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 85 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 85 of 108)
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It was on the 3d of Jul}' that young Xicholls landed in Coloma. From that
time up to i8go he devoted his time cliietly to mining. Then he turned his
attention to fruit-raising, in which he has since been engaged. Peaches and
prunes are his chief products, and his farm comprises one hundred and seventy
acres. In addition to this property, he owns the comfortable home he occupies
in Coloma.

j\lr. Xicholls has been a life-long Republican, his first presidential vote
having been cast for the great Lincoln. At different times he has been chosen
to fill local office and has filled the same with credit to himself and those who
have thus honored him. For eight consecutive years he served as a deputy
assessor. He was elected and served as a county supervisor, and recently he
was appointed by Governor Gage as guard of the Marshall monument and
grounds, the duties of which position he is now performing.

]\Ir. Xichcills was made a member of the Masonic Order in 1876, and
during all the \ears that have intervened since that date has taken an enthusias-
tic interest in the work of that ancient and honored order. He served his
lodge fifteen terms as \vorshipful master and has been the inspector of the
district since 1883, with the exception of one year. There is perhaps not
another Mason in the county of Eldorado who takes a deeper interest in
Masonry than does Francis Xicholls.


George \\'. ]\IcKee, a prominent business man of Placerville, displayed in
his life many of the sterling characteristics of his Scotch ancestry, including
the reliabilit}', perseverance and keen discrimination for which the Scotch
people are noted. In 1805 his grandfather, with his wife and children, emi-
grated from the land of hills and heather and took up their residence in Penn-
sylvania. Soon afterward Andrew McKee, the father of our subject, was
born. Having arrived at years of maturity he married Miss Mary Hill, who
also was of Scotch lineage and was born in the Keystone state. He was a
blacksmith by trade and was a man of considerable reputation and influence
in his county. For a number of years he served as a captain of the militia of
Beaver comity and throughout his entire life he lived in that county, bearing
his share of the work of progress and improvement. r)Oth he and his wife


were worthy menil)ers of the Presbyterian church. In tlieir family were four
children, viz.: .Vndrew James, deceased; Mary Elizabeth, the wife of James
IMagill, a merchant living in Pueblo, Colorado; Agnes Jane, the wife of Will
iam Curry, a farmer living near Burgettstown, \\ ashington county, Pennsyl-
vania; and George \\'., the subject of this review.

George W. McKee was born in Beaver county, in 1840, and there he pur-
sued his education. He spent the greater part of his youth with an aunt upon
a. farm. With a desire to try his fortune on the Pacific coast he left home at
the age of eighteen years and in 1858 sailed for California, crossing the isthmus
of Panama and thus making his way up the Pacific coast. He located in
Alleghany, Sierra county,where he became engaged in drift and tunnel mining,
meeting with good success in his ventures. In 1864 he returned to his home
in the east to visit his mother and relatives, again making the journey by way
of the water route. The same year he returned by the Nicaragua route and
once more took up his abode in Alleghany, where he continued until 1874. In
that year he removed to Fairplay, Eldorado county, where he purchased the
Fairplay House, conducting it successfully for twelve years. In 1886 he
became the owner and proprietor of the Ohio House in Placerville and con-
tinued the conduct of the same until 1898, when he sold out. Thus for twenty-
four years he engaged in the hotel" business and was a popular landlord, widely
and favorably known throughout the northern part of California. His earnest
desire to please his guests and his well-conducted hostelry won him a liberal
patronage, while his admirable qualities of manner gained him many warm
personal friends.

In 1870 Mr. McKee was united in marriage to Miss Mary L. Bain, who
was born in Oleta, Amador county, California, and is a daughter of August
Bain, a California pioneer of 1852. The have one son, Joseph F., wdio is now
a progressive young business man of Placerville. Mr. AIcKee is a member of
the Masonic fraternity and has three times served as the master of his lodge.
He is also a Royal Arch Mason, is a past king of the chapter and a past com-
mander of Eldorado Commandery. He also belongs to the Mystic Shrine,
his membership being in Islam Temple, at San Francisco. In politics he is an
earnest Republican, unswerving in his advocacy of the party principles, but
he has never sought or desired office, preferring to devote his time and atten-
tion to his business affairs, in which he has met w-ith creditable and well-
<leser\ed success.


George T. McCabe, a representative of the mercantile interests of Oak-
dale. Stanislaus county, is a native of Driftwood, Cameron county. Pennsyl-
vania, born on the 6th of February. 1858. and he traces his ancestry back to
a Scotch-Irish source. His father, Asa McCabe. was born June 24. 1824. in
Xova Scotia, learned the trade of a ship-builder and removed to Philadelphia
where he followed his chosen occupation. He was also for some time engaged
in building bridges for the Philadelphia & Pittsburg Railroad Company, dur-


ing tlie construction of its line. He continued in Ijusiness in the Keystone
state throughout tlie remainder of his hfe, and died September 30, 1884,
at the age of sixty years. He married Miss Nancy SulHvan, a native of Ire-
land, born July 4, 1828, who yet survives her husband and is ;iow living with
her son George in Oakdafe, at the age of seventy-six years.

George T. McCabe is their only child. He attended the public schools
of his native county and in early life engaged in clerking, being employed
in several mercantile concerns in the east, where he acquired a tliorough knowl-
edge of the business. In 1884 he came to California, locating at Isjiight's
Ferry, where, in 1885, he established a general mercantile business, meeting
with excellent success and soon becoming a leading merchant in the town.
He continued in business until 1897, when he removed to his present loca-
tion in Oakdale. Here he keeps a carefully selected stock of goods, including
e\erything found in a first-class general mercantile establishment, and he
enjoys the good will and patronage of a large portion of the best people of the
town and surrounding country. He is known to be a merchant of the highest
honor and probity of character' and is an obliging and genial gentleman, so
that he makes friends, — which has much to do with his success as a business

Air. McCabe was happil}- married on the i6th of Septemlier. 1887, to ]\Iiss
Kate Parker, a native daughter of California, born at Knight's Ferry, July 31,
1866. Her father, Domin Parker, was a respected California pioneer. Their
union has been blessed with four cliildren, namely: Velma B., Asa D.. James
Garfield and Ruth Naomi. Mr. McCabe is a Republican in his political views,
and while at Knight's Ferry he served for four years as the postmaster of his
town, by appointment of President Harrison. \Miile there he also acted as
notary public and justice of the peace and was the agent for the Wells-Fargo
Express Compan3^ Prominent in the Masonic fraternity, he has taken the
symbolic degrees and the chapter degrees and is now a past master of his
lodge. He is thoroughly informed on all its teachings, its tenets and its prin-
ciples and holds high the standard of Masonr}'-, having no sympathy with any-
thing that will lower it. For the past four years he has had the honor of being-
district inspector of the order, and both he and his wife are members of the
Eastern Star, in which she has taken an active and prominent part, filling the
position of associate conductress. They have made hosts of warm friends
since coming to Stanislaus county to reside and are highly respected bv all
who have the pleasure of their acquaintance.


A half century has passed since Albert J. Lowry came to California,
arriving here in 1850, the year of the admission of the state into the Union.
He is therefore numbered among her pioneer citizens and has l)orne his part
in the arduous labors which have contributed in a large measure to her devel-
ojiment, material progress and substantial upbuilding. He is a native of Ohio.
born in Roseville, Muskingum countv, on the i6th of December. 1828. His


grandfather, Canada Lowry, resided in Xcw York and Pennsylvania in his
early life and afterward became one of the pioneer settlers of Ohio. His son,
Jeremiah Lowry, the father of om- subject, became a carpenter and subse-
quently engaged in merchandising. He married Susannah Haney. They
became the parents of eleven children, seven sons and four daughters. The
father attained the age of seventy-nine years, and the mother, surviving him
for several years, passed awa}' at about the same age. They were members
of the Christian church and their lives exemplified their faith. Ten of their
children are still living, in the j^ear 1900.

Albert J. Lowry, their eldest child, is indebted to the public-school, sys-
tem of his native state for the educational privileges which he enjoyed. He
l)articipated in the sports of boyhood during the periods of vacation and also
performed such duties as were assigned to him. In 1850 he crossed the plains
to California, making the journey with a party from ^Missouri. They were
five months upon the way and the usual incidents of such a trip befell them.
The wagons were hauled by oxen and Mr. Lowry drove a team, aided in the
cooking of the meals and rendered himself generally useful on the trip. It was
on the i8th of August, 1850, that he arrived in Placerville, just three weeks
before the admission of California into the Union. ^Mining was then, as now,
the leading industry of the state, and he began placer.mining with a pick, shovel
and rocker. The business was new to him and he met with only moderate
success; but he continued his operations in the mines until 1861, when he was
appointed deputy sherifif. He served for two years and was then appointed
deputy county clerk, serving for one term. On the expiration of that period
he was made postmaster under the administration of President Lincoln, acting
in that capacity for almost twenty years, or until the first election of President
Cleveland, when he was succeeded by a Democrat. No higher testimonial
of his efficiency and fidelity could be given than the fact of his long continuation
in office. On the 28th of December, 1870, he had also been appointed agent of
the Wells-Fargo Express Company and is still serving in that important office.
Nor has this ended his public service. For four years he was one of the county
supervisors of Eldorado county, being elected to that position in 1889. In his
early manhood he was a Douglas Democrat; but when the country became
invohed in civil war he joined the ranks of the Republican party, and has
since become one of its stalwart advocates.

Mr. Lowry is a worthy exemplar of Masonic principles. He joined the
order in 1869, receiving the master's degree at Indian Diggings. He has
filled various offices and had the honor of being master of Eldorado Lodge,
No. 29, F. & A. M., for five years.

In 1872 Mr. Lowry was united in marriage to I\rrs. Sarah Corning, the
widow of C. W. Corning and a daughter of James and Agnes Ardery. By her
first marriage Mrs. Lowry had a daughter, Edna, now the wife of T. J. Har-
ris, of San Francisco. Mr. and Mrs. Lowry became the parents of one daugh-
ter. Susie, the wife of G. C. Groezinger, also of San Francisco. Mrs. Lowry
is a valued member of the Presbyterian church and a lady of many excellent
qualities and enjoys in a marked degree the esteem of all who know her. Our


suliject and his wife ha\e a deliglitful home in Piacerville and the circle of their
friends is extensive. Through a fifty years" residence in Cahfornia ]\Ir. Lowry
has become thoroughly imbued with the progressive spirit of the age and has
taken a deep and abiding interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the
state, doing all in his power to promote the growth and substantial upbuilding
of the county in which he resides.


Almost half a century has passed since John Holder came to California,
the year of his arrival here being 1852. He is now located in Penryn, Placer
county, and is spending the evening of his life in an honorable retirement
from labor. Mr. Holder is a native of North Carolina, his birth having
occurred there on the 26th of January, 1826. Of German and English ar.ces-
try, he represents old families of the North state. His father, Michael Holder,
was born in North Carolina and was of German lineage. He married Miss
Katie Donawa}-, a lady of English lineage and a representative of a family
that had long been connected wath the south. The father followed the occu-
l^ation of a bricklayer and builder and spent his entire life in North Carolina.
Both he and his wife were members of the Methodist church and his death
occurred when he had attained the age of seventy years, his wife having pre-
viously departed this life. They were the parents of six sons and six daughters
and of the family only two sons and three daughters yet survive.

John Holder is the only one in California. He was educated in the state
of his nativity, whence he removed to Indiana in January, 1852. In company
with three of his neighlxirs, he came to California, by way of the isthmus
route. His first business venture here was at placer mining at Osley Bar, on
the Yuba river ; but, not meeting with very great success in his search for gold,
he turned his attention to brick-laying, a trade which he had learned with his
father, following that pursuit in Sacramento. Later, however, he came to
Newcastle and once more attempted his fortune in the mines, this time min-
ing with gratifying success, not only in mining but in buying" and selling
claims. In 1856 he married Miss Sarah M. Rowles, who came to California in
1853, and since his marriage ]\Ir. Holder has lived within three miles of New-
castle. He has been connected with various business enterprises, conducted
a hotel, was engaged in merchandising for fourteen 3'ears, and was agent for
the Wells-Fargo Express Company for eighteen years.

Unto our subject and his wife were born two children, a son and a daugh-
ter: William Francis Holder, who is now a railroad agent in Arizona: and
Emily Jane, who is the wife of John Conners. Mrs. Holder died in Newcastle
in 1 871, and her husband remained single for seventeen years. In 1S88 he was
n-,arried to ]\Iiss Mildred Elizabeth Johnson, who has since been to liim a faith-
ful companion and helpmate on life's journey. In 1877 Mr Holder returned
to the home of his birth. He had been absent for twenty-five years, during
which time his parents, three sisters and three brothers had passed away, and
there was more sadness than jov connected with the visit. After two months'


absence he returned to California and has since gone three times to visit
relatives and friends in Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.

At Penryn he is engaged in fruit-farming, owning thirty-five acres of
rich land and a pleasant cottage there. He makes a specialty of raising apples
and grapes and is successful in this undertaking. He richly deserves the com-
fortable competence he has acquired, for it has been olitained entirely through
his own efforts and by honorable liusiness methods. He is one of the old
IMasons of the county, having received the sublime degree of ]^laster Mason
in Gold Hill Lodge, in 1854. Politically he is a Democrat, and religiously
he and his wife are connected with the Baptist church. There is much in his
life record that is worthy of emulation, for he has been true to every duty,
Avhether of a public or private character, and in his career has manifested many
sterling elements.


This is a utilitarian age and effort must lend itself to some line of use-
fulness, contributing to individual benefit or to the public good. Idleness has
no part in the movement of the world to-day, and the man who makes prog-
ress along life's journey is he of marked enterprise, capable of recognizing
and improving opportunities whether they be for his own or for the public
welfare. George Hofmeister, an active and energetic citizen of Eldorado
county, who is now filling the office of county assessor, was born on the 8th
of February, 1863, in the commvmity in which he makes his home.

He is the son of Frederick Hofmeister, who was born in Germany, March
25, 1829, and came to this country in 1848, landing at New York, and went
direct to Elizabeth, Xew Jersey, where he engaged in brick-manufacturing,
which he followed for four years, being at that time the foreman of the enter-
prise. In 1852 he came to California, stopping at Placerville. He first engaged
in mining in this state, but in 1869 he became the owner of the Ohio House,
of which he was the obliging landlord until 1886, when he retired from active
business. Now, in his seventy-first year, he is enjoying a well earned rest,
the labor of former years supplying him with all the necessities and many of
the luxuries of life. In the year 1862 he married Mrs. Mell, who by her
former marriage had three children. As Mr. Hofmeister's wife she became
the mother of four children. — three sons and a daughter. The latter, Mrs.
L. H. Pratt, is the proprietor of the hotel at Sugar Loaf. Fred, the son of
the family, is in Plymouth, and one of the children has departed this life.
]\lrs. Hofmeister has been a resident of California since 1854. The parents
of our subject have a good home and are spending the evening of life quietly
in the midst of friends and family.

George Hofmeister, whose name introduces this review, is indebted to the
public schools for his jireliminary education, which was supplemented by a
course in the Academy at Placerville. After his graduation at that instituti<Mi
he pursued a course in the Pacific Business College, at San Francisco, where
he was graduated in 1882. For four years, from 1886 to 1890, he was the dep-


iity postmaster under James Tyson, and subsequently he engaged in the manu-
facture of cigars and had cliarge iif the Eldorado county exhibit at the
-Mid-winter Fair in San Francisco. He was also for some time the deputy
postmaster under A. T. Culbertson. and then received the appointment of
tleputy sheriit under George H. Hill)ert. In 189S he was elected the assessor
of Eldorado county, which office he is now filling with credit to himself and
satisfaction to all concerned. The Democratic party receives his allegiance
and lie has been active and earnest in its support, attending its conventions
and working untiringly in its, behalf. He was a delegate to the last Democratic
state convention. His social connections are with the ]\Iasonic fraternity, the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Placerville Parlor of the Native .Sons
of the Golden West. Of the last named he was one of the organizers and
is a past president, while of the grand parlor of the state he is a past grand vice
president. He is a very enthusiastic representative of the order and his labdrs
have contributed largely to its upbuilding.

In 1886 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Hofmeister and Miss Annie
Ash. of Sacramento, one of the native daughters of California. Their union
has been blessed with three children, of whom two are living, — Augustus and
Cyril. In all that pertains to the upbuilding and advancement of his
community, Mr. Hofmeister takes a deep interest, and he is a public-spirited,
progressive man. He served on the commission that erected California's mon-
ument at Coloma to James W. Marshall, the noted discover of gold in
January, 1848. He and his A\ife ha\-e hosts of friends in Eldorado county
antl in Sacramento, and their pleasant home is celebrated for its hospitality.
In manner he is free from all ostentation and display, but his intrinsic worth
is recognized and his friendship is most prized l)v those who know him best,
showing that his character \\-ill l)ear scrutiny and close acquaintance.


Mr. Fiirni is the proprietcjr of the new Georgetown Hotel. lie is a ]iop-
ular landlord and his well conducted hostelry secures a liberal patronage fmni
the traveling public. A native of Switzerland, Mr. Forni was born in 1S48.
and in his native land ac(|uired his education. Fie subsequently removed to
France, where he became connected with the hotel business. On leaving that
country he made his way direct to Eldorado, California, where for a time
he was engag'ed in the stock and dairy business, conducting a well e(|uipi)e(l
ranch. He met with gratifying success in this undertaking and thus gained
a good start in business life. Subsequently he rented the Pioneer Flotel. of
CJeorgetown, which he conducted for ten years, when on the 14th of June,
1897, it was destroyed by fire. He then purchased the ground on which he has
since erected the new Georgetown Flotel. In height it is two stories and a
basement. Its dimensions are eighty I)\- one hundred feet and it contains thirty
rooms, elegantly furnished and supplied with all the modern conveniences.
The dining-room is supplied with the best the market affords, and ^Ir. Forni
does all in his power to promote the comfort of his guests. The Georgetown


Hotel is a credit tu its owner and tlie town and is a favorite resort witli the
traveling public. No equipment is lacking, and his long experience in the bus-
iness has well qualified Mr. Forni for its capable conduct. He believes in sup-
plying his guests with the best, at moderate prices, and thus he has made many
friends and gained a good patronage. He owns mining interests, but gives
his ttndivided attention to the management of his excellent hostelry.

In 1872 Mr. Forni was united in marriage to ]\liss Theresa Forni, who
though of the same name was not a relative. They have one child, Victor,
who is a graduate of Heald's Business College, of San Francisco, and is
engaged in mining. Socially the subject of this review is connected with the
Masonic fraternity, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient
Order of United Workmen, and in all he is an active member. He takes a
deep interest in the upbuilding and improvements of his town and is a public-
spirited citizen whose eitorts in behalf of Georgetown ha\e not been without
good results.


Frederick W'astier has been associated with the upbuilding of Lincoln
from the earliest inception of the town and his labors have contributed in
no small measure to its advancement and progress along substantial lines
of development. He arrived in California in September, 1852. His birth-
place is Bavaria, Germany, and his natal day the nth of September, 1829.
His parents, Louis and Mary (German) Wastier, were also natives of the
fatherland, and in 1852 they crossed the Atlantic to the United States and
resided in St. Louis, Missouri. They were farming people, but their last
days were spent in the city. They held membership in the Presbyterian church
there and when called to rest their remains were interred in one of the
cemeteries of St. Louis. The father died in the sixty-fourth year of his age,
while the mother was called to the home beyond in her seventy-sixth }ear.
They had three sons and four daughters.

Frederick ^\'astier, whose name forms the caption of this article, was
educated in his native country and learned the trade of the butcher there.
In 1847, when eighteen years of age, he came to the United States, taking
up his abode in St. Louis, where he followed his chosen vocation. The dis-
covery of gold in California induced him to try his fortune on the Pacific
coast, and in 1852 he crossed the plains with oxen in company with three
young men. They traveled in a party of twenty and were five months upon
the way; and though the journey was a tedious one they met with no mis-
fortune. When Mr. \\"astier arrived at Downieville. Sierra county, he liad
just twenty dollars in his pocket, and when he reached Sacramento he had»
ten cents remaining. However, he at once .sought em])loyment, securing work

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 85 of 108)