To the brave pioneers California owes in large measure the prosperity she now enjoys as a state. Among those hardy souls and courageous hearts who thus believed in her future, and by long years of toil and undaunted perseverance assisted nobly in the development of her resources, is the subject of this article, and no one is more worthy of representation in the annals of the state. He came to California in 1855 and is now one of the esteemed and honored pioneer residents of Vallicita.
Mr. Crawford was born near Milford in county Donegal, Ireland, in 1819, and is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His grandfather and his father both bore the name of James Crawford and were born and reared at the same place. They were identified with the Covenanter Church, now known as the Presbyterian Church, and the subject of this review was reared after the strictest manner of that people. His education was acquired in Ireland and in 1847 he crossed the Atlantic to Philadelphia and remained in Pennsylvania for seven and a half years. He then removed to New Orleans, where he spent some time, after which he came to California in the year 1855 by way of the Isthmus route. Stories of rich gold discoveries were continually circulated in the central and eastern portion of the country and it was his purpose and desire to get gold. Accordingly he made his way direct from San Francisco to Vallicita, where he began placer mining, working for wages. He received eighty dollars per month and, as he had only been paid a dollar per day for his service in Pennsylvania, he believed that the change was a very desirable one. After a time he engaged in mining on his own account and took out considerable gold. He has practiced careful economy and thus has always had a good bank account for his labor. He thus engaged in mining until 1892, when he purchased eleven acres of land in Vallicita, planted it with fruit trees and grapevines and is now engaged in the cultivation of his orchard and vineyard. He resides upon his land in the enjoyment of a pleasant cottage, having practically retired from active life, resting in peace and comfort that his industry and frugality have secured to him. Throughout his business career he has managed his affairs most commendably, his honesty being proverbial. He has never been sued in all his life, and paid his debts promptly, has met his obligations fully and is spoken of in the highest terms by all the old pioneers.
In 1864 Mr. Crawford returned to Philadelphia and was there married to Mrs. Mary Rogers, also a native of Milford, Ireland. She came to America in the same ship in which her future husband crossed the Atlantic, being then the young wife of Mr. Rogers. Her first husband died and subsequently Mr. Crawford returned to Pennsylvania, where he made her his bride. They lived together happily for a number of years and were then separated by death, Mrs. Crawford being called to the home beyond. Our subject exercised his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican Party but has never sought or held office, nor has he been connected with social or fraternal organizations. His attention in former years being given to his business affairs and the acquirement of a competence that now enables him to enjoy an honorable retirement from labor.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.