Search billions of records on



Amador County








            The original family of Fontanarosa, for such was the spelling in Italy, has been changed to the present form of Fontenrose since representatives of the name established a home in America.  For many generations the ancestors resided in sunny Italy, and there John Fontenrose, the father of our subject, was born in the province of Genoa.  His wife, Maria Fentenrose, was also a native of that land, and one child was born to them in Italy, Jane, who is now the wife of Angelo Quirolo, a resident of Sutter Creek.  In the year 1850 the father came to California by way of the Isthmus route, and turned his attention to mining in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.  At that time Amador County was not yet organized.  He met with success in his business ventures, and returning to the east he visited his family in 1852, after which again he came to the Pacific slope.  Once more he went to the Atlantic coast, joining his family in Baltimore, Maryland.  In 1857 they went to Philadelphia and thence to New York, where they took passage on a steamer bound for San Francisco.  In 1859 they located at Tunnel Hill, near Jackson, where the father engaged in mining and in conducting a boarding house, making his home there until 1874, when he was called to his final rest in his fifty-fifth year.  During the Civil War he loyally defended the cause of the Union, and was a faithful adherent to Republican institutions and principles.  He left a family of four sons and four daughters.  His wife survived him until May 1, 1898, and passed away in her seventieth year.

            L. J. Fontenrose, of this review, was their third child and was born in the city of Philadelphia on the 27th of September, 1850.  Brought to California in early boyhood, he obtained his education in the public schools of Sutter Creek, and entered upon his business career as a clerk in a general mercantile establishment.  Subsequently he was employed as an engineer in the mines, attending the cages.  In 1879 he was appointed deputy county clerk, recorder and auditor, and after serving in that capacity for a year was elected to that position.  On the expiration of his term he was again made the nominee of his party, but was defeated by Thomas Conlon.  When that term had expired the two gentlemen became nominees of their respective parties, and Mr. Fontenrose won the election.  He held the office for nine years, winning the position over Mr. Conlon at two different times.  His service was most commendable, being ever characterized by fidelity and loyalty.  During the time he did some insurance business, and upon his retirement from office became one of the leading representatives of the insurance interests in Amador County, doing business for twenty large companies at the present time.  He is an excellent penman, a man of marked executive and business ability, accommodating and reliable, and these qualities have gained for him marked success.  In the year 1888-9 he traveled as a special insurance agent.  He now does a large volume of business annually and is regarded as one of the most prominent in his line in this section of the state.

            In 1881 Mr. Fontenrose was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Meehan, a native of Jackson and a daughter of James Meehan, a prominent and esteemed early settler of the town.  Mr. and Mrs. Fontenrose now have two sons, J. L. and John M., both attending school.  In 1893 Mr. Fontenrose transferred considerable insurance business to his wife, and they are now partners in the enterprise.  He is also a dealer in abstracts and does a large amount of business in that line.  They have a very pleasant home on Pitt Street, and the household is noted for its hospitality, which is enjoyed by their many friends.  Mr. Fontenrose throughout the greater part of his life has been familiar with the enterprising and progressive spirit of the west, and his own efforts have been characterized by unremitting diligence and energy.  He has been true to every trust reposed in him, and he lends his aid and co-operation to all movements intended to advance the material, social, intellectual and moral welfare of the community.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 410-411. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.



Golden Nugget Library's Amador County Biographies

California Statewide

Golden Nugget Library