Lassen County Biographies (N-S)

The following biographies were transcribed from Illustrated History of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra Counties, with California from 1513 to 1850 (Fariss and Smith, San Francisco, 1882). The page number of that book on which a person can be found is noted beside his/her name. In cases where, instead of first names, only initials were provided in the book, first and middle names have been provided here (whenever possible) using census records of Lassen County, vital records of Lassen County, and/or other Lassen County historical documents as source material. Known misspellings and typographical errors in the book have been corrected on this page. Corrections to names and errors are { shown in brackets }. Some Plumas County and some Sierra County biographies may be included here.

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S. H. Painter { Samuel Harris Painter } (pp. 411-412)
June 17, 1830, Mr. Painter was born in Knox county, Ohio. He worked on the farm and attended school until the fall of 1850, when the family moved to Andrew county, Missouri. June 1, 1851, he married Miss Jane Kincaid, born in Knox county, Ohio, January 5, 1829. In the spring of 1854 he left the new home for California, reaching Marysville in September. For five years he engaged in farm-work and butchering. In the winter of 1859 he went back for his family, and crossed the plains again the next season, arriving in Honey Lake valley in August. The next year he went to Colusa county, and farmed three years. He then returned to Susanville, and in July, 1864, bought T. H. Epley’s claim of 160 acres of land, three miles south-east of Janesville, on which he has since lived, and been engaged in farming and teaming.

John C. Partridge (p. 411)
He was born in Whitefield county, Maine, May 12, 1837. He attended Kent’s Hill seminary until fourteen years of age, when he commenced clerking in a store in Gardner. He remained there until twenty years old, and then went to Illinois, and attended the Rock River seminary two years. In the spring of 1859 he came overland to California, arriving in Susanville in August. A few months later he went to Plumas county, and engaged in mining on Feather river. Two years later he returned to this county, and kept the Deep Hole station two years, when he sold out and kept books for a firm in Susanville, taught school, and was deputy in the clerk’s office until September, 1868. He then bought the Sage Brush, and published it nearly ten years. During that time he was county surveyor two years and U. S. surveyor five years. In 1875 he became postmaster at Susanville, and at the same time engaged in merchandising, and continued thus until his death, June 22, 1881. He was a member of Lassen Commandery No. 12, K. T. February 16, 1869, he married Miss Eva Slater, born in Batesville, Arkansas, in 1850. The union was blessed with six children; John S., born June 22, 1870; Karl C., August 7, 1872; Henry, January 14, 1874; Beatrice L., January 24, 1876; Jennie M., June 14, 1879, died October 18, 1879; Maria October 22, 1880.

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Hon. Isaac N. Roop { Isaac Newton Roop } (p. 376) ~ Biography 1 of 2
The part taken by this gentleman in the settlement of this region and the formation of a government fully appears in the preceding pages. He was one of the four gentlemen admitted to the bar by Judge Mott in 1862. In 1865 he was elected district attorney of Lassen county, and served two terms. It is related of him that while he was serving in this capacity, the grand jury presented an indictment against a man who had stolen a horse. Roop drew up the document in a few minutes, and presented it to the foreman, who read it and remarked: “Governor, I’m afraid this is rather brief. That complaint would not hold in any court.” “Why not?” asked Roop; “I’ve got whereas in three times.” Roop was a popular man, jovial and good natured, always ready to tell a story or laugh at an anecdote.

Hon. Isaac Newton Roop (p. 412) ~ Biography 2 of 2
Governor Roop’s grandfather was a German and his grandmother a native of England. His father, Joseph Roop, married Miss Susan Engle, and reared a family of nine sons and two daughters. The subject of this sketch was the fifth son, and was born in Carroll county, Maryland, March 13, 1822. In 1838 the family moved to Ashland county, Ohio. December 24, 1840, Isaac married Miss Nancy Gardner, born in Alleghany county, Pennsylvania, December 22, 1822, and settled on a farm adjoining that of his father, and also manufactured and dealt in lumber. Three children were born to them: Susan Engle, November 13, 1841; John V., November 27, 1843; I. J., November 30, 1845. June 20, 1850, Mrs. Roop died, and in September Mr. Roop started for California, leaving John in charge of his grandfather Roop, and I. J. and Susan with their grandfather Gardner. Mr. Roop clerked in a store at Oak Bottom until June, 1851, and then went to Shasta and kept public house. In October he went to Bear river, and lived there until March, 1852, when he was appointed postmaster as Shasta. June 14, 1853, he was burned out, and lost about $10,000, all he had. He then went over the mountains, and located a land claim at Honey Lake valley. His after history—how he made his settlement, engaged in the formation of a government for Nevada and became the governor, was admitted to practice law, and participated in all the public movements in this section—is fully detailed in the preceding pages. He practiced law in Susanville until the time of his death, February 14, 1869. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and was buried with honors, a large concourse of citizens attending his funeral. His two sons served in the Union army during the war. I. J. Roop died from the effects of a wound received at the battle of South Mountain. John V. settled in Iowa after the war, and in 1877 removed to Blue Springs, Nebraska. Susan came to California in 1862, and lived with her father. She married A. T. Arnold, December 27, 1864, and still resides in Susanville.

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T. B. Sanders { Thomas B. Sanders } (p. 499)
This gentleman was born in Marion county, Illinois, November 29, 1848. In 1860 the family removed to California, settling in Indian valley, Plumas county. They all engaged in farming there until 1867, when they came to Susanville, where they have since resided. Since living here, Mr. Sanders has been engaged chiefly in cabinet work and undertaking. This spring, in company with George Weston, he fitted up an establishment with an engine, turning-lathe, and other machinery, preparatory to doing extensive business in his line. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and A. O. U. W. lodges at Susanville. In politics, he is a democrat.

J. P. Sharp { James Porter Sharp } (p. 499)
This gentleman was born in Bedford county, Tennessee, April 24, 1829. In 1849 he went to Arkansas, and in the spring of 1853 came overland to this state. He spent the winter in Marysville, and then he came to Plumas county, mining until 1857. He then came to Honey Lake valley, and purchased the ranch of Marion Lawrence, in partnership with Lewis Stark. In the spring of 1859 he traded for cattle, which all perished that winter. In the spring of 1860 he went to Virginia City, and mined six months. He then teamed three years from Honey Lake valley to Virginia City and Humboldt mines. In 1864 he bought the ranch now a portion of the old Hamilton ranch. In 1866 he sold it to Hamilton, and bought the Chandler ranch. Five years later he sold that, and bought the ranch on which he now lives, three miles south-east of Janesville, containing 276 acres. Mr. Sharp is a member of the Janesville lodge and Susanville chapter F. & A. M. He is a democrat in politics. April 15, 1866, he married Miss Lurana Walker, born in Randolph county, Indiana, March 28, 1840. Their children are Annie B., born February 17, 1867; Harriett Hill, March 11, 1869; William Walker, May 28, 1871; John Thomas, August 1, 1873; Mary Cordelia, February 15, 1876; Ivy Marble, December 21, 1878; Fenton, July 25, 1881.

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Hiram N. Skaddan (p. 499)
The present sheriff of Lassen county was born in Coschocton county, Ohio, May 19, 1836. When he was three years old the family removed to New York, and two years later to Michigan, where they still live in Ingham county. In 1862 Hiram came overland to Honey Lake valley, and soon went to Gold Hill, Nevada, engaging in hauling ore for a year. He then went home, and came back to this valley again in 1864, and farmed and teamed for two years. He then engaged in the livery business in Reno for one year. He began staging from Reno to Susanville, and followed that business six years. After this he engaged in the sheep business three years. He was then appointed deputy by Sheriff Washburn, and in the fall of 1879 was elected sheriff on the democratic ticket. December 25, 1875, he married Miss Fannie Lovell of Susanville, who died November 25, 1879. There was born to them, in 1877, a son, Vaughn, who died in infancy. November 16, 1880, he married Grace N., daughter of Captain E. S. and Sophia Talbot. Their only child, Hiram T. was born November 16, 1881, and the mother died four days later.

Edward T. Slackford (p. 500)
This gentleman is a native of England, and was born in Suffolk, near Ipswich, November 4, 1849. In 1852 he came with his parents to the United States, settling in New York. Until 1861, he lived in that state, Ohio, and Iowa, when he came to California, and engaged in farming and mining in Lassen county. In 1867 he purchased forty acres of land three miles east of Janesville, on which he now resides. In 1881 he was appointed supervisor of the Janesville road district. Politically, Mr. Slackford is a democrat. He is a member of the Masonic and Workmen lodges of Janesville. December 25, 1872, he married Miss Alzina Leith, born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in 1851. They have three children: Inez, born September 25, 1875; Edna Leona, April 16, 1877; Mary, September 12, 1879.

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Hon. Albert A. Smith (p. 375)
This gentleman was born in Orleans county, N. Y., November 24, 1832. He was compelled to leave the Albion Academy at the age of fifteen, because of impaired eyesight. In 1848, the family removed to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, and in 1852 to Dartford, in the same state, where his father and mother lived until their death, at the age of 86 and 72 respectively. In 1855 Albert came overland to California with John S. Ward, going through Beckwourth pass to Quincy. He mined there for a time, and then worked at carpentering in American and Indian valleys till April, 1857, when he came to Honey Lake valley. He ranched until 1861, and then worked at his trade until May, 1864, when he was chosen the first county clerk of Lassen county. He was twice re-elected on the republican ticket. In 1870 he was appointed district attorney, to succeed W. R. Harrison, deceased. In October, 1872, he was appointed county judge, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John S. Chapman. In 1873, he was defeated for the same position. In 1874 he became U. S. Deputy Surveyor, and in 1877 he was elected county surveyor. In 1880 he again became U. S. Deputy Surveyor; and in the spring of 1881 became engineer of the Eagle lake irrigation scheme. In September, 1881, he was appointed postmaster at Susanville, and now holds that position. He is a member of Lassen Commandery No. 13, K. T., of which he was commander for one term.

John P. M. Smith (p. 500)
He was born August 17, 1850, in Cornwall, England. Six years later his father died, leaving a family of three boys and one girl. When John was twelve years of age he went to work in the mines, and so continued until 1870, when, with his mother and sister Jane, he came to California. They came to Lassen county, and have since lived on the farm of 160 acres, twelve miles east of Susanville, which his brother Robert had purchased for a homestead for their mother. John works the farm, and his mother lives with him. He is yet a single man. In politics, he adheres to the republican party.

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Henry Snyder (p. 505)
He was born in Wayne county, Ohio, January 20, 1834. When nine years of age his parents removed to Elkhart county, Indiana, where he remained until the spring of 1855, when he went to Iowa, where he lived for ten years. While in Indiana he learned the trade of miller, which business he followed while in Iowa. In 1859 came to California, overland, driving the first team that ever crossed the present site of Virginia City, Nevada. He remained there a short time prospecting, and then went to Tuolumne county, California, and remained there about one year. He then returned to Iowa, and remained there until 1865, when he returned to California, overland, stopping in Butte county. From there he went to Plumas county, and mined one year. From there, in 1871, he went to Lassen county, and was a miller in the “Lassen Mills” at Johnstonville until 1875, when he bought a half-interest in them with W. H. Hall, which they have since managed in partnership. He is a member of F. & A. M., Lassen Lodge No. 149, and of Chapter No. 47 and Commandery No. 13. He was married April 29, 1858, to Elizabeth Heckart, who died on the plains, May 25, 1865; was again married to Mrs. Martha McColm, September 17, 1879, who was born in Warren county, Illinois, August 24, 1852. She has one child by her first husband: James D. McColm, born October 17, 1866. His children by his first wife are William H., born November 6, 1861; Fannie M., August 9, 1863, and Libbie A., May 10, 1865.

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Dr. Zetus Newell Spalding (p. 500)
This gentleman is descended, in the eighth generation, from Edward Spalding, through Andrew, Andrew, Andrew, Andrew, Benjamin, and Simeon, his father and was born in Albany, Vermont, August 13, 1819. He resided for a time in Craftsbury, Vermont, and in 1826 the family moved to Peru, Ohio. He afterwards lived in North Norwich, subsequently named Havana, where he received his education at the common school and Norwalk Academy. In 1840 he began the study of medicine with Dr. Hugh F. Proute of Monroeville, Ohio, and finished under Dr. Moses C. Sanders of Maxville, Ohio, taking his degree in 1846 at the Cleveland Medical College. In 1852 he left Roxana, Eaton county Michigan, for California, coming overland, and arriving in Sierra county in August. He mined with various success till the spring of 1855, and then went into the mercantile business in St. Louis in that county. In 1857 his business was destroyed by fire. August 13, 1857 he settled on a ranch in Honey Lake valley, and lived there seven years. He then sold out, and moved to Susanville, where he has since resided. From 1857 to the close of the civil war, Dr. Spalding was assistant surgeon of the U. S. army. August 11, 1857, he married Miss Mary A. Brown, born in Sussex, England, July 16, 1840. They have been blessed with twelve children, four of whom have been taken away by death: Ella Grace, born April 18, 1858; Ida Frances, October 15, 1859; Inez Imogene, October 5, 1861; Mary Alice, December 17, 1862; John Bridger, October 11, 1864; Wilber Neale, August 15, 1866; Jennie E., November 22, 1868, Zetus Newell, April 27, 1870, died October 22, 1879; Laura G., January 10, 1872, died September 8, 1877; Zella May, November 20, 1874, died November 2, 1879; Thomas Marsh, February 5, 1877, died November 16, 1879; Clare E., April 20, 1878. They were all born in this county. Inez married L. L. Harbet, May 29, 1881, and is living in Ukiah, California.

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Ephraim V. Spencer (p. 377)
The only member of the original bar of Roop county that has been spared by the hand of death is Mr. Ephraim V. Spencer, who is still practicing law at Susanville. He was born in Whitestown, Oneida county, New York, January 28, 1836, his parents being Luther D. and Mary (Van Buren) Spencer. In his youth he received such an education as was to be obtained at the common schools of that state. When still young, he learned the carpenter trade of his father, and later worked at this trade for himself in Michigan. He came to Lassen county in 1859, where he built and operated a saw-mill until he was admitted to the Roop county bar, in July, 1862. In 1864 he was admitted to the Lassen county bar, and has since been a constant practitioner. He is a careful student, and has stored a fund of legal information that has placed him in all the leading trials of this county. Starting with a limited education, he has, by close application and study, advanced himself to the front rank of his profession. In April, 1870, he passed a rigid examination before the supreme court at Sacramento, and his subsequent practice before that body has been attended with the highest success. In 1864 he was elected the first district attorney for Lassen county, again in 1871, and a third time in 1873. He is a member of the Odd Fellows lodge at Susanville. Mr. Spencer married Miss L. P. Montgomery, April 7, 1867. She was born in Ingham county, Michigan, August 11, 1847. They have three children: Iva Grace, born September 7, 1869; Gloddis M., March 27, 1872; E. M., October 14, 1874. Two orphan daughters of his brother Luther form part of his family: Jennie B., born April 10, 1866, and Mary J., born December 20, 1867. His father died in Michigan, in July, 1871, and his mother is now living with her son, at the ripe old age of seventy-six.

James M. Steinberger (pp. 500-501)
This gentleman was born in Champaign county, Ohio, September 15, 1829. In the spring of 1852 he moved to Jones county, Iowa, and engaged in farming and milling eleven years. In 1863 he came overland to California, arriving in Honey Lake valley in August. For two years he engaged in farming, and then for fourteen years he owned and operated the Milford Flour Mill. In the spring of 1879 he bought the Willow Ranch property of 400 acres, eighteen miles south of Milford, which is now his home. He is engaged in raising stock, hay, grain, and fruit. He belongs to the Janesville Masonic lodge. In politics, he is a democrat. March 25, 1852, he married Miss Martha M. Decious of Westville, Ohio. Their children are Alice I., born February 26, 1855; L. E., January 13, 1856; Charles A., July 7, 1860, died February 25, 1861; Mary E., June 4, 1862; Effie M., December 14, 1867, died October 14, 1870; James M., August 27, 1871; Martha A., May 8, 1876. The first four were born in Iowa, the others in this county.

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Isaac M. Stewart (pp. 505-506)
He was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, May 17, 1838. When nine years old he went to Fulton county, Illinois, where he remained until 1855, when he removed to Madison county, Iowa. In the spring of 1861 he came to California, overland. He stopped in Honey Lake valley for about three months, and then went to Marysville. He was back and forth from there to the valley until 1866, when he settled on the O’Neil ranch, where he stopped until 1868, when he bought the ranch of 280 acres, six miles south-east of Susanville, where he has since resided. In politics, he is a republican. He was married in Marysville, California, April 26, 1866, to Miss Sophia More, who was born in Wisconsin, November 26, 1846. Their children are Walter C., born March 18, 1867; Jennie E., April 12, 1870; Ada E., January 3, 1873; Charles Markus, October 28, 1876; and Laura S., August 27, 1880—all born in Lassen county.

A. U. Sylvester { Azel Utley Sylvester } (p. 499)
He was born in Suffolk county, Massachusetts, July 29, 1814. Until 1849 his principal occupation was the manufacture of boots and shoes, in Stoughton, Massachusetts. In that year he came overland, stopping in Shasta county. He mined, clerked, and then merchandised till 1851. He then kept hotel in Yreka a year. He then mined in Shasta until July, 1856, when he came to Honey Lake valley and located a section of land four miles below Susanville. With the exception of four years spent in merchandising on the Humboldt, he has lived constantly in Lassen county. He now owns a farm, in partnership with Fred Hines, 3 ½ miles east of Susanville. In politics, he is a republican.

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