J. P Munro-Fraser.

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

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he* has been three different times the proprietor of the Solano Hotel. The
first deed on the records of the county is in the handwriting of Mr. Von
P. He has filled official positions of honor, trust and importance. Von


has always had great faith that the future of Benicia was that of no ordi-
nary town, and acquired considerable real estate in the place with this
belief. In '48 or '49 he sold a lot on the corner of Pine and Dupont
streets, San Francisco, for $2,500, and immediately invested the money in
Benicia property, which he still holds ; and there are none here who are
not pleased to congratulate the old gentleman that the time is near at
hand when there will be a full realization of his fondest hopes of Benicia's

WALSH, CAPTAIN JOHN.— The oldest inhabitant of Benicia, Captain
John Walsh, deserves more than an ordinary notice. It is but seldom
that a man is permitted to outlive God's statute of limitations — with as
clean a record as that the subject of this sketch leaves behind him. He
was born on the 25th of October, 1797, on Prince Edward's Island, Nova
Scotia, of Irish parents. He went to sea at the early age of twelve, in
the year 1809, as a " sailor boy " with his uncle on the ship " Partheon ;"
but " mine uncle " being too harsh, young Walsh went ashore at Liver-
pool, and his uncle never heard of him until some ten years later he met
him in command of a ship at Gibralter. In 1818 young Walsh was first
officer of the ship " Honqua," sailing to China ; and on her he came into
the Bay of San Francisco in that year, and stopped at the Presidio, now
Fort Point, and at Goat Island ; and on the same voyage he went into the
Columbia river, Oregon, which latter place he visited in command of a
Government vessel forty-two years later. He afterwards commanded the
ship " Gray Hound;" and in 1825 was sent by Messrs. Perkins & Co., of
Boston, to the Pacific Ocean, in command of the ship " John Gilpin,"
where he ran his vessel as a regular packet from Valparaiso, in Chili, to
Canton, for more than twenty years, having, on a short visit to Boston in
1830, married, and returned to Valparaiso with his wife, where seven
children were born to them, all of whom are now dead. The last, the
wife of Col. D. Fergusson, died in the city of Mexico some two years
since ; and soon after, his venerable wife, who had been his companion
for nearly forty-six years, also died, leaving the old man, now over eighty
years of age, alone in the world — the last leaf on the tree — his kindred
have all perished, save only the children of the deceased daughter. But
in place of kindred, hosts of friends surround the old man in his declin-
ing years; hundreds who have partaken of his hospitality in Valparaiso,
San Francisco and Benicia, now take pleasure in extending acts of kind-
ness to him. He settled in Benicia in 1849. Here he filled the position
of Deputy Collector of Port for many years ; and the records at Wash-
ington show that he was one of the most faithful and trustworthy officials
ever in the employ of the Government. He has spent much of his time
in building and ornamenting his beautiful home here, which has been


open to his many friends, and especially to the Army and Navy, for more
than a quarter of a century; and notwithstanding his May of life is
fallen into the sear and yellow leaf, that which should accompany old age,
, as honor, love, obedience, troops of friends he has. May the date of his
decease long remain blank on his family tomb.

WESTABY, RICHARD, is a native of England, having been born in Hull,
November 22, 1822, where he served an apprenticeship of seven years as
ship carpenter. At the age of 20 he went to sea, and followed that occu-
pation till 1850 when he arrived at San Francisco, and engaged in the
same business, when he was burned out in the big fire, on June 22, 1851.
He then took the mail steamer for Panama, returning to Benicia in August,
1851. In 1858 and 1859, he visited his native land, and the scenes of
his childhood.

Mr. W. married Elmer Miles Raper, at Hull, November 22, 1846, who died
at Benicia, February 22, 1876. Mr. W. has two children, Elmer and
Margaret, both married.




AMMONS, HENRY B., born in Richmond, Madison county, Kentucky, in
1821, and in the year 1826, moved with his parents to Montgomery Co.,
Missouri, thence to Howard county, where his father died in 1846. He
then moved to Clay, where he enlisted, 1846, in 1st Regular Mounted
Volunteers, commanded by General A. W. Doniphan, Co. C, under Captain
O. P. Moss, and with it took part in the Mexican war. With his regi-
ment he went from the frontier to Santa Fe, thence to Chihuahua, Buena
Vista and New Orleans, where he obtained his discharge in 1 847. After
his return home Mr. Ammons entered into mercantile pursuits, which he
continued till 1849, when he came to California by way of the plains, ar-
riving at Long's Bar, Butte county, in September of that year, where he
embarked in merchandising. In 1852, he moved to Solano Co., Cal.,
where he set about stock raising. At the general election of 1853, Mr.
Ammons was elected County Assessor, which office he held for two years,
and then was appointed a Deputy Sheriff for two years following. He
afterwards engaged imfarming, until 1871, when he was made a Notary
Public which office he' now holds.

BAKER, GEO. H., born April 9, 1852, in Vermont, where he was edu-
cated, and at the age of fifteen, emigrated with his parents to California,
making the trip by water, landing at Sacramento June 4, 1867, and re-
sided there one year, where his father followed farming. From there Mr.
Baker went to San Francisco for two years, thence to Colusa Co., where
he engaged in the trade of a carpenter, and settled in this county in the
spring of 1875, still working at his trade, In the fall of this year he
purchased a tract of land in Vaca Valley, containing twenty acres, and
added fifty acres thereto in the spring of 1878, all of which is adapted to
the raising of cereals and fruit. He married, December 16, 1877, Miss
Luella Hawkins, who was born January 3, 1858, by whom he has one
child, Duff G., born October 8, 18?8. '

BASSFORD, H. A., was born June, 1854, in Benicia, Solano county, Cali-
fornia, and in 1862 moved with parents to Napa, Napa county, but the
family returned to Solano county, settling in Lagoon Valley, in June, 1869,
where the subject of this sketch now resides on the old homestead. Mar-
ried Miss Addie Lassell, of San Francisco, on September 5, 1876. She
was born in October, 1857, in Smithfield, Maine. They have one child.


BASSFORD, J. M., was born in Benicia, Solano county, June 25, 1852,
which he left with his parents in 1858, and settled in Napa county.
Moved with Mr. Bassford, Sr., into this county June, 1 868, and located
on what is known as the Sunny Dale Farm, three miles west of Vaca-
ville, where he resided until September 5, 1876, when he took charge of
the Barker Tract, known as the Cherry Glen Farm, containing 308 acres,
where he now resides, and is engaged in raising fruit in great abundance.
He married Miss Ida C. Barker, September 5, 1876. She was born in
Napa county, Cal., Dec. 31, 1857, by whom he has one child, Lillie C,
born June 13, 1878.

BRINCK, H. W., was born September 20, 1844, in France, and there edu-
cated; emigrated to the United States in 1869, settling in New York City
for three years, engaging in various occupations until the fall of 1873,
when he came to this State, and stopped in San Francisco one year. The
fall of 1874 he came to this county, with his brother William, and settled
on the ranch they now own, consisting of 210 acres. Married November
20, 1877, Miss May E. Manning, a native of St. Louis, Mo. Henry Koy
is their only child.

Mr. Brinck's brother, William Brinck, was born in Alsace, France, Octo-
ber 15, 1849, where he was educated. As is shown he came to this coun-
try with his brother in the fall of 1874, where he still resides.

BUCK, L. W., was born July 8, 1834, in Trenton, Courtland county, N. Y.
Was educated in Homer, N. Y., at Courtland Academy, and on Septem-
ber 10, 1856, married Anna M., daughter of Dr. M. B. Bellows, of Seneca
Falls, N. Y. She was born September 23, 1834. Emigrated to Clinton,
Iowa, in 1865, where he resided till the spring of 1874, at which time he
came to California, locating in Vacaville, Solano county, in March of that
year; and on October 1, 1874, he moved to hie present farm, formerly
known as the old Weldon rancho, consisting of 156 acres, in said township^
where he has since permanently resided. In August, 1862, Mr. Buck was
commissioned First Lieutenant of Company "H," 157th N. Y. V. I., but
resigned in February, 1863, on account of ill health, returning to his
home in New York State. His children are Emma L., Frank H., Nellie
M., Fred M., and Anna M.

CAMPBELL, ROBT. G., born November 3, 1814, in Kentucky. In 1831
moved with his parents to Missouri, where he learned the carpenter trade,
and followed it and farming as a business until 1850, when he emigrated
to California, and arrived at Hangtown, now Placerville, on August 20th
of that year. At once proceeded to the Sacramento valley, on the Ameri-
can river, and was among the first who raised grain in that valley. He


farmed, teamed, and mined until 1854, when he came to Vaca valley, So-
lano county, and settled on the place now owned by Mr. Butcher, and
farmed, in company with A. D. Starke, for one year, moving in the fall
of 1855 to a place then known as Wolf place, about a fourth of a mile
east of Vacaville, and in company with Dobbins and Starke put in
grain for the sole purpose of providing hog-feed, thinking it more
valuable for that purpose ; from here moved upon another tract, a
portion of the Barker grant, and soon after purchased the plot (squat-
ter's title) of one hundred and sixty acres, and followed ranching from
this time up till 1866, when he sold out his interest and turned his
attention to carpentering, continuing this until 1869, when, in partner-
ship with Starke, be went to Oregon and bought horses, bringing them to
this State on speculation. This, however, not proving sufficiently lucrative
he went back to his trade, working at it till 1872, when he entered into
partnership with G. M. Gates, and dealt in live stock for about two years-
Was appointed Road Master of Vacaville township in March, 1875, which
office he still holds.

CONNELLY, JAMES, born March 15, 1828, in county Roscommon, Ireland.
At the age of twenty-two he emigrated to the United States, and made
his home in Boston for about four years, where he carried on a farm. In
June, 1855 he started for California, making the trip by water, and on
arrival settled in Napa county and commenced farming. On November
2, 1856, he married Miss Margaret Fleming, of San Francisco, who was
born in county Waterford, Ireland, March 24, 1834, and at once located
in Pleasant valley, where he purchased a tract of land, which he dis-
posed of after residing on it over six years. He next purchased fifty-six
and one-quarter acres in the Gibson Canon, about two miles north of
Vacaville, where he cultivates fruit, etc. His only living child is Alice F.,
born July 4, 1866.

CUMMONS, JOHN HARBERT, born January 21, 1843, in Licking county,
Ohio, from whence he moved with his parents, at the age of four years,
to Bates county, Missouri. In the Spring of 1857 started with his father
for California, driving a band of cattle across the plains, and arrived at
Stockton on November 18th of that year. From this place they proceeded
to Calaveras county, and farmed until 1862, when he left for Aurora, Ne-
vada, and here married, March 19, 1864, Miss Margaret Parry, who was
born August 6, 1844, in South Wales, Great Britain. In 1865 moved to
Colfax and built the first house in the town; thence to Truckee for two
years, after which he proceeded to Alameda, where he put up the first
turn-table on the coast, for the Central Pacific Railroad Company. Mr.
C. now took up his residence in Vallejo. In 1873 he, however, moved to
San Francisco, but in June, 1877, he returned to Solano county, and
located at Vacaville. He has a family of six children.


DAVIS, W. B., was born in Madison county, Kentucky, September 5, 1828,
which he left with his parents in 1835, for Missouri. When in this State
he commenced the occupation of farming, which he successively pursued
in Caliway county for three years, and Macon county until 1850. In
this year he left for the Rocky Mountains, and arrived at Green River,
where he traded with the Indians and emigrants, as well as run a ferry
over Green River. Here he remained five years, after which he came to
California, where he has since resided. Mr. Davis married, in December,
1846, Miss Emeline Wells, by whom he has Francis A., born March 6,
1848; Clara P., born December 22, 1851; George W., born September 18,
1860; Eva, born July 28, 1863; and Jessie, born September 22, 1867.

DAVIS, I. F., is a native of Canada, where he was born April 13, 1826.
Here he was educated, and where he first engaged in farming, but during
the latter part of the time he resided there he followed the lumber trade.
In November, 1868, he moved to Norton, Essex county, Vermont, where
he kept a hotel. Here he remained until August, 1873, when he sold his
furniture, rented the hotel, and returned to Canada, but only remained
there till December 10 of that year, when he left Montreal for California,
arriving in Oakland, December of that year, where he settled for nearly
four months, residing with his brother, E. S. Davis. From Oakland he
came to this town, where he has been the proprietor of the Davis House.
Married Miss Minerva, daughter of Nathaniel Green, of Canada. They
have Emma F. and William H.

DAY, M. D., EDWARD W., born in Baltimore county, Maryland, in 1831.
His father, during the Rebellion, was a real estate agent and farmer, and
at the time the advance-guard of Stewart's Cavalry made a raid through
Baltimore county he had the "Stars and Stripes" floating from the flag-
staff in front of his house. The rebels sought to pull it down, but were
told by Mr. Day that if any one attempted so to do he would certainly
be killed in the venture. They did it; and he shot one man and wounded
another, and, finding it growing too warm for him, he effected his escape
to Baltimore City, where he remained. On his departure the rebels
burned his house and everything belonging to him. He was at the time
seventy-five years of age, and died nine years later, when eighty-four.
His son Edward, the subject of this sketch, in 1853, having passed through
a course of medical studies, and graduated from the University of Mary-
land, left in that year for California, which he reached in May, and with
his brother went to the mines about twelve miles from French Corral.
Shortly after his brother sold out, and they both went to Rogue River
Valley, Oregon, where they prosecuted mining at Jackson Creek and
vicinity, but, the Indians becoming troublesome and committing great


depredations, the valley inhabitants were forced into hostilities, which
eventuated in a treaty that was observed for only one short year, when
the same tactics were again pursued by the aboriginals. At this juncture
volunteers were called out by the Governor, and on their formation Doc-
tor Day acted as Assistant Surgeon of the Southern Battalion of the
Oregon Volunteers. They waged war with the Indians for eight or nine
months, with the result of the enemy being dispersed. In the year 1858
he left Oregon, and in June came to Vacaville, where he now resides.

DOWNEY, D. M., was born in Pietobury, Pennsylvania, September 23,

1838, where he followed farming until he emigrated to this State in Oc-
tober, 1858, locating at San Francisco; thence to Sacramento, and from
there to Nevada, where he remained only one month, prospecting among
the mines, then came to Solano county and settled in Vacaville, and
located on a farm. In the Spring of 1865 made a trip to Oregon, but
after two months returned and visited his native State, and was gone
three months. With the exception of two visits he made in the East in
1876 and 1877, he has been a permanent resident of this county.

DUTTON, DAVID DEWEY, was born in Berkshire county, Mass., in the
year 1816, April 4th, where his father was a farmer. In his boyhood he
left home and went to Illinois and engaged in farming until the year

1839, when he crossed the plains to Oregon in company with D. G. John-
son, Charles Klein, Peter Lassen, J. Wright, William Wiggins and others,
and there remained one winter, when they sailed for California in the
vessel " Lausenne," and were three weeks in reaching Baker's Bay, a
distance of only ninety miles. On the 3d of July the ship left the mouth
of the Columbia River, and after being out thirteen days arrived at
Bodega, a harbor then in possession of the Russians. Here a dilemma
arose of quite a threatening character. The Mexican Commandant, Gen-
eral Vallejo, sent a squad of soldiers to prevent their landing ; however,
at this crisis the Russian Governor arrived and ordered them to leave,
which they did. The subject of this sketch did not land, but started
with the vessel to the Sandwich Islands, where he remained for one year,
being employed in the American Consul's store. From there he next
sailed to the Society Islands, staying at Otaheite for about six months,
when he left for Valparaiso, in South America. Here he resided for six
months and thence to Callao, then went to Pata, a port much frequented
by whalers, and, after six months, took passage for Guayaquil in Colum-
bia, South America. Six months after he returned to Valparaiso and
there set sail for California, having entered into arrangements to construct
a mill in that country for a Mr. Smith. He landed at Bodega, the very
port from which he had previously sailed, and starting thence he paid his


way by work, after building the mill at port Bodega, until he gained
Sutter's Fort — now Sacramento — where he was employed at his trade of
a carpenter. From the Fort he removed to Butte county and commenced
farming operations, which he continued for several years in that district,
and in 1846 located in Solano county and engaged in stock raising and
farming, the lands of which he eventually sold out, but still owns prop-
erty in the southern part of the State. Mr. Dutton married February 19,
1856, Miss Martha J. Pearson, who was born in 1829, and has children
born : Ellat Lovina, born September 1, 1857 ; Charles Dewey, born
September 11, 1860; Wallace Newton, born October 8, 1863; David
Willoughby, born August 20, 1866 ; Cora Belle, born September 7, 1869 ;
Esther Maud, born September 27, 1872; Nina Martha, born April 5, 1876.

ESQUIVEL, ANTONIO MARIA, born September 10, 1826, in New Mexico
and came to California August 10, 1854, working for wa^es until 1866,
when he commenced the yearly purchase of land as mentioned below: In
1866, 320 acres; 1867, 90 acres; 1868, 680 acres; 1869, 120 acres; 1870,
280 acres; 1872,1,000 acres; making a total of 2,490 acres, all adapted
to grain growing, situated nine miles west of Dixon and five and one-half
north of Vacaville. Mr. Esquivel resides on his property.

EVERSOLE, HENRY, born March 27, 1835, in Perry county, Ohio, where
he assisted his father on the farm of the latter. On March 5, 1854, he
left his home and came to California, arriving at Grizzly Flat, El Dorado
county, on September 5th of that year, and remained there until August 15,
1858, following his trade of a carpenter, with mining, until he came to
Vacaville, Solano county. He married, May 4, 1865, Miss Isabella
Creighton, born September 26, 1845, in Davis county, Iowa, by whom he
has Effa Jane, born November 15, 1866; Elton Mantz, born April 24, 1869;
Mary Olive, born November 12, 1870; and Frank Creighton, born May
11, 1876.

ELLIOTT, JAMES MONROE, is a native of Harrison county, Kentucky,
having been born there July 1, 1820. Removed with his parents, when
fifteen years of age, to Washington county, Missouri, where he remained
one year ; thence to St. Louis county, Missouri, and remained until he
was twenty-five. In 1846 returned to Washington county and married,
March 5th of the above year, Miss Celia A. Paul. In the spring of 1849
he emigrated to California, crossing the plains with an ox team, in com-
pany with a brother and several neighbors, leaving behind his wife and
two children. Arrived at Hangtown, now Placerville, on September
15, 1849, and followed mining until the end of January, 1850, when he
embarked on the steamer " Panama," at San Francisco, for the Eastern


States ; arrived home on March 20th, and on April 4th, following, started
to re-cross the plains with his family and several friends. At Independ-
ence, Missouri, they were joined by several other gold seekers, making a
train of about forty wagons. Here Mr. Elliott was appointed Captain of
the train, as he had experience on the plains and was acquainted with
the lay of the land. At Fort Hall the company became disorganized,
having had a good deal of sickness from cholera and fever. It was,
therefore, decided to turn their faces towards the Oregon line, as the
direction they were then pursuing seemed to entail destruction to man
and beast. Thus they moved northward and landed in Linn county, at
the forks of the Santiam river, where he had one section of land donated
to himself and his wife by the Government. On this tract they resided
for seventeen years. In the fall of 1867 Mr. E. came to Solano county
and farmed for one year ; thence to Mendocino county for five years,
making farming and stock raising his business. In 1874 he returned to
this county and settled in Lagoon valley, purchasing the Scanlett ranch,
containing 320 acres, and followed farming and stock raising until 1877,
when he sold his property and moved to the town of Vacaville in order
to give his children school advantages. Mr. Elliott has eight children,
four boys and four girls: Erastus P., Amanda J., Mary E., Adelaide,
Sophronia, Winfield S., James L., and William P.

GETCHINS, WILLIAM W., was born in Green, Chenango county, New
York, August 30, 1828. At the age of twelve he moved with his parents
to Luzerne county, Pa., and in the year 1851 emigrated to Illinois. In the
year 1850 he came to California and worked in the mines until 1861,
then turned his attention to farming and different speculations in Shasta
county. He next left for Oregon, where he once more followed mining,
and in the year 1866 returned to Shasta and passed about two years
there, when he proceeded to Siskiyou county, and, after four years there,
settled in Vacaville, Solano county, November, 1875, where he is engaged
in the saloon business.

JOHNSON, W. When but twenty-one years of age the subject of this
sketch left his home in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, where he was born
on December 15, 1837, and went to Black Hawk county, Iowa, and
remained there for only a short time, removing to Leavenworth, Kansas,
from which place he proceeded to Salt Lake City. From this point he
joined a party who were on the point of leaving for Arizona, but hearing
that the Indians were hostile they altered their course and made for San
Bernardino, in Southern California, arriving there in the winter of 1857-
58. Hence, Mr. Johnson proceeded to Los Angeles, and, obtaining
employment with one Will Wolfskill for eighteen months, he next left


for Pleasants' valley, where he was occupied but for a short time, when he
commenced farming on his own account. This he continued only for one
year, when he returned to the employ of Mr. Pleasants, remaining with
him three years, when he purchased the place on which he now resides,
engaging in the pursuit of raising fruit and grain. He married Florence
Powell, September 5, 1873, who was born July 28, 1853. He has one
child, Benjamin, born July 8, 1875.

KIDD, W. B. R., was born May 14, 1826, in Fentress county, Tennessee,
where he was educated. Married Miss Jane Williams of Tennessee, in
October, 1848, who died. In October, 1863, married Mi's. Jane Upchurch,
and in ] 870 left native State with family, and went to Clinton Co., Ky.,
where he followed farming and trading for two years. Emigrated to

Online LibraryJ. P Munro-FraserHistory of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. → online text (page 52 of 57)