JACOB L. COOMBS, M. D.
The story of pioneer life has ever proved a tale of thrilling interest, often rivaling in dramatic action any episode upon the state, while deeds of heroism and valor have been no more commendable, even if more frequent, upon the field of battle. It requires great courage and patient endurance to leave comfortable homes in a long settled community and face the hardships of life on the frontier, deprived of many of the conveniences and privileges known to the older settlements; but a resolute band of men came to the Pacific coast, and this section of the country now rivals in its advantages, privileges and improvements the older east.
The late Dr. Coombs was one of the early residents in this section of the Union, and was a witness to the greater part of the growth and upbuilding of the Golden state. He was born in Lexington, Kentucky, June 6, 1829. His father, the Rev. Isaac Coombs, was a native of Virginia, resided in Maryland for some years, and later in Pennsylvania. Among his ancestors were those connected with the Revolutionary struggle and the War of 1812. His wife bore the maiden name of Elizabeth A. Forney and was a native of Pennsylvania, where her ancestors had resided for many generations. The Rev. Isaac Coombs and his wife had three children, and the parents are now deceased. Dr. Coombs, the eldest child, was reared and educated in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where he began his professional study under the preceptorship of Dr. John Burkhalter. He pursued his first course of lectures in the medical department of Washington University, and was graduated in medicine and surgery in 1851. For four years thereafter he was connected with the regular army as surgeon and assigned to duty with the First United States Rifles. In 1854 he resigned, locating to Corvallis, Oregon, where he remained for ten years. During the war of the rebellion he served as assistant surgeon in the United States medical department, being located at Fort Yamhill and at Fort Hoskins, between the years 1862 and 1865.
Retiring from the army, Dr. Coombs located in Portland, where he remained for one year, and in 1866 came to Grass Valley, where he practiced during the rest of his life. He always kept abreast with the advances made in medical science throughout the intervening years, and his knowledge of medicine was comprehensive and profound. His marked skill and ability was the means of securing to him a very liberal patronage, and his success was well deserved.
December 4, 1855, in Polk County, Oregon, occurred the marriage of Dr. Coombs and Miss Sarah H. Chamberlain, a native of Michigan and a daughter of Aaron Chamberlain, who crossed the plains to Oregon in 1844. They had four children, namely: Aaron L., Manlie W., Elizabeth A., the widow of George W. Fleming, and Jessie, the wife of Charles E. Fleming, of Nevada County. Dr. Coombs was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Improved Order of Red Men. He had a wide acquaintance throughout northern California and was highly respected as a successful businessman of integrity and ability. For a quarter of a century he resided in Grass Valley and enjoyed the warm regard of his fellow men by reason of his possession of those sterling traits of character which in every land and in every clime commands admiration and regard. July 4, 1900, he passed away after a short illness leaving his family and a host of friends to mourn his demise.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.