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 89 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 89 of 108)
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In i860 Mr. Heilbron was united in marriage to .Miss Augusta Schaar,
a nati\-e of Hamburg, German}-, and they have had four children, of whom
but two are still living, namely: Henry A. and ^Nlrs. Caroline (hiaas, of Sac-
ramento.

The mind of Mr. Heilbron is many-sided, but no side is abnormally
developed, all being harmonious and even. To whatever he gives his time
and attention he carries through to successful completion. He is ever just
ami also generous; others must do the part they agree with him to do, and
never has he been known to fail on his part. He is an example of the boys
who educate them.selves and secure their own start in life. — determined, self-
reliant boys, — willing to work for advantages which other boys secured



68o REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

through inheritance; destined hj- sheer force of character to succeed in ilie
face of all opjxjsition and to push to the front in one important branch of
enterprise or another. As a man his business ability has been constantly
manifested in one phase or another, showing unlimited possibilities, nothing
too great to grasp and master; and the extensive concerns — some of the larg-
est in California — oi which he is now tlie head are monuments to his won-
derful power.

NEHEMIAH F. ORDWAY.

The name of Xehemiah F. Ordway is indelibly inscribed on the pages
of the history of the west, fur throughout the period of its development he
was an active factor in promoting its interests and is numbered among the
honored pioneers who made possible its later-day progress and prosperity.
The lot of the pioneer of the west has teen a peculiarly hard one. The In-
dians, driven from their hunting grounds farther east, have cherished the
resentment characteristic of the race and have met as foes the brave band
of white men who came to the western wilderness to reclaim the lands for
purposes of civilization and to garner the riches of nature for themselves
and families. Not only were the pioneers met by the hostility of the In-
dians, but vast stretches of sandy plains and almost impassable mountains
separated them from the comforts and conveniences of the east, and their
lot was one of danger, difficulty, hardship and toil. A courageous spirit,
an unconquerable determination and steadfast purpose, — these were the quali-
ties demanded of the pioneers, and such characteristics enabled Mr. Ordway
to meet conditions before which many another man would have quailed.

Mr. Ordway resides in Oakdale, Stanislaus count}-, and is a native of
Franklin county, New York, jjorn on the 23d of July, 1834. He was there-
fore sixteen years of age at the time of his arrival in California, among the
'49ers. His ancestors were of English Ijirth and became early settlers of Ver-
mont. His father, Jonathan Ordway, was born, reared and married in the
Green Mountain state, Elizabeth Green, also a native of Vermont, becoming
his wife. The father was a physician by profession and was also an owner
of a farm. He removed to Franklin county, New York, becoming one of the
pioneer medical practitioners and farmers of his locality. He attained the
age of seventy years, but his good wife passed away previously. They were
both consistent members of the !\Iethodist church and in that faith they reared
their five children.

Only two of that number are now li\ing and ]\Ir. Ordway is the only
representative of the family in California. His educational privileges were
very limited, so that he may be said to be self-educated in the dear school
of experience. When but a youth he started for California, making the jour-
ney by way of the isthmus of Panama. His passage and expenses amounted
to two iiundred and ten dollars, such were the high prices charged at that
time. :\ ^•ery se\-ere storm was experienced during the voyage, the waves
running "mountain" high. The ship was disabled and the crew and passengers



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 68 1

were compelled to wnrk at the pumps night and day to keep the vessel afloat.
The water rose so high that the tires were extinguished and the passengers
were saved only through the intervention of another ship which towed into
harhor the one on which ^Mr. Ordway had taken passage. The escape was
indeed a narrow one. Our subject went direct fi-om San Francisco to the
placer mines in Tuolumne county, and was engaged in mining in Jackass
Gulch, where he had a little claim, out of which he took considerable gold,
securing about six hundred dollars in a month. That mine subsequently yielded
fifteen thousand dollars. The food supply among the miners was limited
during the following winter and in consecjuence the prices were very exor-
bitant. In the spring ]\Ir. Ordway went to Stockton on horseback, and later
proceeded to San Francisco, Avhere he boarded a ship bound for Australia,
on which were one hundred and sixteen passengers. After they had left the
port it was discovered that two of the passengers had smallpox. All of the
others were then vaccinated and the progress of the disease was thus impeded.
At the equator they were becalmed for tAvo weeks. At the time they reached
the Sandwich islands it was found that their supply of provisions was inade-
quate and there they purchased hogs and cocoanuts. and soon they were out
(if fond again and this time supplied the deficiency by obtaining crackers from
aniither ship. They subsisted on these, together with some arrowroot which
they had on board. Before reaching the harbor the ship Avas struck by a
typhoon and they were in a gale for six weeks, the sea being lashed into
great fury. At length the wind changed, blowing from another direction, but
tliat merely added to the roughness of the sea. When the storm subsided they
saw near them a ship turned bottom side up and knew that all of its pas-
sengers must have been lost. The vessel on which Mr. Ordway sailed had
been blown two hundred miles out of its course, but they finally landed at
Gelong and there obtained food. The passengers again boarded the ship and
at last reached Melbourne in safety after a very stormy voyage of six months.
On the A-oyage Air. Ordway had formed the acquaintance of a little
Dutchman and they decided to keep together. They made their way to Ben-
digo, where Mr. Ordway worked for two days for seven dollars and fifty
cents per day, and then got a claim of his own, twelve by twelve feet. He
sunk a hole in the middle of this and struck a vein of pure gold which looked
like flax seed, and was worth nineteen dollars and fifty cents per ounce.
He and his partner took out three thousand dollars in a week, worked out
the claim and then started' for Bendigo. The Dutchman stopped at ^^^^ite
Sand Hill, but Mr. Ordway iiroceeded on his journey and in connection with
(ithers he purchased a claim on which a shaft had not as yet been sunk to a
depth where gold could be olitained. The new owners, however, worked it
out in two days and secured fifteen thousand dollars, the streak of gold only
crossing one corner of the claim. Mr. Ordway's Dutch friend was fortunate
in his venture and took out gold to ther weight of two hundred pounds from
the White Sand Hill. There were many convicts from \"an Dieman's Land
and the miners were in constant dread of being killed and robbed. Mr. Ord-
wav had purchased horses and was hauling wood. In this wav he made con-



682 REPRESEXTATIVE CITIZEXS

siderable money, but at night liis horses had to be fastened with iieavy chains
in order to keep them from being stolen. One night he awoke and heard
talking outside of his tent in the direction of the horses. He fired a shot
and the robbers escaped ; but not relishing such an existence, he a little later
decided to return to ^Melbourne. It was his intention to buy a stage-coach and
engage in running it, as the fare for the passage of sixty miles was fifty dol-
lars; but he could not secure a stage-coach at any price, and accordingly
left Australia, taking a ship for South America.

He went to New Zealand and thence to Callao, South America. Desir-
ing to prospect on the Amazon, he obtained a pass from the American consul,
for at that time there was a rebellion in the land and there was considerable
trouble in getting through the army lines. Mr. Ordway and his companions
crossed the mountains that were sixteen thousand and six hundred feet above
the sea level. When they were at that altitude the blood burst from their
eyelids and the ends of their fingers and they became stupefied. They suc-
ceeded, however, in getting to the top of the mountain and to wdiere some
Englishmen were working a mine, and there they lay for twenty-four hours
not knowing or wanting anything, and their horses were in the same con-
dition ! They found gold all through that country on the tributaries of the
Amazon river, but they also saw unpleasant sights, for in the jungles there
were boa constrictors and wild animals that rendered life unsafe. The
Indians, too, were a constant menace, being very hostile, and the lives of the
white men were continually endangered. They saw bridges made of hay,
rope and sticks, but the monkeys did not have to resort to any such means to
cross the rivers, as they would spring across wide streams, one holding the
other in his mottth imtil they formed a chain long enough to bridge the
water !

]\Ir. Ordway and his party returned to Callao, and as there was no pas-
senger ship at the port they asked for passage on an American man-of-war.
During the voj'age he formed a high opinion of the ability of the American
navy, noting the excellent marksmanship and splendid training. At length
Mr. Ordway arrived in San Francisco and made his way to Gold Springs,
Tuolumne county, where he constructed a water race and again met with
success in his mining ventures. Subsequently he came to Stanislaus county,
where he purchased two hundred and fifty acres of rich land at Langworth
on the river bottom, where he raised melons and pumpkins so large that one
could hardly hold them. At first he made a great deal of money, for the
products brought good prices. In one season he raised ovtv two hundred
tons of wheat, having in the meantime purchased additional tracts of land
until he had about one thousand acres. Through adverse circumstances, how-
ever, he lost all of this.

On the 31st of December, 1857, Mr. Ordway was united in marriage to
Miss Elizabeth H. Kennedy, a native of Pennsylvania, a daughter of John
Kennedy, whose ancestors were from the north of Ireland. She came to
California in 1857. Seven cliildren were torn of their marriage: Walter K..
who is the baggagemaster and car inspector at Oakdale; Clara D., at home;



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 683

J. Ernest, of Oakdale; ^\'illianl A., who is engaged in railroading; Fanny
jM., now the wife of WilHam H. Shipman. of Oakdale: and Frank M. and
Lizzie, who are still with their parents. Both Air. and Mrs. Ordway are
valued members of the Methodist church, and several of their children also
belong to the same religious body. For years he has been a trustee in the
church and is one of the earliest members of the church at Oakdale. During
the intervening years he has ever been loyal and true to its teachings, doing
all in his power to advance its work. He is a strong temperance man and is
a member of the Order of St. Paul, a church society whose members make it a
principle of their lives to do good to every one.

Mr. Ordway has had an eventful experience, and if his history should be
written in detail it would prove more exciting and interesting than many of
the tales of fiction which so enchain the attention of the young. He has
endured the hardships of pioneer life, the storms at sea, has faced the robbers
of Australia and wild animals of South America, and though never courting
danger he has resolutely manifested a fearless spirit that has awakened a
high admiration. His life has been honorable and true and of manly prin-
ciples, and among the worthy pioneers of the state none are deserving of a
higher regard than Xehemiah F. Ordway.

REUBEN MOORE SPARKS.

Emigration to California in '49 and the early '50s was drawn from the
liest element of the east and middle west, and, in fact from all parts of the
world ; for in those days it took pluck and courage to brave the dangers of
overland travel or voyage; months Avere consumed in making the journey;
and uncertainty, and in many cases hardship, awaited the traveler. Among
those w-ho landed in California at that early date, have passed through the
varied experiences of a half century and are now comfortablv situated in the
Golden state, is Reuben Moore Sparks, a resident of Sunny South, Placer
county. It was in 1853 ^^'^^^ ^^^ came to California.

Mr. Sparks was born in Kentucky January 8, 1835, a son of Mattison
and Winfred (Thomas) Sparks, the former a native of Kentucky and the
latter of Virginia, the Sparks family having lived in Kentucky for several
generations, the Thomases being an old Virginia family. His ancestors were
prominent in the early history of this country and were participants in both
the w^ar of the Revolution aiid of 1812. Mattison Sparks attained the ripe
age of eighty-seven years. His w-ife was sixty-five when she died. They
had eight sons and a daughter, four of whom are living.

In his native state Reuben j\I. Sparks spent the first eighteen years of his
life, and then came to California, stopping first at Grass Valley, Nevada
county, \\\kv& for a year and a half he worked for wages on a ranch. Wt
next find him at Deer Creek, where he spent the w^inter in mining. With a
])artner he secured a claim at Bear river, out of which they took about four
thousand dollars. They mined thirteen hundred dollars in a single week,
and out of one pan of dirt took ninety-three dollars. Also they had a canyon



684 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

claim, whicli they mined successfully. Later Mr. Sparks came to lowa Hill,
where he and his brother invested in a mine. This, however, proved a failure.
He then went to Wolf creek, where he mined one summer with good success,
at the end of the season returning to Iowa Hill and going thence to Damas-
cus. There he became a partner with JNIr. 'M. H. Power and others in the
Damascus mine, which they consolidated with the Mountain Gate mine, in
which he is still interested. He is also a shareholder in the Hidden Treasure
Gravel mine. Since 1876 he has been a resident of Sunny South, where he
now has a pleasant home, and, surrounded with comfort and plenty, is spend-
ing the evening of life.

Mr. Sparks was married, in July, 1880, to ]\Iiss L. B. Bank, of Nevada
county, a daughter of F. W. Bank, who has been a resident of this state
since 1855 ^"^ "o^"^" resides at San Juan. I\Ir. and Mrs. Sparks have an only
daughter, JNliss Hattie.

Of Mr. Sparks' political and fraternal affiliations it may be said that he
has been a life-long Democrat and has long been identified with the Masonic
order, having membership in both the blue lodge and chapter.

JOHN H. GUSHING.

From the far off Pine Tree state Mr. Gushing came to identify his inter-
ests with those of Galifornia, and through forty-one years he has been a resi-
dent of this state, his home being now in Penryn. Placer county. He was
liorn in Blue Hill, Maine, on the 23d of March, 1838, and represents a family
that w'as founded in New England in colonial days by English ancestors. His
grandfather and his father, the latter bearing the name of John Gushing, were
both born on the old family homestead in Maine which the great-grand-
father had located. John Gushing was born in 1800 and was reared and
educated in the place of his birth. He married Miss Eliza Hinkley, a native
of Blue Hill and a representative of an old and honored family there. They
had three sons and a daughter. The father was a sea captain and in 1849
he came to Galifornia as the master of the ship Governor Stevens. He died
at his home in Blue Hill, in the fifty-second year of his age, leaving a widow
and four children. In 1873 the mother came to Galifornia. spending her last
days in the home of her son John, her death occurring in 1894. at the ripe
old age of eighty-four years. She was a member of the Baptist church and
an e.xcellent woman who carefully reared her family.

■ When the- father of our subject died the latter was a young sailor. He
went to sea when only fourteen years of age and sailed until his twenty-first
year. In 1839 he came to Galifornia, by way of the isthmus route, landing
in San Francisco. In the early years of his residence in this state he engaged
in mining and farming and followed other pursuits which would yield him an
honest living. In 1862 he returned to the east, around Gape Horn, as a sailor
on a clipper ship, after which he settled in Boston and resided there till 1867,
when he returned to Galifornia by way of the isthmus route, locating in the
Lixermore valley, in Alameda county, where he engaged in farming for a



OF XORTHERX CALIFORNIA. 68 5

time. Subseijuentl}' he remo\-ed tu Arizona, where he fullowed placer-mining
and also engaged in copper-mining and in prospecting to a considerable extent.
He found \aluable claims, but no transportation facilities were near and they
are still undeveloped. Mr. Gushing then returned to San Francisco, where
he was engaged in the manufacture of syrup of figs, and in 1886 he came to
IVnryn, Placer county, where he has since engaged in fruit-raising. His
orchards and residence are in the town, only a short distance from the railway
station, and he is now conducting a large and profitable business.

In 1881 Mr. Gushing was happily married to Mrs. Emily J. Brown, a
daughter of John Brenan. She came to Galifornia in 1S54 and. for a number
of years resided in Sacramento and San Francisco. Since 1872 Mr. Gushing
has been a member of the Masonic fraternity and he and his wife are charter
members of the Eastern Star lodge in Penryn. in which he is serving as worthy
])atron, while his wife is conductress. His political support is given the
Republican party. They are highly esteemed people of the community and
their extensive circle of friends is an indication of their sterling worth.

CHRISTOPHER GOLUMBUS SANDERS.

Prominent among the energetic, far-seeing and successful business men of
nnrthern California was the subject of this sketch. His life history most
liajjpily illustrated what may be attained by faithful and continued effort in
carrving out an honest purpose. Integrity, activity and energy were the
crowning points of his success, and his connection with various business enter-
prises and industries was a decided advantage to this section of Galifornia,
]M-omoting its material welfare in no uncertain manner. At all times he was
Jinnorable and straightforward and gained a reputation for integrity in the
affairs of life that was indeed enviable and worthy of emulation.

Mr. Sanders was born in Trigg county, Kentucky, on the lovh of Octo-
l)er, 1834, and his parents, Jeremiah and Ann Maria (Ramey") Sanders, were
also natives of that state and descendants of old southern familie^, there. In
the state of his nativity the subject of this review acquired his education and
when twenty years of age he became one of California's pioneers, a young
man of courageous spirit, full of enterprise and determination, and was well
(|ualified to meet the hardships inseparable from the development and improve-
ment of a new section of country. It was in the year 1854 that he crossed the
plains. He was accompanied by a cousin and together they brought a drove
of cattle. For a short time thev remained in the Sierra valley and then went
to Coon creek, where they herded their cattle and later sought pasturage in
many sections of the state, including the site of the present town of Lincoln.
Mr. Sanders first engaged in mining in the Auburn Ravine and in his search
for gold he was rewarded by a fair sunplv of the precious metal. He was
also for a time engaged in the hotel business and was agent for a ditch
company.

In 1 86 1, when gold was discovered in Idaho, he went to that territory,
making his v.ay to the Warren diggings, he and his companion each carrying



686 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZENS

a sack of flour and other equipments on their backs. !Mr. Sanders continued
his mining operations in Idaho for three years, but returned to Placer county-
each winter. He was a man of great endurance and energy and his long
sustained effort enabled him to acquire a large amount of gold. In this way
he got his start in life. Later he engaged in business at Lincoln and was
one of the most active promoters of the town, his efforts contributing in a
large measure to its growth. When the pottery was established in the town,
in 1875, he entered into contract to furnish teams and haul the clay to the
factory; and such were the pleasant business relations between him and the
company that he continued to do the hauling up to the time of his death, and
his teams have since been engaged in that work. In all his business relations
he was a man of the highest integrity and honor.

In 1864 Mr. Sanders was united in marriage to JNIiss ^lary Burdge, a
native of Linn county, ]iIissouri, and a daughter of Stephen Douglas Burdge,
one of the honored California pioneers of 1850. Mrs. Sanders came to this
state with her mother in 1852 and has therefore witnessed the wonderful
development of California from a mining camp into a commonwealth possess-
ing all the industries, enterprises and indications of civilization known to the
older east. Three children came to bless their union : Lottie, who was born
in Lincoln, is now the wife of Henry P. Sartain, who is conducting the Burdge,
the leading hostelry of the town of Lincoln; Frank L., who is the managing
editor of the Placer Herald, at Auburn, and married ]\Iiss Mattie Newton;
and the third child died in infancy.

Mr. Sanders always gave his political support to the Democracy and for
several years he served the city of his choice as a member of her board of
trustees, and in that way he earnestly labored for her upbuilding and progress
along substantial lines, and was ever ready to do all in his power to promote
the welfare of the town. His efforts were of a practical nature and resulted
to the immediate benefit of Lincoln and also proved of worth in later years.
He was one of the leaders in procuring the water supply and water system
which furnishes the town with an abundant supply of pure water, not only
for use in the homes and in the business houses but also as a protection against
fire. 'Sir. Sanders also served for one term as license collector.

In 1859 he received the sublime degree of ^Master Mason in Gold Hill
Lodge, No. 32, F. & A. M., and at once became a valued and active worker.
He was honored bv election to many of the offices in the lodge, which he
filled in a manner highly creditable to" himself and satisfactory to the brethren
of the fraternity. For' three years he was the capable and efficient master.
He was also a 'member of the Ancient Order of United ^^■orkn1en and in
his life exemplified the helpful spirit of those fraternities. His death oc-
curred on the 1 2th of February, 1898, occasioned by rheumatism of tlie
heart. The end came suddenly and was a sad bereavement to his family
and the whole city. He was serving as trustee of Lincoln at the time
of his demise, and the board of which he was a member passed the following
resolution as a tribute to his memory: "Resolved, that it is but a just tribute
to the memory of the departed to say that in regretting his removal from our



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 687

midst we mourn for one who was in every way "^vorthy of our respect and
regard; an active member of the board whose utmost endeavors were for the
welfare and best interests of this town; a friend and' companion who was
near to us all ; a citizen whose upright life was a standard of emulation to his
fellows." In manner Mr. Sanders was very pleasant, courteous and frank.
He was ever ready to assist the needy with o^x^n hand or to relieve any form
of suffering- or distress. He was a man of the highest integrity of character
and his word was as good as an}- bond that was ever solemnized by signature
or seal.

]Mrs. Sanders and her children are well known in Placer county. She
is a lady of marked refinement and she and her daughter are members of the
Order of the Eastern Star, of which she is past matron. She is now con-
ducting the Burdge Hotel, wliich was built by her father. In this she is
assisted by her son-in-law, Mr. Sartain. The hotel is a large, well-kept house,
the leading one of the town, and Mrs. Sanders and ]Mr. Sartain do all in



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 89 of 108)