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Stanislaus County








            This well-known citizen of Stanislaus County is one of the largest stock-raisers in this portion of the state and has been largely instrumental in improving the grade of stock raised in this section of California.  His efforts have therefore been of public benefit, for the improvement of stock adds to its market value and the wealth of the agricultural class is thereby augmented.  The rich pasture lands of the Pacific coast provide excellent opportunities to the stock-raiser, and this industry has become a most important feature in the commercial interests of the Golden state.

            Mr. Clifford’s farm is located two miles east of Knight’s Ferry and he has been a resident of the state since 1852, coming here a young man of twenty-one years.  He was born in Danville, Caledonia County, Vermont, on the 12th of April, 1831.  His grandfather, Joseph Clifford, was born in Scotland.  At an early day he immigrated to the Green Mountain state, where his son, Rufus, the father of our subject, was born and reared.  As a companion and helpmate on life’s journey, he chose Miss Lydia Badger, a native of Hartland, Vermont.  They became industrious farming people and worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and spent their entire lives in Vermont, the old homestead continuing their place of abode.  The father passed away at the age of seventy-two years, but the mother attained the very advanced age of ninety-two years.  They were the parents of nine children, six of whom are living.  William R. Clifford, a brother of our subject, came to California and died in Stockton, this state, in 1865.

            Eldad Alexander Clifford acquired his education in his native town and in his youth worked at farming and in a cotton factory in New Hampshire, where he remained until allured by the discovery of gold on the Pacific coast he made his way to California, by way of the Isthmus route.  On reaching this state he went direct to the placer mines at what was then called Poverty Hill, a mining camp formed of tents.  For three years he engaged in placer mining through the winter season and in the summer months followed teaming, hauling goods from Stockton to Sonora, Columbia and Chinese Camp.  For fourteen years he followed teaming, finding it a profitable venture, for as there was no other means of transportation the teamsters commanded good prices for their services.  Mr. Clifford afterward traveled as a salesman for a wholesale liquor and cigar house and at the same time purchased hides and tallow.  For six years he devoted his time to the purchase of pelts and hides, and then purchased a flock of sheep.  For twenty-four years he was engaged in the sheep-raising industry, having as high as eight thousand sheep upon his ranch at one time and realizing from his labors in one season as high as eleven thousand dollars.  In 1898 he sold his sheep and is now in the cattle business, having five hundred head of cattle.  He breeds Hereford cattle and his herd includes thirteen thoroughbred bulls.  Thus he has greatly improved his own stock and that of his neighbors, so that fine grades of Hereford cattle are found upon the markets and command excellent prices.

            On the 24th of April, 1868, Mr. Clifford was united in marriage to Miss Ella Wilkins, a native of St. Catherine’s, Canada, a daughter of Elijah and Sarah Wilkins.  Her father is now in the eighty-eighth year of his age, but her mother has passed away.  Mrs. Clifford was reared in Stockton and in Stanislaus County where she makes her home.  She is well known, having many friends among its best people.  Mr. Clifford gives his political support to the Republican Party, but has never sought or desired public office, his attention being given closely to his business interests, which have resulted in bringing to him an excellent financial return.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 745-746. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2011  Gerald Iaquinta.




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