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 91 of 108)
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B. Studarus, was a pioneer from Switzerland, but in the early era of develop-
ment came to California and took an active part in promoting the material
interests of Sacramento county. He was born in St. Gall, Switzerland, Decem-
ber 10, 1824, spent his early boyhood on a farm, and afterward learned the
baker's trade. In 1847 lie took passage on a sailing vessel, which weighed


anchor at Ha\-i-e and after fui-ty-t\v(.) days reached the harhor of Xew York
in safety. He \vas without capital, and during the tirst three years of his
residence in the United States he was employed by others, performing much
arduous service in order to gain a living. He worked as a gardener in Alle-
gheny City, Tennsylvania, and drove a milk wagon for a time. In 1848 he
went to New Orleans, but could tind no employment in that city and returned
to Cincinnati, Ohio, where for a time he served on a packet steamer. Sub-
sequently he again drove a milk wagon, and then, suffering from an attack
of illness, he returned to Pittsburg, where he was cared for by Nokear Stahele,
who had come to America with him. It was there he renewed his acquaint-
ance with Mary Reach, whom he had known in Europe, and they were mar-
ried. Later they worked for six months upon a farm near Wellsville, West
Virginia, and then operated a part of their employer's land on the shares.

But the opportunities of the far west attracted them and Mr. Studarus
resolved to seek a home on the Pacific coast, for very favorable reports were
heard of the advantages offered to ambitious young men in the Golden state.
With his wife and two children he crossed the arid plains and journeyed over
the mountains until the ist of September, 1853, when he arrived at Diamond
Spring, Eldorado county. His first venture at mining was at Logtown, where
he remained for more than a 3'ear, but not meeting with the success he had
anticipated he determined to engage in agricultural pursuits and rented a farm
on the American river, in Brighton township, Sacramento county. After
operating this for six years he purchased it and became the owner of three
hundred and thirty acres. For a time he devoted his energies to the raising
of barle)', broom-corn, Indian corn and melons, but afterward planted much
of his land to fruit-trees and grapevines, and his orchards and vineyards
brought to him an excellent income, for the fine variety of fruits which he
raised found a ready market not only on the Pacific coast but in the east.
He was one cf the charter members of the Sacramento Cannery, an industry
formed to can the fruits raised in this locality. He also became identified
with the American River Grange on its organization. His political support
was given the Republican party through the period of the Civil war and for
a number of years thereafter, but in later life he exercised his right of franchise
in support of the men and measures of the Democratic party.

in November, 1S73, his first wife died, and the following year he mar-
ried Barbara Bollenbacher, who died December 10, 1884.

Joseph Studarus has always lived upon the old homestead, and after his
father's death, which occurred in 1899, he became the owner of the place,
which he is now successfully operating. He is regarded as one of the lead-
ing horticulturists of the community, and a glance at his orchards and vine-
yards indicates to the passer-by his careful supervision, his enterprise and liis
thorough understanding of the business to which he devotes his energies.

In 1880 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Studarus and Miss ]\Iargaret
Schwab, and they now have one daughter, who is named Agnes. Their
friends in the community are many, and their own home is the center of a
cultured society circle. Their many excellent qualities have gained for them


the high respect oi all with whom they have been brought in contact, and
Mr. Studarus is accounted one of the leading and influential citizens of the
community. The fact that many of his friends are numbered among those
who have known him from boyhood is an indication that his life has been
honorable an;! upright and one worthy of the esteem of all.


For many }-ears the name of Elisha Bryant RoJjertson has been closely
interwoven with the professional interests of Amador county. He won dis-
tinction as an eminent physician and surgeon, and he gained the respect, con-
fidence and love of those with whom he came in contact by reason of his
broad sympathy, ■ kindliness and generosity. Through the storms of winter
or under the midsummer sun he daily passed to his duties and hastened as
quickly to the bedside of the poor and lowly as to those of more exalted
station and of better financial condition. He never stopped to inquire whether
compensation would be awarded him for his service, but administered freely
to all in need of a physician's aid. His life was consecrated to that most
humane calling, and his great loving interest in humanity was manifest in
the manner in which he discharged his professional duties. In his death the
community lost one of its most valued citizens, and the record of his life
well deserves a place on the pages of California's history.

The Doctor was born at the head-waters of Goose creek, in Tennessee,
on the 22d of October, 1826, and was of Scotch ancestry. His grandfa-
ther, Jesse Robertson, was born in Scotland, and in 1740 emigrated to Vir-
ginia, locating in Prince Edward county. He was one of the early settlers
there. He and two of his brothers participated in the war of the Revolutinn,
serving under the direct command of General \Vashington. He wedded ]\Iis3
Mary Hunter, and after the independence of the nation was assured they
removed to Sumner county. Tennessee, where both died in the year 1832.
They reared three sons, one of whom was David Robertson, the father of
the Doctor. He was born in Virginia, participated in the battle of New
Orleans in the war of 181 2, and was near General Peckingham when he
fell from his horse mortally wounded. He had removed with his father
and the family to Tennessee, where he was married to M.iss Mary Bryan.
In 1839 they took up their abode in Missouri and became the parents of
nine children, of whom four died in infancy. The eldest son, John Robert-
son, became a minister of the go'spel. The father died on the 28th of Janu-
ary, 1847, and his wife passed away in Polk county, ]\Iissouri, in 1863, at
the age of eighty-seven years.

Dr. Robertson, their youngest child, acquired his early education in
Missouri, but his advantages \\\ that direction were rather meager. He was
truly a self-made man, who owed his advancement along educational and
material lines entirely to his own eft'orts. . In 1850 he crossed the plains to
California, read medicine under the direction of Dr. Hoerchner, and was
graduated at the Cooper Medical College of San Francisco in March, 1864.


He also pursued two courses of lectures in the medical department of the
Pacific and began the practice of his profession in Mokelumne Hill, in Cala-
veras county, where he met with excellent success. In 1882 he removed with
his family to Jackson and soon secured a liberal patronage, which was ac-
corded him tmtil his life's labors were ended, on the 13th of August. 1899.
He served as the county physician of Calaveras county from 1869 until 1880.
He was a man of strong mentality, a deep thinker and carried his investiga-
tions far and wide along original lines in the medical profession. His many
ably written articles on subjects relative to the practice of medicine and sur-
gery commanded wide-spread attention and interest. He was an active, use-
ful and efficient member of the Northern California Association, attended its
meetings and delivered many able addresses before that body. He also con-
tributed interesting- articles to medical journals, and his writings received
favorable comment throughout the west. He made a specialty of surgery and
was \-ery successful on account of his accurate knowledge of anatomy, his
careful diagnosis and his great skill in the manipulation of the delicate instru-
ments used in such work. He performed many very intricate and difficult
operations, which were attended with splendid success, and thus he won
eminence in that department of the medical science. He also held member-
ship in the State Medical Society, the American Medical Society, the Medical
Society of Northern California and the Alumni Association of Cooper Medical

Dr. Robertson was married in Co])per()polis. Calax-eras county, on the
1st of January, 1866, to Mrs. Lucy Coates, ncc Slierman. a lady of English
lineage and a daughter of Lewis Sherman, a native of the Empire state,
descended from good old Revolutionary stock. Her father attained the very
advanced age of one hundred years. Unto the Doctor and his wife were
born three daughters. The eklest. Lucy Amelia, a lady of education and
refinement, became the wife of T. T. Crittenden, of San Francisco, and died
in her twenty-fourth year, leaving a little son, Elisha Frederick, who was
ado]5ted by his grandparents when a child and is now living w-ith his grand-
mother, at the age of fifteen years. Lillie Virginia is now the wife of Dr.
C. A. Herrick. a prominent dentist, of Jackson. The youngest daughter is
Elsie Blanche, the wife of Dr. .-\. ]\I. (iall. a well known medical practitioner
of Jackson.

Dr. Robertson became a member of the Masonic fraternity in 1866,
and for several years was the master of the local lodge and a member of
the grand lodge. He attained the age of seventy-two years and became one
of the most valued and respected citizens of Jackson, a kind and loving hus-
band and father, a faithful friend and a most devoted representative of his
])rofession. His wife still survives him and is living at the pleasant home
in Stockton which was left to her by her husband. She enjoys the highest
esteem of friends and neighbors, and her circle of acquaintance is very
extensive. The veil was lifted to gain the new glory of a true and beautiful
life when death set the seal upon the mortal lips of Dr. Robertson. Any
monument erected to his memory and to commemorate his virtues will have


become dim and tarnished l)y time ere tiie remembrance of liis noble example
sliall cease to exercise an influence upon the community in which lie H\ed and
labored to such goodly end.

\\dLLIAM J. ^\•ILSOX, Sr.

The life record of ^^'illiam J. Wilson, Sr., has not been one of unvaried
monotony, circumscribed by the limits of some narrow community where
habits of thought and life largely remain unchanged as the years pass bv.
He has traveled extensively over the face of the globe and has that knowl-
edge and culture which only travel can bring. His experiences have been
varied and interesting, and if written in detail would contain many an exciting

^^^illiam Joseph ^^'ilson, Sr., was born near Lurgen, county Armagh, Ire-
land, on the 15th of August, 1828, and is a son of Oliver \\'ilson an ofificer
in the British army. His wife died at the birth of their first-born, the sub-
ject of this sketch, and there was a second marriage and another family df
children. The father attained the age of seventy-two years. Mr. \^'ilson
of this review was educated in his native county and served as an apprentice
on board the British ship Thetis for four years. He left that vessel at Quebec
and became a member of the crew of the Arabia, of Belfast, on which he sailed
until 1854, receiving one hundred dollars per month. In that year he rounded
Cape Horn as one of the crew on the Thomas Watson. He also served as
quartermaster on the vessel Uncle Sam, acting in that capacity during two
of the voyages of that steamship, while during the two succeeding years he
was boatswain and finally promoted to third mate. He was on the vessel
at the time the cholera broke out. It was a never-to-be forgotten trip, nine
hundred people on board the ship dving of that dread disease!

]Mr. Wilson also sailed from Philadelphia on board the ship Westmore-
land, bound for Liverpool. After they had been out for a few days they
picked up the crew of the ship j\lay T. Sterrit, of Maine, which had been dis-
mantled. They then had to scuttle the ship, as it was in the track of other
vessels. The manv voyages which I\Ir. Wilson has made have brought many
experiences into his life unknown to most people. He has touched at many
ports, learning much of the different countries and their inhabitants. For a
time he served on the Sonora as quartermaster, and while discharging his
duties on that ship he became acquainted with Miss Mary O'Malley, who gave
him her hand in marriage on the 4th of November, 1856. Three children
have been born unto them, two of whom are living, namely: William J-. who
is now a prominent fruit buyer and shipper of Newcastle; and ^Mary Jane,
the wife of J. F. Madden, of Newcastle. ^Irs. Wilson departed this life on
the 31st of August, 1891. She was a faithful wife and a kind and loving
mother, and her loss was deeply mourned by her family and numerous friends.
In 1893 Mr. Wilson married the lady who now bears his name, and who in
her maidenhood was J\Iiss Mary Ann Agnes Shepherd. Their only child died
in infancy.


When ]\[r. Wilson decided to make California his place of residence he
located in Newcastle. He made consideralile money there, hnt owing to the
continued illness in his family this money was rapidly expended. When he
came to Newcastle in 1865 he had only about two hundred dollars. His first
work in that town was for the noble pioneer, John H. Mitchell. He con-
tinued to engage in mining for nine years, but in the meantime he became the
possesser of a home and an acre of ground in the town, and on his land he
planted fruit trees which soon brought him an excellent return, his fruit
sales amounting to one thousand dollars per year. His success in this venture
led him to look for more land, and for two years he bought fruit from his
neighbors, paying cash, and packed it on his shoulders and wheeled it on a
wheelbarrow for over a mile, as he was not able to purchase a horse and
wagon. This he did to keep the trade, as he had much opposition, the neigh-
bors seeing that he was making a success of the business. At length he pur-
chased the eighty acres of fruit ground which he now' owns, built thereon
a nice frame residence and planted a large orchard, wdiich is now producing.
He was among the first to engage in shipping fruit in this locality, and to him
is due the credit of making the first shipment of a car-load of fruit that left
Newcastle. It was sent to Mrs. Astretta, of Denver, and the freight on it
was nine hundred dollars ! The first boxes of fruit that were sent out of the
town went to V. Elliott, of Virginia, Nevada. Following an honorable and
reliable business course, he has built up a large trade, and his increasing busi-
ness necessitated the building of a packing house in Newcastle. For a num-
ber of years the business was carried on under the firm name of William
J. Wilson, Sr., & Son. but more recently Mr. Wilson has given up the ship-
ping business to his son, while he devotes his entire attention to his farm.
He has made a splendid record as an industrious and indefatigable worker,
a successful fruit-grower and an honorable business man. He is now the
possessor of a good property, does not owe a dollar, and rightly deserves the
prosperity whicli his industry and ability have brought to him.


The business interests of Roseville are well represented liy William Saw-
tell, a leading merchant of that place. He is a native of Wisconsin, his l)irth
liaving occurred in Shellsburo-. Lafayette county, on the iQth of October, 1853.
His grandfather. Daniel Sawtell. was a pioneer of Ohio, from wiiich state
he removed to W^isconsin in an early day, conducting a hotel at White Oak
Springs during the early period of the development of his section of the
state. He attained the age of seventy years, having survived his wife for
some years. His son. Edwin Sawtell. the father of our subject, was born '"n
Ohio and accompanied his parents on their removal to the Badger state, where
he became an influential and successful farmer. For thirty years be served
as justice of the peace of his township and made a most competent ofiicial. his
rulings being strictly fair and impartial.

In i8;t. when onlv sixteen years of age, he crossed the plains to Cali-


foruia and engaged in mining with excellent success at Hangtown, now
Placerville. In 1852 he returned to his home and friends in the east, taking
with him about five thousand dollars. With this capital to serve as a nucleus
for business enterprises he married Miss ]Mary Jane Xedvill, a native of Wis-
consin and a daughter of Captain Nedvill. In 1887 they returned to Cali-
fornia, locating in Roseville, where the father departed this life when sixty-
seven years of age. His estimable wife is still living, at the age of sixty-
seven, and is respected by all who have the pleasure of her acquaintance. Ten
children were born unto them and six sons and three daughters are still living.

William Sawtell is the eldest of this numerous and highly esteemed fam-
ily. Excellent educational privileges fitted him for life's practical duties. He
pursued his studies in Platteville, Wisconsin, being graduated at the normal
school at that place in 1877. Subsequently he engaged in teaching for one
term in his native state and in 1878 he came to California, where he accepted
a clerkship in the store of J. D. Pratt, filling that position for seven years.
He liecame the confidential clerk and was largely intrusted with the aft'airs
of the house, for his ability and fidelity had been fully attested.

After his marriage ]\ir. Sawtell turned his attention to farming and
stock-raising, which pursuit he followed for four years, when he embarked
in merchandising on his own account in Roseville, in connection with P. \^.
Sigger. After two years the latter sold his interest to W. H. Wearine and
the connection between Mr. Sawtell and Air. Wearine continued for two and
a half years, when Mr. Wearine and his wife both died and Mr. Sawtell pur-
chased the interest of the heirs in the business, which he has since conducted
alone, under the firm name of Sawtell & Company, his wife being the silent
partner. They carry a large stock of general merchandise and by their liberal
and honorable business methods have secured a very large trade. In con-
nection Mr. Sawtell also deals in hay and grain.

He was married, on Christmas day of 1885, to Miss Stella Shellhouse,
who was born in Placer county, a daughter of the honored pioneer Martin
Shellhouse, who had come to this state in 1849, locating near Roseville. He
was a man of influence in the early days and served as a justice of the peace.
He died in 1854, but his wife still survives him and is now in the sixty-fifth
year of her age. Unto our subject and his wife have been born two interest-
ing children, — Ernest Carlton and Gladys. They attend and support the
Methodist church and Mr. Sawtell is liberal toward all enterprises designed 1,0
benefit the town. He votes the Republican ticket, but is not an office-seeker,
])referring to give his time and attention to the Inisiness affairs whereby he
is now annually augmenting his capital.


Often do we hear it said that those who ha\-e attained distinguishing
honors or gained marked success were men wlio arose to eminence through
advantageous circumstances, and vet to such carping criticism and lack of
appreciation there needs be made Init one statemenl. that fortunate environ-


inents encompass nearly every man at some stage of his career, 1)nt the strong
man and the successfnl man is he who reahzes tlie intrinsic vakie of minor as
well as great opportunities; who stands ready to take advantage of circum-
stances and who even molds adverse conditions until they serve liis end.
A. A. Van Wiorhies is one who has recognized the opportunities for ac-
complishment in everything presented, and to-day is recognized as one of the
wealthy merchants in the city of Sacramento. To plan and control success-
fully an extensive commercial enterprise requires ability as marked as that
which is demanded in professional life. Mr. Van Voorhies is one who
forms his plans readily, is determined in their execution and manifests in the
discharge of his duties keen discrimination and unflagging industry.

He manifests in his life many of the sterling (jualities of his Holland
ancestors. In the year 1660 four brothers of the name of Van Voorhies left
the little country of Holland for the new world. One of these, the original
American ancestor of our subject, settled in what is now Bergen county.
Xew Jersey, near the present manufacturing city of Paterson. The grand-
father, the father, John \'an A'oorhies, and our subject were all born in the
same house in that town. John Van Voorhies married Sarah Storms, who
also was a representative of an old Holland family, and during the boyhood
days of our subject the parents removed to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he
acquired his education in the common schools. At the age of seventeen he
returned to the east after having ser\-ed an apprenticeship with Afr. \'olland,
a harness and saddlemaker of .\.nn .Arbor, under whose direction he l)ecame
an expert workman.

He continued his trade in the metropolis until 1853, when he resolved
to seek a home on the Pacific coast. The tide of emigration was at that time
bearing many of the most resolute, enterprising and reliable 3'oung men of
the country to the west, and he, too, sought a home beyond the Rockies and
became an important factor in the development and upbuilding of central
California. He made the journey by way of the isthmus route, and arrived
in San Francisco in November, 1853. Almost immediately afterward he
obtained a position in the harness establishment owned by J. Madison, then
one of the leading harness-hardware dealers on the coast. For two years
he remained with that gentleman and then went to Placerville. Eldorado
county, where, in 1855, he established a wholesale and retail harness house.
The venture proved a successful one and he carried on business there until
January i, 1869, when he came to Sacramento and purchased an interest
in the wholesale harness business of R. Stone & Company. In 1880 they
removed to Nos. 322-324 J street, where they established an extensive
plant and "made arrangements for carrying on business on a large scale, for
their increased trade demanded greater facilities. In 1882 Mr. Van Vinw-
hies purchased the interest of Mr. Stone and the'iiresent firm of .\. .A. \'an
\'oorhies & Cnmpany was established, his partners being L. C. Montfort. R.
C. Irvine and (i. .\. Pliinney. With the passing )-ears and under the able
management of Mr. \'an Voorhies, one of the most extensive enterprises
(if Sacramcnlu has grown up. The output of the factory is very large and a


Avholesale business is carried on b\- them. Their goods are sold to the trade,
their patrons being found along the Pacific coast and through many of the
western states. The business has grown to very extensive proportions and a
large force of workmen are employed. The quality of harness and saddlery
which they manufacture is one element of their success, and combined with
this is the well known reliability of the house.

Mr. Van Voorhies has been twice married. In his early manhood, Miss
Harriet Wadsworth, a native of Connecticut, became his wife, and to them
was born a daughter, Harriet, who became the wife of George A. Phinney,
of Sacramento. In 1873 Mr. Van Voorhies was united in marriage to Miss
Georgie Montfort, a daughter of Harry Montfort, one of the prominent pio-
neers of the state, and they now have a son, whose name is Ralph Henry.

^^'hile residing in Eldorado county, Mr. Van Voorhies took an active
part in political affairs, but the increasing demand of his business has pre-
vented him in late years from engaging actively in political work. A prom-
inent I\Iason, he belongs to Union Lodge, Sacramento Chapter and Sacra-
mento Commandery, and is a warden of St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal
church. His Christian belief influences his life. Although making no pre-
tentions, he nevertheless manifests in his daily conduct the principles which

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 91 of 108)