CHARLES GEER CHURCH
Charles G. Church, whose well improved ranch is located about four miles north of Loyalton, is one of Sierra county’s leading farmers and a member of one of the old pioneer families of this section of the Sacramento Valley. He was born at Church’s Corners, now called Sattley, on the 29th of October, 1863, and is a son of Isaac S. and Sarah (Geer) Church. His paternal grandparents were Ezra Bliss and Harriet (Sattley) Church, and it was in honor of the latter that the village of Church’s Corners was given the name of Sattley when the government established a post office there. Both the Church and Sattley families were from Vermont and the Biblical names of Ezra, Abraham and Isaac were common ones in these families.
Isaac Sattley Church crossed the Isthmus of Panama on foot and at the time that he landed in San Francisco it was but a tent camp. Mr. Church settled on a ten-acre tract of land near the corner of what is now Third and Market streets, but he was later taken with the “gold fever” and traded that land for some mules and a miner’s outfit, after which he started for the mines. He was engaged in freighting by means of pack mules for many years from Marysville, the head of steamboat navigation, to Downieville, Virginia City, Nevada, and other mines. He formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Frank Rowland, and they each ran a sixty-mule team, packing all kinds of goods and freight. With the completion of the Central Pacific Railroad on May 10, 1869, their freighting business came to an end and they both took up homesteads in the Sierra Valley. Isaac S. Church was married in Vermont to Miss Sarah Geer, a native of that state, and brought her back with him to Church’s Corners. They there ran a public house for the accommodation of the stage people and freighters and also engaged in farming.
Charles Geer Church attended the schools of the Alpine school district and worked on his father’s ranch and stock farm. After attaining his majority he worked for one year for his uncle, Frank Rowland, in Long Valley, and also took up logging. He bought the old Doc Webber ranch of three hundred and twenty acres, on the east side of the Sierra Valley, four miles north of Loyalton, or at Smith’s Neck, as it then was called. He hauled the first log that was sawed in the old Lewis sawmill at Loyalton, which later became the Roberts mill. He hauled heavy loads of logs, using seven and eight yoke of oxen as well as eight-horse teams. He would often spend an entire Sunday shoeing his oxen. Sometime later he took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres and afterward, under the provisions of the enlarged homestead law, took an additional tract of four hundred and eighty acres. Subsequently he sold two hundred and eighty acres of his land, but bought back twenty acres of it, besides which he has two hundred acres of range land.
On May 3, 1893, Mr. Church was united in marriage to Miss Harriet Wiltse, a daughter of Albert and Emma (Emigh) Wiltse, of New York State, and they are the parents of seven children. Edna and Elma are twins, the former of who is the wife of George Gere, of San Jose, California, and has two daughters, while the latter is the wife of Ray Howes, of Los Gatos, California, and has a son and two daughters. Ward died from the influenza while serving with the United States forces in France. Ezra B., of Clover Valley, is employed in the lumber camps of that locality as a caterpillar tractor operator. On July 5, 1930, he was married to Mrs. Amy Douglas, a daughter of Mrs. Fred Small, of Sierraville. John works for the Casey Lumber Company in Long Valley, this state. Maud is the wife of Claud Fulscher, a conductor of a Clover Valley Logging Company train, and they have one child, Stuart. Edith is the wife of Hubert Huntley, of Loyalton, where he is manager of the Clover Valley Lumber Company’s yards, and they have a son, Hubert.
Mr. Church is a member of the White Pine Lodge, No. 175, I. O. O. F., at Loyalton, of which he is a past noble grand. He was a charter member of Sierraville Lodge, of that order, but demitted to the Loyalton lodge. He has been actively interested in local public affairs, having served as school trustee, as clerk of the school board and as a juryman. He is a Republican in his political views and is regarded as one of his community’s solid and dependable men, honored and respected by all who know him.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: Wooldridge, J.W.Major History of Sacramento Valley California, Vol. 3 Pages 306-308. Pioneer Historical Publishing Co. Chicago 1931.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.