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

. (page 60 of 108)
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 60 of 108)
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tract for hauling sand and gravel to the fortifiications at Fort Point and Alca-
traz. Soon afterward he established a brick-yard and built up a very exten-
sive business at California L'ity. continuing in that industry until i860, when
he engaged in the shipping Inisiness at San Francisco. He built schooners
and carried on general freighting, with excellent success, receiving a patron-
age which necessitated the ownership of a number of schooners. He is still
the proprietor of several vessels, but at present is not actively identified with
business interests, having put aside the more arduous cares of life to enjoy a
rest to which former toil and his advanced years justly entitle him. He has
passed the seventy-fifth milestone on life's journey, and in the evening of life
receives the veneration and respect of his fellow men by reason of an upright
career.

John Fisher was united in marriage to ^Nliss Mary ]\IcConnel!. a native
of county Meath, Ireland. Their only son and child is John P. Fisher, the
subject of this record. The mother departed this life on the 9th of August,
1889, at the age of sixty-three years.

John Peter Fisher was educated in San Francisco, being graduated in
the Lincoln grammar school with a class of seventy-seven boys, and having
completed the high school course in the class of 1879; and he also was gradu-
ated in a business college in 1882, and thus well prepared liy theoretical train-
ing, he put his knowledge to a practical test by accepting a situation with the
firm of Andrew Crawford & Company, where he soon demonstrated his ability
to master the problems of business life. He remained with that house for five
years, on the expiration of which period he removed to Greenwood, Eldorado
county. Fond of the outdoor life of the woods and particularly attracted by the
sports of the huntsman, he for some time engaged in hunting and trapping.
He is a splendid marksman and secured much game, which brought good prices
on the market and i)roved a source of income until 1890. During tha^ time



458 REPRESEXTATIVE CITIZENS

he attained great celebril}' as a liunter and was considered excellent autliDrity
on subjects pertaining to guns, ammunition and hunting, including a knowl-
edge of the iiaunts and habits of game. In the winter of 1888-9 he was caught
in the snow, which reached a depth of fifteen feet on the summit of the Sierras,
where he suffered such severe hardships during that winter that he decided
to give up tile business. Subsequently he accepted a position in the employ
of the American Land & River Company as an accountant and cashier, con-
tinuing with that corporation until 1895. He was next appointed deputy
assessor of Eldorado county and came to Flacerville. Subsequently he received
the appointment of deputy sheriff and tax collector, and his services were so
well performed that he was made a candidate of the Republican party for
clerk, auditor and recorder. He was elected by a majority of two hundred in
a Democratic county, a fact which indicates his personal ability and the con-
fidence reposed in him. In these offices he is now serving and is a very popular
and trustworthy official.

On the 4th of December, 1892, ^Ir. Fisher was united in marriage to
Miss Mary Jane Summerfield, a native of Eldorado county and a daughter
of J. M. Summerfield, who came to Flacerville, then Hangtown, on the 7th
of August, 1849. J^ir. and Mrs. Fisher now have one son, James Wesley.
Our subject holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He
is a thoroughly capable public officer, a liberal and progressive citizen, and for
many years he has been known for his sterling qualities and his fearless loy-
alty to his honest con\ictions.

HENRY DAXIELS.

Henry Daniels is filling the position of coroner of Nevada county and
is numbered among the prominent business men of Grass \'alley, where he
is successfully engaged in the furniture trade. He is one of the worthy
citizens that the little Welsh nation has furnished to America and in his
life he displays the strong purpose, fidelity and reliability so characteristic
of his race.

Mr. Daniels was born in Wales, October 24, 1856, and is a son of
Henry and Mary (Johnson) Daniels, who are still living in the old world.
The father is a farmer by occupation and our subject was reared in that
pursuit. At the age of twent3 - two years he bade adieu to home and friends
and crossed the ocean to the new world, taking up his abode in California.
For a short time he engaged in farming near Marysville and thence came
to Grass Valley, w-here he accepted a clerical position. Later he i)urchased
the express and jobbing business, which he conducted for nine years, meet-
ing with very creditable success in the undertaking. On the expiration of
that period he established his furniture store on Mill street, where he carries
a large and well selcted line of all the latest improved styles of furniture.
He is also conducting an undertaking and embalming business and in both
departments receives a liberal patronage.

In 1888 Mr. Daniels was elected coroner for a term of four rears, and



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 459

for the second time is now filling that position, pro\-ing a competent olficial.
He votes with the Republican party and is stanch and earnest in his advo-
cacy of its principles. For several years he has served as a member of the
lire department of Grass Valley and does all in his power to promote its
welfare and upbuilding. In traternal orders he has a wide acquaintance,
.being identified with tne Knights of Honor; Chosen Friends; Knights of
Pythias; Rathbone Sisters; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; the
Masonic fraternity, in which he has taken the degrees of the chapter and
Eastern Star; the Improved Order of Red Men; the Ancient Order of
United \\"orkmen; and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. His
home relations are pleasant, for he was happily married on the 3d of Sep-
tember, 1884, to Miss Josephine Gill, a native daughter of California, the
father, Thomas Gill, being among the pioneers of the state in 1852. Mr.
and Mrs. Daniels now have two interesting children, — Ernest and Flor-
ence, — and they have also lost two, — Marguerite and Roy. Mr. Daniels
has lived an honorable and upright life, has won prosperity through deter-
mined purpose and indefatigable effort, and at all times has enjoyed the
esteem of his fellow men by reason of those sterling qualities of manhood
which in every land and every clime awakens admiration and regard.

RUDOLPHUS C. DAVIS.

A man's reputation is the property of the world. The laws of nature
lia\e forbidden isolation. Every human being submits to the controlling
influence of others, or, as a master, wields a power for good or evil on the
masses of mankind. There can be no impropriety in justly scanning the
acts of any man as they affect his public, social and business relations. If
he be honest and successful in his chosen field of endea\-or, investigation
will brighten his fame and point the path along which others may follow.
One whose record will bear the closest scrutiny and stand the test of public
criticism is Rudolphus C. Davis, a prominent business man and mine owner
of Columbia, Tuolumne county. He is a loyal citizen and true gentleman
whom the community numbers among its valued residents. His identifica-
tion with California dates from 1853.

Mr. Davis was born in Dayton, Tippecanoe county, Indiana, Decem-
ber 16, 1845, s"d is of English descent. His grandfather, Jdhn J. Davis,
was the owner of large plantations in Texas and became one of the men of
wealth and influence in that state. John S. Davis, the father of our sub-
ject, was born in Ohio, in 1809, his father having located there in pioneer
days. As he neared man's estate he determined to devote his energies to
the practice of medicine and for fifty years was actively interested in the pro-
fession in different parts of the country. When the subject of this review
was but two years of age he lost his mother by death, he being the youngest
of her four children. Dr. Davis was married again, his second union being
with Marv Ann Speed, of Louisville, Kentucky. \\"\ih his wife and chil-
dren he crossed the plains to California. They started from lliincis along



46o REPRESENTATIVE CTTIZENS

the southern route, but remained for a }ear in Texas with an uncle of ^Ir.
Davis, who was buying a large herd ot stock to bring to this state. The
uncle liad crossed the plains before and was the captam of the train which
Mr. Davis and his family joined and which consisted of sixty families,
tiiree hundred young men who were single, with one thousand head of cattle
and a large number of horses. It was one of the best ec|uipped outfits that
made the journey to the Pacific coast ere the advent of railroads, the trip
being planned and the outfits superintended by a man of broad experience.
At El I'aso a man who was en route to California with a herd of cattle
had his stock stolen by the JNlexicans, and in order to get even he took
lX)Ssession of all the cattle he could find along the waj' ! At El Paso he
was arrested and put in jail by the Mexicans. A request was sent to the
train with which the Davis family traveled to rescue the man. In order to
do this they had to cross the river and make an attack on the jail; but a
drunken member of the party disclosed their plans so that the Mexicans
were prepared for them and a severe battle ensued in which twelve of the
Americans were killed and se\eral wounded. They were obliged to retreat
and tile man remained in jail there for eighteen months, while the Davis
train was forced to travel night and day in order to get away from the
enraged Mexicans. It was a veiy trying experience, which they might have
avoided had they not attemjjted to rescue the imprisoned .Vmerican. The
Indians also occasioned considerable trouble by stampeding the stock,
although they were bribed by gifts of meat, sugar and coffee, the emigrants
believing that it was a cheaper and better way to gi\e iliem those groceries
than to fight them and perha])s lose many lives.

Upon arriving in California Dr. Davis and his family locatetl on a
farm on the Tuolumne ri\er, near I'rench Bar, the uncle of our subject
there owning a large amount of land, a ferry-boat and a tavern. In Xovem-
ber, 1855, they arrived at Columbia, reaching their destination just after
the execution of a man by the name of Bartlett, who had been hung for
murder. Dr. Davis jiracticed his profession for three years at Columbia
and returned to the east, and again came to California in 1S96. and died
in L'kiah. Mendociiiio county, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years.
One of his sons. T. R. Davis, was shot by the Indians in Arizona, where
lie was freighting. The red men killed him and his teamsters and robbed
the wagons. One daughter of the family. Mary, is deceased, while the other
daughter, Charlotte, became the wife of judge McGary and resides in Ukiah.
Mendocino county. California.

In 1880 was celebrated the marriage of R. C. Davis aiiil Miss I-'lorencc
M. Trask. who was liorn in Columbia, and is a daughter of P. M. Trask.
one of the highly respected pit)neers of Tuolumne county. The pleasant
home of Mr. and Mrs. Davis has been blessed with three children: George
M., who is now acting as his father's bookkeejier: Harry and Josephine
Florence, who are in school. Theirs is a delightful home, celebrated for its
warm hospitality, and the members of its hou.sehold enjoy the esteem of all
who know them. Socially Mr. Davis is a member of the Independent



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 461

Order of Odd Fellows, of which he has been a represeiitati\e for the past
twenty-seven years. His political support is given untiringly to the Repub-
lican party, and, though he has never been an office-seeker and has refused
to become a candidate for different official positions, he has done effective
service in the interest of education as a useful and active member of the
school board. He has always taken a deep and active interest in the growth
and development of this section of the state. He is a public-spirited, pro-
gressive citizen and his labors have been an important factor in the sub-
stantial progress and improvement of California. He now lives in the
enjoyment of jjeace and plenty, held in the highest esteem by all as one of
California's best and bra\'est pioneers.

WILLIAM B. OFFICER, ^I. D.

The indulgence of prolix encomium upon a life which is eminently one
of exceptional modesty would be palpably incongruous, even though the
record of good accomplished, of kindly deeds performed and of high rela-
ti\e precedence attained might seem to justify the. utterance of glowing
eulogies. The subject of this review is a man who stands "four-sciuare to
every wind that blows," who is possessed of marked ability and who is
vitally instinct with the deeper human sympathies, and yet who in his useful
career avoided everything in the nature of display or notoriety; and in this
spirit would the biographer wish to have his utterances construed.

The Doctor was born in Harrison county, Missouri, on the 13th of
December, 1865, and is the fourth in order of birth in a family of nine
children, whose parents were William H. and Martha (Enloe) Officer.
The father was a native of Ohio and during his childhood removed to
Missouri with his parents. He there learned the carpenter's trade and for
many years followed contracting and building. He served with distinction
throughout the war of the Rebellion, holding the rank of orderly-sergeant
in a regiment that was connected with the Federal forces. Later in life
he studied pharmacy and became a druggist. His wife is a native of Mis-
souri and in that state they are still living.

During his early boyhood W'illiam B. Officer pursued his education in
the public schools and was also instructed by ]M-ivate tutors. He entered
upon his business career in the capacity of clerk in a mercantile establish-
ment, and while thus engaged began reading medicine. He pursued his
lecture course in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of St. Louis, and
was graduated in that institution in 1892, receiving the third prize for
scholarship in a class of one hundred and five. After a brief clinical expe-
rience the Doctor returned to McFall, Missouri, and practiced there for a
time, and then came to the Pacific coast, locating near Jacksonville. Ore-
gon, in the extreme southern part of the state. After practicing there for
about five years, the Doctor came to Grass Valley and at this writing holds
the ])osition of county health officer and is also a member of the city Ixiard



462 REPRESEXTATIVE CITIZENS

of health. He enjoys likewise a large private practice, his skill and a1)ility
t)€ing widely recognized.

In southern Oregon, on the 2d of June, 1897, was celebrated the mar-
riage of Dr. Officer and Miss Cora E. Brown, a lady of culture and refine-
ment, who was born in Oregon. They now have one daughter, Allison.
In politics the Doctor is a Republican, and socially he is connected with
the Knights of Pythias, the Woodmen of the World, the Ancient Order
of Ur.ited Workmen and the Foresters of America, — in each of which he
is the examining physician. He is also an assistant examining physician
of the Pennsylvania Mutual Life Insurance Company. He holds high rank
in the social and professional circles and is widely and favorably known in
the community in which he makes his home.

GEORGE GUXXULDSOX.

Through almost five decades George Gunnuldson has been an eye wit-
ness of the growth and improvement of California, for he is numbered
among the pioneers of 1853. Only three years had passed since its admis-
sion to the Union when he landed on the Pacific coast, to find here a min-
ing population, a state of mining camps with few of the comforts known to
the east and isolated from the highly improved section of country by long
stretches of barrens, by rocky fastnesses and by ocean water.

Mr. Gunnuldson is a native of the land of the Midnight Sun. his birth
having occurred in Xorway, on the 25th of July, 1829. His father, George
Gunnuldson, also a native of that country, married ^liss Inga Hansdaugh-
ter. They were members of the Lutheran church, in which the father served
as a deacon. In their family were ten children, nine sons and a daughter.
Five of the sons are still living, the eldest residing upon the old home
farm in Xorway. The father died in the sixty-seventh year of his age and
the mother passed away at the age of seventy-seven.

George Gunnuldson acquired his education in the schools of his native
country and remaned upon the home farm until twenty-two years of age.
He then sought a home in America, and in Wisconsin worked as a -farm
hand until he had saved one hundred and twenty dollars, when he came by
way of the Xicaragua route to California, landing at San Francisco with
just twenty-five cents left in his pocket. This he spent for something to
eat. A man who had come with him to the Pacific coast paid his passage
to Plumas county, where lie began mining on the east branch of the north
fork of Feather river, and in three weeks he was enabled to pay the man
fifty dollars for the twenty-five he had borrowed of him. The percentage
exacted was exhorbitant, but Mr. Gunnuldson paid it. The doctor with whom
he lived loaned him four hundred dollars, with which he bought an interest
in the Bunker Hill n>ine. taking no note for the indebtedness and asking
for no security. He also incurred an indebtedness of seventy dollars for
provisions, all to be paid when the mine yielded him a sufficient sum. .Ml
through the winter he took out about seven dollars per day. and in the



OF XORTHERN C ALIFORM A. 463

spring he discharged his obhgations tu the doctor, also paj-ing the other
debt and had some money left. He continued to operate the Bunker Hill
mine for two 3-ears, during which time he had taken out and saved three
thousand dollars. He was then paid four hundred dollars for his interest
in the mine.

Having been fortunate in his work he decided to return to Xorway to
visit his relatives, and with his money in a l?elt around his body he started
for his old home. There were eleven hundred passengers on board the
Yankee Blade, on which they left San Francisco, and when four hundred
miles from that port the vessel ran on a breaker. Her stern .became deeply
submerged in the water, while -her bow was pointed skyward. About one
hundred and sixty passengers, mostly women and children, were taken to
shore with the boats. One of the boats, however, was swaniped. It con-
tained among others a woman who was washed ashore and saved. She had
put life-preservers on her two little girls and herself, and, as stated, the
waves carried her to land, but the life-preservers on her children had
slipped, thus letting their heads into the water and they were drowned. The
toUowing day the steamer Goliath sighted the disabled Yankee Blade, cast
anchor and sent boats to the relief of the passengers, who were then taken
on board and carried to San Diego. Two bullocks swam ashore from the
wreck and furnished food for those that were left on land. Only a few
minutes after the last of the passengers were taken off the ill-fated vessel
she parted in the middle and sank. Captain Rundall, of the Yankee Blade,
had agreed to return the passengers to San Francisco, but he did not keej)
his promise and the opposition line finally took pity on them and conveyed
them to the Golden Gate.

On again reaching San Francisco Mr. Gunnuldson deposited his money
with P. Bacon & Company, bankers, but a policeman with whom he became
acquainted told him that it would be better for him to loan it and thus get
interest on it. He acted upon this advice and loaned it to a man whom both
he and the policeman regarded as financially safe, the man promising to
return it on th.ree days' notice. Not long afterward the policeman informed
Mr. Gunnuldson that the man was gambling, and our subject therefore
investigated the matter, finding his debtor betting twenty-dollar gold pieces
on faro. The next day he went to the man's shop to demand his money,
but found that the business had been attached, thus causing him to lose the
entire amount. Our subject then began working for forty dollars a month,
being thus employed until he had saved money enough to get back to the
mines.

Mr. Gunnuldson then Avent to Iowa Hill, where he worked for twenty-
two dollars per week for a year. He was connected with different mining
interests and made considerable money. He owned a gold claim at Damas-
cus, and after working it for some time sold the property for fourteen hun-
dred dollars, disposing of it on account of ill health, which prevented him
from engaging in its operation. He then came to Dutch Flat and had a
claim at""Xe"er a Red" (which meant not a cent). He also had a mine at



464 REPRESEXTATIVE CITIZENS

MDiiumental canyon, wliicli he worked for tliree years, taking out as liigh
as tliree luindred dollars in a single day. At this time lie saved money and
in the passing years was actively identified with mining interests, so that
not until recently did he find time to again undertake the \oyage to liis
native land. He, iiowever, once more visited Norway, but his mother had
died in the meantime and he made only a short stay. He now has a good
home at Dutch Flat and owns valua'ble real estate in this vicinity, both in
timber and in farming lands. He has been perse\ering, industrious and
economical, and he richly deserves his prosperity. He has met hardships
and trials in his business career, but fate has been kind to him and has
rewarded his perseverance by a handsome competence. He can never forget
tiie dreadful hours spent in the bow of the Yankee Blade, when it seemed
that he and his fellow passengers must be engulfed in the waters of the
Pacific. It was a time of such fearful peril that it baffles all description.
In 1877 Mr. Gunnuldson was happily married to ]\Iiss Katie Lang,
a daughter of Leopold Lang, of Germany. She was born in that country
and came to California in 1873. Mr. and ;\Irs. Gunnuldson now have two
daughters: Eva, a successful school teacher; and Anna, who is with her
parents. Since the tnne of the Civil war our subject has been a stalwart
Republican, yet does not consider that he is bound by party ties. He and
his wife are members of the Order of Chosen Friends, and have a wide
acquaintance in the community where they have so long resided. Although
his experiences have been varied and oftentimes unsuccessful, yet viewed
in the li.ght of his present ])ros])erity his career has been a fortunate one
and he feels no regret that he left the land of the Midnight Sun to seek a
home in free .America, where adsantages are so freely offered to all who
care to improve them.

D1(J\"()L 1!. SPA(iX()Ll.

In viewing the mass of mankind in the varied occupations of life, the
conclusion is forced upon the observer that in the vast majority of cases men
have sought employment not in the line of their peculiar fitness but in those
fields where caprice or circumstances have placed them, thus explaining the
reason of the failure of ninety-five per cent, of those who enter commercial
and professional circles. In a few cases it seems that men with a peculiar fit-
ness for a certain line ha\e taken it up. Such is the fact in the case of the
subject of this biography, Diovol Benedetto Spagnoli. He is one of the most
capable meml)ers of the bar in this section of the state and has shown that
lie is endowed with a strong mentality and keen analytical powers that enable
liim to win ])rominence in connection with judicial interests. He is also num-
bered among the early jiioneers of the state, having arrived in California on
the I St of .\ugust. 1854.

Mr. Spagnoli is a native of Piedninnt. Italy, born on the 30th of Xoveni-
bcr. 1840. and is descended from an old Roman family of prominence. His
father, Diodato Spagnoli. was born in I'icdnumt. and after arriving at the



OF XORTHERX CALIFORXIA. 465

age of maturity wedded Marie Antoinette Fantoli, also a nati\e of Pied-
mont. 1 lie father was a merchant and a prominent road contractor and
builder, in 1854. with his wife and two sons, he sailed for California, landing
in New York, the American metropolis, on the ist of July. On the 5th of
that month he took passage for San Francisco, making the journey by way of
the Nicaragua route, and on the ist of August the steamer in which they sailed
dropped anchor in San Francisco, California. The father engaged in mining



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 60 of 108)