Frederick Birdsall, now deceased, was one of the most prominent pioneers of northern California, the year 1850 witnessing his arrival in the state. He was born in Peekskill, New York, in 1829, of Holland lineage, representing one of the prominent New York families that were established in the Empire state during the pioneer epoch of its development. His education was obtained in New York City, and when in his twenty-first year having heard of the gold discoveries in California, he sailed around Cape Horn, making his way by the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco. He thence came to Paradise, Placer County, where for some time he was engaged in selling supplies to miners. Subsequently he was the owner of a silver mine in Nevada and very successfully engaged in its operation for a number of years. He afterward sold the property and removed to Sacramento, where he was connected with a number of prominent enterprises of the city that contributed not only to his individual prosperity but was also of marked benefit to the public. He was the builder of the narrow-gauge railroad from Lodi to Valley Springs, in Calaveras County, and afterward sold it to the Southern Pacific Railroad Company.
In 1887 he purchased the heights above Auburn, a beautiful, sightly, attractive tract, and with characteristic energy began the improvement of the property. He named the place Acolia, laid out drives, built a beautiful residence, planted an olive orchard and otherwise added to its value and attractive appearance. He sold a few lots to persons who have built elegant homes thereon; but the Birdsall family still retains possession of sixty-five acres, on which they have eight thousand fine olive trees and are now erecting an olive oil manufactory. In the midst of the successful conduct of his numerous business undertakings, however, Mr. Birdsall became ill and passed away on the 23rd of April, 1900, at the age of seventy-one years, five months and fourteen days.
In 1866 he was happily married to Miss Esther Stratton, a native of Marietta, Ohio, a most estimable lady. Their union was blessed with five children, three of whom are living, namely: Etta Tylor, Jane and Ernest Stratton. The last named is now managing the estate, and to him we are indebted for the material which furnishes the substance of this brief account of his honored father. The daughters are at home with their mother in Sacramento, but the son resides in his beautiful home in Acolia Heights. He was born in Sacramento June 27, 1876, and was educated in the State University at Berkeley. On putting aside his textbooks he became associated with his father in the improvement of Acolia Heights. He was married, on the 7th of January, 1899, to Miss Mabel Blair, a native of Placerville, El Dorado County. He belongs to California Lodge No. 1, F. & A. M., of San Francisco, and is a progressive, enterprising businessman who has a bright future before him.
His father contributed in a large measure to the substantial improvement and upbuilding of his section of the state. He was a man of strong force of character and left the impress of his individuality upon the public progress. In manner he was kindly and his actions were ever sincere and straightforward, so that wherever he went he won a host of warm friends. His death was deeply mourned and when he passed away northern California lost one of its most valued representatives.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.
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