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 68 of 108)
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at Sutter Creek and \'olcano. under the firm name of Hanford & Downs,
familiar in early California days. They also carried on quartz-mining until
1859, when Mr. Downs retired from the firm to devote his entire attention
to developing the rich mineral resources of the state. He has since followed
the business, with gratifying success, and is still a large stockhokler in various
mining enterprises.

He is a man of strong common sense, of excellent judgment and of the
highest probity of character, and therefore merits the degree of prosperity
which crowned his efforts during the pioneer epoch and has attended his busi-
ness career in late years. His labors have not been confined to one line of
effort, but have reached out and encompassed many industries which have
contributed to the growth and upbuilding of the community as well as to his
individual prosperity.

Mr. Downs enjoys the pleasure and distinction of being a life member
of the Society of California Pioneers and has always been a stanch Republi-
can. He rejiresented bis district in the state assembly in 1S79 and 1880.

Since his arrival in California he has made six trii)s to his oU\ home in


the east, going and returning I)\- most of the different routes across the con-
tinent. 1 ravel is the source of much true wisdom, and in this way and through
the various experiences of active life Mr. Downs has become a well informed
man whose many excellencies of character ha\-e gained to him the esteem of
young and old, rich and poor.

J a:\ies f. browx.

James F. Brown, the leading merchant of Colfax. Placer county, Califor-
nia, has been a resident of this state for fifty years. During all this time he
has figured as a business man in various California towns, has had misfortunes
and reverses, but has met and overcome them, and to-day, as the result of his
own push and enterprise, he is at the head of a prosperous business.

Mr. Brown is a native of Maine. His ancestors were among the early
settlers of New England and the family was represented in the war for Inde-
pendence. Originally they were English and Scotch. Grandfather Benjamin
Brown was a native of Vassalboro, Maine, and his wife was before marriage
a Miss ]\IcClellan. Their son Nathaniel, also a native of Vassalboro. was born
in August, 1781. He married Miss Charlotte Getchel. a native of his own
town, and the^- became tiie parents of eight children, only one of whom, James
F., the subject of this sketch, survives.

James F. Brown passed the first sixteen years of his life on liis father's
farm in Maine and received his early education in the public schools. The
greater part of his education, however, has been obtained in the broad school
of experience, for at the age of sixteen he started out to make his own way
in the world. The first money he made was as a school-teacher, at a salary
of thirteen dollars and fifty cents per month. Afterward he worked in his
brother's store, and was thus occupied until he came to California, in 1851.
His western trip was made via the isthmus route, the Pacific voyage in the
ship Northern, commanded by Captain Randall, which landed at San Fran-
cisco Jul}' 7th.

Upon his arrival in California, he went to Sacramento to join his brother,
A. D. Brown, who had come to the Pacific coast in 1849 and was then engaged
in jobbing goods. James F. at once took a stock of goods to Beal's Bar, and
sold goods there and at Elizabethtown and Johnstown, in Eldorado county, up
to 1858. being very successful in his business. In 1856 he met his first loss, by
fire, and was left without a dollar. His next business venture was at W'iscon-
sin Hill, Placer county, where in 1859 he was again burned out. He at once
rebuilt and ran a store there and also one at Monona Flat, conducting both suc-
cessfully. In 1864 his Monona Flat store was swept away by fire, resulting
in total loss to him. He had previously disposed of the store at Wisconsin Hill.
and after the fire just referred to he returned to that place and sold goods in
his former store until 1868. That year he removed to Iowa Hill, where he
established himself in business and had a flomnshing trade. At this place also
he was the \ictim of fire, being burned out in 1870.

Again, however, he rebuilt, and continued to do a successful business


there until 1897, when lie sold out and came to Colfax. Here for two years he
was in partnership with Henry Disque, at the end of that time purchasins^
his partner's interest, and since then doing business under luis own name.
His present store, located in a brick building, 28x100 feet, is filled with all
kinds of general merchandise, and he also handles farm implements and hay
and grain, having two large warehouses filled with the latter class of goods.

Mr. Brdwn was married, in 1862, to Miss Lizzy Thompson, a native of
England, and their happy union has been blessed with five children, as follows :
Alice Augusta, now Mrs. W. O. Spencer; Russel Warren, in the store with his
father; J. Frank, an attorney of Sacramento; Nellie G._. attending school in
San Francisco; and Benjamin, in the store with his father.

For a period of twenty-five years Mr. Brown has been identified with
the I. O. O. F., in which he has always taken a deep interest,, and in which
he has passed all the chairs. He is also a member of the Chosen Friends, anfd
politically is a stanch Republican.


The subject of this review is actively connected with a profession which
has important bearing upon the progress and stable prosperity of any section
or community, and one which has long been considered as conserving the
public welfare by furthering the ends of justice and maintaining individual
rights. With a high appreciation of his ability and his trustworthiness as a
citizen liis fellow townsmen have conferred upon him the highest office within
their power to bestow, and he is now serving as the mayor of Placerville, to
w'hich position he was elected in 1900.

Mr. Carpenter is a native of central California and was reared and edu-
cated in the city where he still resides. Hisbirth, however, occurred in \'ol-
canoville, Eldorado county, on the 8th of February, 1858. His father, Hon.
G. J. Carpenter, was one of California's most distinguished pioneers and is
represented on another page of this volume. Prentiss Carpenter, the eldest
son, pursued his education in the academy at Placerville, and when his literary
course was completed he took up the study of law in the oftice and under the
direction of his father, a distinguished jurist of this section of California.
When twenty-one years of age he was admitted to practice in the township
courts and has since been actively connected with the profession in his nati\ c
county. He has served for three terms as district attorney, diu'ing which
time he accjuired an en\iable reputation as a criminal lawyer, rendering the
public valuable service by securing the conviction of several notable criminals.
He has the power of keen analysis, which enables him to readily determine the
strong points in the case. In argument he is logical and forceful and his ora-
torical ability adds to the effectixeness of his speech before court and jury.
His standing at the bar is hip-h and a liberal patronage inilicates the confidence
of the public in his professional ability.

Mr. Carjienter was married on the nth of June. 1889, to Miss .\nnio
J. Thomas. wh<i was burn in California. Thev have one daughter. I.ucilc





Clare, who is with them in tlieir heautiful home in Placer\'ille, wliere hospi-
tahty reigns supreme and where the spirit of genial companionship and good
cheer is always found. Mr. Carpenter is a valued member of Palmyra Lodge,
No. 157, F. & A. M., also belongs to the Native Sons of the Golden West,
and in the year 1900 represented his parlor in the grand parlor of the state.
Like his honored father, he has ever been a representative of the Demo-
cratic party, but by a unanimous vote of all parties he was elected as the first
mayor of his city after its reorganization in 1900, in which capacity he is
now acceptably serving. He never lacks the courage of his convictions, and
he is a man of intelligence and genuine public spirit and his administration
has won the approval of all those who have due regard for the welfare and
upbuilding of their city.


William M. Penry was born on the 27th of September, 1838, in Missis-
sippi, of Welsh lineage. The family w^as founded in America by the great-
grandfather of our subject, who located in South Carolina, where the grand-
father, Jonathan Penry, was born May 21, 1785. He served as a soldier in
the war of 181 2 and removed from his native state to Mississippi, where he
died at a ripe old age. His son, Samuel H. Penry, the father of our subject,
was born in South Carolina, June 17, 181 1, and accompanied his parents on
their removal to Mississippi, where he married Narcissa Davis, born October
30, 18 1 7, a native of Georgia, by whom he had six children, four of whom
are now living. During the Alexican war he entered his country's service and
aided in defending her rights. Subsequently he removed to Texas, where he
successfully carried on agricultural pursuits, and died November 9, 1899.
When the w'ar between the north and south was inaugurated two of his sons,
N. S. and Corydon, joined the Confederate forces, and the latter was wounded
at the battle of Shiloh, his death resulting from his injury. Narcissa Penry
died November 14, 1892.

Mr. Penry, of this review, was educated in the state of his nativity and
learned the printer's trade, at which he w^orked as a journeyman until 1857.
In that year he sailed from New Orleans for San Francisco, reaching his
destination on the 26th of April, 1857. There he worked at his trade for a
few months, after which he went to visit his uncle in Placer county and while
there purchased an interest in the Folsom Dispatch, with w^hich he was con-
nected for two years. On the expiration of that period he sold his share of
the paper and estal^lished the Folsom Telegraph, in connection WMth Mr. Kilma.
That paper is still published, but in 1863 Mr. Penry dissolved his connection
therewith and came to Jackson, where he has since resided. After the big
fire which occurred in this city he had. in connection with Mr. Pain, re-estab-
lished the Amador Dispatch, and for thirty-four years aided in its publication,
being most of the time the editor and proprietor. In 1896 he .sold the journal
to E. C. Rust, who is now its publisher. Since that time Mr. Penry has lived
retired from acti\e business. He made the Dispatch one of the leading news-


papers in tliis section of the state and secured for it a very large circuiatifm,
and the financial returns therefrom annually augmented his income until, with
a comfortable competence, he was enabled to retire to private life.

In politics Mr. Penry has always been a pronounced Democrat, and,
reared in the south, his sympathy was naturally with the people of that sec-
tion of the country during the Civil war. On that account lie was arrested,
in 1865, by United States soldiers. About one hundred, under the command
of Captain Knight, came to his office and demanded his surrender. For fi\e
or six weeks lie was imprisoned and was then discharged without trial. He
has, howe\er. always been true to the interests of the county, town and state,
and his efforts have lieen effective in promoting the welfare of the community
in which he makes his home. Through the columns of his paper he has
always been the chamjiion of the measures calculated to prove a public benefit
and many needed reforms and improvements were adopted through his instru-
mentality. He served for some years as a deputy assessor of the county, but
devoted the greater part of his life to journalistic labors, in whicli he met
with gratifying success. In a minor degree Mr. Penry has been an inventor,
having originated a "pole climber'' and a "folding ladder," the latter being
fully covered by patents, and is a revolution to all previous inventions of the
kind, his chief motive being to invent a more simple and convenient fire escape,
but it may be used in many other ways. He has never devoted time and'
money to bring it properly before the ]Hiblic. hence lias never met with any
marked degree of success.

In 1870 Mr. Penry was united in marriage to Miss Jennie Barton, a
native of Ohio, and to them was born one son, William M. Our subject is a
valued representative of the Masonic fraternity, and since i860 has been a
member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he has passed all
the chairs and has frequently represented his lodge in the grand lodge and
has taken an active interest in its work. Of the Knights of Pythias lodge
at Jackson he 'is a charter member, and also belongs to the order of Rebekah
and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, his wife being a member of iJie
Eastern Star and also of the Daughters of the Rebekah.

He and his wife have a very pleasant home in Jackson and enjoy the
high esteem of the people among whom they have so long resided. His life
has been well spent and has been characterized by devotion to all that he
believes right. The rest which he now enjoys is well merited, for his prop-
erty has come to him as a reward of earnest and indefatigable labor.


The honor which belongs to the "forty-niner" in California is conceded
to the prominent resident of Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras county, whose name
is above. Henry .\twood is descended from old English ancestry who settled
early in New England and was born at Boston, Massachusetts, March 15. 1819,
a son of Zerubbaliel and Nancy (Craft) .\twood. who were of the highest
respectability and were members of the Universalist church. The father was


a merchant tailor and lix'ed to be eightj'-seven years old. The mother died
in her eighty-first year. They were both natives of Boston and then- entire
lives were spent there. They had three children. Mr. Atwood was edu-
cated in the public schools of Boston and began his active life there, meeting
with success in business.

Soon after the news of the discovery of gold in California reached Boston
he and eleven others bought the ship Colonel Taylor, laid in an ample stock
of provisions, and hired its captain and crew to sail it to California. They
left Boston February 15, 1849, — twenty-three persons on board all told.
The thermometer registered thirty-three degrees below zero and the salt
water was frozen nine miles from land. The ^■oyage was without noteworthy
incidents until they approached the Strait of Magellan. The weather was
rough and they came near being driven upon the rocks and were obliged to
anchor and abandon their purpose of passing through the Strait of Magellan
and make the passage by way of the Strait of Lamar. They were caught in
a storm oft the mouth of the river La Plata, and their topiuast was carried
away and they came near being swamped.

They celebrated July 4 on sliip-board and arrived in San Francisco
September 17, after a voyage of seven months lacking two days. They found
Sacramento a city of tents, but it afforded good facilities in the way of pro-
■\-isions. Mr. Atwood had six barrels of pork on board the vessel and sold
one of them for sixty-two dollars. He had also brought out to Cahfornia six
pairs of knee-boots and was paid ninety dollars for one pair of them. They
sold the vessel and left their supplies on the wharf under guard, only to lose
them by high water which washed them out to sea. They hired an ox team
ti) take their stuff' to the diggings in Oregon Gulch, near "Hangtown," where
they took out fifty to sixty dollars' worth of ore per day.

In the spring of 1850 they went to the mountains and two years' mining
at Todd's Ridge netted them eleven thousand and five hundred dollars each,
and one day during their stay there three of the party with a cradle took out
three thousand and one hundred dollars. Fearful that they might be snowed
in, they went to Placerville in October. In the follnwing s])ring they returned
and found that a rush of miners had claimed ever\ iliiii- in sight, and after
working out his claim there Mr. Atwood went back to l'lacer\-ille, whence.
May I, 1853, he came to IMokelumne Hill, where he bought the Union Hotel,
in which he began business July 19. August 20 the town was burned to
the ground and Mr. Atwood, who had no insurance, estimated his loss at
twenty-five thousand dollars. While he stood looking at the ruins of all hi
hard-earned worldly fortunes, thinking that his prospects were indeed gloomy,
A. W. Mitchell came up behind him and placing his hands on his shoulders
said. "If vou wish, I will let you have the- money to rebuild." He erected a
fine stone building on his own lot and did a splendid business for eleven years,
when he sold the property, and a year later that second hotel at Mokelumne
Hill was burned. Mr. Atwood kept the Big Tree Hotel for four years and
after that bought and kept the Sperry Hotel, at IMurpby's, for four years, mak-
ino- considerable mnne-\-.


He sold this last hotel, and, returning to Mokclunme Hill, went from
there to Grass Valley, Nevada county, where he put in the succeeding four
years as the proprietor of the Holbrooke Hotel. Subsequently he lived for
a time at San Andreas, but came back to Mokelumne Hill and bought the
Quartz Glen mine, out of which he has taken considerable gold and on which
he has one of the best quartz mills in Calaveras county. He retired from
active life ten years ago and now, in his eighty-first year, is hale and hearty
and in possession of all of his faculties, frequently reminiscent of the days of
forty-nine and respected as a pioneer and as a citizen. He has never married,
nor has he ever joined any secret societies. In his early life a Whig, he afifil-
iated with the Republicans at the organization of that party and voted for
Lincoln and for every subsequent Republican president.


Prominently connected with the hotel interests of northern California is
Patrick Dwyer, the ]3opular and highly esteemed proprietor of the Globe
Hotel of Jackson. .Amador county. He is also an active factor in the i)ublic
life of the community and is serving as one of the supervisors of the county.
A native of Ireland, he was born in county Tipperary in 1826. a son of Charles
and Bridget ( O'Marra) Dwyer, who also were natives of the Emerald Isle and
were descended from old families of that country. They were numbered
among the industrious farming people of the community in which they lived,
and were devoted adherents of the Catholic faith. They had six sons and a
daughter, but Mr. Dwyer and his sister are the only ones still living. The
latter is the wife of Thomas McDonald, a resident of Oakland. California.

Patrick Dwyer was educated in the schools of his natix'e land and remained
in Ireland until twenty-three years of age. when he determined to seek a
home in -America, having received very favorable rejxjrts of the opportunities
afforded young men in the new world. Accordingly he crossed the Atlantic
to New York, taking passage on a sailing vessel. During the voyage they
encountered high head winds most of the way and were thirteen weeks in com-
pleting the trip. From the eastern metroiX)lis Mr. Dwyer came to San Fran-
cisco by way of the isthmus route, arriving at their destination on the 20th
of October, 1852. Immediately afterward he made his way to Volcano, in
Amador county, proceeding ud the Sacramento river to the capital city and
then across the country with a team. For ten years he engaged in placer-
mining at various mining camps and made good wages, but never met with
any remarkable degree of success. He was associated with five men in the
operation of the Hydraulic claim at Mahala Flat, where they took out between
two and three thousand dollars' worth of the shining metal, his largest find
being a nugget worth two hundred dollars. .After working that claim l\Ir.
Dwyer turned his attention to the cattle lousiness and ranching. He owned
one hundred and sixty acres of land at Prairie Grove, and in the mountains
a tract six miles s(|uare, which was used for pasturage. For six years
he continued in that business, meeting with good success; but in 1861 many


of the cattle died and the following year he retired from the husiness. He,
however, continued to operate his farm and also engaged in mining on Jack-
son creek until 1877, when he purchased the Globe Hotel, which he until
recently conducted with excellent success. It is a fine three-story brick struc-
ture at the corner of Main and Court streets, in the center of the business
district of Jackson, is fifty by sixty feet, and contains fifty rooms. Mr. Dwyer
conducted the hotel for twenty-two years, being the oldest hotel proprietor in
the town. The comforts and conveniences which he afforded his guests, his
courteous treatment of them and his earnest desire to please secured to him
a very liberal patronage and won him -the regard of the traveling pulilic.
April I, 1900. he leased the hotel and retired from its management. In addi-
tion to this property he has erected and owns two dwellings in the town and
has a ranch half a mile out of the town, upon which he keeps cows, hogs and
poultry for his hotel, thus being able to supply the hotel with fresh meat of
an excellent quality.

]\Ir. Dwyer was happily married, in 1855, ^ Miss Ann Hanley, a native
of Ireland, and their union has been blessed with seven children, of whom six
are now living, namely: Charles; William; John; Thomas; Ann, the wife
of Edward Hurst; and Ella, the wife of Charles Ginocchio. One daughter,
]\Iaria, departed this life at the age of sixteen years. Mr. Dwyer and his
family are members of the Catholic church, and in matters of state and
national importance he votes with the Democratic party ; but at local elections,
where no national issue is involved, he gi\-es his support to the candidates
Avhom he thinks best qualified for the ofiice regardless of party affiliations.
For a number of years he has served as a road commissioner, and for the
third term, of four years each, has served as county commissioner. His
record as a public official is most commendable and has gained him the con-
fidence and good will of his fellow townsmen. His hope of bettering his
financial condition in the new- world has been more than realized, and he
has not only gained a comfortable competence and valuable property, but has
won a host of warm friends who esteem him highly for his genuine worth,
his uniform courtesy and genial and kindly manner.


John Strohm is the proprietor of the Jackson Brewery and in the con-
fluct of the business has met with excellent success gaining a most comfort-
alile competence. He was born in Germany on the 4th of January. 1S50,
and belongs to one of the old families of the fatherland. He obtained his
education in his native country and there learned the brewing 1)usiness. after
which he determined to seek a home and fortune in the new world. He
sailed for Xew York, and after working at his trade in Cleveland, Ohio, and
in St. Louis. Missouri, he spent two years in Mexico, and in 1S86 he came
tn Jackson. Amador county. California, where he rented the Jackson Brewery,
then a small plant. He made it a point to use only the best hops and barley
in the manufacture of the beer, and the excellence of his product soon gave


to him a good trade, whicli lias steadily increased as the years liave passed
by. He purchased the brewery after a time and has expended twenty-five
thousand dollars in improving the property, ec|uipping it with the latest
improved machinery ancl tiie best methods of turning out a first-class grade of
l)eer. His trade has now reached extensive proportions, large sales being
made tliroughout Amador and Tuolumne counties.

In 1887 Mr. Strohm was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Smith, a
native of Germany, and to them have l>een born four children, two sons and
two daughters, namely : Jacob, who died at the age of four years ; John, who
died at the age of ten months: and .Anna and Bertha, who are w'ith their
parents. Mrs. Strohm is a member of the Methodist church. Mr. Strohm
is connected with the Independent Order of Foresters, and in politics usually

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 68 of 108)