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 49 of 108)
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two hundred pounds, Mr. Cressey not only improved his own stock but also
the stock of many neighboring ranchmen. He was one of the organizers
and the president of the company that made the first irrigating ditch in the
county. That innovation showed the great productive possibilities of the
land when pro])erly watered, and it is believed that in all his useful career
Mr. Cressey has done nothing for which he is entitled to more credit from
the general jjublic than for that unioue and beneficent enterprise. His in-


terest in the affairs of his town and county has always Ijeen active, and there
has never been a movement for the general benefit to which he has not given
his moral encouragement and financial aid. He has for some years been the
president of the Stanislaus County Agricultural Association, which holds
successful annual fairs, for the satisfactor}' management of which he is
personally largely responsible. Mr. Cressey is, first of all, a business man,
but his business enterprises are deep and broad and their success is as bene-
ficial to the community at large as to himself. He is a tireless worker and
attributes much of his success to habits of industry early acquired and to
close attention to business details. He has been an Odd Fellow for more
than thirty years.

In 1870 Mr. Cressey married Miss Syh'ia Swan, of Alaine, who im-
mediately after their wedding came to California with him. Of their four
children. Charles, the eldest, died at the age of six years. Nellie is the wife
of C. M. Maze, of Modesto. Alberta married Howard Taylor and lives
in San Francisco. George is a bookkeeper in the Modesto Bank. Mrs.
Cressey, who died February, 1895, '^^'^s a woman of great nobility of char-
acter and a most faithful and loving wife and mother, who was held in
affectionate regard Ijy all who knew her. The loss to her husband and chil-
dren occasioned by lier death can ne\-er be repaired, and Mr. Cressey has
often said that words fail him when he attempts to oft'er a tribute to her
life and character.


A'ermont has given California many good citizens, and one of the best
known and most highly esteemed of these at Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras
county, is the prominent mine-owner whose naine is above. Mr. Peek was
born in A'ermont, May 9, 1825, and is descended from good English an-
cestors who settled early in the colonies. He accompanied his father's fam-
ily to Illinois in 1838 and was there educated and reared on a farm.

When he attained his majority he became a traveling salesman and col-
lector for the Gradatour Plow Company and later he served the Moline Com-
pany in the same capacity for four years. After that, until 1859, he farmed
and sold goods in Ogle county. Early in the year mentioned he started for
California, and going by way of the isthmus of Panama arrived at San Fran-
cisco June 14, 1859, The next day but one he was at Mokelumne Hill,
where for the seven j-ears which followed he was a successful liveryman,
nnt\\ithstanding he was three times burned out, and then he became a partner
of Alyher Davidson's in the mercantile business and was associated with
liim until 1892. During his connection with Mr. Davidson, he was inter-
ested in the management of the Ouinn mine, attended to supplying it with
everything necessary, paid tlie men employed there and ran the boarding
house in connection with it. He bought five hundred acres of land, partly in
the town of Mokelumne Hill and partly just outside its boundary line, and
sold two hundred and fortv acres of the tract for ten thousand dollars and has


bunded eighty acres more oi it to a mining comi)any for three tlionsand dol-
lars, a part uf which sum has been paid ; and he has another mine on the
same iiroperty. covering two acres, which he has bonded for one thousand
dollars. As these mines are on the ]VIather lode of California, which has
yielded such vast treasure to gold-seekers, they are considered very valuable.

Mr. Peek was the deputy sheriff of Calaveras county during the ad-
ministration of George C. Tryon. He was made a Master Mason at Miniiit
Mi)rris many years ago and has been prominent as an Odd Fellow. ha\ing
passed the chairs in l)oth branches of the order. Mrs. Peek has passed all
the chairs in the order of the Daughters of Rebekah. They have a pleas-
ant home and are surrounded with everything tending to their comfort and
convenience. Their residence was built in 1897.

Mr. Peek was married March 3, 1867, to Miss Emily Fitzgerald, wdio
was Ixirn in Baltimore. Maryland, in 1852, and was brought to California
by her mother in 1854. having been eight months en route. !\Ir. and ]\Irs.
Peek have three sons and three daughters: Charles S. ; Ella K.. who mar-
ried Dr. F. J. Blaisdell, the latter practicing medicine in San Francisco;
Estella, who married Frank Bernard!, and Addie C. who married William
L. Daoust. and both live at ]\Iokelumne Hill ; George F. ; and Allen H.
is a .student at Cooper Medical College. Charles S. and George F. have re-
cently returned from a visit to Cape Nome, Alaska, bringing with them
five thousand dollars each, as the fruits of their first summer's labor, and
valuable presents for the family, one of which is a magnificent watch chain
and cliarm made of nuggets from their claim, and which was presented to their


Peter Purcell. deceased, was the proprietor of the Fashion Livery Sta-
ble of Grass Valley, and has carried on business here for many years. A
native of the Emerald Isle, he was born in Kings county on the 2d of July,
1833, and was a son of Peter and Mary (Colgan) Purcell, who also were
natives of Ireland. His father was a merchant tailor by occupation, and died
in 1884. while his mother passed away in 1880. The family is noted for

Peter Purcell, the fourth in order of birth in their family of five chil-
dren, spent his boyhood days at his parental home, and in the schools of the
neighborhood acquired his education. In his youth he also learned the trade
of merchant tailoring, which he followed until coming to .\merica. In the
year 1861 he determined to seek his home beyond the Atlantic, and after
Teacliing the new world took up his abode in Peru, Indiana, where he remained
for two 3'ears, after which he came to California, locating in Sweetland,
Nevada county. There he engaged in mining for a short time, and in 1872
came to Grass Valley. From 1872 onward he conducted a livery business,
having well equipped barns on Main street, adjacent to the Holbrook House,
and where he had hansoms and carriages and other stylish turnouts which
he furnished to the public at reasonable rates. He received a liberal share of


the pul)lic patronage, and his business bruuglit to liim a comfortal)le com-

In Jtily, 1873, occurred the marriage of ]\lr. Pureed and Miss Margaret
Moroney, a lady of Irish birth. The}' had eight chikh"en, namely : Thomas
J., Mary, Peter F., Joseph, Margaret. Catherine, William and Theresa.
They also lost three children.

jNIr. Pureed was a Democrat in his political views and kept well informed
on the issues of the day and did whatexer he could to promote the success
and welfare of his party. For seven years he was connected with the Grass
Valley fire department, being a member of Hose Company No. 2. He was
deeply interested in everything pertaining to the welfare of his adopted city
and withheld his support from no measure which he believed would prove of
general good. His hope of bettering" his financial condition in America was
realizetl, and he not only won here a good business but :.lso gained many
warm friends. I\Iarch 17. 1900, he was kicked b}^ a horse, injuring him to
such an extent that he passed away April 2, 1900. Flis loss to tlie community
is a painful one, as he was a valuable citizen.


Among the residents of Tuolumne county, California, of Italian birth,
none occupies a higher place in public esteem than the well known citizen of
Jamestown whose name is above and who has lived in California since 1859,
when he was about fourteen years old.

John Rocca was born of Italian parents, both of whom were of old
Italian ancestry, June 2y, 1845. His father was Lazaro Rocca, an Italian
by birth, breeding and education, who came to America in i860 and settled
at Jamestown, luolumne county, where he remained tmtil 1874, when he
returned to Italy, where he died at the age of eighty-two years, and where his
wife survived him, having at this time (1900) attained to the same advanced
age. John Rocca, who is now the only member of his family in California,
was educated in Italy so far as was possible and left home while yet a mere
lad. going to South America, whence he came to New York, where he labored
under the disadvantage of not knowing the English language. He man-
aged to support himself by peddling, however, and in 1859 came to California
by way of the isthmus of Panama, arriving at San Francisco, August 27.
From San Francisco he came to Jamestown, where he was employed four
years as a clerk in the general store of his uncle, J. Lartora. After that he
was employed at good wages as a miner and later worked a claim of his own,
with satisfactory success. When he had acquired some ca])ital he bougl.t a
forty-acre farm a mile north of Jamestown and engaged in the cultivation of
fruits and vegetables. He prospered and added to his landed ])ossessions until
he owned one hunlred and ten acres, which he sold in 1866, for a gciod
price, in order to buy land in Algansin, four miles from Jamestown, where
he prospered so well that he now owns one thousand acres, including a fine
\incvard, and raises grain and slock, lie is the owner also of seven business


buildings on Main street. Jamestown, in tlie Inisiness center of the town, and
of the Base-of-the-Slope mine, a prolitable property tliree miles from James-
town and of important interests in other mines in the ]\Iather lode, and is
regarded as one of the wealthy men of Tuolumne county. He is a public-
spirited and progressive citizen who has used his influence freely for the
advancement of the best interests of the county and its people. Politically he
is a Democrat and he has filled the offices of county supervisor and coUectur
of licenses and has been road overseer.

Mr. Rocco was married in 1864 to INIiss Anna Stulla. who bore him
six children and died in 1871. Two of his children by that marriage are
dead also. In 1874 he married Miss Margaret Gianilli, who has borne him
thirteen children, three of whom are dead. Mary, his eldest daughter mar-
ried Lewis Gaudolfo. Theresa is the wife of \\'illiam Whippy. John J.
is married and lives at Stent. Anna married George Gianilli. Rosa is ]\Irs.
E. J. Knowlin. Lottie, Millie, Kate. Laura. ]\Iadalane. Maggie, Lodge,
Joseph and Angcline are members of their father's household.


Perhaiis no state of the Union has lieen more richly endowed by nature
than California, with its vast mineral and agricultural resources, from which
spring the other great branch of activity, — commerce. Its orchards furnish
most unprecedented yield, its verdant valle3-s and fertile hillsides furnish pas-
turage for tlocks, and its mines jneld the greater part of the precious metal that
forms the standard of our currency and is in use as a medium of trade through-
out the country: but nature merely provides the material for the workman, and
it remains to man to develop its resources and adapt them to his own use.
Actively interested in the mining region of Eldorado coimty is John P. Allen,
one of the early and well known settlers of this portion of the state and now
residing in Cedar Ravine, a short distance from Placerville, where he has val-
uable mining interests.

Mr. Allen was born in Fairfield, Maine, on the 22d of February, 1826,
and from Scotland to New England came his ancestors at an early period in
the development of that portion of our country. Holoway Allen, the father of
(un- suljject, was born in Maine and there married ^liss Hannah Spaulding.
They became the parents of six children, and the father died at the age of sev-
enty-four, while the mother reached the very advanced age of ninety-nine years.
She was a member of the Society of Friends. Mr. Allen of this sketch was
reared on the farm of an uncle until his nineteenth year and then served an
apprenticeshi]) at the ship-joiner's trade. In 1858 he sailed on the Star of the
West for California, and on reaching the Pacific Ocean took passage on the
John L. Stephens, landing at San Francisco on the 17th of October of that
year. He worked for a month at his trade in that city, but he had been attacked
by the gold fever and in consequence started for the mines, going by steam
to Sacramento, whence he proceeded on foot to his destination, carrving his
blankets upon his back. For three years he engaged in ])]accr mining near


Newtown, meeting with moderate success, after which he came to his present
location in Eldorado county. With two partners he engaged in mining on
Spanish Hill, where they continued their efforts for six months, without result.
Forming another partnership, Mr. Allen put a tunnel in the hill and the prop-
erty then yielded to them a good return. Subsequently he sold his property
there and in the winter of 1861 purchased a claim in Cedar Ravine. Here he
has since prospered, and mine yielding a good percentage of gold. In 1862 he
built a pleasant and comfortalale residence on the banks of the ravine, so that
he is pleasantly located near his business. The hillside shows the marks of his
industrious hand. He has vigorously prosecuted his work and he is accounted
one of the leading representatives of mining interests in this locality.

In 1849 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Allen and Miss Crispianna
Young, a native of Bath, Maine. Two children were born to them in the Pine
Tree state, and in 1862 the mother and children joined ^Ir. Allen in his new
home in California. The younger daughter, Kate, married a Mr. Hart, and the
elder daughter, Mary Ann, became the wife of G. A\'. Van Vleck and passed
away, leaving three sons. Her husband is still living in California. After
arriving in this state Mr. and Mrs. Allen became the parents of two daughters
and two sons; tieorge W. ; Drucilla, the wife of George Bertschi; Frederick,
who is associatetl with his father in the breeding of Belgian hares ; and ^Mildred
C, who is assistant cliief operator in the Sunset Telephone Company in Sacra-

In 185 1 Mr. Allen took the initiatory degree in the Masonic fraternity,
joining Solar Lodge, No. 14, at Bath, ]\laine; and on the 26th of June, of the
same 3'ear, was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. He is also a
Royal Arch Mason, joining Montgomery Chapter at Bath, ]\laTne, on the 8th
of April, 1857. He afterward took a demit from Solar Lodge, No. 14, and
now affiliates with Palmyra Lodge, No. 151, at Placerville, .California.

Mr. Allen has been a life-long Republican, but has never sought or desired
the honors of emoluments of public office. His pleasant, genial manner wins
him friends wherever he goes, hauglitiness and ostentation forming no part of
his composition. Although well advanced in years, he is still quite \-igorous.
He is a typical representative of the age in which he lives and of the state which
is his home, and truly his life may ht termed as a success, for the principles for
which he has lived he has seen adopted and honored, — a success which is above
that of the millionaire.


Robert M. Latta has spent liis entire life in the Golden state and is
well known to many of the citizens of Xexada county. He is now success-
fully engaged in business in Nevada City as the proprietor of a well-equipped
livery and feed stable. He was born in the county which is still his home, on
the 8th of September, 1868, and is the youneest of the five cliildren of
Rolaert \V. and Sarah A. (Darling) Latta. The father, a native of Ohio,
came to California in iS^o and for man\- \-ears was connected witli the


stage business, driving tlie stage nn the Washington route. His death oc-
curred on the 1 ith of November, 1877, ^"^1 '^'s wife, a native of Michigan, was
one of the first teaciiers in Nevachi county and for a number of years was
thus connected with tlie educational interests of tliis locality. Her death
occurred on the 2d of October, 1888.

Robert M. Latta obtained his education in the public schools near his
home, spent his boyhood uixni his father's farm, . early becoming familiar
with all the duties and laliors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He also
spent considerable time in Yuba and San Joaquin counties, but in 1896 re-
turned to Nevada county and established his present livery and feed stable
at the foot of Broad street, near Plaza. He is prepared to furnish stylish
turnouts at reasonable rates and his energy and earnest desire to please have
secured to him a liberal patronage. While living in Yuba county he served
as a deputy sheriff, but has never been an office-seeker, preferring to devote
his energies to his business interests.

Mr. Latta was united in marriage, in Yuba county. February 2, 1888.
to iliss Mary Stineman. a native of California and a daughter of John Stine-
man. a pioneer of California in 1850. and one of the Reese river victims.
He is still living, making his home at Wheatland. The marriage of 'Slv.
and Mrs. Latta has been lilest with four children, who are yet living. —
Esther. Wallace. Oscar, and Kenneth; and one daughter died in 1898. Mr.
Latta affiliates with tiie Independent Order of Foresters, of which he is now
the financial secretary, and with the Woodmen of the World and the Native
Sons nf the Golden \\'est.


Forty-si\' years have passed since John Henry Lakamp came to Cali-
fornia, and thus through more than four decades he has witnessed the
growth and development of the state. To those who saw California in its
early mining days and now travel over the beautiful state, rich in all the
natural resources and in all the improvements that man has made, it is no
wonder that lier citizens feel a deep pride in her progress and upbuilding. —
a pride that is amplv justified liy what has been accomplished. Each com-
munity has its leading men who have been foremost in promoting the work
of advancement, and among this number is classed Mr. Lakamp.

A native of FLanover. Germany, he was born on the i6th of October.
1835. his parents being Joseph and l\Largaret Lakamp, also natives of the
same country. The father (lied when his son was only six years of age.
The mother afterward became the wife of Adam Hespa. ' In 1845 they came
to .America, bringing with them her son John. He was afterward afforded
the educational privileges of a religious school in Cincinnati. Ohio. He also
learned the shoemaker's trade as a preparation for life's practical duties,
but was later obliged to abandon that vocation because of his health, and
in 1 854 be came to California, by way of the isthmus. He sailed from New
■^'ork on the George Low. Subsequently that vessel was brought around


into the Pacific waters and was finally wrecked and sank, the passengers and
crew all being- lost.

Mr. Lakamp arrived at Dntch Flat im the 27th of March and worked
•on a ranch, being employed at the manufacture of charcoal and "shakes."
He was willing to accept any employment that would yield him an hon-
orable living until he could get a start. A little later he began mining on
the river and was among the first to engage in hydraulic mining, in which
enterprise he met with success. His largest find was a nugget of gold worth
four hundred and twenty-one dollars and twenty-five cents. There were
five of his party working at that place and they used to take out about one
hundred dollars each in a week. They worked the mine until they supposed'
its mineral resources were exhausted, after which it was jumped by others
and for some time still proved to be a good producer. In 1861 Mr. Lakamp
resumed mining on the same river where he had worked for thre^ years, and
then sold his property to g<»»l advantage. He has since operated and owned'
several mines, and like most mining men he has made and lost much money:
but in the aggregate his career has lieen a prosperous one and he has now
retired from active business with a good competency, having a commodious
and comfortable residence in Dutch Flat, where he enjoys the esteem of his
fellow citizens to a high degree. He is still interested in various mining
properties, but leaves their operation to others.

Mr. Lakamp has been a life-long Democrat, but has never sought official
preferment as a reward for party fidelity. In i860 he was made a Mason
and has since continued an active and valued representative of the fraternity.
He has also taken the Royal Arch and the Knight Templar degrees and is
a worthy representative of the lieneficent principles upon which the order is
founded. His home relations have been very pleasant. He was married,
in 1876, to Miss Margaret Hild, a native of Germany, and they became the
parents of six children, of whom four are living, namely: Esther: Emma,
-the wife of M. S. Skeagen, by whom she has two children — Milton and
Margaret : Frank, who has gone to Cape Nome, Alaska, to try his fortune
there; and Augusta, who lives in Chicago, Illinois. The mother died in
.\pril. i87q. and her loss was deeply felt by her family; Mr. Lakamp has
since remained single. He has a nice residence in Dutch Flat and Mrs.
Skeagen with her husband and children reside with him. He is one of the
well preserved early settlers of California wdio can relate many interesting
incidents of the pioneer government of the state when California was largely
the home of the mining population and when the seeds of civilization were
being planted. He is highly spoken of in the town in which he has so long
resided and justly deserves mention among its leading respected citizens.


Among the energetic, wide-awake and alert business men of Placer
county is Robert Munro, who conducts a large general mercantile establish-
ment at Dutch Flat, and is also the station agent at that place. He is a
native of Embro, Oxford county, Canada, born on the 23d of June. 1849,


and is of highland Sccjtch ancestry, ilis parents, James and Effie (Gor-
don) ISIunro, were both natives of Scotland and were marrietl in the land
of the hills and heather, whence they crossed the Atlantic to Canada, in
1832, bringing with them their first-born, a little son. Their family was.
afterward increased until it numbered eight children, seven of whom are
yet living. The parents were Presbyterians in their religious faith. The
father died in the sixtieth year of his age, but the mother long survived him,
reaching the ripe old age of eighty years.

Air. Munro was a little lad of only six summers when his father died.
He acquired his education in the schools of Canada and began to earn his
living as a bookkeeper, being employed in that capacity first in Canada and
afterward in Big Rapids, Mecosta county. Michigan. After coming to the
west he followed bookkeeping in Carson, Nevada. The year 1875 witnessed
his arrival in California and for a year he was employed as a salesman in
a large dry-goods house in San Francisco. Subsequently he became the
bookkeeper for a firm at Glenbrook, Nevada, and in 1886 he came to Dutch
Flat, where he purchased the general mercantile store formerly owned by
Neff & Company. Mr. NefT having been elected to the office of lieutenant-
governor of California. For the past fourteen years Mr. ]\Iunro has con-
ducted the business with marked success. His store has fifty-six hundred
square feet of floor space and is di\-ided into various departments, all sepa-
rate, yet each complete in itself. There is a large basement fitted up with
staple goods, having a capacity of holding ten car-loads. His stock is val-
ued at about eighteen thousand dollars and embraces everything needed by
the mining and fruit-growing community with which he is surrounded. Mr.
Munro has proved himself to be a thoroughly progressive and capable busi-
ness man. He employs a large force of competent clerks who aid him in
carrying on his large and lucrative business. In addition to the manage-
ment of his mercantile affairs he also conducts the office of the railroad

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 49 of 108)