James M. Gleaves was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, September 10, 1852. His father, James S. Gleaves, was a native of Ohio, and his grandfather, Lewis Gleaves, settled the town of Norristown, Pennsylvania. The family originated in England. James S. Gleaves married Elmira A. A. McDonald, a native of Pennsylvania, and daughter of Captain Malcolm McDonald, a native of Scotland and a captain in the British navy. They had twelve children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the second. He was a sickly boy, and in early life developed a taste for reading. He went from home at thirteen years of age, and at seventeen began to teach school. As soon as he had earned and saved money enough he entered the State University of Missouri. When within a few months of graduating his health gave out, and he was compelled to leave college.
In 1874 he came to California seeking health. He obtained employment in Merced, as a book-keeper, at $90 per month and board. From there he went to the Yosemite, where, in the pure air of that far-famed mountain retreat, he regained his physical strength. Next, he went to San Bernadino and engaged in the drug business. For a time he was Deputy Postmaster; he also had charge of the County Hospital a while.
July 4, 1875, Mr. Gleaves was married to Miss Martha A. Beardsly, a native of Connecticut and a daughter of Julius S. and Eliza Lucretia (Reed) Beardsly, both natives of that State. Mr. and Mrs. Gleaves have had five children, two of whom are living, both born in Redding. Their names are James, Malcom and Charles Beardsly.
Mr. Gleaves was elected Surveyor
of Shasta County in 1886: for two years previous to that time, was
Deputy Surveyor. At the last Republican convention in Sacramento,
in 1890, he was a candidate for Surveyor General. He is now United
States Deputy Surveyor and United States Deputy Mineral Surveyor. Mr. Gleaves was admitted to practice at the bar of Shasta County on September
10, 1889, but does not practice law.
When he first came to Redding Mr. Gleaves was in the drug business, but was burned out, and thereby sustained a severe loss. With an undaunted courage and a determination to succeed he has taken hold of other enterprises and has met with fair success. He is now the owner of an eighteen-acre fruit ranch, the “Fair View Farm,” which is beautifully situated on the banks of the Sacramento River, near Reading (?). He has built an attractive home, from which a beautiful view of the river and surrounding country is obtained. The choice fruits and rare flowers which surround this home are indicative of the taste and refinement of the inmates. Mrs. Gleaves takes special pride in the care and cultivation of her flowers.
Mr. Gleaves was the first Past Master of the A.O.U.W., at Redding. He was one of the men who instituted the I.O.O.F. Lodge at Redding, and has been District Deputy Grand Master in his district. By unanimous vote he was made Grand Commander of the American Legion of Honor. He is also a Master Mason.
Source: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern
California, Lewis Publishing Co., 1891 pages 775-776
Transcribed by: Kathy Sedler, September 2004