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 51 of 108)
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an important one, of immense value to citizens along its line. Mr. Prindle
was reared at Mokelumne Hill and was graduated at the Stockton Business
College. Following in the footsteps of his father, he became an Odd Fellow
and has passed the chairs in both branches of the order. As a business man
he has shown that he possesses marked ability, and he is regarded as a use-
ful and helpful citizen.

SOLON M. STEVENS.

Solon M. Stevens is the pioneer druggist of Auburn and has been an
active factor in promoting the business activity of the town. He is a native
of the Green Mountain state, his birth having occurred in Bethel, Windsor
county. Vermont, on the 26th of January, 1829. His grandparents, Oliver
and Lucy (Hay ward) Stevens, were pioneer settlers of Bethel and were
participants in the events that formed the early history of that locality, the
grandfather serving in the Revolutionary war. Li the Christian church
they held membershi]) and were people of the highest respectaliility. The
son, Oliver Stevens, was born in Hartland, Vermont, and when he had
attained man's estate married Miss Lucy Mills. Both he and his father
served as captains in the militia and were men of ability and influence in
the county in which they resided. Both died in \'ermont at a ripe old age.
The mother of our suliject died when he was only six years old, leaving a
family of six children, of whom only two are living. Frederick A. Stevens
being still a resident of the Green Mountain state.

Solon Mills Stevens, who has traveled far from his native place to
establish a home and seek a fortune on the Pacific coast, was e<lucatcd in
the public schools of Vermont, finishing his education in Royalton and West
Randolph Academies, and there learned the carpenter's and carriage maker's
trades. Subsequently he engaged in business in the east and was "there hap-
pily married September 29. 1852, to Miss Olivia Gushing, a native of his



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 389

own town and a daughter of \\'illai"d Cashing, a prominent farmer of that
place, in 1855 he decided to seek a home in the new and ra^aidly develop-
mg state of California, and by way of the isthmus of Panama he came to
the Pacific coast, landing at San Francisco, whence he made his way directly
to Auburn, in this locality he purchased a ranch and engaged in farming,
but his fellow townsmen, recognizing his ability, soon afterward elected him
to public office. He was chosen on the Republican ticket as the assessor of
township No. 4, Placer county, and removed t(j Auburn in order to better
discharge the duties of the office, in which he capably served for two years.
Later he_ was appointed postmaster, and satisfactorily served during the
administration of President Lincoln and of President Johnson. In connection
with the discharge of the duties connected with his position he conducted
a book and stationery store, but in 1870 sold his business and returned to
San Francisco, where he resided for a year.

hi January, 1871, Mr. Stevens again came to Auburn and established
his drug luisiness. For eleven years he was in a little store, but by reason
of the growth of his trade he removed to his present fine building in 1882
and was for a number of years the only druggist in the town. His brick
store occupies one of the best business corners of Auburn and the building-
is thirty-two by sixty feet, two stories and a basement in height. The upper
story is used for office purposes and his rental annually augments his income
to a considerable degree. Mr. Stevens continued in active business with
\ery gratifying success until 1896, when he sold his stock to his son Fred,
who has since conducted the enterprise, lie is. however, the owner of the
building and has also one of the most delightful residences of the town, in
which he is now spending' the evening of his life with his good wife, who
for many years has been the partner of his joys and sorrows and has shared
with him in the adversity and prosperity of his business career. For thirty
years he was also the manager of the \\'estern Union Telegraph Company
and has witnessed wonderful improvement in the system. La the early days
it cost nine dollars to send ten words to New York, but during the latter
part of his connection with the company the rate had been reduced until a
message could be sent for a dollar. La pioneer days the transmission of
messages to all other points was proportionately hig-h and later proportion-
ately reduced. He was one of the oldest managers of the Pacific division
at the time of his retirement. He enjoyed the unqualified confidence of the
corporation. For twenty-six years he had conducted his drug store and his
labor resulted in largely promoting the commercial activity of Auburn.

Mr. Stevens came alone to California in order to prepare a home for
his family, and in 1857 was joined by his wife, who brought with her their
little son Clarence. He lived to manhood and at his death left a wife and
two children. Three sons were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Stevens in Auburn,
namely : Frederick, Frank and W illard. Frank and Willard are operating
a mine at Gold Hill, and Frederick is his father's successor in the drug
stcjre. Mr. Ste\'ens has ser\-ed as supervisor of the county four years. He
has l)een a prominent and valued member of the Lidependent Order of Odd



390 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS ' \

Fellows for the past thirty-three years, and has filled all the chairs in both
branches of the society and has often been its representative to the grand
lodge. In every position in life he has performed his part well and Ikjii-
orably. He is a representative of the class of substantial builders who have
served faithfully and long in the enterprising .west, nobly doing their duty
in establishing and maintaining the material interests, legal status and moral
welfare of the community.

lAXTHIS J. ROLFE.

Few men can trace their ancestry farther back than can Air. Rolfe. Tra-
dition says that the representatives of the name are descended from Rolla,
who went from Norway to England with William the Conqueror. The fam-
ily was first known in New Hampshire in the early part of the seventeenth
century, and in the Pine Tree state Mr. Rolfe. of this review, was born, his
birt'.i having occurred in Rumford, Oxford county, on the 8th of Septem-
ber. 1826. He is the fourth in a family of nine children, whose parents were
Samuel and Elizabeth (Hathway) Rolfe. Both parents were natives of
Maine, but the Hathways were among the early and influential settlers of
Rhode Island.

When lanthis J. Rolfe was eight years of age his parents removed to
Caldv.ell county, Missouri, where he spent his boj'hood days and acquired
his education in the public schools. On the tide of westward emigration,
which swept over the country in 1850. he was carried to California, making
the journey across the plains. As almost all of the other pioneers, he first
turned his attention to mining and worked with jiick and shovel in Placer
and Nevada counties for about four years. In 1854 he returned eastward
and was married, in the city of Boston, on the 30th of August of that year,
to Miss Emily Lindsey, a native of Maine.

With his bride he returned to California, by wav of the Nicaragua
route, and ujxin his arrival in Nevada City he formed a partnership with his
hrother, Tollman H.. and purchased the new^spaper plant. Young America.
Tliey conducted that paper until 1863, since wdiich time Mr. Rolfe has been
a notary public and the representative of seventeen insurance companies.
He carries on one of the largest insurance businesses in this section of the
state, and as he takes the agency of only the most reliable com]mnies he has
the confidence of all with whnni lie has been associated in business affairs.
In 1870 he was appointed deputy internal revenue collector and held the
position for fifteen years.

Unto I\Ir. and i\Trs. Rolfe have been born six children, namclv: IT.attie
P.. now the wife of J. M. Buffington : Nellv B.. the wife of H. Tuli.m \\'rioht:
Dwight P.: Belle, the widow of H. L. Douglass: Horace C. : and Emilv.
who died in July, 1897. In politics Mr. Rolfe is a stanch and steadfast
Republican and does all in his power to promote the growth and success of
the party. Socially he is affiliated with the Masonic fraternitv. beli^nging
to blue lodge, chapter and commanderv, and in each branch of the order he



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 391

has filled all of the offices. Fur the past twelve years he has been the sec-
retary of the lodge and is the present incumbent. He is a man of exemplary
habits and character, of broad sympathy, and is ever willing to lend a help-
ing hand to those in need, thus fulfilling the precepts and tenets of the fraternal
organizations with which he is connected.

HEXRV A. FROST.

California would have become known to the entire country through its
fruit-growing interests even if no other industry had called to it the attention
of the world. Of this enterprise, which has contributed in a large measure
to the prosperity of the commonwealth, Henry Andrew Frost is a representa-
\\w. I le resides in Dutch Flat and is engaged in horticulture. He was born
in I' iunccticut. ]May 15, 1830, Init was reared in the state of Vermont.
lie represents a family tliat was cnnnected with the English royalty, but he
lost hi> ]iarents in infancy and liecanie an adopted son. In the public schools
I'f \'erni(>nt he ac(iuireU his education and when twenty years of age he went
to Worcester. Massachusetts, where he engaged in the manufacture of farm-
ing implements. He married Miss Alvira L. Page, and they had one daugh-
ter. Lillian Alvira, now- the wife of Henry C. Keys, of Stockton, California.

In 1S61 Mr. and Mrs. Frost came to California, accompanied by their
little (laughter, who was born February 13, i860. Their son, ClaranceA.,
was born August 8, 1868. They sailed cm the Atlantic an<l the gulf to the
isthmus of Panama, and after crossing the little narrnw stri]) of land con-
necting the continents of North and South America they pn>ceeded up the
Pacific coast to San Francisco, wdrence they came direct to Placer county. In
1862 they took up their abode at Dutch Flat and Mr. Frost engaged in min-
i'ng, becoming one of the owners of Central mine, which he developed, taking
out considerable gold. He afterward sold his interest for two thousand dol-
lars and the mine afterward proved to be a very valuable producer. In 1880
he became one of the pioneers of the fruit-growers in this section of the
state, commencing operations on a small scale, but from time to time he
extended his orchards until he has seventy acres planted in winter apples
and Bartlett pears. In this business he has met with good success. The fine
fruit which he raises commands an excellent price on the market. He has
made a close study of the business and his knowledge of horticultural inter-
ests is accurate and comprehensive. His labor has shown the possibilities of
Placer county for fruit culture and many have profitably followed in his
lead in the business.

In 1878 Mr. Frost was called upon to mourn the loss of his first wife,
who died at Dutch Flat in that year. June 14. 1881, he was again married,
his second union l)eing with Mrs. Sarah A. Waggoner, who had tw^o sons
by her former marriage. J. L. and George N. Waggoner. By the marriage
of I\Ir. and Mrs. Frost there is one son. Alvin E., born June 21. 1886. This
union has been a \-ery happy and congenial one, and their home is celebrated
for its good cheer and generous hospitality. Mrs. Frost is an active mem-



392 REP RES EST AT IV E CITIZENS

ber of the Baptist churcli, also of the W. C. T. U., and has been a member
of the Good Templars for many years, having passed all the chairs in the
organization. In his political views Mr. Frost is a Prohibitionist. He
strongly favors the temperance movement and indicates this by his right of
franchise. In this respect his example and influence are valuable to the com-
munity, and hi many other ways his life is worthy of emulation, for it has
been characterized by the faithful following of manly and honorable prin-
ciples.

CAPTAIN STEPHEN STANLEY HILL.

This venerable citizen, who has passed the eighty-seventh milestone of
life's iourney. came to California at an early epoch in the development of the
state, and wliile he was connected with the mining interests he also became an
important factor in the development of the splendid agricultural resources of
the state. When it was found that mining would not prove a profitable source
of income to a great number of people who flocked to California after the dis-
covery of gold, he was among tho.se who tested the fertility of the soil and
demonstrated tJie splendid possibilities of land here for farming purposes.

Captain S. S. Hill is a native of Concord, Essex county, Vermont, born
March 28, 1813. He represents a family of Engli.sh ancestors who settled in
New England more than two hundred years ago. His grandfather, ]\Ioses
Hill, was born in the state of Massachusetts and became a well-to-do farmer
there. On the old homestead in the Bay state Elijah Hill, the father of our
subject, was born, and the property is still in the possession of his descendants.
He married Miss Caroline Reed, a native of New Hampshire and a daughter
of Hines Reed, who served as a drummer boy in the Revolutionary army,
while her grandfather. Joseph Reed, was a brigadier general and commanded
a New Hampshire militia at the battle of Bunker Hill. The parents of our
subject had seven children, five sons and two daughters, while three of the sons
still survive. The father attained the ripe old age of eighty-eight and a half
years, while his estimable wife passed away in the sixty-fifth year of her age.

Captain Stephen Stanley Hill, whose name introduces this record, was
reared on his father's farm and his educational privileges were limited, only
two months' attendance at the district schot)ls during the winter, but his father
was an old school-teacher, under whose direction the son studied at night.
Having a thirst for knowledge he thus acquired a good education, and in his
eigliteenth year he enjoyed the privilege of five weeks' study in the academy of
his native town. Subsequently he engaged in teaching through three winter
seasons, before he attained his twenty-first year, and was highly recommended
as a teacher. For about twelve years he followed that profession through the
winter season, wliile in the summer months he w^orked at carpentering and as a
salesman in a grocery store.

The year 1854 witnessed Mr. Hill's arrival in California, the journey
being made by way of the Nicaragua route. He arrived at his destination, San
Francisco, on the ist of February, and there he was employed at anything that
woul.l yield him an Iimiu-i li\'n- until the ist of April, when lie went to




^ g^'^j^^ai^^



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 393

Knight's Ferry to assist in building a saw and grist mill, being thus engaged
for live months, after which he turned his attention to placer mining, making
fair wages in his new venture. Subsequently he went to Keeler's Ferry, where
he opened a miner's supply store and sold goods for two years, or until placer
mining ceased to be profitable in that locality and the population of the neigh-
borhood consequently decreased. He then removed his store to Knight's
Ferry, where he continued in trade for fifteen years, his sales bringing him an
excellent income. In 1862. however, a flood came whicli washed away a part
of the town and eight feet of water stood in his store room and caused him a
loss of ten thousand dollars. He, however, continued business until 1870, but
the inability of his patrons to pay him what they owed him finally forced him
to abandon his enterprise. He then located one hundred and sixty acres of land
four miles above Oakdale, and purchased another quarter-section, after which
he furnished wood to the railroad company under contract. In that way he
gained a good start in business. In 1874 he sold three hundred acres of land
for four thousand dollars and removed to Oakdale. where he worked in the
depot, shipping goods. Occasionally he also did some carpenter work.

In 1879, in company with a partner, he purchased six hundred and eighty-
nine acres of land, lying on two sides of the town, for which they paid fifteen
dollars per acre. Mr. Hill cleared and improved his portion of the property
and engaged in farming until 1885, when he returned to the east to visit friends
and relatives. He was also accompanied by his wife, who had three brothers
in that portion of the country. They spent that season in the east and after his
return Mr. Hill platted into town lots that portion of this farm which joined
the corporation limits of Oakdale, and then sold town lots and acre lots, thus
disposing of alwut one hundred acres. He continued to farm the remainder
and also purchased another ranch of one hundred and sixty acres and leased
eight hundred acres. He tlien bought farm implements and was extensively
engaged in wheat-raising; but light crops and poor prices caused him to run
continually behind, and again misfortune overtook him, for his fine new barn
cauglit fire and the flames spread to the other buildings on the place, so that
the farm was almost utterly despoiled of its improvements.

jNIr. Hill then sold his land, for fifty dollars per acre, and that, with the
insurance on his buildings, helped him to again get a start. He reduced his
flebts to four thousand dollars and ga\'e a trust deed on two hundred and sixty-
five acres ; but such was the stringency of the money market of the time that
he could neither sell nor redeem his land, and after i)aying interest for a num-
ber of years he was at last compelled to let the property go. Now, in his old
age, after an active and busy life, he has only four or five residences left of all
his large property; yet he is hopeful and is a well preserved California
]iioneer, now in his eighty-eighth year. He is a good penman and writes a
remarkably steady hand.

In 1843 Ml"- Hill was united in marriage to Miss Lucy Ann Bingham, of
Vermont, who was reared in his own neighborhood. She has a cottage at
Pacific Grove, where she spends the In it summer months. She is in lier seven-
ty-eighth vear and is a faithful ciim[)aniiin and helpmate. She has traveled



394 REPRESEXTATIVE CITIZENS

tlie journey of life by her hushanil's side for fifty-seven years. They had four
cliildren, but all died in infancy. Mr. Hill was a Jackson Democrat until 1856,
when he voted for Fremont and has since been a Republican. For twenty
years he was a notary public and for seven years a justice of tlie peace, and
such was his good judgment and understanding of the law that not one of his
decisions was ever reversed. His has been an honorable and upright life, and
though he has met financial reverses he has ever retained the respect and
confidence of his fellow men. by reason of his fidelity to duty and his unques-
tioned integrity.

.MARTHA ELLEX TUCKER.

The state of ]\Iaine has supplied to the west some of its most excellent
citizens and more than one member of the old family of Dingley has become
prominent in one way or another. One of its most notable representatives
in public life for many years was the Hon. Nelson Dingley, editor and states-
man and author of the Dingley tariff bill. Of this same family came Samuel
Dingley. an honored California pioneer of 1850, who was born in ]\Iaine
in 1810 and married Mrs. Sarah Sherman, also a native of the Pine Tree
state. Samuel and Sarah (Sherman) Dingley, who were the parents of
Martha Ellen Tucker, of Modesto. Stanislaus county, have a most interest-
ing history in connection with early modern civilization in California. Mr.
Dingley came to this state fifty years ago by way of the isthmus of Panama
and mined at different camps and kept hotel at Keeler's Ferry.

In 1853 he sent for his wife and she came from her old home in the east
by way of the isthmus, bringing with her her two little daughters, — Martha
Ellen and Enmia Frances. The latter died September 21. 1879. aged twenty-
nine years, and the former is now Mrs. Tucker, who has kindly furnished
to the editors of this work the brief history of her parents and her family
here given and who at this date (igoo') has been a resident of California for
half a century. She relates that the family remained at Keeler's Ferry for
some time, until their hotel was destroyed by fire. They then removed to
Knight's Ferry, Stanislaus county, and Mr. Dingley built another hotel on
Buena Vista hill. This second hotel was burned, as is supposed, by Indians.
Init was rebuilt by Mr. Dingley and managed by him until it was again burned,
witiiout insurance, after which he engaged in stock-raising on his ranch
above Knight's Ferry, an enterprise which he continued with success until
he removed to Oakdale, where after several years he died, June 30, 1886.
at the residence of his daughter in his seventy-sixth year, as the result of an
injury received by lieing thrown from his buggy. He was an intelligent,
progressive citizen, a Republican and during the war a strong Union man.
His good wife died October 17, 1874. '" the fifty-sixth year of her age. A
son and a daughter were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dingley after they came to
California: Albert Dinglev, now the countv clerk of Stanislaus county; and
Etta, who is the wife of John Richards, of Fresno.

?ilartha Ellen Dingley attended the public school at Knight's Ferry and



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 395

finished her education at tlie Stuckton Female Seminary. She was mar-
ried, at Kniglu's Ferry, December 17, 1868, to Simon Enslen, who left his
old home in the east and crossed the plains to California in 1854 and became
a prominent sheep-grower and general business man, jx^pular for his personal
worth. Mr. Enslen died January 22. 1880, aged forty-eight years, leaving
a widow and two daughters, in good circumstances. His elder daughter
is the wife of Albert Holthom; his younger daughter is the wife of John
McMahon, and they both live at Modesto. February 15, 1882, Mrs. Enslen
married John Franklin Tucker, a native of Kentucky and. a member of an
old and respected family of that state and a prominent business man of
IVIodesto, where, as a member of the firm of Tucker & Perley, he is a
leader in real-estate circles. Their union has been blessed by the birth of
two sons, — Clarence Eugene and Elmer Carlyle. Mr. and Mrs. Tucker
have a wide acquaintance throughout central California and ]\Irs. Tucker is
highly esteemed by early settlers in all parts of the state.

JOHN R. SnOIS. ^I. D.

The life of Dr. Simms has not been one of unvarying monotony circum-
scribed by the haJMts, thoughts and customs of some narrow community, but
contains many interesting instances that come with travel and extensive inter-
course with the world. Born on the Atlantic seaboard, he has viewed many
of the interesting scenes of our country and is now located in the pretty little
town of Milton, wliere he is devoting his time and attention to the practice
of medicine.

John R. Simms is a nati\-e of Virginia, his birth having occurred near
Stanclardsville, Greene county, on the 25th of April, 1821. The ancestral
history of tlie family accords to it an English origin and the early
establishment of one of the family branches in>. Maryland. His paternal
grandfather removed from that state to Virginia. His youngest son. the
Doctor's father, was born at the family homestead in the Old Dominion, and
when he had arrived at years of maturity he married Miss Lucy Early, a
native of his own town and a cousin of General Early. They became the
parents of eight children, but only four are now living. The father departed
this life in 1861. at the age of sixty-one years.

The Doctor is the only representative of the famil}- in California. His
childliood and youth were passed at his parents' home, and when he had
com])leted his literary education he entered upon the study of medicine in
the office and under the direction of Dr. Hugh McGuire, a noted surgeon of
his time. When he was well qualified for his chosen calling he began prac-
tice in i84f), in North River Mills, West Virginia, and \vas for a time a prac-
titioner at Ca|)on Springs, removing thence to Texas. He settled near .-\ustin,
in Travis county, where he was successfully engaged in practice for eight-
een years, when he came to California, taking up his abode in Los .Angeles
county, where he remained until 1872 and then settled in Santa Rosa, Sonoma



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 51 of 108)