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 39 of 108)
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interests, with which he has met with creditable success. By perseverance,
rletermination and honorable effort he lias overthrown the obstacles which
barred his path and has reached the goal of prosperity.


Almost half a century has passed since Jonathan Sallee came to Cali-
fornia. The history of pioneer life will ever compete in interest with that
of the soldier, for it requires almost as great bravery and fortitude to meet
the hardships and dangers of life on the frontier as those upon the field of
battle. Conditions in California were peculiarly hard, for great stretches
of barrens and almost impassable mountains cut off the travelers from the
comforts and conveniences of the east. As there was no organized govern-
ment it gave excellent opportunity to the lawless element, who sought here
the chance for committing crime. The pioneers thus had to meet not only
the hardships brought to them through inability to gain the comforts of
civilization, but also had to face desperate characters who had no regard for
the rights of law and property. However, a band of resolute and earnest
men. loyal in citizenship, faithful in friendship and true to right and honor,
persevered in their purpose of founding homes on tlie Pacific slope and laid
the beginning of the commonwealth that now ranks with the best in the
Union. Mr. Sallee deserves mention among these honored ])ioneers, and it
is therefore with pleasure that we present the record of his life to our

.-\ native of Lincoln county, Missouri, he was born on the 17th of June.
1S32, and is of French ?Tuguenot ancestry, who settled in the colonics nt
an early era in the development of the new w^orld. His grandfather, Philip
Sallee. was a pioneer settler of the state of Kentucky, and his son. William
H. Sallee, the father of our subject, was born in Washington county. Ken-
tucky, on the 2d of March, 1806. He married Miss Sarah Neil, a native of
\orth Carolina, who also was of French lineage. On leaving the Blue
Grass state ihev removed to St. Louis, Missouri, and in t<88i the father came
to the Shenandoah valley, in Amador county, California, where he died in
the eighty-seventh year of his age. His wife had departed this life in 1852.
They were peo|)Ie of the highest respectability, their excellences of character
winning them the confidence and good will of all. They had eight children,


six of whoir. are lu-ing, two Ijeing residents of Missouri and fijur of Cali-

Jonathan Sallee, their second child, was reared on his father's farm in
Missouri, working in the fields through the summer months, whjle in the
winter season he pursued his education in the public schools of the neigh-
borhood. Attracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific slope, he came
to California in 1852, driving an o.x team across the plains. There were
eighty people in the party with which he traveled, and four months were
consumed in making the trip, which, however, was rather a pleasant journey,
as they were unmolested by the Indians and did not suiter from sickness.
On the 13th of August they arrived at Mud Springs, Eldorado county, and
Mr. Sallee engaged in placer-mining in \Veaver creek, where he met with
fair success, accumulating some money, although he did not accjuire a for-
tune. In 1859 he made his way to San Francisco, where he boarded a
steamer, and, by way of the isthmus route, he returned home.

In 1861 Mr. Sallee was united in marriage to Miss Mary Beach. They
purchased a farm in Missouri, and two children were born to them in that
state, namely : William Harvey, who is now a resident of Oregon ; and
Eleanor, the wife of George W. Easton, of Plymouth, Amador county,
California. Mrs. Sallee was spared to 'her husband for only four years,
departing- this life at her home in Missouri, in March, 1865, leaving him
with two little children. In April, 1866, he married Miss Sarah Jane Long-
fellow, a native of Ohio, and they became the parents of a daughter, Clara
Nettie, who was born in Missouri and is now a teacher in Tulare county,
California; also of a son, George Everett, who died in his infancy.

In 1871 Mr. Sallee returned to California, bringing with him his wife
and children. They took up their abode upon his present farm, he pre-
empting one hundred and sixty acres of land, to which he added by purchase
another quarter-section. He built a nice residence and developed one of the
best farm properties in the county, its improvements indicating his practical
and progressive spirit. He raises grain and stock, and his industry and
enterprise have brought to him a good profit. Mr. and ]\Irs. Sallee have
not only reared their own children but have also gi\en homes to two orphan
children, — Edward and Harriet Matthews.

Our subject and his wife are members of the Christian church, in which
he is an elder, and in the work of the church they take an active part. Mr.
Sallee is also an old and valualjle member of the Masonic fraternity. He
was reared in the Republican faith. Init his views on the temperance ques-
tion have led him to give his supjxirt to the Prohibition party for a number
of years. The family are among the highest respected citizens of Amador
county, being widely and favorably known. His life has ever been upright
and honorable, consistent with his belief and professions, and those who
know him esteem him highly for his sterling worth.


Robert Rasmussen. one of the most progressive merchants of the flour-
ishing town of Angel's Camp, Calaveras county, California, and the genial
and accommodating agent for the W'ells-Fargo Express Company at that


point, has been a resident of llie state for the past forty years. He was
born Deceml)er 28. 1832. in Denmark, both of his parents being natives of
tliat conntry, — good and wortiiy people, wlio spent their lives there and died,
valued members of the Lutheran church.

Mr. Rasmussen, our subject, was educated in his native country until
the age of nineteen, when he made the voyage to Australia, where he
engaged in mining. His success being only moderate after a trial of six
and one-half years, he sailed to California and first located on Big Oak
Flat, in Tuolumne county, where he mined for five years, going from there
to the mines at Carson Creek and Vallicita, as new discoveries caused
those places to become known. Not succeeding to his perfect satisfaction,
he accepted a clerkshrji in a store in Vallicita, where he became thoroughly
educated in the merchandise and e.xpress business. After four 3'-ears with
this firm he entered the employ of Mr. Scribner, a merchant of Angel's
Camp, where in 1883 he entered into partnership, this connection continu-
ing until 1892, when it was dissolved by the death of his partner. Since
that time he has been the sole owner and proprietor and has made a suc-
cess of the business. He keeps a large and finely assorted stock suited to
the demands of the community and has adopted modern methods of con-
ducting his business that render him popular over a wide section of country.
The W'ells-Fargo Company has located their express ofiice in his store, and
this he manages to their entire satisfaction.

^Ir. Rasmussen is a Republican in politics, and is considered one of
the most progressive and important citizens of Angel's Camp. He has suc-
ceeded by his attention to business and honorable dealing and merits the
esteem in which he is held in the community.

CH.VRLl'S \\'. B.VKER.

Charles \\". Baker is a well known rc])resentative of the legal fraternity
in Sacramento, and is now serving as district attorney, having been elected to
the office in i8g8, for a term of four years. He was torn in Newport, Ken-
tucky. January 16, 1849.

His father, Peter Berkman Baker was born in Lancaster county. Penn-
sylvania, and for many years was a minister of the German Methodist Episco-
pal church, but about twenty years ago he was injured while attending a picnic
of his church and afterward retired to private'life, his home being now in Ger-
mantown, Ohio. His wife, Eliza nee Zeller, was born in that place, and died
there at the age of thirtj'-nine years. Li their family were nine children, four
of whum yet survive.

Mr. IBaker, of this review, si)ent his boyhood days in Kentucky and Ohio.
He began his education in the .schools of Louisville, in the former state, but
with his parents removed to Germantown, where he continued his education
until seventeen years of age, at which time he went to Dayton, Ohio. There he
learned the trade of carriage-painting, following that pursuit in the Buckeye
.state until 1877, when he came to California. He has since been a resident of


Sacramento, and for three years after his arrival he was employed in the shops
of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. In the meantime he had studied
law, and in 1882 he was appointed clerk in the police court, under Judge Heney
filling that position until 1886. In 1885 he was admitted to the bar, and in the
following year was elected city justice, filling the office for two years in a
capable manner. On the expiration of that period he took up the private prac-
tice of law and his clientage steadily and constantly increased. He has prepared
his cases with thoroughness and exactness and fortified his position with every
possible advantage afforded by the principles of jurisprudence. He was enjoy-
ing a large practice when, in 1898, he was elected district attorney for a four-
years' term. His arguments are forceful and his reasoning logical and convinc-
ing, and he has won many notable triumphs before the court and jury. In poli-
tics he has always been a stalwart Republican since casting his first presidential
vote for Grant in 1872.

On the 2d of April, 1877, Mr. Baker was united in marriage at Dayton,
Ohio, to ^liss Mary A. Hogan, who was born in Montgomery county, that
state. Four children graced their union, but one, Anna I., died at the age of
four years. Those living are Alice K., Charles DeWitt and Ethel E.

Socially Mr. Baker is connected with the Odd Fellows order and has filled
various ofiices in both branches of the fraternity, and has been the chairman
of the committee on legislation appointed by the grand lodge. He is a valued
representative of Union Lodge, No. 21, A. O. U. W., and of the Royal Arca-
num. Of his future, i)rofessionally and politically, there can be no doubt. His
talents and character insure for him a prominence and usefulness that will be
gratifying to his friends and will be a satisfaction to any ambition he may have.
In all the relations of life he has shown a high degree of manliness and in the
official position that he is occupying he has manifested a degree of al)ility and
fidelity that has won for him universal commendation. It is remarked on every
hand that the business of the district attorney's office — always important and
often complicated — under his management has been conducted with good judg-
ment, tact and economy.


William F. !\Iiche]l. the proprietor of the Citv Brewery, was born in Gun-
tersdorf, in Bohemia, Germany, September 18, 1848, his parents being Egnot;^
and Francesca (Fritch) Michel!, both of whom are now deceased. His father
died in 1866, and his mother, long surviving him, passed awa}' in 1894.

William F. Michell is the youngest of their six children and was reared
and educated in the place of his nativity. He crossed the Atlantic to America
in 1866, when a young man of eighteen years, locating at Milwaukee, Wiscon-
sin, but after a short time removed to La Crosse, that state, where he remained
for two years. On the expiration of that period he made his way to the north-
^vest. and after two years passed in Leesburg, Idaho, came to California. He
first located at Dutch Flat, where he carried on the brewing business for eight-
een years. He then went to the city of Mexico, in the interest of the English


Company, and later to Los Angeles, California. Subsequer.tly he spent two
years with the Enterprise Brewing Company of San Francisco, and in 1803 he
came to Grass Valley, leasing the old City Brewery of Thomas Hutch. Refit-
ting that plant he has since conducted business there, and he now has a large
local trade in Grass \'alley and in Nevada City. His product is considered the
best on the market of both places, and throughout the county the volume of
his business has reached extensive proportions.

In 1870 Mr. Michell was united in marriage, in Boise, Idaho, to Miss
Annie Roblin, a lady of English birth, who came to America in 1840. She
resided in Elkgrove, La Fayette county, Wisconsin, for some time and then
crossed the plains to the Pacific coast, in 1S52. Mr. Michell gives his political
support to the progressive wing of the Democratic party, but has never sought
or desired office, preferring to devote his time and energies to his business, in
which he has met with gratifving success. Socially he aftiliates with Clay
Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of Dutcli Flat.

JA^n-:S D. McXARY.

A native of Kentucky Mr. ^IcXary's birth occurred in Muhlenberg county
on the 6th of January. 1850. His father. Hon. William C. McXary, was born
in Fayette county, that state, in September. i8or, and was a farmer by occupa-
tion. Removing with his parents to Muhlenberg county in 181 1, he there spent
the rest of his life, his death occurring September 19, 1875, ^vhc" bis age was
seventy-four years. He was an old-line Whig in politics and took a very
active part in advocating the issues of the day in which he believed. For
a number of years he served as a member of the state legislature and was
a recognized leader in matters of public moment. His parents, Mr. and
Mrs. William McNary. were among the pioneer settlers of Kentucky, and
for many years the name was inseparably interwoven with the history of
that state. The mother of our subject was in her maidenhood Miss Nancy
B. Wilkins. She was born in Todd county in 181 1. In October, 1891,
she came to San Jose. California, where she died in A]3ril. 1895. at the
age of eighty- four years. Of their four children, the following are living:
James; Dr. W. T. McNary. of San Jose, California; and Jennie, the widow
of Dr. T. H. Moore, of Earlington, Kentucky.

James D. ^IcNary spent his childhood days upon the old home farm,
continuing there until twenty-six years of age. He jjursued his education
in the district schools and in Greenville. Twice during his youth his
father removed to Greenville, but afterward returned to the farm, so that
his surroundings in his minority were mostly of a rural character. It is a
noticeable fact that. the majority of the leading men of our community have
spent their early lives upon farms. At the age of twenty-six. however.
Mr. McNary left the parental roof and went to Evansville. Indiana, where
he took a course in a commercial college. He afterward returned home
to .settle up his father's estate, and on the 27th of October. 1877. arrived
on the Pacific coast, and a few days later took uj) his abode in Culusa. He


first engaged in the hotel business as a clerk, and later was an agent for the
Sacramento Transportation Company, continuing with this organization for a
year. Subsequently he spent some years in grain dealing, and then became
agent for a number of insurance companies, which he represented until 1887.
In the meantime he became connected with the furniture and unilertaking
business in Colusa, but in 1894 he disposed of his furniture, continuing the
imdertaking. and has since carried on operations along that line. In 1898
he was elected coroner and public administrator, receiving a majority of two
hundred and seventeen in a Democratic county. He is not only a stanch
Republican but is an advocate of temperance principles, and did not use a
single dollar in the saloons in order to win the favor and the votes of men who
could be bought in that way.

On the 15th of November, 1883. .Mr. ]\IcXary \\as united in marriage
to Miss Retta Deter, who was born in Yolo county. t!alifornia. August 21,
1859, and they now have five children. — Miriam. \\'illiam Campbell, Verda
Rhea, John Deter and Annie Christine. Both Mr. and Mrs. McNary are
consistent and faithful members of the Methodist church, take an active part
in its work and for the past six years the former has served as a Sunday-
school superintendent. Mrs. McNary is a member of the Woman's Christian
Temperance Union. Mr. McNarj' has always abstained from the use of all
intoxicants. By precept and example he has ad\'ocated temperance princi-
ples, and he often speaks upon the question. Though not pretending to be an
orator, if called upon he can discuss his subject fluently, logically and in an
entertaining manner. Socially he is connected with the Masonic fraternity,
the Independ.ent Order of Odd Fellows, the Independent Order of Foresters
and the Ancient Order of L'nited '\\'orkmen, and is active in all those bodies.


Joseph DixDU. the proprietor of a meat market in Towle. dates his
residence in California from 1854. He was born in Kennebec county. iSIaine,
on the 1 2th of November, 1831. His father. Moses Dixon, was of Russian
ancestry and was born in New England. He resided in the state of Maine
from his sixteenth year until his death, in his eighty-second year, at which
time he was called to the home beyond. He wedded Miss Nancy \Miitten,
a native of Maine and they had twelve children, including twin sons and
twin daughters. Only five of the number, however, are now living. The
mother attained the age of sixty-four years.

Josepli Dixon, their fifth child, attended school in the place of his na-
ti\ity. His ad\antages in that direction were somewhat limited and he was
largely self-educated, having olitained considerable knowledge in the dear
school of experience. When a boy he worked hard on the farm, reared in
tne rugged simi^licity of a country home where hard work was esteemed
honorable and idleness a vice, where the artificial elements of society had
not entered, but industry and the faithful discharge of every duty, no mat-
ter how humble, were the precepts, and the performance of eacli day. the
freedom of outdoor life, the necessity of early rising, regularity and prompt-


ness in the discharge of tlie daily tasks, — all these inculcating habits of
thought antl action which have made him a practical and reliable business
man. He was about twenty-one years of age when the news of the dis-
covery of the rich gold fields in California reached the east and led him
to leave his native state. Full of the spirit of adventure and with a strong
determination to gain a fortune if possible in the mines, he made his way
to the Pacific coast by way of the Nicaragua route, arriving safely in San
Francisco. Soon afterward he made his way to Foster's Bar on the Yuba
river, where he first engaged in mining. For about ten years he continued
his search for gold in the different mining camps, l)ut the largest nugget
whicli he found was worth about fifty dollars, while the greatest return be
received for a single day's labor amounted to one hundred dollars. He
was most fortunate in Iiis mining experiences on the American river, and,
like most others who sought a fortune in the gold fields, he met with suc-
cesses and reverses; and when he abandoned the mines at the end of ten
years he had only about two thousand dollars. He opened his first meat
market at You Bet. in Nevada county, and later did business at Gold Run ;
but for the past seventeen years he has successfully conducted a market in
Towle. During his long residence in the county he has supjilied meat to
a large patronage and has met with fair success in his undertakings. At
the same time he has won a good name, which is rather to be desired than
great riches, and he is well known and highly respected by the pioneer set-
tlers of the county," as well as the later arrivals.

Mr. Dixon was married in 1876 to Miss Celia \\'aters. of Forest Hill,
and they now have two children, — George L. and Martha N. Mr. Dixon
is a strong Republican in his political inclinations, having been identified
with that party since the Civil war. He owns a pleasant home in Towle. in
addition to his market, and is justly accounted one of the reliable and re-
spected men of his community.


Edgar ^I. Banvard, of Alta. Placer county, is one of the most highly
respected old settlers of the state, his residence in California covering a period
of forty-eight years. A native of New York city, he was born on the 31st
of December. 1820. and is of French lineage, his ancestors having been early
settlers of America's metropolis. His grandfather and his father, both of
whom bore the name of Daniel Banvard. were also natives of New York
city. The father removed to Rochester. New York, where he was engaged
in active business from 1822 until 1825. In the latter year he removed to
Cincinnati. Ohio, which was then a far western district, the work of progress
and civilization having been scarcely begim in that portion of the country.
He remained in the grocery business in Cincinnati for five years and then
removed to Loui.sville. Kentucky, where in 1830 he resumed merchandising
in the grocery line, continuing at that place for four years. In 1834 he
took up his abode in Peoria. Illinois, whence in 1839 he rem.-ived to St.


Louis, Missouri, liis death occurring tliere in Feljruary, 1840, wiien he
was forty-six years of age.

In early manhood he married ^liss Alaria Munt, also a native of New
York city. There the wedding was celebrated. She was a descendant of an
old Holland Dutch family that was established in New York at a very early
period in its existence. They had eight children and the mother attained
the very advanced age of eighty-five years. Mr. Banvard is now the only
surviving son of the family. Two of the sons, Benjamin H. and Daniel,
crossed the plains with ox teams in 1849 and were engaged in mining in
this state until i860, when Daniel died, after which Benjamin returned to
the east, his death occurring in Chicago, Illinois.

JNIr. Banvard. of this review, was educated in Peoria, Illinois, and be-
gan his business career in the mercantile establishment of Alter & Howell,
of Peoria. Illinois. Determining to seek a home and a fortune in the far
west, he made his way to California by the isthmus route. On the 14th
of January. 1851, he wedded Miss Abby Shurtleff, a native of Morgan county,
Illinois, and a daughter of Milton Shurtleff. She was born February 23,
1829. The young wife remained in the east for three years and then joined
Mr. Banvard in his California home. He had tired of his mercantile ex-
periences, and, as potatoes were commanding a very high price in the Golden
state, he with a partner engaged in the raising of that vegetable, making
it his first business venture on the Pacific coast. They rented forty acres
of land near Oakland and raised a very large crop, but the price of potatoes
went down and they lost considerable money. His next venture was that
of painting and paper-hanging, and he followed that business for about two
years, making from six to eight dollars per day. Subsequently he met Dr.
Crandall, an acquaintance from the east who advised Mr. Banvard to go
to Auburn, and accordingly he arrived at that place in 1855. The Doctor
was the treasurer of Placer county and the secretary of the Bear River
Ditch Company. He made Mr. Banvard his deputy treasurer and he also
performed much of the work of the secretary for the Doctor, by whom he
was paid one hundred dollars per month and also given his board. He was
continued as the deputy treasurer of the county, under Treasurer Philip
Stoner, and in i860 was elected the treasurer of the county, on the Union
ticket, discharging the duties of the office so capably that he was re-elected
in 1862. His connection with the county finances therefore covered a period
of eight years and was one in which he gained the highest commendation,
for he proved himself to be entirely trustworthy and reliable.

In 1866 Mr. Banvard removed to Alta. where the Central Pacific Rail-
road had just been l)ui1t. He purchased the Depot Hotel and was its popu-
lar landlord for eighteen years. In 1869 he was elected a member of the
state assembly and for four years he represented his district in the law-mak-
ing body of the state. His prominence was shown by the fact that during

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 39 of 108)