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 80 of 108)
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devoting his time to the raising of fruit and vegetables.

Mr. Spencer has been a Republican since lie voted for President Li;icoln.
During the exciting times of civil war he was a stanch Union man, and was
a member of the llnme C.uards, an t)rganization for the purpose of keejiing
California in the L'liion and to keep the secession element from law-breaking.


Fraternally he has affiliated with the Odd Fellows for thirtv-three years,
and has passed all the chairs in both branches of the order; also he has ixissed
the chairs in the Knights of Pythias lodge and is a member of the Order of
Chosen Friends. Ever interested in edncational matters, he has given his
support for the betterment of scliools and served eight vears as a school

Mr. Spencer was happily married, in ]Sj6. to Aliss ]Mary AI. Palmer, a
native of the state of Tennessee, and they have six children, as follows:
Francis Lorenzo, Elsie, now ]Mrs. Robert ("rocker, George Francis, Alav,
Francis Newton, Jr., and Mabel.


Each community is judged by the character of its representative citi-
zens, and its social, intellectual and business standing is determined thereby.
The sterling worth, commercial ability and enterprise of the leading men
are mirrored forth in the public life of the town, and therefore the history
of the people of prominence is the history of the community. No account
of Oakdale would be complete without the life record of Thomas Richard-
son, a man whose public spirit is manifested in his many efforts tO' nnprove
the conditions and promote the upbuilding of the town. He came to the
state in 1850 and now' resides on a large farm in Stanislaus county, three
miles west of Oakdale.

Mr. Richardson was born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, on the 28th
of September, 1818, and is of English, Scotch and Irish descent, his ancestors
being among the early settlers of Virginia and participating in the events
which find mention in the annals of the Old Dominion. One of the repre-
sentatives of the name also served in the war of the Revolution. Robert
Richardson, the father of our subject, was born in Virginia, removed to
Kentucky and at the time of the war of 181 2 entered his country's service
under command of General \Mlliam H. Harrison. He married Miss Cath-
erine Bullen, who was born in Bourbon county, Kentucky, a daughter of
John Bullen, one of the heroes of the war for independence. They removed
to Pike county, Missouri, and a number of their children were born there.
In 1827 they took up their abode in Pike county, Illinois, becoming pioneer
settlers of that locality, wdiere they secured government land, the father
developing thereon a good farm upon which he made his home until the
time of his death in 1845. ^^ bile in Missouri he held the office of tax col-
lector. Both he and his wife were Baptists in religious faith and were up-
right, reliable and respected farming people. ]\Irs. Richardson passed away
m the fifty-sixth year of her age. They were the parents of eleven children,
(^f whom all reached mature years, but only two of the number are now liv-
ing, the sister of our subject being Fammey, the wife of William \\'agener,
a resident of Pike county, Illinois.

Thomas Richardson, of this review, was eight years of age when with
his parents went to the Prairie state, and in the primitive log school-house


of the neigliburhood he pursued liis studies through a short period each win-
ter. At the time of early spring planting he took his place in the fields to
assist in the cultivation of the farm and was employed with plowing, culti-
vating and harvesting until after the crops were garnered in the autumn. His
life was passed in the quiet routine of the farm until 1850, when the country
became stirred by news of the gold discovery in California and he determined
to make his way to the Eldorado of the west. Accordingly he joined a com-
pany of ninety men that secured an outfit in Pike county and started in a
train of twenty-nine wagons on the long and arduous journey across the
plains. They were well supplied with provisions, and, as two physicians
were of the party, were protected against prolonged illness. The journey was
made by way of South Bear river, Green river and Humboldt, and they were
on the journey about six months, at the end of which period they arrived in
Hangtown, now Placerville, September 18, 1850. Although manj^ emi-
grant trains suffered greatly from cholera, only three of their party had died
of the disease.

^fr. Richardson began his career as a jilacer miner with pan and rocker
on the American river below Coloma. He met with a fair measure of success,
taking out considerable gold, and followed mining until 1851, when he
returned to his home Ijy the water route in order to bring his family to
California, and with them he journeyed across the plains, in 1852. On the
9th of January, 1845, 'le married Miss Lucinda Jane W'agener, a native of
Tennessee, and they had two children — John and Mary Jane — ere their re-
moval to the Pacific coast. Their daughter has since dejiarted this life. The
son is still living and cultivates a farm near his father. The year 1852 proved
a very disastrous one to many emigrants, the cholera being very prevalent
among those who journeyed across the plains, but the train with which the
Richardsons traveled lost only one of their party, a woman. However, they
saw many newly made graves along the route. Mr. Richardson had the
honor of being the commander of the companies with which he traveled on
both of these journeys across the plains.

When with his wife and little family our subject arrived in California
he settled on one himdred and sixty acres of government land that are included
within the boundaries of his present ranch. This region was then an un-
settled country and there were many Indians in the locality, but he never
had any trouble with them. He had brought with him from Illinois forty
head of cattle and horses and here he engaged in stock-raising. Notwith-
standing that he met with many reverses in business, he diligently prosecuted
his labors until he became the owner of nine thousand acres of land and
was numbered among the wealthiest men of Stanislaus county. This grand
old pioneer is now living retired from active business in a large and com-
modious frame residence tliat stands on the extensive ranch which his enter-
prise and industry have secured to him. He leases his land and the rental
therefrom supplies him with all of the necessaries and manv of the luxuries
of life.

After their arrival in California Mr. and ^frs. Richardson became the


parents of a son, Ephraim. who is now residing in Oakdale. There are
also eight grandchildren and tonr great-grandchildren. His wife, who long
shared with him the sorrows and joys of life, traveling by his side as a faith-
ful companion and helpmeet on life's journey for fifty-two years, was called
to lier final rest on the 19th of January, 1897, at the age of seventy-two
years, four months and fifteen days. She was very devoted to her family,
counting no sacrifice or laljor too great that would promote the happiness
or enhance the welfare of her husband or children. In return she recei\-ed
their deepest love and respect, and she also enjoys the warm regard of a large
circle of friends.

For many years Mr. Richardson has been a worthy member of the
Masonic fraternity and is now a representative of Oakdale Lodge, No. 275,
F. & A. J\I. He' also belongs to Modesto Lodge, No. 49, R. A. M. His
jjolitical support has long been given to the Democracy and at one time he
ser\eJ as a justice of the peace, but has never sought or desired ofifice. Through-
out a long and acti\-e business career he has l^een known as a man of unques-
tioned integrity, his word being as good as his bond. His has been an active
and useful career, in which determined purpose has enabled him to conquer
all olistacles and advance steadily upim the path to success until he has reached
the goal of prosperity. At the same time he has taken an active part in the
work of developing the rich lands of California, and of reclaiming the waste
stretches for the purposes of civilization. Such men therefore -wrought for
the ]M"osperity and upbuilding of the communities which they represented.


Seymour Hill, a prominent merciiant of Eldorado, California, is a native
of the town in which he lives, born August 27, 1S64, a .son of Samuel Hill,
one of the early pioneers of the Golden state.

Samuel Hill was a native of Marietta. Ohio, born in 1823, and there
passed his early boyhood days. In his mental constitution was a combination
of Irish and New England strains. At the age of sixteen years he went to
Wisconsin, where he subsequently found and married Miss Mary Jane Sackett.
w ith whom he sought a new home in the then far west. They first came to
California in 1851, but returned shorty afterward, and in 1853 again crossed
the plains to the west coast. After his second coming to this state 'Sh. Hill
became the owner of a large stock ranch, gained a prominence in political cir-
cles, and was elected a member of the California state legislature. To
him and his wife were born, in Eldorado, six children, all. with one exception,
still li\-ing: \'irginia died at the age of thirty-two years. The others are
Julia, the widow of Charles Beard: Lillie, the wife of M. J. Williams: Sarah,
the wife of \V. H. Burns: Grant, who is carrying on mining operations; and
Sevmour, whose name introduces this sketch. The father departed this life
in 1892; the mother in 1896. They were among the worthy pioneers of
their locality, well known and held in high esteem l:)y all.

Sevmour Hill was educated in the public schools of Eldorado and Amador


counties, and after leaving sciiool became a clerk in a store, where he soon
acquired a thorough knowledge of the business and fitted himself to carry
on a business of his own. In 1890 he opened his present store, in a small way,
and by close attention to Inisiness and by liberal and honorable methods soon
became not only the leading merchant of the town but took rank with the
first of the county, handling a varied line of general merchandise, including
all kinds of farm implements. The store which he erected and occupies is a
two-story building, 48x44 feet in dimensions, and he also has a large ware-
house, 48x80 feet, in which he stores his goods. Also, in partnership with
his brother Grant, he owns and operates several mines.

Air. Seymour Hill was happily married, in 1888, to Miss Ruth Squires,
who was born in the state of Illinois and reared in Eldorado, California.
They have two children, — Hazel and Oralea.

Politically Mr. Hill gives his support to the Democratic parly, but has
ne\er sought or filled office, his time and attention being wholly occui)ied by his
persfinal aft'airs.


Daniel Edgar Stratt(jn, who is engaged in the practice of medicine at
Chir.ese Camp, Tuolumne county, as a representative of the regular profession
and as physician and surgeon of the Eagle, Shawmut and Jacksonville mines,
was born at iVIcGregor, Iowa, on the 4th of Deceml>er, 1863. He is of
English and Holland lineage. His paternal ancestors were early settlers of
Vermont, and on the maternal side were pioneers of New York. Joseph
Stratton, the grandfather of our subject, was a soldier in the colonial army
and valiantly fought for the independence of the nation. Charles Stratton,
the Doctor's father, was born in Schoharie county, New York, and was
married to Miss Hannah \'an Auken, also a native of the Empire state. Soon
after their marriage they removed to Wisconsin, casting in their lot with
its pioneer settlers, and subsequently the}- became pioneers of Iowa. Both
are still residents of the Hawkeye state, the father having attained the seventy-
ninth year of his age, while his wife is ten years his junior. They are mem-
bers and earnest workers of the United Brethren church and are loved by all
who know them. The father was a strong Union man at the time of the
Civil war and in answer to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers
to crush out the rebellion iii its incipiency he enlisted, serving a three months'
term. The war had not then ended and he re-enlisted, taking part in many
of the hotly contested engagements which were necessary for the ])reserva-
tion of the Union. A\'hile in the army he contracted scurvy, that has caused
him great suffering and almost terminated his life. Being thus incapacitated
for work much of tlie time, the government granted him a i^ension of sev-
enteen dollars per month. Llis brothers and his wife's brothers were alsii
valiant Union soldiers, and the military record of the family is one of which
its representatives have every reason to be proud.

The Doctor is one of ten children, but is the only representative of the


family in California. His literary education was completed in the State
University if Iowa and he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine in that
institution with the class of 1886. He afterward served for one term in the
State Hospital and thence came direct to Chinese Camp, California, where he
has since huilt up a very satisfactory practice that hrings to him a g^ood
income. He also has a heaiitiful residence on the hill o\-erlooking the town.
Tn 1889 occurred the marriage of Dr. Stratton and Miss Helen Cutting,
a native daughter of Chinese Camp. Her father, C. B. Cutting, came to
this state at an early period in its development and is now a resident of James-
town, Tuolumne count}-. Dr. and ^Irs. Stratton have one daughter, Viola.
Socially he is connected with the Masonic order, the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias fraternity. He is devoted to his
profession, his interest arising- from his hroad humanitarian principles and
his love of scientific research. His skill and ability are of a high order and
he has a strict regard for the ethics of the professional code. As a rnan and
citizen he is widely and favorably known and in this \-olume he well deserves
hijuorable mention.


Before California was admitted to the Union and when the greater part
-of the state was divided into extensive land grants owned by Spanish people
or settlers of Spanish descent, George Beattie came to the Pacific coast, arriv-
ing in the year 1849. Unlike many of those who sought a fortune here
immediately after the disco\-ery of gold, he has been very successful, for
he has continued liis operations in one locality and has not been drawn
hither and thither by every new mining excitement, many of which proved
hut a delusive will-o'-the-wisp. For forty years he has been constantly en-
gaged in the development of rich mineral resources of the town of Georgia

Mr. Beattie is a natixe of Scotland, born June 24. 1827. His parents
were John and Ann (Richardson) Beattie, who were married in Scotland and
with their two little sons emigrated to the United States in 1827, our sub-
ject being then but six weeks old. They settled in Boston, w'here the father
followed his trade of stone-cutting. He also was a stone-mason and worked
at both occupations. On remoxing with his family to Rhode Island he set-
tled in Newport, where he resided until his life's labors were ended in death,
when he had reached his forty-eighth year. They had four sons and a
daughter, of whoni but two are living: William, w'iio resides in Fall River,
Massachusetts; and George. The former came to California in 1852, made
some money and returned to his home in the east.

The latter was educated in the public schools of Rhode Island, being
a student in the first public school organized in that state. He learned the
stone-cutter's trade of his father, and after the latter's death w-as the sup-
port of his w-idowed mother, providing for her until she was called to the
home beyond. In 1849 lie joined a party of young men who had learned of


the discovery of gold in California and started to make the long \o\-age to
the Eldorado of the west. Seventy of them formed a company, purchased
an old whaling ship, the Audley Clark, prepared her for the voyage and
secured an outfit and provisions. The entire cost of the ship, witii two
years' provisions, amounted to twelve thousand dollars. The services of a
trusty sea captain were secured. The plan was that if the stories of the gold
proved to be untrue they would land in South America and send the ship on
a whaling expedition, for she had all the appliances. Later she would return
and take the men back home. After rounding Cape Horn they spoke an
English brig out of Valparaiso and inquired if the tales of the discovery of
gold in California had any foundation. They received the reply that there
was "lots" of gold there; and after a pleasant voyage Captain Dennis, who
was a thoroughly experienced navigator, took his ship safely into the harbor
of San Francisco. A company from the Empire state had made a landing,
which they called New York Landing, and the Audley Clark was invited to
enter there. There was a survey schooner not far from their landing
and they sent a lieutenant and five men on shore to investigate. Those men
ne\er returned and it was supposed that the lieutenant was killed by the
mer. who then proceeded into the woods. This so exasperated the captain
of the schooner that he offered a reward of twenty-five hundred dollars for
the capture of the men, of whom he gave a description. After two days
spent in the woods, during which time they could get nothing to eat, those
men went to the Audley Clark and asked for food. They were taken on
board and fed, and the captain of the schooner was notified that they were
there, so that he and a number of men came aboard and arrested the party.
He said to them, "You thought you had murdered the lieutenant ; but he is
living; but you shall hang just the same,"' He took them to the schooner,
went through the form of a trial and hanged two of them to the yard-arm,
imprisoning the others, and the owners of the Audley Clark obtained the
reward for the capture; but Mr. Beattie and his party did not relish taking
the money.

After reaching California they found that they could not all keep together
and so separateil into small parties, dividing the provisions, and left a few
of the older men in charge of the ship, while the younger men went to the
mines in Tuolumne county, where Mr. Beattie engaged in mining for three
moiuhs, with moderate success. They suffered for lack of w-ater and re-
turned to the ship, which was the home and headquarters of the party.
Subseciuently they started for Oregon Canyon and the Georgetown district.
At that time the county was full of prospectors. A Mr. Hudson had dis-
covered the place, and, being from Oregon, named the place Oregon Canyon.
He had six men witli him and he worked there trying t(^ kee]) his discoveries
secret ; and when it was known he decided to leave and packed his mules with
the gold he had taken out. Mr. Beattie learned of this movement on the
part of Mr. Hudson and he therefore determined to go to the claim, where
lie has since remained, the period now covering a half century. Li one year
lie took out eight thousand dollars. In iS^i he returned to the east, in


accorckaice with a promise he liad made with his partner to return with liim.
Tlie latter was going home to marry a girl he had "left behind," and thus
I\Ir. Beattie revisited the scenes of his youth. In the winter of 1852, how-
ever, he returned, by way of the isthmus, and has since owned and operated
his mhie at Georgia Slide. Up to 1862 four of his party had taken out
twenty thousand dollars each, and our subject returned home to make ample
provision for his mother, placing a deposit in the bank for her future use.

Again he came to California, and in 1862 he wedded Mrs. Catherine
Militr, a native of Hamburg, Germany. She came to this state in 1855 with
her sister, Mrs. August Waldeck, who now resides in Sacramento valley.
After his marriage Mr. Beattie built the home in which they have since
resided and in which they are now contentedly spending the evening of life,
for he has acquired wealth through his mining operations and at the same
time has gained the regard and friendship of many by reason of his honorable
business methods. His mining property is known as the Beattie Mine, in
which gold is found in seams of quartz and slate. It is two hundred feet deep
and the yield is seemingly inexhaustible.

]Mr. Beattie has three sons and two daughters, namely: Christie, Adolph,
William, Annie and Mary, — all born in the house at Georgia Slide, \^'illianl
is a practicing phy^ician and is a Sir Knight Templar. The other children
are with their parents. Mr. Beattie has been a life-long Republican and in
the Masonic fraternity he is connected w'ith the lodge, chapter and council.
He has been an active member and office-holder and represented his chapter
ii; the grand chapter of the state in 1900. He was reared in the Presbyterian
faith, his wife in the Lutheran faith, and high moral principles have actuated
them throughout the journey of life. No history of this section of the state-
would be complete w^ithout the record of George Beattie, and it is with pleasure
we present his history to our readers.


The subject of this sketch belongs to a class of men whose ranks are
each year growing thinner, namely, the Mexican war veterans. Also he is
a California pioneer, having landed in the state in 1854. As such his
history is of interest and briefly is as follows :

R. W. H. Swendt was born in Albany county. New York, September
29, 1829, the son and only child of German parents, John Randolph and
Maria (Strew) Swendt. His mother died at the age of forty-six years and
his father lived to be eighty-six. From New York state they emigrated at an
earh^ day to Georgia, where the son was reared and educated. When he was
nineteen the war with Mexico was in progress, and so patriotic and ambi-
tious was he to be of service to his country, he enlisted for the war, claim-
ing that he was twenty years of age. He went to the front under Captain
John S. Lowry. in the Second Tennessee Regiment, with which command
he served twelve months, at the end of that time being lionorably discharged
on account of the end of his term of enlistment. Re-enlisting immedi-


ately thereafter, lie became a member of Company C, I'^ifth Tennessee Regi-
ment, his company being commanded by J. C. Vaughn. During his
service Mr. Swendt participated in all the battles from Vera Cruz to the
city ol Mexico, under Generals Taylor and Scott; was promoted to the rank
of sergeant, and went all through the war without receiving a wound. For
service in that war he is now the recipient of a pension, amounting to twelve
dollars per month.

After the trouble between the United States and Mexico had been settled
and Mr. Swendt had been honorably discharged, he returned to Tennessee
and from there, in 1849, started for California. At that time, however, he
■did not continue the journey further than Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he
remained until the winter of 1854. He then came on to California. The
party with which he traveled had many skirmishes with the Indians, but all
escaped death and landed safely in California. They also escaped the cholera,
which was then prevailing in many parts of the country and which caused the
death of many an overland traveler.

Arriving in California, Mr. Swendt located first at Placerville, where he
^vas engaged in placer mining until 1862. While mining on the south fork
of the American river he was one of a party of four that took out about
fifty dollars a day, and on one occasion they found a single nugget valued
at fifty dollars. A great portion of his time since 1862 Mr. Swendt has worked
at his trade, that of carpenter, and has assisted in the erection of most of the
houses in Eldorado.

Politically Mr. Swendt has been a life-long Democrat. He was at one
time elected a supervisor of Eldorado county, an office which he filled faith-
fully and well for a i>eriod of four years.

The subject of this sketch has never married. He is a well pre-
served representative of the Mexican war veterans as well as of the California
pioneers and early mining men.


The beauty of a city depends largely upon its architecture, and to tl-.ose

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 80 of 108)