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 82 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 82 of 108)
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and recorder of Stanislaus county, a position for which his ability as a busi-
ness man and his special qualifications as a fine penman and expert accountant
eminently fitted him. His activity in the work of his party no less than his
efficiency in office commended him so strongly to the good opinion of his fel-
low citizens that he was in 1900 nominated by the Republicans to represent
his county in. the state legislature. Although he was defeated he ran one
hundred and fifty ahead of the ticket in his own county, and was later appointed
to a position in the navy department, bureau of construction and repairs, by
the secretary of the navy.

Air. Scoon is a prominent member of tlie Knights of Pythias and holds
the offices of keeper of records and seals and master of finances in the local
organization of that order. He has identified himself with many movements
which in his opinion have promised to benefit his fellow citizens, and his
public spirit has been found equal to all demands upon it under any and all
conditions. His fidelity and ability are such that he is most worthy to fill
any high position to which he may be called, and he occupies so safe a
place in the good will of his fellow citizens that his further advancement is a
matter only of time and opportunity.

.\LEX.\XDER KELLEY.

Alexander Kelley, of Eldorado, dates his arrival \i\ California in the
year 1832. Following is a resume of his life history:

Alexander Kelley was Ixirn in Hopkins, New York, January 6, 1830,
and is descended from Scotch ancestors who were among the varlv settlers
of Vermont. His grandfather Kelley fought for independence in the Revo-
lutionary war. Alexander Kelley, the father of the subject of this sketch,
was born in Vermont and was married in New England to Miss Mary Davis,
a native of Boston, Massachusetts. They removed successivclv to Pennsyl-
vania, Ohio, Missouri and Iowa, and finally to Utah and Idaho. Previous



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 627

to their removal to the far west they were converted to the JMormon faith.
The father reached the ripe old age of eight3 - six years. The mother was
seventy-four when she died, her death occurring at Ogden, Utah. They
were the parents of seven children, of whom four are living, Alexander and
Willif.m D. being the only ones in California. George Kelley, an older brother,
was in the ]\Iexican war, and at its close came to California and was dis-
charged in Los Angeles. He was at Sutter's Fort and at Coloma when gold
was discovered, and worked there until the following summer. Then with
a company of sixty he left for Utah. This party was well armed, having
three of General Sutter's guns with them, and they opened the route across
the mountains. At Tragedy Springs they had a tight with the Indians, in
which three of the party — Cox, Bruitt and Allen — were killed. In 185 1
George Kelley met his parents and other members of the family at Salt Lake.
He returned to California the same year, was engaged in different pursuits
here, and during the gold excitement in Idaho went to that place. He was
ne\-er afterward heard from.

Alexander Kelley, the subject of this sketch, passed his youth and early
manhood at the different places where his parents lived, as above indicated.
It was in 1848 that they crossed the plains to Salt Lake. He remained in
that city wath his parents until 1852, engaged in farming and stock-raising,
and that year came to California. Arrived here, he engaged in mining in
Tuolumne county, where he continued the occupation three years, with but
little success, howe\-er. Often he was wathin eight or ten feet of a rich
vein, but he never made more than fair w'ages in the mines. He mined, at
intervals, until i860. He spent some time in the Red Woods in Napa county,
getting out timber, and afterward made a trip to Carson Valley, where he
remained three years. He has since been a resident of Eldorado, where he
has a home and is comfortably situated, and is now retired from active life.

i\Ir. Kelley has been twice married. By his first wife, whom he wedded
in 1853, he had three children, namely: William, of Placer county; Mary,
now Airs. John Robertson: and Henry, a rancher near Eldorado. In 1884
Mr. Kelley married Mrs. White, his present wife, and they have one son,
Alexander Budd, a resident of Eldorado countv.

During the Civil war Mr. Kelley was a Union man and a Republican,
but after the war he returned to the ranks of Democracy, wdiere he is now
found. He has seen much of- pioneer life, has done his full share toward
"blazing the way for settlement and develo])ment," and enjoys the high
respect and esteem accorded to the worthy frontiersman.

CHARLES A. SWISLER.

In the last half of the nineteenth century the lawyer has been a pre-
eminent factor in all affairs of private concern and national importance. The
man versed in the laws of the country as distinguished from business men
or professional politicians, has been a recognized power. He has Iieen
depended upon to conserve the l)est and permanent interests of the whole



628 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

people, and witlKnit him and tlie approval of his practical judgment the efforts
of the statesman and the industry of the business man and mechanic would
have pioved futile. The reason is not far to seek. The professional lawyer
is never the creature of circumstance. The profession is open to talent, and
eminence or success cannot be obtained except by indomitable energy, per-
severance, patience and strong mentality.

A most prominent and able member of the profession in Placerville, Cali-
fornia, is Charles A. Swisler, whose life history cannot fail to prove of inter-
est to many of our readers, owing to his wide acquaintance. He was born
in Akron, Ohio, on the 24th of June, 1863, and through many generations
his people have been American citizens. His father, Dr. Elias H. Swisler,
was also born in Ohio, aiid when he had arrived at years of maturity he
wedded Miss Mary Wise, a native of the same state. On emigrating to the
west they located in Chico, California, but in 1879 removed to Placerville,
where the father was engaged in the practice of medicine until 1882, when
his life's labors were ended in death, in his fortj'-eighth year. His wife
passed away in 1897. The paternal grandfather was a physician and a
Methodist minister, and ilrs. Swisler, the mother of our subject, was a valued
member of the Presbyterian church. The parents were both people of high
respectability whose well-spent lives commended them to the confidence and
good will of all with whom they came in contact.

Charles A. Swisler, their only child, acquired his preliminary education
in tlie public schools of his native state, and in 1874 became a resident of
California. Here he attended the Chico high school, Healdsburg College and
the Placerville Academy, acquiring a broad and comprehensive literary knowl-
edge to serve as a foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of his
professional learning. Determining to make the practice of law his life
work, he entered the law department of the University of California, and on
the completion of the full course was one of six chosen as class orators. He
graduated at the Hastings College of Law, with the degree of L. B., in 1883,
and was thereupon admitted to practice in the supreme court of California and
the United States courts at San Francisco. He has since been an active
representative of his profession and has won a position of distinction in the
legal fraternity. He was associated with Hon. George G. Blanchard until
the latter's death, which occurred in December, 1891, and since that time
has continued in practice alone, acquiring a large and distinctively representa-
tive clientage wiiich extends into adjoining counties. He has earned the
reputation of having a thorough knowledge of the law and of being an able
advocate and orator. The greatest characteristic of his mind is strength,
his predominant faculty is rea.soning and the aim of his eloquence is to con-
vince. Merit has enabled him to mount the ladder of fame and he now
occupies a prominent position.

]Mr. Swisler is also a recognized leader in political circles, being a stanch
Republican. In 1894 he became a candidate of his party for the assembly
branch of the state legislature, and, being elected, served in the session of
i8()v He was a leading member of that body and left the impress of his



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 629

individuality upon the legislation of the state. He served as a member of a
number of important committees, among them the judiciary committee, the
ways and means committee and the committee on roads and highways, ha\-ing
the chairmanship of the last mentioned; and he was the author of the bill
whereby was established the Lake Tahoe wagon road, a state highway extend-
ing from Placerville to the eastern boundary of the state on the route to
Carson City, Nevada. This was a measure of considerable importance and
established the first state highway in California, besides restoring and improv-
ing an old and historic iuter-state road, crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains
to the state of Nevada. During his service in the assembly Mr. Swisler was
a faithful worker and labored earnestly for the adoption of every measure
intended to benefit the commonwealth. jKs few men iiave done, he seem,s
to realize the importance of the profession to which he devotes his energies,
and of the fact that justice and the higher attribute of mercy he often holds
in his hands. His reputation as a law3'er has been won through honest,
earnest labor, and his standing at the bar is a merited tribute to his ability.

In 1885 he married Miss Mabel Blanchard, a daughter of Hon. George
G. Blanchard, then his law partner. They now have a daughter, whose name
is Sybil. Mrs. Swisler is a \-alue(I member of the Presbyterian church and
is a lady of culture and refinement. They have a delightful home in Placer-
ville and enjoy the high esteem of all who have the pleasure of their acquaint-
ance. Mr. Swisler is an active member of the Masonic fraternity, belong-
ing to the blue lodge,' chapter and commandery, and has the honor of being
the eminent commander of El Dorado Commandery, No. 4, Knights Templar,
which is located in Placerville. He is also a past noble-grand of the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows, and for many years was the chairman of the
committee on legislation in the grand lodge of that order. He was appointed
by the governor a member of the board of election commissioners for the
reorganization of the city government of Placerville in January, 1900, and
assisted in the reorganization of that city as president of that board.

He is also deeply interested in educational matters, and for a number
of 3-ears has been, and still is, the chairman of the board of education of the
city of Placerville. He also takes an active interest in military affairs, and
is a regularly commissioned officer in the National Guard of California. He
is the captain of Company H, of the Second Regiment of Infantry, Third
Brigade, and his command is one of the most efficient companies in the state
service.

HENRY A. GIEBENHAIN.

Henry A. Giebenhain is numbered among California's native sons. He
is now residing in Placerville, Avhere he is engaged in business as the pro-
prietor of the Mountain Brewery, which was established in this city in 1853.
He was born here on the 15th of December, 1864. His father, Fred Gieben-
hain, was a native of Germany and crossed the Atlantic ocean and North
America to California in 18:^2. The next vear he came to Placer county,



630 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

where he engaged in mining. He followed that pursuit at Gold Hill and at
Mud Springs, and also conducted a bakery at Gold Hill. In 1857 he came
to Placerville and purchased the Mountain Brewery, which he successfully
conducted. It was one of the first in the county and he supplied Placerville
and the adjacent cities with the products of his brewery, which were also
shipped to Nevada. As the output Avas of excellent quality he enjoyed a
large sale and his business continuously increased.

In 1857 Mr. Giebenhain was united in marriage to Miss 'Mzry Foster,
a native of Germany, who in 1856 emigrated from her native country and
became a resident of Auburn, California, joining her sister, who was then
living there. Mr. and Mrs. Giebenhain became the parents of seven children,
all born in Placerville, and of this number six are still living, namely : Fred,
at home; Carrie, the wife of Jacob Winhart, a resident of Dayton, Washing-
ton; George, who died in the thirt3'-first year of his age; Henry A., of this
review ; and William, Frank and Mar}', who are still w-ith their mother. The
home is a large brick residence situated near the brewery. Mr. Giebenhain
died leaving his family in good circumstances, for through an enterprising
business career he had acquired a comfortable competence.

In politics he was a l3emocrat and in religious views was a Presbyterian.
His wife is a member of the Catholic church and is an estimable lady. The
sons, Henry and William, hold membership relations with the Native Sons
of the Golden West. Henry Giebenhain is a careful and prosperous business
man, of keen discernment and indefatigable energy, and in the control of the
brewery is meeting with excellent success. He is a worthy representative of
a family that is widely and favorably known in Placerville.

PHILIP TEUSCHER.

In the subject of this sketch is found one of the oldest residents of
Coloma, California, and a most intelligent and entertaining pioneer of the
"Golden state." His history is replete with interest. Briefly sketched, it is
as follows :

Philip Teuscher was born in Bavaria, Germany, on the 4th of Septem-
ber, 1827, a son of Philij) Teuscher. The senior Philip Teuscher and his
wife, both natives of Bavaria, emigrated w'ith their family of young and
small children to this country and made settlement at Akron, Ohio, where
the father purchased a farm and stone quarry and where he passed tlie rest
of his life and died, the last event occurring in 1859, at the age of fifty-three
years. The wife and mother died the first year after their arrival in America.
Only two members of the family are now living, — the subject of this sketch
and his brother Daniel, who resides with him in Coloma, these two having
been partners in all their dealings in California.

Philip Teuscher crossed the plains in 1849, lured hither by the discovery
of gold. The original party with which he started for California comprised
fifteen members. From Ohio they traveled by river to Independence, Missouri,
where they landed, and stopped with Colonel Gilpen until after they pur-



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 631

chased their mules. The next steamer that arrived after their landing- brought
the cholera and on the next one there were seventy-five people sick with that
dread disease; and in order to get away from that plague young Teuscher
and his party continued their journey with as little delay as possible and made
the best time they could until they reached the Kansas river. There they let
the mules graze and rest for a day or two. When they reached the Platte
river other companies caught up with them, increasing their number to forty,
with twenty-five wagons. They then elected Mr. Laferty captain. On their
way up the Platte their mules were stampeded by a large herd of buffalo
going down to the river to drink, and the whole party were in danger of
being killed. Fortunately, however, the herd separated, passing on both sides
of them, and the only loss to the emigrants was the breaking of an arm of
one man. Further up the river another emigrant party caught up with them.

The Sioux Indians being on the war-path, it was necessary at this time
for the overland travelers to keep a constant guard, which added no little
to the excitement of the trip. In crossing Ash Hollow the trail was so steep
that they were obliged to let the wagons down with ropes. There they stopped
long enough to kill buffalo and dry and lay in a sufficient supply of meat.
Near Fort Laramie a company of Mormons met them. These Mormons
were from Salt Lake, were short of provisions, and asked help from the emi-
grants, and in return for the food they received they gave warning concern-
ing the Indians, and then the Mormons pursued their course down the river
on their raft. They traveled close together and kept constant watch. While
at dinner one day they saw the Indians ahead of them — big six-footers on
fine horses. Immediately the red men rode down upon the train, with a great
clatter, intending to stampede the mules. The emigrants all carried guns
and waited orders from their captain to fire; but the Indians only circled
round them and went back up the hill. The loose horses of the train ran
with them. Some of the men at once started in pursuit, but the captain,
anxious to avoid a fight, ordered them to return, saying it was better to lose
the horses than to get into a fight with the red men. At Willow Springs they
camped for the night, and at 12 o'clock that night the Indians came up and
fired upon them, again thinking to stampede their animals. So securely were
the horses and mules tied, however, that none of them got away. For sev-
eral days the party was pursued by the Blackfeet Indians, until they reached
the country of the vSnake River Indians, when the former turned back; the
latter were peaceful and with them the emigrants traded horses. At Salt
Lake our party sold their wagons, and from there continued the journey witli
a pack train. On Sunday at Salt Lake they attended services in the Mor-
mon church, and at that meeting Brigham Young told his people not to be
too anxious to trade with this party, as more emigrants were coming. While
there Mr. Teuscher traded a gun and a few pounds of coffee and sugar for
a horse, which he sold after his arrival in California for one hundred and fifty
dollars.

Finally, after a long and tedious journey, our party arrived in Placer-
^•ille, July 27, 1849, and came to Colnma on the following day, and here with



632 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

as mucli haste as ix)ssible tlie subject of our sketch Ijegan liis mining opera-
tions, with a partner. The first few days' digging, however, did not bring
them the gold they had anticipated. The partner left to seek other diggings,
and Mr. Teuscher, with others, took a contract for cutting saw-logs for the
mill built by James \V. Marshall for General Sutter, at which they made ten
dollars per day; but this mill was soon closed, as the men were all excited
over the gold discovery, and the hope of "striking it rich" lured them away
to the "diggings." Mr. Teuscher went to Canyon creek, where the Georgia
mines were, located a claim in tlie middle of the creek, and took out gold
rapidly. Afterward he returned to Coloma and next mined on Weaver creek,
where he and his partner took out an average of twenty-five dollars per day.
He continued there until the spring of 1850, after which he mined in dif-
ferent places, with the miner's usual luck. Returning to Coloma again, he
secured a claim on the banks of the south fork of the river, where lie con-
tinued to dig for gold and made about an ounce a day. He at one time liad
a claim at the point where the suspension foot bridge is now located. Here,
he and his brother took out about fifteen hundred dollars' worth of gold. They
have maintained their interest in mining operations ever since that time, and
are at this writing engaged in quartz pocket mining.

Both brothers have remained unmarried. They have a comfortable home,
surrounded with a fine orchard comprising a variety of choice fruit, located
near the site of the old Sutter saw-mill, where gold was first discovered in
California. Philip Teuscher was appointed by the governor as the guardian
of the Marshall monument, a position he faithfully filled for a period of four
years. Politically he is a Democrat, while his brother is a Republican. Both
are men of the most sterling integrity and are held in high esteem by their
fellow citizens. Philip was a constable for a number of years. During the
Civil war he was a strong Union man. He enlisted as a member of Coin]\iny
F, Fourth California Volunteers, and served his country faithfully in Cali-
fornia and Arizona. He is now identified with the Grand Army of the
Republic, with his membership at Placerville, where he fills the oflSce of senior
conductor of his post. Daniel is a valued member of the Masonic fraternity.^

A. S. BOSOUIT.

A. S. Bosquit, who is efticiently serving as the sheriff of Eldorado county,
his home being in Placerville. is a native of Pennsylvania, his birth occurring
in Allegheny City, on the 7th of August. 1851. His father, John Bo.'^quit.
was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 182 1, and was of French and German
descent. He renio\-ed to the Keystone state and was there married to J\Iiss
Rosanna Beck. Three children were born to them during their residence
in Allegheny county, and with his little family Mr. Bosquit sailed from New
York for San Francisco, coming direct to Placer county. He took up his
abode at Virginia Town and was engaged in placer mining below that place,
following that industry until i860, at which time he opened a large claim.
The vein was very deep and required much work to obtain the gold. He con-



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 633

tinued his (.)perations until 1861, without much success, and in the winter u£
1S61-J, with four men shovehng in the shiices, he cleared as high as titty
ounces in one daj-. '1 hen a great flood came and washed away everything !
Later, however, Mr. Bosquit reopened his mine, but a little later sold out for
eight thousand dollars. He then became the owner of fifty-two Chinese
houses, from which he received a rental of from four hundred and fifty to five
hundred dollars per month.

In politics he was a Republican and as such was elected a member of the
state assembly in 1864. He was strongly opposed to slavery and did all in his
power to promote abolition principles in the early days of the existence of the
Republican party. While serving in the California house of representatives
he was active in securing the passage of the bill for the construction of the
Central Pacific Railroad. From that time until his death he was' very active
in the pulilic affairs of his county and was recognized as a prominent and
nifluential citizen, his opinions carrying weight in party councils. His death
occurred in 1S68, when he had reached the age of forty-nine years. His
wife survive him some time and passed away in 1882, at the age of fifty-two
years. Six children were added to the family in California, but all are now
deceased who were born in the golden west. One of the daughters is ^Irs.
Thorndike, a resident of Truckee, and ^Matilda, another daughter, is the wife
of G. W. Armstrong, of Auburn.

In taking up the personal history of A. S. Bosquit we present to our read-
ers the life record of one who is widely and favorably known in Eld/orado
county. He was only two years of age when brought by his parents to Cal-
ifornia, and hence during the greater part of his life he has been identified with
the interests of this state. He pursued his education at Gold Hill and Lincoln,
and also took a course of study in the McClure Academy, in 1869. In 1870 he
bound himself to S. W. Willis to learn telegraphy. He was to receive one hun-
dred dollars for his services and was to board and clothe himself. His
employer also conducted the post-office and was engaged in the stationery
business, and with the work of both of those Mr. Bosquit became familiar.
When his term of apprenticeship had expired he accepted a position with tiie
Sacramento and Placerville Railroad Company, as bookkeeper and telegraph
operator at Shingle Springs. He was also the agent for the Wells Fargo
Express Company. He there remained until September, 1873. Subse-
quently he successfully engaged in farming and mining until 1891, when he
was chosen by his fellow citizens for public service, being elected county clerk,
auditor and recorder of Eldorado county. In those positions he served with
marked eliiciency for eight years, having been electee! for a second and third
term. His fidelity to duty led to his selection to the office of sheriff in 1898, and
he is thus now capably serving, discharging his duties without fear or favor.
He has made judicious investments of his capital, and in addition to his fine
home in Placerville he owns a farm of four hundred and thirty acres of laufl
at Shingle Springs, on which hay, grain and stock are raised. A portion of it



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 82 of 108)