DANA BULLARD GETCHELL
A modern philosopher has said, “It is possible to fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” It is this which forms the safeguard of American politics; for if the voters are influenced to cast their ballot for one who proves unworthy of the trust reposed in him they soon discover their mistake and the incompetent official is not returned to office. When one is chosen for a position after having served therein for some time it is an indication that his service has been faithful and able. Mr. Getchell is now serving his second term as the Sheriff of Nevada County and discharges his duties without fear or favor, thus winning the high commendation of all concerned.
He is a native of the far-off state of Maine, his birth having occurred in Whitneyville, on the 15th of April, 1846, the second in order of birth in a family of three children. His parents were George S. and Elizabeth (Farnsworth) Getchell, both natives of the Pine Tree state and representatives of early colonial families. The father was a log driver and lumberman, and when the discovery of gold in California attracted to the Pacific slope men of worth from all sections of the Union, he too joined the band of emigrants and made his way to the El Dorado of the west. Here he engaged in mining until 1860. He afterwards became prominent in connection with the official service of Nevada City, and for five years occupied the position of marshal. He died in 1888, respected by all who knew him, and his wife passed away in 1889. She was a descendant of Mather West, who carried powder to the American army in 1812, and whose bravery in so doing has become a matter of history. On first coming to California Mr. Getchell did not bring his family, but in 1850 returned to Maine and in 1851 came with his wife and children, locating at San Francisco. He then went to Humboldt Bay, where he remained until 1854, at which time he became a resident of Nevada City, so that for more than forty-five years the name of Getchell has been associated with the business interests of this locality.
D. B. Getchell was educated in a private school. At the age of fourteen he left home and learned the blacksmith’s trade, and since that time has been dependent entirely upon his own resources, so that whatever success he has achieved is the reward of his labor. He followed his trade for seven years in Nevada City and then removed to Virginia City, Nevada, where he remained until 1873. Through the succeeding three years he traveled in Colorado, and upon his return to California he engaged in mining and afterward devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits for eighteen months. On the expiration of that period he entered the employ of George E. Turner, of Nevada City, dealer in sheet-iron and pipe, with who he remained for several years. His conscientious discharge of all the duties of citizenship and his progressive interest in the public good led to his election for office, and for three and a half years he served as the city marshal. He was then appointed sheriff to fill out the unexpired term of D. F. Douglas, who was shot by a stage robber and who in turn killed his assassin before his own life expired. In November, 1898, Mr. Getchell was elected to that position, for which he was well qualified, having served as special policeman at a prior date. He has a just regard for law and order and discharges his duties in a perfectly just manner regardless of any influence that may be brought to bear upon him. In politics he is an earnest Republican and keeps well informed on the issues of the day and gives an active support to all movements which are calculated to prove of benefit to the public.
Mr. Getchell affiliates with the Knights of Pythias, the Red Men and the United Workmen, and has been a member of the National Guard for thirty-three years, serving with the rank of sergeant. He is also a member of the fire department, and gives his aid and co-operation to every movement calculated to secure progress along material, social, intellectual and moral lines. In Nevada City he was married to Miss Emma Rosenthal, of California, who died in December, 1869, leaving a son George A. He afterward wedded Alice Baily, who was born in Nevada City, August 25, 1856, and is the second of three children of Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Bump) Baily. Her father was born in New Jersey in 1820, was a plow-maker by trade, and in 1849 came to California. For a few years he was engaged in mining, and from 1853 until 1863 conducted a hotel in Nevada City. His death occurred in 1898, and his wife passed away on the 12th of June of the same year. Mr. and Mrs. Getchell were married on the 23rd of December, 1879, and they had one daughter, Delight E., who died October 13, 1894.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.