John Spaulding is the general superintendent of the South Yuba Water Company. In this land of perpetual sunshine it is often necessary to employ a system of irrigation to make the soil productive. Nature, however, has furnished an abundant water supply in the mountains and enterprising men have utilized such resources so that much of the land has been reclaimed for the purpose of cultivation. An active factor in this great work is the South Yuba Water Company, of which John Spaulding is the efficient and capable superintendent. He came to California in 1855, but in the early days was a placer miner and stage driver of the Sierra Nevada country, a man fertile and shrewd in his resources. His practical knowledge of the possibilities of this region and everything pertaining to either mining or water, combined with his ability to control men, brought him to the front in the planning and building of the great water system with which he has been connected from its inception up to the present time. In this way he has become the counselor to many millionaires, and has become widely known among people whose wealth is much less. All entertain for him the highest regard, and he is lovingly and familiarly called “Uncle John” throughout this section of California.
Mr. Spaulding was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, April 18, 1831, and represents a family of German origin that was early founded in Vermont. His father, Isaac Spaulding, was born and reared in the Green Mountain state and there married Miss Charlotte Killborn, who also was a native of Vermont and was descended from one of the old and highly respected families of that portion of the country. Removing to St. Lawrence County, New York, they became industrious and worthy farming people of the Empire state. The father served his country as a soldier in the War of 1812, and lived to be ninety-three years of age, while his good wife attained the age of ninety-seven years. He was twice married and by the first union he had three sons and two daughters, while by his marriage to our subject’s mother he had two sons, Walace and John. John owns a tract of land and a fine summer resort at Seigler Springs in Lake County. The latter is well patronized and the land has been converted into an excellent farm, yielding a rich return for the cultivation bestowed upon it.
In 1868 John Spaulding was happily married to Mrs. Gerrett, of San Francisco, and their union was blessed with three children: Mabel R., Charles K. and J. W. In 1897 the wife and mother was called to her final rest, after a long and harmonious married life. She was an estimable lady, possessed of many excellent characteristics and was very devoted to her family, and her loss was deeply felt by husband, children and friends.
In the early days of his residence in California Mr. Spaulding engaged in driving a stage from Sacramento through Auburn to Dutch Flat, continuing that work from 1858 until 1862. He had charge of the Wells-Fargo stage across the mountains and had the oversight of the five hundred head of horses which at one time were used in the stage business controlled by that company. Subsequently he was engaged in the construction of water works in San Mateo County, and in 1875 he went to Shasta County, where he engaged in mining. The following year, however, he came to Auburn and took charge of the development of the great water works system belonging to the South Yuba Water Company, a system which has been built and developed by him until it now has over four hundred miles of canals, flumes, pipelines, etc., and covers Nevada and Placer counties. The source of water supply comes from the summit of the mountains and includes nineteen large lakes and reservoirs. The latter are fortified with excellent dams and are of immense extent and capacity, controlling the future draining of the entire slope. The reservoirs cover about fifteen hundred acres of land and have a capacity of fifteen billion gallons of water. One of the largest of these was named in honor of Mr. Spaulding. Because of the possibility of filling these reservoirs often during the season it is estimated that they have a capacity of one hundred and fifty billion gallons of water. This immense quantity of water is used for mining, for power, for supplying the country and towns with a water supply and for irrigating purposes, and is of inestimable value to the district to which it is carried, as well as being a source of much revenue to its projectors and owners. Mr. Spaulding has been the superintendent of this immense and important industry for the past twenty-four years and has proved himself to be a man of the highest ability in this line of work. In all his business relations he is straightforward and his dealings are above question.
He has been a Republican since the organization of the party, but has never been active in politics nor in secret societies, preferring to give his entire attention to his business.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.