Dennis Ryan, a prominent old settler of California, residing at Sonora, Tuolumne County, has now retired from active business life. He came to this state in 1854 and is a native of county Tipperary, Ireland, his birth having occurred there on the 28th of September, 1832. His parents were Dennis and Mary (Bradshaw) Ryan, also natives of the Emerald Isle. The father was a businessman of ability and both he and his wife attained the age of sixty-eight years. They were devout members of the Catholic Church. They became the parents of eleven children, of whom only two are now living: John, a resident of New Jersey, and Dennis, of this review.
The subject of this review was educated in the county of his nativity, and in 1844 when but twelve years of age, he crossed the Atlantic to Quebec, Canada, as a passenger on a sailing vessel. The voyage lasted two months, during which they encountered severe storms and heavy seas, the great waves dashing over the decks, the vessel seeming in imminent peril. Mr. Ryan remained in Canada two years, working as a farm boy at eight dollars per month. In 1846 he went to Providence, Rhode Island, where he tended bar for which he received one dollar per day. Later he was employed in other and more remunerative business lines and little by little his capital was increased as the years passed.
On the 26th of June, 1852, Mr. Ryan was united in marriage to Miss Susan Flood, a native of Ireland, and in 1854 they sailed together for California, hoping to benefit their financial condition in the golden west. They brought with them their two little children: Dennis, who afterward died at the age of nine years, and John T., who is now residing with his father in Sonora. They came direct to this place, and Mr. Ryan engaged in mining on the site of the town. He worked very hard and was successful in his ventures at first. On one occasion he was fortunate enough to pick up a nugget worth four hundred dollars, and in connection with others he on that day took out nineteen ounces of gold. That was their best day’s work. He continued working in the different mining camps in Tuolumne County, but as the years passed this industry became less profitable and in 1862 he abandoned placer mining and opened a retail liquor house in Sonora. In the new enterprise he met with creditable success and continued in that business throughout the remainder of his active career, acquiring a competence that now enables him to live retired, surrounded by all the comforts and many of the luxuries of life.
Mr. Ryan and his wife became the parents of the following named children, in Sonora: John T.; James, who is engaged in quartz mining; Joseph B., who is now the principal of the Jamestown school; Dennis W., a printer in San Francisco; Falo, a printer in Sonora; Mary, who became the wife of M. D. Kelley and died at the age of twenty-eight years, leaving one child; and Susie, who is at home. Mrs. Ryan is also spared to her family, and they reside in a commodious dwelling which was erected by the subject of this review. They all adhere to the religious faith of their fathers and are worthy members of the Catholic Church. Mr. Ryan’s political views are in harmony with the principles of the Democracy, but at local elections where no national issue is involved he votes for those whom he thinks best fitted for the position, regardless of party affiliations. He is a member of the Chosen Friends, and is one of the highly respected citizens of Sonora.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.