James Waddell, the train master and agent of the Southern Pacific Railroad at Rocklin, has spent his entire life in the Golden state. He was born in Pine Grove on the 28th of September, 1854, and is a representative of one of the pioneer families, his father, John Waddell, having come to California in 1850. He was born in Kilrain, Ireland, of Scotch ancestry, on the 28th of November, 1819, and was a son of Thomas Waddell, a native of Edinburg, Scotland, who served as a soldier under the Duke of Wellington and fought in the Battle of Waterloo. Subsequently he resided in the Emerald Isle, and during his residence there the birth of John Waddell occurred. That latter afterward went to Scotland, in which country he was married in 1842 to Miss Katie Strain. The same year they immigrated to New Zealand, living in that country until 1849, when, on Christmas Day they sailed as passengers on the schooner Vulcan for California, arriving in Placer County in June, 1850. There were one hundred passengers on board, some of them being intoxicated, and in a fight which ensued the compass was broken and they were driven about by wind and wave for a long time. Mrs. Waddell had her three little sons with her. They were put on short rations, having but one poor little sea biscuit and a little water each day. They suffered greatly, enduring such an existence for ten weeks. They were then sighted by a whaling vessel, under the command of Captain Babcock, who came on board, gave them their bearings and they then sailed into the harbor at Guam. There they remained for a month, being kindly treated by the citizens, fed and cared for without pay.
After arriving in Placer County John Waddell followed his trade of boot and shoe making and also conducted a hotel at Pine Grove. He was a very strong and active man, noted for his athletic prowess, but while performing some feat of strength he injured one of his legs. This resulted in the formation of a tumor, which when cut out was found to weight twenty-five pounds! It was cut out twice, but still continued to grow and it was finally decided that if his life was to be saved the limb must be amputated; but during the operation he died! This was in 1859, when he was forty years of age. His religious faith was in harmony with the views of the belief of the Presbyterian Church and he was a good husband, a loving father and faithful citizen. His loss to his wife and children proved a very great one. He had made considerable money, but had invested much of it in mining enterprises that proved unprofitable, so he had but little to leave his family. His wife was born in Scotland, in 1826, and is now living in Rocklin, at the age of seventy-four years, one of the highly respected pioneer women of California. She became the wife of Mr. Connor and was the mother of fifteen children, but only three of the number are living. She is for the second time now a widow. Her surviving children are Thomas, of Nevada; Mary F., now the wife of James Burchard, of the Buchard Hotel, of Rocklin; and James.
In taking up the personal history of Mr. Waddell of this review we present to our readers the life record of one whose long residence here has made him widely and favorably known. He was educated in the public schools of Rocklin until fourteen years of age, when he began to earn his own living as messenger boy for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. By close attention to his duty and as a result of his experience and ability which he has shown, he has been advanced step by step to his present position in the employ of the company, being now train-master and agent at Rocklin. For thirty-one years he has been a competent and trustworthy employee of the road. On the completion of his service he worked in the roundhouse, later was fireman, brakeman, switchman, yard-master for two years. Since 1888 he has been the train-master and agent at Rocklin, and his obliging manner, courteous disposition and faithfulness to duty have made him popular.
In 1880 Mr. Waddell wedded Mrs. Ida Euretta Cross, a native of Waterford, New York, and a daughter of S. C. Clow, of the Empire state, who came to California in 1860, and died at Rocklin, in 1897, one of the highly respected citizens of that place. Mrs. Waddell had one child by her first husband, who is now acting as a clerk in her stepfather’s office. Mr. and Mrs. Waddell have three children: Myrtle E., Ida M. and James C. They have a nice home standing in the mist of handsome well-kept grounds, and the surroundings and furnishings of the place indicate the refined and cultured taste of the owner. Mr. and Mrs. Waddell are valued members of the Order of Rebekah, which they joined on its organization at Rocklin. She was its first noble grand. He was also the first subordinate lodge, and has also filled all of the chairs of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is one of the active and substantial members of the fraternity, taking a deep interest in its growth and upbuilding. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Foresters. He and his family enjoy a high standing and the esteem of a host of friends in the state of which he is a most creditable native son, but those who have known him from boyhood are numbered among his warmest friends, indicating an upright career.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.