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 9 of 108)
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Marshall Corners, in Hunterdon county, on the loth of October, 1810. His
parents also were natives of that state, his father being born on the same farm,
in 1786. He married Miss Sarah Wilson, who was born in 1788, and in
Maryland, in 1834, departed this life. His wife survived him for many years
and passed away in 1878. Mr. Marshall's grandmother on the paternal side
was Rebecca Hart, a daughter of John Hart, one of the signers of the Declar-
ation of Independence, of New Jersey. Mr. Marshall also claimed that an
eighth strain of Delaware Indian blood flf)wed in his veins. He ac(|uired
a thorousih education in his native state and there learned the trade of



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 65

wheelwright from his father, after wliicli lie worked for a few months in
Crawfordsville at the carpenter's trade. Ahout the year 1835 he removed to
'Warsaw, Illinois, and then to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, intending to enter
a claim in the Platte purchase, but instead he worked at the carpenter's trade
and also engaged in trading to some extent, with fairly good success; how-
ever, he was taken ill there with the ague and became greatly reduced in
weight. In May, 1844, he started for California as one of the "bull
punchers" in a train of one hundred wagons. The winter was passed at
Fort Hall and thence he went to Oregon, finally reaching California, where
he entered the employ of Captain Sutter, at Sutter's Fort, continuing with
him for several months. He made plow's and spring wheels and was the
"handv man" about the place, for his mechanical skill enabled him to man-
ufacture almost anything that was needed.

]\Ir. Marshall enlisted in the Bear Flag war and served through.out that
struggle and also i« the Mexican war in California. He was a brave and
efficient soldier and his labor contributed not a little toward the successful
termination of hostilities. In March, 1847, he received an honorable dis-
charge, but lie claimed he was never paid for his services. He returned to
Fort Sutter and was later an unattractive specimen of humanity upon the
return trip as he tramped through the forests and over the hills barefooted
and clad in buckskin.

Again he entered the ser\ice of Captain Sutter and on the 27th of
August, 1847, formed a partnership with hiiu to build a sawmill on the
south fork of the American river, the Captain furnishing the capital, while
Marshall was to select the site and build and operate the mill for one-fourth
of the lumber manufactured. It was also agreed that at the end of the
]\Iexican war if California belonged to Mexico, Sutter, as a citizen of that
country, should hold the mill-site, and if California was ceded to the United
States Mr. Marshall, being an American citizen, should have the property.
The agreement was drawn up by John Bidwell. who was then a clerk in
Sutter's store, and was witnessed by him and Samuel Kyliurz. The site
selected was Coloma, a name which has been Americanized from the Indian
Cul-lu-mah, said to mean beautiful vale. It was situated forty miles to the
east of Sacramento, and Marshall at once proceeded to launch the great enter-
prise of building a sawmill for the manufacture of lumber. He first erected
a double log cabin, in which he and his assistants might spend the winter.
The ground was cleared for the building, the trees felled and whipsa^ved, the
dam was built and the necessary flumes and races constructed. The timbers
of the mill were raised in the latter part of 1847. Everything had to be
made out of crude material on the spot with almost no implements or
machinery to assist in the prosecution of the work.

Mr. Marshall returned to Sutter's Fort on the i8th of December. 1847.
to make the models for the mill, and on the 14th of January, 1848, he set out
to return to the site of the new enterprise. The dam. wdiich' was built by
the Indians, was completed and was made with brush and timbers, weighted
down with stone. Soon after Mr. Marshall's return the river rose to an



66 REPRESENTATH'E CITIZENS

unusual height during a severe storm, and, being backed up by the dam,
swept down upon the mill placing the structure m great danger. In this
crisis Mr. Marshall and his men worked for hours waist-deep in the icy
water until the building was firmly anchored. Upon a trial the tail race
was found to be too shallow to carry the back water from the wheel, and
while engaged in making this deeper, Mr. Marshall discovered gold. He was
alone in the bottom of the race at the time the bed rock was uncovered, and
six inches under water he saw the glistening metal. He at once picked up
two pieces, and, pounding it with a stone, found that it was malleable. He
again picked up four other pieces and with them proceeded to where ]\Ir.
Scott was working in the mill and said, "I have found it." Scott asked
what he had found and Marshall responded, "Gold."' Four days after the
discovery he went to Sutter's fort, taking with him about three ounces of the
gold, which he and Captain Sutter tested with nitric acid.

After his discovery Mr. Marshall had a number of the mill men work on
"tribute" and did considerable mining with the Indians also, but in the
rush of immigrants that came to the coast he lost the land, to which he had
only a sc|uatter"s right, that came under either American or Mexican law w as
null and void on mineral land in equity; and in accordance with mining
usages which had been in vogue to that time, he was entitled to two operating-
site claims and the ground occupied by the mill, together with an amount of
land necessary for the untrammeled operation of the mill ; but he wanted
the entire claim, and, instead of concentrating his attention upon mining,
he spent his time in fighting the natives and getting into trouble with the
newcomers. This rendered him so unpo])uIar that he was finally unable to
save that to which he was justly entitled and ultimately lost everything, ha\ing
no remuneration for his discovery.

For several years Mr. Marshall was a wanderer. InU finally returned
to Coloma and purchased the tract where his little cabin stootl and which
is now the site of the monument that has been erected to his memory. He
there had a vineyard and its fruits brought to him a good financial return.
In 1862 his old cabin was destroyed by fire and the present lutle frame
dwelling was erected by him in its place. In 1869 and 1870 he went on
two lecturing tours, which proved an unqualified success from a financial
standpoint, but the habit of strong drink grew upon him and brought him
to an untimely end. Many of his later years were spent at Kelsey, about
six miles distant from Coloma. After his return from his second lecture
tour the legislature of the state made the following appropriations for him:
Feljruary 2. 1872, two hundred dollars per month for two years; March
23, 1874, one hundred dollars per month for two years; April i, 1876. one
hundred dollars per month for two years, thus giving him a total of ninety-
six hundred dollars. He scattered his means indiscriminately among his
friends and parasites, and his habit of strong drink so preyed upon him
that it almost entirely destroyed his manhood. This had the efifect to cause
the legislature to cease its appropriations and the remaining seven years
of his life were spent in poverty as far as ready money was concerned.



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.



67



lie had property enough at Kelsey to ha\-e kept liimself comfortal:)Iy all
liis Hte, but he would neither sell nor work it. His poverty was the result
of his inability to take care of himself under any circumstances that could
have been devised; and it seems now as though the state might have given
him a small appropriation to supply him with the necessaries of life and
yet render him unable to gratify his strong passion for drink.

Mr. Marshall was a Spiritualist and claimed that he had always been
aware that there was a great work for him to do, and that he had been guided
and caused to make the discovery by spiritual influences. Be that as it
may, he certainly did make the first valuable discovery of California gold.
Although naturally capable i>f better things, he deteriorated until he was




most unprepossessing in appearance and untidy of person. His cabin was
again reeking with tobacco and redolent of creasote. His objectionable
traits became so pronounced that public feeling was much against him, yet he
had good qualities. He was very hospitable, was fond of children and the
lasting regard which his friends entertained for him shows that there were
the true elements of worth in his character. He was an unfortunate being,
misunderstanding and misunderstood, born to unhappincss and sorrow.



68 REPRESENTATIVE CITIZEXS

His discovery of g-old oii the 24th of January. 1848. was the first dis-
cox'ery of the great gold deposits of the Sierra Nevada, and he was the first one
to bring the vahie of the mineral resources of the state to the world's knowl-
edge; and for that he is justly entitled to credit. He died in Kelsey, on the
morning of the 8th of October, 1885, at the age of seventy-four years and ten
months. He had arisen and dressed himself that morning, but was found
lying dead on his cot. His remains were interred at Coloma, and Placer-
ville Parlor, No. 9, Native Sons of the Golden West, instituted the move-
ment which resulted in the erection, b}- the state, of the monument, which on
the 3d of May, 1890, was placed on a hill overlooking the river where he
made his famous discovery. The monument is a marble pillar on which
suitable inscriptions have been chiseled, and upon it stands the bronze statue
of the brave pioneer who made the discovery of gold and thereby materially
increased the wealth of California, of the United States and of the entire
world.

JAMES MADDUX.

James Maddux, deceased, who resided in Sacramento, was born in
Clinton county, Illinois, on the 21st of June. 1821, and is a son of Wingate
and Sarah Maddux, both of whom were natives of ^Maryland. The father
was of French extraction and at an early day he and his young wife removed
from the south to Clinton county, Illinois, locating on a farm in that state.
Mr. Maddux foljowed agricultural pursuits throughout his life and was
called to his final rest in 1824, his wife surviving him for seven years.
Tliey had eight children, but Mrs. Susan Adams, a widow living in Berkeley,
California, is the only surviving member of the family. She is now in
her ninety-first year and retains all her faculties with the exception of her
hearing, being yet an intelligent and energetic old lad}-.

The subject of this review was reared on the home farm in Clinton
county, Illinois, and acquired his education in the public schools of that
state. At the age of sixteen, his parents having died in the meantime, he
and his brother David accompanied their sister Susan and her husband to
Van Buren county, Arkansas. James remaining with his sister until
twenty-one years of age. In 1842 he and his brother established a general
mercantile store in Clinton, Arkansas, and were so successful that in 1846
they opened a branch store in Louisburg, that state, both undertakings being
crowned with a high degree of prosperity. They also owned a cotton gin
in Clinton, which brought to them a good financial return. In 1850 they
sold both stores and gin and started across the plains to California. They
organized a company of eighteen men, furnishing all of the provisions and
the complete outfit. They traveled with liorse and mule teams and their
journey was a pleasant one, being terminated when they arrived at Sacra-
mento, in August of that year. In the capital city Mr. Maddux ;ind his
brother opened a grocery and provision store, which they conducitMJ until
1855. when Da\id was elected cotmty treasurer and James ]\Taddux was
appninted deputy. .\ftcr their official term had expired they established a



OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. 69

clothing store, which they conducted most successfully for three years.
James Maddux was then appointed deputy assessor and occupied that posi-
tion until his death, wdiich occurred July 2, 1866.

In May, 1847, he married Miss Sarah Jane Mason, a native of Arkansas,
born in Little Rock, November 18, 1832. She was a daughter of Dudley D.
and Christina (Bird) Mason, the former born in Connecticut, of French
extraction, while the latter was a native of Kentucky and of German lineage.
Mr. and Mrs. JMaddux became the parents of six children, four of whom
are yet living, namely: Sarah, the wife of G. B. Crawford; Mrs. Varena
M. Rush; J. N., a foreman in De La Montanya's hardware store in San
Francisco; and Joseph M.. a respected citizen of Sacramento. Mr. Maddux
was a self-made man, a loving and devoted husband and father and was
greatly admired and esteemed by all who knew him.

THE FOX BROTHERS.

The firm of Fox Brothers is one which needs no introduction to the
readers of this volume, for in the control of a leading drug store in Placerville
they are widely known as merchants of enterprise and ability. Albert Sher-
man Fox, the elder brother, was born November 17, 1865, and Jay E. Fox
was born on the nth of March, 1871. Their father, John Fox, was a Cali-
fornia pioneer of 1852. He was born in Ohio, on the loth of July, 1829, and
was descended from an old eastern family. He crossed the plains to Califor-
nia with the emigrants of 1852, making a safe journey across the long stretches
of sand and over the mountains. He made hiswaj' directly to Placerville, whei'e
he engaged in placer mining, following the same business at different placer
diggings in the county. Li this he met with fair success and extended the field
of his labors by conducting a blacksmith shop at Shingle Springs, whence he
removed to Placerville, where he established himself in business. His indus-
try and honorable efforts brought to him a high degree of success which is well
merited and now he is living a retired life, surrounded by many of the com-
forts of life which have come to him as the reward of his former toil. He is
also enjoying the respect of friends and neighbors, for his upright life has
commended him to their confidence and regard.

John Fox was united in marriage in 1865 to ^Miss Lorinda Pelton, a
daughter of Samuel Pelton, who also came to California in the days of its
early development. They became the parents of four children, the daughters
being Hattie, now the wife of Thomas Brown; and May, at home with her
parents. The sons are the members of the well-known firm of Fox Brothers.

Albert S. Fox acquired his elementary education in the public schools
of his native town and his professional training at the College of Pharmacy
in San Francisco, and being graduated in 1889, while his brother was grad-
uated at the same institution in 1892. The former engaged in clerking
in San Francisco for some time, and was also employed in a similar capacity
in Oakland. He then returned to his native town and opened a drug business,
in which he has since continued. They are young men of progressive spirit



70 REPRESEXTATIVE CITIZEXS

ami determined purpose, and to their liusiness devote tiieir entire attention.
In tile communit}- where they were born and reared they lia\e received a
liljeral patronage and now have a very large trade. They ha\e a thorough
understanding of the nature and uses of drugs and thpir earnest desire to
please, their uniform courtesy and their reasonable prices have brought to them
very gratifying success. They reside with their parents and sister in Placer-
ville, and are young men of prominence in the city.

Albert S. Fox is a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Methodist
church. He is serving as a trustee in the latter and is also the organist and
leader of the choir. He has marked talent in both instrumental and vocal
music and is a valued addition to the musical circles of the city. Both
brothers are members of the Native Sons of the Golden W'est, and Jay E. Fox
is connected also with the Order of Foresters. He is now serving as one of
the aldermen of his town. They are young men of unquestioned integrity,
reliable and enterprising in business and popular in social circles.

Samuel Fox, the grandfather of the brothers sketched in the above brief
notice, was born in Pennsylania, wdience he removed to Ohio, where he fol-
lowed farming and died, in 1849. '^t the age of fifty years. He married Mary
Barbra, a native of Virginia, who is yet living, on her farm in Iowa, in the
ninety-sixth year of her age. Their children are: Eliza, who died in 1859;
Albert; Mrs. Angeline Fisher; William; Mrs. Maggie Lyons; Dan, and John,
— all living in low-a excepting John, who is living in Placerville.

Samuel Pelton, the father of Mrs. John Fox, was born in Massachusetts,
in 1801, and there married Miss Margaret P. Bixby, a native of Vermont. He
afterward moved to Canada, where he practiced law until 1853. when he came
to California and followed mining at Rose Springs, and also practiced law and
acted as a justice of the peace. He built the Sunrise Hotel at that place, which
he conducted, with good returns. He died in 1882, aged eighty-one years, and
his wdfe died in 1883, at the age of seventy-seven years. Their children are:
Sylvester and Milo, both deceased; Mrs. Sarah Langdale, living in New
Haven, Connecticut; Mrs. Lorinda Fox, of Placerville, California: Steven
and Samuel, of Shingle Springs ; Mrs. Margaret Toby and Mrs. Emma Fox.
both deceased; Mrs. Louisa Wing, of White Oak, California: and Mrs.
Sylvia Gray, of Oakland, also in this state.

ELIJ.\H C. HART.

Perhaps there is no jjart in this history of more general interest than
the record of the bar. It is well know-n that the peace, prosperity and well-
being of every community depend upon the wise interpretation of the law-s,
as well as upon their judicious framing, and therefore the record of the
various persons wdio have at various times made up the bar will form an
important part of this work. A well known jurist of Illinois said. "In
the American state the great and good lawyer must always be prominent,
for he is one of the forces that move and control society. Public confidence
has generally been rc])nsed in the legal profession. It has ever been the



OF XORTHERN CALIFORNIA. n

defender of popular rights, the champiun uf freedom regulated by law, the
tirm support of good government, in the times of danger it has stood like
a rock and breasted the mad passions of the hour and irnally resisted tumult
and faction. No political preferment, no mere place, can add to the power
or increase the huudr which belongs to the pure and educated lawyer."
Elijah C. Hart, of Sacramento, is one who has been honored by and is an
honor to the legal fraternity of California. He stands to-day prominent
among the leading members of the bar of the state, — a position which he
has attained through marked ability, — and he is serving as the judge of the
superior court, to which position he was elected in 1896.

Elijah Carson Hart was born in 1856, in an emigrant wagon, on the
banks of the Carson river while his parents were crossing the plains to
California, and his middle name was given to him on account of the place
of his birth. His parents were Indiana people, his father having been an
attorney of the Hoosier state. Proceeding on their journey they at length
arrived at Xicolaus, in Sutter county, California, where the father followed
various business pursuits, while Elijah acquired his early education in the
schools of the neighborhood. When he was twelve years of age the family
removed to Colusa county and there he entered upon an independent career
as an employe in the office of the Colusa Sun, where he became familiar
with the "art preservative of all arts."

As the years passed it was shown that he was deserving of the public
confidence and trust, and in 1878 he was elected city clerk of Colusa, but
refused to accept the position by- reason of the fact that he had been offered
editorial control of the Oroville Mercury and preferred to enter upon the latter
position. He controlled the editorial chair of the Mercury from May, 1878,
until December following, when he became the editor and proprietor of the
\\'illow Journal, which he published until 1884.

In that year he came to Sacramento and entered upon the study of law
with his brother, ex-Attorney General A. L. Hart. In 1885 he was admitted
to the bar by the supreme court of the state, and in March of the following
year was elected city attorney. He soon rose to prominence as a represen-
tative of the legal profession and much important litigation was entrusted
to his care. His forcible presentation of cases before court and jury won
him many notable forensic victories and his fellow members of the bar gave
him their respect on account of the breadth of his judicial wisdom, the
soundness of his logic and his strength in presenting his cases. In 1896
he was elected a judge of the superior court and upon the bench he has shown
the utmost fairness and impartiality in his decisions, whicl\ are models of
judicial soundness. He has a thorough understanding of tlie law and his
opinions are ba.sed upon a just regard for precedent and equity.

On the 20th of May, 1878, in Colusa, Judge Hart was united in mar-
riage to Miss Addie Vivian, a grandniece of the celebrated Kit Carson,
in whose honor was named tlie river upon the banks of which occurred the
birth of our subject, and who in consequence was given the name of Carson.



72 REPRESEXTATIJ'E CITIZENS

The Judge and his wife occupy one of the most hospitable homes in Sacra- j

mento and their circle of friends is very extensive. 1

In political circles Judge Hart is a very prominent factor, being regarded ;

as one of the leading representatives of the Republican party in Sacramento. '

In November, 1888, he was elected to the general assembly, receiving the !

largest majority ever given a Republican in the nineteenth assembly district. |

In the session of 1889 he introduced the Glenn county bill and advocated ■

its passage in the most persistent manner. The address which he delivered I

when the bill came up for final passage was heartily applauded and was |

considered one of the most brilliant addresses during that session. In 1892 ;

he was elected to the state senate and his strong mentality and thorough j

understanding of legislative measures and methods left an impress upon '

the work of the upper house that will long be felt. During the gubernatorial !

campaign of 1898 he was the secretary of the Repubican state central com- j

mittee and his labors were most effective in promoting the interests of his
party. For a time he was engaged in the practice of law in connection with
the late Judge G. G. Davis, but upon his elevation to the bench he retired j

from the firm. His course, whether in the private practice of law, in the j

legislati\-e councils of the state, or upon the bench, has ever been above sus-
picion. The good of the nation he places before partisanship and the wel-
fare of his constituents before personal aggrandizement. He commands
the respect of the members of both house and senate, and in private life, where
friends are familiar with his personal characteristics, he inspires friend-
ships of unusual strength, and all who know him have the highest admiration
for his good qualities of heart and mind.

BEN7AMIN F. RICHTMYER.

In the days when California was first becoming known to the settlers of
the east and its wonderful privileges and advantages were being utilized by
the white race, Benjamin Fanning Richtmyer came to the Pacific slope, lie
was for many years a highly esteemed citizen of Amador county, his upright
life winning him the respect of all with whom he came in contact. He was
born in Schoharie county. New York, January 17, 1824, and was of German
lineage, his ancestors having been among the early settlers of the Empire
state. His father, Peter H. Richtmyer, was born in New York, in 1797, and
having arrived at years of maturity married ]\Iiss Harriet Fanning, a native
of the same state. They were farming people, industrious and enterprising,
and were consistent members of the Dutch Reformed church. The father
passed away on the 23d of April, 1892, at the advanced age of ninety-five
years.

Benjamin F. Richtmyer, whose name introduces this review, was edu-
cated in his native state, and in 1850, attracted by the opportunities afforded
in California, he crossed the plains and opened a general mercantile estal>
lishment in Drytown, Amador county. He also liecame the owner of a marljle
quarry, which he developed, shipping its products to San Francisco and to



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 9 of 108)