until 1850. He then came to California, and in 1852 he returned by water to his Illinois home, and in 1854 came overland to the Golden State with a quantity of live-stock, but from 1856 to 1859 he was a resident again of Illinois, when he came again to California with his family to remain. Being well experienced in traveling upon the plains, he was appointed captain on the last journey. On all the wagons was written in large letters " Monday's Delegation." Arriving in this State, he located first in Sacramento, where he ran a hotel eight months, and then for fifteen years he followed teaming between Sacramento and the mountains. In 1868 he settled upon the ranch in Yolo County of 160 acres, which he now occupies. He also owns 160 acres at Lake Tahoe and 140 acres in Ohio. Mr. Monday has been Coroner for two years, Constable four years and Public Administrator two years. He was married in Ohio in 1837 to Miss Harriet Gramen, born about twenty-two miles from Cincinnati, in Ohio, and they have had two daughters, namely: Anna, who is now the wife of W. E. Parker, and Hattie, now the wife of C. Scott. [Pages 608-609]

 

 

WILLIAM HATCHER. This gentleman is an early resident of Yolo County, and one of its representative wheat- growers and stock-raisers. He has lived a busy and eventful life, experiencing many toils and hardships, but always actuated by the manly resolve to make the most of every opportunity, and to deal fairly by his fellow men. Mr. Hatcher was born February 6, 1828, in Sevier County, East Tennessee, and is the eldest son of John and Eliza (Taylor) Hatcher. His parents were not wealthy as the world regards wealth, but possessed what is better than lands or gold, namely, rectitude of life and energy of purpose, traits of character fully inherited by their son. They came of good family, also, the  father being of English and German descent, and the mother of German and Scotch ancestry.

 

They were married April 15, 1827, and for two years lived at Wear's Cove, where their son was born. Afterwards they moved to Monroe County, Tennessee, among the Cherokee Indians, remaining there four years. The next move was to Callaway County, Missouri, where they arrived November 11, 1834. Here his father occupied a position as overseer for Captain Boone, a nephew of the celebrated Daniel Boone. After a residence there of three years, the family removed to the northern part of Missouri, settling in what is now Linn County, but which was then inhabited by the Sioux Indians. There Mr. Hatcher grew up, being  brought up to the life of a farmer, but ready to turn his hand to any kind of honest labor, and working at times at tanning leather, making shoes, weaving, spinning, knitting, sewing, school-teaching, etc. It was at this period that he was married to his estimable wife, who has been a true partner in all his ups and downs, and is now peacefully enjoying the evening of life with her worthy husband, and surrounded by children and grandchildren. Her maiden name was Sarah Frances Mullins, and she was born in Howard County, Missouri. Her grand-father, Thomas Rawlings, settled in Missouri at an early day, and was well known throughout the west as " Old Uncle Tommy." Mr. Hatcher married his wife March 27, 1849. They continued to live in Missouri until in the spring of 1852, they determined to set out for California, setting out with ox teams upon the long, hard journey across the plains on April 20th of that year. They had one child with them, Columbus W., now a man of forty years of age, residing on a farm of his own of eighty acres adjoining that of his father. He himself is the father of three children, one boy and two girls. The family arrived in Amador County after the tedious trip, on the first day of September. They had made the journey by the Central route, and Mr. Hatcher had been much impressed by the beauty and possibilities of the country through which he passed, and resolved to become the owner of some of its fertile soil, but like most of the early pioneers he must first take a turn in the fascinating lottery of hunting for gold in Nature's rock-bound repositories. Accordingly he went to mining in Amador County, and after six months spent in that employment returned from the scene the richer by $150.

 

In the spring of 1853 Mr. Hatcher went to gardening with good success, and coming to Yolo County on September 5, 1853, he bought for $750 the magnificent property where he still resides. When he located there thirty-six years ago, there were only fourteen women between his place and the town of Washington, opposite Sacramento, and just children enough to organize a small school. He was a prime mover in putting up the first small school building in that large section, where now are flourishing high schools and colleges. Mr. Hatcher's ranch is a fine tract of 200 acres, devoted chiefly to the raising of grain and stock. Mr. Hatcher has had seven children, of whom four are living. The names of those living are: Columbus W., Hannah, now the wife of J . D. McLeod ; George Pierce and Asa B. Of those deceased: Mary E., John D. and Nancy H., wife of J. T. Nimmo. Mr. Hatcher has also six grandchildren, four boys and two girls. George P. has two sons, and Nancy H. one. [Pages 607-608]

 

F. S. FREEMAN. No name has been more intimately associated with the history of Yolo County, and especially of Woodland, than that which heads this sketch. Major Freeman, as he is familiarly and generally known, was born in Knox County, Kentucky, December 25, 1832, his parents being J. W. and Mary (Parman) Freeman. The father, who was a fanner, was probably born in Kentucky, but was of Virginian parentage.   

The mother was also a native of Kentucky. Our subject was but a little over a year old when his parents removed to Missouri, locating in Buchanan County, before the " Platte purchase," and while the country was yet teeming with Indians. The farm, which lay along the banks of Black Snake Creek, is now entirely within the limits of the city of St. Joseph, one of the great Western trade centers.  

F. S. Freeman was but a little past fourteen years of age when in 1847 he secured, through the influence of friends, an appointment in the commissary department of the army then operating against Mexico. He went with Van  Fleet, quartermaster of Doniphan's regiment, and was stationed at Santa Fe until 1848. He then went back North, and when the Oregon Battalion," 500 strong, was organized at St. Louis, he went in the Commissary Department, the train of Rodney Hopkins, wagon- master, which was one of the five formed to supply the battalion. While Mr. Freeman was with them they built Forts Kearney, Childs and Laramie, and later in 1848 they were sent back to Fort Leavenworth, were they were discharged. Mr. Freeman then returned home, where however he remained but a short time He determined, upon feeling assured of the genuineness of the reported discovery of gold in California, to try his fortune in this new and far-away land, and in April, 1849, he joined a company of some fifteen or twenty men, which was made up at St. Joseph for the westward trip, he being interested in one of the wagons of the outfit. He knew the route chosen as far as Fort Hall, and hence was of much assistance to the party in many ways on that portion of the journey. Without especially noteworthy incident they completed the trip, coming into California by the Carson route, and landing at Placerville, August 15, 1849. He remained there, at Coloma, Georgetown and other places in that vicinity until the following spring, when he gave up that occupation, $3,000 in pocket. He then came down to Yolo County and located land on the north side of Cache Creek, about sixteen miles west of Woodland, where he engaged in the stock business, buying, selling and raising cattle and horses.  

He has ever since continued to deal more or less in cattle and sheep, and has been exceptionally successful. In 1851 he and two partners planted 100 acres of barley. To attend to and harvest this it required the combined efforts of the three owners and a hired man. They cradled and threshed it in the old-fashioned way, the grain going fifty bushels to the acre, and found a market for it in Sacramento and Grass Valley, where it brought six cents a pound. Such an undertaking was in those early times, before the advent of improved machinery, considered a daring one, but their reward was commensurate with their ambition and enterprise. They found "hungry" markets, so to speak, in Sacramento, Grass Valley and other places, and their profits were enormous. From that year until the present one, inclusive, Mr. Freeman has never failed to sow and reap a crop. He remained on that place thus employed until 1857, when he bought a place of 160 acres (then Government land) in what is now "Woodland. The land is now bounded on the east by the railroad track, and on the south by Main street, and all now lies within the city limits. He opened a store for the sale of general merchandise where the brick school-house now stands, west of the railroad track, which was the first store in what was destined to be a prosperous city. Shortly afterward, in October, 1857, he was married to Miss Gertrude G. Swain, a native of Michigan who came to California with her aunt, Mrs. C. W. Crocker, now of San Francisco. The Crockers were at that time living in the vicinity and Miss Swain had been teaching school in this county.  

The tide of immigration kept steadily flowing into the State, and Mr. Freeman with keen foresight perceived that other industries would ere long contest with mining for the supremacy. He foresaw that such grand soil, as for example that of Yolo County, would one day be eagerly sought for and be thickly peopled with busy husbandmen; and he felt certain that here was an opportunity to implant a town which would be the center of trade for a large and a rich region of country. He accordingly determined to build one. He put up a building where Lindner's store is now located, and removed his business into it in 1860. During the same year he laid out the town, which, at the suggestion of his wife, he named " Woodland." He next set about securing a postotiice, and, having accomplished this object, he was appointed Postmaster, and he also secured the agency for Weils, Fargo & Company's Express. Thus he had established the nucleus of a town, and the next move was to bring people and business here; but this was found to be a more difficult task. People were not eager to invest money in establishing a business where there was nothing but a store and a postotfice, so, taking the initiative; he began to establish new enterprises himself, opening a blacksmith shop where the Exchange Hotel now stands, also harness and butcher shops, which he disposed of when a suitable buyer came along. Soon the town boasted a gristmill, which he started, and sold after running it two years. He also started and conducted for two years a stove store and tinware manufactory. Dry goods, clothing, shoe and grocery stores followed in order, Major Freeman sometimes owning several stores in different parts of the town, but never losing an opportunity to sell, thus bringing to Woodland additional capital, more business men and a larger population. He found people ever ready to purchase a business after it had been established and its success assured, but the enterprise and energy necessary to bring about such an end had to be furnished by Major Freeman. The pushing tactics alluded to proved successful, and the town was yet in its first year when its prosperity induced its friends to seek for the location of the county-seat at their place, then established at Washington. Major Freeman of course led the movement, and with that object in view a petition was circulated through- out the county. Intense opposition was naturally encountered from the friends of Washington, but the State Legislature passed an act under which the transfer was made.  

With the advancement of the town Mr. Freeman's business advanced rapidly, and about 1864, the postoffice business being in his way, he resigned the post-mastership and had the office moved out of his store. In the same way, and for the same reason he gave up the express agency, after he had held it eight or nine years.

Such is the early history of Woodland. There is scarcely a line of trade here of which Mr. Freeman was not the originator.  

In 1868 the need of a solid banking institution was much felt, and negotiations were entered into with D. O. Mills, of Sacramento, to start a branch in this town. Before a final arrangement had been consummated, John D. Stephens, who had been living in Virginia City, came to Woodland and proposed to help start a bank here, and to take half the stock himself, and his proposition was at once accepted. Major Freeman was principally instrumental in placing the other half among the citizens and was elected vice-president, which office he has ever since held. In 1872 he built a brick block on the south side of Main street, where Diggs is now located, and established there a hardware store, that department of his business having grown too large to be longer kept with the others. He carried on both establishments until 1884, when he sold them and withdrew from mercantile life. Besides his merchandising business he has carried on and yet conducts stock-raising, farming, banking, etc. He has watched with pride the growth and prosperity of the town and enjoyed the fruition of his early aim and ambition. He has never allowed his interest in Woodland or the surrounding country to wane; he has not purchased large tracts of land to hold vacant for purposes of speculation and thus thwart his own highest ambition, the prosperity of the county, as many short-sighted, un-philanthropic, grasping men would do; on the contrary, he has done all in his power to induce immigration, dealing' in real estate At present his principal land possession is a 1,000-acre tract on Cache Creek.  

Major Freeman has had a public career which will ever redound to his credit in the history of this county and State. He cast his first presidential vote for James Buchanan in 1856, that being his first and last Democratic vote. Though born a Southerner and reared in the semi-Southern State of Missouri, he cast his lot with the Republican party and was a supporter of Abraham Lincoln in his first race for the presidency, and he has ever since been active in the party's councils. In 1870 he was elected to the State Legislature of California, and in that body served on the Swamp Lands and Ways and. Means Committees. His unselfish independent course as an advocate of fair play for the people attracted the attention of his fellow members, and thus greatly delighted his constituents, and consequently assured his re-election in 1872. During that session he was chosen Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and served also as a member of the Committee on Swamp Lands. This session witnessed even greater advancement of Major Freeman in popular esteem, and he proved a stumbling- block in the path of monopoly. He advocated about thirty-eight measures which became laws, and signalized his second term in the Legislature by accomplishing as much work as was ever done by a member of that body. The " Freeman Freights and Fare Bill," which he carried through the lower House after a long fight against tremendous opposition and which was lost only through defeat in the Senate, on account of the great pressure brought to bear by the railroad companies, achieved even national notoriety for Mr. Freeman, and his efforts in this direction were encouraged by the leading newspapers of California, including the San Francisco Examiner, Bulletin, Chronicle and others and the Sacramento Onion. This fight Created more excitement than any other contest made before or since on any measure before the Legislature of this State. Among the many laws which he had passed at this session was one to reorganize the Yolo County government, making the compensation of officers payable by salary instead of fees. He also had passed the bill providing for a form of government for Woodland, whose citizens wished to incorporate, and the affairs of the municipality were conducted under his system until it was reincorporated in 1890 under the general laws. The effect of this measure was to secure for Woodland through all these years a remarkably low rate of taxation and to turn it over to the new regime out of debt. Major Freeman was the regular candidate of the Republicans for Speaker of the House during the last session he was a member. His able efforts in behalf of the people gave him a strong hold upon their esteem and affection, and he could undoubtedly have had the nomination for Governor on either the Republican or the Independent ticket in 1874. He would not have entered the independent ranks, however, under any circumstances, and knowing that there were troublous times ahead for the regular Republican ticket, he would not consent to the use of his name before the convention. He has always remained true to the Republican Party. During the war be was one of the staunchest supporters of the old flag to be found in California. He held a Major's com- mission in the State militia from Governor Downey, and while his services were never called for he would have been found under the banner of his country if the trouble had occurred that many anticipated in the State. The title of " Major " which came to him through this commission has always clung to him. He is a Knight Templar in Freemasonry, belonging to Woodland blue lodge and chapter and being a life member of Sacramento Commandery.  

Mr. Freeman's family consists of his estimable wife and one daughter. Miss Lillian, who is at present pursuing a collegiate course at Mills' Seminary. His beautiful residence was built in 1870, and is one of the many of which the town is justly proud. It is surrounded by a magnificent lawn, beautified by sub-tropical trees and shrubbery. South of the house is a large orange tree, which was planted by his baby daughter some years ago. In 1889 it was found necessary to pluck a large number of the oranges from it to prevent the branches from breaking.  

Yet- in the prime of life, a resident of the beautiful city which has grown up from his own beginnings and under his fostering care, Major Freeman holds a secure place in the hearts of his fellow citizens. Genial in his nature, he ever maintains a youthful spirit that makes his company a constant pleasure to his large circle of warm friends. Generosity has always distinguished him. It is said by his old neighbors that when he was a merchant no one was turned away for want of funds whenever he knew that that was the reason of their failure to ask credit. It would be an almost endless task and now an impossible one to collect all the testimonials of this nature that have been occasioned by the Major's generosity. [Pages 609-612]

 

W G DUNCAN, a farmer near Capay, Yolo County, was born October 1, 1828, in Amherst County, Virginia, the son of John I. and Margaret (Toler) Duncan, natives also of that State, who moved to the northern part of Missouri when their son was a small boy. Remaining with his parents until 1850, the subject of this sketch, in company with his brother, William H., came overland to California, with Dr. Lane, who supplied the penniless boys with the necessaries of the journey, in consideration of half their earnings for a year. They followed mining at Mud Springs for three months, but with little profit, and Dr. Lane agreed to release them with three months' work for him, which proposition was accepted and the work done. The brothers then followed mining again, until the spring of 1853, when they took up a tract of land two and a half miles from their present place. In 1869 they disposed of that farm to Mr. Woodard. During the previous year they had bought the place where they now reside, a mile from Capay, where they now have 7,300 acres, besides eighty acres near Woodland.  Mr. Duncan was married in Woodland, March 13, 1879, to Miss Mary Franklin, a native of California, and they have one child, who was born in 1883 and is named Elvira G. [Page 620] 

D VAN ZEE, farming near Woodland, was born in Holland, September 14, 1828, son ' of Garret and Mary (Dikop) Van Zee. His father, a farmer, died there in 1878. In 1851 Mr. Van Zee came to America. For the first two years he was employed on a farm in Iowa. He then came to California, and followed mining four years, at Gibsonville. In 1857 he came to Yolo County, rented a piece of land seven miles from Sacramento and engaged in farming one year; then, taking up a piece of land near Willow Slough, six miles from Woodland, he engaged in farming. In 1869 he bought half a section of land two and a half miles from Wood- land. In 1879 he bought his present place, and now owns there 395 acres of land, of which forty-one acres are in grape-vines.  For his wife he married, in Yolo County, 1869, Ernestina Fourch, who was born in Germany in 1851, and their six children are: William, Mary, Fred, Sarah, Garret and John. [Page 621]

 

WILLIAM G. ANDERSON, Superintendent of the New York Mine, near Jackson, Amador County, was born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, May 7, 1835. His parents, Josiah and Susan (Turner) Anderson, were natives of the United States, born and reared in the State of Maine. They removed to New Brunswick in 1824, where they remained until the time of their death, which was about four years ago. His father never withdrew his allegiance to the United States. They raised a family of twelve children of their own, besides two that were adopted. William G., when quite young, served a regular apprenticeship in the ship- yards of St. Johns, New Brunswick, where he learned the trade of ship- carpenter. In 1854 he went to Maine to visit relatives, when he concluded to go to work at his trade at Bath, in that State, where he worked from March 1 to November of the same year. He worked for Berry & Richardson on the ship Commodore, one of the largest vessels built on the Kennebec River at that date. In November, 1854, he went to Minnesota and settled at St. Paul, where he engaged in the lumber business. In 1855 he was appointed by the board of aldermen, as Marshal of the city of St. Paul, and a few months later was appointed Deputy Sheriff of Washington County, under Sheriff Johnson. During the same year he went to the Lake Superior country, during the copper excitement, and in August returned to Stillwater, Minnesota, making the trip down the St. Croix River, about 260 miles, in a birch-bark canoe. In 1858 he started for the Fraser River gold mines; but on reaching St. Louis, having heard discouraging reports from that country, he concluded to stop at St. Louis and work at his trade. While here he assisted in building the steamer W. G. Gay. He then went to Paducah, Kentucky, where he was employed by Tom Scott, the originator of the Southern Pacific Railroad enterprise, building the steamer Autocrat, a noted vessel that plied between Louisville and New Orleans. After being launched she was towed to Evansville, Indiana, where she was fitted up with the machinery and furnishings formerly used on the Southern Belle, one of the finest boats on the lower Mississippi River. When the Autocrat was completed he was employed on her for several trips as ship carpenter. In the fall of 1859 he went to Louisville and assisted in fitting up the steamer T. D. Hine, for Captain John Akerson, of Franklin, Tuckepaw Parish, Louisiana, and after she was completed served for some time in the capacity of carpenter, mate, etc., on her regular trips, after which he was employed at various points along the river in building boats, barges, etc. In 1861, the civil war having been inaugurated, he concluded to go north. On arriving at New Orleans he found it difficult to get away, but through the influence of Theobald Forestall, an influential hanker and business man of New Orleans, he finally succeeded in shipping as ship carpenter, on the Moses Davenport, for Boston, where he arrived on May 1. He then went to New Brunswick to visit his parents, where he remained about nine months;3then returned to New York city. From New York he went to Fairhaven, Connecticut, where he assisted in building a gunboat for Poke & Bushnell, Government contractors. From Fairhaven he went to New York City, where he was employed in building a Panama steamer.  

In 1864 he went to Boston, where he was married to Miss Isabella Boggs, a native of St. John, New Brunswick.  In about three months after his marriage he sailed for California. He settled in San Francisco, where he worked at his trade for seven years. In 1872 he went to San Mateo County and engaged in farming and the dairy business, in which he continued for six years. In 1878 he came to Amador County and engaged in mining. In 1884 he went to Mare Island, where he was employed by the Government as ship carpenter. In 1886 he returned to Amador County and resumed work on the New York mine, in connection with his partner, John W.' Stewart, of San Francisco.  

Mr. Anderson's family consists of his wife and four children, two boys and two girls. His wife and three of the children are in New Brunswick, where they have property. One son is with Mr. Anderson and is engaged on the mine. Mr. Anderson owns a half interest in 560 acres of patented land, on which the New York mine is located, and also a half interest in a water ditch six miles long, that supplies water sufficient to irrigate the land and also furnish power for all milling purposes. [Pages 698 - 699]

 

ALBERT E. AKERMAN, one of the old and respected tradesmen of the pleasant and prosperous town of Haywards, was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, June 14, 1824. His father, Barnett Akerman, was a natis'e of the same State, and a wheelwright by trade. The subject's mother, maiden name Margaret Whidden, was also a native of New Hampshire. Albert learned his trade in Ports- mouth, and went to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1845, and followed his trade there until 1849. Then he continued in the same business at Can- ton, Illinois, until 1851, when he came across the plains to California, by way of the South Platte. After arriving here he followed his trade for a few months in San Francisco; then six months in Nevada County; next he followed mining at Alta, Placer County, until 1856; then he pursued his vocation at Redwood City, San Mateo County, for about four years; then in San Jose one year; returning to Redwood City, he established a shop there and carried on his business until 1864, when he sold out and went to Stockton; a year afterward he went to Alvarado, Alameda County, and was there until 1869; next he spent a short time in Haywards, and then three years at Redwood City again; and finally he located permanently at Hay wards, where he carries on a good shop and has a good business on B street, painting carriages and wagons. He is at present one of the Town Trustees; is a Republican, and a member of Crusade Lodge, No. 93, I. 0. O. F.. of Alvarado. Mr. Akerman and Mrs. Priscilla Patch were Joined in wedlock in Oakland in 1867, and their two children are Sarah and William. [Page 741]

 

F N. ATKINS. In the year 1812 N. A. Atkins, a native of Massachusetts, and * his wife, nee Lydia Waters, a native of Connecticut, both of Welsh extraction, emigrated to the Western Reserve in Ohio, then a wilderness. Here they purchased a farm and helped to clear up the country, and here they reared their family of eight children, only two of whom now survive. On the 20th of August, 1831, their son Quintus Narcissus was born. He received his education in Ohio, at Albion Academy, Pennsylvania, and at Poland Institute, Ohio.  At the age of twenty Mr. Atkins left school to join the ranks of the people who were coming from Ohio to the new El Dorado of the West, and arrived in California August 20, 1852. He first mined in Gold Kun and then in Grass Valley. In June, 1853, he came to Shasta, after it had been burned to the ground. With a company lie went to Horsetown. They conceived the idea of turning the river from its bed by building a dam.

Mr. Atkins worked there, and contracted the ague, from which he did not fully recover for eight years. The enterprise of turning the stream proved unsuccessful. He continued to mine and at times with fair success, but, like many other miners, did not save his money. In 1858 he was united in marriage to Miss Martha A. Hughs, a native of Wisconsin. Her father, Andrew Hughs, a native of Missouri, came to  California in 1853. Mr. and Mrs. Atkins reared a family of four- teen children, eleven sons and three daughters, all of whom are living. The second son and one daughter were born in Star City, Humboldt County, and all the rest were born in Shasta County. Their names are as follows: Benjamin W., Frank M., Emma J., William J., Jesse, Warren G., Octava and Flora (twins), Irwin, Dewitt C, Clarence, Quintus Narcissus and Cleveland and Harrison (twins).  Mr. Atkins worked at the carpenter's trade until 1862, when he went to Star City to the mines, remaining there until 1864-'65. At that time he went to Silver Lake, Idaho, going in wagons and being three months on the road, the delay being caused by high waters and bad sloughs. He worked there a year on the quartz mills. The first winter he paid $20 per sack for flour. In 1866 Mr. Atkins returned to Shasta County. He owns 320 acres of land on Clover Creek, where he resides with his family. He also has a mill and a home in the mountains on the Tamarack road, where his family spends the summers. Mr. Atkins claims to be a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat,' but is not of Democratic stock. Three times he has been elected County Surveyor. He has also held the office of Deputy Assessor, has been twice elected to the office and is the present incumbent. He is one of the old, reliable stand bys of the county, and is deeply interested in its growth and prosperity. Mr. Atkins is a Master Mason. [Page 747]

F S  LANGAN, attorney at law, at Hay- wards, is a prominent member of the " Alameda County Bar. He was born at Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, June 19, 1857, attended the State Normal School at Mansfield, and in 1876 graduated at La Fayette College, at Easton, that State. From 1876 to 1880 he studied law and was admitted to the bar during the latter year in New Jersey. After practicing a short time there, he came, in 1881, by rail, to California and located at San Mateo, where he became tutor in the military academy of that place for one year. Lastly he located at Haywards, where he has been elected, and has served for a period of three years, as principal of the public schools. In 1884 he went to Livermore and took a course of law study for one year under the eminent counselor G. W. Lang, of that city, and in 1885 was admitted to practice in the" State courts. For a few years following he visited various sections of this State, hoping to recuperate from his im- paired health. In 1887 he again located at Haywards, where he has built up an excellent practice in his profession. He is the attorney for the Electric Light and Knox Water Companies; also he is the City Attorney. Being a decided Republican he has rendered his party considerable service, having been a delegate to every county convention since 1881 ; and he has been twice chosen delegate to State conventions. He afhliates with the F. & A. M. and the I. O. O. F.  Mr. Langan and Miss Lydia Breckwell, a native of California, were Joined in marriage at Haywards, September 3, 1885, and they now have two children, Giirdon S. and Anna M.[Page 748 - 749]  

 

PATRICK H. GEARY, a prominent farmer and dairyman of Alameda County, near Siifiol, owns 1,500 acres of farming and grazing land seven miles south of that place and keeps thirty-five to forty milking cows, and makes butter for the San Francisco market. Pie has also a tine prospect of gold and silver bearing quartz on his land, which he is now prospecting, the indications being good for a bountiful supply of the precious metals. He was born in Cork, Ireland, February 22, 1840, and was a babe when the family emigrated to America, locating at Syracuse, New York, where he was reared and educated. His parents were Maurice and Mary (Cronan) Geary. In 1856 he came across the plains to California, taking two seasons for the journey and wintering in Salt Lake City. He was one of a number who handled the stone in the monument erected to the memory of the emigrants that were murdered at Mountain Meadows, Utah, in 1858. From that place he came to this State by way of San Bernardino and Los Angeles, where he worked at teaming for a time. Afterward he superintended the salt works of Salinas for two years. In 1860 he came to Mission San Jose, Alameda County, where he worked upon a farm for a short time. Then he engaged in the livery business. Selling out the latter eight months afterward, he located upon 160 acres of land near the Mission and followed agriculture there two years. Then he sold his claim there and moved upon his present farm. He was one of the gentlemen who formed the Kosedale School District, and has been one of its trustees for nine years. He is a Democrat and takes a lively interest in local affairs. He is a member of Triumph Council, No. 177, O. C. F., of San Jose.  While at Mission San Jose he was married to Miss Mary A. Kell, February 15, 1863. She is a native of Canada, and came to California by way of Panama in 1851. They have ten children now living: Maurice, Mary R., Annie, Ellen, Daniel, John, Thomas, Patrick H., Maggie and Elizabeth. [Page 748-749]    

EUGENE PROLETTI is the proprietor of the livery, feed and sale stable of Ander- son, where sojourners will find lively road- sters and well equipped turnouts at the most reasonable prices, the proprietor being a man of practical experience in the business and of a gentlemanly nature, who studies to please his patrons, and by that method has gained for him- self and his stables a reputation second to none in Shasta County. Mr. Proletti was born in Crevia, Piedmont, Italy, in 1855, where he was educated and reared to farm life. His parents were Vincenzo and Annie (Anderlina) Proletti, both natives of Italy. He came to America in 1869, locating in Sonoma County, California^ where he engaged in farming and stock-raising. In connection with his ranch he also conducted a dairy, being successful in this enterprise during the years he was connected with it. Selling out his ranch in 1879, he next came to Ander- son, Shasta County, and engaged in his present business.  Mr. Proletti is a Republican in principle, but takes no part in politics, devoting his entire time to the business he believes himself best adapted for. He is a single man, and the fifth of ten children in his father's family, three besides himself being in America, and the remainder of the family residing in their native land. [Page 748]   

WILLIAM DEVIN, of Tehama County, is a native of Pike County, Missouri, born at Frankfort, December 17, 1846, the son of William and Elizabeth (Lewelling) Devin. The father was a native of Virginia and came to Missouri in 1820, where he died in 1864; the mother was a native of St. Louis, Missouri, born in 1817, and died in 1878. Her ancestors on the paternal side were Scotch-Irish, and on the maternal side were Welsh, who were persecuted and finally driven from Wales on account of their religious views. Our subject learned the machinist's and blacksmith's trades, and left his native State in 1873, coming by rail to California, locating in Colusa County, where for a few months he received $5 per day as a journeyman blacksmith. He next opened a shop at the town of Durham on his own ac- count. Selling out a few months later he came to Vina, and is now established in a general re- pair shop for blacksmithing and wheelwrighting.  In 1874 Mr. Devin was elected Justice of the Peace, and has also served as Deputy Sherifi", and is now Deputy Constable. He was School Trustee of Lason  District from 1884 to 1886. Politically he is a Democrat, and takes an active part in all political matters.  He was married at Vina in 1879, to Miss Fannie Moore, a native of California, and a daughter of the late J. P. Moore, an old California pioneer. Mr. and Mrs. Devin have one child, Ray. [Page 748] 

WALTER D. NUNAMAKER, one of the business men of Redding, California, is a native of the State of Minnesota. He was born August 19, 1865, of German and American ancestry. His grandfather, Peter Nunamaker, a native of' Germany, came to the United States many years ago and settled in Pennsylvania. There Isaac Nunamaker was born. He married Miss Lucy Shepherd, by whom he had five children, the subject of this sketch being the third. He was reared, educated and learned the jeweler's trade in Minnesota. He went to Dakota and worked a year at his business, after which he returned to Minnesota. From there he went to Ellsworth, Kansas, where he was in business three years. January 10, 1888, he came to Redding, Cali- fornia, and opened a jewelry store. He keeps a fine stock of goods, does satisfactory work, and, by his obliging and gentlemanly manner of dealing with his customers, has established a fine business.  August 19, 1888, when twenty- three years of age, he married Miss Nettie Derby, a native of Dakota. Their union has been blessed with a son, Raymond, born in Redding.  Mr. Nunamaker is a member of the National Guards of California, and also of the Knights of Pythias. He is enthusiastic over his adopted State and especially over the city of Redding. As a worthy citizen and reliable business man he enjoys the good-will and respect of all who know him. [Page 749]   

WAYNE PLUMB, the senior member of the firm of M. & C. S. Plumb, prominent merchants of French Gulch, was born in Kentucky on the seventh of September, 1851. His early education was obtained in New York. In 1865 he cane to California and finished his studies at the Stale University at Oakland. He has had large experience in the mercantile business, having served twenty years as a clerk. The Messrs. Plumb inherited the store and stock from Thompson Plumb, who established the business at French Gulch in 1868. He conducted it successfully until 1886, the time of his death. At that time his son, Wayne Plumb, took charge of the store. His partner, Charles S. Plumb, is his cousin.   

They are both enterprising business men and are doing a lucrative business. Their stock consists of general merchandise, and their trade extends for forty miles into the country and is constantly growing.   - Mr. Wayne Plumb was married, in 1880, to Mrs. Allie Blair, a native of Ohio and a daughter of Dr. John Smith, now of California. Mrs. Plumb has one son, Eddie L , by her former husband. Mr. Plumb is an Encampment Odd Fellow, and has passed all the chairs in his lodge. He is also a Master Mason. His political views are Republican.   Charles S. Plumb, the junior member of the firm, is a native of Michigan; was educated in Illinois, and followed railroading for the Michigan Central Railroad until he came to California in 1877. After his arrival in this State he was engaged for a time in a livery in French Gulch, but gave it up to enter the mercantile business with his cousin. They are agents for Wells, Fargo & Co. [Pages 750 - 751]  

 

A CARLTON RUGGLES was born in Erie County, Ohio, January 27, 1831, a son of Salmon Ruggles, a native of Connecticut. His mother's maiden name was Rebecca Nyman, and she was a native of New York State and of German descent. The tradition is that the Ruggles family in America originated with three brothers who came to this country from Scotland, one of whom settled in Connecticut, one died shortly after his arrival and one went to the Southern States; and the latter is the one from whom nearly all the people by that name in the South have descended. Nearly all of them in former times were slave owners and some of them participated in the Rebellion. The northern branch were all anti- slavery and Union men. Some entered the Union army and some were killed in battle. The father of the subject of this sketch, a master mechanic, ship-builder and ship superintendent, had an important position in the Union army, in the department of the Mississippi. He had a shipyard and dry-dock at Milan, Ohio, about eight miles from Lake Erie, where he built a great many vessels fur the lake trade.  

Judge Ruggles, the subject of this sketch, was brought up in his native State. He was nineteen years of age when he was educating himself at an academy called the Huron Institute, at Milan, and the gold fever brought him to this State, with the consent of his father. In company with friends, he purchased and completed a large outfit of wagons and horses with provisions to make the long journey across plain and mountain. They also started with a Considerable quantity of clothing, hats, caps, etc., but had to abandon it fifty miles west of the Missouri River. The wagon was taken back to Weston, Missouri, and sold, and the party came on with pack horses and mules. There were nine in the party, divided into two messes, and they traveled together until they" reached the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, when, as is natural and usual, they disagreed and separated. The party of five, of whom Mr. Ruggles was a member, by a little stratagem the night before the separation, said they were going by way of Sublette's Cut - often rising early next morning, they started towards Salt Lake instead. The other mess, thinking they had taken the other route, saw none of them until they reached California. Mr. Ruggles' party reached Salt Lake July 4 and Placerville August 14, 1850, having the usual experiences of the journey, spiced with a little trouble with Indians, etc. The redskins attempted to steal their live-stock, and one of them was killed. In crossing the desert they had to kill all of their horses, to put them out of their misery, which was induced by want of nourishment and water.  

During the first five years in California Mr. Ruggles was engaged in gold-mining at different  points, a part of the time with excellent success; but he afterward lost his little fortune in a mining operation. The second year after his arrival he was offered $10,000 for his interest, which he refused. After he quit mining he followed farming about four miles south of Woodland, from 1856 to 1866; he then sold his place and since November 6, that year, he has been a resident of Woodland. Here he has been Postmaster six years, 1866-72; also at the same time he ran a drug store, the first one in the town, also a variety and jewelry store, having a partner in his business.

After his term as Postmaster expired he continued in his mercantile business three years longer, when he sold out. Next for two years he prospected around the State; then he was appointed Public Administrator for Yolo County, by the Board of Supervisors, and he also went into the real-estate business and collection agency, in which he has since been engaged. In the fall of 1879 he was elected Justice of the Peace, in which position he was ex-ofiicio Police Judge, and in this double capacity he served for three years; then for a time he confined himself to the real-estate business and the duties of a Notary Public. He has been elected to his judicial seat three times. He is a thorough Republican, and the fact that his district is at the same time strongly Democratic shows his popularity. At the present he is secretary of the Republican County Central Committee, taking a lively interest in political matters. As a Re- publican, however, he is not radical. In religious matters he has been for many years a member of the Methodist Church. As to the liquor traffic he believes in regulation instead of prohibition.  Judge Ruggles was married in 1859, to Miss Mary Elizabeth Maddux, a native of Illinois, and they have one son and three daughters. [Pages 751 - 752] 

GOTTLOB RAYER, proprietor of the Ger- man baker}- on Castro street, Haywards, was born in Wirtemburg, Germany, Octo- ber 27, 1842, where he was educated and brought up to the baker's trade until 1864, coming then to America. He stopped for two months at Detroit, Michigan, and then was in St. Louis, Missouri, until 1868, when he came to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. After arriving here he followed his trade a year in San Francisco, and then moved to San Lean- dro and conducted the same business there five years. His next location was at Haywards, where he is now conducting a successful trade in bread, pies of all kinds, and pastries, which can be had fresh from his ovens daily; also fancy and domestic confectionery, candies, etc., at wholesale and retail.  Mr. Rayer affiliates with the Sons of Hermann, Lodge No. 14, of Haywards. He was married at San Francisco August 1, 1868, to Miss Caroline Fitzer, a native of Germany, and they have three children, namely: William, Frederick and Charles. Mr. Rayer is the son of Lenhardt and Catrina (Finley) Rayer, the father a native of Germany and a horticulturalist, and the mother also a native of the same country; both are now deceased. [Page 752]  

CHARLES E. FISH. Among the prominent and substantial farmers and stock-borrowers of Tehama County we make particular mention of the subject of this sketch, who was born in Scott County, Iowa, March 27, 1852, the son of Erskine and Cordelia (Freeman) Fish, both natives of New York. His maternal grandparents, Samuel and Balinda Freeman, were natives of New York, and moved to the State of Iowa in 1844. His paternal grandparents, P. William and Lois (Grover) Fish, were born in the State of Vermont; the former died in 1854 and the latter in 1870.  Mr. Fish is a self-educated man, being quick of perception and unflagging in his efforts to improve the mind, and he certainly has raised himself to the level, if not beyond that, of the average man. He accompanied his parents across the plains to California in 1860, locating in Tehama County, where they followed farming for several years. In 1871 he moved to the town of Tehama, and was tor several years connected with the butchering business. He then went to Red Bluff, continuing in the same business for a short time, and then engaging in the mercantile pursuits for one year. For live years he was Deputy County Assessor. In 1886 he again engaged in farming, and is now located twelve miles north of Red Bluff, where he and his partner, Frank L. Jelly, own 1,900 acres of land, and jointly carry on farming and stock-raising. Politically Mr. Fish is a Republican, and is the regular nominee for County Sheriff.  He has been twice married, the first, September 3, 1871, to Miss Mary C. Weitemeyer, of Iowa, who died in 1881, leaving one child, Cordelia D. The second marriage was at Red Bluff, to Miss Maggie C. Goodridge, a native of California, and they have three children: Frank A., Erskine and Charles. Mr. Fish affiliates with the F. & A, M. of Vesper (blue) Lodge, No. 84, Chapter No. 40, and Commandery No. 17, of Red Bluff. [Page 752]

 

 A Memorial & Biographical History of Northern California: Chicago : The Lewis Publishing Company, 1891

Transcribed by: Martha A Crosley Graham, 10 October 2008 - [Page numbers listed with each Biography]

 

Site Created: 10 October 2008

Martha A Crosley Graham

Rights Reserved: 2008