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 21 of 108)
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ures, either partial or total. This is often due to the fact that the line of busi-
ness chosen is not adapted to the particular ability of the man, or else he fails
to recognize the fact that the present and not the future hf>lds his opportu-
nities. Many there are who, dazzled by alluring ])romises of the future, forget
the duties of the moment, and the advantages which are accorded them are
therefore lost. The greatest English poet that the world has ever known
wrote: "There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at its flood, leads
on to fortune:" but few realize when this favorable moment has come. War-
ren O. Bowers, however, is one who entered upon a business especially
adapted to his temperament and capability, and as a hotel man he is widely
known on the Pacific coast, and his friends are found throttghout the Union.
He has so guided and directed his business interests that to-dav he is luuu-


bered among- the wealthy residents of the capital city, and if indolence and
idleness were not so utterly foreign to his nature it would be possible for him
to put aside business cares and rest in the enjoyment of the fruits of his for-
mer toil.

Mr. Bowers was born in New Hampshire, April 26, 1838, and is a son
of Thomas and Betsey (Conerv) Bowers. His father died in October, 1857,
and his mother passed away in 1895. Their son Warren spent his boyhood
days in his native town of Nashua, New Hampshire, and to its public schools
was indebted for his. early educational pri\-ileges which he received. At the
age of sixteen he went to Xorthfield, Vermont, and entered the railroad shops
of the Vermont Central Railroad as an apprentice. On the completion of his
term he removed to W ilmington. North Carolina, where he made his home
during the war, engaged in railroading. When the strife between the north
and south was ended he was commissioned to go abroad, having in charge
the supervision of steamboat work in Europe for over a year, returning to
New York in 1867.

Air. Bowers then came to the Pacific coast and entered the employ of
the Southern Pacific Railroatl Company, and at a later date he engaged in
steamboating, spending three years in that way. When that period had passed
he returned to the Southern Pacific Company and continued with them until
1878, when he removed to Sacramento and became the proprietor of the
Union Hotel, on the corner of Second and K streets. His extensive acquain-
tance and his excellent business qualifications soon secured him a fair share of
public patronage. He was also connected with other business interests, hav-
ing become a half owner of the Capital Ale Vaults on J street, between Third
and Fourth streets. For about four years he continued that enterprise, and
then entered the hotel business. For five years he was the proprietor of the
Union Hotel, after which he rented the Golden Eagle and for many years con-
ducted there one of the finest hotels on the Pacific coast. It stands at the
corner of Seventh and K streets, and since the founding of the city has been
the site of one of Sacramento's hotels. In 1851 Dan Callahan erected there a
frame lodging house, making an annex of canvas, and upon the flaps of the
tent a man of jocular qualities, with a piece of charcoal, drew the figure of an
eagle with outspread wings and serious mien, and dubbed the place the Golden
Eagle Hotel, a name which has since been retained. It was Mr. Bowers, how-
ever, that brought the hotel up to a high standard of excellence. Progress
and improvement are salient elements in his character and he is not content with
stagnation in any business project with which he is connected. He began the
task of improving the Golden Eagle, and soon it became the leading hotel
of S?iCramento. Although of extensive proportions it was found incajiable of
entertaining the guests who applied for admission. The business and social
qualities of Air. Bowers rendered him very popular with the traveling ])ublic
and he conducted the hotel with marked success until at length he deter-
mined to retire from business. As a man of leisure, however, he is not a
success, and after a period of idleness, which grew \-ery bnrdensnme tn him,
he leased the Capital H(^tel, in August, 1899, and has since rcliUed it .-ukI has


raised to a high standard, even superior to that of the old Golden Eagle

His name is known to the traveling puhlic throughout this western sec-
tion of the United States, and those who seek tirst-class entertainment always
give their patronage to him on visiting Sacramento. Combined with sound
judgment, indefatigable energy and resolute ptn"pose. he displays charming
social qualities and a sincere interest in the welfare and comfort of his guests,
and to these qualities may be attributed his marked i)rosperity.


Richard Webb, a iircminent citizen and capitalist of Jackson. Amador
county, is a native of England, born in Oxfordshire on the ist of October,
1843. His p-a rents, Henry B. and Harriet (Flowers) Webb, were both na-
tives of England, whence they emigrated to Australia, taking with them their
family of seven children : and the father followed the blacksmith's trade dur-
ing his active business career. He is now in his ninety-sixtii year, but his
wife has passed away, her death ha\-ing occurred when she had attained the
age of eighty-three years. They were reared in the Episcopal church but
later became Methodists. Seven of the family are still living and all resi-
dents of Australia with the exception of our subject.

Richard Webb was only three years of age when his parents removed
to Australia. He was educated in Adelaide. South Australia, finishing in
the Congregational College at Melbourne, Victoria, with the intention of en-
tering the ministry. He began to preach when only sixteen years of age,
as a disciple of the Methodist faith and for a number of years was a very ac-
ceptable local minister. Before attaining his majority he learned the printer's
trade in Adelaide, and in his twenty-first year he became the editor of the
Northern Argus, in that colony. At length he determined to establish his
liome in America and in 1871 sailed from Xew South Wales to San Fran-
cisco, after which he worked on \arious newspapers in that city and in Sac-
ramento for about three years. In 1874 he went to Utah, where he estab-
lished a paper, but conducted it only three months. Subsequently he worked
in various newspaper ofifices in Salt Lake City, being for some time connected
with the Salt Lake Tribune, after which he went to Xew York. Six months
were passed in the eastern metropolis and at the end of this period he took
up his abode in Virginia City, and \\'innemucca. Nevada, where lie contin-
ued his journalistic work until his removal to Sutter Creek, Amador county,
where he began the publication of the Fort Hill Ensign, which he issued
for five months. In 1875 '1^ purchased a half interest in the .\mador Ledger,
took editorial charge and later became the sole proprietor, editor and ])ul>-
lisher. For seventeen years he continued his connection with that journal,
luitil selling out. in 1892. Two years later he became the owner of the Ama-
diir Republican, which he issued until 1898, when he .sold the paper anti plant
and retired from the journalistic field.

During bis Imig connection with newspa[)er \vc)rk in .\mador county


^fr. Wel)b wielded a putent iiiHuence for good, earnestly supporting every
measure which he believed would be a ])u1>lic benefit. He was very outspoken
on the side of justice and right, sparing neiiher high nor low when their
conduct was reprehensible. On one ocasion, when a number of robbers were
tried and acquitted, he was very severe in liis criticism (.m the court and for
this was arrested on the charge of contemjjt of court. At the trial he was
fined and imprisoned, hut appealed the case on habeas corpus and was ac-
(|nitte(l by the supreme court. Later he again severely criticised things which
he deemed wrong and was arrested and tried for libel, but was able to prove
that that which he had published was fact and again came ofif victorious be-
fore the court. His prosecution of course cost him some money, but during
the trial the subscriptions to the Ledger increased rapidly, and instead of
the arrests harming him they served but to build up the paper. As a jour-
nalist he was ever independent, fearless and true, and he espoused with the
same loyalty and strength any cause which he belie\-ed right. He has "al-
wa_\s been an active Republican, giving his aid and influence for the pro-
nKJtion of the party's interests. In 1892 he received the appointment of
I'nited States commissioner of Amador countw which office he holds at
the ])rosent time.

As a business man and financier Mr. Webb has met with very creditable
success and has become one of the large property-holders of the town. He
is the owner of the new National Hotel and built and owns the Webb Block,
one of the finest structures of the town, and he has two store buildings and
sexeral dwellings. He is also the owner of the Lode Hotel and the Pine
( irove Hotel, all in Amador county and good paying property. He is a man
of sound judgment in business affairs and his capable management has
brought to him creditable prosperity.

In 1877 -^Ii"- Webb was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jones, a na-
tive daughter of Jackson, and her father. Thomas Jones, was one of the first
settlers of the town. Mr. and Mrs. Webb enjoy the high regard of all who
know them. He is not connected with any sect or sticietv and is a materialist
in his \-ie\\s of life. His fearless conduct in what he believes to be right,
his fidelity to duty and his sterling worth commend him to the respect of all.


Of the educational interests of Placer county Professor Preston W.
Smith is a well known reiiresentative. Occupying the position of county
suiaerintendent of schools, his marked ability has gained him prestige in the
line of his chosen calling, and his influence in educational circles has been of
great benefit in promoting efficiency and raising the standard of the scho(ils
in this part of California. He is a man of strong mentalitv, of earnest purpose
and keen discrimination, and with a just appreciation of the importance of
intelligent training in early life he has devoted his efforts for many years to
the improvement of the schools of his native state.

Professor Smith was born in nutch I'lat, California. August 12. 1861.


His fatiier, Thomas R. Sinitli. came to the Pacific coast in 1850. He was a
nati\e of New York city and was of English lineage, his ancestors having
come to the new world at an early period in the development of New England,
making a settlement in Connecticut. The paternal grandfather of our sub-
ject served his country in the war of 1812. Thomas R. Smith, the Profes-
sor's father, married Miss Louisiana Fuller, a native of the state whose name
she bore, and a daughter of Jacob N. Fuller, a veteran of the Mexican war.
Mr. Smith came to California by the ocean route, making the voyage around
Cape Horn in a ship which a company of California pioneers had purchased and
fitted out for this particular purpose. After his arrival in San Francisco the
father of our subject made his way to Newcastle, where he engaged in mer-
chandising. Later he conducted a store at Iowa Hill, and he also employed
teams and was engaged in freighting. He purchased the Empire ranch and
Avas one of the first who, by practical experience, demonstrated the i)roductive-
ness of this soil in producing grain, hay and vegetables. He found a ready
market for his hay with the stage companies. Prices were high in those days,
flour sometimes bringing fifty dollars per sack, while other commodities were
proportionately high : but the miners had gold and spent their money freely.
In 1855 Thomas R. Smith was united in marriage to Miss Fuller, and they
became the parents of seven sons and five daughters, of whom four sons
and three daughters are still living. The father was a Presbyterian i.i
his religions faith, while his wife was identified with the Baptist church.
He was never an office seeker, but tlie cause of education found in him a
warm friend, and he rendered valuable service to his school district while
serving as school trustee for a number of years. Both he and his wife
are still living, at the ripe old age of eighty years, and are esteemed as
worthy ijioneer people and valued citizens, who through an honoralile
career have enjoyed the confidence and respect of all with whom they have
come in contact.

Professor Smith, their eldest sin-vi\-i;ig child. ac(|uire(l his preliminary
education in the public schools of California, and later supplemented his
early studies by a course in the Battle Creek College, of Battle Creek. Mich-
igan. He then began teaching in Dowagiac, Michigan. Subsequently
returning to California, he spent twelve years as a teacher in three different
towns of Placer county. • For five years he was the popular principal of the
Auburn schools, and his efforts resulted in raising the educational institu-
tions of that city to a high standard. In 1894 he was elected county superin-
tendent- of schools, and after filling the office with much ability for four
years he was re-elected, in 1898, for a second term, the citizens of the county
thus indicating their api)reciation of his faithful and valuable service.

Superintendent Smith is an enthusiast in liis profession, and as the
head of the Placer county schools he has introduced many improvements in
the courses of its study and the methods of teaching. .\11 the .schools of
the fifty-eight districts of the county are systematically graded and a record
of the scholarship of the pupils and samples of their work are kept in the
.superintendent's office. Through the influence of Superintendent Smith


many of the school grounds ha\-e been enlarged and ornamented with trees,
the school rooms made more convenient and decorated with appropriate
pictures, and improvements have been made in heating, lighting and ventil-
ating, the school buildings. Largely through his instrumentality the school
libraries have been filled with books suitable to the various ages of the pupils
and made more accessible and therefore more useful to the public. He
has also succeeded in placing the school districts on a good financial basis.
The books and records of his oflke have been kept so well and so system-
atically arranged that he has been very highly commended by all the county
experts who have examined the affairs of the office. He has also been instru-
mental in organizing reading circles among the teachers of the county,
which, with the teachers' institutes under his supervision, have been the
means of awakening much professional interest and enthusiasm. These
various lines of work ha\e resulted in great good, and the schools of Placer
county now take rank with the best puljlic institutions of the state.

Professor Smith is a stalwart l\e]iul)lic;in in politics, and as the candi-
date of that party he received a majority ui more than three hundred at each

In iSqi was celebrated the marriage of Preston W. Smith am! Sophia E.
Roelok, a native of Eldorado county and a daughter of George H. Roelok.
ex - supervisor of Eldorado county and a veteran of the Mexican war. Ti'cy
have two children, Mildred and Virgil Thomas. Before her marriage
Mrs. Smith was a successful teacher. She is a lady of marked culture and
refinement. ^Ir. Smith and his wife attend the Congregational church,
and she is a member of the Congregational Guild, and of the Order of the
Eastern Star. Mr. Smith is a past president of the Auburn Parlor of the
Nati\-e Sons of the Golden West. He also belongs to the Foresters, the
Knights of Pythias and to the Masonic fraternity. In the last named he is
now filling the position of senior deacon and in the others he has served as
the chief oftlcer. Mr. and Mrs. Smith have a beautiful home in Auburn and
take great delight in the cultivation of flowers and in improving their well
kept grounds. Their home is the center of a cultured society circle and its
social functions are greatly enjoyed by their many friends. In personal
appearance Mr. Smith is tall and he Is an excellent example of the sterling
type t)f California's native sons.


\\'illiam P. Peek, one of the early settlers of California, is a native of
the Green Mountain state, his birth having occurred in Bethel, on the nth
of March, 1828. The family is of English lineage on the paternal side and
of Irish descent on the maternal side. The great-grandfather of our subject
emigrated from England to .Vmerica at an early period in the history of the
country, taking up his residence in Vermont. John Peek, the father of our
subject, was horn in that state and was married there to Miss Lucretia
Lamb. In 1S37 he removed with his wife and seven children to Polo,


Ogle county, Illinois, becoming one of the pioneer settlers of that state.
He established his residence on a farm, where he resided until his death,
which occurred in the seventy-seventh year of his age. His wife passed
away in her sixty-fifth year. The farm is still in the possession of the family,
being owned by two of the sons, George and Frank Peek, and it is now a
desirable country property. One child was added to the family in Illinois,
and the eight sons and daughters are all yet living.

Mr. I'eek. of this review, was the second son and was only nine years
of age when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, and
was therefore reared amid the wild scenes of the frontier and experienced
all the hardships and trials that fall to the lot of those who establish homes
in a new district. He worked on the farm through the summer months
and during the winter season pursued his education in a primitive school
near his home. In 1852 he crossed the plains to Californra in search of
gold, leaving Council Bluffs on the 13th of April and arriving at Volcano,
in .\mador county, on the 13th of September, — that season of the year in
which the emigrants suffered so extensively with cholera; but the party with
which he traveled were not attacked by the disease, nor were they troubled
l)v Indian raids, making their five months' journey in safety to the place
of their destination. ' Mr. Peek first began teaming, hauling goods from
.Stockton to JMokelumne Hill. After following that occupation for a year he
opened a livery stable, having but one horse at first. He soon secured a
larger stock, however, and his business steadily grew, while in proportion
he increased his facilities.

After carrying on operations along that line for thirty years he came
to Jackson, in 1884, purchasing a half interest in a livery bu^ness here, and
conducted that enterprise for fourteen years. He then sold his interest to his
partner and in February, 1897, retired, after a connection of forty-four
years with that enterprise. He met witli creditable success in his under-
taking and is now the owner of a nice home in Jackson, together with twelve
acres of land which he has platted, laying it off in town lots, which are
fifty by one hundred feet. Each lot fronts on a street and has an alley fifteen
feet wide in the rear. He sells these lots for two hundred dollars each, and
upon a few of them good residences have already been erected. The land
is beautifully located on a hillside near the Imsiness center of the town and
is a \eiy valuable property.

In 1855 Mr. Peck returned tt) Polo. Illinois, to marry the lady whom
he had wooed ere he started for the west. Oil the 9th of September Miss
Sarah Allen became his wife, and she is still living, their happy married
life covering a period of forty-five years. The lady is a native of Ireland,
and during her childhood was taken by her ])arents to Illinois. Mr. Peek
brought his bride to his new home in California, and their union was blessed
with seven children, namely: \V. C. who died in infancy: Frank \\'ilson,
now the postmaster at Mokelumne Hill: Henry .\llen, a resident of Fresno,
California: Millie, John C. and Thomas .Mien, all at home; and .-Mice, the
wife of Harry Jones, a son of one of the prominent pioneer settlers of Jack-


S(in. Thev have a large farm and reside near her father. Mrs. Peek is a
member of the Presbyterian church and a lady of most estimable qualities.

Mr. Peek belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the
Legion of Honor, and has always been a stanch advocate of Republican
principles. At an early date he was elected one of the supervisors of Cala-
veras county and was also chosen to represent his district in the legislature,
being a member of the house during the sessions of 1873-4. He was fo'-
eleven years the efficient postmaster at Mokelumne Hill, and in those positions
discharged his duties with faithfulness and fidelity. Probably no man in
tliis section of the state has as wide an acquaintance, and certainly none is
held in higher regard, for his business career has ever been straightforward
and his private life has been true and honorable, commending him to the con-
fidence and regard of all with whom he has been associated. He is a citizen
of the highest respectability, and his identification with the interests of his
atinpted state have been of material benefit thereto.


Costantino C. Botto is now deceased, but many nf the residents of Sutter
Creek remember him as a most reliable and worthy citizen of Amador coun-
ty, who by his well spent life commanded the respect of his fellow men. He
was born "in Italy, near Genoa, in 1824, and was indebted to the schools of
his native land for the educational jirivileges he recei\-ed. He was tljere
married to Miss Theresa Grillo, and twn children blessed their union ere
their removal to the new world.

In 1858 Mr. Botto bade adieu to friends and home, coming to Cali-
fornia, where he met with good success in the placer mines and continued
in that business for five years, at the expiration of which time he opened a
boarding-house at Sutter Creek and also became a partner m the building of
a ditch to bring water to the mines. That enterprise proved very success-
ful and profitable. After some time he sold his interest therein to the Blue
Pake Water Company. Subsequently he dealt successfully in liquors for a
number of years, but in the meantime his father had died in Italy and he
returned to his native land, whence he brought his mother to California, car-
ing for her during her remaining days. In i860 he purchased forty acres
of land on Sutter Hill, a very desirable property, o\-erlooking the town of
Sutter Creek. Thereon he erected a fine residence, which he continued to
make his home until his death, which occurred in 1879, in the fifty-fifth
\-ear of his age. He had brought from his old home in Italy, Italian chestnut
and olive trees and Italian soft-shelled walnut trees, which he planted on his
ranch, meeting with success in the cultivation of those products. He hardly
knew what the word "failure" meant, for he jiossessed such determination
and energy that he carried forward to completion whatever he undertook.
Mr. Botto was a member of the Catholic church and his family are also
cnmmunicants of the same denomination.

His p-(hk1 wife still survi\-es him, at the age of si\t\ - nine years, and


slie and lier interesting- family reside at the old liDmestead. There were ten
children, oi whom five are yet living-, naniely : Anna, the wife of James
Bona: Louisa, at home; Emil, who is managing the farm and carrying on the
business; and Mary and Matilda, twins, the former the wife of Thomas Gor-
man, the latter the wife of Wilfred Dennis. Mr. Botto, the father, was a man of
generous impulses, purposeful and energetic, and he left to his family a com-
fortable property. His son, Emil, was born at the old home in Sutter Creek,
on the 28th of November. 1861, and is now successfully managing the es-
tate. The members of the family are all widely and favorably known in the
community and it is with pleasure that we present this record to the read-
ers of this volume.


When we take into consideration the qualities which tend to make a
successful lawyer, it can plainly be seen that advancement at the bar de-
pends not upon influence, environment or wealth, but upon individual merit,

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 21 of 108)