GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS LELAND
The same characteristics which made the pilgrims and their successors successful on a foreign shore have made their descendants successful as pioneers in all parts of the country. This has been proven especially true in California, where the number of New England representatives among early settlers was large. One of these, Gustavus Adolphus Leland, the subject of this sketch, came to this state in the fall of 1850 and is now a well known citizen of Jamestown, Tuolumne County.
Mr. Leland is of English extraction. His first American progenitor was Henry Leland, who came over as early as the year 1700, and his father was John Leland, a native of Holliston, Massachusetts, who married Sylvia Leland, a distant relative, who also was born at Holliston. His two grandfathers, Daniel and Oliver Leland, fought for American independence in the Revolutionary War, and each lived to be more than ninety years old. His father was a captain of militia, was a prominent man in his town and lived eighty-five years. His mother died when in her sixtieth year. John and Sylvia (Leland) Leland had thirteen children, of whom Gustavus Adolphus Leland was the youngest, and of whom he is the only one now living. One of his brothers came to California in 1849 and two of his sisters in 1855.
Gustavus Adolphus Leland was born in Holliston, Massachusetts, November 19, 1830, and was educated in common schools near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. For four years he sailed before the mast, and in 1850, when he was in his twentieth year, he started for Panama en route for California, on board the steamer Republic, which left New York City April 14, 1850. While helping to take in water at Panama, he was knocked senseless by a heavy cask which came in contact with his head and fell into the ocean; but though he was unconscious when rescued, he soon recovered from his injury and went on his journey apparently none the worse for it.
Soon after his arrival at San Francisco, he went to Mokelumne Hill with the intention of engaging in mining, but fell a victim to ague and was obliged to return to San Francisco, where, as soon as he was able, he worked at whatever his hands found to do until January, 1851, when he went to Shaw’s Flat and from Shaw’s Flat to Sonora until 1853, when he went to Jamestown. For a time he did placer-mining with some success, but went to Sonora and was a salesman in the store of Ford Brothers until the fall of 1853, when he came back to Jamestown and engaged in merchandising there with Stephen Streeter as a partner. In 1855 Mr. Leland gave up the general merchandising business and opened a bakery, which he conducted successfully for thirty years. He early bought one hundred and four acres of land at Jamestown from the United States government. To this he added a subsequent purchase of about one hundred and eighty acres and eventually he sold a portion of his property to Mr. Nevils, who later transferred it to the Sierra Railroad Company, and the station building at Jamestown stands on that purchase. He is at this time the owner of considerable property, including a good home at Jamestown and a business building on the main street of the town. His house, which was built in 1856, is surrounded by fruit trees and flowers of Mr. and Mrs. Leland’s own planting.
Mr. Leland was married in 1856 to Miss Frances McPhillips, a native of Ireland, who came to California in 1855, and the union has been blessed by the birth of eight children, five of whom are living. Alice is the wife of C. C. Miller, of Anaheim, Orange County, California. William lives in San Francisco. John is a resident of Jamestown. Cordelia married William Symons, of Carters. Thomas B. W. is a physician and lives in San Francisco. Mr. and Mrs. Leland have three grandchildren.
Mr. Leland has been a Republican since the organization of that party and while never an active politician he has always labored quietly and respectably for the success of Republican principles. Public education has always had in him a true friend, and he has filled the office of school trustee and has otherwise done all within his power to elevate the educational standard of his town and county.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.