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Aurelius O. Carpenter.

History of Mendocino and Lake counties, California, with biographical sketches of the leading, men and women of the counties who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present online

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Online LibraryAurelius O. CarpenterHistory of Mendocino and Lake counties, California, with biographical sketches of the leading, men and women of the counties who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 73 of 121)
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out victorious over the Mexican forces.

Before the Mexican war was concluded, and while William B. Elliott and
his brave comrades were fighting as members of Fremont's company, he moved
his family back to the head of Napa valley, near Calistoga, and they lived
there a few years before moving over to Sonoma county, near Santa Rosa.
There they kept a wayside hotel, and everybody north of the Bay that did any
traveling knew "Uncle Billy" Elliott.

On May 5, 1850, at Santa Rosa, Benjamin Dewell and Celia H. Elliott
were married, and a few years later the young couple moved to Lake county,
reaching the spot where Mrs. Dewell's present home is located (a part of the
property, though not of the original tract, was laid out in 1870 for Upper
Lake village) May 24, 1854. They were the first white family to settle at



MENDOCINO AND LAKE COUNTIES 683

Upper Lake, and the opening up of the region progressed from that time.
Their first neighbor, Lance Musick, moved in the next month, June, 1854, and
in November of that year William B. Elliott followed them to the new location.
A brother of Mrs. Dewell came in the spring of 1855, and in 1856 the settle-
ment was augmented by a number of families, among them that of Jesse B.
Robinson, another famous Lake county pioneer, the Spears, Helms, and George
Bucknell. In 1857 there was another increase, Richard Sleeper, Thomas Way
and others arriving that year. The Dewells and Elliotts were practical and
thrifty, and did their part to make the new country desirable, although Mrs.
Dewell says they came "expecting to stay a couple of years, biit I am here
yet." The young couple brought up about twenty-two head of horses and
one hundred cattle with them, and they did well, Mr. Dewell developing a
fine home property, ninety acres of which (with buildings) is still owned by
his widow. He died in 1903, when eighty years old, and Mrs. Dewell, though
in her seventy-ninth year, still enjoys good health. Though she worked faith-
fully to assist her husband in establishing the home, and withstood cheerfully
the hardships and privations of the early days, she is able to look back upon
many happy times when they were bringing up their family and helping to
bring about civilized conditions in a promising but primitive region. The
eleven children born to her and Mr. Dewell are mentioned in his biography.

WILLIAM BELL ELLIOTT, father of Mrs. Celia H. Dewell, was born
in 1788 in Randolph county, N. C, of English and Scotch extraction. In
Grayson county, Va., he married Elizabeth Fatten, and they first emigrated
west to Missouri, coming from that state to California in 1845, as above related.
Mr. Elliott was a leading member of the "Bear Flag party," and he and two
others took General Vallejo to the old settlers' fort after the old General had
been taken prisoner; but he was never even handcuffed. Soon after coming
to Lake county Mr. Elliott put up the first gristmill here, in 1855. He had
erected the mill originally at the head of Napa valley, where he operated it
for three years before moving it and setting it up in Lake county. He built
a mill race, diverting the waters of Clover creek to supply it and turn the
waterwheel, but the only remains of the old mill now in existence are the
stone buhrs, which lie in the yard of his old home, now occupied by his
grandson, Will K. Dodge. The race has been filled in and its channel is used
as a garden by Mr. Dodge's family. The house which Mr. Elliott erected, in
1855 (now occupied by Mr. Dodge), was probably the first frame dwelling in
Lake county, and was certainly the most substantial residence in the county
at the time.

Mrs. Elliott died in October, 1869, at the age of fifty-seven years, Mr.
Elliott died on the old place in Upper Lake. They were the parents of eleven
children, of whom we have the following record : Churchill died in Missouri
when twenty-one years old (unmarried), before the family came to California.
Mary died in Missouri at the age of twelve years. Alberon was killed by the
Indians at Pyramid Lake, while on his way to what were known as the
White Pine mines; he married Henrietta Parker, and their two children,
William and Jesse, both now deceased, grew up at Upper Lake; William left
children, and some of his grandchildren now reside at Lakeport. Emsley
was killed in Texas while discharging his duties as deputy sherifif, being shot
while attempting to arrest a negro; he left four children, two of whom are
living at McCray station, in Mendocino county, north of Cloverdale. Com-
modore, who died in Mexico, left five children. Emily died in infancy in



684 MENDOCINO AND LAKE COUNTIES

Missouri. Celia H. married Benjamin Dewell. Thomas, a farmer, living on
Clover creek, in Lake county, married Ellen Dennison and has three children.
William died in Texas, unmarried. Elizabeth Jane, born December 15, 1841,
first married Charles Perkinson, a pioneer of Lake county, by whom she had
two children, a son that died and Clara Mabel, Mrs. Wilson, with whom she
is now living at Fort Bragg, Mendocino county; by her second husband,
Samuel K. Dodge, she had three children, one son and one daughter dying,
and William K. surviving and living on the old home place of his maternal
grandfather, which his mother owns ; her third marrige was to Henry Wilson,
who is also deceased. James, the youngest child of William B. Elliott, died
when five years old.

ISAAC CRATON BURKE.— A lesson in the value of patient industry
appears in the earnest life of Mr. Burke, one of the native sons of whom Men-
docino county may well be proud. At the old Burke homestead in Ukiah valley,
four miles south of the city of Ukiah, he was born September 11, 1871, the son
of Francis Marion Burke, a native of Jackson county. Mo., who came with
his father, Alexander Burke, across the plains with ox-teams in 1849. Settle-
ment was first made in Sonoma county, and from there the grandfather
brought his family to Mendocino county in 1852. His was the first
wagon brought into Ukiah valley, being an old prairie schooner which he had
brought across the plains. Locating in the Ukiah valley, he and his sons
became owners of a large tract of land, extending from Robinson creek to
Burke Hill. The grandfather followed farming until he retired and located
in Ukiah, where he died. Francis M. Burke followed farming and stock-rais-
ing in Mendocino county until he also retired, and he and his wife now
make their home in Ukiah. His wife, formerly Zerelda Montgomery, was
born in Missouri and crossed the plains with her father, Alexander Mont-
gomery, in 1850.

Of the eight children born to these parents, six are living and of these
Isaac C. is the third oldest. When fourteen years old he was obliged to give
up attendance at school and begin to assist at home, for a heavy debt covered
the home place and financial aft'airs had gone from bad to worse, by reason
of sickness in the family. Not only did he take charge of the chores at home,
but in addition he earned wages on neighboring farms and the sum thus earned
cided in the maintenance of the family. Perhaps his first encouraging work
was that of attendant at the state hospital from 1889 to 1903, during which
time he frugally saved his wages and later he and his brother-in-law, E. F.
Sholl, purchased back the old homestead, and in 1903 Mr. Burke took charge
ci the ranch with renewed courage. The one hundred and seventy-five acres
comprising the property had been allowed to run down and the entire tract
.showed the need of money and energetic work. It was no small task for the
young man to transform the place into a remunerative ranch and his efforts
were retarded by the fact that, in an efifort to raise hops, he failed to secure a
selling price sufficient to cover the expenses of the crop.

After a lengthy period of alternate success and discouragement at the old
homestead Mr. Burke sold the property in 1911 to Cox Bros., and then moved
to Anderson valley, where he had purchased the old Hoag ranch of eight
hundred and eighty-nine acres two miles north of Boonville. At the time one
hundred acres had been cleared for farming purposes. The continued improve-
ment of the place is now his chief ambition. The raising of merino sheep is his



MENDOCINO AND LAKE COUNTIES 687

specialty, but all departments of general farming receive due attention and
horticulture also claims deserved place in the round of work, there being an
orchard of ten acres in apples, peaches and prunes. The equipment on the
ranch is modern, the improvements substantial and the cultivation exact.
An air of thrift pervades the entire tract and a stranger is not surprised to
learn that the owner of this valuable property has been a most progressive
citizen, a promoter of the valley high school, and an important factor in advo-
cating the installation of a rural telephone system in the valley. In politics
he favors Democratic principles. While living near Ukiah he became a charter
member of the Farmers' Association and maintained a warm interest in its
activities. His marriage was solemnized in Ukiah May 28, 1903, and united
him with Miss Sarah Frances Presley, who was born in Windsor, Sonoma
county, the daughter of James M. Presley, a native of North Carolina and a
pioneer of California, having crossed the plains in the '50s. In San Joaquin
county he married Melissa Crawford, who came across the plains with her
parents in 1860, and Mr. Presley and his wife now reside on their ranch on
Eel river. Mrs. Burke has spent her life principally in the vicinity of Ukiah,
and is the mother of two children, Mark and Esther. Mr. Burke is a member
of Ukiah Lodge No. 172, I. O. O. F., and with his wife is identified with the
Rebekahs. She is also a member of the Christian Church.

JOSEPH TROLL BROWER.— Lifelong residence in the west and ex-
tensive travels through practically every portion of the Pacific coast country
have given to Mr. Brower valuable information in regard to this vast region,
its resources and opportunities. The fact that after having passed his youth
in Mendocino county he returned hither following a somewhat protracted
sojourn in the state of Washington and following an investigation of other
localities, indicates that he has great faith in the future of this coast country,
whose development has scarcely yet begun, but whose resources are such as
to encourage the most optimistic hopes of local men. Since 1904 he has filled
a responsible position in connection with the Mendocino county state hospital
three miles east of Ukiah, where he acts as overseer of men engaged in con-
struction work and where now his special task is the supervision of a dam in
process of construction by the state, which will furnish a sufficient water
supply for the hospital grounds.

In company with other members of the family Mr. Brower came to Men-
docino county at an early age from Alameda county, this state. He was born
in Alameda December 10, 1864, the son of John D. Brower, who crossed the
plains to California in 1850 and became a pioneer farmer and dairyman of
Alameda. Joseph T. Brower began his studies in the common schools of
Alameda and later was a pupil in the schools of Potter Valley. He can
scarcely recall the time when some duty at home was not given him to per-
form. By actual experience he acquired habits of industry and self-reliance.
Ample opportunity came to him for learning the stock business and he im-
proved the chance with diligence, so that he was able, after the age of twenty,
to manage the great ranch owned by his father and comprising sixty-four
hundred acres of mountainous' land, well adapted to the raising of sheep,
horses and cattle. Sub.sequent to the death of his parents the estate was
divided among the heirs and he sold his share, thereupon leaving the place
which he had successfully superintended for twelve years.

Moving north to Washington and settling in Oakesdale, a small town on
the Yakima river, not far from North Yakima, Mr. Brower embarked in the



688 MENDOCINO AND LAKE COUNTIES

commission and brokerage business, but as this did not fill his entire time he
bought a lease from the Indians of one hundred and sixty acres of land, one-
half of which he soon sold, reducing the leasehold to an eighty-acre tract.
About this time he was bereaved by the death of his wife, formerly Miss
Laura Jane Maze, whom he had married in Potter Vallej^ Mendocino county,
February 14, 1884, and who passed away at North Yakima November 20,
1892. Shortly after her death he disposed of his interests in the north and
spent a year in travel in various part of Washington, also in Central and
Southern California. After a time he returned to Mendocino county and
settled at Ukiah, since which time he has been connected with the state
hospital. His fine qualities of mind have won for him the respect of associates
and he has proved to be exceptionally fitted for his present arduous respon-
sibility as overseer. Fraternally he is connected with Aerie No. 62, Fraternal
Order of Eagles, at Ukiah, and also holds membership with the Ancient Order
of United Workmen.

NATHAN BARTLETT.— Prior to the agricultural upbuilding of the
Mississippi valley and the discovery of gold in California there lived on a
Tennessee farm a young lad, William Bartlett by name, whose thoughts
often turned toward regions further west and whose judgment discerned
opportunities in the newer regions not possible in the mountainous section
of his home. After his marriage to Margaret Roberts, the daughter of a
neighboring farmer, he and his bride traveled by wagon to Missouri, secured
a claim in Bates county, built a rude cabin and began housekeeping in a
sparsely settled district far from the friends of their earlier days. The years
that followed were filled with hard work. It required the most arduous
effort to support a growing family from soil none too fertile or productive.
Always the thought of the couple turned toward the far distant shores of
the Pacific, but it was more than a decade after the discovery of gold before
they were in a position to consider removal to California. Then, when all
plans had been made and arrangements perfected, the father fell ill and
shortly afterward died on the old Missouri homestead. This was in 1864
and immediately after his death the widow, accompanied by her eleven chil-
dren, joined an expedition bound for the Pacific coast by the overland route.
When they arrived in Nevada an opportunity occurred to secure land, so they
stayed for one j'ear and engaged in stock-raising. At the end of the year
they completed the journey to California and settled in Sonoma county, from
which place in 1866 they came to Mendocino county.

Ever since the original settlement in 1866 there have been representatives
of the Bartlett family in this county. The mother and sons bought the Dr.
Williams claim of four hundred and eighty-five acres south of Ukiah on the
east side of the river, where they put up a farm house and barns, fenced the
entire tract, made other improvements and by degrees brought the land
under a high state of cultivation. Already some of the pioneers had begun
to experiment with hops and the Bartletts put out their first crop in 1871,
after which they made a specialty of this product, finding it to be profitable
and well adapted to the soil. A portion of the original Bartlett farm was
sold as a site for the Mendocino state hospital. About six years after the
death of the mother the property was divided among the heirs, but all dis-
posed of their shares excepting the fourth child, Nathan, who retained one
hundred and thirty acres of the original tract in his possession until his death,
December 22, 1900, meanwhile cultivating the estate with intelligence, in-



MENDOCINO AND LAKE COUNTIES 691

dustry and perseverance. A native of Bates county, Mo., born in 1841, he
and a brother crossed the plains before the rest of the family came from the
east, and from 1866 he resided continuously in Mendocino county, of which
he was rated a successful rancher and desirable citizen. A man of sterling
qualities of heart, true to the principles of Masonry and charitable in his
dealings with those in need, he formed a valuable addition to the splendid
pioneer element that laid the foundation of Mendocino's prosperity. His
family consisted of a son, William L., and Mrs. Bartlett, who was formerly
Miss Mary F. Layman, a native of Lodi, San Joaquin county, whose father,
John F. Layman, was a California pioneer numbered among the earliest
comers to Lodi. Mr. Layman was born in Ohio and removed to Bloomfield,
Iowa, whence he crossed the plains to California with ox teams in the early
'50s. Locating in San Joaquin valley he bought a farm and raised crops
where the city of Lodi now stands. For some years he engaged in farming
in Lake county, but later he located in Ukiah. His wife, Phoebe Diefifen-
bach, a native of Germany, crossed the ocean with her parents at the age of
seven, locating in Iowa, where she grew to maturity. Mr. and Mrs. Layman
are now living in Lodi, and Mr. Layman still superintends his various ranches
in San Joaquin and Merced counties. They have six children, as follows :
Joseph D., chief librarian at the University of Nevada; Mary F. (Mrs. Bart-
lett), Edward J., Daniel and Lizzie (Mrs. McKesson), all of Ukiah; and
Lulu, Mrs. Hake, of Merced. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Bartlett
has remained on the ranch and has managed the property with decided
capability and in such a manner as to secure excellent financial returns.

CLEMENTE CITTONI.— The growing of alfalfa successfully in Round
valley has caused dairymen to turn their eyes in that direction, it having
opened a new industry to that section. One among the first practical dairy-
men to take advantage of the locality is Clemente Cittoni, who with his part-
ner, Lorenzo Albonico, owns and operates the largest dairy in the valley,
besides which Mr. Cittoni also manages the local creamery that has become
such a boon to the farmers around Covelo.

Mr. Cittoni was born in Germarsino, Italy, November 27, 1880, and there
received a thorough education in the elementary branches in the local school.
However, having heard such favorable reports from California he longed for
an opportunity to try his fortune on the Pacific coast. In 1900 he left the
home of his childhood and set out alone for the Golden West. On his arrival
in Sonoma county he found employment in a dairy near Bodega, a work
with which he was already familiar. There being a creamery on the ranch
he then learned the art of butter making. In 1902 he proceeded to Ferndale,
Humboldt county, where he continued in the same line of work until in 1908
he entered the employ of the California Central Creamery Co. at their skim-
ming station at Loleta. He was associated with the company until Septem-
ber, 1912, when he came to Round valley to engage in the dairy business on
his own account. Forming a partnership with Lorenzo Albonico, they rented
a ranch of two hundred and forty acres just east of Covelo, sowed fields of
alfalfa and stocked it with a splendid herd of milk cows and they now operate
the largest dairy in the valley.

About the same time Mr. Cittoni took charge of the local creamery and
was the local manager until they secured another man, as he was anxious
to give all of his time to his dairy interests. Nine months later, however,
he was again solicited to take the management of it and he is now giving his



692 MENDOCINO AND LAKE COUNTIES

time to the creamery, being the buttermaker as well as the manager. The
product of the creamery is especially fine and ranks with the best butter pro-
duced in California. Too much credit can not be given to Mr. Cittoni for
all he is doing to advance the farming and dairy interests of Round valley.

Fraternally Mr. Cittoni is a member of the Odd Fellows and Woodmen
of the World. In national politics he is a firm believer in the principles of
the Republican party. In Germarsino, Italy, he was married February 8, 1910,
to Miss Madelena ^latteri, and two children have been born to them, Bridget
and Joseph.

MICHAEL DONOHUE. — An attractive appearance is presented by the
Donohue homestead, which is said to be one of the best-improved farms in
Mendocino county and which owes its remunerative condition and its aspect
of thrift to the owner, Michael Donohue, a quiet, industrious, intelligent
farmer, skilled in the tilling of the soil and the care of the land. Under his
long ownership the tract has changed in appearance. At the time of his
arrival at Greenwood during April, 1861, and the purchase of the squatter's
claim of one hundred and sixty acres shortly afterward, the land was wholly
unimproved, no fences had been erected, no buildings had been put there to
afford accommodation for men and for stock, and the whole condition was
that of the primeval forest. It required years of arduous and energetic appli-
cation to clear the land, erect needed buildings, put in fences as needed, and
make all the changes necessary to a modern stock farm. That the owner
has been so successful may be attributed wholly to his own force of character
and energy of purpose.

A member of an old Irish family, Michael Donohue was born at Fintona,
county Tyrone, September 29, 1824, and was educated in the national schools
and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church. The religious training of
his youth made a permanent impression upon the habits of his life. It has
been his custom to attend mass regularly throughout his entire life. The
most inclement weather was never taken as an excuse for absence from the
church service and in his advanced years he finds mental peace and spiritual
happiness through the observance of religious ordinances. On the 14th of
November, 1847, he landed in New Orleans, a stranger in a strange land,
unfamiliar with the customs of the country and with little money to tide him
over a period of enforced idleness. Fortunately he was able to secure work
promptly in a livery barn. For four years he continued in the same place.
Meanwhile he became familiar with the city and the people. In the latter
part of 1851 he resigned his position and started with others for California,
crossing the Gulf of Mexico by boat to the Isthmus of Panama and from
there sailing up the Pacific to San Francisco, where he landed during January
of 1852.

An experience in taking up mining claims in Sierra county brought luck
to Mr. Donohue. For ten years he gave the greater part of his attention to
mining. While no great fortune came to him in that decade and while it
represented a period of almost incredible hardship and suffering, it may be
truly said that he there and then laid the foundation of his ultimate prosperity.
The returns were satisfactory to him, but the work was so difficult and the
exposure so wearing that in 1861 he began to look around for a location for
permanent settlement. Attracted to Mendocino county by the climatic con-
ditions and general surroundings, he decided to buy a claim here and it may



MENDOCINO AND LAKE COUNTIES 693

here be said that he has never regretted his choice of the county for a home.
For more than one-half century he has lived here, meanwhile witnessing the
development of its great lumber industry, the clearing of the cut-over lands,
the starting of farms and stock ranches, the founding of villages and the
entire course of advancement which changed the forest into a comfortable
abode for progressive people of the twentieth century. At Marysville, April
14, 1858, he married Miss Catherine Donnelley, who like himself is a native
of county Tyrone and an earnest member of the Catholic Church. Born
February 20, 1828, she came alone to the United States in girlhood and after
three months with relatives in Philadelphia proceeded to the west, settling
in Marysville, this state, where she lived until her removal to Mendocino
county with her husband. They are the parents of eight children, namely :
Alice (Mrs. Cooney), Mary (Mrs. Buchanan), Rose (Mrs. McMaster), all
of Greenwood; Lizzie (Mrs. Caughey), of Ukiah ; Kate (Mrs. Dougherty),
who with her husband owns and runs the ranch ; Frank, John, and Kathleen,
deceased.

WILLIAM J. NICHALSON.— To the substantial element of the citizen-
ship of Northern California there was added in 1875 the Nichalson family,
consisting of a number of children accompanying their parents, James W.
and Margaret (Lawrence) Nichalson, the father a native of Indiana, the
mother of Pennsylvanian birth. Illinois had been the family home for a con-
siderable period and in Cumberland county, that state, the birth of W. J. had



Online LibraryAurelius O. CarpenterHistory of Mendocino and Lake counties, California, with biographical sketches of the leading, men and women of the counties who have been identified with their growth and development from the early days to the present → online text (page 73 of 121)