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

. (page 35 of 108)
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 35 of 108)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

lishment in his line in Colusa. He has at the same time given some atten-
tion to farming and grain dealing. The word discouragement seems to
find no jilace in his business vocabularv, and by continued effort and bv


closely following the golden rule he has won a very handsome competence
of which he is well deserving.

Mr. Peart was united in marriage December ii, 1872, to Miss Clara
H. Graham, a <laughter of Edwin R. and Asenath L. (Stanton) Graham.
Her grandparents were James and Sarah (Stickney) Graham. The for-
mer was born and reared near Fort Patrick, Scotland, and died in Ham-
ilton county, Ohio. By occupation he was a school-teacher. His wife was
born in Concord, Massachusetts, and died in Illinois. Edwin R. Graham,
their son, was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, on the 19th of June, 1827,
and devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits throughout his business
career and died on the 4th of November, 1896, in Colusa county, Cali-
fornia. His wife was born April 5, 1834, in Chardon, Geauga county,
Ohio, and was a daughter of Joseph and Clarissa (Griffin) Stanton. His
father, John Stanton, was of Welsh lineage, as was his wife. Joseph Stan-
ton was born in Madison county, New York, July 16, 1772, and was a
machinist by trade. He served in the war of 1812, under the command of
Captain Leroy Brown, of New York, and his death occurred in Illinois,
at the age of sixty-four years. His wife was born in Middletown, Middle-
sex county, Connecticut, September 10, 1829, and died in Colusa county,
California, November 4, 1881. Her parents were Samuel and Anne (Whea-
ton) Griffin, the former a native of England and the latter of Connecticut.
Unto Air. and Mrs. Peart have been born the following children : Emma
C, Cora G. and Eulah M.

Mr. Peart gives his political support to tiie Democracy, but is not a
bitter partisan, much preferring to deposit his ballot for a good Republican
than a man of his own party who is not worthy of the public trust. Jie
has always declined to accept public office himself, except that he has served
as postmaster. He has established the post-office at Leesville and filled the
position there until he resigned. He also established the post-office at
Grimes, Colusa county, and there filled the office of postmaster until he
handed in his resignation. He is now, by appointment of the state, a direc-
tor in agricultural district No. 44, which district he organized. Socially
he is connected witli the Order of Friends, and his wife and children are
members of the Christian church. Tilirough a long period Mr. Peart has
been identified with the development of Colusa county, and his name there-
fore is inseparably interwoven with its history. The wonderful upbuilding
of the golden state is due to such men, — men of enterprise, sagacity, sound
judgment and rare discrimination, wlio.>;e methods are practical and whose
])lans are comprehensive and far-reaching.


George Fisher, of Drytown, dates his residence in Cilifornia from
1851. The Teutonic race has been a wonderful factor in the civilization
of the world, sending its representatives into England when that land was
in a half barbaric condition, into Denmark and" to some extent into the


countries .to the south ; and at a later date many of the people belonging
to that race crossed the Atlantic to America, forming an important ele-
ment in our civilization. Each year brings new arri\'als frnm the Father-
land, and among those who came in the nmeteenth century is C leorge Fisher,
who for many years has been numbered among the honored citizens of
northern California, — a man whose active and upright life has won him the
respect of all. He arrived in this state at a time when the population was
mostly made up of miners, many of whom were men of good business
ability and of upright character who had come here in search of fortune.
Intermingled with these, however, there was a large lawless element whose
purpose in seeking the west was an unworthy one, deeds of crime and
violence were frequent and it required the energetic and prompt effort of
such citizens as Mr. Fisher to maintain order and establish justice.

Mr. Fisher was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, on the 28th of Janu-
ary, 1 819. His father, Joseph Fisher, left that land for the United States,
accompanied by his wife and seven sons; but Mrs. Fisher died in Holland
before their embarkation and the father's death occurred in New York city,
in his fifty-fifth year. All of the sons have now passed away with the excep-
tion of him whose name introduces this review. From his sixth to his
eleventh year he attended school in his native land and then came to the
United States, after which he further pursued his studies in the night
schools of New York city. His father caused him to learn the barber's
trade, but it was so distasteful to him that he never followed it to any
extent. He was for a time employed as a drayman, hauling goods for an
iron manufactory in New York city.

Subsequently he entered the employ of Mr. Bell, a prominent ship-
builder, who secured him a position as fireman on board a ship bound for
California. Off the coast of Brazil they encountered severe storms, the
vessel leaked badly, was condemned and returned to New York. After
being repaired she started out on another voyage, but Mr. Fisher refused
to go, as he deemed the craft unseaworthy. She was again stopped at
Rio Janeiro and abandoned on account of her unsafe condition. Mr. Fisher
next shipped on the Cherokee, bound for Panama, expecting on his arrival
to secure a pass across the isthmus; but the other firemen were all ill and
in consequence he again returned to New York. After reaching that har-
bor, the Cherokee was sold to a company making a voyage to New Orleans.
At that time a new ship was being completed for a California voyage and
Mr. Fisher was introduced to the chief engineer, by whom he was employed
as fireman. When the vessel was ready to start five hundred men were
anxious to get a chance to work their passage in order to reach the Pacific
coast. He received thirty dollars per month during the early part of the
voyage and after leaving Panama he was paid seventy-five dollars per
month. He had previously been married but had lost his wife, who died
leaving two children. They remained in New York, while the father came
to California. One daughter, Frances, is now the wife of Thomas Miller,
of Rochester, in that state.


Mr. Fislit-r carricil witli him letters of intnxluction to prominent busi-
ness men of San Francisco, ulio secured him a position as drayman there;
Init lie was anxiijus to reach the mines and made his way to the Cosumnes
river. He mined on Big Bar, but that proved an unprofitable camp, he
making only about three dollars per day. The following spring he was the
IKJsscssor of* a capital of about eight hundred dollars. He then joined a
number of other men who were engaged in turning the river out of its
channel, but after spending much time and labor there the venture proved
a failure and he then went to Polkeville, now Plymouth, Amador county.
-\fter mining there for a short time he continued on his way to Taylor
Gulch on Ury creek, where he successfully mined for a time, he and his
partners taking out eighty dollars there in one day and securing other val-
uable nuggets, .\bout the same time he mined on Dry creek and each of
the partners took out eight hundred dollars in the winter of 1854. On
his claim on the creek below the town Mr. Fisher secured on an average
lialf an. ounce per day for three or four months, so that the place proved
profitable. \\'i.ser than many of his companions, he saved his money, and
though he had reverses at times, as most of the miners did, he was gen-
erally successful and had thus accumulated some good capital.

The traveler who to-day passes through the beautiful valleys and thriv-
ing mining towns of California can scarcely realize the condition of things
that e.xisled only thirty, forty, or fifty years ago. On one occasion it was
di.scovercd that twenty-five or thirty armed Mexicans had gone to the lower
rancheria and ordered sup])lies. An old man made his way from the ranch
to the town and told of the arrival of the Mexicans and said they were
robbers, bent on mischief, and probably would attempt to rob the town.
T'he de])uty sheritifs. George Durham and Henry Herring, began to make
preparations for a fight without telling the citizens what they were doing
or that danger was imminent. They then went to the rancheria to try to
arrest the twenty-five men; and as they approached the house the Mexicans
.slipped out the back way: several shots were exchanged, but the Mexicans
managed to make their escape. The firing occasioned great surprise to the
|ieipplc in the town, and soon afterward the Mexicans came down, built a
fire an<l camjjcd on the hill above the town. Mr. Fisher, Bob Casner and
Dick Lanny ])roposed to the deputies to make up a party to go to the ranch-
eria to protect the people: but the deputies only laughed at' the idea. The
townsmen, however, continued to agitate the question and appointed one of
the deputy sherififs to lead them to the i)lace where the Mexicans were sup-
pose<l to be. The delay of the deinities. however, gave the Mexicans the
opporttmity which they wished. They had gone back to the rancheria and
killcil six peojjle, including Mr. Francis, the owner of the store there, after
which they had stolen all the money that had been deposited bv the miners,
tr. the amount of about ten thousand dollars. Mr. Fisher and eleven com-
l.nninns arriving on the scene too late: the dead and dving people proved n
sit'lit most appalling. The merchant. Francis, was a powerful man and had a rlcsperalc fight, having been stabbed thirtv-three times. They found


Mrs. Diming stabbed and dying in the yard, and lier little child there with
her ! Mr. Fisher and the others succeeded in getting her to bed, but she
soon after expired. Several bands of settlers went out in search of the
desperadoes and a number of the Mexicans were caught and hung on the
limbs of the tree under which Mr. Francis had been found dying.

When trying to arrest some of the Mexicans in Sonora, the sheriff of
Phoenix was shot by two men, who, however, were afterward caught,
broug'ht back and hung. Such were the scenes all too common in those
early days, but righteousness at length prevailed as the result of the efforts
of the better element and the work of ci\-ilization and progress has been car-
ried forward so steadily and rapidly that California ranks to-day among
the leading commonwealths of the Union.

In 1856 Mr. Fisher was engaged in driving a team used in hauling
goods from Sacramento. Later, however, he resumed mining at Forest
Home, and after taking out two thousand dollars sold his claim, for twenty-
five hundred dollars. In 1857 he returned to Drytown, where he spent the
winter, and in April, 1858, he went to New York city, where he remained
for a year. He then again returned to California.

At the time of the Fraser river excitement, some friends wished him
to go to the new gold fields, and he decided to do so; but circumstances
led him to change his mind and it proved very fortunate that he did. He
continued his mining operations in this section of the state until i860, when
he once more went to New York, remaining for two )'ears, during which
time he was induced to engage in the stock business, buying cattle for the
New York market. He hired a man who was supposed to be a good judge
of stock, and they purchased three hundred head, which they s'hipped to
New York, after which the man got drunk, leaving Mr. Fisher to manage
the rest of the deal alone. Being inexperienced, 'he was able to get back
only the money which he had invested. He was in New York at the time
Lincoln passed through on his way to Washington to be inaup^urated. but the
president-elect traveled quietly with only a few friends and there was no excite-
ment attached to his arrival or departure. Mr. Fisher also saw the first seventy-
five thousand volunteers as they marched from New York to Washington.
It was an inspiring sight and manifested to those who saw it the loyal
spirit of the north.

Not long afterward ]\Ir. Fisher returned to California, where he con-
tinued his mining operations. During the war times there was great excite-
ment in Amador county, the feeling being very high between the friends
and opponents of the Union. Mr. Fisher arrayed himself on the side of
the national government and was active and prominent in his efforts in
keeping the secession element in check and thus holding California in the
Union. He joined a company of one hundred Union men formed for self-
preservation and it was through the efforts of such loyal citizens that the
state was retained as one of the northern commonwealths. At the time of
the election he took a prominent part in electing the Republican candidate
for sheriff, and was afterward appointed deputy, in which position he per-


formed imix-rtant service, discharging many of the duties of the office
tlirough.rtit tlie county. Thus lie ac(iuired a very wide and favorable
ac(iuaintancc. He returned to his mining operations, and in 1871, when
working on the Oneida mine, was again appointed deputy sheriff, being
very active and capable in arresting the criminals and law-breakers who at
that time infested the county. His political support has ever been given
to the Kcpublican party, and he is most earnest in his advocacy of its prin-
ciples. During all the" years he continued his connection with the mining
interests, ami for the iwst twelve years has been an extensive stockholiler
in various (|uartz-mining properties in Amador county. His business affairs
have been nianagctl so capably that he is now the possessor of a handsome
competence, which will be enjoyed by his daughter and her children.

In iSOi. while on a visit to the east. Mr. Fisher was united in mar-
riage to Miss Catherine Tooms, who came witii him to California in 1863,
and was to him a faithful helpmeet in life's journey until her death in
1891. For eighteen years Mr. Fisher has made his residence in Jackson.
I'ew men are iietter known in Amador county, where his reliable and
iipriglu life has commended him to the confidence and good will of all. His
life history is a link connecting the and present of California and as
one of its pioneers his name is deeply engraved on its history. He is uni-
formly honored and esteemed and his record is one which reflects credit
to himself and does honor to the commonwealth in whose progress and
welfare he is so deeply concerned.


"Forty-niners" are not numerous in California at this time, but this title
Iwlongs to Benjamin Franklin Butterfield, of Jamestown, Tuolumne county,
s<ime account of whose eventful career it will be attempted here to give.

Mr. Butterfield was born in Gofftown, Xew Hampshire, July 24, 181 7,
an<l is descended from colonial ancestors. His father, also named Benjamin
l-"rankliu Butterfield. was born in Xew Hampshire, March 29, 1782, and mai-
ried L)<illy Maria Barron, who was born in that state July 14, 1785, and died
there .>-ome years after her marriage. The elder Butterfield was a farmer and
somewhat late in life solil out his agricultural interests and removed to Bos-
ton, where he died at the ripe age of seventy-eight years. Of the eight chil-
ilrcn <jf Benjamin Franklin and Dolly Maria (Barron) Butterfield, only two are
living at this time.

Benjamin Franklin Butterfield, the subject of this sketch, was educated in
the public schools of his native state and early became a clerk in a store, where
he ac(|uircd a general knowledge of busine'ss. His business took him to
Xew (Orleans. Louisiana, after the discovery o\ gyild in California, and there
he heard full details of the gohl excitement up to that time. He was of an
adventurous turn of mind and developed from a clerk to a navigator on
<■•:■ LK.ii ml.Mi.l i.!l:.v :m,i i,is life has been full of hard work and interesting
"ic money and he decided to seek more wealth in Cali-


fornia. He paid al)(jut two liundred d(jllai-s for passage on tlie California, on
her first trip to the land of gold, and arrived at San Francisco, California, Feb-
ruary 28, 1849, "^'^'ith about five hundred dollars in cash and a determination
to succeed if success should be possible. He was unaccompanied by anj- rela-
tive or friend and was truly a stranger in a strang-e land. With his eyes turned
toward the gold field, he cam? direct to Jamestown from San Francisco and
has lived there continuously ever since, during a period of fifty-one years, and
has won a reputation as an honorable and successful business man.

On board the California Mr. Butterfield made the acquaintance of a young
man named Erastus Sparrow, from Buffalo, New York, and they came on from
San Francisco to Jamestown together. From San I-'ranciscn they came up the
river to Stockton and they "packed" their belongins^s fmm .Stockton to Mur-
phy's and Angel's. When they arrived at the Stanislaus ri\er they found it too
much swollen to cross, and as the wet season was on and there was no prospect
that it would soon be any lower, they found it necessary to devise some means
of getting to the opposite sin ire. With this purpose in view, they utilized a rub-
ber bed which they carried, by filling it w ith air and placing slats under it as a
partial .support. On this raft, sm oddly cnnstructed, they loaded their property
and made a safe passage t<i the nther side. Others, observing their success,
ofl:"ered to pay them for their a->istancc in crossing the stream, and Mr. But-
terfield was paid one and two dnllars by others wdiom he helped over the river.
With the rubber be;d as his stock in trade he ran a ferry there for some, and
afterward sold the bed to another enteri)rising pilgrim for one hundred dollars,
and he states that the purchaser made money with it also ! He has seen nails
sold for one dollar each, and once saw three dollars paid for a paper of tacks !

His first day as a miner is fresh in his memory. He states that he made
a little hole in the bed of the creek with his shovel and in a few hours panned out
nearly an ounce of gold. He and Sparrow opened a supply store in a tent and
paid a man an ounce of gold per day to assist them, and at the end of the year
the fellow had so much gold that he was spoiled for work and left their ser-
vice. Mr. Butterfield's first permanent store was located an eighth of a mile
down the river bank from his present location. After he had acquired a good
property and was thinking of selling out and going to some other point, nearly
everything he owned was destroyed by fire and he found himself confronted
with the necessity of practically beginning life anew. This he could do at
Jamestown, wdiere he had won an e-\cellent Imsiness reputation, better than
among strangers, and he remained and has been one of the leading men of the
town to this day.

In 1856 ]\Ir. Butterfield returned east and was married October ist of that
year, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, t(j Miss A. M. Currier, who came back
with him to California, by way of the isthmus of Panama, and they have had
six children, as follows: Frankland Francisco, Sparrow R. F., Benjamin K.
Grogan, Annie B., Minnie R. and Gay Heber. Annie B. died March 16, 1897,
aged thirty-one years. Frankland Francisco is the efficient local agent of the
Wells-Fargo Express Company. Sparrow R. F. is the postmaster at James-
town and is filling the office to the entire satisfaction of his fellow citizens. Mr.


,,„, , -urvivius (laughter has charge of his store, wliich slie manages

111 a manner that indicates tiiat she possesses remarkal)le business abiUty. Mrs.
Kuttcrlield is still spared to her husband and family and is one of the honored
pioneer nv.thers of the state. Often referred to by his friends as a "grand
• lid pioneer." Mr. Butterfield is living retired from active business and occupies
a place high in the esteem of all who know him. He is a stanch Republican
and was for twenty-tive years the postmaster of Jamestown, where he was until
liis retirement the leading business man. A believer in the teachings of Christ,
tile motto bv which he has shaped his life has been "do right." and he has always
accorde(l to his fellow men the consideration for their interests required by
tlie "golden rule."


] iiu >i.iiy of pioneer life has ever proved a tale of tlirilling interest, often
rivaling in dramatic action any episode upon the stage, while deeds of heroism
and valor have been no more commendable, even if more frequent, upon the
field of battle. It requires great courage and patient endurance to leave com-
fortal)le homes in a long settled community and face the hardships of life on
the frontier, deprived of many of the conveniences and privileges known to
the okler settlements : but a resolute band of men came to the Pacific coast, and
this section of the country now rivals in its ad\antages. privileges and improve-
ments the older east.

The late Dr. Coombs was one of the early residents in this section of the
Union, and was a witness to the greater part of the growth and upbuilding of
the Golden state. He was born in Lexington. Kentucky, June 6, 1829. His
father, the Rev. Isaac Coombs, was a native of Virginia, resided in Maryland
for some years, and later in Pennsylvania. .Among his ancestors were those
connected with the Revolutionary struggle and the war of 181 2. His wife
Ixire the maiden name of Elizabeth A. Forney and was a native of Pennsylvania.
where her ancestors had resided for many generations. The Rev. Isaac Coombs
and his wife had three children, and the parents are now deceased. Dr.
Coombs, the eldest child, was reared and educated in Chambersburg, Pennsyl-
vania, where he began his professional study under the preceptorship of Dr.
John Burklialter. He (mr.sued his first course of lectures in the medical depart-
ment of Washington l"niversity. and was graduated in medicine and surgery
in I S3 1. For four years thereafter he was connected with the regular armv
as surgeon and assigned to duty with the First United States Rifles. In 1854
he resigned, locating in Cor\ailis. Oregon, where he remained for ten vears.
During the war of the rebellion he served as assistant surgeon in the United
States medical department, being located at Fort Vamhilf and at Fort Hos-
kins. between the years 1862 and 1865.

Retiring from the army. Dr. Coombs located in Portland, where he
remained f..r one year, and in 1866 came to Grass X'allev. where he i^rac-
lu-eil during the rest of his life. He always kept abreast with the advances
made in meilical science throughout the intervening years, and his knowledge


of medicine was comprehensive and profouml. His marked skill and al)ility
was the means of securing to him a very liberal patronage, and his success was
well deserved.

December 4, 1855, in Polk county, Oregon, occurred the marriage of Dr.
Coombs and Miss Sarah H. Chamberlain, a native of Michigan and a daughter
of Aaron Chamberlain, who crossed the plains to Oregon in 1844. They had
four children, namely: Aaron L., Manlie W., Elizabeth A., the widow of
George ^^'. Fleming, and Jessie, the wife of Charles E. Fleming, of Nevada
county. Dr. Coombs was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows
and the Improved Order of Red Men. He had a wide accj[uaintance throughout
northern California and was highly respected as a successful business man of
integrity and ability. For a cjuarter of a century he resided in Grass Valley
and enjoyed the warm regard of his fellow men by reason of his possession of
those sterling traits of character which in every land and in every clime com-
mands admiration and regard. July 4, 1900, he passed away, after a short
illness, leaving his family and a host of friends to mourn his demise.


It is of the greatest importance that the public offices be filled with men
who are trustw(.)rthy, efficient and rclial)le. The perpetuity and welfare of the
nation depends upon the honoraljle Ijusiness integrity and executi\'e ability of
its officials, and as the nation is but the aggregate of the various communities
it is necessary that each separate state and county be represented in its official

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 35 of 108)