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 37 of 108)
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of the great commonwealth which borders for so many miles the Pacific ocean.
Its advancement has been remarkable, and its present advanced position is dne
to such men as Mr. Lawson, who at all times has been a loyal citizen, faithful
to the interests of his stale and activel}- interested in its progress and upbuild-
ing. His business career covers many years and was one of industry and dili-
gence, but to-day he is living retired, enjoying the fruits of his former toil.
His name is endearingly inscribed among the honored pioneers of California,
and no history of Sacramento county would be complete without the record of
his life.

]\Ir. Lawson was born in Xew York cit}-, August 17, 1829. His father,
Martin I. Lawson, was a ship carpenter by trade, and was descended from
Holland ancestry, who w^ere among the first settlers of New Amsterdam. He
spent the last years of his life in Ulster county, where he died about 1856, at
the very advanced age of one hundred and six years and seven montlis. His
wife bore the maiden name of Hannah Linas, and was a native of Ulster coun-
ty and a representative of one of the oldest families of the Empire state. She
died in December, 1849, i" her fifty-ninth year.

Powell S. Lawson, whose name heads this review, was reared in the
American metropolis, and is indebted to its public-school system for the edu-
cational privileges he enjoyed. In his youth he served an apprenticeship as a
tinsmith, coppersmith and sheet-iron worker with Charles Zimmerman, at No.
232 Hudson street, remaining with him until nineteen years of age, when he
became an expert w^orkman and \vas employed as a journeyman. His time
w-as thus occupied until the discovery of gold in California, when, anxious to
rapidly secure a fortune, if possible, he determined to proceed to the scene
where the precious metal was supposed to be found in abundance. Early in
1849 a party was organized for this purpose, and with seventy others started
for the* Pacific coast on the bark Galindo, which the party purchased and
W'hich weighed anchor in the New York harbor on the 7th of April. The
voyage proved to be a very pleasant one until they reached the mouth of the
Amazon river, when they encountered a gale. However, they continued
on their way to Gape Horn, where they lay for thirty-two days under close-
reefed sails, while the vessel was one mass of ice! During two weeks of this
time they had no fire even to cook their food with ! When the storm sub-
sided they resumed their voyage, but the rudder head was bursted and they
had to steer by a .spar from the stern of the vessel. Reaching Valparaiso,
liowever, the necessary repairs were made and the journey was continued
to San Francisco, arriving at the Golden Gate on the 22d of November, 1849.

I\Ir. Lawson secured w'ork at his trade in the employ of H. Selby &
Company, who had a little shop in the alley between Sacramento, California,,
Kearney and Dupont streets. He remained there until March, 1850, making-
from thirty to forty-five dollars a day. In the spring, however, as a passen-
ger on the propeller McKim, he made his w'ay to Sacramento, and a few
days later proceeded to IMarysville, being introduced on the way to General
Sutter, at the latter's farm. At ^Marysville he secured an ox team. and,,
accompanied by John Kehoe, he went to the south fork of the Feather river,.


wiKic i.c ..i.ta;nc(l a mining claim two miles below Stringtown. They dug
a long ilitcli anil began mining. Mr. Lawson here dug out his first gold,
liis find weighing seventy-three cents. The party mining next below them
backed the water upon them and rendered their venture unsuccessful.

On tiie 3d of Inly. 1850, Mr. Lawson started for Nelson's creek, where
he mined with fair success until .August 20, when he went to Orioi;
valley. The first night he camped there was the most memorable one of his
life. ' A terrible storm came up, it was bitter cold and in the morning eighteen
inches of snow covered the ground. Leaving that place he went to Long on Feather river, and then to Smith's Bar. where he was engaged in
searching for the precious metal until February. In that month he and
his.comjjanion went to Rich Bar. on the north fork of Feather river, and
soon after their arrival a heavy snow-storm occurred, and as their supplies
gave out they made the attempt to reach Lassen's ranch in order to get flour.
Starting early in the' morning they reached the mountain top by night and
there encamped, resuming their journey in the morning. There was a heavy
crust on the snow and it was necessary to get a trail down the mountains in
order that the mules might get through. Only a portion of them were taken
at first, and when the bench of the mountain was reached a halt was made
and the animals tied for safe keeping while the men returned for those left
liehind at the camp. On arriving there it was found that one was missing,
hut a search revealed the fact that it was lying on the side of the mountain
against a log. In order to release the animal it was found necessary to
cut down a sapling and let the log roll aw-ay. This was done, Mr. Law-son
having hold of the rope to keep the animal from sliding down the mountain
;.!c. This i)roved only partially effectual, for the animal slipped for about
ii\c yards and was finally stopped with its feet in the air by two pack, saddles
upon its back. This delay made it almost night, when the party again
reacheil the bench where the other animals had been tied and therefore the\-
were forced to wait until morning to resume their journey. On reaching
the north fork of the Feather river it was found that the bridges were washed
awa\' and that they could not get across; so they returned to Rich Bar and
a few days later to Long Bar.

From that point Mr. Lawson proceeded to Marysville. thence to Sacra-
mento, on to Stockton and from there to Smith's Ferry, on Merced river..
At the latter point he engaged in mining for two weeks, after which he
|)rncecded t.. Flyaway Gulch, seven miles from Coulterville, where he and
his cnmpanii.n struck a claim which they worked a month by means of a
rocker, securing on an average twenty-two dollars per day, each. At the
lime of the Kern river excitement Mr. Lawson started for the new gold
fields, in June, 1851, but on the first of August returned to Pleasant Vallev on
the Merced river, working on the river and in the gulches until September.
I S3 J. That ended his mining exjierience, and for a" number of vears there-
after he was prominently connected with the industrial intere"sts of San

Making his way t<> that city in September. 1852, he entered into part-


nership with Joseph Vaile in the roofing business, being thns engaged until
February, 1854, when he returned to the east. In June of the same year,
however, he again started for Cahfornia, making the trip by the way of tiie
isthmus. He engaged in business for himself in San Francisco until the
first of January, 1855, whein he went to Mariposa, and in July came to Sacra-
mento, but later again went to San Francisco. In August he proceeded to
Shasta, where he followed mining until April, 1859, when, returning to this
city, he entered into partnership with George Boehme, in the metal-roofing
business. After eleven years this partnership was dissolved and Mr. Lawson
carried on business alone until, having acc|uired a handsome competence, he
retired to private life.

On the 5th of October, 1862, was celebrated the marriage of our subject
and Miss Alice Carrington, who died in 1882. Two children were born of
their union: May Frances, who died at the age of six years; and Alice Belle,
the wife of L. H. Drew, by whom she has a son, Powell. Mr. Lawson was
again married, his second union being with Hannah Towner. For forty
years he has been a member of the Masonic fraternity, having joined Sac-
ramento Lodge in December, 1859. The following year he became a member
of the Ro3-al Arch Chapter and of Sacramento Coimcil, and in 1865 was
created a Knight Templar in Sacramento Commandery. In 1868 he took
the degrees of the Scottish rite and became a member of the grand council.
He also belongs to Sacramento Lodge, No. 2, I. O. O. F., and the Occi-
dental Encam]:)ment. He is a member of the A. O. U. \\'.. the Knights of
Honor and the Knights and Ladies of Honor. In the days of the volun-
teer fire department he was a member of the Knickerbocker Company and
its president for five years, while at one time he was also the president of
the Exempt Firemen's Association. He joined the Society of California
Pioneers, in December, 1859, and has since been one of its most active
and honored representatives and has filled the office of president thereof.
In early life his political support was given to the Democracy, but since 186 r
he has been a stalwart Republican. His attention, however, has never been
attracted by office-seeking, as he has ever preferred to devote his energies
to his business interests, in which he met with very creditable success. He
sustained an unassailable reputation in commercial circles, and by his dili-
gence, enterprise and perseverance he won a handsome competence. In all
life's relations he has been true to the duties that devoK'ed upon him. and his
example is in many respects well worthy of emulation.


The story of the "Argonauts of '49" will never grow old, and stories of
that time, celel^rated in prose and verse, are read with eager interest by the
younger generation. The father of the subject of the present sketch belonged
to that great army that crossed the plains in 1849 to search for gold, succeed-
ing sometimes but enduring many discouragements also, and, like many another
poor miner, lost the results of his labors in other speculation. Finallv he


opened Robinson's Ferry, in Calaveras county, California, continuing its con-
tluct until the time of liis death, on the I2th of March, 1895. He had been a
man of affairs in his county, for nine years having been supervisor and on
account of liis ability possessing great influence thrcjughout the neighborhood.

Our subject, Carlton H. Wood, was born at Robinson's Ferry, Calaveras
county, California, October 26, 1867, a son of Harvey Wood, who was born
in the state of New York in 1829. The mother of Mr. Wood was named
Marinda (Gee) Wood, a native of Massachusetts, who came early to California
and still lives in her old home in the Golden state, beloved and respected by all.
Three children were born. — Percy F., Allie G. and Carlton H.

Mr. Wood was the recipient of a good education at his home and then
engaged to some extent in quartz-mining. For a period of eight years he lias
most efficiently assisted in the store of Mr. Robert Rasmussen. of Angel's Camp,
clerking and acting as salesman and also attending to the express business of
Wells. Fargo & Company. He is very happily married, his wife formerly bear-
ing the name of Miss Elizabeth Snow, the daughter of James Snow, a pioneer
of California. She has been reared and educated in the state, and possesses
many graces of mind and character, both she and her husband enjoying the
esteem of hosts of friends. ]\Ir. Wood resides at Angel's Camp, although the
family still owns the Robinson's Ferry property. Socially. ^Nlr. \\'ood belongs
to the Knights of Pythias, taking a great interest in its meetings and the aims
for which the organization was started.


\\illiam Jennings is numbcreil among the California pioneers who came
to the Pacific coast in 1849. the year before the admission of the state into
the Union. He is a native of Ohio, born in Milan, Erie county, on the
i6th of December. 1825. and is of English and German lineage, the pro-
genitors of the family having been early settlers in Connecticut. His grand-
father, Isaac Jennings, was a sea captain ruid was lost on one of his voy-
ages. His son, Seth Jennings, the father of our subject, was born in Con-
necticut and married ]\Iiss Emily KJine, a native of Westchester county,
Xew "S'ork. and had removed to Ohio in 1822. and her parents had been
early settlers of Erie countv. where thgy secured and developed a farm, assist-
ing in the work of progress and reform in the \\^estern Reserve; and ]\Ir.
Jennings also secured a wild tract of land, which he transformed into a
rich and valuable farm. Both he and his wife reached the advanced age
of eighty-four years and were people of sterling worth in the community
in which they made their home. In public affairs the father took an active
part, was postmaster and justice of the peace, was a man of great rectitude
I'f character and his g(-KHl judgment made him a leader among his fellow
t<iwii?mcn. In the familv were three children. — two yet living" — John and
Willinm. ■ ^ ■

The latter was reared to manhood in his native town, and through the
-summer months he was a sailor on the lakes, while in the winter season he
pursued his education in the little yellow school-house in the neighborhood,


also working in the ship-yards; but the discover}- of gold in CaHfornia
aroused a spirit of adventure within him, and, determning to try his for-
tune by going to the Pacific slope, he left his Ohio home on the 2Sth of
March, 1849. proceeding by tram to Cincinnati, where, in connection with
others, he chartered the steamer John Hancock *to take the party to St.
Joseph. Missouri. On the ist of April. 1849, "^"^'ith a train of one hundred
and forty wagons, they started on the long journey across the arid plains,
but the first day out they discovered that so large a part}"- could not travel
to good ad\-antage and the train was divided. On the fifth day a second'
division was made and with his section Mr. Jennings continued the journey,
which was made by way of Fort Hall, down the Snake river and up Goose
lake to the Humboldt river, at length arriving safely at Weavertown.

Mr. Jennings engaged in mining at Cold Springs and made some money
at that place. In the spring of 1850 he went to the north fork of the
American river, where he lost all that he had earned, after which he returned
to Cold Springs, where he again met with creditable success in his mining
ventures. Later he removed to Jackson, then in Calaveras county, where
he successfully operated in the mines until the spring of 1851, when he
went to San Francisco and thence to Feather river, but continued his min-
ing operations on Xelson creek, with poor success, however. Accordingly
lie went to IMarysville, where he borrowed monej^ and then proceeded to
the Yuba country, dexoting his energies to "mining on Bullard's Bar, where
he and two companions secured twenty-four hundred dollars. In the fall
he returned to Jackson, secured a position in a hotel there, where he acted
as clerk, waited on the table, made the beds and did every kind of
work that was needed. Subsec|uently he rented the hotel, which he con-
ducted for six months, after which he purchased the old French Hotel bar
and billiard room, whicl* he conducted for five years, with profit. On
the expiration of that period he engaged in farming on ■\\'illcnv creek,
purchasing a claim of three hundred and twenty acres, which he cultivated
for .some time, also giving his energies to stock-raising. In 1864 he came
to Drytown, where he was elected a supervisor of the county and served'
for three years, after which he was elected county treasurer, which import-
ant" office he capably filled for eight }-ears. He discharged his duties in a
manner highly satisfactory, making an enviable reputation as a reliable and
obliging public official. In 1871 he opened a grocery and pro-vision store
in Drytown, which he conducted until 1894. The following year he opened
his saloon, in which he is now doing business.

Mr. Jennings was happily married, in 1854. to Miss Ann Maria Dill,
and to them were born four children : William Seth. who died in his thirtieth
year; George Choat. a mining man of Drytown; Mary Kate, the wife of
A\'illiam Coyle; and Frank W., who is living in Portland, Oregon. Mrs.
Jennings died in 1890, in the sixty-fourth year of her age. Mr. Jennings
is a member of the ^Masonic fraternity, having taken the initial degree in
Drytown Lodge. No. 174. F. & A. M.. in 1867. He is past master in the
lodge and is also a Roval Arch Mason. In politics he has been a lifelong


Republican. He belongs to the Pioneer Societ^v of Sacramento and he and
John G. Norton, of Toledo. Ohio, are the two members now living of the
party of twelve who started with him to California.


Daniel T. Hall, now deceased, was one of the prominent residents of
Shingle and was a California pioneer of 1852. To establish a home amidst
the surroundings of a wild country, and to cope with the many privations
and hardships which were the inevitable concomitants, demanded an invincible
courage and fortitude, strong hearts and willing hands. All these were
characteristic of the pioneers, whose names and deeds should be held in
perpetual reverence by those who enjoy the fruits of their toil. People of
the present period can scarcely realize the struggles and dangers which
attended the early settlers; the heroism and self-sacrifice of lives passed upon
the borders of civilization; the hardships endured, the difficulties overcome.
Those tales of the early days read almost like a romance to those who have
known only modern prosperity and conveniences. To the pioneer of the
early days the struggle for existence, far removed from the privileges and
conveniences of city and town, was a stern and hard one, and those men
and women must have possessed wisdom, immutable energies and sterling
worth of character, as well as marked physical courage, when they thus
selected such a life and successfully fought its battles under such circum-
stances as prevailed in the west.

Mr. Hall deserves honorable mention among the early settlers of the
Golden state, for he came here less than two years after its admission to
the Union and in many ways contributed to its upbuilding. He was born
in Xcw York on the 2d of July. 1825. and went to Michigan when four
years old. Hoping to benefit his financial condition in the far west, he came
county. For a number of years he was the proprietor of the old Sh.ingle
to California by the way of the Nicaragua route and settled in Eldrrado
county. For a number of years he was the proprietor of the old Shingle
Springs Hotel, and also became the proprietor of the Planter House in that
town, which he conducted up to the time of his death, November 4, 1894.
He was a man of great energy and determination, an indefatigable worker,
and in all business relations was strictly trustworthy. In addition to the
Planter House he was the owner of sixteen hundred acres of land and was
extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising. All that he possessed
was acquired through his own efforts, and he deserves great credit for what
he accom])lished.

In early manhoofl Mr. Hall was united in marriage to Miss Arrietta
Jones, who died at the birth of her daughter, .\rrietta, who is now the
wife of S. W. Spong. of Shingle. On the nth of March. 1880, Mr. Hall
. was again marriert his second union being with Miss Lizzie Sims, a native
>.f Baton Rouge. Louisiana, and a daughter of Shepherd and Frances Sims, of
that city. Four children were born of their union: Lawrence S., .Alvin
.^.. .\vice .\. and Norvin N.


Airs. Hall is an accomplished and capable lady who since her husband's
death has managed the hotel, and has also superintended the extensive farm-
ing interests in connection with the aid of her eldest son, who, like his
father, is an energetic and enterprising young man. His business ability is
marked and he deserves great credit for the capable way in which he is
carrying on his work.


James R. Dunlap is the jirojirietor of the only drug store in Amador
Citv, and is also occupying the position of deputy postmaster. A native
of Ohio, his birth occurrecl in West Salem, \Vayne county, on the i8th
of ]\Iay, 1845, ^ncl 'i^ is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His grandfather, Will-
iam Dunlap, located in Wayne county in 1828, becoming one of the pioneer
settlers of that section of the Buckeye state. He was accompanied by his
son. William Dunlap. the father of our subject, who was reared to man-
hood in Ohio. He was married there to Miss Xancy Finley, a daughter of
Adam Finley, also one of the pioneer residents of tlie state. The Dunlaps
were originally from England, while the Finleys came to America from
the north of Ireland. The parents of our subject spent their entire lives in
Ohio, where the father died in 1852, at the age of fifty-two years, the
mother passing away in the forty-third year of her age. Tlxey were devout
members of the Presbyterian church, and their upright Uves commended
them to the confidence and respect of all with wdiom they came in contact.
In their family were ten children, six of whom are yet living.

James R. Dunlap, the seventh in order of birth, was reared on his
father's farm, early becoming familiar with the work of field and meadow.
His education was obtained in the public schools of the neighborhood, and
when only sixteen years of age he became thoroughly aroused over the con-
dition of affairs which precipitated the country into civil war. Hardly had
the echo from Fort Sumter's guns died away when he resolved to enlist,
but on account of his youth it was some time before he was accepted. How-
ever, on the second call for three hundred thousand men he enlisted, join-
ing Company E, One Hundred and Twentieth Ohio Infantry, on the 15th
of August, 1862. He participated with his regiment in the second battle
before Vicksburg, in the engagement at Thompson's Hill, in the rear of that
citv, and after the capture of Vicksburg took part in the Red river cam-
paign and the Mobile campaign, the Union forces closing in on the Con-
federate troops until the latter surrendered. After the surrender of Gen-
' eral Lee the regiment returned to Texas and was mustered out at Houston,
that state, on the i6th of October. 1865. Mr. Dunlap's services covered a
period of three years and two months, and yet he was little more than
twentv vears of age when mustered out. He w-as taken sick with typhoid
fever November 10, 1862, and remained in hospital until December 6. He
was never wounded and was ever at his post of duty, defending the old
flag and the cause it represented, his bravery being equal to that of many
a veteran of twice his vears. His regiment marched to the front eleven


Inindred strong, Ijut its numbers were depleted by wounds, sickness and
death imtil only three hundred of the original number remained. The com-
mand was then consolidated with the One Hundred and Fourteenth Ohio
Infantry, and later, having lost so many of its members, that regiment was
consolidated with the Forty-eighty Ohio Veteran Battalion, thus serving
until the close of the war.

When hostilities had ceased and the country no longer needed his
services Mr. Dunlap returned to his home and engaged in teaching in Iowa.
He also worked on the telegraph line until 1870, when he came to Sutter
Creek. Amador county. California. He was first employed in the mines
and afterward successfully engaged in sclKxil-teaching for five years, but
in 1876 he turned his attention to mercantile interests, opening a drug store
in Amador City. This is the only establishment of the kind in the town
and it would be a credit to many larger places, so splendidly is it equipped
■with everything found in a first-class drug store. Mr. Dunlap is enjoying
a large and constantly increasing trade, and his income is also materially
increased l>y the revenue from the ]30st-office, which is in the same building
with his store. He is a business man of enterprise and ability, and is con-
ducting his affairs in such a manner as to win not only success but also the
good will and confidence of his patrons.

In 1877 occurred the marriage of Mr. Dunlap and Miss Minnie Kelley.
by whom he has one child, AMlliani Henry, who is now a student in the
School of Pharmacy in San Francisco. In politics our subject is a Dem-
ocrat, but the honors and emoluments of public office have no attraction for

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 37 of 108)