There are probably few pioneers remaining in California who have lived here longer than has the subject of this sketch or who more richly deserve the honors accorded to those who earliest subjected themselves to the trials and privations of this then wild and savage-peopled land of gold and of infinite promise. Beltaza Sharp came of good old German ancestry and was born in 1821, in that part of France which is now a part of Germany. His parents died when he was a small boy and he attended school in his native town until he was about sixteen years old, and then in 1845, came to America and located at New York. In 1846 he enlisted as a marine in the United States service in the war with Mexico. Her served under Captain Harvey and was present at the taking of Vera Cruz. After that historic engagement he was transferred to Commodore Perry’s vessel, which went to Tishen and Elzado and thence to Santa Cruz and back to Havana, when it went direct to the Brooklyn navy yard, where it was outfitted for a trip around the Horn to San Francisco. This vessel, the Ohio, then the largest warship in the United States Navy, was manned by twelve hundred men and arrived at San Francisco in 1848.
In 1849 Mr. Sharp began mining at Wood’s Creek. From there he went to Whisky Hill and thence to Cooper’s Flat. Later he mined on the American and Feather rivers, taking about an ounce a day. While working on the Feather River, forty miles above Marysville, he and others determined to go to Gold Hill. The winter season had set in and at Independence Bar they were obliged to turn back because of deep snow, and they sold their provisions, receiving for their flour one dollar per pound. Returning to their claim they mined there from 1852 to 1855, when Mr. Sharp went to Newark, New York, and married Miss Margaret Bare, who was born in his own native town and after this marriage came out with him to California. They located at Jamestown and there Mr. Sharp built a good residence in 1860 on a thirty-acre farm, which he devotes to the cultivation of fruits and vegetables and on which he has established a profitable dairy. Mrs. Sharp lived until July, 1896, and their married life, covering a period of forty-one years, was a most happy one. They had thirteen children, of whom nine are living, namely: Eddie, William and Allie, all of whom are members of their father’s household and the last mentioned of whom is his housekeeper; Tillie Julia; Elizabeth, who married Joseph Delear; Maggie who is the wife of William Fitzgerald; Emma, who married James Barry; Mary, who married C. F. Artley, of Jamestown, and Katie, who married William Baker. All of Mr. Sharp’s children live near him in Tuolumne County and he esteems it a privilege to be able to see them often and is justly proud of the fact that they are all respected by all who know them. The family are all faithful members of the Catholic Church. Mr. Sharp is a Republican and is a faithful worker for the interests of his party, but he is not a politician in the sense of desiring to hold public office. His life has been an upright, industrious and useful one and his large circle of friends rejoice with him in its material rewards, because all who know him know how richly he deserves them.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.