Chicago Standard Genealogical Publishing Company.

A Volume of memoirs and genealogy of representative citizens of northern California, including biographies of many of those who have passed away online

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Online LibraryChicago Standard Genealogical Publishing CompanyA Volume of memoirs and genealogy of representative citizens of northern California, including biographies of many of those who have passed away → online text (page 13 of 108)
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May II, 1858, in Colusa county, California, Mr. La Rue was united in
marriage to Miss Elizabeth M. Lizenby, a native of Lewis county, IMissouri,
and a daughter of Thomas and Susan (Miller) Lizenby, the former a native
of Virginia and the latter of Kentucky_. The father was of German lineage,
was a millwright by trade, and died in Missouri in 1854, while his wife passed
away in 1852. They were the parents of five children, but-Mrs. La Rue is the
only one now living. She came to California with her brother in 1852, taking
up her abode in Colusa county and completing her education on the Pacific
coast. L'''nto our subject and wife have been born five children, but the only
daughter, Marie Virginia, died in 1888, at the age of twenty-two years. Jacob
E. married Adaline E. Rankin and has one son, Morgan E. Jacob E. com-
pleted his education in the State University and is now associated with his
father in extensive farming operations in Yolo county. Calhoun Lee, the sec-
ond son, married Mildred L. Spires, and has one son, Elwin Lee. Calhoun
Lee resides in Xapa county, where he superintends his father's extensive
viticultural interests. He is the present (1900) senator from his district.
Hugh M. was educated in the State University, w^as admitted to tlie bar about
six years ago, and is now an attorney at law at Sacramento. Jolm R. is now


the secretary of the Grangers" Bank of San Francisco, and assistant cashier of
the Standard Oil Company, of San Francisco. He married Marie Estelle Mc-

In his political views ]Mr. La Rue is a Democrat, and in 1857 was a can-
didate for county sheriff of Sacramento county on that ticket. He was elected
by a small majority of seven or eight votes, but the case was contested in the
courts and he lost the office. In 1873. however, he was elected to that office
by a large majority, and discharged his duties with fearlessness and fidelity.
In 1879 he was a member of the state constitutional convention and took an
active part in framing the organic laws of the commonwealth. In 1863-4 he
was a member of the general assembly, and was the speaker during both ses-
sions. He was a prominent factor in the movement for the erection of the
exposition building and the organization of the State Agricultural Society; also
in the revision of the general laws, in the county government act, the bill
reorganizing the senatorial and assembly districts and the laws relating to
taxes. In 1888 he was a Democratic candidate for senator, but though he ran
ahead of his ticket he was defeated. In 1867 he was made a member of the
State Agricultural Society, was a director for twenty years and was its presi-
dent for a term of years, — in 1879, 1880 and 1882; and for many years he has
been the director and superintendent of the pavilion during the expositions.
While the speaker of the assembly and president of the state board of agricul-
ture, he was ex-officio a member of the board of regents of the State University
and was a member and the president of the board of railroad commissioners
from 1895 to 1899. He was the superintendent of the Bureau of \'iticulture
at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

He has been a member of Sacramento Lodge, No. 40. F. & A. M., for
many years, and is a Royal Arch Mason. In 1856 he became a member of the
Sacramento Society of California Pioneers, was made a member of its board
of trustees and served as its jDresident, and has served as the master of the
Sacramento Grange.

His public and private life are alike alxne reproach. Honesty has char-
acterized all his business dealings, and his enterprise and indefatigable effort
have brought to him a high degree of success. In his fraternal relations his
genial finalities and sterling worth have gained him warm friendships: in his
pul)]ic life he has honored the state which has honored him.


From the land which I\lr. Ciinocchio claims as the place of his nativity
came the discoverer of America, and since that time many of the worthy
sons of Italy have sought and obtained homes in the new world. Promi-
nent among the representatives of the latter in northern California is he
whose name introduces this review, a well known member of the firm of
Ginocchio Brothers, merchants of Jackson, .Vmador county. He was born
in llalv. March 14, 1838. and is a representative of an old family of that
land of blue skies ant! brilliant sunsets, llis parents were Joseph and Rosa-


linda (Raggio) Ginocchio. His father was a manufacturer and one of the
honored citizens of the community in which he resided. He died in the
eighty-fourth year of his age, and his wife reached the age of ninety-seven
years, retaining her mental and physical facuhies to the day of her death.
Both were devoted members of the Cathohc church, consistently adhering
to that faith in the conduct of their lives. In their family were thirteen
children, six of whom are still living.

Mr. Ginocchio, of this review, obtained his education in the land of his
nativity, and when sixteen years of age the spirit of adventure prompted
him to seek new scenes. He set sail for California and in January, 1853,
arrived at Bear valley, Mariposa county, where he obtained a placer claim and
took out considerable gold. Owing to his youth, for he had just left college,
he was allowed only a half claim by the miners, but he continued his search
for the precious metal at Coulterville, Mariposa county, until 1857, when the
Fraser river excitement drew him to that locality. He lost all he had, how-
ever, in that venture, and returning to California he resumed mining on
Mugson creek, wdiere he found a very fine nugget.

He did not, however, meet with very good success at that place in his
mining ventures and accordingly turned his attention to merchandising, which
he continued in Mountesume, Tuolumne, for two years. He then sold out
with the intention of engaging in business in Copperopolis, but was persuaded
by a friend to come to Jackson, where his uncle, E. Bruno, and C. Curotto
were in business together. Mr. Ginocchio purchased an interest in their
business and the firm carried on operations for two years, w'hen our subject
purchased Mr. Curotto's interest, remaining in partnership with his uncle
for some .time. Subsequently he became the sole proprietor and in 1866 he
sent for his brother Alphonso to join him in the business. The partnership
relations between them have since been maintained, each owning an undivided
half of the store, which under their capable management and honorable deal-
ing has steadily grown luitil they are at the head of the largest mercantile
establishment in the county of Amador. Their store and warehouses, which
are more than a block in depth, are stocked with goods from garret to cellar
and embrace every line of merchandise that is in demand in Amador county.
In fact their store would be a credit to a much larger place than Jackson.
Their sales are very extensive, as they draw a large trade from the surround-
ing country, their straightforward business methods commending them to the
confidence of all. The brothers also have large and valuable mining inter-
ests and are connected with the new bank operated under the name of the
IMercantile Trust Company of San Francisco.

The Ginocchio Brothers enjoy a most enviable reputation in trade circles
througlidut northern California. They are men of enterprise and marked
executi\-e ability, and their keen discernment in business affairs has enabled
them to so conduct their afTairs as to gain a handsome financial return;
yet they are widely known for their generosity and for their kindliness
to their customers in not pressing a claim when it would have to be met at
great inconvenience by the dclitor. The }-oungcr brother has ne\-cr mar-


ried, but Enrico Ginocchio was united in wedlock, in July, 1S71, to Aliss
Julia Raggio, a native of Italy and a daughter of John Raggio, of that country.
Their union was blessed with four daughters and a son, namely : Joseph,
a young man of excellent ability who died in 1899, at the age of nineteen
years; Rosa, the wife of Frank Padesta; Lena, the wife of Frank Bergin;
and Henrietta and Julia, who are students at college. The parents have a
beautiful home, which Mr. Ginocchio erected in 1891. They are members
of the Catholic church and enjoy the high regard of a large number of friends
and acquaintances. Mr. Ginocchio deserves great credit for his success
in life, and it has been gained entirely by his own well directed efforts and
capable management. Adapting himself readily to the manners and cus-
toms of the new world, he has overcome all difficulties and obstacles in
his path and to-da\- stands upon a plain of affluence commanding the respect
and admiration of his fellow men.


The history of California as the state of to-day began in 1S49, wlien
from the central and eastern portions of this country men of enterprise,
individuality and strong purpose made their way by land or water to the
Pacific slope, there laying the foundation for the present development and
advanced position of this commonwealth. It is now an honor to be num-
bered among the "49ers," — the honor to which Mr. Fithian is entitled. His
residence in Amador county dates from 1856, and as one of its pioneers he
well deserves representation in this volume.

He was born in Green township, Hamilton county, Ohio, on the iSth
of September, 1826. The family is of French origin and was founded in
America by Amos Fithian, the grandfather of our subject who left his home
in France and located in Bridgeton, New Jersey, where he was married to
Miss Sarah Filer of that city, and probably of one of the earliest families
there. Their son, Ephraim Fithian, the father of our subject, was born in
New Jersey and was married there to Miss Nancy Claj-poole, also a native
of the same state. Removing westward to Ohio they established their home
in Green township, Hamilton county, where they reared their children. In
1852 the father came to California, by way of the isthmus of Panama, accom-
panied Ijy his wife and their daughter Matilda. They located at lone, and
thence moved to Petaluma, bought and settled on a fruit farm, where he lived
for a number of years, but subsequently removed to Anaheim, in the southern
part of the state, where he spent his remaining days, passing away in his eigh-
tieth year. His wife died at about the same age. They were Baptists in relig-
ious faith and were people of the highest respectability.

Mr. Fithian of this review was the eldest of their five children. He
enrolled as a volunteer for service in the Mexican war, but the (|uota was
filled before he was mustered into service and consequently never went to
the front. Like hundreds of other young men. the discovery of gold in
California fillcil him with a desire to make his fortune upon the Pacific


coast, and in 1849 he crossed the plains with a wagon and mule team.
With two companions he prepared an outfit and they started with a large
company. They had not been long upon the way when one of the party
shot an Indian. They were followed by a band of red men who demanded
the murderer. The man who fired the shot was given over to them and
undoubtedly met his death at the hands of the savages. Mr. Fithian and
his friends decided it was not best for them to travel with such a large com-
pany and together they came on alone.

After reaching Hangtown they proceeded to Sacramento, where they
arrived on the /th of August, having completed the journey in three months.
\\'hile the party were on their way to California, as they were one day riding
along they were hailed by two men who were sitting under a bush. One
of them was ill and had Iseen left to die. Mr. Fithian and his companions
put the sick man into their wagon and brought him with them. When
they arrived at the south fork of Bear river our subject rode one of the
leading mules into the stream for the purpose of finding a fording place,
and as soon as the party got into the water their mules and wagon were
carried down the stream and the sick man was thus upset in the water.
It took some time to secure their things and the man stood in the stream
with water almost to his neck. This involuntary bath, however, cured him
of his fever and he was soon well again. He was William Bolt, and his com-
panion was Joseph Shepherd. They were from Illinois and w"ere well off.
Air. Fithian says he believes this was the beginning of the "water cure !"

Mr. Fithian engaged in mining at Goodyear Bar, eight miles below
Downieville. \\'hile prospecting he got lost and while roaming around in
search of his company he met another man who also was lost. While they
were eating supper a third man came to them and offered to sell his claim
and show them how to mine. They gave him one hundred dollars for the
claim and rocker and the former proprietor showed them how to work it.
He had not worked very far down into the water and was not very successful
in gaining the gold. Mr. Fithian, however, got into the water and he and
his partner made eighty dollars the first day. They worked there until fearful
that the snows of winter would prevent them from leaving their claim and
accordingly they went to Sacramento, Mr. Fithian taking with him two
thousand dollars as the result of his labor.

In the capital city he purchased a lot of General Sutter and engaged in
the manufacture of brick. He agreed to pay for his lot in brick to be taken
the ne.xt spring at market price, and wdien the time came the price of brick
was ninety dollars per thousand. The General thought this an enormous
price to pay for brick, but he was compelled to live up to the condition of
the bond. That proved a profitable venture for Mr. Fithian and he was
making money rapidly when he was taken ill. Later he returned to the
mine which he had previously w'orked and aided in the construction of a
flume. There he again prospered, but he lost much of his money in mining
speculations, retaining only seven thousand dollars; which he had buried.

In 1852 Mr. Fithian returned, by way of the water, to his old home and


was married to Miss Leanora Fowler, a native of Hamilton county, Ohio.
In 1856 he again came to California, bringing his wife and three little chil-
dren, and again the journey was made by water. Five children have been
born to them in California. Of the family of eight sons and daughters
seven are now living, namely: Ephraim; Rlrs. Ella Gregory; Matilda, the
wife of J. AI. Hamniel; George, Elmer, William and Edward. Mr. Fithian
came with his family to this state in 1857, and located on what was supposed to
be state land, but after he had made a payment thereon and improved the
property to a considerable extent he was ejected and lost all he had made
with the exception of one thousand dollars. He then borrowed money and
purchased a sawmill, after which he engaged in the manufacture of lumber,
and soon after he had completed the payment on the mill it was destroyed
by fire and he again lost all. He then turned his attention to freighting
and farming. He purchased a tract of land in the edge of the town and
has since resided there for the purpose of educating his children. Renting
a ranch of eight hundred acres, he left his family at lone while he lived on
the ranch and continued its operations for nine years. His home is a pleas-
ant residence near the banks of Sutter Creek, and there he and his wife are

In early life Mr. Fithian's love of liberty was very strong and led him
to advocate abolition principles. At the time of the Civil war he was a
stanch Republican, but it was under Republican management that he was
dispossessed of his property and he has since been a Democrat. He has
never been an office-seeker or secret-society man. His life has been one of
marked industry, and when many men of ordinary resolution would have
been discouraged by the difficulties and hardships he has met, he has worked
on with determined purpose and at last has secured a comfortable compe-
tence for himself and wife in their declining years.

Of ]\Ir. Fithian's maternal ancestry we give the following outline:
James Claypoole, who died October 16, 1599. had two sons: James, who
was knighted in 1604, and Adam, who died in 1634. The children of the
latter were Edward, John, Wingfield, Richard, Robert, Henry. Joanna. Dor-
othy, Robert (2d), Morton, James, .Adam and Jane. Of these James, born in
162 1, emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1683 and died at Philadelphia in 1687.
His children were John, James, Nathaniel, George, Jt)seph, Mary. Helen and
Priscilla. Joseph married Edith W'ard and their children were George,
Joseph, Rebecca, John. Josiah, Edith and James. George married Mary
Morris and their children were Rebecca, George, Jo.seph. John, Han-
nah, Mary and Deborah. Their father died ]\Iay 19, 1809. Of the children
Joseph, who was born July 15, 1734. married Mary \Vilkinson and died
May 19, 1809. Their children were Sarah. Hannah. Mary Morris, Deborah,
Ann, Rebecca, Joseph and Elizabeth. Of these, Joseph, born in 1770. mar-
ried Ann W'oodhouse and died in 1802. Their children were William,
George. Hannah, Rebecca, Joseph, Ann, Herriet. Mary and Julian (twins)
and Elizabeth. Hannah, born 1803, married Ejihraim Fithian and died in
1887. Mr. I'ithian was born in 1799 and died in 1878. Their children


were Joseph Claypoole (the subject of the foregoing sketch), Sarah, WiU-
iam, Thomas and Matilda. Jospeh C. Fithian, born in 1826, married
Leanora Fowler, who was born in 1833, and their children have been: Ella,
born in 1853; Ephraim, 1855; Matilda, 1857; George, 1861 ; Elmer, 1863;
Charles, born in 1868 and died in 1870; William, born in 1871; and Edward,



For forty-six years 'Mr. Freeman has been a resident of California, and
is now one of the highly respected business men of Jackson, Amador county.
"Earn thy reward, the gods give naught to sloth," said the sage Epicharmus;
and the truth of the admonition has been verified in human affairs in all
the ages which have rolled their course since his day. The subject to whose
life history we now direct attention has, by ceaseless toil and endeavor,
attained a marked success in business affairs, has gained the respect and
confidence of men, and is recognized as one of the distinctively representa-
tive citizens of Amador county.

A native of New York city, he was born on the 28th of February, 1830,
and is of English lineage. His father, Samuel J. Freeman, was born in Lon-
don and married Miss Ann Gunn, a native of Birmingham, England, by
whom he had two children, born in England. One died before the emigra-
tion of the family to America, but Esther came with her parents to the new
world in 1830. The family located at New York, whence they removed
to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and afterward to New Haven, where the father
made a permanent location. He died in the forty-ninth year of his age,
leaving four children, three of whom are now living: Eliza, the wife of L.
S. Burwell, of Palo Alto, California; Emily, now the wife of J. G Mc-
Calluni, of Los Angeles; and Edward Gunn, our subject. The father was
a trunk manufacturer by occupation, and was a man of sterling worth, hon-
orable in business and reliable in all life's relations. His wife long survived
him and died at the home of her son in Jackson, when eighty-six years of
age. Both were members of the Baptist church and were people of the
highest respectability.

Edward G Freeman was their third child and now the eldest survivor
of the family. He was reared and educated in New Haven, Connecticut,
and there learned the trade of harness and saddle maker. In February, 1852,
he took passage on the Race Hound, a sailing vessel bound for San Fran-
cisco, carrying three hundred on board. When rounding Cape Horn they
encountered a severe storm, in which the masts and rigging of the vessel
were torn away, and for a time it seemed that all on board must perish;
but at length the gallant .ship weathered the gale and after considerable
delay reached the harbor at San Francisco in safety, in the month of July.
In company with John Veith, Dan McCarty and C. L. Parish, the last
named now a resident of Oakland, Mr. Freeman went to Sacramento and
thence by team to what is now Volcano, in Amador county. The four young
men began prospecting on the forks of the Mokelumne river, and great excite-


n-.ent was caused when ]Mr. Freeman found a nice little nugget of gold
worth a dollar and a quarter. The men took claims, which they operated
for a time and then floated down the river to another mining claim. Mr.
Freeman met with only moderate success in his mining ventures, and there-
fore decided to engage in business in Jackson.

In October, 1854, he opened a little harness shop on Main street, just
opposite the present site of his large variety store. He began business on
a small scale, his store room being only fourteen by eighteen feet; but with
characteristic energy he commenced the manufacture of saddlery and harness,
and his excellent workmansip soon secured to him a liberal patronage.
Prices were high in those da)'s, a single saddle bringing from twenty-five
to fifty dollars, while a heavy set of harness was worth fifty dollars. Mr.
Freeman gave close attention to his business, and as a result of his steady
application and honorable methods he met with well earned success. He
is still dealing in harness, but is also at the present time the proprietor of
a large variety store, which he carries on with the aid of his sons.. In
1862 he erected a good brick store building, in which his business is now
located, and he also has a commodious residence on one of the beautiful
hills of Jackson, fronting on Court street.

In 1861 Mr. Freeman was married to Miss Georgia Anna Fritz, a native
of Baltimore, Maryland, and they had two sons, E. A. and C. W.. both born
in Jackson. The former is now a lawyer of his native city and the latter
is connected with his father in business. Mrs. Freeman died in 1869, and
on the 14th of February, 1875, Mr. Freeman was again married, his second
union being with Mattie Trowbridge, a native of California and the widow
of Edward Trowbridge. Her father, William Gilliland, was a native of
New York and in 1850 came to California, bringing with him his wife and
three daughters. These are Mrs. James. Taylor: Caroline, the wife of
Henry Bishop, who was a prominent early settler of Stockton; and Miss
Helen, now deceased. Mrs. Freeman had two children by her former mar-
riage : Lillie, now the wife of E. A. Freeman, her husband's eldest son;
and Edna, the wife of T. H. Peek, a resident of Jackson. Two children
have been born of the second marriage of our subject, Charles and Pearl,
the former now in his father's store and the latter in school.

For many years Mrs. Freeman has been a valued member of the Meth-
odist church. Mr. Freeman belongs to the Ancient Order of United Work-
men and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has passed all the
chairs in both branches of the latter organization and has frequently been
a representative to the grand lodge. In politics he is a Republican, but
has never been an aspirant for ofiice, preferring to devote his time and energies
to his business, in which he has met with creditable success. He has truly
won the proud American title of self-made man, for he entered upon
his business career wthout capital. Energy and indomitable perseverance
have been the stepping stones on which he has risen to a position of afflu-
ence. He is one of California's worthy and reliable citizens, and since early
pioneer days he has labored for the welfare of the state, proving especially


active in the upbuilding of the northern section. He is highly esteemed for
his integrity in all the walks of life and well deserves representation in
this volume.

Since the writing of this sketch the death angel has visited this house-
hold and claimed as his prey the life of our subject, his demise having occurred
June 9, 1900, after a long drawn-out siege of suffering from tuberculosis.
In his death the family have lost a kind and tender father and husband and
the county of Amador one of its most representative and highly esteemed
citizens. The past three years Mr. Freeman traveled considerably for his
health, visiting in New York and friends at his old home in Connecticut, but

Online LibraryChicago Standard Genealogical Publishing CompanyA Volume of memoirs and genealogy of representative citizens of northern California, including biographies of many of those who have passed away → online text (page 13 of 108)