El Dorado County
DAVID T. LOOFBOURROW
One of the leading and influential citizens of El Dorado County living at Diamond Springs is David T. Loofbourrow, whose residence in California covers a half century, the date of his arrival being September 9, 1850, the very day on which California was admitted into the Union. He has already reached the Psalmist’s span of three-score years and ten, for he was born in Ohio, December 6, 1829. The blood of Scotch and English ancestry is in his constitution and in his life he has exemplified many of the best characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon race. The first of the name to settle in America located in Pennsylvania. His father, Wade Loofbourrow, was born in the Keystone state, and on emigrating to Ohio located in Washington, Fayette County, where he was married to Miss Nancy Swinney. He was a lawyer by profession, attained prominence at the bar and was elected and served as the judge of the district court. Many positions of honor and trust were conferred upon him and he was accorded an eminent place in the ranks of the legal fraternity. He died in 1852 at the age of sixty-seven years, and his wife passed away at the age of forty-seven years, leaving four children, all of whom yet survive.
Mr. Loofbourrow of this review, the only one of the family in California, pursued his education in the academy at Chillicothe, Ohio, and entered upon his business career as a salesman in a store. Hoping to better his financial condition in the far west he crossed the plains to California in 1850, allured by the discovery of gold and the prospect of securing a fortune in the gold fields. He traveled with a company of one hundred and thirty men who with thirty wagons crossed the hot and arid plains. They were annoyed by the Indians, but a guard was kept on watch most of the time and thus they avoided an attack. Ten of their number died of cholera and the route was marked by many a new-made grave. For ten days they were without bread and they suffered other hardships and difficulties. A short time after leaving Salt Lake they abandoned the wagons and packed the oxen with their goods. On reaching Humboldt, Nevada, they sold their oxen and came on foot to Placerville, which was one of the historic places in California in the early mining days, the scene of its most noted gold diggings. Thus the long journey was safely pursued but the experience of that trip will never be forgotten by those who made it. During a part of the time they made bread of bran without salt, but although it was not very palatable they had keen appetites and were glad to get what they could.
After reaching California, Mr. Loofbourrow engaged in mining for a number of years on Webber Creek, also in the neighborhood of Kelsey and Auburn, and in various places in Nevada County. He never met with more than moderate success, although he found one nugget of gold that was worth sixty dollars, another worth eighty and a third worth ninety dollars. With his two partners he took out one day two hundred and fifty dollars. Like other miners, he traveled over the country a great deal to see what he could find, when it would have been more profitable to have remained at the mines when they were meeting with fair success, thus “letting well enough alone.” During his first day’s mining on Webber Creek he dug a little hole in the bed of the creek and from thirty-five panfuls of dirt he took out gold to the value of seventeen and a half dollars. The hole filled with water and they abandoned it; but they been more experienced they would have continued there and probably would have realized a handsome fortune.
In 1860 Mr. Loofbourrow returned to El Dorado County and took charge of the Gold Hill canal and continued in that occupation for five years. In 1866 he began merchandising at Cold Springs. For seven years he engaged in trade at Grizzly Flat, and in 1879 he removed to El Dorado, where he sold goods for fourteen years, meeting with excellent success. He next went to Tacoma, Washington, and dealt in town lots, meeting with some success during the boom. He was fortunate enough to leave just before the boom subsided, and since then he has been engaged in merchandising in Placerville, and also at his present location at Diamond Springs and El Dorado.
Until 1896 Mr. Loofbourrow affiliated with the Democratic Party, but since then he has entertained socialistic and populist ideas. In 1858 he was elected by his party a member of the state legislature and in 1873-4 was the chief clerk of the state assembly.
He was married in 1863 to Miss Elizabeth Englesfreid, a native of Illinois, and unto them were born ten children, all of whom are living, namely: Wade, who resides in the state of Washington; Reno Paul, who is with his father in the store; Charles F., an agent of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company; Nancy, the wife of E. L. Roussin; Kate, the wife of R. M. Wren; Twinney, the wife of Albert Bliss; Margaret and Emma, who are attending school at San Jose; and Clance, his youngest son, and Agnes, who also are students. Mr. Loofbourrow has never been identified with any social or fraternal society, giving his attention exclusively to his business, and by an upright and honorable course he has prospered.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.