GEORGE S. MAKER
For many years this California “49er,” George Samuel Maker, has been a prominent business factor in the town of Dutch Flat. His long identity with this locality and his prominence render a review of his life of more than passing interest in the present work, and the following facts regarding his life have been gleaned for publication.
George Samuel Maker is a native of Germany. He was born August 15, 1822, a son of German parents, and at a very early age was brought to this country. At Monroe, Michigan, he received his schooling. In early manhood he was variously occupied in Michigan, from there went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he had an eating-house, and from Cleveland went to New Orleans, at the latter place running a cigar and oyster establishment. Later he drifted further south, and in 1846 went from New Orleans to the Rio Grande River. Returning to the Crescent city, he loaded a schooner with brandy and whisky, to be sold at the different ports on the river. This business venture being made without the knowledge that General Taylor had issued an order forbidding the sale of liquor there, his cargo was confiscated, and he afterward saw it at the army headquarters. It had cost him sixteen hundred dollars and was a total loss, which he deeply felt at that time.
In 1849, as one of a party of ninety-six members, he started for California. While in Mexico on the journey one of the company discharged his pistol to clean it. The soldiers, coming up at that time and hearing the report, arrested the company and demanded the man who had done the shooting; and, notwithstanding the fact that the travelers explained the cause of the shot, they were compelled to pay a fine of twenty-five dollars before they were allowed to proceed! Soon after this they secured passage on a French bark bound for San Francisco. On account of the very slow passage which this vessel made, its supplies were reduced and passengers had to be put on short allowance. At last only a little hard-tack and a small quantity of stale water was allowed each person daily.
Finally, however, they arrived safe in San Francisco, and after a short time spent there Mr. Maker went up to Deer Creek, now Nevada City, where he saw some gold that had been brought from the Yuba. He went to South Yuba and at Missouri Bar learned to wash the dirt and at once settled down to mining, in which he was successful there. He had the good fortune to find one piece of gold worth five hundred and fifty-four dollars, and the same day he found that his day’s work brought him six hundred dollars. At Missouri Bar he remained until 1853. That year he bought a log cabin on the ridge, in which he opened a store and meat market and where he also kept what was sometimes called a hotel. This business he ran until 1858, making about three thousand dollars, after which he sold his house and the land on which it was located, reserving, however, the timber on the land. His next enterprise was to build a sawmill, which he ran for a number of years. After retiring from the sawmill business he resided in Nevada, and from there in 1864 came to Dutch Flat, where for the past thirty-six years he has been engaged in merchandising, meeting with prosperity and earning the distinction of having the largest establishment and being the oldest merchant in the town. He owns the building in which his store is located and also has a commodious residence nearby, both in the center of town.
Mr. Maker is a man of a family. He was married in 1858 to Miss Lena Talbot, a native of Cork, Ireland, and of the five children that have been given them four are living, namely: Hannah, the wife of Alexander Drayman; George and William, in business with their father; and Mary, the wife of William Bowen, of Dutch Flat.
While a resident of Nevada Mr. Maker received the first degree in Masonry, and after his location in Dutch Flat was given the other degrees of the blue lodge, in which he still retains membership. In his political views he has always harmonized with the Republican Party.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.