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 58 of 108)
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whom three are now living. Mr. Berry died in 1880, at the ripe old age of
eighty-three years, and his wife also attained the same age, passing away on
the old homestead on which they had always lived.

David E. Berry was educated in his native state and on attaining his
majority started for California. He sailed from New York on the George
Law. and after crossing the isthmus of Panama he took passage on the
Giilden Gate, which ])lowed the Pacific waters until reaching the harbor of
San Francisco, on the 29th of May. For a short time he was located at
Mud Springs, in Eldorado county, and thence went to Railroad Flat, in Cal-
averas county. Later he located at Sacramento and engaged in driving stage
from Sacramento to Mokelumne Hill, a distance of sixty-five miles, going out
one day and returning the next. For eight years he drove from Lodi to
^lokelumne Hill and returned each day, a distance of eight-four miles. Dur-
ing all these years he was never waylaid by highwaymen except on one
occasion, and then the robbers did not get a cent. He now owns a stage
route and carries the mail from \'alley Springs to Mokelumne Hill. His
son, William B., is now the driver of the four-horse stage and is very com-
petent, being able to manage his horses with skill, and at the same time he is
courteous to his patrons and enjoys the high regard of all with whom he is
thus associated. The father also owns a livery stable at Valley Springs, where
he no.v resides.

Li 1873 occurred the marriage of our subject to Miss T. Wildermuth, a
native of Illinois, who came to California in 1872. She is a daughter of Eli
Wildermuth, of Illinois. They now have two sons and two daughters,
namely: Laura. William, Elsie and David S. Irene, the oldest daughter,
died at the age of seven, in 1881. Since the organization of the party Mr.
Berry has given his su])port to Republican principles, and has served as con-
stable at \'alley Springs for the past nine years. He has long been recognized
as a thoroughly reliable citizen and has a wide acquaintance in northern Cali-
fornia, his many estimable qualities gaining him the frendship and regard of
all with whom he is associated. Not to know David E. Berry in Calaveras
county is to argue one's self poorly jiosted. for as stage-driver and owner he
has formed a \ery extensive acquaintance.


Henry \\'illiam Bcssac is the proprietor, publisher and editor of the News
Messenger, a weeklv journal issued each Friday at Lincoln. Placer county.
He is a native of Wisconsin, born at Randolph Center, on the ist of April.
1850. and is of French lineage, although for several generations the family
lias been in .\nicrica. The father. Hcnrv L. Bessac, was a native of Hudson,


New York, and became one of tlie first settlers of central Wisconsin, being
numbered among the pioneer farmers there. He married Amanda JMosher,
also a native of Hudson, where the paternal grandfather of our subject had
located at an early day, since which time representatives of the name have ever
been found there. Henry L. Bessac died of typhoid fever at the age of thirtyr
two years, leaving a wife and three children, and the mother was called to
the home beyond at the age of forty. One son died and the daughter, now
Airs. Maritta Alliger, is living in Wisconsin.

Henry W. Bessac spent his boyhood days in Hudson. New York, acquir-
ing his education in the public schools there. He began his newspaper career
on the old Hudson Star in 1864, a celebrated journal of that time, and since
has been connected with various papers in the western and northwestern states.
He has owned and sold fourteen 'difTferent papers published in towns from
British Columbia to Mexico. He was at one time the ownsr of the Santa
Anna Herald, the Ontario Observer and also established the Vidette in jMonte-
sano, Washington. In the spring of 1894 he came to Lincoln, and being
favorably impressed with the town and its people he is now doing good work
for this section of the country as the editor and publisher of the News Mes-
senger. This is an independent paper devoted to the interests of Lincoln and
Placer county. The journal is a six-column, eight-page paper, and has an
excellent circulation and large advertising patronage. It is well conducted
after the most modern methods, and is a bright and entertaining sheet that
supi»rts all measures and movements for the public good.

In 1874 j\Ir. Bessac married Miss Virginia Bagnall, a native of Ohio
and at the time a teacher in the public schools of Wisconsin, and unto them
have been born eight children : Henry William, a leading school-teacher of
Placer county: Virginia G., who is occupying the position of bookkeeper;
Anna O.. who is attending schools in Stockton; H. Bremner, of Lincoln;
Richard D., who is in his father's office; and Grace E., Charles N. and
Eugene P., who are at home. The family have a pleasant residence in Lin-
coln and a large circle of friends. Mr. Bessac has been a member of the
Masonic fraternity since 1874 and is a past master of the order. He is also
an attendant of the Methodist church and contributes to church and charitable
v.-ork in a liberal manner.


Robert Emmett Green is one of the leading citizens of Grass Valley,
who by his energy and integrity has risen to a responsible and honorable
])osition. winning the respect and confidence of his fellow men in all classes
of societv. He is probably the youngest justice of the peace in California,
but his abilitv well qualifies him for the office. A native of Massachusetts,
he was liorn in the city of Boston on the 12th of October. 1874. his parents
being James B. and Elizabeth (Rowe) Green. His father was born in Mas-
sachusetts February 27. 1845, but the grandfather. Robert Green, was of
Irish birth, as was the great-grandfather, who served as a soldier in the Eng-


lisli army under tlie Duke nf Wellington, participating in many engagements
ul tile ])eninsular wars. On the maternal side Mr. Green is descended from
the McOuade family, his ancestors in that line having been residents of Ire-
land for many generations. The father of the Judge served throughout the
war of the rebellion in America, being a member of Company K, First Mas-
sachusetts Cavalry. He took part in nearly every engagement in Florida
and through the Butler campaign in that state, in Georgia and about Richmond.
He was one of twelve young men who entered the service together, but ten
of the number sleep in graves on southern battle-fields, Mr. Green and one
of his comrades being the only two of the number who escaped.

Robert E. (ireen. whose name introduces this review, is the eldest of a
family of eight children and was only two years of age when brought by his
])arents to Xevada county. California. Here he was reared and educated,
pursuing his studies in tiie public .schools. He entered upon his business
career at a very early age and has been employed in various capacities. For
two years he was the night clerk in the hotel at Marysville, after which he
returned to (]rass Valley and worked at the blacksmith's trade for eighteen
months. Subseciuently he was employed in a tailoring establishment: but,
fintling neither the hammer nor the needle to his taste, he entered upon the
study of law and in this profession he has been very successful. He was
first a student in tlie office of P. T. Riley, then district attorney, and after
eighteen months continued his studies under the direction of A. Burrows,
attorney at law. His last preceptor was P. H. Painter, who had filled the
office of justice of the peace for twenty-eight years, and upon his retit^ement
Mr. Green was appointed to fill out the unexpired term and in 1898 was
elected to the office for a term of four years, so that he is the present incum-
bent. He is strictly fair and impartial in the discharge of his duty and his
rulings are based upon a comjirehensixe knowledge of the law. His sympathy
has ever been with the Repulilican party, whose jjrinciples he warmly advo-
cates, believing that they contain the best elements of good government.

He has been connected with the Grass Valley fire department for four
years, and socially he affiliates with tiie Independent Order of Odd Fellows,
in which he has taken the uniformed rank degree, is a member of the Benev-
olent and Protective Order of Elks, and also belongs to tlie Knights of Pythias
and to the .Ancient Order of United Workmen; and in his social relations he
has won the respect and confidence of his brethren of the respective fra-
ternities. He is a man of strong mentality, of great force of character and
of unf|uestioncd ability, and his friends predict for him a successful future.


For many years this .California ■■'4ger," George Samuel Maker, has been
a prominent business factor in the town of Dutch Flat. His long identity
with this locality and his prominence render a review of his life of more than
passing interest in the present work, and tlie following facts regarding his
life hi've been gleaned for iniblication.


George Samuel ]\Iaker is a iiati\e of (Germany. He was ])orn August 15.
182J, a sou lit (iernian pareuts. aud at a very early age was brought to this
country. At AJdnnie. Micliigan, lie received his schooling. In early man-
hood he was \ariiiusly occupied in Michigan, from there went to Cleveland,
Ohio, where he had an eating-house, and from Cleveland went to New Orleans,
at the latter place running a cigar and oyster establishment. Later he drifted
further south, and in 1846 went from New Orleans to the Rio Grande river.
Returning to the Crescent city, he loaded a schooner with brandy and whisky,
to he sold at the different ports on the river. This business venture being
made without the knowledge that General Taylor had issued an order for-
bidding the sale of liquor there, his cargo was confiscated, and he afterward
saw it at the army headquarters. It had cost him sixteen hundred dollars and
-vvas a total loss, which he deeply felt at that time.

In 1849. as one of a party of ninety-six members, he started for Cali-
fornia. \\'hile in Mexico on the journey one of the company discharged his
pistol to clean it. The soldiers, coming up at that time and hearing the report,
arresLed the company and demanded the man who had done the shooting; and,
notwithstanding the fact that the travelers explained the cause of the shot,
they were compelled to pay a fine of twenty-five dollars before they were
allowed to proceed! Soon after this they secured passage on a French bark
bound for San Francisco. On account of the very slow passage which this
\^essel made, its supplies were reduced and passengers had to be put on short
allowance. At last only a little hard-tack and a small quantity of stale water
was rdlowed each person daily.

Finally, however, they arrived safe in San Francisco, and after a short
time spent there Mr. Maker went up to Deer Creek, now Nevada City, where
he saw some eold that had been brought from the Yuba. He went to South
Yuba and at Missouri Bar learned to wash the dirt and at once settled down
to mining, in which he was successful there. He had the good fortune to
find < ne piece of gold worth five hundred and fiftv-four dollars, and the same
day he found that nugget his day's work brou,ght him six hundred dollars.
At Missouri Bar he remained until 1853. That year he bought a log cabin
on the ridge, in which he opened a store and meat market and where he also
kept v.-hat was sometimes called a hotel. This business he ran until 1858,
maki ig aliout three thousand dollars, after which he sold his house and the
land on which it was located, reserving, however, the timber on the land.
His next enterprise was to build a sawmill, which he ran for a number of
years. After retiring from the sawmill business he resided in Nevada, and
from there in 1864 came to Dutch Flat, where for the past thirty-six years
lie has been engaged in merchandising, meeting with prosperitv and earning
the distinction of having the largest establishment and being the oldest mer-
chant in the town. He owns the building in which his store is located and
also has a commodious residence near l)y. both in the center of the town.

Mr. Maker is a man of a family. He was married, in 1858, to Miss
Lena Talbot, a native of Cork. Ireland, and of the five children that have
been given them four are living, namelv: llannali. the wife of .\lcxandcr


Drayman : George and William, in business with their father ; and Mary, the
wife of William Bowen, of Dutch Flat.

While a resident of Nevada Mr. ^laker received the first degree in
Masonry, and after his location in Dutch Flat was gi\en the other degrees
of the blue lodge, in which he still retains membership. In his political views
he has always harmonized with the Republican party.


George Zeigler Hodges, now deceased, was a widely known California
pioneer of 1850. At the time of his death, October 20, 1897, he was an
esteemed resident of Milton, Calaveras county. He was born in Sandwich,
Carrol! county. Xew Hampshire. December 18, 181 5. He came of honorable
ancestry, his father having taken part in the Revolutionary war, and his
forefathers being among the first settlers in the state who had emigrated from
Scotland and Wales.

Our subject was reared and educatetl in his native state, but removed
to Boston. Massachusetts, at a later date, engaging there in business some
years prior to his departure for California. In that city he married Miss
Eliza Drew, a native of Holderness. New Hampshire, who was born there June
15. 1814. In 1849 ^Ir. Hodges became interested in the gold discoveries of
California and sailed from Boston, in December, in the sailing ship Herculean.
He took with him many useful articles, including a complete miner's outfit
and articles for sale to the miners. His voyage around the Horn was suc-
cessfully made and he reached San Francisco in gocxl health, immediately
settling at Coyote Flat, now Robinson's Ferry, in Calaveras county. He
began working in the mines through Calaveras. Tuolumne and other counties
until he took charge of a hotel in Springfield, going from there in the same
business to Copperopolis and San Francisco. He retained the management of
the Copperopolis Hotel until the time of his death, it now being the projjcrty
of his daughter. Mrs. I. N. Neely.

In 1852 Mrs. Hodges started on the long journey to join her luishand.
leaving behind her the five children, to be educated in Boston. Her trip was
one of many adventures. At the best of times it was a very trying one for a
refined woman, but particularly so for one alone and unaccustomed to hard-
ship. She was obliged to ride on a mule across the isthmus of Panama, and
the ship in which she then took passage was wrecked on the coast of Cali-
fornia. The ]rassengers were saved in boats, but the ship went to pieces on
the rocks. !Mrs. Hodges finally reached her husband, and until her death was
a faithful liel])mate. She was a woman of superior character, brave and
resourceful, one of the pioneer women of the state whose lives have been
immortalized in song and story. In spite of deprivations of all kinds, Mrs.
lliidgcs was spared to her family until she reached the age of eighty-two years,
her husband surviving her but one vear.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Hodges came to California in 1835. thc-^c
being, — Maria F., now Mrs. Isaac N. Neely. of Milton: (lenrgc Henry,


Eugene L.. Adalaide and Josephine. — all deceased; and. Henrietta, the wife
of H. W. Wright, of San Francisco. The family is a highly respected one.
and among the old pioneers of the state Air. and Airs. Hodges" names are
remembered with esteem.


Samuel N. Knight, a prominent business man of Sutter Creek and one
of the leading owners of the Sutter Creek Foundry & Machine Works, was
born in Brunswick, Maine, on the 14th of November, 1838, and is of English
lineage. His grandfather, John Knight, was a native of England and with
his family came to America wlien ^^'i]liam Knight, the father of our subject,
was only two years of age. the date of their arrival in Watertown, Massa-
chusetts, being 1809. They afterward removed to the Pine Tree state, an4
the grandfather died in Bowd.-,inham, Ma.ine, in the eighty-second year of
his a^e. \Mlliam Knight, after arriving at years of maturity, married
Miriam Walker and resided upon a farm. Both he and his wife were con-
sistent members of the Baptist church, and in that faith he died, in his sev-
enty-fifth year, while his wife was called to her final home in her forty-ninth

The subject of this review obtained liis education in his native state and
when fourteen years of age began to learn the ship-joiner's trade. Subse-
<|uently he removed to Florida and olitained employment in machine works,
where he was employed at the breaking out of the Civil war. He was on
the b.KU which captured Fort McCrea and Fort Barancas, but his sympathies
were not in harmony with that side and accordingly he secured passage on
a schooner bound for Boston, under the command of a captain who in Maine
had been a near neighbor to Mr. Knight. The latter obtained work on a fleet
which was being fitted out in Xew York for the Banks expedition and also
worked on other ^-essels being fitted out for naval service in the war.

In 1862 he took passage on the Garibaldi for California, and after a
voyage of fi\-e months landed at San Francisco, in 1863. He made his way
at once to Calaveras county and began building quartz mills, his first work
being the construction of a ten-stamp mill on Calaveras creek. Subsequently
he came to Sutter Creek, where he was actively engaged in building mills,
bridges and hoisting works. In 1874 he purchased an interest in a machine
shon in this place, with which he has since been connected, and under his man-
nagement it has grown to be one of the most important enterprises in the
town, employing from fifty to seventv-five men. They manufacture centrif-
ugal pum])S. hydraulic engines and all kinds of mining machinery and their
output is ver}' extensive, which indicates the excellence of their products and
their reliability in trade circles. Mr. Knight is also the inventor and patentee
of a very valuable water wheel, which has been received with much favor and
is now quite generally used in this section of the state. It is <lue to his
abilitv. energy and discretion that the foundry has grown to its present large
dimensions and that its history has been one of prosperity. He is also a


stiickliiilder in the electric lij^lu plant, which has proved a very desirable acqui-
sition to tlie town.

.\'r. Knight owns a nice residence in Sntter Creek and is one of the
progressive and i)nl)lic-spirited citizens of the town, giving liis supi^rt and
co-operation to all measures which he l)elieves will prove a public good. For
many }ears he has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
His success is the deserved reward of his labors. He started out without
capital. Init by determined purpose has steadily worked his way upward, over-
coming; all difficulties and obstacles and at length reaching the plane of aflluence.


The specific and distinctive office of the biographer is not to voice a man's
modest estimate of himself and of his accomplishments, or indulge in extrav-
agant praise, but rather to leave a perpetual record establishing his character
by the consensus of opinion on the jjart of his fellow men. Mr. Mulroy is a
man of great mode.sty, but bis fellow citizens recognize his worth, and thus
it was that he was called to the office of justice of the peace of Grass Valley,
in which position he is now serving.

He is a natix'e of Nevada county. California, born August 28, 1864, his
parents being James and Catherine (Lafterty) Mulroy, both of whom were
natives of Ireland and came to California in 1852. Here the father engaged
in mining until his death, which occurred in 1879. His wife, surviving him
about sixteen years, passed away in 1895.

Judge Mulroy was reared and educated in the county of his nativitv and
began his professional study with Mr. Burroughs, of Grass \'alley, for his
precc|)tor. He applied himself closely to mastering the principles of juris-
prudence and was admitted to the bar in 1891. since which time be has been
actively engaged in practice in Grass \'alley. winning a liberal patronage. In
1898 he was elected a justice of the jieace and has discharged the duties of
the office in a very creditable manner. His political support is given t(^ the

]"K.\XK I'lF.RCi'. OTIS.

One of the consjjicuDUs jniblic men of Sonora, Tuolumne county, Cali-
fornia, a well known lawyer and now the district attorney of this county, is
Frank Pierce Otis, the sul)ject of this sketch. He is a native of Garland.
Penobscot county, Maine, born there May 8, 1857, of English ancestry. He
takes ])ride in his family tree, and finds that in 1655 his first progenitor came
to .\nierica from England and settled at Dover, New Hampshire, at which place
occurred the birth of his son Richard, who at one time received a wound in
a battle with tire Indians, about 1696. His son Stephen also had a son named
Ste|)hen. who was born in Dover but settled in Barrington. New Hampshire.
His siiii was Hezekiah. who became the great-grandfather of our subject and
was born in Barrington in M;i\, 17^15. Iiis son Benjamin's birth taking place
in the same town, in 1784. Benjamin Otis removed to Fairfield. Maine, and


here, in 1S24. Joel W. Otis was born, the father of our suljject. All of these
ancestors had been engaged in farming and many left large tracts of improved

Joel Otis married Miss Francina Pooler, a native of Maine and a grand-
daughter of a soldier of the Revolutionary war. Mr. Otis engaged in farm-
ing until his death at the age of seventy-four, his wife having died prior to
this, in her sixty-seventh year. A family of three children were born to
them, all of whom are living, but our subject is the only one in California.

Frank Pierce Otis was reared in his native state, where he received his
primary education in the public schools, later entering Bates College at
Lewiston, Maine, at which institution of learning he graduated with honor in
the class of 1879. Immediately beginning the reading of law, he was admitted
to practice in 1881. and the following year he came to California, and in
1883 was admitted to practice in this state. In 1885 Mr. Otis located in
Sonora and began his law practice, receixing such immediate encouragement
that his success became assured. In i8Sfi he was elected to the office of dis-
trict attorney, filling that of^ce most satisfactorily for ten years, proving
himself a capable prosecutor and a good criminal lawver.

The marriage of Mr. Otis took place in May, 1887, when he was united
to Mi-;s Lizzie McGuire. a native of this city and a daughter of James McGuire.
Three children have been born to Mr. and Airs. Otis, — Chester F.. Beth E.
and Llnyd J.

Fraternally Mr. Otis is connected with the Masons, the Odd Fellows,
the Knights of Pythias and the Foresters, in all of which he is esteemed on
account of personal qualifications. The home of Mr. Otis is one of the best
improved and attractive in the city, and both he and his family are among
the most resjjected in the community.


A distinguished rejiresentative of the bar. Judge Davis has won prom-
inence in connection with the legal profession and the political interests of the
state, his name being deeply engraved on the judicial records of northern
California. A resident of Jackson. Amador county, he was born on Angel
island, Marin county, this state, on the 5th of June, 1859. His father, John
F. Davis, was a native of county Wexford, Ireland, and when very young
came to California. In 1858 he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Scally,
a descendant of the noted O'Kane family of Dunseverick. The father in
i860 lost his life by drowning in the bay of San Francisco. His untimely
death left his widow with two children, — John F. and Margaret. Though
she afterward married and the issue of the marriage was a son, named Edward,
the yoimg widow at first had a hard struggle, and Judge Davis has always
claimed that he owed everything in life to his mother.

The Judge obtained his preliminary education in the (then') Xorlh Cos-

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 58 of 108)