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Born in Boone County, Missouri, on the 24th of March, 1845, he there resided until in his twentieth year, when he performed the adventurous trip ‘‘Across the Plains,’’ with a mule team, arriving on this side of the Sierra in the Fall of 1864. Sheep-raising in Stanislaus County, and after­wards stock-raising and farming in Merced County, for a while engrossed his attention, until in 1879 he built a sta­tion on the Sonora and Mono Road, about eight miles from the summit, known by his name. This establishment he has continued to manage up to the present time; in addi­tion to which, the hotel at Confidence, of which he is pro­prietor, receives a part of his attention. Married at Center Mill, in 1873, to Miss Mary E. Carter, he has by her two children, Cora M., and John.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg 323 .

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






The account of the principal events of Dr. Baldwin’s life runs as follows: Born in Orange County, Vermont, on the 25th day of June, 1820.  At a suitable age he entered Dartmouth College, at Hanover, New Hampshire, graduating from that renowned institution in due time.  Adopting medicine as a profession, and attaining proficiency in that calling, he settled himself in the county of his nativity, and practiced for a time.  In 1858 he left his home, and, com­ing to California, located at Columbia in May of that year.  The Doctor practiced his profession with good success for nine years, then removing to Oakland, from whence he went, with his wife, in 1875, to Hay Creek in Eastern Or­egon, to engage in stock raising, which he has pursued successfully ever since.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Appendix pg.16-17.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






English, but came young to this country and studied law with John Morrill, the celebrated jurist.  Settling in Tuol­umne at a time when law was at a discount, he became clerk in a store.  Later he opened an office in Sonora, and be­came at once prominent among her famous lawyers, and was elected District Attorney.  He was a high-toned and cultivated gentleman, who possessed talents of the highest order, second to none in the State, says Mr. Dorsey.  Leaving Tuolumne for a wider field, he settled in San Francisco, practicing his profession, and died there.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 401.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton




Mr. Barclay has been truly a man given to much wandering. Not Eneas, Virgil’s hero, had a history more full of travel and adventure.  Born in St. Louis, Missouri, December 6, 1823, he removed with his parents when quite young, successively to habitations in Franklin, then to Gasconade county, and finally to Newton county. After these three removes the family went, in 1845, to Texas, where, the next year, the young man, now twenty-three years old, enlisted as a soldier in the army that was then invading Mexico, and after six months of fighting in the regiment of Colonel Woods, he, with his fellow-cavalry­men, was mustered out after the taking of Monterey.  Returning to Hopkins county, Texas, he joined in 1853, in expedition bound for California. Ox teams were the mode of transportation then in use, and with these slow but sure means the party came safely through, their route lead­ing through the Osage Nation, up the Arkansas river, through Utah.  Stopping at first in Yolo County, he soon came to Tuolumne county and spent three years in mining at Shaw’s Flat.  Locating next at Springfield, he busied himself in the same pursuit until 1862, when he went to Summerville, locating himself on a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he is now engaged in tilling.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 318-319 .

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton





Was born Great Britain of Irish parents, in 1806, says the ‘Union Democrat’.  Settling at an early age in Texas, on the breaking out of the war which resulted in the independence of that State,  he became a noted actor therein.  Strong decision of character marked him, while his education hardly deserved the name, for hardly could he read or write.  The obstinate man retained throughout llife a hatred to Mexicans, which extended to all foreigners.


He served through the Mexican War, and after peace was made, came through Mexico to California, in a company iii which were many of his old fellow-soldiers.  Barry came up from San Francisco in company with Alfred Luckett, Dr. Bell, Joshua Holden, A. Elkins and Captain Alonzo Green, all of them settling in what afterwards became Sonora.  A large population soon arriving, made it neces­sary to devise some way of keeping the peace, and Barry on account of his decision of character and indomitable resolution, was chosen Justice.  This position pleased the Major vastly, and he maintained the dignity of his Court in the highest degree, never allowing its decrees to meet with aught but the deepest respect. His docket, consist­ing of loose papers, was unfortunately burned in one of the many disastrous fires which have ravaged Sonora. A small portion of this great curiosity is now extant, and has been incorporated in the body of this work. Much of that which is going the rounds of the press, purporting to be Barry’s docket, is a base forgery, revealing its character by internal evidence.


Major Barry died in Alameda County about 1870.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 371-372.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






This gentleman, a well known and respected citizen of the section where he resides, is a native of South Dart­mouth, Massachusetts, having been born in July, 1828. Having prepared himself for a seafaring life by the study of surveying and navigation, he went to sea in 1842, and continued so employed until 1851. Arriving then in San Francisco, he there engaged in mercantile affairs for awhile, until when, in the Fall of 1851, he removed to Carson Hill, Calaveras County, one year later going to Columbia, where he has since remained. Mining and the construction of ditches occupied the Captain’s time until 1870, when he was elected County Surveyor, and also received the ap­pointment of United States Deputy Mineral Surveyor of the District, which latter position he still retains.


He married Miss Vinnie Andrews, a native of Bangor, Maine, by this union there being two children living, Addie and Katie.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 411.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton





The subject of this sketch was born in Kent County, New Brunswick, British North America, on February 8, 1826, where he was educated. His father was a farmer, owning sawmills and manufacturing lumber; and at an early age Mr. Beckwith chose the occupation of a lumberman, that region of country abounding in forests of fine timber, which, being manufactured into lumber, rolls to market like an endless tide. In 1849, Mr. Beckwith moved to the State of Maine, and on July 5, 1851, left Calais and came via the Isthmus of Panama to this State, landing in San Francisco on August 19 of that year. He remained in the city until September 15, then came to this county and set­tled near Sonora, and mined on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River. In the Spring of 1852 he started for the Northern Mines, but went no farther than Stockton, where he remained for two years, then went to the American River, and mined at Rattlesnake Bar. He returned to this County in the Spring of 1855, and settled on the farm he now owns, near Mountain Pass, where he has maintained a continuous residence. Mr. Beckwith married, for his his first wife, Martha Wadsworth, a native of New York State. His second wife was Elizabeth Agnes Dunn, and was born in Dublin, Ireland. By this union they have: Robert B, Bertha C., and Elizabeth A.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Pub’d by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 338-339. 

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton





Mr. Bell, whose portrait appears in this work, was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, Sept. 29, 1820.  When seven years old his parents removed to Dyer County, Tennessee, and soon after took up a residence in Carroll County, in the same State.  There Mr. Bell was educated, and taught in agricultural pursuits.  In 1841, the family moved to Massac County, Illinois, thence to Kentucky, set­tling at Smithland, where the father died.  Previous to this time, Mr. Bell had learned the carpenter’s trade, and here apprenticed himself to that of a mill-wright. On October 20, 1847, he married in Terre Haute, Indiana, Ma­rietta Smith, who was born at Maple Hill, near that place.  In 1852, Mr. Bell, with his wife, left Smithland for this State, coming via Nicaragua, and in company with his brother, Andrew N. Bell, arrived in Sonora, this county, November 20, 1852.  James Bell, in company with his brother Thomas, erected the present Court House, as well as other buildings in Sonora.  On January 9, 1854, Mr. Bell formed a partnership with Heslep Bros. for the purpose of constructing and operating a barley mill.  Prior to this time there had been built a saw-mill on Woods’ creek, west from Sonora, and where Mr. Bell’s flour mill now stands.  This saw-mill was torn down, and on the site a barley mill was erected.  This enterprise proved a finan­cial failure, and the parties erected a grist-mill on the same ground, completing the structure in August, 1854.  As will be seen by referring to the general history in this work, Joseph Heslep was murdered in 1855, but the part­nership of Heslep Bros. & Bell continued until December, 1859, when Mr. Bell became sole proprietor, which he has continuously maintained to the present time.  Many improvements have been made on the mill, until it is now recognized as one of the prime features of industry in Tuolumne county.  In 1861, Mr. Bell invested largely in wheat, and the rise in price after the purchase made him quite a fortune.  With a portion of the gains made in this wheat speculation he, in company with his wife, visited the World’s Fair in London, in 1862, taking also a trip through the old countries.  Soon after their return, Mrs. Bell’s health began to fail, and she died on October 7, 1869. When her spirit had winged its flight where angels dwell, a grave was prepared in the home for the dead on the summit of one of the eastern bluffs that overlook the city of Sonora, into which her mortal remains were lowered by kindly hands.  As her friends stood around the open receptacle of the dead, more than one was seen to weep over the earthly departure of one they had learned to love.  Mr. Bell has since erected a tomb on the spot where she was buried, and the remains of her who left her Eastern home, parents, friends, all that was dear to her girlhood’s memory, to join her husband in coming to this coast, is now sepultured within its spacious wails.  The tomb which Mr. Bell has erected in the Masonic Cemetery, the beauties of which cannot fully be appreciated until seen, is a worthy tribute to the memory of so good a woman.  Mr. Bell’s children are John and Charles.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Pub’d by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 348. 

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton



© 2002 Nancy Pratt Melton

Tuolumne County Biographies