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 47 of 108)
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teristic energy the family have prosecuted their labors and have eventually
gained a comfortable competence. Mrs. Schrack still resides on the Golden
Gate ranch, esteemed and belovejd by her children and held in the highest
regard by their acquaintances. Their pioneer record forms an integral part
in the history of Calaveras county, for they aided in laying the foundation of its
present prosperity and promoted its progress along many substantial lines of


That good old stock of Virginia and ^Maryland which has been so potent
a factor in the citizenship of the United States produced the subject of this
sketch, a prominent lawyer of Modesto, Stanislaus county, California, an
acc(junt of whose useful and busy career it is the purpose of the editors to
include in this work. La Fayette Jackson Maddux was born at Pineville,
McDonald county, Missouri, August 14, 1854, and was brought to California
when he was between two and three years old. He is descended in the pater-
nal line from early settlers and active participants in the pioneer history of
X'irginia. His grandfather, George Nathaniel Maddux, was born iu' Virginia
and was a pioneer in Tennessee, where his life was successful and he lived to
a good old age. He married Miss Rebecca Parker, a native of Virginia,
and a daughter of Dr. John Parker, who was born in Maryland and took a
patriot's part in the Revolutionary war.

John Parker Maddux, a son of George Nathaniel and Rebecca (Parker)
^laddux. was born in Tennessee and went at a comparati\-ely early period in
his life to Missouri, where he married Miss Serena Gibson, a native of Fay-


etteville, Washington county, Arkansas. He became a well-to-do farmer in
Missouri and in 1855 took a drove of cattle overland to California, where
he sold them to good advantage. He returned to Missouri and in 1857 started
again across the plains to California, this time accompained by his wife and two
children, one of them. La Fayette Jackson Maddux, the subject of this sketch.
He located at Healdsburg, Sonoma county, where he bought a farm and
acquired other property and won success as a farmer and as a business man.
He was one of the organizers of the Santa Rosa Bank, at Santa Rosa, Sonoma
county, and of the Ukiah Bank, at Ukiah, Mendicino county ; he \vas for many
years a director of the former, and was connected with other prominent inter-
ests. He died in 1895, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, and his widow, a
woman of many virtues who is highly regarded by all who have the pleasure
of her acquaintance, is living, aged sixty-three years, on the family homestead
near Santa Rosa. Thej' were the parents of twelve children, two of whom
were born in Missouri and ten in California, and Mrs. Maddux has a sorrowful
memory of the death of her second child during the slow and perilous journey
of their then little family across the plains, wdiich consumed six months. She
remembers, too, that they were ambushed by Indians at one point and narrowly
escaped with their lives. Seven of their children are now living in California.
Charles P. Maddux is a practicing physician at Santa Rosa, where his brother,
Dr. James E. Maddux, is also located. Loretta is the wife of Dr. Graves, of
San Francisco. Her other sons, excepting the subject of this sketcli, are
members of her household near Santa Rosa.

La Fayette Jackson Maddux was educated in the public schools and the
Methodist College at Santa Rosa, and was graduated in law at the Harvard
Law School in the class of 1878. He began the practice of his profession at
Winnemucca, Nevada, where he remained about a year. In 1880 he located at
Modesto, where he has won a signal success professionally and is recognized
as one of the leading men of Stanislaus county. Li 1896 he was the candidate
of the Democracy of his district for representative in the congress of the
United States. Lie is acti\-e and influential in political work and his public spirit
has led him to labor efficiently for the advancement of many interests affect-
ing the welfare of his fellow citizens. He was appointed by Governor Budd
one of the directors of the state reform school for boys at lone, Amador county.

In 1879 Mr. Maddux married Miss May Blyth Simmons, a native of
Maripo-sa county, California, and a daughter of the Rev. J. C. Simmons, of
the Methodist Episcopal church. South, who has taken a prominent part in
making Metliodist history in this state. Mr. and Mrs. I\Liddux have two chil-
<lren, named Parker S. and Esther, who are attending school at Berkeley,
Alameda county.


The family of Messenger, of which Hiram Ashley Messenger of Gwin-
niine, Calaveras county, California, is a representative, is descended from
Englisli ancestors, who came to America before the Revolutionary war: and
Mr. Messenger's grandfather, Cyrus Messenger, was a cokinel in the colonial


army. Mr. Messenger"s father, also named Cyrus, was born in Berkshire
county, Massachusetts, and married Hannah Case, a native of Canton, Con-
necticut, and a member of an old and honorable New England family. He
was a farmer and a member of the state militia and a reliable and worthy
citizen, who lived to the age of seventy-eight years, his wife dying at sixty-
seven. The\- had nine children, of whom only three now li\'e and of whom
Hiram Asliley Messenger is the only one in California. One of his Ijrotliers
fought for the preservation of the Union in 1861-65.

Hiram A.shley Messenger was born at Peru, Berkshire county, Massachu-
setts. July 27, 1832, and was educated in the public schools of his native county.
In 1852, when in his twentieth year, he started overland for California
with a company from Michigan, paying seventy-five dollars for his board
antl cither prixileges; but when he arrived at Green river he exchanged his
chance to dime with that party to California for an opportunity to go to Ore-
gon with another party, with whom he traveled only a week, howe\-er, when
he obtained a job of driving an ox-team, hauling freight between St. Joseph
and Salt Lake, Utah.

He came on to California and from Lathrop packed his blankets to Stock-
ton. The next day after he arrived at Stockton he went to Latimer's, now
North Branch postoffice, and from there to Mokelumne Hill, then a big mining-
camp with a permanent gallows on which undesirable citizens were hanged
from time to time! He worked for a time fdr the "water company" and dur-
ing the succeeding winter he mined with some success. He entered
the employ of the water c<impany in the following spring and next
winter "tended ditch'" near Cape Horn. In the spring following he
worked for Andrews and C^adwaller "driving" lumber for the com-
pletion of the flume then under construction to Mokelumne Hill. Then
for two years he sold lumber in the Mokelumne lumber yards and afterward
was employed on the Chili Hill ditch at Campo Seco, and then he sold water
for the water company until 1857, when he was employed on the Calaveras
ditch at Murphy's under "Cap." Hanford. Later he mined on his own account
at Campo Seco, at Oregon Gulch and at Lancha Plana, wdiere he was suc-
cessful enough to take out about forty dollars a week. Later he mineid at Jenny
Lind, Whisky Hill and South Gulch, where he went with a family named
Copeland. In 1861 he discovered copper mines and did the first copper-mining
in that locality. In 1864 he sold out his interest, for five thovisand dolars. and
raised a company, at his own expense, and spent a year fighting ludians in .Ari-
zona, his command having been duly mustered into the United States service
and mustered out the last of June, 1866, at the presidio at San Francisco. He
rendered the government good service, for which he was paid in greenbacks that
netted him forty cents on the dollar when he exchanged them for provisions.
Returning to Campo Seco he associated himself with W. C. Whetstone and
bought the Cosgrove ranch, consisting of one thousand acres, and began rais-
ing hay and grain. In 1884 when the railroad was built, he sold a part of his
interest, hut still retains a fine tract two and a half miles from X'alley Springs,


wliere lie lias a good orange grove and raises nianj- olives, the place being
under the management of his son-in-law.

In 1894 -Mr. ;\lessenger removed from his ranch to Gwinmine, where he
conducts an extensive b(XU-ding-house and lills the office of postmaster. Polit-
ically he has been a lifelong Democrat, Init enough has been said of his record
during the war to establish the fact that he was a stanch Union man. From
the office of lieutenant in the home guard he was advanced to that of captain
in the United States service, and he won the title worthily and bears it honor-
ably. He was made a Master Mason in 1862 and is thoroughly posted in the
work of the order, and has for many years been the master of Campo Seco
Lodge, No. 100, F. ¬Ђ& A; M. His sons are also ^lasons, and INIrs. Messenger
and two of their daughters are members of the Order of the Eastern Star. He
has been an Odd Fellow for twenty years, was active and prominent in estab-
lishing the order at Mokelumne Hill and has passed the chairs in both branches.
In 1879 and 1880, just after the adoption of the new state constitution, he was
a member of the California legislature and has always done everything in his
power to advance the interests in his state and county. A friend of agriculture
and horticulture, he has been a director in the San Joaquin County Fair Asso-
ciation and in the or.fanization promoting fairs in Amador county. With
Senator Vorhees and Mr. Downs he is a stockholder in the Lincoln mine.

In 1859 Captain Messenger married Harriet L. AMlkins, a native of
Nashua, New Hampshire, who came to California in 1854, and they have had
five children. Their son. Nelson C, is married and lives at Angel's Camp.
Their daughter Mary Frances married Edward Maher and lives at Campo
Seco. Maud W. married William Putnam, who has the management of her
father's ranch. Hiram H., a man of a family, is a worthy citizen of Gwinmine.
Harriet Marion is a student at the state normal school. Mr. and Mrs. ^les-
senger and their family are well known and respected, and to the Captain and
his good wife is accorded the especial honor due to California pioneers.


In the history of the commercial jirogress and material develo])ment in
the town of (irass Valley, William H. Smith deserves mention, for during
many years he has been an active factor in the business interests of the town
where he is now successfully engaged in conducting a wdiolesale and retail
confectionery establishment on Mill street.

Mr. Smith is one of the native sons of Grass \'a!Iey. his birth having
occurred here on the 2_'(I of July, 1867. His father, William H. Smith, was
a native of England and an attorney by profession, who, on coming to Amer-
ica, located in New Orleans. Louisiana, whence he removed to San Francisco
in 1852. Here he engaged in the practice of law for a time and later fonned
a partnership with Joseph Hamilton, at Auburn. California. For many years
he was a justice of the jieace in Grass Valley and discharged his duties with
out fear or favor, winning the high commendation of all citizens who have
regard for law and order. He was married to Miss Jane Trim, a lady of


culture and refinement, who was born in Xew Orleans and is now residing
with one of her sons in Grass Valley.

In the faniiiy of this worthy couple were eleven children, \Villiam H.
being- the tenth in order of birth. He was reared and educated in Nevada
county and at an early age entered upon the practical duties of life, since
which time he has depended solely upon his own efforts. He is now at the
head of one of the oldest candy factories in the state, having established the
business in 1889. He successfully conducted this for a time and then sold out
to W. Williams, after which he removed to San Francisco, where he was
connected with the same line of trade. Later he became the traveling repre-
sentative for Robert Green, a soda-fountain manufacturer of Philadelphia,
and subsequently he traveled for some time in the interest of the firm of
Scott & Gilbert, of San Francisco. After resigning that position he returned
to the home of his boyhood and embarked in the real-estate and insurance
business, meeting with a high degree of success. Within a short time he
wrote policies to the amount of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars for
the Home Fire Insurance Company, of New York; but in 1896 he returned
to the confectionery business, purchasing his old' store. He employs two
expert candy-manufacturers ancl has both a large wholesale and retail trade,,
making extensive shipments to various towns in this section of the state.
The excellent quality of the products, his reasonable prices and his thorough-
reliability have made his business a profitable one, and his trade is steadily
growing in volume and importance.

On the 1 2th of August, 1892. was celelirated the marriage of Air. Smith
and Miss Mattie Nile, a native of ^Missouri, by whom he has one son, Cas-
well. Mr. Smith is an advocate of Democracy, being allied with the pro-
gressive wing of the party. He is a member of the Native Sons of the
Golden West, the B. P. O. E. and the Grass Valley fire department. He
withholds his support from no movement or measure which he believes will
contribute to the substantial welfare and develoj>ment of this section of the
state. He is widely and favorably known by the citizens of his native county
and merits honorable mention among- the leading and representatixe busi-
ness men of northern California.


. Christian Runckel, the superintendent of schools at Dutch Flat, is one
of the prominent educators of Placer county. A sketch of his life is there-
fore of interest in connection with biographical mention of other leading
and representative citizens of his town and county, and, briefly, is as follows:

Christian Runckel was born in Dutch Flat, Placer county, California,
July 27, 1868, and is of German descent. His father, Justus Henry Runckel,
was born in Germany, January 13, 1832, of German parentage, and belonged
to a mercantile family, generation after generation, for a period of one hun-
dred and fifty years, having been engaged in business at the same stand.

In 1852, leaving the business and home of his forefathers, Ju.stus H.


kmickcl emigrated to America, landing at Xew Yt)ri<. where lie remained
until 1856, and that year came to Cal-ifornia, making the journey by way uf
the isthmus of Panama. Upon his arrival in California, Mr. Runckel engaged
in mining on the middle fork of the American river, where he was fairly
successful. Mining, however, was not suited to his tastes, and in 1857 he
came to Dutch Flat and established himself in a bakery and mercantile busi-
ness, which he conducted successfully until he retired in 1892. Also he was
interested in fruit-growing on lands which he owned in the town site, apples
and Jjartlett pears being his specialty, and most of his trees having been
planted by his son Christian. An ardent Democrat, the elder Runckel was
an active participant in the politics of the county, and fraternally he for
years maintained memljership in the I. (). O. F., being identihed with both
branches of the order and also with the order of Rebekahs. In 1859 he
married Miss Louisa Held, like himself, a native of Germany, and of the
eleven children born to this worthy couple nine are still living. Tlie mother
also is still living, and is in the enjoyment of excellent health. The father
departed this life in 1896, at the age of sixty-four years.

Christian Runckel was educated in the public schools of his native town
and in a i)rivate normal school in Auburn, and began his life work as a
teacher, when only nineteen years of age, at Lowell Hill. For the past ten
years he has taught at Dutch Flat, where, at this writing, he holds the position
of superintendent of schools. Here, with the valued assistance of the school
board, he has been instrumental in bringing the school interests of Dutch Flat
U|> to a ;iigh standard. A new schoolhouse ha.^ been built, ecjuipped with all
the modern appliances found in the up-to-date schools, and the teac!iers work
in har;uony with their superintendent. It is a fact worthy of note that the
county superintendent jjaid Dutch Flat the compliment of having- the best
school building in the county.

Like his father before him, ^Ir. Runckel has taken an active interest in
the politics of the county and keeps himself as w-ell posted in political matters
as he does in educational affairs. He was at one time the candidate of the
Democratic party for the office of representative of his county in the state
assembly. Another honor conferred upon him by his party, and one which
lie esteemed more highly, was his nomination for state superintendent of edu-
cation, but. although he made a satisfactory run. he, with the rest of the ticket,
was defeated. A county office which he now holds is that of president of the
board of education.

Mr. Runckel was the originator and organizer of the Order of the Ameri-
can Flag, which has received a state charter. The object of the organization
is to inculcate patriotism and a love for the civil Hberty which the flag repre-
sents, and also to inculcate a more thorough knowledge of the grand princi-
ples on which a government by the people and for the people rests.

In the midst of his other work Mr. Runckel was for three years the editor
of the Colfax Sentinel. Nowadays, when not occupied with his educational
work. Mr. Runckel busies himself among his fruits and flowers. He owns
the pleasant home he occujiies and a fruit ranch.


He was married in 1894 to iNIiss Sophia Cadwalladcr, a native of Nevada
bounty and a graduate of i\apa College. Previous to her marriage Mrs.
Kunckel was a successful teacher. They have a pleasant home in which interest
centers around two little ones, a son and daughter, Christian, Jr., and Martha.
Mr. Runckel and his wife are identified respectively with the Native Sons of
the Golden \\'est and the Native Daughters of the Golden W'est ; he helped to
organize the parlor in Dutch Mat, and was its first presitlent. He is also a
member of the i. O. O. F., and has passed all the chairs in both branches of
the order.


Among the representative citizens and city officials of Auburn. Placer
county, California, is John Adams, who was born in Delaware county, Ohio,
June 28, 1841. The Adams family, of which the subject of this sketch is a
member, is of German origin and has long been identified with this country.
Abraham Adams, the grandfather of John, was born in Luzerne county, Penn-
sylvania, and was reared and married there. In 1812, with his w4fe and chil-
dren, he moved to what was then called the Western Reserve, and in Delaware
county, Ohio, took claim to a tract of land and established his home on the
frontier. He became one of the prominent early farmers of Delaware county.
John Adams, his son, the father of our subject, was born in Luzerne county,
Pennsylvania, in 1800. and was twelve years old when he went with his father's
family to Ohio. In the latter state he grew to manhood and married Miss
Desire Cook, who was born in 1803, a daughter of Benajah Cook, one of the
pioneer settlers of Delaware county. This union was blessed in the birth of
eight children, fi\'e sons and three daughters, and four of the family are still
living. The parents were devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church
and in their hospitable home was entertained many a traveling minister of the
gospel. Mr. Adams donated the ground on which their church building was
erected, helped to build it. and during his life aided substantially in the sup-
port of the church. Indeed, he was one of its most liberal and active members.
He and his wife continued their residence in Delaware county while they li\-ed.
Both reached a ripe old age, he being in his seventy-second year and she in her
seventy-sixth year at the time of death.

John Adams was the seventh born in his father's family. He was edu-
cated in the public schools, and in Central College, Franklin county, Ohio,
and was still in school at the time the Civil war was inaugurated. He had
just reached his twenty-first year wdien President Lincoln made his second
call for volunteers, and on the 7th of August, 1862, in answer to that call,
yi mug Adams volunteered for .service in the Union army and became a mem-
ber of Company G, Forty-fifth Ohio Infantry. The fortunes of this command
he shared in Kentucky and Tennessee for five months. Then typhoid fever
visited the regiment, resulting in the death of no less than two hundred of its
members. Mr. Adams was one of its victims, was confined to hospital eight
months, and barely escaped with his life. This long sickness unfitted him for


furllier ser\-ice at the lime, and lie was honorably discharged and returned to
his home. It was two years before he fully recovered his health.

After this he farmed for a time. Then he became the owner of a portable
sawmill, and was engaged in the manufacture of lumber for four years. In
1870 he came to California, locating in Sierra Valley, Plumas county, where
lie remained three years, after which, on account of the sickness of his son,
he returned east. In 1880 he again came to California, this time locating in
Placer county and purchasing a farm near New- Castle, where he engaged in
fruit-farming, making a specialty of peaches. He still retains this farm, but
has for some time owned and occupied a pleasant home in Auburn.

Air. Adams was happily married in 1867, on the 6th of February, to Miss
Josephine Tyler, a native of Delaware county, Ohio, and a daughter of Lyman
Tyler, of old Revolutionary stock. Her grandfather, George Tyler, was a
colonel in the seven-years struggle for independence, and the family has spared
its full quota of soldiers, having been represented in every war in which this
country has been engaged. Joseph Tyler, the original progenitor of the Tyler
family to which Mrs. Adams belongs, settled in ^Massachusetts in 1640. His
progeny have scattered over various portions of this country and many of
them ha\e occupied prominent and influential positions. Air. and Mrs. Adams
have had four children, two of whom are living, both natives of California.
Eugene is engaged in farming and resides with his parents in Auburn.

Mr. Adams has been a life long Republican. In 1886 he was elected
recorder of Placer county, and it was at this time that he moved to Auburn,
where he has since resided. He was again elected to the office of recorder,
to succeed himself, and served two terms of tw^o years each. He was also
elected and served four years as the assessor of Placer county, and he is at
])rcsent the incumbent of a city office, having been elected one of the trustees
of Auburn in the spring of 1900. By his uniform courtesy and the fidelity
to trust reposed in him, Air. Adams has made a most acceptable official and
given general satisfaction lo all concerned. As a business man he has proved
himself a success, having accumulated a competency. Besides his farm and
his property in Auburn, already alluded to. he has valuable mining interests.

Airs. Adams is a member of the Alethodist church, of wdiich the family
are attendants and to which Air. Adams is a liberal contributor. Fraternally
he is identified with the A. O. U. \V. and the G. A. R., l>eing a charter mem-
ber of Baker Post at New Castle, in which he has always taken much interest.
He has filled nearly every office in his G. A. R. Post and is now a jiast com-

Such is a brief sketch of the life nf one of Auburn's leading citizens.


The proprietor of the Washington Brewery, at Grass \^al!ey. Frederick
Frank, is a native of the town in which he makes his home, his birth having
occurred Alarch 31, 1871. being the fifth in order of liirtli in a family of
thirteen children, only three of whom are now living. The parents. John and


Catherine (Lepharts) Frank, were both natives of Germany and are now
deceased. The father was born in Wurtemberg, and there learned the baker's
trade. In 1850 he crossed the Atlantic to America, taking np his residence
in New Orleans. A year later he came to Grass Valley and for some time

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 47 of 108)