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This old settler is a native of Mexico, and was born March 19, 1830. He came to California in May, 1849, and to this county in the June following.  He was engaged in mining until the Fall of 1849, then going to San Jose, where he remained during the Winter, returning to Sonora in April, 1850, and opening a restaurant on the ground where he is now located, in a house built of canvas, which has since given way to a frame building. He married Mary Ramires, and the pair have one daughter, Magdalena.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 376.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Was born in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, on February 19, 1826, and was there raised and educated. In September, 1849, he went to the State of Wisconsin, where he remained one year, and returned to his native home to pay a visit, before starting for California. He chose the Nicaragua route, taking passage on the steamer North America, in February, 1852, and had the ill-fortune to suf­fer shipwreck on the Mexican coast, thereby retarding his arrival in San Francisco until May 18, of that year.  He at once proceeded to Sonora, where he arrived on the 22nd of May.  He was engaged in mining until January, 1854, and then was employed as a clerk for Gorham & Co., which position he filled until January, 1855, then went to Colum­bia where he remained until going East in 1855. In 1858, he again came to this county, and engaged in mining on Table Mountain, afterwards opening a store in Sonora on April 23, 1860. His business then, as now, was composed principally of the sale of paints, oils, house furnishing hardware and wall paper. Mr. Cady’s store is located on the corner of Washington and Dodge streets. He married Mary M. Curtiss, a native of Massachusetts, on September 5,1855.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 334-335. 

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton







The subject of this short narrative is a veteran of the Mexican War, having served under Taylor, in his very im­portant campaign, belonging to the Tennessee Cavalry. After two years and four mouths of continuous service with Taylor, he went to Vera Cruz, and was afterwards detailed as one of the party that located the forts on the route to this side of the continent, returning home at the end of his service only to start westward again, traveling to California for the second time, in1849, with a pack train.  His first occupation in this country was as teamster for the noted Sam Brannan, transporting goods from Sacramento to Amador County.  Later on he came to Calaveras County, and thence to Columbia, “The Gem of the Southern Mines,” as Coffroth styled her. Here he mined three years, and, changing his location to Springfield, put in two years more with the pick and shovel. At a later date he lived in Sonora, exchanging to Soulsbyville, where he remained until 1873, when he located upon his present comfortable ranch of two hundredacres, on which he farms and raises stock.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 326.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton 









This gentleman, a prosperous and prominent citizen of Summersville, whose name has been identified with many  useful and important business ventures of his portion of the county, is a New Yorker by birth, having been born in Cayuga County, in that State, in June, 1829. His early life was passed, as are those of most of New York’s favored sons, in attending school, and at a later date, the academy. Achieving a good education at those seminaries of learning, he started for California in January, 1849.  He came to San Francisco via Panama, arriving July 2nd, and stopping in the Bay City but a short time, when the mining fever drew him to the American River, but soon leaving there he wooed the goddess Fortune for a while in Trinity County, but unsuccessfully.  Returning to Sacramento to winter, he again sought the Trinity mines in the spring of ‘50, beginning in the lumber business and also being con­nected with gold mining.  He remained in Trinity  until 1858, when he came to Tuolumne and opened a store at Long Gulch, continuing so occupied until 1860, when he removed to Summersville, and establishing himself in the same business, remaining there up to the present time.  In addition to his mercantile interests, Mr. Carter farms a quarter section of land with good success.  The gentleman married Miss Sarah J. Crossett. in 1865, at the town of Sonora, having by her five children, viz .  George B., Ida E., W. B, F. R., and Ada E.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 313.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton 






Came to Tuolumne County in February, 1854, beginning his career by mining for a time.  In September, 1855, he commenced the practice of law in Columbia, and attained a high reputation as an honorable member of the Bar.  In 1859 Mr. Cavis was chosen Justice of the Peace, and, still advancing in honors, became State Senator in 1862, and finally assumed a position on the Judicial bench.  He was elected Judge in October, 1863; continued in that position until 1870, at which date he removed to Stockton.  There he practiced law until his appointment as Postmaster, in 1876, which last position clicks save he still retains.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 408.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton








These two gentlemen, typical ‘‘old forty-niners,” form an example of life-long friendship between men,that is as interesting as it is rare.  Coming to this State in July 1849, having made the Cape Horn passage together, they have never since been separated, their property interests, their friends and acquaintances belong to both. Mr. Chamberlain, the elder by two years, was born in Windsor County, Vermont, in 1821, residing in that State, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, by turns, and on reaching a sufficient age he devoted himself to the sash and blind manufacture. In Worcester he met the second named, Mr. Chaffee, a Connecticut boy, born in Woodstock, Windham County, in 1823.  The latter had learned the trade of wheelwright, at eighteen years of age, working at that oc­cupation in Worcester, Mass.  The two set sail for Cali­fornia in January, 1849, and were six months on their voyage. 


On landing in San Francisco, they found employment, re­paid at the rate of sixteen dollars per day.  Even this pay could not keep the ardent young men, so at the end of two weeks they started for Calaveras County, and went to mining on the Mokelumne River, realizing over ten dollars per day for one month.  Winter then coming on, they turned their footsteps toward San Jose, where they worked at carpentering for James F Reed, Esq. In March, 1851, they came to Swett’s Bar on the Tuolumne, mining there and at Chinese Camp; a portion of the time making high pay, and at other times meeting mostly discouragements.  For some time they were located at Second Garrote where they mined with indifferent success until 1853, when they returned to San Jose, visiting Gilroy, and at last coming back to Second Garrote, where they have remained ever since, with the exception of a short time also spent in San Jose. Their present occupations embrace both mining and farm­ing, Mr. Chaffee attending to the former pursuit, while Mr. Chamberlain’s attention is confined to agriculture. They jointly have under their care a very fine orchard, and enter also into the manufacture of cider and vinegar.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 316.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton 






The above gentleman, now Receiver in the United States Land Office at San Francisco, lived in Columbia in early years, when that town was one of the liveliest camps of which the mines of California could boast.


The Judge was born in the State of Maine, coming thence in the Summer of 1849.  He mined for a time on the Mo­kelumne River, going in October of that year to Monte­zuma, Tuolumne County.  In the Spring of 1850 he worked in Soldiers’ Gulch, near Tuttletown, and still later at Dusty Bar and Grand Bar, on the Stanislaus River, and at Little Garrote.  In the year 1851 he was at Tuttletown, mining as before, and went in the Fall of that year to Co­lumbia.  His residence in the latter place was a fact of importance to the community at large, his public and pri­vate acts identifying him with the highest interests of the town.  Concluding his residence in Columbia, he went in 1857 to San Joaquin County, where, in that year, he be­came Whig candidate for the State Senatorship, against J. M. Mandeville.  His public service in Columbia embraced three years as Justice of the Peace, which office he held with honor and credit.  In 1861 the Judge became State Senator, and in 1865 Assemblyman.  In the Fall of 1866 he was appointed to his present position in the Land Office, by President Johnson, and has been reappointed to that situation by Presidents Grant and Hayes, having served sixteen years in all.


Judge Chamberlain now resides in his pleasant home in Oakland, with his wife, nee Miss Susan G. Wilson, also a native of Maine, and who has been previously mentioned as having taught the first school ever established in Colum­bia.  The pair have one son, Colonel William H. Cham­berlain, of the National Guards of the State of California, and one daughter, Carrie.


It may be mentioned that the Judge is a member of the Tuolumne Re-Union, the State of Maine Association, and of the California Pioneers.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 410-411.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






This California pioneer was born in Oswego County, New York, on March 31, 1814. In 1836 he emigrated to Chicago, Illinois, and thence to Peoria in that State, where he lived two years.  In 1839 he settled at Springfield, the Capitol of the State, and was employed to assist in erecting the State House.  He moved to Natchez, Mississippi, in 1841, and thence in 1844 to New Orleans.  Here he remained until 1849, when he took passage for this State, coming via the Isthmus, landing in San Francisco on October 12th of that year.  The 26th of October found him at Wood’s crossing, where he mined for gold until the Spring of 1857, when he bought what is now known as the Alameda mine, situated near Rawhide.  He left this mine in 1860, and settled on his ranch, located in a valley shadowed by the famous Table Mountain range, and one and a half miles west from Springfield.  The place is known by the name of “Mayflower Vineyard.” Grapes and other fruits are the principal products of the farm.  Mr. Champney married Ruth E. Dodge, a native of the State of New York.  By this union there are Martha, Jessie, Fred A., Mary E., George H. and Charles L.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 358.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






A pronounced Southerner, full of courage and manliness, was a prominent actor in the hanging of Jim Hill by the mob at Sonora, in the time of Sheriff Work.  At one time he was a merchant in Stockton, and later, turning up as a Confederate General in the war of Secession.  He now lives in Tennessee, a planter.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 398.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






A steady, moral type-setter, partner with Dr. Gunn in the Sonora Herald, attended to the mechanical department, made his fortune, and selling out, went East to reside.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 400.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton









Samuel Langhorne Clemens, generally known by his nom de plume, "Mark Twain," was born at Florida, Missouri, Nov. 3, 1835.  At time age of thirteen he was apprenticed to a printer, and afterwards worked as such in St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and New York.  In 1855 he went down the Mississippi to New Orleans.  On his way down the river he made friends with the steamboat pilots, and was soon qualified to become himself a river pilot.  In this employment he was often directed to “mark twain,” that is, that there were two fathoms of water, and from this, he says, he took his nom do plume.  In 1861 his brother was appointed Secretary for the Territory, now State, of Neva­da, and “Mark Twain” went with him as private secretary; then he went to the mines, where, according to his own ac­count, he made and lost several fortunes, and for several months acted as reporter for Californian newspapers, dur­ing which time he visited Tuolumne County.  In 1864 he went to the Hawaiian Islands, where he remained six months, and thereafter delivered humorous lectures in California and Nevada.  In 1867 he went to the Atlantic States, where he published “The Jumping Frog of Neva­da,” a humorous sketch.  In this year he embarked with a large number of other passengers on a pleasure excursion up the Mediterranean, to Egypt and the Holy Land.  Of this excursion he gave a humorous account in “The Inno­cents Abroad” (1869).  For a time he was editor of a daily newspaper, published in Buffalo, New York, where he mar­ried a lady possessed of a large fortune.  In 1872 he pub­lished “Roughing it,” a rather idealized autobiography.  In 1872 he visited England, giving several humorous lec­tures, and a London publisher made a collection, in four volumes, of his humorous papers, adding, however, many which Mark Twain says were never written by him.  In 1874 he produced in New York a comedy, “The Gilded Age,” which had a remarkable success, owing mainly to the personation, by Mr. Raymond, of the leading character, Colonel Mulberry Sellers.”  Since that time he has pro­duced several other dramas, and many humorous sketches in the magazines.  He resides at Hartford, Connecticut.


“A History of Tuolumne Co, CA” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Appendix pg. 47 -48.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton



© 2002 Nancy Pratt Melton

Tuolumne County Biographies