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 72 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 72 of 108)
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and a most earnest desire to lead men to take cognizance of their souls'
needs was an unalloyed benediction to all Avho knew him, and his influence
was that of the echo which "rolls from soul to soul and grows forever and
forever." His good wife survived him and attained the age of si.xty-three.
They became the parents of five daughters and two sons, four of whom are
now living, two being residents of California: Mrs. Laura L. Ruggles, the
matron of the Protestant Orphan Asylum at Mobile, Alabama; Mrs. Mar-
garet Mercer, of Angel's Camp; Mrs. Jane T. Stokes, living at Mobile. Ala-
bama; and Charles H., of this review. The latter acquired his education
in Mobile, Alabama, and began life on his own account as a clerk in a store.
In 1850 lie sailed from New Orleans to Chagres. tlience proceeded iqi the
river in a canoe to Gorgona and from there by mule train to Panama, where
he took passage on the sailing vessel Glenmore for San Francisco, arriving
safely at his destination on the T5th of May, 1850. He went direct to Stock-
ton and thence to Tuolumne county, where he was engaged in placer-mining
at Columbia. He was not very successful, however, and in consequence re-
turned to Stockton, where he paid seventy-five dollars for a scythe and snath



5 so REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

and engaged in cutting liay. He sold this product to teamsters and received
a good price for it, and witii the money which he earned in that way lie came
to Calaveras county, locating near San Andreas.

There Mr. Schroehel engaged in selling goods and in freighting, mak-
ing his home in that locality for four years. In 1859 he began raising sheep
in this county, and has since been connected with that business, which is
now one of the leading industries on the Pacific coast. He came to his present
ranch in 1884 and here owns a good residence and sixteen hundred acres of
land. He raises horses and cattle as well as sheep and has been very suc-
cessful as a stock dealer, his business having attained extensive proportions,
thus bringing to him the success which is the desired reward of earnest effort.
He resided near San Andreas for fifteen years before engaging in the sheep
business and had a wide and favorable acquaintance in that portion of the
state. In public affairs he has always been prominent. Throughout his
«ntire life he has been a stanch Democrat and in 1855 he was appointed
deputy sheriff. He resolved to rid the county of the desperadoes which ren-
dered life uncertain at all times and menaced property, and thus for some
years he was almost constantly in the saddle in pursuit of criminals that then
visited this portion of California. He proved a very important factor in
ridding the county of that very undesirable class of citizens, whereby all
human life and privileges were jeopardized.

In 1861 Mr. Schroebel married Miss Eliza A. Abbott, a native of Ar-
kansas and a daughter of Joshua Abbott, one of the pioneers of California.
They had twelve children, all of whom were born in this state, namely : Laura,
who died in infancy; Beauregard, who died at the age of thirty-four years,
leaving a wife and one child: Louisa, now ]Mrs. Eproson, of Milton; Lizzie,
the wife of Walter J. Robie. of Milton; Charles; Lee; Addie, wife of John
A. Banks ; \\'illie, who died when sixteen months old ; Margaret Ruth and
Kate, who are at home; and Daniel and Richason, twins, who also are under
the paternal roof. The children have been carefully reared and into their
minds have been instilled lessons of industry and honesty, so that the fam-
ily is one held in the highest regard in the community. Mr. Schroebel has
given his attention closely to his business, having become identified with no
societies or taken an active part in politics. As a citizen, however, he is inib-
lic-spirited and progressive, manifesting a deep interest in everything pertain-
ing to the general welfare.

JOHX STEEL.

The pioneers of 1S52 who are still living in California are not numerous,
and there is not one of them who is better known and more highly regarded
by his fellow citizens than John Steel, of San Andreas, Calaveras county
who is also one of the many good citizens whom Germany has furnished to
the United States. Mr. Steel comes of old "fatherland" families and was
Ixirn at Merzhausen, Germany, April 5, 1825. a son of Justus and Mary ( Wat-
erman) Steel. His father, who was a forest overseer, was a worthy citizen



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.



and a most devoted nieniljer of the Dutch Reformed church, and John Steel,
of San Andreas, and one of his sisters, are the only ones of his eight children
who survive. The daughter is Mrs. .Anna Wagner, a widow, and lives at
Stockton, ^\■hen J\Ir. Steel was three years old his good father died, but
his mother, who was most devoted to her chiklrcn. lived to be eightv vears
old.

J<ihn, who was the seventh in the order of birth, received a good educa-
tion and learned the shoemaker's trade. .\s was the custom with mechanics
in Germany, he soon set out on his tra\-els as a joiner, and in 1848 "brought
up" at New Orleans, Louisiana. From New Orleans he went to St. Louis,
^\•here he was paid twelve dollars a week, which was ten dollars and fifty cents
a week more than he would ha\-e been paid for the same work in Germany.
In the spring of 1852 he and five other young men bought a wagon and shipped
it to Independence, Missouri, and followed it to that point and went out
in the country and bought four yoke of oxen, which were to draw the wagon
and their belongings to Califurnia, Not one of the five had had any expe-
rience with oxen and at first they had considerable difficulty in yoking, liand-
ling and driving their eight-ox team, but the wagon rolled out of Independence
on its long western journey on the 8th of May. That year (1852) is mem-
orable in history for its epidemic of cholera, and the fatalities among Cali-
fornia emigrants were numerous and alarming. The young men met many
people who had abandoned the journey and were coming back to their old
homes, utterly heart-sick, and they saw many shallow graves by the wayside
in which emigrants, men, women and children, had been buried only to be
dug up b}' the wolves ! Indians were numerous, but made them no trouble.
Immense herds of buflialo were encountered from time to time. From the
Sink of the Humboldt westward Mr. Steel and some companions made the
journey on foot and arrived at "Hangtown" November ic. 1852, two weeks
before their team got there.

There was no water with which to mine, and he couUl not work at his
trade until the wagon came with his shoemaker's tools ; but he went to chojiping
wood for a brick-yard and earned fair wages until his tools arrived, when he
opened a shop at "Hangtown." He got ten dollars a pair for coarse boots,
two dollars and fifty cents for putting on half soles and fifty cents for each
patch ; but as a sack of flour cost forty-nine dollars and other necessaries were
proportionately high it will be seen that it cost him a great deal to live. Still,
with characteristic German thrift, he saved some money and became the owner
of a mine on North Beaver creek, which yielded him eleven dollars a day
for three years. Then, in 1855. he came to Calaveras count}' and bought a
mine at Lattimer's Gulch, which he worked, at a loss, two years and then
abandoned. Next be bought a hydraulic mine, had difficulty with the owners
of the water, and in 1861 sold it and came to San Andreas, where he again
turned his attention to shoemaking and to the management of a ranch six
miles south of the town, which he had taken up before it had been surveyed.
He now owns two thousand acres and has raised cattle and slieej) extensively,
but he has made and mended shoes during all of the thirtv-nine vears of his



552 REPRESEXTATIl'E CITIZENS

residence tliere, doing good and honest work and is still working for custo-
mers who came to him more than three decades ago and has no idea of retiring
from his bench.

In 1852 Mr. Steel was married, at "Hangtown." to Miss Josephine
Hodecker. whom he had known in St. Louis and who was the tlaughter of
the late Philip Hodecker, and they have had four children : Mary, the eldest
daughter, is the wife of John C. Early, of San Andreas. George Edward is
married and is connected w'ith his father in his ranch enterprise. \\'illiam
A\'alter has become prominent in connection with mining interests, .\ndrew
Lincoln, the youngest, was born November 8, 1864, the day on which Mr.
Lincoln was elected the second time the president of the United States; for
Mr. Steel is a Republican, stanch and enthusiastic. He has been an Odd
Fellow for fifty years, and is not only one of the oldest but also one of the
most honored members of the order in the state. He has been the treasurer
of his lodge so long that he cannot remember when he was first elected to
the office.

I'ARDOX ]',0\\EX SMITH, Su.

California is under hea\y obligations to the Xew England Yankee. He
arrived here early in the history of her development and has been a potent
factor in all her progress and prosperity. Pardon Bowen Smith, Sr., a na-
tive of I\Iaine, arrived in California in 1850, and is yet living on a fine
ranch near Jamestown, Tuolumne county, honored as a pioneer and respected
as a citizen.

Mr. Smith was born in Kennebec county, Maine, October r8. 1831.
His ancestry was English and the American progenitors of his family were
among the early settlers at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and in Rhode
Island, and he is of the eighth generation born on American soil. In the
maternal line he is descended from those \\'ings who have taken their place
in history as pioneers of Xew England and with the Smiths as patriot sol-
diers in the Revolution. Mr. Smith's father, Pardon Bowen Smith, was
born at Readfield, Maine, and married Lucinda Wing, a native of Maine
and a daughter of Ebenezer Wing, of Revolutionary fame, who fought
for his country in the war of 1812, as his father before him had fought
in the Revolution. He died in 1842, in his fiftieth year, his wife in 1884,
in her eighty-third year, the latter at Colwich. Sedgwick county, Kan-
sas. Mrs. Smith, who was of the seventh generation of her family born
in Massachusetts, was a woman of good ability and education, and Mr. Smith
was a man of much force of character, who bequeathed a good name to his
children, of whom he had eight, five of whom are living at this time.

Pardon Bowen Smith, the subject of this sketch, lived on his father's
farm in Maine until he was twelve years old, when he began the battle of
life for himself. He had received some education in the common schools near
his home. In 1S46. when he was fifteen years old, he secured em])loyment
in a bakery, in which he remained until, in 1849, ""der the infiuence of the




>:^^y$i3^^^^^>^y^L~,



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 553

gold lever, he sailed from ^Martha's \'ineyard, Massachusetts, around the
Horn for California. He embarked September i, 1849, and arrived at San
Francisco, February 15, 1850, paying for his passage by employment on the
vessel as a baker and receiving ten dollars a month besides his board. After
staying two weeks at San Francisco, he went up to Stockton on the brig
Vesta, the same which took the filibuster ^\'alker to Nicaragua, and ar-
rived there two weeks after leaving San Francisco. After a fortnight's stay
at Stockton, he went on to Wood's creek, Tuolumne county, where he en-
gaged in placer mining with considerable success and w^here in 1851 he
bought a water ditch, since know-n as Smith's ditch, which he has owned
and managed advantageously to this time. It is eight miles in length and
in the early days supplied water for placer-mining, but is now used to sup-
ply water for irrigation and for quartz-mining at Jamestown, Campo Seco,
Stent and Quartz. He also bought five hundred acres of land on which,
in 1855, he built his present good ranch residence. He has a quartz mine
within a mile of his home on the Fleming vein and still mines extensively,
taking out thousands of dollars each year.

During the Civil war Mr. Smith was the captain of a militia company
organized for home protection and to aid in keeping the state of California
in the Union. That period Avitnessed many exciting and trying events in
Tuolumne county and is sometimes referred to as "days that tried men's
souls," and a great debt of gratitude is due to the patriotic Union men who
had the courage ,of their convictions and stood out boldly for the rig-ht re-
gardless of per.sonal consequences. Mr. Smith has been a Republican since
the organization of that party. He is a man of much public spirit and takes
high rank as a business man. He and his wife have a wide and influential
acquaintance and are held in the esteem of all who know them. He was
married in 1854 to Miss Johanna J. Lyon, a native of Sidney, Maine, whom
he had known since she was a little girl and who came out to California in
1856. They have had ten children, eight of whom are living. Matilda, their
eldest daughter, was born at Augusta, ]Maine. and is the wife of Gilbert B.
Neighbor. Pardon Bowen Smith, Jr., and George W: Smith, men of fam-
ilies, live near their parents. Abraham Lincoln Smith is a member of his
father's household. Johanna J. married H. yi. Pease. Cynthia is the wife
of Frank \V. Mugler. Mary married Lemuel M. McRae. \\'alter H. lives
at Columbia, Tuolumne county.

CHARLES H. BURDEN.

One of the prominent business men and ]niblic officials of Tuolumne
county, California, is Charles Henry Burden, the subject of this sketch. He
is a native of England, born on the i8th of October, 1847. his parents being
Charles and Caroline (Old) Burden, natives of England. Mr. Burden, with
wife and four children, emigrated to America, reaching Tuolumne county
in April. 1854. where he immediately engaged in mining, meeting with suc-
secc, Init later losing his earnings in the New York mine. He was a cabinet-



5 5 4 REP RES EX TA TI VE CI TIZEXS

maker bv trade, and moved to Soiiora in 1858, where he foUowed his trade
for a season, and then bought a stock of furniture and fcnnided the busmes>
\viiicli his son has since carried on witli so much success.

In 1861 Mr. Burden lost his stock by fire, but he immediately rebuilt
and began again, continuing at the same location until his death, in 1895. at
the age of seventy-two years. His record was that of a reliable and honest
liusiness man for forty-six years, a stanch upholder of the principles of the
Republican party and a man to be trusted with either public or pri\ate attair.-^.
Jrlc had been town trustee for twelve years, of Sonora, for ten years benig
chairman of the board. In England he had been prominently identified with
the Order of Odd Fellows, holding prominent positions, and in California
became a valued member. His wife died two years later, the fiftieth anniver-
sary of their marriage having been passed together. Both were devoteil
members of the Episcopal church, in which Mr. Burden has beeai warden
for many years. Six children were born to Mr. and ]Mrs. Burden in Cali-
fornia, the family record being: Elizabeth Ann, now Mrs. S. H. Jefferds;
William M. ; Julia, who died on the passage fo America, and was buried at
sea; Frederick George, a dealer in paints, oils and wall paper, in Sonora:
Martha Grace, who married Richard inch, but is deceased: and Carrie, who
died in Sonora.

Charles Henry Burden ^\■as six years of age when his parents came to
Tuolumne county. He was sent to the best schools in the neighborhootl,
but the education to be obtained in them, at that time, was very incomplete
and -Mr. Burden is, in a great measure, a self-educated man, possessing a large
fund of general information. He entered the furniture business with his
father, continuing until the latter's death, wdien the property and business
was inherited by the sons. After two years of partnership, Charles bought
the interest of his brother, since then continuing it alone. It is the pioneer
house of its kind in Sonora, and Mr. Burden has shown taste and judgment
in his selections, seeming entirel\- to suit his patrons of every degree through-
out the county.

The marriage of Mr. Burden took place July i, 1869, to Miss Emma 11.
Reuter, a native of Xew York, of German ancestry. They have six living
children, namely: Charles FI., Jr.; \\'illiam Edwin; Emma Grace, the wifj
of George Brown; Caroline Augusta; Frederick E. and Ralph L. Mr. and
Mrs. Burden occupy one of the most beautiful homes in Sonora. the taste
and refinement of the surroundings reflecting its owners character. They both
are valuetl members of the Episcopalian church, to which Mr. Burden has
recently presented a fine-toned organ, in honor of his beloved mother who was
so long one of the church's most valued members.

In politics Mr. Burden has taken an active part for many years, being a
stanch upholder of Repul)lican principles, and has been the president of the
McKinley club of Sonora. Socially he is connected with many organizations,
being a member of Mount Floreb Lodge, No. 58, I. O. O. F.. and of Bald
Mountain Encampment Xo. 4. 1. O. O. F., being the recording secretary
j<{ the latter; a member of Tuolumne Lodge, Xo. 8. F. & .\. M.: also Roval



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 555



Arcli and Knight Templar, having recei\e(l all the York ri


te degrees; also


a past workman of the A. O. L". W". In Air. Burden is


found a citizen


who has been truly interested in the prosperity of his countrv


, his section and


his family and church.





HEXRY B. RHODES.

Tlie horologe of time has marked over fifty-one years since the date
when Mr. Rhodes arrived in California, and thirty-two years were added
to the cycle of the century while he maintained his connection with the inter-
ests of the Golden state. He was called to the home beyond in 1881, but
is well remembered by many of the residents of Calaveras county as a man
of sterling worth and high principle, reliable in business and honorable iu
all the walks of private life.

He was born in Virgi'nia. in February, 1812, and manv of the l)etter ele-
ments of his English and German ancestry were manifest in his career. The
family which he represented was early founded in the Old Dominion. In the
schools of his native town of Winchester he acquired his education, and.
lia\ing arrived at mature years, he wedded Miss j\IaTgaret Wise, a native of
the Old Dominion and a daughter of one of the heroes of the Revolution
After their marriage they removed to Missouri and in 1849 Mr. Rhodes
crossed the plains to California with oxen. In his neighborhood a company
was formed, their train being composed of thirty wagons. While making
the long journey across the almost interminable stretches of hot sand and
over the mountains that impeded their progress toward the Pacific coast they
met with no misfortunes, nor were they molested by the Indians. They
arrived in Hangtown in September and Mr. Rhodes spent his first year in
California in placer-mining, principally at Wood's creek in Tuolumne county.
Later he opened a store at Peoria Bar on the Stanislaus river, conducting the
same until 1852, when he sold out and went to meet his wife and little son,
W . H. H. Rhodes, their first born. The mother with her child was then en
route for California, coming by way of the isthmus of Panama. The reunion
was a veHy happy one and they located at Twenty-eight IMile House, where
they conducted a hotel for some time. Subsequently they came to the ranch
upon which Mr. Rhodes spent his remainiing days and which is now owned
and operated by his sons. The land was not then surveyed, but he secured
si.\ hundred acres and engaged in raising stock, hay and grain, and, his finan-
cial resources increasing, he added to his farm until he became the owner
of six thousand acres of land, one of the best ranches in this section of the
state. He also owned realty in other places, being one of the most extensive
landholders in central California. On his home farm he erected a very commo-
dious frame residence and other needed buildings for the shelter of grain
and stock; in fact all modern improvements and accessories are there found.
He has had as high as eight thousand sacks of wheat upon his jilace at one
time, two hundred head of cattle and from five to seven thousand head of
sheep. His business, thus assuming mammoth porportions. was so capably
conducted that he secured for his labors a verv handsome financial return.



556 REPRESEXTATIJ-E CITIZENS

Mr. Rliodes was reared in the faith of the Methodist church, and tlie
higliest principles always actuated his life. He was a valued memljer of
the Masonic fraternity, in politics was a Democrat and was a liberal and pub-
lic-spirited citizen, giving freely of his means to promote the best interests
of the county in which he lived. His home was celebrated for its generous
hospitalit}^, the latchstring always hung out and the guests were c\er sure
of a hearty w-elcome.

By the marriage of ]Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes three sons and one daughter
have been born, but only two of the number are living, namely: W. H. H.
and C. \V. Rhodes. 1 he father departed this life in 1881, at the age of
sixty-six years, and the mother was called to her final rest on the 29th of
August, 1898, at the age of eighty-three years. Their surviving sons now
own and operate the ranch. The elder, W. H. H. Rhodes, who has kindly
furnished us the history of the family, was bonr in Missouri, on the nth of
January, 1 840, and was twelve years of age when he accompanied his mother
to California. He was educated in the Methodist College at Vacaville, and
since that time has given his attention exclusively to farming, being recognized
as one of the most capable, promi'nent and successful agriculturists and stnck-
raisers in this portion of the Pacific coast. He was married in 1876 to Miss
jNlary Baker, a native of Indiana and a daughter of Green Baker, who came
to California at an early day. Their marriage was blessed with a son and
daughter: Leonidas B. and Margaret. The mother died in 1891. She was
a woman of natural refinement and character and of sterling worth, and in
the community where she resided was greatly beloved so that her loss was
deeply felt not only by her family but by mau}^ friends.

C. \V. Rhodes was l)orn on his father's ranch in 1854, and is now his
brother's assistant and partner in carrying on farming and the stock-raising
industry. They annually ])roduce large crops as the result of the practical
business methods which thev follow and the natural productiveness of the
.soil. They annually harvest and sell large amounts of hay and grain and keep
on hand many hundred head of sheep and cattle. Their business policy com-
mends them to the confidence and regard of all, for they are reliable In all
tran.sactions and have a strict regard for the ethics of commercial life. \\'.
H. H. Rhodes is a prominent Mason, and, having taken the symbolic degrees,
became identified with the chapter and commandery of Stockton. For the
past fifteen years he has been the secretary of the Keystone Lodge, No. 161,
F. & .\. M. of Milton. Both the brothers are identified with the Democratic
])art}- and exercise their right of franchise in suport of its men and measures.

CHRISTI.W C()XR.\D DRESCHER.

The ])rominent citizen of Jamestown, Tuolumne county, California, whose
name is above, was a pioneer in the state in 1850. He was born of Ger-
man parents, in Germany, September 2, 1831. His father, Daniel Drescher,
was born and reared in Germany and there married !Miss Joliannah Roth-
schlav, also a native of the "fatherland."' He emigrated to America with



OU NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 557

his wife and nine children and settled on a farm of one hundred and twenty
acres in Marion county, Alissouri, where he passed the remainder of his life,
dying in his sixty-sixth year, October 8, 1850. Three of his sons and five
of hi> daughters survive and Mrs. Elizabeth Moss, one of Mr. Drescher's
.sisters, lives at Ventura, Ventura county, California.

When Mr. Drescher came with his father and mother and eight brothers
and sisters from Germany, he was eight years old. He was brought up to
liard work on his father's farm in Missouri and accjuired some education
in common schools near his home. Early in 1850, in company w'ith a brother-
in-law and a cousin and two other young men, he crossed the plains from
Missouri to California. They started with five yokes of oxen and two
horses. At a JSIormon station in Carson valley they exchanged their cattle
for some horses and were thus enabled to cross the mountains and make



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 72 of 108)