J. P Munro-Fraser.

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

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he located in Vallejo, of which city he is still a resident. Married K.
Ingraham, at Rockland, Knox county, Maine, on August 16, 1855. Mr.
and Mrs. Young have an adopted daughter, Efiie E., married to Andrew
B. Hall, of Petaluma, Sonoma county.



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 399



SUISUN.



ALDEN E. B., of the firm of E. B. Alden & Co., of Napa and Suisun, was
born in Lincoln, now Knox county, Maine, January 1, 1839. He received
the benefit of the public schools until, at the age of sixteen years, he left
home to engage in mercantile pursuits. Went to Boston, Mass., in 1864,
where he remained the most of the time until February, 1869, at which
time he emigrated to California, remaining in San Francisco for about
nine months ; from thence removed to Vallejo and became employed on
the Navy Yard at Mare Island, where he remained until 1875, at which
time he became associated with Mr. A. P. Voorhees, in mercantile trade.
The firm removed to Napa city in the spring of 1876, and in September
1878, Mr. Alden established a branch of their business in Suisun, of which
place he has since been a resident with his family. Married in Sacra-
mento, October 12, 1870, Lydia E., daughter of Benj. F. Webster, of Knox
county, Maine. Their children are : Bertram F., born January 5, 1873 ;
Evie E., born February, 1875, died the following July; Edith May, born
February, 1878.

BARBOUR, NATHAN, was born in Cayuga county, N. Y, January 12,
1813. When twenty-one years old he moved to Kentucky, then, after
three years, to New Orleans, La., trading on the Mississippi river, thence
to Andrew county, Mo., where he abode until coming to California in
1846, crossing the plains with an ox-team, and came to the banks of
Feather river, in October of that year. A full account of Mr. Barbour's so-
journeyings are given in the county history, up to his coming to his present
place in Suisun valley. Married Miss Nancy, daughter of Landy Alford,
May 9, 1846. She died October 15, 1868. Armelia (deceased), Eli, Nan-
cy, Nathan, Julie, Nellie May, and Florence Katie are their children.

BATEMAN, J. K., County Superintendent of Schools, a native of High-
land county, Ohio, was born January 14, 1850. From a very early pe-
riod of his life he was a lover of books, and while attending the public
schools in his birth-place made rapid progress in his studies, finishing his
academical education in the National Normal School, of Lebanon, Warren
county, Ohio. In after life the classic poets were added to his store of
intellectual enjoyment. September, 1868, then only eighteen years old, he
commenced teaching public schools, which occupation he followed up to
the time he was elected to his present office, on September 5, 1877. Came



400 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

to California, arriving August 31, 1873, settling in this county at Elmira,
and, after two years, went to his former home, remaining one year, then
returned to this county, settling in Dixon. He is now a resident of Sui-
sun, Cal., beloved by his many friends and respected by the citizens of
the place in which he lives.

BATEMAN, JOHN M. K., is a native of Highland county, Ohio, and born
11th December, 1837. Received his education at the National Normal
School of Lebanon, Ohio, and the New Jersey State Normal School at
Trenton. Left Ohio in May, 1874, and came to California, first settling
at Riverside, San Bernardino county; thence to Oakland, and Dixon,
Solano county, thence to Santa Cruz, and in June, 1878, came to Fair-
field, this county, taking charge of the public schools, which place he now
occupies. On September 19, 1868, married Euphemia, daughter of Charles
McNeill, who was for five years a member of the Colonial Legislature of
Ontario, Canada. Mrs. Bateman was born in Canada, March 30, 1842.
Their living children are Victorian, Mary Margaret and Sarah May. Lost
three — Minnie Este, Leonard and Daisey.

BAUMAN, J. H., the subject of this sketch, was born in Germany, July
6, 1823. Emigrated to Fairfield county, Ohio, in 1842; thence to
Seneca county in the same State. In 1849 he crossed the plains, with
a horse team, arriving in Sacramento September 1st of that year. Lo-
cated on the North Fork of the American River, where he was engaged
in mining, but in due time returned to Sacramento, coming down on
the Sacramento River, where for a short time he was engaged in farm-
ing. Came to Suisun Valley in December, 1850, camping on a farm now
occupied by Mr. Buther. He made a continuous residence in and around
this valley, herding cattle, until June 14, 1853, at which time he returned
to Ohio. On his return to California, in the Spring of 1854, he came via
Boone County, Missouri, buying a herd of cattle, which he brought across .
the plains, arriving in the Montezuma Hills at a place now known as
Bauman's Ravine, named in honor of Mr. Bauman, as he was an early
settler in the hills, arriving there in the Fall of 1854. Came to his present
residence in January, 1862. Married Miss Mary A., daughter of John
McMullen, September 20, 1860. John, Elveng H. and Lottie May are
their living children. They have lost two, Clarissa and Flora.

CHRISLER, P. J., was born in Ontario County, New York, July 4, 1831,
and here he was educated. In 1854 he emigrated to St. Joseph County,
Michigan, where he married Sarah M. Pulver, daughter of Fletcher Pul-
ver, of Lyons, Wayne County, New York, January 4, 1858. She was
born March 14, 1838. They emigrated to this State, and immediately



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY'. 401

settled in Suisun City. Mr. Chrisler was first engaged in the produce
trade, on his arrival in this locality, but afterward changed to that of a
grocer. In June, 1870, he moved to Vaca Valley, five miles northwest
from Vacaville, erected a house, had a Post-office established, over which
he presided as postmaster, platted the ground for the purpose of founding
a village, which he named Tolenas; but on account of the scarcity of
water the project was abandoned, and he returned to Suisun the same
year. He is now engaged in the lumber and sewing machine trades, as
well as having established one of the most important insurance offices in
this county. Leslie J., Minnie A., Jennie Gertrude (the last deceased),
Sarah E., William A., Charles D. and Peter Spencer are the names of his
children.

CLAYTON, DAVID J., a native of Logan County, Kentucky, born January
30, 1812, where he lived until fourteen years of age, when he moved to
Simpson County with his parents, where he resided about thirteen years
on a farm. He then went to Jackson County, Missouri, and farmed for
thirteen years longer. In March, 1848, he married Miss Rebecca Jane
Shaw. On May 15, 1850, he emigrated to California, crossing the plains
with ox teams, and arrived in Sacramento in September following. He
prospected about the country until February, 1851, when he returned
East, via Panama, being on the trip three and a half months. On May 6,
1852, he again returned to California, bringing with him his wife and two
children. He arrived in Suisun Valley, Solano County, October 23, 1852,
and settled on a farm known as the Baker Ranch, where he lived one
year. He then settled on his present ranch, consisting of five hundred
and twenty-five acres, situate about seven and a half miles northwest of
Suisun City, at the upper end of Suisun Valley. Mary B., deceased,
James D., Henry B., Martha S. and William L. are the names of their
children.

COGHLAN, 0. R., was born in Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, January
22, 1847. Here he attended the public schools for four years. In 1859
he went to Richmond, Kentucky, where he worked in a printing office
till 1861, when he went to St. Louis, Missouri. Here he became reduced
to the most abject poverty, and in order to gain an honorable livelihood
he worked in a market garden until September 29, 18G2, when he enlisted
in the Twenty -ninth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, which was afterward
attached to Blair's Brigade, in Steel's Division, Sixteenth Army Corps.
On December 29, 1862, he was severely wounded in the right breast,
while engaged in battle at Chickasaw Bayou, or Haines' Bluff, and on
this account was honorably discharged July 29, 1863. Returning to St.
Louis, Missouri, followed the common avocations of life till September
26



402 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

1864, when he took a course of studies in the preparatory department of
McKendring College, at Lebanon, Illinois, remaining until January, 1865;
thence to Memphis, Tennessee, where he clerked in a wholesale saddlery
house, and by industry and honesty was promoted to assistant bookkeeper,
and on January 1, 1866, took charge of this department. Emigrated to
California September, 1872, settling in this county in November of that
year. Commenced the study of law with Judge W. S. Wells, and was
admitted to the bar January, 1874. Was elected District Attorney in
September, 1877, and is the present incumbent. Married, on February
23, 1876, Madge Redman, daughter of C. C. Redman, Esq. of Santa Rosa.
Mary. R. is their only child.

CROCKER, ASA. This well known old settler came to Suisun City in the
Spring of 1854, with Captain Josiah Wing, working for that gentleman,
and afterward opened the first restaurant in that village. He emigrated
to this State in the bark "Terror," via Cape Horn, arriving in San Fran-
cisco June, 1853. For a short time he was on a coasting vessel, and for
five months was employed on the ferry-boat "Ion," plying between Be-
necia and Martinez; then up the Suisun Bay, on the schooner "Ann So-
phia," to Suisun, settling as above stated. He is a native of Barnstable
County, Massachusetts, and born March 24, 1836, coming to California
from this place. Married Miss Anna B., daughter of William Pearson,
September 8th, 1861. Horace L. and William Sherman are his living
children. Frank M., deceased.

DAVISSON, OBEDIAH, was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, July 27,1810;
here he was educated, and learned in the ways of farming ; married Hulda
Wyatt, September, 1832. In 1845 they moved to Holt county, Missouri ;
thence, crossing the plains to California in 1854, settled in this township,
and on his present farm in September of that year. Has served in the
capacity of School Director, and ever takes a lively interest in the educa-
tion of the young.

Thomas Davisson, his son, was also born in Coshocton county, Ohio, coming
with his parents to this place, and has always lived with them. He mar-
ried Letta Owens, September 9, 1875.

DAVISSON, W. G., was born in Coshocton county, Ohio, August 22, 1833.
Emigrated to Holt county, Missouri, in 1845, from which he came to
this State, crossing the plains with an ox-team, settling in this township
the first of September, 1852. After working in different places he bought
his present farm and moved to, and has occupied it since 1854. Has held
the office of School-director, and through his influence, as well as others,
their school library contains an excellent selection of books, which denotes



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 403

a high standard of intelligence, not only for Mr. Davisson, but for the
community in which he lives. Married Miss Clara E., daughter of Josiah
King, of New York State, on June 19, 1866. Their children are : Clara
Gustavia, Ada Francis, William Sherman, Lula Adell and John G.

DOWNING, M. D., W. 6., the subject of our memoir, was born in Scot-
land county, Missouri, October 7, 1853. His parents went to St. Louis in
1862, where young Downing, after the usual course of instruction in the
grammar school, graduated at the St. Louis University in 1869. He com-
menced the study of medicine in the Missouri Medical College, in 1870,
and took his degree of M. D. in March, 1873. In order to better .fit him-
self for a practitioner, he repaired to the St. Louis City Hospital, remain-
ing three years. January, 1877, he emigrated to Suisun, Solano county,
Cal., where he has practiced his profession with marked success.

DUNN, ALEXANDER, County Clerk, Solano county, California, was born
in Piatt county, Missouri, May 7, 1841, and emigrated to California, cross-
ing the plains with his parents, and arriving at Placerville October 10 ,
1850 ; from thence proceeding to the Suisun valley December 24 of the
same year where they located four miles north of Fairfield, the present
county seat. Mr. Dunn attended the first school ever taught in that part
of Solano, then kept by John Doughty, and in July, 1852, he moved with
his father to Vaca valley, who died there on July 5, 1873. In 1867 he
moved to Mendocino county, and in 1869 took charge of the " Mendocino
Democrat," continuing its editor for three years, when he returned to
Vacaville. Mr. Dunn graduated in the Pacific Methodist College at Vaca-
ville May 14, 1864. In 1873 Mr. Dunn was a candidate for the office of
County Surveyor, but was defeated by A. H. Gunning, who appointed
him his deputy ; Mr. Gunning, however, resigning before the expiration
of his term, Mr. D. was appointed to fill the vacancy on July 12, 1875,
in which he was confirmed at the general election, held on September 1,
1875. On September 5, 1877, he was elected to the office of County
Clerk, and continues to exercise the functions of that position. He mar-
ried September 25, 1865, Jennie, daughter of J. E. Elder, of Sacramento
county, by whom he has Eagan Lee and Virginia Ann.

EDWARDS, JAMES G., born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, April 24,
1822, and resided there till 1826, when he moved to Franklin county,
Alabama, from whence he proceeded to Hampstead county, Arkansas, in
1837 ; after which, in 1849, he emigrated to California, coming across
the plains, and arriving October 1st, of that year, at Lawrence bar,
Feather river. Engaged in mining for two years, and then came to Sui-
sun valley, in October, 1851, and settled on what is now the farm of John



404 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

McMullen. Removed into Suisun city in 1854, and in 1860 came to his
present farm of 160 acres, where he has since resided. Married, June 13,
1856, Therza Jane Stone, a native of Missouri, who died August 2, 1867.
He has, Alice, born June 18, 1857 ; Laura, born April 24, 1859 ; Mary,
born December 13, 1862 ; Charles Henry, born May 6, 1865, and Alabama
Josephine, born July 23, 1867.

FITCH, WILLIAM WAYNE, was born near Auburn, New York, Octo-
ber, 22, 1816, and removed to Genesee ceunty, near where now stands
the town of Nunda, Livingston county, in 1818. Received a course of
academical instruction at Wyoming, Genesee couuty, studied and
practiced surveying and engineering under Colonel Elisha Johnson at
Rochester, New York. Served under the orders of the Provincial
Parliament in exploring railroad routes in Canada west ; engaged in
preliminary surveys for a railroad company in Ohio ; removed to De-
troit, Michigan, in 1837, was engaged on public works, government land
surveying and private undertakings of a like nature. Came overland to
California in 1849 and engaged in mining. In 1854, began surveying
land grants under Colonel J.C.Hays, U. S. Surveyor- General for California,
and was elected County Surveyor for Solano county, in 1865, which posi-
tion he held till 1873, and was re-elected in 1877, and now holds the
office. Mr. Fitch joined the Advent Christian Church, July 4, 1877.

GILLESPIE, EDGAR FERGUSON, (deceased,) among the most worthy of
the pioneers of Solano county was the subject of this sketch, who was born
at West Farms, Westchester county, New York, December 7, 1822, and
died at Suisun on June 22, 1875. Mr. Gillespie when but eight years of
age removed to North Bend, Hamilton county, Ohio, with his parents
and, on their death, he changed his residence to St. Louis, Missouri, where
he was employed as a clerk in a wholesale drug store until 1848, when,
in connection with his oldest brother he commenced business in Dubuque,
Iowa. The gold fever breaking out in 1849, he sold his interest in his
store to his brothers and came across the plains with an ox team, arriving
in this State in November of that year. He first engaged in mining at
Hangtown, now Placerville, until the Summer of 1850, when he entered
into a mercantile business at that place with Henry K. Curtis. During
the Fall of that year Mr. Curtis had occasion to visit Suisun valley and
was so much pleased with the country that he immediately located two
claims — one for himself and one for his partner. In 1851, the store was
disposed of and they took up their residence in the valley and engaged in
haying and farming until 1853, when they sold their possessory rights to
David and P. O. Clayton. In 1854, Mr. Gillespie started in business in
Vacavilie, where he resided for ten years, being Postmaster of that dis-



THE HISTOKY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 405

trict for a great portion of that time. On September 1, 1858, he was
elected Supervisor for the third district and was a member of the board
when the county seat was removed from Benicia to Fairfield. On Sep-
tember 2, 1863, he was chosen to fill the responsible position of Sheriff
and, on taking possession of his office, removed with his family to Suisun,
where he resided up to the day of his death. On the completion of the
California Pacific railroad, he was appointed station agent at Fairfield,
and he was also elected Justice of the Peace for Suisun township, October
20, 1869. In 1872, he was appointed deputy recorder by George C.
McKinley and, in 1873, he was selected, by the people at the general elec-
tion held on September 3, to succeed that gentleman in the office. Mr.
Gillespie married in May, 1855, Sarah J., daughter of Captain J. H.
White, of San Francisco, who died October 4, 1874, by whom there were
ten daughters and two sons, viz.: Delia, Mary Ida, Luella, Clara, Jennie,
Sarah, Emma, Augusta S., Effie, surviving ; and John, Edgar and Cornelia,
dying in infancy.

GILLESPIE, GEORGE A., was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on December 7,
1830. His parents and the other children of the family were born at
West Farms, Westchester, New York ; when he was yet an infant, the
family removed to Ohio and located on a farm near North Bend, and
about eighteen miles from the city of Cincinnati. Here ten years of his
life were spent and here his parents died ; the father dying when he was
of the age of six years, and his mother following the father to the grave
four years later. In February, 1842, the family of children returned to
St. Louis and for one year George attended the private schools in the city,
and, in 1843, the family separating, he was sent to Kemper College, an
Episcopal institution of learning, located near St. Louis. In 1844, he left
the college and went to live with his eldest brother, who was located in
Boonville, Missouri, and while here for two years he attended Kemper's
Academy, closing his school days at this institution. After clerking in a
hardware store at Boonville for a time, in 1847 he returned to St. Louis
and took a situation with Joseph S. Pease, one of the pioneer wholesale
hardware dealers of that city. He remained with Pease until the great
fire of May, 1849, at which his employer was burned out and rendered
almost bankrupt. In a few months he went into the employment of Hon.
Henry* T. Blow, the then owner of the Collier White Lead Works, as
paying teller in the purchasing office of that establishment, and remain-
ing with Blow until March, 1850, when he embarked " the plains across "
to California, journeying from the Missouri river to Sacramento, in the
then unprecedented time of eighty-three days, and 4 arriving in Sacramento
on the 10th day of July, 1850. After remaining in Sacramento a week
or two to rest from the arduous trip, he, in company with two of his St.



406 THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY.

Louis companions, left for the mines and located at Rough and Ready, in
Nevada county, where he spent the Winter. In the Spring of 1851, he
sold his claims at Rough and Ready and visited his brother, Edgar F.,
who was then keeping store in Hangtown, now Placerville, and from
here he went to Horse-shoe Bar on the American river, near Auburn, to
see another brother, who shortly after returned to Ohio. He at once en-
gaged in mining and remained in this locality until April, 1852, when he
joined his brother, Edgar, who had located in Suisun valley, in this county
the year before. During the Summer of that year he and his brother
engaged in cutting and baling hay and conducting a hay-yard at Sacra-
mento city. In the Fall they gave up the hay-yard and commenced
preparations for planting a crop of barley, on what is now known as the
Clayton Place, at the head of the valley. The primitive farming of this
period presented many novel features and more serious obstacles. There
being no lumber for fencing or building purposes, ditches were dug and
the crests of the sod covered with the branches of the valley oaks to
warn away the numerous bands of cattle and horses, and prevent their
intrusion upon the newly sown grain. Plenty of hay could be cut in the
Summer but, for want of proper shelter, it could not be preserved for use
in the Winter, and the old system of stacking, so much in vogue in the
Eastern States, here proved an absolute failure ; and barley being very
scarce and rating at an enormously high figure, feeding the working ani-
mals after the common method was out of the question; therefore, the
animals were nightly turned out upon the grass to obtain sustenance ; and
each morning were caught up and harnessed to the plow for the daily
task of plowing an acre or an acre and a half. And, during the Winter,
bread-stuffs, in the valley, became inconveniently scarce. To get flour
was an impossibility ; and shorts rated in Benicia at $20 per hundred
pounds ; and, owing to the excessive rains of the season and the miry
condition of the trails, it was next to impossible to obtain any provisions
from Benicia, accordingly, the settlers in the upper part of the valley,
during the most of that Winter, had to rely for breadstuff on a few sacks
of shelled corn, which was, fortunately, in possession of one of their
number, and this corn was prepared by first grinding it in a rough iron
hand-mill, and, with this meagre preparation, it was mixed into bread
batter, without so much as a partial acquaintance with the time-honored
sieve. It made wholesome food, however, and the civilized plague of
dyspepsia was, to these hardy pioneers, wholly unknown. Game and the
bands of wild cattle ranging in such vast numbers in the Suscol hills,
furnished the settlers with meat, with occasionally a piece of salt pork to
flavor the savory dishes prepared by the more experienced cooks. Hunt-
ing, shooting matches, and an occasional scrub-horse race, furnished the
only amusement of the times, until female immigrants became more



THE HISTORY OF SOLANO COUNTY. 407

plenty, when the coarser sports of the men gave place to the more civil-
ized pastime of the country dance.

The yield of the soil at this cropping was extremely good, and in one or two
cases as high as seventy bushels of barley per acre was realized. The
harvesting commenced about the 20th of June, and the grain was cut with
the old style cradle, and bound into sheaves, and threshed by the tramp-
ing of horses, or the services of an endless chain machine — there being one
or two of the latter brought to the valley. Nearly all of the products
of the valley of that year were sold at Sacramento, being shipped there
from the Suisun Embarcadero by sail vessel, and the barley bringing, in
that market, an average of three and one-half cents per pound.

Mr. Gillespie continued farming until the summer of 1856, excepting per-
haps a year intervening, when he went into the employment of John
Doughty, one of the first storekeepers at Cordelia, to manage that gentle-
man's business, while he was absent representing the people of the county
in the Legislature of the year 1855. On Christmas day of 1856 Mr. Gil-
lespie commenced the foundation of the first store and second building in
Silveyville, where he remained, merchandising, until the fall of 1859, when
he sold to the firm of Deck & Co., and then engaged in sheepraising. In
the spring of 1860, he was appointed Deputy County Assessor, under
Capt. E. H. Von Pfister, the then County Assessor, and remained with
him until the work of the year was finished, resigning in the month of
December. In January, 1861, he was elected Engrossing Clerk of the
State Senate, and again in 1862 was re-elected to the same position. Re-
turning to the county again, in the summer of that year, he located at
Maine Prairie, to buy wheat, as the agent of Gen. John B. Frisbie, who,