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 52 of 108)
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cnnntv, where he conducted a ranch until the fall of 1880. He then removed


to San Joaquin county, where he practiced until 1892, the year of his arrival
in Milton. His practice has extended to many parts of the Golden state and
he has had an eventful life, devoted largely to the alleviation of suffering
humanity. Day or night, he has responded to the calls of those in need
of his services without regard to the pecuniary return which he would receive.
The poor have indeed found in him a friend, one whose generous and chari-
table impulses have made him a noble representative of the profession.

In February, i858._ Dr. Simms was united in marriage to Miss Sarah
Kerr, a native of -Virginia, and by their union have been born eight children,
namely : Virginia, who died in her seventeenth year at Santa Rosa, Sonoma
county, California, her death being occasioned by consumption; John K., who
was one of Stockton's prominent young men and died at the age of twenty-
six, mourned by a large circle of friends; James M., who died in his twenty-
fifth year; Lucy, who died in crossing the plains and was buried in San
Diego. California: Harry L., now a resident of San Joaquin county; Eugene
S.. who is a mining expert, living in Denver, Colorado, and has invented an
electric hoist, on which he has secured a patent; Thomas E.. of San Joaquin
county : and the twin sister of Eugene S. died in infancy. The mother died
in April, 1880, and was laid to rest in the Santa Rosa cemetery. She was
most devoted to her family, doing everything in her power to promote the
welfare and happiness of her husband and children, and by all who knew her
she was held in the highest regard. The Doctor maintains his office and
residence in Milton and has a liberal patronage from among the best class
of people. In politics he is a Democrat, and when in Texas he was appointed
by the governor one of the trustees of the blind asylum of the state. He has
never been identified with fraternal organizations, finding that his ])rofes-
sional duties occupied his entire time. His labors liave been attended with
excellent results, viewed from both a professional and financial standpoint,
and to-day he enjoys the high regard and confidence of all with whom he
has formed ;ni accjuaintance.


The honrjred and imiiular manager of the American Hotel at .\uburn
is a native of Placer county, born in Todd valley on the 4th of IMarch. 1859.
He is of English and Irish lineage. His father, Elliot ^^'est, was born in
Belle\ille, Canada, on the 3d of April, 1832. He married Charlotte Carr
and in 1856 came to California by the way of the isthmus route, and by
steamer proceeded up the ri\er from San Francisco to Sacramento, whence
he came on foot to Placer county. He spent the first night at Auburn in the
.American Hotel, of which his son Georp^e C. was afterward to become the
jiroprietor and manager. For a short time he engaged in mining and then
he purchased a rancli in Todd vallev. His wife afterward joined him in his
new home and he continued farming and stock-raising with good success
until the winter I'f iSr.i-j. when in a snowstorm the most of his stock died,


causing- him u< lose heaxily. He afterward engaged in teaming from Auburn
station to Todd's \'alley and other mining camps in the mountains.

In 1864 he returned to Auljurn, Avliere he purchased sixty-five acres of
land, where the Freeman Hotel now stands. He built that hotel and man-
aged it until 1869, his efforts being attended with excellent success. The
land extended from the railroad to the present residence of Dr. Todd. He
laid out Railroad street and donated it to the town, and this led to the
upbuilding of that portion of the city. Railroad street becoming one of the
most important thoroughfares in Auburn. He disposed of this property in
1869. At length he became interested in various mining claims in the county,
both quartz and gravel mines, but his speculations in that direction did not
pro\e \ery profitable, and he took up his abode at Iowa Hill. Here he
became superintendent of the Morning Star mine, and later of the Big Dip-
per mine, Ijoth of wdiich under his management became good producers.

Mrs. \\'est, his wife and the mother of our subject, died in 1870, leav-
ing him with two sons: James F., wdio is now residing at Forest Hill; and
George C, of this review, wdio has kindly furnished us the history of his
honored father. In 1895 the father came to live with his son in the American
Hotel and died on the 6th of November, 1897, in the same house in wdiich
he spent his first night in Placer county forty-one years previously. Like
many of the Ijrave pioneers of California, he was a liberal, wdiole-souled
gentleman, physically strong and robust, and in the early days w^as consid-
ered one of the strongest men in Placer county. He was as generous as
he was strong and he left many warm friends to mourn his loss.

George C. W'est. the youngest of the family, was educated and reared
to manhood in Placer count}-, and for some years was connected \\-ith mining
interests, following that pursuit until 1884. He then began a successful
career as the proprietor of a hotel, keeping a small hotel on the divide for
eleven years. On the ex])iration of that period he sold his property there
and came to Auburn, in 1895, purchasing the American Hotel, of which he
has since been the accommodating host. This building is a fire-proof brick
structure, three stories and a basement in height and containing forty rooms.
The brick walls are unusually thick and it has iron shutters, and iron windows
and door frames, making it an extremely safe building. It is located in the
heart of the best business district of the town, and Mr. West and his excel-
lent wife give their personal attention to the comfort of their guests. They
are rightfully receiving a liberal jjatronage and Mr. West is known as a
very popular host, owing to his uniform courtesy and his earnest desire to
please his patrons. Much credit is also due to his wife for the splendid man-
ner in which the hotel is conducted. K\er\thing about the place is neat and
the dining-room is especially popular with its patrons on account of the excel-
lent table wdiich is there set.

In 1879 Ml'- ^^'est was united in marriage to Miss Mary F. Doherty. a
native of Forest Hill. California, and a daughter of Michael Doherty, wdio
came to this state in 1852. Mr. and Mrs. \\'est have a very m'ce family of
eight children, all born in Placer countv. nanielv : Marv, Flliott, Guv and


Clayton, twins, Alicliael J., Walter, Agnes and Ray. The eldest son assists
his father in the conduct of the hotel. The family is one of prominence in
the community, its members enjoying the high regard of many friends and
the hospitality of the best homes in this locality.

Mr. West is Democratic in his political affiliations. Socially he is con-
nected with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Native Sons of
the Golden West, having served as the president of his parlor. He is a
A\'ide-awake, acti\-e business man, giving close attention to the enterprise which
he conducts and lias a host of warm friends in the county in which his entire
life has been passed.


Cliristopher Columlxis Prouty, who is occupying a prominent position
in political, social and business circles in northern California, was lx)rn in
Kno.x county. Ohio, September 22, 1839, and is a son of Anson T. and Eliza-
beth (Helms) Prouty. On the paternal side he is of Scotch and French
ancestry, while on the maternal side he is of German lineage. He repre-
sents the fifth generation of the family born in America. His great-grand-
father, Cyrus Prouty, emigrated from France and located in New York,
where the grandfather and the father of our subject, the latter Anson T.
Prouty, were born and reared. For many years Anson T. Prouty resided
in the Empire state, taking a prominent part in its public affairs, while other
members of the family also aided in promoting the substantial upbuilding
of the sections of the state in which they resided. Two of his uncles par-
ticipated in the war of the Revolution, and Hugh Prouty, another uncle,
served in the war of 1812. The religious faith of the family has been
that of the Methodist church. The business of its representatives has been
farming or professional duties.

Anson T. Prouty was united in marriage to ]\Iiss Elizabeth Helms, a
native of Pennsylvania and a descendant of an old German family that was
early founded in the new world. Her father was Charles Helms. By her
marriage Mrs. Prouty became the mother of seven children, five sons and
two daughters, of whom four are now living. In 1852 the parents, with
their children, started on the long journey across the plains to California.
For five years previously they had resided in Iowa, where the father had
located land now occn])ied by Newton, the county-seat of Jasper county. On
the 20th of April they left their Iowa home, crossing the river near Omaha
on the 9th of May. The country to the westward was an open waste, trav-
ersed by the Indians, .\fter the party h'ad passed Fort Laramie the cholera
broke out among them and many die(l. The Prouty family suffered the ter-
rible affliction of losing the husband and father, who was ill for only one day
when death claimed him. The mother and children, however, escaped the
dread disease, although there were many graves along their route. They
were also in constant danger from the Indians, but were not attacked. Joseph
Prouty, a son of the family, now' deceased, emigrated to California the year


pre\i(iusly. Tlie widdw and her three sons, after witnessing the bnrial of
the luisband and fatlier on the plains, proceeded on their way to the Pacific
slope, arriving at \'olcano on the J4tli of August, 1852, after a journey of
four months and four days. Mrs. Prouty's capital amounted to a few thou-
sand dollars.

In taking up the personal history of Christopher Columbus Prouty we
j)resent to our readers the life record of one wlio is widely and fa\-orably
k'uown in Amador county. He began his education in the stibscription schools
of Iowa and in the summer months assisted in the work of the home farm
until his father removed to California. For one year after his arrival in the
Golden state he worked on a farm on Dry creek for his mother, after which
he went to lone and attended the public schools. During that time he
boarded with his sister, Mrs. Dooley. The following year he built a cabin
and lioarded himself, continvting his education there another term of school.
He then returned to his brother's farm and was employed at work upon the
farm and in driving a team for two years, after which he again came to lone
and rented a house, his mother acting as his housekeeper, while he attended
school for another term. In the spring of 1859 he and his mother returned
to his brother's ranch and he purchased a portion of the property, after which
he engaged in tilling the soil and in raising stock, his mother still keeping
house for him. He was thus employed until 1864, when he purchased prop-
erty and removed to Latrobe, Eldorado county, where he carried on the
livery and feed lousiness, but that venture did not prove profitable and he sold
out. returning to the r;iiu:h. fi which he again assumed control, operating
the land until he was di-i' i - -~r>l hy the Arroyo Seco grant. Subsequently
he leased from the Arrii_\M Si'c< i rompany the same ranch and continued his
business there, meeting with good success.

On the 27th of April, 1868, Mr. Prout}- was united in marriage to Miss
Austrillia Bennett, a native of Missouri, who came to Sacramento county,
California, in 1858. She was a daughter of Thomas and Mary Bemiett, both
of whom were natives of Missouri and came to the Golden state in 1854.
Their union has been blessed with fourteen children, twelve of whom are
}-et livmg, namely : Anson Valentine and Clarence Simon, both of whom
are married and reside in Fresno; Vincent, deceased : Clara Elizabeth, who
also has passed away: Robert, who is living in Mariposa county; Francis
J., who is married and resides with his father upon the ranch; Herbert V.,
who is now attending a medical college in San Francisco : Gladys, the widow
of Rowley Druland ; Christopher Columbus, who is living in Fresno ; Ralph
L.. who makes his home in IMerced county: William, who is a student in
school: Elnor and Almyr Leland. who also are attending school: and
Douglas, who completes the family.

In 1870 Mr. Prouty removed to Jackson vallev. where he rented a ranch
for two years, carrying on farming and stock-raising. He then purchased
the old homestead of the Grant company which he still owns, devoting his
attention to farming and' stock-raising. At different times he has pur-
chased more land from the Grant company and from others until he has


accumulated about two tiunisand acres of fine land well adapted to farming
and stock-raising. In 1890 he purchased forty acres near Stockton and
removeil his family there. They reside upon that farm, but Mr. Prouty
continues to manage his property in Amador county. He also owns valuable
real estate in Stockton and in 1885 he became interested in a corporation in
Clements. California, with which he was connected until 1891. In 1899 he
aided in the organization of the lone Creamery Company, which has proved
a successful venture, bringing a good financial return to the stockholders.
'\h. Prouty is a member of the Odd Fellows society and has filled
many of its chairs, including that of noble grand, and has been a delegate
to the grand lodge. He was reared in the Methodist faith, but has never
become a member of the church. His wife belongs to the Catholic church.
In politics he was a stalwart Democrat, but afterward aided in organizing the
Populist party in the county and was its first chairman. In 1890, however,
he returned to the Democratic party and has since voted with it. He served
his township for ten years as a school trustee, and the cause of education
has always found in him a warm friend. He is a very popular man, is
recognized as an excellent financier, reliable and trustworthy in business;
and in every relation in life is found at his post of duty.


Daniel S. Baker is among the "Argonauts" of 1849 who started for
Californfa in search of the "golden fleece," making the long journey around
Cape Horn. Prior to the Mexican war California yet belonged to Mexico,
and the customs and habits of that country were followed out in this sec-
tion of the country. The land had not yet been dominated by the American
spirit to any great extent, but when gold was discovered there came to the
Pacific coast from all sections of the country men of resolute purpose, of
strong determination and of unfailing industry and the state entered upon
a new era of development and improvement, which work has been carried on
unceasingly u]) to the present time. Daniel S. Baker was among those who
sought the Golden state in the hope of benefitting his financial condition, and
for more than fiftv vears he has been identified with the interests of Xevada

Pie is a native of the far-off state of Maine, his birth having occurred
there in Lincoln county on the 2gth of April. 18.22. His father. John
Baker, was also a native of ]\Iaine and was a representative of one of the
old families of the Pine Tree state, of English lineage. He learned the car-
penter's trade and followed that occupation as a means of livelihood. He
wedded Harriet Sherman, also a member of an old and influential ]\Iaine
family, and they became the jmrents of four children, of whom Daniel S.
was the youngest. He was left an orphan at an early age. after which he
went to make his home with his maternal grandfather. Early in life he went
to sea. and during the winter season, when navigation was practically closed,
he jjursucd his education in the public schools. He followed that occupa-


tion for eighteen years. At the age of twenty-seven he made a trip around
Cape Horn to California from Batii, ]\Iaine, landing in San Francisco in
1849. Leaving the ship at that point he made his Avay at once to Nevada
county, where for six years he engaged in mining. Later he turned his
attention to merchandising, and for more than tw"enty-five years he has been
engaged in the transfer business as the head of the Nevada City Transfer
Company. Fifteen horses are used in the service and at times five men are
employed. The company receives a very liberal patronage, its business being
large and profitable. Mr. Baker has always been connected with mining
interests during his residence in California and his income is thereby mate-
rially increased.

In 1862 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Baker to Miss Asenith Cun-
ningham, of Maine, who came to California in i860 and was married in
Sacramento. They now have four living children: Lottie M., the \vife of
George Johnson, a business man of Nevada City; Emma B., the wife of
George K. Danforth, who is living in Nevada county; Nellie and Edward
J. They have lost two sons, Sherman B. and Bradford. Socially Mr. Baker
is connected with the Knights of Pythias, being also connected with the uni-
formed rank. He has passed all the ofificial chairs in the order and is an
exemplary member of the society. He is also a member of the Rathbone
Sisters. His political support is gi\eii to the Keiiublican party and for more
than ten years he has served as a mcnilier nf the city council. His uncom-
promising integrity of character, his fearlessness in the discharge of his duty
and his appreciation of the responsibilit}- that rests upon him were such as
to make him the most acceptable incumbent of that office, and his worth
then, as now, was widely acknowledged.


While there is to some extent truth in the claim that is made, that city
]Hilitics are corrupt, it will l)e found that throughout this land in the smaller
cities and towns, men of ability, loyal in citizenship and faithful to public
trusts are filling official positions. Such a one is Albert Wesley Kenison,
who is now serving on the board of supervisors of Placer county. He is a
native of the far-off state of New Hampshire, his birth having occurred in
Jefferson on the 13th of January. 1855. The blood of English and Scotch-
Irish ancestors flows in his veins, but the family has long been represented in
the new world and is strictlv American in thought, purpose and sympathy.
H^is great-grandfather, Benjamin Kenison, emigrated from L-elarid and
located in the state of Massachusetts, where the grandfather was born. The
father. Benjamin R. Kenison, was born in New Hampshire. The latter mar-
ried ^liss Fanny Moulton. whose father. Nathan Moulton. was of Scotch
lineage, while her mother was of English descent. They spent their married
life in the old Granite state. Mr. Kenison attained the advanced age of
seventv-two vears, while his wife passed awav in her sixty-eighth year. They
had eight children, five sons and three daughters, three of the sons and two


of the (laughters sur\iviiig. Tlie parents were respected farnnng people
and members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

Albert Wesley Kenison is the only member of the family in California.
He was educated in the public schools and reared to manhood in his native
town. The year of T876 witnessed his arrival on the Pacific coast. He had
just attained his majority and came to the west hoping that better business
opportunities would be afforded him in this part of the country. He located
in Rocklin. Placer county, where he was employed in a hotel, after which
he spent a year in San Francisco. Subsequently he returned to Rocklin and
in 1879 bought an interest in a mine called the Dam claim on the Forest
Hill divide, where he remained one year. With the capital he had acquired
through his own efforts he opened a mercantile store at Bath in 1880. There
he carried on business for seven years, with good success, but in 1887 he
sold his enterprise there and came to Auburn, wliere he has since engaged
in the wholesale and retail liquor business, also dealing in carbonate Iseverages.
In this he has prospered, his sales reaching extensive proportions, and in
1898 he built the fine large block which bears his name. It is fifty by sev-
enty-five feet and two stories and a basement in height. It is fitled through-
out with every modern convenience and facility for carrying on his large
business. Xear by he has also erected a building for his extensive bottling
works, the structure being sixty by eighty feet, supplied w'ith all the newest
ap])liances for bottling his products. He is also th.e owner of the Auburn
theater, the building adjoining his own. The theater is fifty by one hundred
and sixty-five feet, splendidly constructed for the purpose used, and tastefully
finished and furnished throughout in. modern style. It has a large stage and
beautiful scenery, and is a theater that would be a credit to a city of much
larger size than Auburn. It will be seen that Mr. Kenison has been actively
connected with the business interests of the town and has contributed in a
large measure to the improvement and substantial progress of the city. He
is recognized as a jjopular and successful business man and his efforts have
certainly been of benefit to Auburn.

In jMilitics Mr. Kenison has been a life-long Democrat and in 189^) he
liecame a candidate on the ticket of the ]3arty for the office of supervisor
of Placer county. In that position he has served for the past four years
and therein has labored untiringly for the. welfare of the community. His
efforts were largely instrumental in securing the erection of the county hos-
pital, which is a' credit to the peo])le in this portion of the state, indicating
their charity and kindness. It was erected at a cost of fifteen thousand
dollars and its furnishings have made an additional cost of ten thousand. It
furnishes a good home for the indigent old people of the county, for there who ha\e outlived the vears of activity can spend their remaining days
in quiet and cf>nifort. Mr. Kenison is a prominent member of the Masoiic-
fraternity, lielonging to the lodge, chapter and commandery.

March 31. 1879, he was married to Miss Mary IMcCorniick. a native of
Placer county and a daug'hter of James D. McCornu'ck. wIk^ formerly served
as the county sheriff. They have four sons and one daughter, namely:


Francis, Albert. James, Benjamin and Alary Teressa. Theirs is one of tlie
pleasant homes in Auhnrn antl the family are highly respected in the com-
munity in which Mr. Kenison is known as a reliable and successful business


Charles John Hellwig, one of Auburn's genial and intelligent old-time
residents, came to California in 1852 and for man_\- years has been the reliable
dealer in and manufacturer of harness in the town in which he now lives.
The record of his life, briefly sketched, is as follows:

Mr. Hellwig was born in Prussia on the 25th of February, 1826, a son
of Carl August and Adelgumla (Schultz) Hellwig, both natives of Prussia.
Carl August Hellwig was an officer in the Prussian army and participated in
the war against Xapoleon Bonaparte. Both he and his wife were members
of the Lutheran church, in the faith of which they reared their family. Of
their five children, three are still living, namely: Charles John and Theodore
and their sister, Mrs. Frances C. \'andeler. the last two being residents of
Brooklyn, New York.

Charles J., the eldest of the sur\-i\-ing members of his father's family,
was cclucatetl in liis nati\-e land and there learned the harness and saddlery
business. In 1848 he came to the United States in search of civil liberty,
and upon liis arrival in this country located in New York city and went to
work at his trade. He was thus occupied there when news of the discovery
of gold in California spread like wild-fire over the country. Imbued with a
spirit of adventure and with a desire to see something of the country as w^ell
as to make his fortune in the far west, young Hellwig set out for California.
He sailed from New York via the Nicaragua route for San Francisco, which
jiort he reached in due time and whence he at once went to the mining dis-
tricts. His first mining experience was in Eldorado count}', near Coloma.

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 52 of 108)