J. P Munro-Fraser.

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

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flood of 1862. The subject then moved to Rio Vista and conducted a
small cannery business until 1865, when he opened a tin store. In 1875,
he originated and carried out the plan for supplying his town with water
from the river. Married, February 3, 1865, Miss Susan Davis, of New
York City, and born May 13, 1838 ; have one child living, Robert D., born
January 6, 1866.

CURRIE, ALEXANDER, was born October 30, 1844, in New Bruns-
wick, where he was educated and followed farming ; emigrated to Cali-
fornia, settled in Solano county in October, 1868. He purchased at that
time 160 acres of fine farming land, located seven miles west from Rio
Vista. Although, when he came to this place there were no farms among
the " hills," and all among these hills and down the valleys, as far as the
eye could reach, wild oats grew in profusion, but now how changed ! All
around are well-kept farms, groves and fruit trees. Mr. Currie com-
menced life on this farm with one dollar in money, but now he has a
beautiful home, showing what perseverance and determination will do.
Mr. C.'s father and mother came with him to this country ; his father,
John Currie, was born May 17, 1792, and died January 3, 1875. His
mother was born March 16, 1806, and died July 12, 1875.

DOZIER, W. G., born in Georgetown, South Carolina, on May 5, 1833.

Entered U. S. Naval Academy April 1, 1850 ; remained in the navy until
latter part of December, 1860 passing through the various grades to
lieutenant, when he resigned and returned to South Carolina on her
seceding from the Union. Served in the naval branch of the State forces
until turned over to the Southern Confederacy ; remained in the C. S.
navy until the close of the war, and surrendered at Appomattox C. H.,
Va. Held several commands during the war and served at various places
from New Orleans to Richmond. Was married to Mary B. Atkinson, in


Georgetown, South Carolina, on December 22, 1859, and by her had five
sons. This lady was born near Georgetown, South Carolina, in August
1835, and died and was buried there December, 1868. In 1869, Mr. D.
moved to California and located in Rio Vista, this county. ' While acting
as agent for the P. C. S. S. Co. at San Diego, California, he married Miss
Louise M. Williams, daughter of Dr. John S. Williams of that place.
They have two children, a daughter and son. He is now a member of
the mercantile firm of Wilcox, Ruble & Dozier, at Rio Vista.

EMIGH, T. P., born in Saratoga, New York, January 24, 1840, where
he was educated and followed farming until 1862, when he emigrated to
California, via Panama, arriving in San Francisco April 26, of same year,
with $7 00 in pocket and $100 in debt. He immediately hired out to
S. Daniels, in Alameda county, and worked at farming for eighteen
months, after which he rented a farm at Lakeville, Sonoma county, which
he conducted for one year. He then bought the milk route, at San Fran-
cisco, known as the " S. F. Dairy," which business he followed for two
years. He then came to this county and settled on the ranch known as
the Gardiner ranch, just north of Rio Vista, where he farmed for three
years, the last year, however, he had charge of the Bruning warehouse.
In the Fall of 1870, he took a flying trip to his native State, where he
remained only one month. After his return, he went into partnership
with Captain James Johnson, where they conducted the Bruning ware-
house, in connection with the lumber business for two years, when they
bought Perry's Landing, which is now known as New Town Landing,
where they have three large warehouses and deal extensively in lumber.
Mr. Emigh married Rachel Lawhead, September, 1869, a native of Ohio.
Their children are William J., Nellie M., Milton, James P.

FERGUSON, WM, born in Province, New Brunswick, Canada, Sept. 11,
1872, where he received his education, and learned the carnage maker's
trade, which he followed until October, 1865, when he went to Massachu-
setts, and resided about one year. In 1866 he returned to Canada on a
visit, and from here came to California, arriving in San Francisco Nov.
29, 1866, and from here to Mission San Jose, and followed his trade for
about 8 months. He then returned to San Francisco, where he remained
for a short time, and then came to this county, locating in fall of 1867,
taking up his abode in Binghamton, where he resided for two years. He
then went to Sacramento, where he remained about 5 months ; thence to
Rio Vista, in March, 1870, where he has resided ever since, with excep-
tion of one year, (part of 1870 and 1871), up to the present time. He
carried on wagon-making and blacksmithing. Married August 19, 1874,
Miss Mary Cook, of Rio Vista. She was born Aug. 15, 1853, in Province,


Canada. Have 2 children, Mary Edith, born June 1, 1876 ; William C,
born July 19, 1877.

FISCUS, JOHN B., is a native of Armstrong county, Pa., having been born
there February 27. 1843. Until eighteen years of age he followed the
pursuits to be found on a farm, when he essayed his fortunes in the oil
regions, continuing there for two years. In 1862 he started for Califor-
nia, crossing the plains, but stopped in Nevada, from July 4, 1862, until
March, 1865, where he had charge of a stock and hay ranch ; then he pro-
ceeded to the Golden State, and settled in Solano county, in the town of
Rio Vista, where he clerked in a hotel and post office until a year
ago, since when he has kept a livery stable. Was appointed Deputy
Sheriff of Solano county, in 1875, and, June 3, 1878, was appointed Con-
stable for Rio Vista township, both of which offices he continues to hold.
Mr. Fiscus married April 2, 1863, Miss Ida Squares, who was born in
Brooklyn, N. Y., October, 1852, by whom he has one child, Chester S.
born January 14, 1875.

GARDINER, JOHN H n is a native of New Jersey, where he received a com-
mon school education, finishing with an academical course in Philadel-
phia. On leaving school he entered a dry goods store in that city, where
he remained five years.

Upon becoming of age he received an engagement to take charge of a branch
store of a large dry goods house doing business in Baltimore. During his
connection with the house he resided at intervals in the States of Ken-
tucky, Tennessee, Illinois and Maryland. Upon the receipt of the news
of the discovery of gold in California, he, with a party of seven others,
embarked for this State, leaving Baltimore in the latter part of December,
1848, in the schooner Sovereign, the vessel having on board a company
of 125 passengers. The schooner landed at Porto Bello, at the mouth of
the Chagres, the passengers ascending the river and thence by mules to
Panama. There being no established communication with California the
party chartered a vessel — the bark John Ritson, of Marysport, England —
and sailed for San Francisco in February, arriving on the 18th day of
May, 1849, after a tedious voyage, prolonged partly by the vessel being
obliged to put into Acapulco for supplies of provisions and water. Re-
maining in San Francisco but a short time, he proceeded to Sacramento,
and thence to the mines — then known as New Diggings, now the town of

Notwithstanding the large pay at that time, Mr. Gardiner abandoned the
mines and returned to San Francisco, for the purpose of engaging in mer-
cantile affairs — his last day's work as a miner being rewarded by more
than one hundred dollars worth of gold dust, The party of seven


members remained together, and engaged in merchandising, having three
stores in operation in the city, erecting the first building that stood upon
the south-west corner of Montgomery and Washington streets. The con-
cern of Cooper & Co. prospered largely, and soon found themselves pos-
sessed of a large stock of goods, they doing a large wholesale trade. The
great fires that laid waste the city in 1850 swept away all they had, and
the party broke up. Getting together a stock of assorted merchandise
Mr. Gardiner and another member of the old firm opened store at Santa
Cruz, where he remained six months. Retiring again to San Francisco
he continued in the mercantile business, in which occupation he contin-
ued until his removal to this county.

During the year 1867 he revisited the Eastern States, extending his trip
to Europe, visiting Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Italy,
France, England, etc. After his return to the State he married, and soon
thereafter moved to his present pleasant home on the bank of the Sacra-
mento river, at Rio Vista.

In 1876 Mr. Gardiner and his wife visited the Eastern States, for the pur-
pose of attending the Centennial Exhibition, and paying a last visit to
his former home — attending the sessions of the National Agricultural
Congress, as a delegate from California.

In the formation of society, in the early days of San Francisco, he was
amongst the foremost, being one of the founders of the Mercantile Library,
serving as Director and Secretary in the institution, and is a prominent
member of the Society of California Pioneers, being, at the present time,
Vice-President of the Society.

He has always taken an active part in all matters, both political and social,
pertaining to the welfare of the country ; and it can be truthfully said of
the subject of this sketch, that he has always regarded toil as manly and
ennobling ; and after passing through an honorable yet checkered life, he
is now enjoying the comforts of a happy home, beloved by his wife and
friends, and respected by the citizens of the State in which he lives.

GURNEE, JACOB, was born in Rockland county, N. Y., June 16, 1820,
where he was educated and lived until about fifteen years old, when he
moved to Westchester county, where he was employed in a brickyard
until 1840 ; he then went to Stratton Island, where he found employment
on a schooner which run between the above place and New York City,
where he was employed until 1850. He then took the steamer " W. J.
Pease" for San Francisco, arriving Jan. 19, 1851, being nearly one year
making the trip. After remaining in San Francisco about three months
went to mining on the American river, where he remained six months,
after which he followed boating on the San Francisco bay, until March;
1852. He then took passage on the steamer " Independence," for New


York City ; but returned to California in about three months, and followed
mining at Downieville for a short time ; after which was engaged as pilot
on the Sacramento river until 1862 ; then took charge of a large ocean
steamer which was lying at anchor, for about seven years. In January,
1870, bought the " Eclipse " saloon at Bio Vista, which he still owns and
has charge of at the present time. Married Miss Caroline Eddie in 1841,
who died in 1849, leaving two children — William, and Harriet. Married
his present wife, Miss Mary Ann Higgings, 28th day of February, of the
year 1867.

JOHNSON, CAPT. JAMES, was born in Denmark, Aug. 26, 1836. At the
age of twelve years commenced following the sea. At the age of fifteen
years went to England, and shipped on a vessel bound for Melbourne,
Australia. Paid the gold mines there a short visit. Left Australia on the
ship " James T. Ford," bound for Callao, Peru, where he shipped and was
employed as Quartermaster on the mail steamers plying between Valpa-
raiso and Panama, for about six months, arriving in San Francisco, Sept.
1852. Followed the sea, with slight interruptions, until 1859, when he
made a trip to his native country, returning after an absence of four
months. Purchased a schooner shortly after his return, which he com-
manded, and continued in the coasting and inland trade until 1870, when
he located at Rio Vista, and formed a partnership with T. P. Emigh, in
the warehouse and lumber business. In 1872, bought their present place
of business, Newtown Landing, formerly Perry's Landing. They employ
in their grain and lumber business, two schooners — " St. James," and
' Wonder," which were built and owned by Mr. Johnson before his partner-
ship with Mr. Emigh. Mr. Johnson married Miss Catherina C. Lorentzem
February 6th, 1863, a native of Denmark. Their children are James,
Frederick C, Otto J., Hannah C, William, Adeline C, Lena C, Katie,

MENZIES, THOMAS, was born in New Brunswick, June 13, 1832,
where he received his education and followed farming. Married, January
4, 1855, Miss Margaret Currie, who was born January 4, 1834, in New
Brunswick. Mr. Menzies came to California by water, in 1866, and set-
tled in Petaluma, where he resided and worked on a farm for one year.
Came to this county September 16, 1867, and pu. chased 160 acres of
land, where he now resides, six miles west of Bio Vista and nine miles
east of Denverton. He farms in all 320 acres. Has reared a family of
twelve children, ten of whom are living: James, born January 17, 1856;
John C, born June 17, 1857, and died January 9, 1872; William W., born
July 5, 1859; Dora A., born November 1, 1861; Thomas, born November
8, 1863; Bobert A., born April 2, 1866; David S., born June 4, 1868;


Eliza J., born March 21, 1870, and died December 31, 1871 ; Emma J. and
Edward A. (twins), born October 23, 1872; Maggie E., born March 22,
1874; John B., born July 22, 1877.

PIETRZYCKI, M. D., MARCEL, was born April 25, 1843, in Galicia, a Polish
province of Austria, where he was educated as an apothecary and chemist.
Came to the United States in 1866. Took up his abode in Hazleton,
Pennsylvania, where he studied medicine with Dr. Arnold part of 1866
and 1867. Emigrated to California in the Fall of 1867, and settled in
San Francisco, receiving the appointment of an apothecary in the German
Hospital, where he remained for five years, during part of which time he
attended the Pacific Medical College, where he graduated in 1872. In
1873 went to Stockton to practice his profession, remaining there about
five months. Came to this county in November of the same year, and
settled in Rio Vista, where he now resides and practices medicine. Has
always taken an active part in enterprises pertaining to the welfare of
the town. Was twice elected School Trustee, also Clerk of the Board.
Took a very active part, and in fact was one of the prime movers, in estab-
lishing the Montezuma Telegraph Line from Suisun to Rio Vista. He
married, June 29, 1876, Miss Mary Warren, of San Mateo, daughter of
Rev. J. H. Warren, Superintendent of the Home Missionary Society of
the Congregational Church.

POND, DAVID A., born in Carlton, Green county, Illinois, February 24,
1840, where he was educated and followed farming. Married Miss Ma-
tilda Ferguson, June 24, 1863. She was born February 27, 1845, in Carl-
ton, Illinois. In October, 1873, the subject of this sketch emigrated to
California and settled at Rio Vista, this county. Was employed as a
butcher, by different firms, up to about two years ago, when he formed a
partnership with James U. Chase, and carried on butchering, but on Octo-
ber 25, 1878, Mr. C. sold out, and the firm is now known as Pond & Knox,
where they are doing business. Has had two children, but both are
dead. Edward, born February 23, 1866, died July 27, 1868; Clara, born
December 13, 1868, died May 31, 1874.

SICKAL, M. T., born in Hancock county, Illinois, January 23, 1850, where
he resided until April, 1858, when he set sail with his parents for Cali-
fornia, via Panama. Arrived at San Francisco May 15th, same year.
Came immediately to Benicia, where he remained but a short time, cross-
ing the straits to Martinez, Contra Costa county, going to school most of
the time until January, 1868, when he entered the State Normal School
at San Francisco, where he remained five months, when he came to this
county, and taught school near Dixon for four months. He then entered


a business college at San Francisco, remaining three months, when he
again taught school, this time in Contra Costa county, for one year. He
then entered the State Normal School again, where he remained for three
months. He again taught school for five months, in Sutter county, when
he once more returned to the State Normal School, where he remained
until he graduated, March 15, 1871. He then returned to this county,
and taught in Dixon for two years, being the first teacher to grade the
Dixon school. He then taught the Los Angeles City Grammar School
five months; then entered St. Augustine's Academy at Benicia, remaining
but three months, when he went to French Corral, Nevada county, where
he taught one year; then returning to Dixon, he taught the school there
for five months, then taught the Silveyville school one year. He then
settled in Rio Vista, where he has been continually engaged in teaching
ever since. Mr. Sickal married Miss Mary A. Brane, July 3, 1878, who
was born in Yuba county, June 9, 1858.

SIDWELL, J. M., was born in Belmont county, Ohio, January 7, 1827.
When about eleven years of age he moved with his parents to Fulton
county, Illinois, where he finished his education and lived until 1850,
when he went to Green Bay county, Wisconsin, where he followed lum-
bering and hunting for about two years. In the spring of 1852 emigrated
to California, making the trip across the plains, with ox teams, in five
months and sixteen days, arriving at Marysville, September 24, 1852,
where he stopped one week, then went to Forbestown, on Feather river,
where he mined until May, 1858, when he came to this county and
worked on the Twin-house farm for five months. He then opened a
store on Sleightman's farm, where G. H. Gardiner now lives, just above
Rio Vista — the first store ever started in that neighborhood. He con-
tinued in the merchandise business there until May, 1854, when he moved
on to Grand Island, Sacramento county, when he again opened a store
and remained until the fall of 1857, acting at the same time as Postmas-
ter of Georgiana post-office. He then sold his goods to A. G. Westgate
and came back to this county and entered into partnership with Col. N.
H. Davis — who owned, at that time, the land where old Rio Vista was
built — and built the town called Brazos Delrio, afterwards changed to
Rio Vista. The post-office was then moved to Brazos Delrio, and Mr.
Sidwell retained the office till 1859, when in that year the name of
the town was changed to Rio Vista, also post-office, and was contractor
on the levees until 1862. The town was then flooded out and washed
away. Mr. Sidwell, then in company with S. R. Perry, W. K. Squires,
and Isaac Dunham, contracted with Mr. J. Bruning for the right to build
the present town of Rio Vista. Mr. Sidwell built the first hotel in this
town, which he conducted for some time. He then commenced contract-


ing again, building levees, flood gates, etc., which he has followed ever
since. Mr. Sidwell married Miss Annie Elliott, May 14, 18G4. She was
born in Termanah county, Ireland. Names of children ; John R., Sarah
E., Maiy L.

SMYTH, HON. MICHAEL, is a native of Ottawa, Canada, where he
was born October 4, 1832. Here he was educated and worked on a farm
and at lumbering, until about twenty years old, when he emigrated to
California, via the Nicaragua route, arriving in San Francisco December
20, 1853. He at once settled in Crescent City, Del Norte county, and
thence to Silver Diggings, residing in the latter place about two months,
when he returned to Crescent City, settling on a farm, on which he re-
mained till November, 1862, when he went to Idaho, Idaho county. Af-
ter two years in this place he settled in Ada county, and kept hotel, as
well as farming and merchandising. He was elected to the Lower House
of the Legislature of that Territory one term, serving his constituents in a
way that reflected credit and honor to himself as well as them. He was
afterwards elected School Superintendent, but his own business demanded
his attention, and he was forced to decline serving. The winter of 1867
he spent in Albany, Oregon, and the following spring purchased three
hundred cattle and came to this State, adding two hundred more to the
band on the road. Having brought the cattle to Solano county, and sold
them, he settled near Dixon, but after three months moved on a farm at
Poland's Landing, where he remained one year, and then bought a ranch
about nine miles west from Rio Vista, but in 1873 he sold out and perma-
nently settled in that place. In 1875 Mr. Smyth was appointed Notary
Public, which office he still continues to hold. Married Miss Maria Killo-
ran, in November, 1852. She was born in Ireland and came to this
country when twelve years old. James L., Charles, George W., Robert
C, and Frank H., are their living children. Lost three ; Edward, Mark,
and John.

SQUIRES, WILLIAM K., was born in West Cornwall, Litchfield, Conn.,
December 18, 1817, where he received his education and lived until about
21 years of age. He then went to Brooklyn, New York, where he
worked at the carpenter's trade for some time, and then acted as de-
tective, constable and sheriff for about seven years. In January, 1848, he
married Miss Margaret J. Brandow, who was born in Catskill, N. Y., July
13, 1824. In 1852, he left his wife and daughter, Ida I., in New York,
and emigrated to California, via Panama. He mined on the Cosumnes
river, in Sacramento county, for about one year, when he went to Sacra-
mento city and followed fishing for three years, at the expiration of
which time he made a trip to New York, and returned with his wife and


daughter by water ; spent one year on the Isthmus, as foreman of Pan-
ama car shops, after which he settled in Sacramento and engaged in the
fish trade until 1857. At the time of the Frasier river excitement he re-
paired to this place, and was engaged as a ship carpenter for about one
year at Fort Langley. He then made a contract with the Hudson Bay
Fur Company to furnish them salmon for six months, and with assistance
of two men, would frequently furnish, at forty dollars per ton, as high
as twelve tons a day. Mr. Squires, Russion and Thompson were the first
parties who fished a gill net in Frasier river. After completing his con-
tract he came to this county, and settled in old Rio Vista, where he built
a hotel in 1859, it being the first public house erected in the place. He
remained here until the flood of '62, when he came to new Rio Vista, and
built the house he now keeps. In 1870, he leased his hotel and moved
to San Francisco, where he resided for three years, when he returned, and
has had charge of the house ever since. He was Deputy Sheriff of Yolo
county, in 1857. In 1863, he was appointed Post-master of Rio Vista,
which position he held for over six years.

STOLL, CHARLES M., was born in Bavaria, Germany, October 21, 1849,
where he received his education. Left his native State in 1866, and emi-
grated to California, visiting all the prominent places on his trip, and
landed at San Francisco December 4, 1866, and from here he went to
Sacramento, where he remained until 1868, when he went to Marysville,
thence to Red Bluff, and worked at his trade, harness-making. In Jan-
uary, 1869, went to Sacramento county ; from here to White Pine, wftere
he remained until May 1, 1869, when he visited Virginia City ; thence
back to Sacramento, and from there to Rio Vista, where he opened a har-
ness shop on the 12th of May, 1869, where he still resides and carries on
his business. Married, October 8, 1871, Miss Ellen Bowman; she was
born April 17, 1853, Augusta, Maine. Has reared a family of three chil-
dren, two of whom are living : Frederick Chas., born May 29, 1872; Ida,
born June 31, 1874 ; Minnie, born January 14, 1878, and died June 22,



BARRETT, J. H., the County Recorder, was born in Morris county, N. Y.,
June 12, 1836. His parents moved to Lake county Illinois, in 1845,
where the subject of this memoir was educated in the public schools. In
1853 he emigrated to this State, first settling in Downieville, where he
was engaged in mining until 1862, when he was appointed Internal Reve-
nue Assessor. October, 1867, he came to Elmira, this county, and has
maintained a continued residence in that place. When his township was
first organized he was elected Justice of the Peace, and has been re-elected
at the expiration of his office to the present time. Was appointed County

Online LibraryJ. P Munro-FraserHistory of Solano County...and histories of its cities, towns...etc. .. → online text (page 54 of 57)