JOHN LAWRENCE STOAKES
In the successful hotel proprietor there are always certain elements which distinguish him from the business man in other walks of life. He must be a good judge of men, wide-awake and alert in his dealings and at the same time a courteous and diligent host who carefully looks after the comforts of his guests. The possession of these characteristics have made Mr. Stoakes widely and favorably known as the proprietor of the Mountain View Hotel, of Colfax.
California had been admitted to the Union scarcely three years when he arrived within her borders. He is a native of Indiana, born March 31, 1847, of English lineage. His father, Clement Stoakes, was a native of Goshen, Indiana, and a prominent lawyer of that state. He married Lucinda E. Griffin, who also was born in the same state, and her first child was John Lawrence, who was only a year old when his father died. After the death of her husband Mrs. Stoakes renewed her acquaintance through a correspondence with Asa W. Danforth, an old friend of the family, who had come to California in 1849. Subsequently she promised him her hand in marriage and Mr. Danforth sent for her and her little son to come to the Golden state. In Sacramento Mrs. Stoakes became Mrs. Danforth. This was four years after the death of her first husband, and John Lawrence Stoakes was then only five years of age. Three daughters were born of the wife of second union, Henrietta and Helen, twins, and Elizabeth. Helen became the wife of George Hackett and is now a widow living in Hanford, Tulare County, California. Henrietta married Thomas P. Shade and after his death became the wife of Charles Casmore, their home being now at Forest City. Elizabeth has for the past sixteen years been a successful and prominent teacher in the schools of Truckee, California. The mother is still living, in the seventy-second year of her age, making her home at Gold Run. She is respected by all who know her as a most estimable lady and a worthy representative of a pioneer family of the state. Mr. Danforth, who was one of the first to locate in California after the discovery of gold, passed away at Gold Run.
John L. Stoakes acquired his education in Todd’s Valley, where his stepfather conducted a hotel, for at that time the place was a large mining camp and great quantities of gold were being taken from the various claims in the locality. After the camp began to decline they removed to the lower end of the American Bar, on the American River, and later to Michigan Bluff. In 1865 Mr. Stoakes, then seventeen years of age, started out to make his own way in the world alone. He came to Colfax and entered the employ of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, acting as one of the rodmen with a gang of the company’s surveyors. Later he became foreman of a gang of construction workmen on the road between Auburn and Emigrant Gap, and when that time had passed he engaged in mining at Gold Run for a number of years. Subsequently he went to the Mayflower mine and purchased the store and hotel there, conducting the dual enterprise with gratifying success for a number of years. In Oregon he had charge of workmen engaged in the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad and became engaged in the hotel business at Silverton, Marion County, Oregon. On selling that property he returned to California and accepted the position of foreman on the work train from Sacramento to Truckee. In 1893 he purchased the Mountain View Hotel at Colfax, which has since been conducted by Mr. Stoakes and his estimable wife. The hotel is a three-story building, thirty by one hundred feet. The rooms are well lighted and ventilated and are tastefully furnished. Everything about the place is clean and attractive and the guests are treated with the highest consideration.
Mr. Stoakes was happily married in Dutch Flat, in 1876, to Mrs. Anna Luella Brown, who by her former marriage had a son and a daughter: Richard D. and Lillian May Brown. They were well and carefully reared by Mrs. and Mrs. Stoakes, who by their marriage have one daughter, Alice Mabel, at home with her parents. They are also rearing a bright little grandson, Lawrence DeYoung Brown. The little boy was born on Christmas Day, and Mr. DeYoung had promised a silver cup to all the children born on the 25th of December. The little one accordingly received the cup and they gave him Mr. DeYoung’s name. He now has a pleasant home with his grandparents, who are very devoted to the little fellow. Mr. Stoakes is a Mason, and Odd Fellow and a Knight of Pythias, and is also identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen. For many years he gave an unfaltering support to the Republican Party, but is now independent in his political affiliations. His wife is a lady of excellent executive ability and has given him very efficient aid in his hotel business.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.