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Calaveras County








            Forty-nine years have passed since Jacob S. Tower, now deceased, came to California to cast his lot with the pioneers, and the period of his residence here covered twenty-nine years.  People of the present can scarcely realize the struggles and dangers which attended the early settlers and the heroism and self-sacrifice of lives passed upon the borders of civilization, the hardships endured, the difficulties overcome.  These tales of the early days read almost like a romance to those who have known only modern prosperity and conveniences.  To the pioneer of the early days, far removed from the privileges and conveniences of city or town, the struggle for existence was a stern and hard one, and those men and women must have possessed indomitable energies and sterling worth of character as well as marked physical courage when they voluntarily selected such a life and successfully fought its battles under such circumstances as prevailed on the Pacific coast.

            Jacob S. Tower was a young man of twenty-three years when he took up his residence in California.  His early life was spent in the Green Mountain state, his birth having occurred in Springville, Vermont, November 8, 1828.  There he remained until he determined to seek a fortune in the far west.  He came to California by way of the Panama route and secured work on the Garcelon Ranch, receiving one hundred dollars per month for his services.  He acted in the position of foreman, but in 1855 he took up his abode on the present Tower & Bisbee Ranch at Salt Spring Valley, Calaveras County, entering into partnership with Mr. Bisbee, a relation which was maintained throughout the remainder of his business career.  They lived together and conducted their enterprise in the most harmonious manner, both being imbued with the principles of honesty, uprightness and consideration.  They were industrious and capable and success came to them as the result of their intelligent efforts.  They carried on stock-raising on an extensive scale and acquired the possession of a large, valuable ranch of twenty-four hundred and eighty acres, on which they erected a commodious residence, large barns and other outbuildings, adding all the accessories of a model farm.  Their home became a noted and popular stopping place for teamsters and travelers between Stockton, Angel’s Camp, Murphy’s and the Big Trees.

            The partners kept “bachelors’ hall” until 1863, at which time Mr. Tower married Miss Mary E. Howard, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a daughter of James Howard, a native of England.  There came to bless their union eight children, of whom five are living:  Henrietta became the wife of Aldus Beck and resides in Oakland; Jacob F., the eldest son resides on a portion of the farm and is interested in the butcher business; Willard H., Frank S. and James A. are all living on the home farm.  Mr. Tower died in May, 1881, at the age of fifty-one years.  He was a loving, devoted husband and father, and was a citizen of the highest integrity, being public-spirited and benevolent, doing everything in his power to advance the interests of his county.  He did gratuitously much work to improve the condition of the roads in his vicinity and thus became a public benefactor, for there was much travel over those highways.  He never withheld his support from any movement or measure which he believed would contribute to the public good.  In politics he was a stalwart Republican.  All who knew Mr. Tower respected him for his sterling worth, and to his family he not only left a good property but also a good name, which is rather to be chosen than great riches.

            Since Mr. Tower’s death Mr. Mosher, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Tower, has resided upon the ranch and assisted in its management, until the sons were old enough to assume the responsibility.  The lady is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  She possesses that too often rare quality of practical common sense which is so important an element in business affairs.  She is most hospitable in her home and does all in her power to promote the comfort and enjoyment of the guests who stop for entertainment at the Tower & Bisbee Ranch.




Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 760-761. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2011  Gerald Iaquinta.




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