Jesse Courtright FRUCHEY was another of the adventurous young California pioneers who here gained a goodly measure of success in connection with early gold mining, and he kept pace with and assisted in the general development of the state, his ability and sterling character having marked him for service in public offices of trust and responsibility. He passed the closing years of his life in San Francisco, and was nearly seventy years of age at the time of his death, on the 1st of August, 1896.
Mr. FRUCHEY was born in Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, on the 23rd of August 1828, he having been the elder of two children and the younger having been Sarah Jane. He was a son of Andrew and Margaret (COURTRIGHT) FRUCHEY, the former of whom died September 4, 1834, a victim of an epidemic of cholera, and the latter of whom died of same disease fifteen days later. The father was citizen of prominence and influence in Seneca County and had served as mayor of Tiffin. The subject of this memoir was but six years of age when thus an orphan, and he was reared in the home of W. O. DILDINE in his native county. His early educational advantages included those of an Ohio college of the period, and he was about twenty-two years of age when, in 1850, he came to California and promptly identified himself with pioneer mining activities at Placerville and Sacramento. For a time he shared a cabin with Mark TWAIN, the great American humorist, who is best known by that pen name, and the friendship of the two continued for many years. Mr. FRUCHEY became a close friend also of Bret HARTE and of Tom SAWYER, the latter of whom was immortalized in one of the books of Mark TWAIN. Mr. FRUCHEY went to Coloma, Sutter County, in company with Mr. MARSHAL, who had discovered gold at the point, and later he continued operations in many other mining camps, his success having been very appreciable. Finally he became crippled by rheumatism and returned to San Francisco. From 1858 to 1862 he was keeper of the lighthouse at Fort Point, and he then returned to the mines. In the early ‘60s he was a member of the House of Representatives in the California Legislature, and he served also as sheriff of San Mateo County, besides having been elected to this office likewise in Eldorado County. At the time of his death he was one of the oldest members of Mount Moriah Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons in the City of San Francisco.
In February, 1880, Mr. FRUCHEY married Mrs. Sarah Josephine YOUNG, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and who survived him a number of years, no children having been born of this union.
Transcribed by Deana Schultz.
Source: "The San Francisco Bay Region" Vol. 3 page 13-14 by Bailey Millard. Published by The American Historical Society, Inc. 1924.
© 2004 Deana Schultz.