CHARLES MORRIS WHITLOCK
One of the oldest and most successful merchants at San Andreas, Calaveras County, California, is the gentleman whose name is the title of this sketch, and who came to California in 1854 and has been a citizen of the state for forty-six years.
Mr. Whitlock came of English ancestors, who settled in America in the pre-Revolutionary period. Ephraim James Whitlock, his father, a native of the state of New York, married Miss Mary Gertrude Morris; also a native of the Empire state, descended from English forefathers, and lived in Brooklyn, New York, until he died in 1836 leaving a widow and six children. His wife lived to be seventy-four years old, and Charles Morris Whitlock, born in Brooklyn, New York, November 5, 1835, is the only surviving member of his family. Mr. Whitlock was educated in Brooklyn and in 1854 when in his nineteenth year, came to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, a poor youth in search of fortune, with no capital save energy, integrity and education. His voyage to California was not marked by any event worthy of note save the burial at sea of several passengers who had fallen victims to the Panama fever.
Mr. Whitlock mined at San Andreas, with varying success, until 1859, when he entered the service of the Butterfield Mail Company in Arizona. His duty brought him in contact with Indians, with whom he traded extensively, buying the grain raised on their reservation and paying them largely in merchandise of different kinds. The grain he purchased was used chiefly to feed the horses of the mail company employed over one hundred miles of its route. In 1861 he was sent by the company to Ruby Valley, Nevada, and while there attended not only to the business he was sent to look after, but to the feeding at the company’s expense, of Shoshone Indians, whom he found in great want.
He was sent by the company to San Jose in 1862, where he remained until that place had connection by railroad with the outside world, when he returned to San Andreas and for a time had charge of the affairs of Judge Stevens, and was given the management of the telegraph office and of the post office and made the local agent of the Wells-Fargo Express Company. He opened a store in 1870, on the site of his present large two-story brick store and office structure, the upper portion of which is occupied by prominent lawyers of San Andreas, and he accommodates also the telegraph office and post office. He carries a large stock of general merchandise, and by a liberal policy and a system of fair dealing has achieved a marked success. His home and the grounds surrounding it are as attractive as any in the town and attest his taste and refinement as nothing else could do. His flower garden is one of the largest and best kept in the county and attracts the attention of all visitors to San Andreas.
Mr. Whitlock has never married or joined a secret society, but, to use a favorite expression, has “just paddled his own canoe,” and prospered by attending strictly to business and very little to politics, though he is a strong Republican and not without influence in his party. Genial and sociable, he makes friends with all with whom he comes in contact.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.