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 46 of 108)
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He is a charter member of the Knights of Pythias lodge, in which he has
served in many official capacities, and is a member of the N. S. G. W.,
Hydraulic Parlor. He is also a member of Nevada Lodge, No. 13, A. F.
& A. M. In politics he is an earnest Republican, deeply interested in the
success of his party. He is a man of most genuine worth, whose courtesy



350 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

is unfailing and wliose integrity is alxive question. Without ostentation or
any desire for place, he has labored most earnestly for the welfare of Ne-
vada City, and his efforts have redounded to its credit and benefit.

JOHN R. TYRRELL.

John R. Tyrrell, whose name is found on the roll of leading law prac-
titioners of Nevada county and among the representative citizens of Grass
Valley, is a native of England, his birth having occurred in the town of Hale,
on the 30th of January, 1868. His father. Samuel Tyrrell, was also a na-
tive of England, and at an early age learned the blacksmith's trade, which
he followed throughout his entire life. He came to America in 1868, and
for a time was engaged as a mine machinist at Virginia City, Nevada, after
which he came to Grass \'alley, making a permanent location at this point.
His wife and family joined him a year or two later and he was continuously
employed as foreman blacksmith in this section of the state up to the time of
his death, which occurred July 10, 1890. His wife, whose maiden name was
Alice Jones, was also of English birth, her parents being James and Jane
(Oliver) Jones. On the paternal side the ancestry can be traced liack to
the Welsh and for many generations representatives of the name were whole-
sale merchants of Wales. The Oliver family belonged to the French nobility
and held large landed estates in France.

Jolin R. Tyrrell was the third of the family of five children, all of whom
are vet li\ing. He was reared and educated in Nevada county, pursuing
his stLulies in the public schools of Grass Valley, and later he pursued a
commercial course in a business college at San Francisco. He served an ap-
])renticeshi]) as a machinist in the Union Iron W^orks in that city, but during
that time devoted all his leisure hours to the study of law. after the work
of the day was done, for it was his desire and intention to become a mem-
ber of the legal fraternity. The acquisition of knowledge in this way pre-
pared him to enter Hastings Law College, but circumstances intervened to
prevent him from carrying out his plans and he returned to Grass \"alley,
where for two years he was engaged successfully in dealing in hay and grain;
however, he never abandoned his plan of becoming a member of the bar and
worked continually to that end. In 1893. under the new charter of Grass
Valley, he was elected a justice of the peace and police judge for a period of
four years, and in the prosecution of his duty he found an excellent oppor-
tunity to continue his law studies. Improving every spare moment, after
holding the office for a year he passed a creditable examination before the
supreme court and was admitted to practice in 1895. since which time he has
been a member of the Grass Valley bar. A close student, he has a compre-
hensive knowledge <if the various branches of jurisprudence and has been
very successful in conducting criminal as well as civil cases. He prepares
himself with great thoroughness and precision, and when before a court or
jury is ready to meet every jiossible attack and to give his authority for the
Iios'ition which he takes concerning litigated interests. There has come to



OF XORTHERX CALIfORXIA. 351

liiin a liberal patronage and he is now occupying a position of distinctive
preferment in connection with the bar of his adojjted county. Mr. Tyrrel!
is also interested in mining-, and at the time of this writing is associated
in the work of developing the old Lincoln mine, of wlich he is now the
owner, under the name of the Independent mine, which promises to become
a \ery valuable property in the near future.

Mr. Tyrrell has also been prominently connected with the military com-
])anies of Grass Valley and for several years he was a member of the Cali-
fiirnia National Guard. During the Spanish-American war he held the rank
iif lir-i lieiiti'iiaiit i.f tlie Eighth Regiment of California Volunteers, and re-'
maiiu'd 111 acluc ^crv icc during the war. Politically he is a stanch. and steadr
fast Republican uiul has rendered his party valuable service as a member of
the county central committee, for which he was the secretary for four years.
He was elected a state senator at the last election to represent the people of
the third senatorial district, comprising the counties of Nevada, Sierra and
Plumas, by the largest majority ever received by any candidate for that
office, and in his own county (Nevada) he ran over four hundred ahead of
his ticket, thus confirming his position as a popular, honorable young man,
appreciated Ijy the people. His term of ofifice will expire December, 1904.
The cause of education finds in him a warm friend and he is now a mem-
ber of the school board, and formerly served as secretary of the board of
school trustees. Popular in fraternal circles, he is identified with the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows of San Francisco, the Knights of Pythias of
Auburn, the Ancient Order of Foresters of Grass A'alley, the B. P. O. E. of
Grass Valley, and the Improved Order of Red Men, also of Grass Valley. In
the last named he has filled all the offices, and is now one of the leading grand
officers of that lodge.

Mr. Tj-rrell was united in marriage, on the 3d of September. 1889. to
an estimable young lady. Miss ]\Iinnie M. Harding, a daughter of Samuel
Harding, one of California's prosperous farmers who came to the Pacific
coast from the Blue Grass state. They have an interesting family of three
bright sons. Samuel E.. John B. and Park S. For all these years Mr.
Tyrrell has been to the people of Grass Valley the personification of honor
and honesty in all life's relations and his public service has been most com-
mendable. He holds frieiidshi]) inviolate and in business life he is most true
and faithful to the trusts commended to his care. He has reached a position
of prominence and influence as a citizen and lawyer \\ith which a much older
man might well be satisfied.

CLAEBORNE WAYNE EV.\NS.

Among the able, progressive, successful and prosperous practicing ph}'si-
cians of Stanislaus county, California, none has attained higher rank than the
subject of this sketch, who is a leading citizen at Modesto. Dr. Evans was born
in Cleburne county, Alabama, July i, 1859, and is descended from English and
Dutch ancestors, who settled early in the south. William Henry Evans, his
great-grandfather, was a pioneer in Alabama and was the American progenitor



3 5 2 REP RES EX TA TI I 'E CI T I ZENS

of his family. Tlie Evanses were prominent in the liistorv of both Alabama
an<l South Carolina and were acti\e participants on the patriot side in the Revo-
lutionary war.

Dr. Evans, who was the second child of his parents, came to California in
1 8/ I, when he was aliout twelve years old, and here completed his English and
classical education. He was graduated in medicine in the medical department
of the University of California, in the class of i88i, and began the practice
of his profession at Modesto. He at once identified himself with local inter-
ests and was accorded the esteem of the general public to an unusual degree,
and. being a talented, well equipped and enthusiastic physician and surgeon, he
soon acquired a large and remunerative practice in Stanislaus and adjoining-
counties and took a high place professionally in his part of the state. He has
served the county eighteen years as county physician and has charge of the
county hospital.

Dr. Evans is an extensive land-owner and devotes himself in his leisure
time to raising trotting horses and thoroughbred cattle. He keeps ten of his
best horses in his own stable and loses no time when called to attend to a
patient or when he drives into the country for business or pleasure, and it is
not probable that there is another physician in the state who has a stable of
faster horses for his own driving. He is the owner of a splendid herd of Hol-
stein-Friesian cattle purchased by him from the Leland Stanford estate, which
are considered as fine as any in the state. He is an active member of the
Democratic party and takes a deep interest in all public questions, wdiether
of national or local importance, and his public spirit is such that he has proven
a helpful friend to e\-ery interest affecting the advancement of the beautiful
little city of Modestn. and his residence is one of the most attractive and hos-
pitable there.

In i88r, soon after receiving his medical diploma. Dr. Evans married Miss
Bessie McLean, a daughter of Dr. S. M. McLean, an eminent physician and sur-
geon of California, who was at the time Dr. Evans's partner. Mrs. Evans bore
her husband children named Herbert M. (now at the California State L'niver-
sity), Maron and Samuel M. (students in the high school), and died when the
son last named was an infant. Dr. Evans' present wife was Miss Minnie Hurd,
a native of California, who has Ivorne him a son named John .\. and a daughter
named Martha Jean.

J. T. RODDA.

One of the most extensive and successful fruit growers of northern Cal-
ifornia is J. T. Rodda, who has been actively identified with the welfare and
development of Nevada county since 1855. His efforts have been very effec-
tive in promoting the horticultural interests of this section of the state, and
in thus establishing an industry which has become an important .source of
re\enue to the ])eople of the community. His marked business and executixe
ability, his careful managenienl and his .-nund judi'inent liavc given him rank
among the substantial residents of his Ideality, and no history of this section of



OF NORTHERX CALIFORNIA. 353

the state would be complete without the record of this honored pioneer, who
for forty-five years has made his home here.

A native of England, J. T. Rodda was born in 183-', the third in a family
of eight children, whose parents were John and Nancy Rodda, both natives
of the same land. The father died in 1870 and the mother passed away in
1880. Their son, whose name heads this review, was reared and educated in
the land of his birth and .during liis minority devoted much of his time and
attention to agricultural pursuits. \\' hen about twenty years of age he bade
adieu to home and friencls and came to America, first locating in Pennsylva-
nia. Subsequently he went to the Lake Superior mining region and for
some time was engaged in taking minerals from the mines of that locality.
Subsequently he returned to England, where he continued for a year, and
in 1855 came to California, making a location at Grass Valley, where he has
resided continuously since. For fi\-e years he was actively connecterl ^yith the
mining interests of this section, and for two years he followed farming.

He then spent thirteen years as a market gardener, and on the expiration
of that period established his present nursery, on Auburn street, where he
has large and well selected grounds, tastefully laid out with a view of pro-
ducing the best results. He owns considerable land and is now extensively
engaged in the cultivation of fruit, making a specialty of Bartlett pears. He
is one of the largest growers of this fruit in the county, having about one
hundred acres planted with pear trees. His grounds are equipped with suitable
out-houses for the care of his fruit and also hot-houses for the early devel-
opment of plants. He not only raises fruit but also gives considerable atten-
tion to the cultivation of flowers, shrubs and ornamental plants, and has worked
up a good trade along that line. In his business career he has met with cred-
itable success, and his efforts have lieen so discerningly directed along well
defined lines of labor that no one will claim that his prosperity is not well
merited.

3ilr. Roilda was married in i88j. to ^liss L. C. Klinestine, and now has
three sons : Albert, Jiihn antl William.

JOHN NICHOLLS.

John Nicholls, the senior memljcr of the banking firm of W. & P. Xicholls,
at Dutch Flat, Placer county, California, was born in Cornwall, England,
September 30, 1846, and is a representative of an old English family. Will-
iam Nicholls, the father of John, left England in 1852 and came to California,
pioneering in its mining districts. He was engaged in placer-mining at Plac-
erville, Georgetown and Forest City, and met with gratifying success. In
partnership with his brother Philip, he. became the leading g'old-buyer of For-
est City, Sierra county, and for years the two were engaged in buying and pack-
ing gold across the mountains to San Francisco. While thus occupied they
subjected themselves to much fatigue and exposure incident to the unsettled
condition of the country. At times they carried as much as one hundred
thousand dollars in gold dust on their pack mules, and more than once were



3 5 4 REP RES EX TA Tl I 'E CI TIZENS

attacked In- rolihers. By prowess and lyraverv. lio\ve\er. tliey always managed
to keep llieir treasure. In i860 they came to Dutch Flat and established a
hanking business, which they conducted successfully un to the time of their
(leatii, and which their sons are still conducting. William Xicholls departed
tills life in 1877. He was a man of the highest business integrity and great
courage, and, in short, possessed those sterling characteristics which made him
what he was. the highest type of a California ])ioneer. He had married, in
1845. Miss Jane Nicholls, a distant relative, who died in England in 1864.
Of their three children, two are living, вАФ John and William.

John and William Xicholls were reared and educated in England, and in
1865, the year following their mother's death, they came to this country to
jniu their father in California, making the voyage via New York and the
isthmus of Panama and landing in due time at San Francisco, whence they
came directly to Dutch F'lat. Here John Xicholls and his cousin William
succeeded to the banking business established by father and uncle, as above
stated. They are also interested in various mining operations and other
business enterprises and have been uniformly successful in whatever the)- have
undertaken. Thus they have rightly gained a standing among the most prom-
inent t.aisiness men of the county.

In San Francisco, February 21, 1878, John X'icholls married Miss Olive
Wilson, and they are the parents of four children, namely : John Carrol, Robert
Julian, Sydney Walton and Jennie Esbella. The eldest son, John Carrol, has
recently graduated at the University of California. The Nicholls' home is
one of the most commodious and attractive residences in Dutch Flat and Mr.
Nicholls and his family are held in high esteem by the citizens of the place.

For a number of years Mr. Nicholls has been an enthusiastic Mason, and
both he and his wife are members of the Order of the Eastern Star. In
Masoiu-y he has advanced through the degrees of the blue lodge, chajiter and
commandery, and at this writing he is filling the office of treasurer in the blue
lodge. Also he belongs to the Independent Order of Red Men. Politically
l)e is a Democrat, and on one occasion allow&d his name to be used as ihe
candidate of his party for the state assembly. He is not, however, what may
l)e termed a politician, and he has never sought official honors, preferring rather
to give his undivided attention to his extensive business interests.

Li' WIS M. sen RACK.

No history of northern California would be complete wilhoiU a record of
Tewis M. Schrack. He carved his name deeply on the annals by reason of
his active and iionorable association with events that contribute toward the
substantial upbuilding and progress of this jxirtion of the state. He is num-
bered among the pioneers of 1850, and for many years Calaveras county
accorded him rank among her liest citizens, a man whom to know was to
respect and honor.

He was burn in the town of Norristown, Montgomery county, Pennsvl-
vania, on the _'5lh of July, 1818. His parents. Lewis and Phebe (Griffith)



OF XORTHERN CALIFORXIA.



155



Schrack, were both natives of the Keystone state, and our subject was of
German and Welsh !ineag-e. His father and mother sjjent their entire hves
at Xorristown, the former dying at the age of sixty years, the latter when
fifty-eight years of age. They were membersi of the Episcopalian churcli
and their daily conduct was in harmony with their jjrofessions. honor and
integrity characterizing tliem in all life's relations. Thus they commanded
uniform confidence and respect, and to their children they were examples of
righteousness. They became the parents of nine children, about half of wIkhu
lived to mature years and had families of their own.

Lewis M. Schrack acquirad his education in Philadelphia, and in early
manhood removed to Red River county, Texas, where he was engaged in
merchandising for a number of years. He was married, in Paris, Texas,
on the 6th of May, 1849, to Susan Bartlette Holman, and six weeks later
crossed the ijlains to California. While en route they were attacked by
Indians, were robbed and had to fight their way through. Mr. Schrack
brought with him to the Pacific coast a company of forty men, who arrived in
California in the spring of 1850. He had purchased the oxen, secured tiie
outfit and altogether expended about ten thousand tlollais, whicli was to be
paid l)ack to him, but he recei\'ed back not a cent of what he had expended.

One of the Indian chiefs possessed a written record, stating that he was
a good Indian. This record had become badly worn and the red man prom-
ised not to molest Mr. Schrack and his party if the former would write a new
record for him. Mr. Schrack then inscribed on a piece of paper that it would
be best to look out for this chief; but one of the boys reading over his shoulder,
laughed at what was written. This angered the Indian, who attempted to
scalp him and would not receive the paper. Mr. Schrack was then obliged
to write a record similar to the one that was worn out ; but he believed that
the chief merely wanted to use this to get the confidence of the emigrants
and put them oft their guard. When the writing was given to the Indian
the party continued on their way, considering they had a narrow escape.

They arrivad first at San Diego and came up the coast to San Fran-
cisco, where the father of our subject engaged in the hotel business until the
following June, when the hotel was destroyed by fire and he lost everything
he possessed. He then went to Vallejo, built a hotel and there entertained the
members of the legislature. Subsequently he made his way to the ]Mokel-
umne ri\er. where he engaged in mining, spending the winter at Mokelumne
Hill. On the 2Tst day of August, 1851, he camped on the site of the farm.
He saw that there was water there; and as the place was on the direct trail
from Stockton to the mines he decided that it was a favorable location, and
entered from the government one hundred and sixty acres of land. He estab-
lished a stage station and conducted a wayside hotel, which was well pat-
ronized, for there was much tra\el in tho.se days and a pressing need was felt
for such a place of entertainment, many guests taking acconmiodations there
for the night. Mr. Schrack thus become widely and favorably known, his
ffualities being such as to commend him to the friendship and confidence of all.
In his business affairs lie prospered, gaining a very desirable competence. He



356 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

spoke several languages and was a gentleman of talent and ability, capable of
filling almost every position in life.

in his political views he was a Democrat, and his fitness for high official
honors was regarded by the public when, in 1872, he was chosen a member
of the assembly. He left the impress of his individuality upon the legislation
of California and had marked inlluence upon pulilic thought and opinion.
his fellow townsmen having a great respect for his ideas and views. He
had been the editor of the Register, established at San Andreas. His edi-
torials indicated marked ability, keen discrimination and logical thought. He
was the author of a history of Calaveras county, which he wrote in 1880, and it
was published in the San Francisco Call, being spoken of as a production of
superior merit. He de])arted this life on the 7th of February, 1883, at his
Golden Gate ranch, where he had so long resided. He had been an invalid for
twenty years and was confined to his bed for twenty-seven months before
his death, during all of which time he was faithfully attended by his devoted
wife, whose care for him <lid much to alleviate his suffering. His influence
in public affairs was always of a beneficial character and proved a potent
element in the upbuilding and material advancement of the community with
which he was connected. He had attained the age of sixty-four years, six
months and twelve days, and his loss to the community was one widely and
deeply felt throughout his section of the state.

In September, 1852. he had returned to the east for his wife, ami in
1853 they came to California together by way of the isthmus of Panama,
bringing with them their first born, a daughter, Nellie, then in the third year
of her age. She is now the wife of Julius Toda and resides on a ranch adjoin-
ing the old homestead. 'j"here were born to them in California eight children,
namely: James B.. who idied in his twenty-sixth year and was laid to rest in
their private burying-ground on the ranch :' Blanche, who is the wife of Julius
Milton and resides in Fresno county, California; Annie, who died in infancy;
Henry Clay, who is at home with his mother; William, who died at the age
of nineteen years; Albert J., who died when a year old ; Jefferson D., who also
is at home; and Mautl, now the wife of Frank Washburn, a resident of
Valley Springs.

Mrs. Schrack is now in the .seventy-third year of her age and is one of
the most highly esteemed pioneer women of the state. She experienced all
the hardships and trials incident to the establishment of a home on the frontier.
At first they lived in a tent, with canvas windows and a dirt floor, which in the
rainv season became saturated with water so that her shoes were often very
wet. Afterward, however, they erected the house in which they entertained
the traveling public! She cooked for the teamsters and bravely" did her jiart
in helping her husband to gain prosperity. In those early days Joaquin
Murietta, the Mexican highwayman and desperado, with his band had a cave
in the mountains not far from their home, and he and his followers often came
to their house for a meal. Fvery one stood in terror of the band, but Airs.
Schrack prepared the meal for them and Murietta usually gave her twenty
dollars and would acce])t no change.



Of XORTHERX CALIFORNIA. 357

On one occasion when Mr. Schrack was retnrning home through a narrow
path on a dark night he was stopped by the Mexican, who drew his revolver.
Mr. Sciirack was surprised, but said Amigo, which means friend. Murietta
then got off his horse, offered him a purse and made all kinds of apologies
and ordered his men to dismount and take off their hats while Mr. Schrack
passed on his way. He declined the gold and was glad to escape with his
life. It was believed that Murietta was captured, and on one occasion the
authorities thought they had his head in a jar of alcohol; but Mrs. Schrack
lias been informed that he is still living, in ^lexico, where he has a large stock
ranch and fifty ponies. As the years passed such wild scenes became less
frequent and civilization replaced the chaotic condition of the early times.

Prosperity also came to the farmer of whom we write; but in 1878 their
large, two-story log house in which they had resided for twenty-five years
was destroyed by fire with all its contents. It was replaced, however,
by their present good frame residence, which stands in the midst of beautiful
forest trees planted by I\Ir. Schrack. He had the first peach orchard in the
county and also had a fine vineyard on his place, for -which he was at one
time offered twenty thousand dollars ; but he declined to make the sale. Another
year the\' lost considerable wood and much of their farm products by fire,
and on a third occasion their barn and two horses were burned ; but with charac-



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 46 of 108)