One of the most popular and highly esteemed residents of Placer County is John Chisholm, whose pleasant residence in Auburn is a favorite resort of his many friends. Long connected with the public service, he has labored for the benefit of his fellow men and at all times has been loyal and faithful to his duty. He is now filling the office of country treasurer, being elected for a second term.
A native of Scotland, John Chisholm was born on the 8th of December, 1839, in Haddington, and represents an old Highland family of the clan of Chisholm, of Chisholm. His father, John Chisholm, Sr., was born in Lauderdale, Scotland, and married Isabell Pride, a native of East Lothian. He devoted his energies to farming and stockraising, and was not only prominent in business affairs, but also exerted a strong influence for good by reason of an upright life. He and his wife held membership in the Presbyterian Church at North Burwick, in which he served as an elder for forty-two years. He attained the age of seventy-eight years, and his wife passed away in the sixty-eighth year of her age. They were the parents of thirteen children, five of whom are living. All were reared in the faith of the Presbyterian Church and into their lives were instilled lessons of industry and honesty which have borne good fruit in later years.
John Chisholm of this review was reared amid the refining influences of a Christian home and in his native county acquired a good common school education. Hoping to benefit his financial condition by immigrating to the United States, he took passage on the sailing vessel India, which weighed anchor in the harbor of Glasgow. Very stormy weather and heavy seas were experienced, and they had a rough voyage, finding great difficulty in marking the harbor of New York. Mr. Chisholm settled at Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and after his arrival in this country was converted under Methodist preaching and joined the church. He was at once licensed as an exhorter, as he had special ability in that direction, being a strong and convincing speaker. He labored earnestly in behalf of the church during the time he was working in the coal mines, earning his living by the sweat of his brow. His marked ability as a speaker, however, led the Methodist Conference to ordain him as a minister, and in 1880 he came to California, connecting himself with the Methodist conference at Petaluma. He has since filled the pastorate of various churches with great ability, was stationed for three years at Arcata, and three years at Elk Grove and was then appointed to Auburn, where he preached for four years. On the expiration of that period he spent two years in charge of the Methodist Church at Nevada City, but the health of himself and his wife both failed and he retired from the pastorate there, returning to Auburn. Soon afterward he was appointed the chaplain of the state prison at Folsom and worked in that field for eight years, during which time he did splendid work among the unfortunate men whose tendency toward crime had led them to forfeit their liberty. While he is not now actively connected with the conference, he often fills the pulpit and is an entertaining, thoughtful speaker whose oratorical powers lend effectiveness to his utterances. In all his work he is prompted by earnest Christian charity, deep human sympathy and humanitarian principles. These qualities bring him the respect and love of people of all denominations and thus he exercises a great power for good. He performs more funeral and marriage ceremonies in this community than any other one minister, and he never refuses his services for the burial of the dead, no matter how arduous have been his labors or how small the chance of reward.
Since coming to the United States Rev. Mr. Chisholm has seen a staunch advocate of American principles and has entered actively into campaign work on three different occasions, delivering many able addresses in support of the principles which he believes contain the best element of good government. In 1894 the party chose him as its candidate for treasurer of the county, and he was elected and served so satisfactorily for four years that he was again chosen for the same office, by the very complimentary majority of six hundred and ten, which was a great increase over his first majority. Over the record of his official career there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil.
In 1867 the Rev. Mr. Chisholm was married to Miss Johanna Polson, a native of Scotland and a daughter of Donald Polson, a prominent Scotch merchant. They were married in London, England, and had three children ere his immigration to America. Mr. Chisholm came first to this country, and in 1872 sent for his wife to join him. She is still his devoted helpmate and has been to him a faithful companion on life’s journey, sharing with him in the joys and sorrows that checker the lives of all. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, with which he became identified in Pennsylvania, and through the intervening years has been one of its active workers and exemplary representatives, manifesting in his life the tenets of that charitable order. He also belongs to the blue lodge, chapter and commandery of the Masonic fraternity, and has long been a chaplain in the craft. He and his wife hold membership in the Order of the Eastern Star, and in many official positions in these societies he has discharged his duties in a creditable and able manner, reflecting honor upon the organization.
Mr. and Mrs. Chisholm have a delightful residence in Auburn, standing in the midst of pleasant grounds, and they take great delight in cultivating beautiful flowers and in adorning their place with the arts of the landscape gardener. They have a host of warm friends, and their social qualities and sterling worth render them popular and highly esteemed residents of the community. As has been truly remarked, after all that may be done for man in the way of giving him early opportunities for obtaining the requirements which are sought in the schools and in books, he must essentially formulate, determine and give shape to his own character; and this is what Mr. Chisholm has done. His life is exemplary in all respects, and he has ever supported those interests which are calculated to uplift and benefit humanity, while his own high moral worth is deserving of the highest commendation.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.