A half century has passed since Jacob Vandament came to California, and for forty-five years he has been a resident of Amador County. His superior business ability has been an integral factor in the commercial and industrial activity whereon has depended much of the prosperity of northern California. He is a native of Ohio, where four generations of the family had resided, and his birth occurring in the Buckeye state on the 3rd of August, 1828. He is of German lineage, his great-grandfather having emigrated from Germany to Ohio at an early period in the history of that commonwealth. Jacob Vandament, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Brown County, Ohio, where also occurred the birth of Abraham Vandament, the father. He was married to Miss Mary Burt, a native of New Jersey, and they became the parents of eight children, five of whom are now living.
Mr. Vandament, of this review, was educated in his native town and reared upon his father’s farm. Through the summer months he assisted in the work of the field and meadow, and in the winter season pursued his studies in the little log schoolhouse of the neighborhood. In 1850, attracted by the gold discovery in California, he crossed the plains with four companions. The little party traveled alone, but were unmolested by the Indians and at length arrived safely in Placerville on the 10th of August, 1850. Mr. Vandament at once engaged in prospecting and in digging gold wherever he could find it. For two months he succeeded in making ten dollars a day, and then went on a prospecting trip into Calaveras County, but was unsuccessful in his mining ventures there and after two months he removed to Sierra County, where he secured a good claim. Good gold was found on the surface and he and his companions worked the mines to the depth of sixty feet and had not then reached the bottom. They sluiced and worked from the top down and did not separate the gold until summer, when, in the “clean up” they took out gold at the rate of one thousand dollars per day. Our subject remained at that place for three years, during which time he cleared eleven thousand dollars. He then returned to the home of his father, who was then living in Illinois, just opposite the city of Hannibal, Missouri. He remained but a year, but was ill during the greater part of the time, and in consequence retraced his steps across the plains to California, bringing with him his father, mother and two brothers. This was in 1855. They came to Amador County and settled near Pine Grove, where our subject became the owner of a ranch. He there engaged in stock raising and also carried on the lumber business for a number of years, his parents continuing with him until called to their final rest. Both were buried at Pine Grove. His brothers Willis and Eli still reside in Amador County.
Mr. Vandament was united in marriage in 1854 to Miss Annie Topham, a native of Ireland, and they have nine children, four of whom are living, namely: George W., who resides at Pine Grove; Mrs. Mary Lowry, a widow who is acting as her father’s housekeeper; John T., who is connected with his father in mining interests; and Lizzie, the wife of Richard Barrett, a resident of Tuolumne County. The mother died in 1865, and in 1877 Mr. Vandament was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Julia Tanner, who was to him a faithful companion and helpmate on life’s journey for twenty years, her death occurring on the 3rd of September, 1896.
Mr. Vandament is the owner of one hundred and forty-five acres of land a mile east of Sutter Creek, and his property is crossed by the great Mather Lode of California. The South Eureka quartz mine is located on his farm and he is one of its stockholders and also one of the owners of the Mutual mine, which is located between Sutter Creek and Amador, also on the Mather Lode. He has always been interested in mining and the properties with which he is now connected are considered very valuable. On his farm he raises hay and grain of every kind and has a rich, arable and highly cultivated tract of land.
In politics he is a Democrat, but has never sought or desired public office. His parents were members of the Baptist church and he was reared in that faith, but has never connected himself with any religious organization. From an early age he has made his own way in the world, depending entirely upon his own efforts, resources and business ability. The success he has achieved is therefore a monument to his labor. His energies are largely devoted to business interests and he is a man of excellent executive force whose resolution enables him to prosecute his work most successfully. He forms his plans readily, is determined in their execution and his regard for the ethics of commercial life combined with his integrity has won him the respect and confidence of the community.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.