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 45 of 108)
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tracts of timber and farm lands.

Fraternally he is identified with the I. O. O. F., which order he joined
April 9, 1873, being a member of Olive Lodge, No. 81, Dutch Flat. He
lias passed all the chairs in both branches of the order and has been a trustee
of his lodge for twenty years. As a district deputy grand master he has
served for seven years. Becoming a member of Auburn Encampment Jan-
uary 3, 1879, he has filled all its ofiices; has been a member of the grand lodge
since May, 1878. He had the honor of being the grand warden of the
grand lodge and. in May, 1900. was elected deputy grand master, without
opiK)sition. Mr. Nicholls received the sublime degree of a Master Mason
in Fort Lodge, No. 1528, Newquay, Cornwall, England, in 1889, and is
now a member of Nevada Lodge, No. 13, Nevada City. He is also a mem-
ber of Nevada Chapter. No. 6, R. A. M., and of Nevada Commander}', No.
6. K. T. Himself and wife are members of Placer Chapter, No. 49, O.
E. S. Politically he is an active member of the Republican party.

Mr. Nicholls was married, in 1876, to Minerva VanDolah. a native
of the town of Andrew. Iowa, and of Dutch ancestry. Her people were
early settlers in Illinois and removed to Iowa in its early days, her father
heing a soldier in the wars with the Indians. Mr. and Mrs. Nicholls have
four children : George VanDolah, Arthur Wallace, Anna May and William
Clyde. They have a pleasant home at Dutch Flat and the family are well
known and have hosts of friends.


A half century has passed since Jacob A^andament came to California,
and for forty-five years he has been a resident of Amador county. His-
superior business ability has been an integral factor in the commercial and
industrial activity whereon has depended much of the prosperity of northern
California. He is a native of Ohio, where four generations of the family
had resided, his birth occurring in the Buckeye state on the 3d of August.
1S28. He is of German lineage, his great-grandfather having emigrated
from Germany to Ohio at an early period in the history of that common-
wealth. Jacob Vandament, the grandfather of our subject, was born in
Brown county. Ohio, where also occurred the birth of Abraham Vanda-
ment, the father. He was married to Miss Mary Burt, a native of New-
Jersey, and they became the parents of eight children, five of whom are
now living.

Mr. Vandament, of this review, was educated in his native town and



reared upon his father's farm. Through tlie summer months he assisted
in tlie work of the field and- meadow, and in the winter season pursued his
studies in the Httle log srhool-house of the neighborhood. In 1850. attracted
by the gold discovery in California, he crossed the plains with four com-
panions. The little party traveled alone, but were unmolested by the Indians
and at length arrived safely in Placerville on the loth of August, 1850. Mr.
Vandament at once engaged in prospecting and in digging gold wherever
he could find it. For two months he succeeded in making ten dollars a day,
and then went on a prospecting trip into Calaveras county, but was unsuc-
cessful in his mining ventures there and after two months he removed to
Sierra county, where he secured a good claim. Good gold was found on
the surface and he and his companions worked the mines to the depth of
sixty feet and had not then reached the bottom. They sluiced and worked
from the top down and did not separate the gold until summer, when, in
the "clean up" they took out gold at the rate of one thousand dollars per
day. Our subject remained at that place for three years, during which
time he cleared eleven thousand dollars. He then returned to the home
of his father, who was then living in Illinois, just opposite the city of Han-
nibal, ilissouri. He remained but a year, but was ill during the greater
part of the time, and in consequence retraced his steps across the plains to
California, bringing with him his father, mother and two brothers. This
was in 1855. They came to Amador county and settled near Pine Grove,
where our subject became the owner of a ranch. He there engaged in
stock-raising and also carried on the lumber business for a number of years,
his parents continuing with him until called to their final rest. Both were
buried at Pine Grove. His brothers Willis and Eli still reside in Amador

]\Ir. Vandament was united in marriage, in 1854, to Miss Annie Top-
ham, a native of Ireland, and they have nine children, four of whom are
living, namely: George W., who resides at Pine Grove; Mrs. Mary Lowry,
a widow who is acting as her father's housekeeper: John T., who is connected
with his father in mining interests; and Lizzie, the wife of Richard Barrett,
a resident of Tuolumne county. The mother died in 1865, and in 1877
Mr. Vandament was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Julia
Tanner, who was to him a faithful companion and helpmate on life's journey
for twenty years, her death occurring on the 3d of September, 1896.

I\Ir. Vandament is the owner of one hundred and forty-five acres of
land a mile east of Sutter Creek, and his property is crossed by the great
Mather lode of California. The South Eureka quartz mine is located on
his farm and h6 is one of its stockholders and also one of the owners of the
Mutual mine, which is located between Sutter Creek and Amador, also on
the Mather lode. He has always been interested in mining and the prop-
erties with which he is now connected are considered very valuable. On
his farm he raises hay and gi-ain of every kind and has a rich, arable and
highly cultivated tract of land.

in politics he is a Democrat, but has ne\er sought or desired public


office. His parents were members of the Baptist ciiurcli and lie was reared
in tliat faith, but has never connected himself with an}- religious organiza-
tion. From an early age he has made his own way in the world, depend-
ing entirely upon his own efforts, resources and business ability. The suc-
cess he has achieved is therefore a monument to. his labor. His energies
are largely devoted to business interests and he is a man of excellent executive
force whose resolution enables him to prosecute his work most successfully.
He forms his plans readily, is determined in their execution and his regard
for the ethics of commercial life combined with his integrity has won him
the respect and confidence of the coniniuiiity.


William Woodruff' McCoy, who resides in a ]ileasant home on a farm
located on the south side of Salt Spring Valley, in Calaveras county, was l)orn
in Conway county, Arkansas, October 21, 1829. His ancestors were from
Virginia and Kentucky. His father, Silas McCoy, was born in the latter state,
in 1802, and married Miss Elizabeth Carlysle. the wedding being celebrated in
Arkansas at an early day. Seven children were born of their union, but only
three are now living, two daughters and Dr. McCoy. The father died on the
i6th of May, 1863, at the age of fifty-one years, and the mother passed away
in her sixty-second year.

William W. McCoy of this review acquired his education in Arkan.^as,
learning the blacksmith's trade, and afterward turned his attention to stock-
raising. As a companion and helpmate on life's journey he chose Miss Anna
Stagner, a native of Kentucky, the wedding being celebrated on the I2tli of
October, 1854. Her laarents were William and Rosana Stagner. Mr. and
Mrs. McCoy had been married only a few years when the great Civil war broke
out and when the need of his people of the south became pressing he volunteered
as a defender of the Confederacy and joined the southern army. He was
elected a lieutenant of Company A. Seventh Arkansas Infantry, and fought in
several battles of the war, including the engagements at Shiloh. At that jilace
he received three gunshot wounds, — one in the jaw, which knocked out several
of his teeth, another broke his collarbone, while the third ball struck him in the
hip. His wounds were of such a nature that he was discharged. He went
home to recuperate, and when well he joined the cavalry under Colonel Timothy
Reaves, and was honorably discharged at Jacksonport, Arkansas, in the sjiriiig
of 1864, On other occasions he had narrow escapes. At one time he was cue
off from his regiment and escaped capture only by swimming his horse
across the river. He could not swim himself and did not know whether his
horse could, but in his extremity he took the chance and thus escaped being
made a prisoner. He was a brave and capable soldier and did his best for the
cause which he deemed just.

After the war Mr. McCoy returned to his family and continued to make
his home in Arkansas until 1872, when he came to C^-difi^-nia, accompanied
by his wife and their only surviving son, Timothy R., who now resides with his


parents in tl:eir declining years at their pleasant home in Salt Springs \'alley,
and is in partnership with his father in the management of the ranch. Seven
other children have been born to them, but all have passed away. Mr. McCoy
here owns three hundred and seventy-four acres of land and is raising grain,
produce and stock, making a specialty of the breeding of Hereford cattle.

He has gained the title of Doctor by reason of his successful treatment of
cancers, having become a specialist in this line. His constantly growing repu-
tation and his skill have caused many patients to come to him not onl}- from
all parts of California but also from adjoining states as well. He has prac-
ticed in Stockton and San Francisco and has attended many thousands of
cases, effecting more or less wonderful cures. His efiforts in this direction
are worthy of the highest commendation and have made him widely known far
beyond the confines of his adopted state.


The history of the pioneer settlement of Angel's Camp would be incom-
plete without the record of this gentleman, who from the earliest founding
of the town has been a prominent factor in its substantial growth and improve-
ment. When California was cut off from the advantages and comforts of
the east by the long, hot stretches of barren ground and the high mountains
he made his way across all these, braving all the trials and' hardships of
pioneer life in order to make a home in the west, — rich in its resources, yet
unclaimed from the dominion of the red men.

Thomas Hardy was born in Danvers, Essex county. ^Massachusetts, on
the loth of September, .1816, and is descended from a prominent old Eng-
lish family. He is a grandnephew of .Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy, of the
English navy. Isaac Hardy, his father, was born in New Hampshire, and
married Miss Lydia Herrick, a native of Topsfield, Esse.x county, Massa-
chusetts. He engaged in the butchering and meat-market business in Dan-
vers. where he and his wife spent their remaining days. The father died
at the age of sixty-three, the mother at the age of eighty-three. In religious
belief they were Congregationalists and were worthy and respected citizens.
C)ne ni tlie brothers of Isaac Hardy was a minister and the family were all
interested in religious work, doing everything in their power to promote the
adoption of Christian principles which ennobled and uplifted humanity.

Thomas Hardy was educated in his native town, and when sixteen and
one-half years of age he began learning the tanner and currier's trade. On
attaining his majority he started in business for himself, in Danvers. Mas-
sachusetts, which he conducted with success for four years, when he sold
out and went to Alexandria, Louisiana, under contract to carry on business
for a man ; and later entered into partnership with a ]\Ir. Little in tanning,
currying and shoe manufacturing, and later bought out the interest nf the
man for whom he went under contract and furthered his business bv him-
self. He introduced the first two splitting machines ever in that state. He
manufacture;! the first negro shoes made in Louisiana. He spent five years


ill that portion of tlie country, finding the people hospitable and kindly.
^\'llen he visited a Louisiana home its owners would say to him, "Vou will
always find a bed and plate when you come here."

but g'old was discovered in California and he decided to make his way
to the El Dorado of the west. He sailed from New Orleans to Chagres.
but was detained on the isthmus for two months before he could secure a
boat for the Pacific passage, which chanced to be the steamer California.
.\t length he arrived in San Francisco, in September, 1849. He had made
arrangements with a man to engage in the lumber and shipping business,
but the partner died and thus all of Mr. Hardy's high expectations came to
naught. It was necessary that he gain employment at once, and he turned
his attention to mining, in which he met w^th moderate success. He has
engaged in silver, copper, gold and coal mining, and has thus done much
for the development of the rich mineral resources of the state. His fellow
townsmen, recognizing his ability for leadership, elected him to the state
senate from Calaveras county, and he at once became a prominent and influ-
ential member of the upper house, opposiiig every movement or measure
that he believed would prove detrimental to the public, and thus saving to
the state much unnecessary expense. To his work in that session of the
senate is given credit for the completion of the Southern Pacific RailroacF.
His straightforward, forcible and logical speech, ringing with truth, induced
many of the senators to favor the road who had hitherto opposed it.

From his copper mines I\Ir. Hardy had taken out one hundred thousand
dollars, and then he sold the i)roperty for three hundred and seventy-five
thousand dollars. While engaged in placer-mining he at one time found a
sixteen-ounce gold nugget which was worth three hundred and thirty-three
dollars, securing the same on Carson Hill in Calaveras county. He first
visited Angel's Camp in 1850, and in that year he also engaged in mining
on the middle fork of the American river, where in four months he took
out six thousand dollars. He was always very successful in his mining-
operations, but lost large amounts of money through over-confidence in his
friends to whom he lent money without full security. His knowledge of
mining interests gained him the reputation of being an expert, and his labf)rs
in the development of the mineral resources of tlie state have contributed
in a large measure to California's prosperity and growth. He is now inter-
ested in six different mines and has over half a million dollars due him
exclusive of interest money. At one time he owned five-sixteenths of tlie
Black Diamond and Cumberland mines, and was offered six thousand dol-
lars for one-sixteenth of it. He purchased five-sixteenths more of that pro])-
erty, and then sold nine-sixteenths, on which he cleared in one afternoon twenty
thousand dollars.

W'hile in Volcano. Amador county, in 1862, Mr. Hardy assisted in
organizing a vigilance committee, the list containing five hundred names.
This seemed necessary because there were three hundred gamblers and law-
less ])ersons in the town. Mr. Hardy was elected its president, or captain.
He decided to rid the town of the gang and became one of the executive


<:omniittee of twelve. In the gang there was one big fellow named Brewster,
who was a prize fighter and was kept by the gamblers to settle all their dif-
ficulties either harmoniously or by force. He would go into a store, take
a hat, coat, or anything he wanted without paying for it. and leave laugh-
ing defiance at the proprietor. Soon after the committee was formed this
fellow was seen walking toward a store. The merchant went in and fastened
the door, but the desperado got a large stone and began to break down the
door. Mr. Hardy, seeing that it was time to act, seized the man and threw
him down and choked him until he was black in the face. He held him
in that way as long as he thought it was safe, for he did not wish to kill
him. He then let go of his throat and caught him by the hair and banged
his head upon the ground until the breath returned to him. He then marched
him up the street to put him in prison, but when the fellow saw that he was
to lie incarcerated he begged for mercy and said if he would let him go he
would behave and make no further trouble. Mr. Hardy told him to go
and prove from that time on he w-as a man. The gang decided to seek
other cjuarters. Mr. Hardy was a man of great muscular power and force,
therefore was well qualified to act at the head of a vigilance committee, for
his bravery and fearless spirit were also well known. When occasion war-
rants he is one of the most kind and considerate of men.

During the Ci\-il war he made three donations to the sanitary commis-
sion, one of two hundred and fifty dollars, one of fi\'e hundred dollars and
a third of five thousand dollars. He is very liberal in his giving to benev-
olent work, yet in his charity he is always unostentatious. For many years
he has been a prominent and highly respected member of the Pioneers' Society
of California. His pleasing, genial manner has made him popular in social
circles and his sterling worth commands the confidence and good will of
all with whom he has been lirought in contact.


Before California was admitted to the Union Stephen Douglas Burdge
arri\-ed on the Pacific coast, locating in this state in August. In September
the territorial government gave way to statehood, and throughout the fol-
lowing half of the century our subject has borne his part in promoting the
interests and welfare of California. He was born in New York, in the
town of Milton, on the Hudson, in Ulster county, September 15, 181 1. and
is therefore eighty-nine years of age at the time of this writing. He is of
French-Scotch ancestry and is descended from good old Revolutionary stock.
his grandfather. Stephen Douglas, having served with the colonial army
in the war for independence, after which he located in Steuben county. New
York, where he spent his remaining days. Richard Burdge was born in
Monmouth, New- York, and married Lydia Douglas, an aunt of the Hon.
Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois. By this marriage there were se\-en chil-
dren, but the subject of this review is now the only surviwir of the family.
The father died in 1854, at the age of seventy-six years, and the mother


survived liini. attaining- the age of eiginy-fonr years. They were members
of the Metho(Hst clnirch and ])eople of the liighest respectabihty.

Mr. Burdge was educated in his native state and crossed the plains
to California in 1850 with an ox team. He bought his outfit in St. Louis,
Missouri, and came in company with the Holly family. The emigrants
were visited by sickness and Mr. Holly died with the cholera at Big Blue
river. The horses were stami>eded and part of the company followed them
for two days and succeeded in recapturing them.. Mr. Burdge escaped the
cholera, and though he experienced many of the hardships of the long journey
across the plains he arrived safely at John's Crossing, on Bear river. There
he engaged in mining with excellent success, taking out gold to the value of
nine thousand dollars within four months. The following year he returned
to the east by way of the water route and brought his wife and three chil-
dren, two daughters and a .son. across the plains to California.

He had been married in 1844 to Miss Melissa Hurt, a native of Alis-
souri. While they were en route to California she was stricken with the
cholera, but recovered and all of the family safely reached their destination.
They located on a farm a short distance northeast of the site of Lincoln,
and there for some years Mr. Burdge engaged in the stock business, his
efforts being attended with prosperity. He had as high as five hundred head
of stock, mostly cattle, which he sold in the different mining camps, receiv-
ing good prices, and thus augmenting his income. After five years spent
in that business he went to the mines in eastern Oregon, taking with him
a company of men, and in 1862 he continued his mining operations at Canyon
City, where he was located three years. In all his imdertakings he was
prosperous and gradually his capital increased, as the result of his earnest
efforts. He went with ])ack animals by way of the Humboldt and down
the Owyhee river. He brought Ijack with him about one thousand dollars
and since then has been engaged in various business pursuits. He owned
some of the land on which Lincoln has been built and aided in erecting the
first house in the town. In 1885 he built the Burdge hotel and was a most
popular landlord for some years, but he is now living retired, having through
diligence and enterprise in former years acquired a capital that now enables
him to put aside the more arduous duties of life. He and his estimable
wife reside in the pleasant home with their daughter. Mrs. Sanders, and
their granddaughter and her husband, Mr. Sartain. \Vhile they were liv-
ing on the ranch in Placer county a daughter was born to them. Lydia. who
is now the wife of Mr. Berger, who resides in Lincoln.

Mr. Burdge had been i^reviously married in New York, in 1835, to
l^Iiss Maria Merritt. She died in 1837, leaving him with a little daughter,
Catherine, who is now the wife of Nathaniel Ackerman, of New York city.
It is therefore sixty-five years since he was first married, while his present
faithful wife has lived with him for fifty-six years. They have passed their
golden wedding day and are highly esteemed among the honored pioneers
I if California.

Mr. Burdge was made a Freemason in St. Clairsville. Belmont county,


Oliio, in 1839, and received the Royal Arch degrees in FaA-ette, Missouri,
in 1845. Ke has been warden of the blue lodge and king of his chapter,
and is now one of the oldest Masons of the state. He cast his first presi-
dential vote for Andrew Jackson and his last for William McKinlc}' in 1900.
In politics he has always been independent, voting for the man whom he
consiclera best qualified for office and for the principles which he believes
will best promote the puljlic good. He has lieen a man of great physical
endurance, of strong mentality, earnest purpose and honorable life, and though
he has never sought public notice and has lived in a cjuiet and unobtrusive
manner lie has ne-\-ertheless comiuanded the respect of all, for such qualities
can not be hid.


George A. Gray, an untlertaker and embalmer of Nevada City, was
bnni in Nevada county on the iSth of May. 1853. His father. John H. Gray,
was a native of New York and a representative of the fourth generation of
the family in America. Prior to that time his ancestors lived in England.
In 1850. when the tide of emigration was carrying many eastern men to
the Pacific coast, he came to California and for some time was engaged in
farming in Solano county, whence he came to Nevada county in 1851, devot-
ing his energies to agricultural pursuits and' in mining in this locality.
August 28. 1852. he married Miss Eliza J. Jenkins, who was born in Wis-
consin July 6. 1834. Her parents resided in Cornwall, England, and in
the early '30s came to the United States, settling in Wisconsin. Mr. and
Mrs. Gray became the parents of five children, all born in Nevada county.
The father died Jime 4, 1897, and the mother is living in San Francisco.

George A. Gray, the eldest of the family, was reared and educated in
the place of his nativity, and in 1880 established the undertaking business,
which he has since successfully carried on, having a well equipped estab-
lishment and carrying an excellent line of goods. He has also served his
fellow townsmen in public office, having been elected county coroner in 1889
lor a two-years term. At this writing he is serving as deputy coroner under
Henry Daniels. He has also served for two terms as the city treasurer,
retiring from that office in 1894.

On the 24th of November, 1895, Mr. Gray led to the marriage altar
]^riss Ida C. Young, of Washington, Guernsey county, Ohio, a daughter of
William Young, who came to California in the latter part of the '50s. They
have three children : Earl V.. Clarence R. and Elsie E. Mr. Gray is identified
with lioth tlie subordinate lodge and encampment of the Independent Order
• if Odd Fellows, has filled all of the kical offices and is past district deputy.

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 45 of 108)