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 53 of 108)
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In speaking of his early mining days, Mr. Hellwig says that the largest
nugget he ever found weighed eleven ounces, and his six weeks' most sitc-
cessful mining averaged one hundred and seventy-five dollars per day. This
was on the Aliddle Fork of the American river, in tlie latter part of the sum-
mer. The following winter lie had a drift claim, in the tunnel of which he
]nit all the money he had taken out of the river. He continued to mine for
about two years, chiefly in Placer county, after which, with the money he
had made in the mines, he ]nnxhased a farm. On this farm he lived two
years, devoting his time to its cultivation and imjirovement, only to find, at
the end of that time, that it was a Spanish grant and that his title to it was
not good. Thus he lost the land, improvements and all. He had money
enough left, however, with which to establish himself in the harness business,
which he did in Auburn, in 1861, and here for the past forty years h; has
conducted a successful business, i^assing through the fires which swept away
])ortions of live town, and sur\-iving the financial disasters that overthrew
many a business house. Throughout his whole career here he has enjoyed


the confidence and esteem of all who have in any way whatever been asso-
ciated with him.

Mr. Hellwig has been a reader all his lite and has kept himself well
posted on the general topics of the day. In Masonry he has for years taken
a deep interest, has received the higher degrees of the order, including the
thirty-second of the Scottish rite, and has been honored with high official
position. He is a past master of the blue lodge and past high priest of the
chapter. Politically he is a Democrat, but has never sought or held office,
his own private business claiming his time and attention.


James H. Hennessey is the proprietor of the Empire Livery & Feed
Stable and is one of the popular residents of Nevada City, for his genial
manner renders him a favorite with all classes. He is a native of the Emerald
Isle, where his birth occurred on the 23d of Alay, 1834. He is descended
from a family of wealth and education, its male representatives being prom-
inent merchants of Dublin and owners nf a line of vessels sailing between
N^ew York and the Irish capital. His parents were William and ^Mary (Mar)
Hennessey, the former a native of the city of Dublin and the latter of Queens
county, Ireland. In their family were si.x children, our subject being the
youngest and only son. His father died 1:)efore his birth and the mother's
death occurred two years later, so that James H. Hennessey was early left
an orphan. Several of the children were brought to America in 1843 by a
maternal uncle, and our subject spent his boyhood days in New York city.

During the greater part of his life he has been connected with the livery
business, and is therefore an excellent judge of horses. He gives personal
supervision to his sta1)les. knows the condition of every animal to be found
therein and looks after the welfare of each. He came to California in 1868,
and for a brief period resided at Grass Valle}-, but soon afterward made a
permanent location in X'evada City. His barns are located on Broad street,
opposite the Xational Hotel, and there fashionable turnouts may be secured
at reasonable rates. He is very accommodating and courteous and is always
pleasant in manner, and has secured from the public a liberal patronage, which
he well merits.

Mr. Hennessey gives his political support to the Demc^cracy, and is
unswerving in his advocacy of its principles. He is also an earnest su]>porter
of Catholicism, and takes an active interest in ever_\- measure that is calculated
to promote the best interests of his city and count}-. He is light-hearted,
generous to a fault and gi\'es freeh' and willingly to all in need of assistance.
Perhaps he is sometimes imposed u])on by reason of this quality in his nature,
but he never errs on the other side by withholding his aid when it is needed.
His many excellent characteristics have gained him a large circle of friends,
and few men in the ci immunity are more widely known James H.



The career <if the suhject of this sketch is an iUustration of the declara-
tion that faithfuhiess in a few tiling's makes a man master over many and
an exemplification of the value of cliaracter in the hattle of life. Charles
Lewis Aclolph Hewel, one of the most prominent citizens of central Cali-
fornia and one of the most public-spirited men of Modesto, Stanislaus county,
was born in Hanover, Germany, May 9, 1835, a son of Ludwig and Con-
radine (Korosh) Hewel. His father was an officer in the German army
aiul his mother was a daughter of a Prussian officer who fell at the battle
of Waterloo. His great-grandfather was an officer in the army of Frederick
the Great, and through circumstances of which he had no control he was
forced into a duel, as a result of which he was forced to leave Prussia and
seek refuge in Hanover. From these facts, fragmentary as they are, it will
be seen that Judge Hewel is descended in both the paternal and maternal lines
from families in which military men were conspicuous. The Hewels were
Lutherans and the Koroshes were Catholics. Ludwig Hewel was thrown
from his horse and killed in the forty-fourth year of his age, in August, 1849.
His wife. Conradine, died in her sixty-siNth year and was buried in Modesto.
California, while her husband \\as Imried in his native land. They had ten
cliildren, and of their fom^ sons Judge Hewel is the oldest and the only

Judge Hewel was educated in his native city in Hanover and was four-
teen }ears old when his father died. Not long after that event he went to'
sea and during the succeeding three years he visited many parts of the world.
In 1851, when he was sixteen years old. he shipped at New York for Cali-
fnrnia, and, making the passage around the Horn, landed at San Francisco
July 3. 1852. From San Francisco he went direct to Mariposa and engaged
in mining at Agua Fria and at other camps in the southern part of Mariposa
county, where he remained for about three years. In 1855 he came to
Stanislaus county and mined at French Bar on the Tuolumne river, and dur-
ing the forty-five years that have elapsed since he has been a resident of the
county except during eighteen months when he was in Shasta county.

Judge Hewel has been a life-long supporter of the principles of the Dem-
ocratic party. In 1864 he was appointed deputy countv clerk of Stanislaus
county and virtually had charge of the office most of the time until 1866, when
he was elected county clerk, in which capacity he served with much ability
and to the entire satisfaction of the general public until 1868. He began the
study of law in 1862. was admitted to the bar in 1864 and was soon after
appointed court commissioner. After leaving the county clerk's office he
.£ra\-e his attention to the practice of law at Knight's Ferrv, with Abraham
Sliell as a partner, and gained a large and lucrative patronage.

In 1872 he removed to "Modesto, where in 1876 lie formed a law partner-
ship with \\'. E. Turner, which existed until 1889, when he was elected judge
of the superior court and as such he served on the bench five years, with
great distinction. He retired from legal practice because of an impairment


■of his sense of liearing, and in association with C. D. Lane became largely
interested in qnartz niming in Del Norte county, California, and ni Ariz(Mia.
Later he became a one-third owner of the Utica mine at Angel's Camp. Cala-
veras county. From time to time he became the owner of tracts of land which
aggregate about six thousand acres, and he is a stockholder and director of
the three banks of Modesto. — the Modesto Bank, the National Bank of
Modesto and the Union Savings Bank ; and he is the president of the Stanis-
laus Oil Company, which, operating in the hills fourteen miles south of Huron,
in Fresno county, has drilled to a depth of fourteen hundred feet and has
found abundant promise of success.

Judge Hewel is one of the most eminent Freemasons of the state of
■California. He was initiated as an Entered Apprentice, passed the Fellow
Craft degree and was raised to the sublime degree of Master Alason in 1874,
and quickly became conversant with the work and teachings of the order,
filled all the offices in the blue lodge and soon took the degrees of capitular
Masonry and was exalted to the sublime degree of Royal Arch Mason and
filled the several offices of his chapter. He took the degrees of chivalric
Masonry and was constituted, created and dubbed a Knight Templar in 1876.
After having acquired all the degrees of the York rite and all the degrees of the
Scottish rite up to and including the thirty-second, when he was hailed a Sub-
lime Prince of the Royal Secret, ineffable degrees of the Scottish rite, he
has been greeted as a member of the Ancient Arabic order of the Nobles of the
Mystic Shrine. He has the honor of being a past grand high priest of the
order in the state of California and is held in high esteem by Masous every-
Avhere on the coast.

Tn 1872 Judge FTewel married !\Iiss Maria Fisher, a daughter of Jacob
Fisher, of Schoharie county. New York, who has borne him eight cbiklren,
four of whom are living: Blanche. Arabella V.. Catherine S. and Clarence.
The family has a delightful home at JModesto. the upper jwrtion of its resi-
dence being the house in which Mr. and Mrs. Hewel passed the earlier years
of their married life and in which their children were born. 'When a more
spacious residence became necessary Judge Hewel. wishing to retain the old on account of its associations, elevated it and built under it the more
modern portion of his present residence.


T. J. Tirpie. who occupies 'the position of ]niblic adm'inislratur i)f
Nevada City, has spent his entire life in California and is justly iHMud of the
fact that he is a native son of the Golden state and has witnessed much of its
advancement and progress. He was born in Nevada City, on the ist of May.
1869. his parents being Frank and Bridget (McAIanus) Tirpie. both of whom
were natives of the Emerald Isle. Flis father was a l>ookbinder by trade and
and on bidding adieu to the land of his birth he crossed the briny deeji to New
York city, where he arrived in 1852. Here he worked at his trade for three
years, after which he came to California, where he became identified with niin-


ing interests. He has since been connected with the search of the metals tiiat
nature has so bountifully supplied to California and which ha\e proved one
of her chief resources of wealth.

T. J. Tirpie is the youngest of ionr children and at the early age of four-
teen years he started out in life on his own account. He began w^orking in the
mines and for many years was connected with his father in that way. Earl\'
in 1897 he met with an accident which forced him to remain idle for several
months, and when he was again able to resume work he turned his attention
to the stone-cutter's trade, in which line he is now taking and executing coii-
tracts. The work done under his super\ ision is always of a high grade, giving
satisfaction to those wdio engage his services. He is prompt and reliable and
his business methods will bear the closest in\-estigation.

In 1898 Mr. Tirpie was elected to the office of public administrator of
Nevada City for a four-years term and is therefore the present incumbent.
He is associated with the Miners' Union, was one of the promoters of the
organization and is now filling the office of financial secretary. He also holds
membership in the Ancient Order of United Workmen. His home relations
are very pleasant. On the i6th of August, 1896, he was happily married
to Miss Sallie McCauley, of Pennsylvania, a lady of culture and refinement
sustaining a high reputation in educational circles. For eleven years she
engaged m teacliing m the i)ublic schools of Nevada City, and in 1894 was
the nominee on the Democratic ticket for county superintendent of public
instruction. Although the county was very strongly Republican, she was
defeated by a majority of only seventy-two, a fact wdiich indicates her popu-
larit}-. The home of Mr. ancl Mrs. Tirpie is now graced by the presence of
two interesting little children, — Adrian T. and William G. Their friends
are numbered among the best people of the community and their home is noted
for its iKJspitality.


There are many men in California who have come into the state during
comparatively recent years and have been a factor in its development since
the war period who are especially deserving of a place in a work of this char-
acter, and one of the best known of that class is the leading citizen of Mokel-
umne Hill, Calaveras county, whose name is above.

Charles Myron Burleson was bom in Iowa, April 17. 1833, and came of
Scotch-Irish ancestry. Shadrach Burleson, his great-grandfather, from Scot-
land, was an early settler at Troy, New York, and Mr. Burleson's grand-
father in the paternal line was a pioneer in Iowa, then a ])art of the territory of
Wisconsin, in 1827, and had all the experiences of primitive civilization in that
jiari of the country. William Burleson, the father of Charles Myron Burle-
son, was born in the state of New York, and was a year old when his father
went west. He was educated in the public schools near his prairie home anrl
married Miss Sarah Ann Mallard, also a native of the state of New York,
who bore him four children, who with their parents are all living. Mr. Bur-


leson is now seventy-four years old, and his wife is in her sixty-eightli vear.
The subject of this sketch is the only member of the family not a resident of
Jackson county, Iowa.

Air. Burleson was educated in the public schools in Iowa and at the Lnv;:
State University, at which he was graduated in the class of 1869, as a civil
engineer. In 1871 he came to California and lived for a time at Oakland, but
for the past twenty years has been a resident of Mokelumne Hill, where he has
busied himself with mining and as a surveyor and mining engineer, and has
long held the office of dejiuty United States surveyor. He has been the super-
intendent of a number of important mines, among them the Concentrator,
Empire and Black W'onder mines, and the success of all these properties has
[jeen enhanced by the able manner in wdiich he has handled them.

In 1883 Mr. Burleson married Aliss Stella M. Wells, who was born at
West Point, Calaveras county, a daughter of that prominent pioneer, the late
William Wells, and they have three children, named Stella, Norma and
Bruce. Mr. Burleson has been a Republican from his youth and he has been
elected to the office of supervisor, wdiich he has so well filled that he has no
opponent to a re-election. He was received as an Entered Apprentice, passed
the Fellow Craft degree and was raised to the sublime degree of Master
Mason in 1874, took the degrees of capitular Masonry, and was exalted to the
august degree of Royal Arch Mason, and was constituted, dubbed ami
created a Knight Templar in 1876, and he has received also the degrees
of cryptic Masonry and passed the circle of Royal and Select Masters.
He has been secretary of his blue lodge for two decades and he and his wife
are members of the Orders of the Eastern Star and Daughters of Rebekah,
for Mr. Burleson is prominent also as an Odd Fellow. Mrs. Burleson and
their children are communicants of the Protestant Episcopal church, and the
family enjoys a wide accjuaintance and its members are highly respected wher-
ever they are known.


One of the representative men of Calaveras county. California, residing
at Murphy's, is the subject of this sketch. He came to the state in 1849 and
ha*s never regretted the venture.

Mr. Curtis was born in Richmond. Alaine, on the 15th of April, 1S25. His
ancestry was English, his great-grandfather Curtis emigrating from that
country to the United States and settling in Maine at a very early day. His
son Charles carried on the name and the same religious belief in the same
state, living to the age of eighty-four years and dying a highly respected and
lamented citizen. William Curtis, the father of our subject, was born in
Maine in 179S and lived there to manhood, marrying Mary Kelley. of the same
place. They li\ed to the average age noted by the Psalmist, having been the
parents of a large number of children, three of whom survive; but Mr. Curtis,
our subject, is the onU- resident of California. They were of the Ba])tist faith,
good and worthy people who left the world better than they found it.



Cliarles A. Curtis was educated iu his native state and grew tiiere tu man-
hood. About that time the breezes from the western country began to bear
tales of the golden country on the Pacific, and with the thousands of others
from the east he turned his face in that direction. L'niler the capable seaman-
ship of Captain Woodbury of the stanch l)ark, Lanark, he engaged passage
around the Horn and arrived safe and sound, after a voyage of fi\e months.

I\Ir. Curtis made his first attempt at mining at Hawkins Bar, on the Tuol-
umne river, but was quite discouraged for a time. He was taken sick, prob-
ably from the new conditions of life, and retired to Stockton for the winter.
The following April he arrived in Murphy's and worked with success on the
land immediately back of where the Michler Hotel now stands, and in differ-
ent portions of the town. The diggings were rich and he did well, he and four
companions picking up twenty ounces a day. He found several seven and eight
dollar nuggets and in one panful of dirt had twenty-four dollars.

In 1852 Mr. Curtis became one of the organizers of the Union Water
Company, continuing in. charge of it for seven years, selling water to the
miners. His natural ability was soon recognized and he was made the assessor
and tax collector for the town, continuing in that office for four years. Good
roads became almost necessities, and he was the man wdio, as roadmaster, for
twelve years struggled with that undertaking. It rec|uired energy and capital,
in those days. He was one of those who made the road to the "Big Trees,"
and was one of the four men who cut do\\-n the only one of those monarchs
of the forest that has ever fallen. The cut was made eight feet from the
ground and after the thick bark had been removed, it remained thirty-two feet
in diameter.

Since that time Mr. Curtis has engaged in farming, owning several tracts
of land. He built his home in Murphy's in 1854, when lumber was one hun-
dred dollars per thousand feet. Now beautiful shade trees surround his house
and it seems an ideal place in which to pass many happy years. Like many
another eastern lad, Mr. Curtis had left a promised bride behind him, and when
fortune had favored him he returned and in Boston, Massachusetts, was mar-
ried Miss Catherine Casw'ell, a native of that city. The return trip was
made by the isthmus. The family of Mr. Curtis consisted of five children : — •
Charles William and Melvin, ranchmen ; Mary Jenett, the wife of Edson
Thorp, deceased at the age of forty years: Richard, deceased; and Henrv. who
met death by accident.

In 1879 Mr. and 3\Irs. Curtis celebrated the first quarter-century of their
married life with a silver wedding. In a cozy corner of their parlor may be
seen a large collection of rich designs of the white metal, being tokens from
tiieir many friends. Their lives must be spared only three more years till the
half-century mark has been reached, when they will have the pleasure of cele-
brating their golden wedding. Both Mr. and Mrs. Curtis are respected and
beU)ved in the community where they are best known. Mrs. Curtis is a con-
sistent member of the Congregational church, a good and devout woman, while
both represent well the best citizens of Calaveras county.



The original family ut ]<"i)ntanarosa — for such was the spelling in Italy —
has l.icen changed to the present form of Fontenrose since representatives of
the name established a home in America. For many generations the ancestors
resided in sunny Italy, and there John Fontenrose, the father of our subject,
was horn in the province of Genoa. His wife, Maria Fontenrose. was also
a native of that land, and one child was born to them in Italy, Jane, who is
now the wife of Angelo Ouirolo, a resident of Sutter Creek. In the year
185) the father came to California, lay way of the isthmus route, and turned
his attention to mining in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. At that time
Amador county was not yet organized. He met with success in his business
ventures, and returning to the east he visited his family, in 1852, after which
he again came to the Pacific slope. Once more he went to the Atlantic coast,
joining his family in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1857 they went to Philadel-
phia and thence to Xew York, where they took passage on a steamer Iwund for
San Francisco. In 1859 they located at Tunnel Hill, near Jackson, where
the father engaged in mining and in conducting a boardin£? - house, making
his home there until 1874, when he was called to his final rest, in his fifty-
fifth year. During the Civil war he loyally defended the cause of tlie Union,
and was a faithful adherent to republican institutions and principles. He left
a family of four sons and four daughters. His wife survived him until
Alay T, 1898, and passed away in her seventieth year.

E. J. Fontenrose. of this review, was their third child and was born
in the city of Philadelphia, on the 27th of September. 1850. Brought to Cali-
fornia in early boyhood, he obtained his education in the public schools of Sut-
ter Creek, and entered upon his business career as a clerk in a general mer-
cantile establishment. Subsequently he was employed as an engineer in the
mines, attending the cages. In 1879 he was appointed deputy county clerk,
recorder and auditor, and after serving in that capacity for a year was elected
to that position. On the expiration of his term he was again made the nom-
inee of his party, but was defeated by Thomas Conlon. W'hen that term had
expired the two gentlemen became nominees of their respective parties, and
Mr. Fontenrose won the election. He held the ofiice for nine years, winning
the position over Mr. Conlon at two different times. His service was most
commendable, being ever characterized by fidelity and loyalty. During the
time he did some insurance business, and upon his retirement from office
became one of the leading reiDresentatives of the insurance interests in Ama-
dor county, doing business for twenty large companies at the present time.
He is an excellent penman, a man of marked executive and business ability,
accommodating and reliable, and these qualities have gained for him marked
success. In the year 1S88-9 he traveled as a special insurance agent. He now
does a large volume of business annually and is regarded as one of the most
prominent in his line in this section of the state.

In 1881 ^Ir. Fontenrose was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. ?\k'ehan.
a native of Jackson and a daughter of James Meehan. a ])roniincnt and


esteemed earl)" settler of the town. ^Ir. and Mrs. Fontenrose now have two
sons, J. L. and John M., both attending school, in 1893 Mr. Fontenrose
transferred considerable insurance business to his wife, and they are now partr
ners in the enterprise. He is also a dealer in abstracts and does a large
amount of business in that line. They have a very pleasant home on Pitt
street, and the household is noted for its hospitality, which is enjoyed by their
many friends. Mr. Fontenrose throughout the greater part of his life has been
familiar with the enterprising and progressive spirit of the west, and his own
efforts have been characterized by unremitting diligence and energy. He
has been true to every trust reposed in him, and he lends his aid and co-opera-
tion to all movements intended to advance the material, social, intellectual
and moral welfare of the community.


Dennis Ryan, a prominent old settler of California, residing at Sonera,
Tuolumne count}-, has now retired from active business life. He came to

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 53 of 108)