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Was born in England December 9, 1825, coming to America when two years of age.  His early education was received at New York, in which city he remained until reaching his twenty-fourth year.  In 1849 Mr. Palmer, catching the “gold fever,” took passage on board the ship “George Washington,” and arrived in San Francisco August 28th of the same year.  Proceeding to Tuolumne County, he located some claims on Wood’s Creek, near Campo Seco; in fact, was one of the first settlers in that neighborhood.


Leaving Campo Seco in 1853, he went to Algerine, from which place he removed two years later to Knight’s Ferry engaging at the latter place in merchandising, which occu­pation he followed until 1870. 


After a trip to the Eastern States, Mr. Palmer returned to California, and has since been connected with the wine interests of San Francisco and Oakland.


“A History of Tuolumne County, CA” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Appendix Pg. 4.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton








Was born in Greenville County, Virginia, on December 25, 1831. When about eighteen years old he went to Shelby County, Tenn where he completed his apprentice­ship to the carpenter’s trade. In 1852, he came to this State, via Memphis and the Isthmus, and arrived in San Francisco on the 23rd of December of that year. He went to Ione City, Amador County, where he commenced mining. After three months he moved to Volcano, in that county, where he followed the same occupation as before, together with that of his trade. Here he married Mary Jane Bradford, December 6, 1855. She is a native of Missouri. July 15, 1856, they moved to this county, settling on Woods’ Creek, in Saw Mill Flat.  In 1861, he went to Mariposa County, but in the following year returned to the Flat. The Montana gold excitement took him to that coun­try in 1864, but he came back to his old home in the same year. In 1868, he located in Columbia, and in 1872, set­tled in Sonora, where he now lives. Mr. Parsons was twice elected Supervisor of this county, and was Deputy Sheriff under Sheriff David F. Baxter. He is now one of the “City Fathers” of Sonora Charles H., (now a resi­dent of Sacramento), Nettie, William D., Lottie, Mary, Lillie, and Edmond are the names of his living children.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Pub’d by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 341. 

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Was born in Williamson County, Illinois, on April 22, 1856.  He was reared in his native county and at Carbondale.  He left the latter place for this State, arriving on the 27th of March, 1875, and settled in this county.  He followed mining for a period of six years, when he bought an interest in the principal livery stable at Sonora and retains it to the present writing.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 384.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Born in Broome county, New York, in November, 1827, he there passed his earlier years, leaving his native State for the Pacific Slope in 1851. First mining for two years at Rough and Ready, he then returned to the East, where he exchanged his state of single-blessedness for that of a Benedict. Returning to California in 1855, he engaged in mining and teaching school as occasion required, and served one term as Superintendent of Common Schools for Tuolumne county. In 1865, he moved on his ranch on Blanket Creek, where he has resided ever since. Mr. Pease’s children, seven in number, are Philip M., Ella L., Alice, Alfred, Henry, Edward and Grace.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 330. 

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton







Mr. Perrin was born in Mansfield, Massachusetts, in 1826.  Starting for California, he arrived in Tuolumne County in September, 1849, and mined for a time at Hawkins’ Bar, ultimately removing to Jacksonville in the Win­ter of the above year; then entering into partnership with J. L. Cogswell, also a noted pioneer, they built the Washington Hotel, at Big Oak Flat, remaining proprietors of that inn for a number of years.  When, in 1859, the Golden Rock Water Ditch was commenced by Messrs. Murphy, Watts & Co., Mr. Perrin took a contract for building the first thirteen miles of that raceway for the sum of $152,000, completing the section in one year.


In 1862 the gentleman was elected to the State Legisla­ture.  Afterwards he became Superintendent of the Golden Rock Ditch, so remaining until the high flume fell, which put a stop to the company’s business.  Subsequently Mr. Perrin began to work the Rutherford Quartz Mine, occu­pying himself in that manner until his appointment, in 1869, as Receiver of the United States Land Office at Stock­ton, his appointment having been continued by Presidents Grant, Hayes and Garfield.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 406-407.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






This old settler of Tuolumne is a native of New York City, where he was born on September 21, 1827.  When three years old, his parents moved to Philadelphia, Pa., where he received his primary education at the public schools, graduating at the Central High School. He came to this State in company with Jarvis Louderback and family, on the ship “Levant,” and arrived in San Fran­cisco on September 15, 1849.  On October 5th, following, he arrived in this county, and went to mining at Swett’s Bar, remaining there until 1853.  From this place he moved to and mined in Gold Springs, until October, 1861, when he settled in Sonora, accepting the position of Deputy Clerk of Tuolumne County, under Clerk R. E. Gardner.  In September, 1873, he was elected County Clerk, and has been his own successor to the present time.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Published by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 324.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Is a native of Hackettstown County, New Jersey, and was born on August 8, 1818.  His primary education was received in that town, after which, at the age of nineteen, he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. William Rea, and in the Spring of 1841 attended a course of lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at New York City, followed by another course during the Sum­mer and Fall at Pittsfield, Massachusetts; then returned and entered the Medical Department of the University of the City of New York, at its first session in the Fall and Winter of 1841-2, From which he graduated on the 9th day of March, A. D. 1842.  After a visit to his home of six months, he returned to the city for a month or so, then went to Savannah, in Georgia; remained there a short time and settled in Laurens County in that State. After a six months’ residence there he moved to Mi­canopy, Alachua County, Florida, remaining until about July 1, 1846, when he went to New Orleans, thence to Matamoras and Monterey, in Mexico, returning to New Orleans about January 1st, 1847. He remained there until September, 1848, then moved to Keachie, De Soto Parish, Louisiana. On the 28th of March, 1849, he, in company with Capt. I. G. Messec of Gilroy, and fifty others, started for this State, taking the El Paso route, and arrived in Cali­fornia about the 20th of July of that year. The Doctor first settled in Mariposa, the same Fall going to Stockton, and engaging in “packing” to the mines for a short time, and then returned to Mariposa. From there he came to Big Oak Flat in this county, on March 18, 1850. In the Winter of 1850-1 he was engaged in mining at Quartz Mountain, near Sonora. About February, 1851, he went to the northern mines, where he remained till January, 1852, and returned to this county, settling in Columbia. He acquired an interest in the Tuolumne Water Company in January, 1852, and in 1856 was elected its Secretary, and is now Secretary, Treasurer and Superintendent, as well as being one of the Board of Directors. On March 10, 1857, Dr. Pownall married Mary C. Newell. Joseph B , aged 24 years, and Lucy A. H , aged 22 years, are their children.


Among the Doctor’s lively recollections is an account of an affray between white men and Indians, which took place at Big Oak Flat in very early times, and which has been previously mentioned in this work. This account is given nearly in the gentleman’s own words, he having been an eye witness. 


When the Doctor was coming to the Flat from a gulch beyond, he witnessed a scene of blood, on the 5th of June, 1850, at a place called Savage’s Old Camp. A small tribe of Indians were encamped there, and on that day the Chief, Lotario, and a few chosen warriors, becoming a little more fuddled than would be considered genteel in the higher walks of life, concluded to have a row with some Americans encamped there. Words with them not being quite potent enough, bows and arrows were called into requisition, and the melee became general, and as he came from work he saw the whole tribe of warriors, squaws and pappooses, taking French leave of their heretofore quiet abode, and making tracks for parts unknown, amid an accompaniment of howls, shrieks and lamentations that would have done no discredit to a pack of hungry wolves. When coming in he saw the Chief and several others lying dead, and another badly wounded. One unfortunate American, named Rose, was so badly wounded with arrows that he died in about an hour.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” Pub’d by B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 336-337. 

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Judge Preston was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 3, 1829, receiving there his primary education.  He reached the age of fifteen years, when, going to New York City, he there engaged as a clerk, which occupation he followed until his departure for California.  He arrived in San Francisco on March 9, 1849, staying in that city until 1850, when he came to Tuolumne, settling at Columbia.  Mining for a time at Columbia and at Jacksonville, he then moved to Campo Seco in January, 1851, where he became Constable and Interpreter for Judge Halsey’s Court.  He moved to Jamestown in 1852, where he has since lived.  He was elected Justice of the Peace in 1856, and was his own successor up to 1878.  We do not remem­ber of ever having recorded another instance where a person has held the same office continuously for twenty-two consecutive years.  In 1856 Mr. Preston was appointed by Governor Neely Johnson as Notary Public, and has held that office also up to the present time.  He was elected one of the Supervisors of this County in 1878, and is the present incumbent. He married Maggie C. Donovan, on May 21, 1870.  They have three children living Howard, Gracie and Pearl, and have buried three others.


 “A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 416-417.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton


© 2002 Nancy Pratt Melton

Tuolumne County Biographies