J. P Munro-Fraser.

History of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. online

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which left Handon Rose, Virginia, for Port Royal, South Carolina, from
which port they sailed in October following on the Ship Transport
" Governor." On this voyage, while off Cape Hatteras, they encountered
a terrible hurricane, the steamer being wrecked in the gale, losing one


Corporal and six privates, and, after thirty-six hours, without food or
drink, the battalion was picked up by the U. S. S. " Sabine." On
arriving at Port Royal, the fleet, under Commodore Dupont, bombarded
Fort Beauregard and Fort Walker ; silenced their batteries, and General
Sherman's forces and the Marine Battalion landed and took possession of
the forts ; remained there on duty till February, 1862 ; joined an expedi-
tion, fitted out at Port Royal, under General Cushman and Dupont, and
proceeded to Ferendino, Florida. On arriving there the rebels deserted
the fort and batteries, and a portion of the army was landed and took
possession of the town, fort, and batteries. The expedition then pro-
ceeded to St. Augustine, Florida. On arriving, the rebels retreated, and
a portion of the army landed and took possession of the town, fort, and
batteries. Returned to headquarters at Washington, D. C, remaining
there off duty till December 1, 1862 ; proceeded then under orders to
Brooklyn, New York, and joined a command under Major A. C. Garland
and proceeded by steamer for Mare Island Navy Yard, California. While
en route from New York to Aspinwall on the passenger steamer " Ariel,"
she was captured and made prisoner by the Confederate States
" Alabama," (Captain Semmes). All the command were made prisoners of
war, their armor equipment and military stores being captured and
taken on board of the "Alabama." After twenty-six hours Captain
Jones of the "Ariel " signed a bond to the Captain of the "Alabama," and
was relieved and proceeded on their passage to Panama, and arrived at
Mare Island Navy Yard, California, December 28, 1862. Detailed on
service at San Francisco till 1864 ; stationed at Marine Barracks, Mare
Island, as First Sergeant till June, 1876, when he left the service and
engaged in the grocery business in Vallejo. Mr. M. was elected one of
the city Trustees in March, 1878, an office which he now holds.

McKNIGHT, ANDREW, block and pump maker, was born in Liverpool,
England, February 11, 1825, where he served his apprenticeship under
George Roberts. In July, 1848, he sailed from that port to America, and
arrived in upper Canada in October; in the succeeding year removing to
New York, which he left for California in February, 1860, arriving in
San Francisco March 14th of that year. In June, 1861, he located in
Vallejo, where he has since resided, being employed principally on the
Mare Island Navy Yard. Mr. McKnight married in New York, Septem-
ber 30, 1852, Miss Mary Crawford, a native of County Tyrone, Ireland,
by whom he has Andrew J., born in Brooklyn, New York, September 1,
1853 ; Richard, born October 13, 1855 ; Mary A. C, born November 19,
1857, married to Georgo W. McGill, of Vallejo ; Joseph Thomas, born in
San Francisco, April 19, 1861, and died April 16, 1862 ; Elizabeth, born
in Vallejo, April 16, 1863 ; Agnes, born March 25, 1866, and Samuel
James, born October 2, 1870.


McKNIGHT, ANDREW J., was born in Brooklyn, New York, September
1, 1853, and, with his parents, came to California in 1859, residing first
in San Francisco. In June, 1861, he accompanied them to Vallejo, where
they are now located. Mr. McKnight holds the office of Deputy Marshal
of the city of Vallejo. He is unmarried.

McLEOD, JOHN C, was born in Inverness, the Capital of the High-
lands of Scotland, on March 19, 1801, but, at the age of three years, he
was taken by his parents to Pictou, Nova Scotia, whither they had
emigrated. Here he served an apprenticeship to a ship- carpenter, and,
when seventeen, sailed on the ship " Harvest Home " to Whitehead, Eng-
land, where he completed the learning of his trade, and from which
place, in 1823, he sailed for New York City, where he settled. In 1828
he joined the ship " Sampson," a vessel bound for London. At that port
he shipped on board the East India Company's ship " Duke of Sussex,"
in which he made a voyage to Calcutta and Bombay, at which place he
arrived during the ravages committed by a cholera epidemic in 1832.
From Bombay the vessel proceeded to Canton, China, where, having
loaded a cargo of tea, he sailed for London; here, in 1833, he joined the
schooner " Bonanza," and in 1834 landed at Monterey, California. Here,
and at Santa Cruz, Mr. McLeod remained for eighteen months, trading
with the Mexicans and Indians in tallow and hides, when the vessel,
taking Mr. McL. and his freight on board, sailed for London. From the
metropolis of Great Britain he once more returned to New York, and
shipped on board the "Champlain" to Liverpool, sailing thence to Canton,
China, and Manilla, in the Phillipine Islands, where, securing a cargo of
rice, they returned to Canton. From this port our voyager traded to
Batavia, in the island of Java, in rice, at the end of which he again
returned to New York in 1838. For the next ten years Mr. McLeod
passed most of his time in trading between that city and Liverpool, until,
in December, 1849, he sailed for Panama in the steamship "Philadelphia."
On arrival there he took passage in the " California " and arrived in San
Francisco in January, 1850, and at once proceeded to Benicia, where
he commenced working at his trade in the employ of the Pacific
Mail Company. There he remained until August, 1851, when he went
to the Southern mines, prosecuting that life in Sonora and other places for
a short time, after which he made for Sutherland's creek, Wood's creek,
and other mining localities, until he returned to San Francisco and
worked at his trade. This was, however, but for a little while, for
shortly after, in 1853, we find him established in a building and repair-
ing yard in Redwood City, a business he continued with much success
until 1860, when he came to Vallejo and has since found employment on
Mare Island Navy Yard. Mr. McLeod married in Jersey City, Novem-


her 25, 1842, Mary Farrier, a native of Scotland, who died in Valjejo,
March 9, 1878, by whom there are three children living: Mary J., Sarah
E., and Isabella.

McPIKE, A. J., is a native of the State of Illinois having been born on
February 10, 1832. In the year 1852 he emigrated to California crossing
the plains with an ox-team having left his home on March 23d and
arrived at Hangtown (now Placerville) on September 22 of the same year-
Remained at Reservoir Hill near Placerville during the winter of 1854,
organizing and teaching a common school but not meeting with sufficient
encouragement he abandoned that profession and took his departure for
Sacramento, arriving there in January, 1855, when he in company with
two others engaged in the traffic of young cotton- wood trees. His next
enterprise was that of freighting from Sacramento to Yankee Jims, Au-
burn, Iowa Hill, etc., with a six-mule team. In June of the same year he
entered into partnership with three others and contracted to build about
four miles of flume on the old Eldora ditch from Michigan Bluffs up

, Eldora canon, which enterprise was surmounted in spite of many difficul-
ties. In May, 1862, Mr. McPike came to Vallejo, but in common with
others, in the following October he went to Washoe, arriving in Virginia
city on the 23d of that month. At this time he visited all the principal
mines and worked in one of the most celebrated, and thereafter took a
situation in the wholesale grocery house of Sydnor & Carlyle as salesman,
remaining with them and their successors Sloat & Finney until Septem-
ber, 1863. The White House was just being completed ; he leased the
same and carried on the business successfully for two years, when he
sold out on account of failing health, and visited, in August, Plumas
county, and there invested in hydraulic and gravel mines. In October
he revisited Virginia city where he married, immediately after returning
to Genesee, on Grizzly Creek, where he had established his residence.

At the time Mr. McPike had taken an active part in local politics and
the Democratic party, to which he had always adhered, having been that
year successful, he was tendered the position of Deputy Sheriff by the
Sheriff elect, James H. Yeates, which he accepted, still retaining his mining
interests, but Yeates' election was contested by the Republican nominee,
Stephen J. Clark, and given by the Courts in favor of the former, but on
appeal to the Supreme Court the decision of the lower Courts was re-
versed and Clark installed in the office. In the whole of the transac-
tions connected with this case, which at the time created much interest,
the subject of this sketch took a prominent part.

In May, 1867, he returned to his mining interests at Genesee and Grizzly
Creek, in August of the following year sold out at a great sacrifice,
and in September following moved to Chico, Butte county, residing there


until March, 1869. On the 17th of that month he arrived in Vallejo,
where he has since resided. From 1869 to 1872 he was employed as
book-keeper and salesman to W. Stannus Shellhorn and William and W.
N. Stannus, and in July, of the latter year, he was tendered ■ the position
of book-keeper, cashier and collector to the Vallejo City Water Company,
a position which he still holds. In March, 1874, Mr. McPike was elected
a member of the Board of Education, Vallejo, having again been elected
in 1876 ; in this year he was also Secretary to Naval Lodge, of F. A. M.,
as well as for the Naval Royal Arch Chapter, and is now Most Worthy
Patron of Silver Star Chapter, O. E. S., No. 3, and has been agent, at
Vallejo, for nearly three years of the iEtna, of Hartford, Insurance
Company. In 1876, was appointed, by Governor Samuel J. Tilden, Com-
missioner of Deeds for the State of New York, and has received a like
position from Governor Grover, of Oregon.
Mr. McPike married, at Virginia city, October 3, 1864, Miss Bettie Hali-
day, by whom he has : La Fayette, born on Grizzly creek, June 25, 1865;
Willie, born October 31, 1867 ; Andrew Jackson, born at Vallejo, August
30, 1869 ; Henry, born December 5, 1871. Mrs. McPike died March 27,
1874. He married, secondly, November 3, 1874, Miss Minerva Domigan,
of Sonoma, and has: Charley, born January 30, 1876; and Mary M.
born, November 20, 1877.

MURPHY, CHARLES, born on Bere-island, in the bay of Bantry, about
1822. At the age of three or four the family moved to the main land,
within a mile of the town of Castletown, Berehaven, county Cork, Ire-
land. Sailed from Liverpool in the ship " Torilento," and landed in New
York in June, 1840 ; after remaining there some time went to New Lon-
don, Connecticut, then returned to New York. In 1844 went to Phila-
delphia ; thence to Richmond, Virginia, and from there to Norfolk, where
he sailed in the clipper ship Viola, Capt. Fitzerald, for Chagres, and sailed
for San Francisco in the brigantine Soledad, 84 passengers from Norfolk,
Va. Went to Sacramento on a sloop, the passage-money being $32 ; then
staged to Sutter's mill, Coloma. Two days after, started for Ford's bar
on the middle fork of the American river. Returned to Sutter's post
office. Went on a prospecting trip ; failed to get anything. Next went
to Georgetown ; started for the North Yuba, via Kelly's bar, north fork of
American river, and Johnson's ranch, on Bear river. Some time after
went on the Gold-lake expedition, where he met his friend Michael Kane,
of Front street, feeding on wild potatoes and leeks. In January, 1852,
while searching for mules the Indians had driven off, was shot through
the arm and laid up three mpnths. On August 28, 1852, with four or
five others, discovered and located the Buttes quartz mine ; laid claim to

1500 feet. Afterwards engaged in the building business in San Fran-
cs o o


cisco; next went to Mare Island Navy Yard and there worked a year: this
was in 1859. Next employment was the building of St. Francis Cotholic
church, at Vallejo. Lastly, the excavation for the stone dry dock, for
which he claims $90,000. The case is set for trial in April, 1880. At
present he is attending to his vineyard, about three miles from Napa City,
and a farm of 800 acres, two miles distant from the same. Resides at
Vallejo. Is married, but has no family.

NORTH, JOHN, dealer in groceries and provisions; was born in Nova
Scotia, in the year 1823. In 1841 he first left his home, and was variously
employed in different parts of the Eastern States until 1852, when he
arrived in San Francisco, and resided there till the beginning of 1853,
when he moved to Mare Island and managed a boarding-house, for Seacor,
Harmon & Co., continuing there until the winter of 1854, when he again
returned to San Francisco and engaged with Jones Coll, in the dairy
business, and once more returned to Vallejo, having purchased the interest
of Joseph Turner in the Central Hotel, he remaining interested in that
establishment for one year. In 1855 he retired from the hotel and pur-
chased a farm in the vicinity of Vallejo, for the purpose of rearing stock.
In 1865 Mr. North disposed of his ranch, and, accompanied by his wife
went to visit their relatives. On arriving at Amesbury, they found that,
in the interval between leaving California and arriving at their destina-
tion, by a strange fatality, Mrs. North's mother had died in Massachusetts,
while his own had departed this life in Nova Scotia — a double stroke of
ill-news. Now Mr. North invested in a farm at Wenham, Massachusetts!
upon which he resided for twelve months, when he disposed of it and
went to Nova Scotia, returning to Amesbury and engaging in the grocery
business. In 1869 he again arrived in California, and in 1870 established
himself in his present business. Mr. North married in 1865, in St. Louis,
Sierra county, Matilda, daughter of Aaron and Elizabeth Osgood, of
Amesbury, Massachusetts.

O'BRIEN, THOMAS E., is a native of New York City, having been born
there on January 26, 1850. In 1852 he came with his parents to Cali-
fornia, and first settled in San Francisco. When five years of age he
accompanied them to Vallejo, and in 1871 he went to Sacramento, where
he was employed for three years in an auction house, when, in 1874, he
returned to Vallejo and opened his present place of business as a furni-
ture dealer.

O'GRADY, FRANK, born in Columbia county, New York, in 1848. In
the year 1854 he went with his parents, who settled in Rockford, Winne-
bago county, Illinois, and followed the movements of the Illinois Central


railroad till it reached Galena, and from thence to Grant county, Wiscon-
sin. In 1861 he removed to California and served his time as carriage-
maker, and worked at his trade for five years. "Went into partnership
in 1870 with his brother, who, having died, he associated himself with
R. McDermott, in the Empire Soda Works. Is Captain of the Val-
lejo Company of Rifles, National Guard of California.

PEARSON, GUSTAVUS 0., was born at Ravenna, Portage County, Ohio,
July 17th, 1827, and with his parents went to Chicago, Illinois, arriving
early in June, 1832, at the time when an Indian war, known as the Black
Hawk War, was at its height. Chicago was an insignificant trading post,
guarded by a stockade, called by courtesy Fort Dearborn. There was no
harbor or wharf. Vessels that occasionally visited this remote post an-
chored some distance from shore, landing passengers and discharging
freight with small boats on the sandy beach of the lake, near the outlet
of the sluggish stream called Chicago, or Skunk River, by the aborigines.
Upon arrival the Pearsons were kindly invited by Colonel Whistler, who
was a friend of the family and in command of the fort, to reside inside
the stockade. They remained until the arrival of General Scott, with
troops, in July of 1832. These troops came by steamer — the first that
broke these prairie solitudes with the roar of steam. Cholera made its
appearance immediately after, causing an exodus from the place of all
who could leave. Mr. Pearson's father took his family to Danville, Illi-
nois, one hundred and twenty-five miles south of Chicago, which was the
nearest point of safety from Indians, a company of rangers being stationed

In 1836 the father of Mr. Pearson was appointed Judge of the Northern
District of Illinois, which embraced a number of counties in the eastern
and northern parts of the State. A residence in the district was required,
and he removed to Joliet, Will County, Illinois.

The subject of this sketch was well grounded in the classics at an early
age, having received the care of a kind and scholarly father as well as
excellent teachers : attended Bishop Chase's Jubilee College in Peoria
county, Ills.; the Clarkson Academy, Monroe county, New York, and
Alleghany College, Meadville, Pennsylvania.

In 1844, to gratify his father, rather than follow his own inclinations,
he began the study of law with Judge McRoberts, in Danville, Ills. The
year following a position was secured with Joel A. Mattison (afterwards
Governor of Ills.) at Joilet, Ills., who carried on an extensive and diversi-
fied business — wholesaling and retailing, manufacturing, contracting,
banking, etc. The fundamental principles acquired in this practical
school of business ripened into a knowledge of the affairs of life which
were of inestimable advantage to a young man who had determined on
becoming a merchant.


In 1847, a Mr. Ingersoll headed a small company, composed of persons
residing in the vicinity of Joilet, and started for Oregon and California,
across the plains. Mr. Mattison held a power of attorney for disposing
of an amount of property left by Ingersoll. The year following instruc-
tions came from Ingersoll (who had reached California a short time before
gold was discovered) to dispose of his property ; purchase, and ship live
hundred barrels of dried apples, by water, to San Francisco, and give
whatever remained to his relatives — that he was a millionaire, etc. A
member of the Ingersoll company, named Cutting, returned to Joliet in
September, 1848, and brought $2,700 in gold dust which he had taken out
of a claim with pan and shovel in three weeks. This man confirmed all
that Ingersoll had written. The people of Joliet were not exceptional ;
the whole country was wild with excitement concerning the new El

Mr. Pearson was thoroughly imbued with the spirit of adventure ; and
although offered every inducement by Mr. Mattison, even that of a part-
nership interest, if he would remain, fitted out a wagon and ox team,
started for California, March 18, 1849 ; passed through Illinois and Iowa •
crossed the Missouri river at St. Joseph, Mo., May 1st, arriving at Salt
Lake City in June, remaining until September. While among the Latter
Day Saints, Mr. Pearson familiarized himself with the working of their
institutions ; reaped, with a sickel, five acres of wheat ; threshed it with
a flail, and winnowed it with the wind, by pouring the grain with a meas-
ure from a staging, upon a wagon cover spread upon the ground : forty
bushels of clean wheat — one fifth of the amount — was his reward for
this labor.

Brigham Young, who, in the earlier part of the season, had been more
than friendly towards the emigrants, showed his true character as soon as
they were in his power. He offered them the alternative of joining the
Mormon Church or making a wagon road from Salt Lake city to Cali-
fornia by way of Severe river, Rio Virgin, Mohave river and San
Bernardino ; frankly declaring that it was an arduous and dangerous un-
dertaking, but a service the " Gentiles should perform for the Saints" as
they intended to colonize the country along the route as soon as it was
opened. A majority of the emigrants destined for California chose road
making, however difficult, to mormonism and its abominations. Mr.
Pearson, with a party not encumbered with families, were first to start on
this journey of more than seven hundred miles, over rugged mountains,
through deep gorges, across arid deserts, without guides or knowledge of
the country to be traversed, which was infested with hordes of savages
ever on the watch to murder and plunder. Constant vigilance was re-
quired on the part of this little band of pioneer road makers ; many lives
were lost, and many hair-breadth escapes made, the subject of our sketch,


with another member of the company, when in pursuit of mules that had
been stolen the night before, were decoyed into an ambuscade and fought
their way back to camp, several miles distant. At Archilet, or Hernan-
dez Spring, Nevada, where they stopped to recruit the starved animals,
several young men volunteered to push forward for California on foot,
taking only what could be carried upon their backs, giving the remainder
of their provisions and use of their teams to the starving and destitute
families that had overtaken the pioneer company at several points on the
route. After great suffering from hunger and thirst, having gone two
days and nights without water or food, this party of volunteers reached,
Cocomungo ranch, forty miles southeast of Los Angeles, remaining for
several weeks, until the arrival of their teams. These wagons were the
first that ever passed through the Cahon Pass, which had been considered
only practicable for pack mules.

Mr. Pearson took passage by schooner from San Pedro, arriving in San Fran-
cisco the last of November, 1849. His first night on shore was quite
different from what travelers experience at present. His bed was the sand
of North Beach, wrapped in his blanket, with the rain pouring down upon
him. Not to be idle, he accepted a situation for a few days in an auction
store, until he could get passage to Sacramento on the " McKim," paying
$25 from San Francisco to Sacramento, on his way to Bidwell's bar, on
Feather river, where he prospected the middle fork of that river as far
up as the American bar. Returning to Marysville, procured an outfit
and started for the head-waters of the Yuba, prospecting the Rough and
Ready, Grass Valley and Nevada districts, discovering some rich diggings.
The idea at that time was, that vast aggregations of coarse gold could be
found at or near the heads of the rivers and creeks flowing from the
snow-clad summits, and the highest point that could be reached at that
time, on account of snow, was Poor Man's creek ; this proving rich, (the
first pan of dirt prospecting over seventy-five dollars), the summer of
1850 was passed here, good luck attending the labors of our prospector,
who, coming to San Francisco in September, sent a portion of his acqui-
sition to an uncle in Pennsylvania, for investment, purchased a stock of
goods for the southern mines with the balance. Owing to want of rain,
no mining could be done. He sold out immediately and went to Ows-
ley's bar, on the Yuba, where he engaged in butchering, and running sev-
eral quick.silver machines. In February, 1851, he purchased mules and
started for Rich bar and east fork of Feather river, with mining outfit
and provisions ; was there at the time of the famine, when flour com-

, manded $3 00 per pound. Spent several months prospecting on the head-
waters of Feather and Yuba rivers ; secured claims on Durgon flat, near
Downeyville, wintering at Toll's dry diggings. Returned to Chicago in
October, 1852, where he built the Rock Island House, on the corner of
Twelfth and Clark streets, the first hotel in that part of the city.


In the fall of 1853 Mr. Pearson came again to California and engaged in
farming, near Sacramento city, upon land that was regarded as worthless,
by the Spaniards. The first crop of wheat, sown in February, yielded
over forty bushels to the acre of grain, weighing sixty-three pounds per
bushel. Fruit trees and a vineyard were set out, which proved the land
to be far superior to the bottom, or overflowed ground, which General
Sutter declared was all that could be cultivated.

In the summer of 1855, a party from Sherlock's creek, Mariposa county,
started for Yosemite valley, the Indians saying there was mucho oro
(much gold) there ; instead of which, they found the now famed " land
of mountain and the flood." August 15th, 1855, this party, among them

Online LibraryJ. P Munro-FraserHistory of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. → online text (page 43 of 57)