David Lampson, one of the pioneers of California still living and engaged in business, has been prominently identified with the growth and development of Calaveras County and is the obliging proprietor of the Paloma Hotel. His residence in California covers the period of its earliest development, for he arrived here in 1853, when a collection of mining camps stood in place of the now thriving towns and cities. He is a native of New York, his birth having occurred in Ogdensburg, that state, on the 6th of August, 1829. His parents were Thomas and Phoebe Lampson, both of whom died when he was only ten years of age, and from that time until the present he has made his own way in the world, unaided by anyone save his good wife, who has ever been a faithful companion and helpmate to him. He had no early educational advantages, but he managed to learn to read and write and also gained a fair knowledge of arithmetic. In the years of practical experience he has constantly broadened in knowledge, becoming a well informed and thoroughly capable businessman.
After the death of his parents Mr. Lampson lived for three years with a family named Wright, but by them was treated so roughly that he left their home and secured work of a German family of the name of Hause. They were farming people and also conducted a dairy, and he performed such work as was required in those lines of business. They gave him thirty dollars as compensation for his first year’s labor there, and during that time he manifested such fidelity and diligence that he was afterward paid increasing wages by the month. He was strictly temperate and economical and he saved his money, thus gaining the nucleus of his present possessions. In 1853 he sailed from New York on the Ohio, which traveled the Atlantic waters, and crossing the Isthmus on foot he then took passage on the Golden Gate for San Francisco. One hundred and sixty of the passengers on that boat died on the voyage and were buried in the ocean! On the 20th of February, 1853, Mr. Lampson went to Stockton and to Sonora, after which he proceeded to San Antonio, where he secured a placer claim, beginning life on the Pacific coast as a California miner. He worked for himself with a rocker and sluice-box, meeting with fair success. He secured five hundred dollars in four months, after which he went to Columbia, Tuolumne County, where he took out three thousand dollars in six months; but his claim caved in and he was badly crushed, eight of his ribs being broken, and he was severely injured in other ways, so that by the time he was again well and able to work the mine his means were almost exhausted. When he had entirely recovered, however, he returned to Columbia where he continued mining for six months, with good success. Subsequently he went to San Antonio and to Railroad Flat, where he followed both mining and farming, his efforts being attended with creditable prosperity.
Mr. Lampson purchased one hundred and sixty acres of river land near the latter place and there raised Timothy and clover hay, wheat and other grains, being paid good prices for his products. He resided upon his farm for twenty-eight years and made it a valuable property, which is still in his possession and yields to him a good financial return. On leaving the farm he came to Paloma and erected here the Paloma Hotel and a large hall, in which entertainments are held. Here, with the assistance of his good wife, he is doing a successful business, caring for and entertaining the traveling public in a most capable manner. The guests receive a cordial reception and every effort is made for their comfort and pleasure. He is also the owner of a group of mines, the Lava Bed and Wallace, with one hundred and seventy acres of land on which he has a patent.
In February, 1861, Mr. Lampson was united in marriage to Miss Abbie Warren, a lady of the state of Maine and a daughter of William, Warren, who came to California in 1852. Mrs. Lampson arrived in the state in 1859, and is therefore numbered among the worthy pioneer women. Their union has been blessed with five children, of whom three are living: Robert Edward Lee, who is engaged in the operation of a mill; Augustus, a blacksmith at Mokelumne; and Orlando, who is on the ranch. A little son was killed in a runaway accident; bringing great grief to the entire family. Two sons are married and there are now eleven grandchildren. These constitute a family of which Mr. and Mrs. Lampson have every reason to be proud. Mrs. Lampson has been to her husband a faithful companion and helpmeet on the journey of life, her careful management and advice being of much assistance to him. Mr. Lampson has been a life-long Democrat, and for seven years he held the office of constable, proving a capable and painstaking officer. He was also a deputy sheriff of the county for several years, filling that position when Sheriff Paul had the chief office and together they rode thousands of miles in search of daring criminals of the worst character, and in the capture of some of the men showed undaunted bravery and fearless spirit. They succeeded in arresting and ridding the county of many of the worst men, and the lawless element of the community were thereby held in subjection. In the face of opposition and many difficulties and without opportunities Mr. Lampson has steadily advanced in life and is today the possessor of a handsome competence. He is of a bright, cheerful disposition, genial and courteous, and has the good will and esteem of the entire community. He is now the oldest citizen of the city in point of residence, and bids fair for many years yet of active business life.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.