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Born in Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Oc­tober 3, 1831, came to California in 1852.  Proceeding almost immediately to Tuolumne County, he engaged in mining in the Corral Ranch Claims, situated on Curtis’ Creek. Mr. Sampson was one of the proprietors of a tunnel which was run into Table Mountain, called Scooperville Tunnel, and which was completed to a length of 3,500 feet.  His sojourn in the county extended over a period of twelve years, during which time he was one of the originators of the Republican party, in connection with Dr. Gunn, In 1864 Mr. Sampson came to San Francisco, and for the past fifteen years has been employed in the Custom House, at the present time holding the responsible position of Assist­ant Cashier.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 413.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






At first Deputy to James Stuart, the valorous Sheriff of Tuolumne, afterwards elected to that office himself, suc­ceeding Stuart, cut a prominent figure in both positions.  He was always regarded as a most capable and energetic officer, the terror of roughs and thieves and the reliance of the law-abiding.  Leaving Tuolumne for Stockton, Mr. Sedgwick held the Government position of Collector.  Now in San Francisco, he is Sheriff of that city, an office achieved through his well-known merit.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882. Pg. 378.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton







The subject of this sketch was born in Germany on June 8, 1833.  He was educated in his native country, from which he removed in 1852, coming direct to San Francisco, at once settling at Jamestown, where he was engaged in mining, and later on followed the same occupation at Yorktown.  We next find him keeping a store at Campo Seco, where he remained till coming to Columbia in 1860.  Here he was engaged in mercantile pursuits until May 1, 1872, when he was appointed Wells, Fargo & Co.’s agent, and is now carrying on the express and banking business.  In 1879, he was elected President of the Tuolumne County Water Company, which position he now fills with credit to his company and honor to himself.  It can be truly said of Mr. Sevening that he is beloved by his family and friends and honored and respected by the community in which he lives.  Married Louise Wedel on June 17, 1860.  Johanna L., Frederick, Lulu and Alma are his children.


“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Pg. 395.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton







The subject of this sketch was born in Staleybridge, Lan­cashire, England, on June 12, 1836, and came to the United States in October, 1847.


His parents first settled at Wappinger’s Falls, Duchess County, New York, he remaining with them until May, 1854, when he was bound as an apprentice to Stephen Armstrong, a carpenter and joiner, in Poughkeepsie, with whom he was connected until June, 1857.


Following this trade for two years in the State of New York, in 1859 Mr. Sewell determined to try his fortunes in California.  In September of that year he sailed, and landed in San Francisco about the 29th of the same month.  There he stopped only two days, proceeding to Tuolumne County and adopting Sonora as his place of residence.


On April 27, 1861, he became a member of the old Sonora Hose Company, and for fifteen years was identified as one of the most earnest workers in the same.  Of his connection with the Sonora Fire Department, the following facts have been obtained:


Six times Mr. Sewell was elected Secretary of Hose Com­pany No. 1; once Treasurer of the same; twice appointed Secretary of Board of Fire Delegates; three times elected one of the five Trustees of the City of Sonora; five times elected First Assistant Engineer of the Sonora Fire De­partment; and four times Chief Engineer of the same.


To the above flattering record is added the following tribute by a former officer: “Mr. Sewell is a self-made man, having come among us a few years ago as a stranger.  By his sterling worth and indomitable perseverance he has endeared himself to his fellow-citizens.  During his con­nection with the Fire Department, though the same covers a space of fifteen years, in danger he has never been found absent from his post, nor from our counsels when our in­terests have been at stake.”


In 1857 Mr. Sewell, in New York, joined the Independent Order of Odd-Fellows.  Withdrawing from the Eastern Lodge in 1861, he became a member of Sonora Lodge No. 10, passing through the various offices, and in the years of 1876 and 1879 represented his Lodge in the Grand Lodge of California.  In 1862 he associated himself with Bald Mountain Encampment No. 4 of the same order, from time to time filling the different official places in the same, and at the time of his departure for the Bay City held the posi­tion of Scribe.


Mr. Sewell was three times appointed City Clerk by the Board of Trustees of the City of Sonora, resigning the of­fice in August, 1879, the date of his removal of business to San Francisco.


While in Sonora, for four years he was a contractor and builder, relinquishing that occupation to succeed W. H. Rulofson, the well known photographer.  In the latter branch of business he was quite successful, but in August, 1879, concluded to remove to San Francisco, where he bought an interest in the New York Gallery, on Third street, continuing there at the present time.


During his residence in Tuolumne County, when the public welfare was concerned, few names were more promi­nent than that of Daniel Sewell.  It may also be mentioned that he was one of the Committee to receive subscriptions for the opening of the road from Sonora to Groveland, by way of Wards’ Ferry, this being a direct route to Yosemite.


In 1864 Mr. Sewell married Lucie Elvira Worden, and has four children: Daniel R., Lillie Eldora, Dell Elvira, and Nettie Mira, all of them born in Sonora.



“A History of Tuolumne County, California” B.F. Alley, 1882.  Appendix pg.17-19.

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






This gentleman is of English descent, having been born in Somersetshire, in the southern part of England, on No­vember 20, 1834. His parents removed to New York in 1849, settling in Cortland County, in that State. In 1853 Mr. Smith, then a youth of nineteen, started, in company with W. P Smith, his brother, for California, via Panama, arriving in March of that year.  Settling at Springfield, the twain commenced mining, hauling their gold-bearing dirt about half a mile to a spring, where it was washed. In 1862 Mr. Smith mined near Soulsbyville, remaining so employed until 1866, when he together with his brother, located in their present situation near Cherokee, and have been engaged in mining ever since. Among other proper­ty possessed by Mr. Smith was an interest in the ‘‘Mastodon” Ledge, sold to a Boston Company in 1880; and an interest in a mine near Summersville, which he still retains. At present, the gentleman is engaged in gold extraction through the medium of his arastra, which he constantly operates.


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

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






Mr. Smith, who is mentioned above as a brother of W. H. Smith, was born December 17, 1824, in Somersetshire, England. Coming to New York, May 1845, and remaining in Cortland County until 1853, when he came to this State. Mining at Springfield for a time, he went back to New York for a while, afterwards spending four years in Iowa, as a farmer. The attractions of the “Sunset Land” were too great, however, and he pulled up stakes in 1859, and came across the plains, with his wife. In 1862, they went to Soulsbyville, where they resided until 1866; Mr. Smith working as a miner. At that date he removed to Cherokee, where he now remains. The brothers were owners of the “Mastodon” Ledge, mentioned as having been sold in 1880 to a company of Boston capitalists. Mr. Smith is still engaged to some extent in mining affairs, but carries on, besides, some farming operations. His wife, above spoken of, was Miss C. A Barker, to whom he was mar­ried in 1850.


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

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton






This estimable gentleman is a native of Poland, his birth occurring on August 14, 1814. Coming to the United States in 1840, he enlisted six years later in Quitman’s Division and fought through the war with Mexico, return­ing at its close to Pennsylvania. Still unsettled in mind, he embarked at the end of the same year---1848---on the ship 0sceola, and came in her to this State to enter upon mining, which he followed for three or four years in Calaveras and Mariposa Counties, and then in the vicinity of Sonora, until he found more acceptable occupation as a member at the firm of Miller & Co. Afterwards becoming agent for Adams & Co.’s  Express line, he held that office until the company’s dissolution.  In 1857, he received a similar appointment from Messrs. Wells, Fargo & Co., which he has retained until the present time. During these years Mr. Solinsky has also engaged in several mining operations; nor is this all that is within the scope of his business activity. One of the best appointed and well managed hotels in the foothills has been under his proprietorship for a number of years.


The Solinsky family includes three children, Frank, now a promising young lawyer of San Andreas; Wm H. Solin­sky and Margaret F. Solinsky.


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

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton 





© 2002 Nancy Pratt Melton


Tuolumne County Biographies