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 74 of 108)
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and refinement as nothing else could tlo. His flower garden is one of the


largest and best kept in tlie county and attracts the attention of all visitors to
San Andreas.

"Sir. \\'hitlock has ne\-er married or joined a secret society, but, to use a
fa\x)rite expression, has "just paddled his own canoe," and prospered bv
attending strictly to business and \ery little to politics, though he is a strong
Republican and nut without intlueiicc ni Ins ])arty. Genial and sociable, he
makes friends with all with win mi he ci mies in contact..


That upright, sturdy, industrious, English character wdiich is success-
ful e\ery\\here is exemplified in the career of the man whose name, is the
title of this sketch. John H. Witney is a son of Edward and Mary (Harvey)
Witney, descendants of old English ancestors, and was born in Oxfordshire,
England, June 18, 1832, has lived in Tuolumne county, CaHfornia, for forty-
six years, and is a prominent and highly respected citizen of Quartz, where
he has been long identified with the hotel and mercantile business.

INIr. Witney was only a child when his father died and he gained his
education mostly in the hard and thorough school of experience and has made
his w-ay to financial success by his own unaided efforts. He came to America
in 1846, at the a.gc iif fr,ni-teen years, and landed a stranger in a strange land
without either nn hicn ■ ir friends. His first work was as a waiter in a restaurant
in New York cit\. but lie was cheated out of his pay and sought other em-
ployment, which he found as baggage master on a vessel just about to put
to sea, a position which he held for two years. After that he took pas-
sage on the old Georgia for California, but the vessel was wrecked and put
l)ack to Norfolk, Virginia. He pursued his journey successively on four
other vessels, onh' the last of which was able to land him at San Francisco, where
he arrived in March, 1854. From San Francisco, he went direct to Spring-
field, Tuolumne count^^ wdiere he engaged in mining, but w'ith such poor suc-
cess that he made little more than a living. After he had acquired a claim
of his own, at an expense of eight hundred dollars, he was able to take out
scarcely enough gi.ild to reimburse him for the outlay. After ten years' experi-
ence at Springfield, he joined that noted pioneer, Thomas Hardy, at Copper-
opolis. and mined with him for a time, until he came to Quartz and engaged
in business as a hotel-keeper and general merchant. He was prosperous until
1882, when his buildings and much of their contents were destroyed by fire.
He was able to rebuild, howe\'er, and he resumed business with every promise
of success and has done well to the present time. He has never given up
mining entirely and has valuable mining interests at this time. For years his
was the only hotel at Quartz, and he was a popular and successful "landlord,"
supplying a large number of patrons with ample accommodations and gain-
ing a wide reputation among men of the state. He is still active in a busi-
ness way and has won an enviable reputation as a merchant, miner and man
of affairs. He is a stanch Republican, but has never sottght nor held ofifice,
and has been an Odd Fellow for thirtv-thrce vcars. He was married, in 1868,


to Airs. Charlotte Swank, a widow with three cliikh'en — Mary, Charlotte
and Carrie, the last mentioned of whom married Richard Hodge. Two chil-
dren have been born to .Mr. and Mrs. \\'itney — Minnie and John. The first
mentioned is now Mrs. Edgar Barton. John has become well known in con-
nection with mining interests.


While Italy has not furnished as many citizens to the new world as
soine of the other European countries, America owes her discovery to one of
the representatives of that sunny land, and throughout the period of American
development the Italian jjeninsula has sent to the shores of the new world
many men of worth who have taken their place among the relial)le Business
men of the communities with which they have been identified.

Such a one is Mr. Solari, who was born under the blue Italian skies, his
birth occurring in the month of May, 1843. I" fi'-'' native country he accjuired
his education, and in 1865, when twenty-two years of age, he crossed the
Atlantic to America, a young man in search of a fortune in the land of the
free. He had no knowledge of the language spoken in this country, but
all things are possible to a man w"ho has energy, determination and force of
character. Mr. Solari began his business life at Angels Camp, working for
wages in the mines, and for fifteen years he w^as idcjitified with the mining
interests of this state. During that time he mastered the language and became
familiar with the habits and customs of the people in the new world, gaining
a wide acquaintance and demonstrating his right to enjoy the confidence and
support of the ])ublic in business matters. In 1880 he opened his general
mercantile store in Murphy's, having but a small capital ; but as time i)assed
he has added continually to his stock in order to meet the increasing demands
of his trade, and is now recognized as one of the wealthy Inisiness men of
Calaveras county.

In 1880 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Solari and Miss Angeline
Legomarconi, also a native of Italy. Their union has been blessed with two
bright little daughters, Theressa and Clara. They have a good home and are
justl)' accounted leading citizens in Murphy's. As a business man Mr. Solari
has a record of which any one might be proud. He usually votes with the
Democratic party, but he is liberal in his views and at local elections where
no national issues involved he is influenced by the qualifications of the candi-
date. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity and is an upright, honorable
citizen of the c, mnty of his adoption.


One of tiie well known citizens of Tuolumne county, California, a pub-
lic official and a man of influence and intelligence, is Thomas Donohue, deji
uty assessor of the county. He is a native son of the Golden state, born in
San Francisco, in 1854. His parents were James and Ann (Gillick) Donohue,


lx)th lit whiim were burn in Ireland and came to Xew ^'ork. where they met
in ]iS50 and were married, cuniing the next year to Cahfornia, by way of the
isthmus. For 'se\-eral years James Donohue was in the employ of the Pac;tic
]\Iail Compan}', then he located in Tuolumne county, in 1856, when he began
placer-mining in this and Eldorado counties, continuing this employment until
1883. He then liecame a farmer and engaged also in cattle-raising, so suc-
cessfully that at the time of his death he was the owner of about one thousand
acres of land. He had been a life-long Democrat and had always done all
in his power to advance the interests of that party. He was a thoroughly
reliable and much respected early settler of the county. "He was born in
county Cavan, Ireland, April 16, 1819, and his death occurred on the J/Va
of August, 1898, his wife dying on the 3d of December, 1883, aged sixty
years. They were both natives of the same town and county in their native
country, and being neighbors they spent their childhood days together and here
sprung the first spark of love. They had both been devoted members of the
Catholic church, both receiving the last rites of the church when burial took
place near Don Pedua Bar, in Tuolumne county. They had four children:
Thomas; ^largaret A., the wife of J. A. Rydberg and residing in Stanislaus
comity; P. E., who is a stock-raiser in this county; and J. E., who died
December 30, 1899, leaving a wife and son, who reside in Carter's.

Our subject was the oldest child, all of whom are living. He was edu-
cated in the best schools of the county and early began mining,which occupation
he has followed for a great part of his life. He owns large tracts of valuable
mining land and is thoroughly acquainted with all of the details of the min-
ing operations which ha\-e Ijeen successfully carried on in this section. Mr.
Donohue was appointed deput}' assessor, in 1895, v.hich office he most accept-
ably tills, and also performs the duties of deputy sheriff. He is a man of
generous impulses and a citizen of good reputation. Like his parents he is a
devoted member of the Catholic church. Mr. Donohue is considered an expert
in mining matters, his opinions having weight, and he is considered one of the
substantial men of Tuolumne county,


Joseph Heihsdorf-f is a resident and a native son of ^lurphy's and is one
of the active, enterprising mining men of Calaveras county. He was born
on the 5th of July, 1861, of German ancestry. His father, John Heinsdorff,
was a native of Prussia, and came to the United States in 1848, locating in
Muphy's. California, in 1850, He engaged in mining at Mokelumne Hill, near
this town, taking out on the flat in the town ten thousand dollars. He after-
ward established his home in San Francisco, wdiere he conducted a restaurant
and l)oarding house on the present site of the Russ Hotel. Later he returned
from there to the Mokelumne river and with a company dammed the stream,
expecting to secure large quantities of gold ; but the enterprise proved a fail-
ure and Mr. Heinsdorff found that he had sunk much of his money tb.ere
without gaining any return from it. He then again came to Murphys, where


lie established a Ijakery and also purchased a ranch of one hundred and sev-
enty acres just west of the town, on which he spent the remainder of his days,
departing this life on the 29th of May, 1899, at the age of seventy-six years.
Of the ^lasonic fraternit}- he was an exemplary representative. He was an
upright and honorable cititzen and a liberal, progressive man, and did all in his
power to promote the prosperity and advancement of his town.

In 1858 occurred his marriage to ]Miss Eva IMaria Hauselt, a native of
Germany who came to the United States in 1852, and to California in 1854.
Five children were born of their union, three of whom are yet living, as fol-
lows: Mrs. William H. Jenkins, who resides at ^Murphys; Mrs. B. L. Wey-
mouth, of Alameda, California ; and Joseph. The good pioneer mother still
survives and is now in the seventy-second year of her age.

Joseph Heinsdorfif acquired his education in the town of his birth and
for the past twent}- years has devoted his attention exclusively to his mining
interests. He is one of the owners of the Hercules mine, near Sheep Ranch,
out of which they have taken nineteen thousand dollars. He is the owner of
the Rose Rock mine, three miles north of Murphy's, and owns stock in the
entire group of Heinsdorfif mines in the , one-hundred-and-seventy-acre tract
of land which was left to the family by the father, and which the subject of this
review is now engaged in developing. He thoroughly understands mining in
all of its departments and is familiar with the best methods of procuring the
metal and of transforming it into a marketable product. His efforts have been
discerning!}' directed along the lines that have brought to him success, and
to-day he is a well-known representative of the industrial life of Calaveras

On the 12th of June. 1898, Mr. Heinsdorff was united in marriage to
Miss Ella Smith, who was born in California. They own and occupy one of the
pleasant homes in IMurphy's and have a host of warm friends in the commu-
nity. Mr. Heinsdorfif is an active and valued member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows. He is a past district deputy and has filled all the
chairs in the local lodge, acting as the secretary through the past seven years.
His political support is given to the Republican party.


California is as cosmopolitan as any state in the Union. The favorable
opportunities it j^resents for getting on in the world have been made available
by enterprising men of every land. Some natives of Switzerland and many
more descendants of old Swiss families have done well there. One of the
most prominent citizens of Swiss blood of Tuolumne county is the well
known mining man whose name appears above.

Albert Trittenbach is a son of Jacob and Ann (Muller) Trittenbach. who
were born, reared and married in Switzerland and who. in 1853, not long after
their marriage, came to the United States, hoping to improve their fortunes.
Mr. and Mrs. Trittenbach settled at St. Louis, Missouri, and there their son
Albert was born November 1 1, 1858, and the mother died in 1864, aged thirty-


three years, leaving a hnsbaiul and three sons. In i8()g Mr. Trittenbach came
with his three boys to CaHfornia, where he prospered as a merchant and eveni-
iiall}- retired from business, and he now lives in San Francisco. Gustave Trit-
tenbach, his eldest son, is prominent in business circles in San Francisco, wh^re
lie is the manager of the city department of the New Zealand Fire Insurance
Compan}- and the president of the Dutch ^Mining and ^Milling Company ; and
Emil, the youngest of the family, is in the coal trade in the same city.

.Mbert Trittenbach, the second son of Jacob aiu! Ann (Muller) Triticn-
bach, began his education in the public schools of St. Louis, where he lived
until he was eleven years old, and continued it in the public schools of San
Francisco. After he left school he learned assaying and metallurgy, intending
to make mining his 1:)usiness, and engaged in mining at Glencoe, Calaveras
county, in the tnipluy of the \'alentine ^iliniuL; C' unpam as assistant superin-
tendent and as'-ayer In null men. In 1NS4 lie -pent -^'inc tune in Arizona and
after that he went Id the Lalicn mining di-tnct 111 San Uernardino county, Cali-
fornia, where he had the management of the sampling works and acquired a
mine of his own and with several partners bought and sold mines to advan-
tage. Then, giving up silver-mining, he became the superintendent of the
Piatt and Gilson mine at Soulsbyville, a position which he held five years
and a half, during which time considerable gold was taken out of the mine.
Meantime he acquired an interest in other mining enterprises there and became
a stock-holder in the Dutch mine at Quartz, of which he is the superinten-
dent under the direction of the Dutch Mining and ^Milling Company. This
mine is considered one of the best properties in this vicinity. It has an electric
plant and all necessary apparatus of the most modern kind, and the work has
been carried to a depth of eleven hundred and fifty feet.

JMr. Trittenbach lives in a tine residence on this property, and his man-
agement of the interests of the company in which he is a stock-holder has won
the unqualified approval of all his associates. He is widely known as an experi-
enced and expert mining man, whose estimate of any property is accurate and
valuable. In politics he is a Republican, but has no time for ot^ce-holding
or practical political work. A member of the JNIasonic fraternity, he is exceed-
ingly popular with his brethren of the order. He was married, in 1893, to
iliss Florence Superiette, and has two sons, named Philip Edward and Albert


Frank A. Alitchler, one of central California's esteemed hotel proprietors,
has conducted the Mitchler Hotel at Murphy's for eighteen years and during
the interval has borne an unassailable reputation as a business man, never
making an engagement which he has not kept, nor contracting an obligation
that he has not met. His sagacity and enterprise and, moreover, his untiring
labor have brought to him a handsome competence, and the most envious
could not grudge him his success, so honorably has it been acquired. He is j-et
a young man and the unwritten chapters of his life history will doubtless con-
tain an account of added prosperity.


Mr. Alitchler was Ixini in Miirpliy's. on the 8th of Xmemljer. 1863. .ami
is a son of George Mitchler. who was a native of Germany. During his child-
hood the fatlier accompanied iiis parents on their emigration to Boston. Mass-
achusetts, where he was educated and learned the trade of the cabinet-maker.
In 1851 he came to California, crossing the isthmus to tai<e passage on Pacihc
waters and thereljy reached the Golden Gate. In 1852 he arrived at Murphy's
where, like other ])ioneers. he followed mining, hut during much of the time
he engaged in house-building and erected many of the leading residences and
substantial structures of the city, including the Catholic church at Murphy's.
On many sites may be seen evidences of his handiwork. He also conducted
a boarding house in the early mining days. In 1866 he removed temporarily
to Mariposa county, where he was left in charge of a hotel, and while acting
in that capacity he was shot and almost instantly killed by a drunken man with
whom he liad had trouble. Thus Calaveras county lost one of her most enter-
prising and industrious citizens. The murderer was sentenced and sent to
the state prison, but afterward was pardoned and finally committed suicide
near the place where he had taken a good man's life and bereft the little family
of husband, father and protector. Mr. Mitchler had married in 1857. Miss
Elizabeth Cline, of Germany. Iiecoming his wife. They had three children,
all of whom are living : C. P. ; Lena, now the wife of G. H. Scantleburry ;
and Frank A. All reside in JNIurphy's and are numbered among the most
respected citizens of the place. The mother departed this life in 1893. at the
age of sixty years. She had been a faithful wife, a loving and tender mother
and had well cared for her children after the father's death. He was a mem-
ber of the Masonic fraternity and in ])olitics was a Democrat, but at the time
of the Civil war became an earnest advocate of the Union.

Frank Alexander Mitchler was only three years of age at the time of
his father's death. He was educated in his native town and in early life
accepted the position of clerk in the hotel of which he is now the proprietor
In 1882 he purchased this hotel in connection with his brother, the partnershi])
between them being maintained for some time, w'hen our subject purchased
his brother's interest and has since been the sole proprietor. He has 3h\y con-
ducted the house for the past eighteen years, and it is regarded as one of the
cleanest and best-kept iiotels in the state, having a wide reputation for the
efficiency of the help there employed and for the neatness and comfort that
characterizes the establishment. Mr. Mitchler's sister acts as the house-
keeper, and their joint efforts have made the hotel a favorite resort of the
traveling pulilic. The building is a hre-proof stone structure, is lighted with
electricity and contains twenty-five sleeping rooms. It is nicely furnished
throughout and at one end of the house is a beautiful and weTFkept lawn
adorned with flower gardens, indicative of the refined taste of Air. Mitchler
and his sister. The subject of this review also conducts a livery stable in con-
nection with the hotel, it being under the care of a partner. He is also one of
the owners of the Ozark gravel mine four miles distant from the town. It has
been thoroughly prospected and proves to be a very valuable property.

In his political affiliations Mr. Mitchler is a Republican and keeps well


informed on tlie issues nt the (la_\-, and. as e\-ery true American citizen slmuld
<lo. feels a deep interest in all that pertains to the success of the principles in
which he believes. Socially he is a member of Ophir Lodge, Xo. t,t,. F. & A.
]\I. His business has brought to him a wide ac(iuaintance. and the sterling
qualities of the man, his upright character, genial disposition and unfailing-
courtesy have secured for him the warm regard of all with whom he has beer,


To the brave pioneers California owes in large measure the prosperity
she now enjoys as a state. Among those hardy souls and courageous hearts
who thus believed in her future, and by long years of toil and undaunted per-
severance assisted nobly in the development of her resources, is the subject
of this article, and no one is more worthy of representation in the annals of the
state. He came to California in 1855 and is now one of the esteemed and
honored pioneer residents of Vallicita.

Mr. Crawford was born near Milford in county Donegal, Ireland, in
1819, and is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His grandfather and his father Iioth
bore the name of James Crawford and were born and reared at the same place.
They were identified with the Covenanter church, now known as the Presby-
terian church, and the subject of this review was reared after the strictest
manner of that people. His education was acquired in Ireland and in 1847
he crossed the Atlantic to Philadelphia and remained in Pennsylvania for
seven and a half years. He then removed to New Orleans, where he spent
some time, after which he came to California, in the year 1855, by wa\- of the
isthmus route. Stories of rich gold discoveries were continually circulated
in the central and eastern portion of the country and it was his purpose and
desire to get gold. Accordingly he made his way direct from San Francisco
tc Vallicita, where he began placer-mining, working for wages. He received
eighty dollars per month and, as he had only been paid a dollar per day for
his service in Pennsylvania, he believed that the change was a very desiral)le
one. After a time he engaged in mining on his own account and took out
considerable gold. He has practiced careful economy and thus has always had
a good bank account for his labor. He thus engaged in mining until 1892,
when he purchased eleven acres of land in Vallicita, planted it with fruit
trees and grapevines and is now engaged in the cultivation of his orchard
and vineyard. He resides upon his land in the enjoyment of a pleasant cot-
tage, having practically retired from active life, resting in peace and com-
fort that his industry and frugality have secured to him. Throughout his
business career he has managed his affairs most commendably, his honesty
being proverbial. He has ne\er been sued in all his life, has ])aid his debts
promptly, has met his obligations fully and is spoken of in the highest terms
by all the old pioneers.

In 1864 Mr. Crawford returned to Philadeli)hia and was there married
to ]\Irs. Marv Rogers, also a native of Milford. Ireland. She came to .\mer -


ica in the same ship in which iier future liusljand crossed tlie Atlantic, Ijeing
then the young wile of Mr. Rogers. Her first husband died and subsecjuently
]\Ir. Crawford returned to Pennsylvania, where he made her his bride. They
lived together happily for a number of years and were then separated by death,
Mrs. Crawford being called to the home beyond. Our subject exercised his
right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party
but has never sought or held office, nor has he been connected with social or
fraternal organizations. His attention in former years being given to his
business affairs and the acquirement of a competence that now enables him
to enjoy an honoral)le retirement from laljcjr.


\\'illiam J. Richards, who is now ser\ing as the treasurer nf Tudumne
county, was born in the same county which is still his home, his birth hax'ing
occurred in Springfield, in i860. The family is of English lineage. His father,
John Richards, was born in Camborne, Cornwall, England, and was there
reared and educated and learned the blacksmith's trade. In 1847 he came to
America, locating in Chicago, and in 1851 he made his way direct to Sonora,
California, where for a time he was in the shops of ^Nlajor Ball. Subsequently
he removed to Springfield and erected a shop of his own. carrying on businc.-»s
there with success until 1871, when he took u)i his abode in Columbia, carry-
ing on blacksmithing until his retirement from active business life. In
August, 1858, he married, in San Francisco, Miss Jane Polk, a native of
Devonshire, England. 1 hey had known each other from childhood in t^^eir
native country, and now their destinies were united by ceremony. Four chil-
dren were born unto them in Tuolumne county, namely: W. J., Frederick O.,
Jessie A. (the wife or Dr. W. W. Eastman) and Albert A. The father was a
good mechanic and an industrious man. lie and his family are highly
respected in the county in which they lia\e so long resided and in which their

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 74 of 108)