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 67 of 108)
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of a Master Mason in Jackson in 1869. For nine years he has filled the office
of master in the lodge, has served in all the different offices of the chapter
and for two terms was its high priest. He has also been representative to the
grand lodge of the state, and both be and his wife are members of the Eastern
Star, in which she has the hunur of being past matron. Mr. Kay cast his
first presidential vote for John C'. Fremont, in 1856, and has since continued


steadfast in his political faith, cli)ing all in his power to advance the welfare nf
the party. His upright methods of dealing and his reliable judgment in all
matters of public interest have won for him a place of distinction among the
leading men of his adopted country and in the history of northern California
he well deser\es mention.

sa:\iuel w. bright.

Among the residents of Jackson, Amador county, who have lung made
their homes in California is Samuel Wales Bright, whose boyhood days were
spent on the Atlantic coast. He was born in Massachusetts, on the 27th of
May, 1831, and is of English lineage. His grandfather, Jesse Bright, was a
native of England and became the progenitor of the family in the United
States. He crossed the brinv deep and established a home in Massachusetts,
where he carried on agricultural pursuits. He had six children, four sons
and two daughters, and two of the numlier still survive, \\'arren and Bobbie
D., the former eighty years of age and the latter about seventy, both resi-
dents of Massachusetts. ^lichael Bright, the father of our subject, was born
in the old Bay state, in 1804, and having arri\ cl :it \ 1:11- ni maturity he wxdded
.\l\ira Richards. They made their home in .\l:i - :uli!i>etts, wdiere they were
honest and intlustrious farming people and enjoyed the respect of friends and
neighbors. The mother was a member of the Baptist church, and he was a man
of high moral character, being accounted one of the \-alued citizens of the com-
munity in which he resided. He passed away in the sixty-fifth year of his
age, and his wife was called to her final rest when fifty 3'ears of age. In their
family were eleven children, six of wdiom are now living.

Mr. Bright, their eldest child, was educated in the public schools of his
native town and there learned the two trades of shoemaking and butchering.
In 1 85 1 he took passage on the Philadelphia, bound for California, and by
way of the isthmus route came to this state, landing at San Francisco on the
loth of December of that year. He made his way direct to Mokelumne Hill,
and on the 20th of the same month began mining on his own account, but, not
meeting with the success he had anticipated, he turned his attention to the dairy
business, owning twenty cows. He did the milking and then sold the milk
among the jDeople of the locality, receix'ing three dollars a gallon. Corn meal
was then the principal mill product that could be obtained, and twent3'-five
cents a pound was paid for it. Mr. Bright continued in the dairy business for
two years, and then began butchering at West Point, in Sandy Gulch. It was
a rich gulch, where many miners were engaged in the search for the precious
metal, and he there conducted three shops, meeting with excellent success. He
also became connected with mining interests, employing others, however,
to do the practical work. In 1858 he sold his butchering business and for
two years gave his attention to ciuartz-mining. In i860 he came to Jackson
where he purchased the meat market of the \\'iley Brothers and for forty
years he has conducted his present store, enjoying a large and profitable trade.
He has a very wide acquaintance among the old settlers of this section of the


state and has tlirougli lung years snpplied tlieir tables witli clioice meats at rea-
sonable prices. His honorable business methods and his earnest desire to
please secure for him a very liberal patronage and he derives therefrom a
comfortable competence. He has been connected with mining interests from the
time he located here and is still the owner of considerable mining stock. He has
also made judicious investments in real estate and now owns a number of busi-
ness blocks and dwellings in Jackson, being accounted one of the well-to-do
citizens of the place. In 1862, when a disastrous fire swept over the town, his
losses amounted to four thousand dollars, for he had no insurance upon his
property. This did not discourage him, however, for with renewed effort he
continued his work and soon regained all that he had lost.

In December, 1861, I\Ir. Bright was united in marriage to Miss Martha
T. Bradbury, a native of the state of Maine. They have lost their only child,
a little son. who died at the age of ten months. Mr. Bright has been a life-long
Republican, having cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. He
has kept well informed on the issues of the day, yet has never sought office
nor has he joined either fraternal or religious organizations. He has depended
entirely upon his own efforts for his advancement in life, and his worth and
ability have commended him to the public confidence and therefore to the
public support. As a citizen he is interested in whatever pertains to the wel-
fare of his town, county and state, and has contril)uted tn many interests which
have advanced the material, social, intellectual and moral welfare of Jackson.


George Frederick Huber, an enterprising business man of Auburn. Cali-
fornia, and one of the trustees of the city, is a native of Germany, born on the
19th of January, 1848. in the state of Wurtemberg. His father. George Adam
Huber. still lives in the old country, and is now eight\"-four years of age. He
is a member of the Lutheran church, as also was his wife, Mary Elizabeth
Huber, who died in 1873. The Hubers as far l)ack as their history is known
were residents of Germany.

George F. Huber passed the first fifteen years of his life in his native land,
receiving a good common-school education there. In 1863, at the age of fifteen,
he came x.o America, stopping first, for a short time, in Detroit. Michigan,
where he had an uncle. From Michigan he came direct to California. Like
most newcomers to this state at that early day, he first tried his luck in the
mines, his first \enture being on the American river, where he met with fair
success. Later he bought a farm in Eldorado county, on which he settled
and wdiere he carried on farming operations for sixteen years. At the end
of that time he came to Auburn. Here he opened a bakery and a little later
engaged also in the li(|u<>r business, both wholesale and retail, and from the
first he was successful in his business at this ])lace. He erected and owns
the building in which his l)akery and wholesale anil retail liquor store are
located. Also he is interested in mining operations. He is a stockholder and


the president ami superintendent of the Gold Slide Mining Company, with
property on the American river.

Politically ]Mr. Huber has been a Democrat e\er since he has been a
voter. During his residence on his ranch he took a deep interest in educational
affairs and for a number of years served his district. In the spring of igoo
he was elected one of the trustees of the city of Auburn.

;Mr. Huber was happily married, in 1870, to Miss Susan Byer, a native
of Germany, and they have one daughter, ^Nlar}-, who is now the wife of D.
^^^ Fairchlkl, of Auburn.

]Mrs. Huber is a member of the Catholic church. Mr. Huber was reared
in the Lutheran faith, but is not identified with any church. He has been
a member of the Masonic fraternitv since 1874 and is also a member of the I.
O. K. M.


Fred Sutton, who is acti\-ely associated with the business interests of
Sonora and is a member of the city board of trustees, was born in Cambridge-
shire, England, December 25, 1853, and is descended from an old English
famil)-. His father, Moses Sutton, was born in Cambridgeshire, September 5,
1821, and spent the days of his childhood and youth in that country. Arriv-
ing at the years of maturity, he wedded Miss Mary Hall, and unto them were
born twelve children ere they left the "merrie isle." In 1869 the family
came to the new world, locating at Lockport, Xew York, and the following
year emigrated to Sonora, California. Subsequently, however, the father and
part of his children returned to Illinois, where he purchased a farm and there
spent his remaining days, departing this life October 29, 1897, at the age of
seventy-six years. His estimable wife passed aw^ay in Illinois, September
24, 1 88 1, when fifty-eight years of age. They w"ere Episcopalians in their
religious faith, and in the various communities in which they resided they
were held in high esteem. Representatives of the family still reside in Illinois,
while Charles Sutton is a farmer of Tuolumne count}-, California.

Fred Sutton, the subject of this review, pursued his education in the
schools of England and in Lockport, New York, and for sixteen years he was
engaged in general merchandising in connection with his uncle, Josiah Hall,
Since coming to Sonora he has engaged in mining and has also been interested
in the real-estate and insurance business. He is now one of the owners of
the Excelsior mine, the Street mine, the Gross mine and the Bell mine. The
Excelsior mine has produced four hundred and twent}^ thousand dollars.
Mr. Sutton is a man of excellent business ability and of resourceful capacity,
and his efforts have not been limited to one line. He is now the agent for
the Firemen's Fund, a fire-insurance company of San Francisco, and for a
number of other reliable companies. He is also actively engaged in the real-
estate business in Sonora. and in this line of business he has contributed not a
little to the substantial upbuilding and legitimate progress of the attractive
cit\- in which he makes his home. In all his dealings he is thoroughly reliable,
his name being svnonvmmis with integrity in business afi'airs.


In his political \ie\vs Mr. Sutton is a Democrat. He keeps well infornietl
on the issues of tlie day, and was elected a trustee of his town in 1900. and is
now filling that ])osition with ability and fidelity. Socially he is connected
with the Knights of Pythias of Sonora, in which he is serving as a keeper of
the records and seals. He is also a member of the Chosen Friends, in which
organization he is holding the office of counselor. With everv advance
movement in the town during the period of his residence here he has been prom-
inently identified, being recognized as one of the leading and most enterprising
business men of the place, and as one who has contributed liberally, and with
enthusiasm, to e\ery cuise which has had as its object the growth and pros-
perity of Sonora.


Uuc of the cnier|jrising, wide-awake and progressive merchants of Jack-
son is Mr. Kent, a native son of California, his birth having occurred in San
Francisco, on the 26th of December, 1854. His ancestors resided in Xew Eng-
land. His father, Edwin A. Kent, was a native of Xew Hampshire and in
August, 1849, took up his abode in San Francisco. He was born July 15,
1824, and was educated in Boston, Massachusetts. At length he determined to
seek a home in the land of gold and on a sailing vessel rounded Cape Horn.
He became a resident of Nevada City, where he owned considerable-property
and was also interested in a water ditch. In 1856 he removed thence to
Amador ctnmty. residing in Volcano and Jackson most of the time until his
death, which occurred in iSgo, in the sixty-si.xth year of his age. In San
Francisco he was married to Miss Abbie F. Ward, a native of Salem, Massa-
chusetts, and five children blessed their union, of whom four are living, namely:
Edwin W.. Eva L.. .\my F. and Mrs. \\'. E. Agard, the last named now a
resident of San Diego. All are resjjected citizens of the communities in which
they reside.

Walter Etlwin Kent, the eldest of the family, was educated in Amador
county and began life on his own account as a clerk in the general mercan-
tile store owned by L. Xewman & Company, of Jackson. He remained with
them for fi\-e years, becoming an exjiert salesman and acquiring a thorough
knowledge of the business. At length he determined to embark in merchan-
dising on his own account, and in 1882 entered into partnership with J. M.
Levy, opem'ng a store in Jackson. They conductetl the enterprise for six and
a half years, and on the expiration of that period Mr. Kent sold his interest
to his jjartner and leased the Glolie Hotel, which he conducted for two years.
He then opened his present grocery and provision store, and has carried on
operations there with excellent success, having gained an enviable reputation
as a prompt, reliable, enrgetic and honorable merchant. In 1890. upon the
death of his father, he assumed control of his father's undertaking business,
in partncrshi]) with J. A. Butterfield, and in that enterprise they are meeting
with well earned success.

Mr. Kent was hai)pily married in 18SS, to Miss Xellie L. Keency, a native


of Amador county, by whom he has three chikh-en. — \'ivian Blanche: Loring-
Edwin and Ward Foster. Air. Kent belongs to the Masonic and Odd Fellrnvs
societies and the Independent Order of Foresters, and in these orgamzatiims he
has filled various offices. He is also connected with the Native Sons of the
Golden West, in which lie is a past iiresident. His pnlitical sujiport has ever
been given the Kepul)lican party and he is must carnc-i in his advocacy of its
principles, yet has ne\er SdUght ur desired public i.fhce. He has made 'a good
record as a I)usiness man and citizen, being at all times reliable and upright.
That his warmest friends are numbered among those who have known him
from boyhootl is an indication that his life has been a useful and acti\-e one,
worthy of the highest regard.


Of the "art preservative of arts," Mynm 1 l(lllings^vorth Reed is a rep-
resentative, being the well known proprietor of the Ab'untain Echo, having-
founded the paper in 1879 ■ He w'as born in rurtsniMuth, Ohio, on the 4th
of Alay, 1835, and is of Scotch ancestry. His father, I'rederick D. Reed,
entered Ontario county, New York, in i8ig, ])ut remined to Ohio in 1838,
where he married Roxanna McClellan and reared nine children. Two of the
sons served in the Union army during the Civil war and one of them served in
the Confederate service. The father died at the age of fifty-one years, the
mother surviving until her eighty-seventh year. They were people of intelli-
gence and education and are well remembered in th.e community where they

Mr. Reed recei^■ed his education in Kentuck)', where he remained mitil
he was seventeen years old, then followed the army that was making its way,-
by ox teams, across the plains to California. Without serious accident he
reached Volcano, Amador county, wdthout much means, his trip having cost
him one hundred and eighty dollars; but he set to work immediately in the
mines at Springfield, Tuolumne county. _ His first work was that of casting
out the dirt and washing for gold. His largest nugget anmunted to furty-one
dollars, but his success was not such as to make hini dcsin." to CMiuinuc long in
the business. Unfortunate speculation in mining propert\- about dissipaled his

Always loving law and order. Air. Reed was at one time associated with
a party who took the law into their own hands, sometimes in those days an
exam])le having to be made for the protection of the helpless.

In 1879 Mf. Reed turned his attention to the newspaper business and
started the Alountain Echo, a weekly five-column folio. Since that time
various enlargements have been made, until now it is an eight-column folio
and is regarded as the most effective medium for tlie dissemination of knowl-
edge concerning this section and very instrumental in the upbuilding of
Angel's Camp and Calaveras county. Since 1884 he has been ably assisted by
his son-in-law, Lewis J- Hutchison, who had been connected with the Chron-
icle at Alokelumne Hill, the oldest pai)er in the state. He had also lieen con-


nected with the Alta in Saii Francisco, and tlie joljhing department of Ban-
croft & Company. He is a newspaper man of experience and liis business
connection witli Mr. Reed strengthens the Echo. In politics it was formerly
an independent paper, then for two years was conducted in the interests of the
Prohibition party, but now its leanings are toward the Rei)ul)lican party, of
which Mr. Reed is a stalwart member.

The marriage of Mr. Reed took place in 1862. to Miss Mahala Watson,
a native of Indiana who came to California in 1861. The children of Mr. and
Mrs. Reed are happily settled near them and are as follows: Ida. the wife
of L. J. Hutchison; Roxana; Jessie, the wife of J. H. Rulofson : Charles D.,
engaged in mining; Sadie I., the wife of B. K. Stone.

The family of I\Ir. and Mrs. Reed are pleasant and congenial and their
cottage in Angel's Camp has often been visited by well known literary men of
the day, Mr. Reed numbering among his friends Mark Twain and Bret Harte.
He has labored hard to build up the best interests of his section and has been
most successful. Mr. Reed socially is a member of the Knights of the Golden
Eagle and of the Foresters, and at one time of the Sons of Temperance.


A well known and reliable business man of Sonora, Tuolumne count}',
California, is Horace Hall Rowell, the subject of our sketch. Mr. Rowell is an
old settler of California, having located in the state in 1853. His birth took
place January 9. 1830. at Hooksett, New Hampshire, and was the son of Peter
and Susan (Eastman) Rowell, natives of New Hampshire and Massachusetts,
respectively, who were of French and Scotch descent. Peter Rowell served
as a drummer in the war of 181 2. He and his wife were the parents of eleven
children, four of whom are surviving. Mr. and Mrs. Rowell were worthy
people, of Universalist belief, and died at the ages of sevcnty-fne ami fifty-
six, respectively.

Our subject lived the usual life of the school boy of his time and prc-
l)ared for future usefulness l)y learning the gunsmith's trade. In 1849 h'S
brother Oilman came to California and successfully engaged in mining in Mari-
posa county, dying at Sawmill Flat, Tuolumne county, in 1890, leaving
behind him a record of good deeds and many kindnesses to other miners. He
was generous and liberal and will long be remembered. Our subject reached
California by the isthmus route and for three years engaged in placer-mining
at Sawmill Flat, where he met with some success, leaving with considerable
money. He then openeil a blacksmith shop, hiring a smith for the work,
but suffered a loss of three thousand dollars by fire. In 1875 he settled in
Sonora. again losing a large sum by fire, but rebuilt and 'opened up his place
of business better jyrepared than ever. Since tliat time Mr. Rowell has suc-
cessfully carried on his line of trade, dealing in guns, ammunition and sport-
ing goods and in connection handles sewing machines, also owning a repair

Since the Ci\il war Mr. Rmvell has been a stanch Republican, showing


much enthusiasm fnr the present ( T900 lachninistration. Since i860 lie has
been a vakied member of the I. O. O. F., antl is regarded as one of the represen-
tative business men of Sonera.


The middle portion of the nineteenth century might properly be termed
the age of utility, especially on the Pacific slope. The vast region lying west
of the Rockies was but then opened up to civilization, and the honored pio-
neers who founded homes in this rich but undeveloped region, were men who
had to contend with the trials and difficulties of the pioneer life. Theirs were
lives of toil. They were endeavoring to make homes, to cultivate farms, to
establish business enterprises, and above all to develop the rich mineral
resources of this part of the country ; and often from youth to old age their
lot was one of labor; but their importance to the community cannot be over-
estimated, and the comforts and luxuries which the later generations enjoy are
due to the brave band of pioneer men and women who came to California
during its primitive condition. It is also encouraging and interesting to note
that many who came here empty-handed worked their way upward from a
humble position in life to one of affluence; that as the years passed and the
country improved prosperity attended their efforts and wealth rewarded their
earnest labors.

To this class of honored men belongs Robert Carleton Downs, who has
gained a handsome competence and who has been permitted to witness the
wonderful development of the state whose foundation he aided to lay. For
many years he has been identified with the develoijment of the rich mining
interests of the state and now makes his home at Sutter Creek in Amador

He was born in Bristol, Connecticut, on the igth of April, 182S. His
ancestry were early settlers in New England and in \'irginia, and through
several generations representatives of the name were prominent in connection
with the public affais of Connecticut. They also aided in the struggle for
independence, David Downs, the grandfather of our subject, having been one
of the heroes of the Revolution who fought throughout the great struggle
that gave birth to the nation. He died at Waterbury, Connecticut, December
17, 1838, at the age of se\-enty-eight years, and his wife, whose maiden name
was Mary Baldwin, died in the sixty-ninth year of her age. Ephraim Downs,
the father of our subject, was born in Massachusetts and married Miss Chloe
Painter, a native of Connecticut. They were devoted members of the Episcopal
church and had eight children, of whom only two are living.

Robert C. Downs, of this review, their fourth child and third son,
acquired his early education in his native town and also pursued his studies
in the schools of Litchfield and Waterbury, Connecticut. His father was a far-
mer and manufacturer of wooden clocks, and his early experiences were those
of the farm. After laying aside his text-books he accepted a clerkship in a
dry-goods store of New York, where he remained for nearly three years in


the employ of Rosea F. Clark, at No. 169 Greenwich street. He there ac(|uiretl
a good knowledge <>f the busines.s and of methods followed in conimercTal
circles, but the new.s of the discovery of gold in California attracted him to the

The announcement of no event has ever caused such a wide-spread inter-
est in business circles as the finding of the precious metal near the waters of the
Pacific. Mr. Downs, with two partners, Edward Hawley and A. J. Tryon.
took passage on the sailing vessel Tahmaroo, Captain Richardson, master, on
the 25th of January. 18421, ^"'^ reached San Francisco the ist of July, fol-
lowing. The voyage was made around Cape Horn and there were one hun-
dred and fiftv passengers on board. During the trip they were caught in a
hurricane oft' Cape Horn and much of the rigging was carried off and the
greater part of the bulwarks were stove in. Tlie journey was continued the
next day and afterward without further trouble, until they arrived near San
p-rancisco, when, about dark, the lookout shouted "Breakers ahead !" and Cap-
tain Richardson gave command "About ship, all hands on deck !" Fortunately
they were able to make their way out to sea again; but it was a very narrow
escape; for had they drifted further on the rocks nothing could have saved
them. Fifty years ha\e passed since that time, but Mr. Downs cannot refer to
events of the trip without deep emotion. His partner, Mr. Hawley, died dur-
ing the voyage and was buried at sea.

Immediately after arrival at San Francisco iNIr. Downs took passage
up the river to Sacramento, and from there to the north fork of the American
river, where he engaged in jjlacer-mining with fair success. In a few months
he returned to Sacramento and San Francisco, meeting Levi Hanford, with
whom he soon engaged in mining and merchandising in Amador county. In
March, 1850, they established stores on Amador and Rancheria creeks. Large
profits were made in those days and they sold extensively to the Indians, con-
ducting their enterprise until the spring of 1851, when they established stores

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 67 of 108)