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Humboldt County












The success which Dr. John McFadyen has achieved both as a physician and a citizen has been entirely the result of his own efforts, for, thrown upon his own resources at a very early age, he has bent every energy toward the culmination of a worthy ambition. Of Scottish ancestry, though himself a native of Toronto, Canada, born July 17, 1850, he has inherited many of the characteristics which have made native of Scotland much to be desired as citizens of a new country. The first American emigrant was Archibald McFadyen, the grandfather of the doctor, who left his home in the Highlands of Scotland, where he was born June 6, 1780, and came to the United States and located in South Carolina in 1818. Like the greater part of the wealthy settlers of the Palmetto state he became a slave owner, but never believing in the righteousness of the custom he finally liberated his slaves and removed in 1829 to Canada, locating in Eldon county, Ontario, where he engaged as a farmer until his death. While a resident of Canada he took an active part in the MacKenzie Rebellion. The other member of the McFadyen family who left Scotland at the time Archibald McFadyen came to American was his brother, Donald, who died in South Carolina. These were the only two emigrants of the family, and there is necessarily but a limited relationship on this side of the water, though the family still flourish in the native land, still speaking the Gaelic tongue. Among the children of Archibald McFadyen was a son named Hugh, born in Scotland, and who died in 1854, in Beavertown, Canada, where he engaged for many years in tool manufacture. He married Jane Ovens, also a native of Scotland, born in 1824, the daughter of John Ovens, who removed to Hamilton, Canada, and engaged as a wholesale merchant. Her death occurred in Chico, Cal., where she had made her home since 1877. She was the mother of two daughters and three sons, and one of the latter, Dr. A. McFadyen, is a prominent dentist of San Francisco.


The third child in his father's family, John McFadyen was only four years old when he was deprived by death of his father's care and training. During his youthful years he attended a private school in the pursuit of an education, but when only thirteen he left home and became dependent upon his own resources, dissatisfied with the treatment he received from his stepfather. Arriving in Detriot, Mich., with only thirty-five cents, he spent ten cents for crackers, after which he set out to find work. On account of his age the army afforded no opportunity and it also handicapped him in his search for employment. Securing a friend in the person of a Mr. Fisk he found a place on a farm, his renumeration to be $15 per month. Finally deciding to come to California he crossed the plains alone, traveling on horseback over the old trail, although en route he stopped at various places, remaining in Minnesota for some time and at Fort Laramie, acting as clerk in the Commissary department for a year and a half. Arriving in San Francisco finally, he remained for only a short time, when he made a trip through the northern part of the state and Oregon. Locating in Portland, Ore., he took up the study of medicine with Dr. Kellogg, and in 1874 became a student in Cooper Institute, of San Francisco. On leaving that institution he entered the University of Pennsylvania, graduating therefrom in 1876 with the degree of M. D. Returning to California he engaged in the practice of his profession in Rohnerville, Humboldt county, until 1881, the year following locating in Chico, Butte county, where he has since made his home. In addition to the practice of his profession the doctor has taken a keen interest in the public affairs of the city, and as an evidence of his faith in its future has invested in considerable business property. He also owns real estate in San Francisco and Recreation Park in Chapmantown. Always interested in the introduction of new ideas he attempted the culture of almonds in this locality, but on account of soil and climatic conditions did not succeed in the venture.


In Humboldt county, in 1877, Dr. McFadyen was first united in marriage, Miss Lucy Dodge, of Vermont, becoming his wife. She died in 1885, in this city, leaving one daughter, Eleanor, now the wife of Clarence W. Lininger, who is joint representative to the state assembly from the First district. They are now living in Chico. In Cleveland, Ohio, the doctor was married to his present wife, Jean Cleghorn, who was born in Niagara Falls, N. Y. In fraternal orders the doctor is identified with the Odd Fellows and Masons, in the latter body being a member of the Blue Lodge, Royal Arch Chapter and Consistory. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and politically is a Republican, active in the advancement of the principles he endorses.




Source: Guinn, J. M.,  History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the Sacramento Valley, California”, Pages 1617-1618, Chapman Publ., Chicago. 1906.

© 2013 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.



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