Colusa County Biographies - B

Biographies and photos source:

  1. Colusa County: Its History Traced from a State of Nature through the Early Period of Settlement and Development, to the Present Day with a Description of its Resources, Statistical Tables, Etc., Justus H. Rogers

  2. Biographical Sketches of Pioneers and Prominent Residents, Orland, California, 1891.
  3. History Of Colusa and Glenn Counties, California (Pages: 255-955)
    History by Charles Davis McCormish and Mrs. Rebecca T. Lambert, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California, 1918 - Transcribed by: Martha A Crosley Graham.

A digitized version of the book can be found on Google Books.

Please note: many of the names in this index were abbreviated with initials. The full names of those individuals has been added {in braces} when possible.

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Ballantine, C. M. (p. 424)
Charles Mills Ballantine was born in Gloversville, New York, on December 7, 1843. In August, 1862, at the age of eighteen years, he enlisted in Company A, one hundred and fifty-third New York Infantry, and went to the front as a friend of the integrity of his country. He rose, by bravery and strict attention to duty, to the position of Sergeant Major. Mr. Ballantine was married, October 22, 1870, to Miss Jennie M. Rose. They came to California in 1877 and settled in San Francisco, where, for seven years, Mr. Ballantine was engaged as a book-keeper. He came to Colusa in March, 1884, and first served as book-keeper in the Colusa County Bank. Two years later he was promoted to the post of assistant cashier of that institution. For several years before his death he was secretary of the Colusa and Lake Railroad Company, and also of the Colusa Gas Company. For three consecutive terms he was Commander of General John F. Miller Post No. 110 of the Grand Army of the Republic. He died, at Colusa, November 11, 1890, and left a widow to mourn his loss. Mr. Ballantine's demise was a loss, besides, to the community in which he lived. In church circles he was active and as unostentatious as he was sincere. In politics he was a leader of the Republican party in his county, and as a citizen he was upright, courteous, sympathetic towards distress, and in touch with everything conducive to the progress of the community. On the day of his funeral many of the places of business in Colusa were closed out of respect for his manly, elevated character. Charles Ballantine Military Biography
Balsdon, James (p. 368)
This gentleman is one of the most prosperous farmers of Grand Island. He is a native of Indiana and born in 1824. He came to California in 1852 by way of New Orleans and the Isthmus. He stopped over on the voyage in Central America and then renewed his journey in the North America but was wrecked ninety miles from Acapulco. He reached San Fran­cisco May 3, 1852, tried mining and met with little success and then concluded to try farming. Hearing of Grand Island and meeting with Samuel Morris, who owned ten thousand acres of land at the head of the island, he proposed leasing to Balsdon all the land he wanted at one-fifth of its product, but afterward proposed to sell any part at four dollars and a half an acre. Balsdon then bought three hundred and sixty acres and began cultivating it in the fall of 1853. He remained there eight years and then sold out to E. Fisher. He purchased, in 1861, a squatter's title to three hundred and twenty acres and took up four hundred acres. He purchased in addition several other large tracts and now his home farm embraces in all nineteen hundred and twenty acres. This place is five miles from the railroad and four from the river, thus affording two outlets for the shipping of his products. He has raised in one season as high as eighteen thousand bags of wheat and barley. He has a large and handsome residence, built in 1871, surrounded by a natural grove, which is a home of contentment and prosperity. He is also very much interested in the cultivation of fruits. Mr. Balsdon was married, in San Francisco, November 20, 1866, to Mrs. Lauretta Tripp, of Townsend, Vermont, by whom he has had two children, though Mrs. Balsdon was the mother of two children by her previous marriage.
Bedford, ThomasT (p. 384)
Thomas Bedford, who resides three miles from Newville, is a California pioneer of 1850. He was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, January, 1817, his parents removing with him to Greene County, Missouri, in 1844. He was married to Miss Rebecca F., daughter of Colonel Samuel Clay, of Bedford County, Tennessee. They have four children. On the 15th of May, 1849, accompanied by his family, he set out from Greene County, Missouri, on the long journey across the plains, arriving in the Sacramento Valley, in the October following. Between 1850 and 1854 he resided first in Nevada City and afterwards in Kentucky Flat, and in the fall of the latter year moved to Colusa County, on the east side of the Sacramento, two allies below Grizzly Bend. Here he remained for twelve years, when he removed to the Coast Range, near where he now lives. It was in 186 t that he located permanently on his present home place, where he farms and raises stock on his ranch of five hundred and twenty acres. As a judge of stock and a successful promoter of stock-breeding of the best grades, he ranks high. He has a hundred head of the best Durham cattle, either thoroughbreds or of a high grade, and has carried away several premiums for his stock exhibited at various fairs.
Beerman, Abraham (p. 460)
This gentleman, who was for many years most prominent in mercantile affairs in the northern part of the county, was born in Northern Germany, November 25, 1842. Here he received the benefits of a good common-school education, and was employed as clerk in his father's store till he had reached his twenty-second year. Then he left home to begin life on his own account. Crossing the Atlantic, he went to Connecticut, and resided in various parts of the nutmeg State for three years, engaged in selling goods. An opportunity presenting itself for employment in Atlanta, Georgia, he removed there, and was engaged as clerk in a mercantile house for three years. Mr. Beerman arrived in San Francisco in 1868, and shortly afterwards engaged himself as clerk in the store of M. M. Feder, at Elk Creek, in Colusa County. After six months spent in this employ, he and Sol. Davidson opened a general store in the old town of Olimpo, northwest of the present town of Orland. At the end of the first year, he purchased the interest of Mr. Davidson in their joint business, which he continued until the spring of 1888, having in the meantime moved his store to Orland just after the railroad had reached that town. Alive to the necessity of a banking institution in this place, he was one of the original movers in the organization of the Bank of Orland, which was incorporated in March, 1887, and of which he was chosen president. In 1888 Mr. Beerman disposed of his store business in Orland, and moved to San Francisco, where, in financial comfort and surrounded with domestic blessings, he can take life in unvexed retirement, and see to the education of his children. Mr. Beerman was married, October 1o, 1875, to Miss Rachael Davidson, by whom he has four children, Charles, Wilfred, Irene, and Edith.
Photo of Abraham Beerman

Abraham Beerman

Bender, John G. (p. 431)
John Good Bender was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, November 6, 1827. He received a common-school education such as those times afforded, and when yet a young man set out in the world to make his way. He spent two years in Rock Island, Illinois, and in March, 1853, he started across the plains for California, arriving at Marysville August 15, 1853. He took up his residence at Marysville, where he followed his trade of contractor and builder for twenty-three years. In 1876 he moved to the Logan farm, southwest of Willows, remaining until 1882, when he moved to Orland, opening a lumber yard. Mr. Bender is a progressive business man, a leading Republican, and a respected citizen. He is a widower and is the father of three daughters and two sons.
Beville, W. T. (p. 446)
William Thomas Beville was born at Wytheville, Wythe County, Virginia, August 18, 1844. When the rebellion broke out, he was attending school, yet he volunteered in Company K., Eighth Virginia Regiment, and served in the Confederate service till the surrender of Lee. He came to Colusa County in November, 1868, and served as Deputy County Clerk. He was appointed Under-sheriff in March, 1870, by J. B. Stanton, and continued in that position four years, when he was again appointed Under-sheriff, by J. L. Howard, and remained with him till the expiration of his term of office, two years later. He was elected County Assessor in 1875, for the term of four years. After filling this responsible position to the satisfaction of all, he was appointed in 1880, Under-sheriff, by J. M. Steele, and afterwards served four years as Under-Sheriff of Maberry Davis. In 1886 he was elected Sheriff, and re-elected to the same office two years later. In 1872 he was married to Miss Lutie Williams, a native of Missouri, by whom he is the father of three children, one son and two daughters. Aside from his comfortable Colusa residence, he is the owner of an apricot and peach orchard of twenty acres, one mile west from Colusa. William Beville Military Biography
Bieler, Jacob (p. 451)
This pleasant and well-to-do farmer of Antelope Valley is a native of Switzerland. He came to the United States in 1855, locating at Superior, Michigan, where he remained until 1857. He next came to San Francisco and shortly afterwards set out for Stockton, where he found employment on a ranch, fifteen miles from that place. After remaining here in this employment for one year, he essayed mining in Tuolumne County but with indifferent success. Mr. Bieler was married, in 1860, to Miss Margaret, daughter of Bernard Schmidt, of Cherokee, Nevada, and is the father of six children: Mary, Sophia, Julia, Jacob, Josephine and Frank B. Mr. Bieler came to Colusa County in 1869 and located on his ranch, of two hundred and forty acres, in the vicinity of Sites. This land is in a perfect state of cultivation. He also works three hundred acres of leased land, planted to grain, besides being engaged somewhat in stock-raising.
Photo of Jacob Bieler

Jacob Bieler

Billiou, Joseph (p. 457)
Joseph Billiou resides near St. John, some thirty-seven miles north of Colusa. He was born in St. Louis Missouri, Missouri, in 1839, and was engaged in farming in that State until 1856, when he came to California. After arriving at San Francisco he was not long in looking about him, but came up the Sacramento Valley, and immediately found work on the Capay Grant, owned by Richard J. Walsh. And he has remained there ever since, and now owns a portion of the same grant on which he labored thirty-four years ago. He is estimated to be worth $150,000. His career shows what industry, and adherence to a settled purpose in life, may accomplish. It is an object lesson for every young man in the State. In 1864 he married Miss Julia Stack, a native of Ireland, by whom he had four children. A terrible disaster overwhelmed the happy domestic circle of Mr. Billiou on April 6 1887, in the killing of his wife by a Chinese cook in his employ, named Hong Di. [The particulars of this atrocious murder are given on page 230.]

(p. 230) Murder of Mrs. Billiou -- 1887-April 7, Hong Di, a Chinese cook, working for Joseph Billiou, near St. John, shot and killed Mrs. Billiou. While Mrs. Billiou, her two daughters, Annie and Maude, and William H. Weaver, were at the supper table, the Mongolian opened the door leading into the kitchen, and, as Mr. Weaver was rising to his feet, fired a Colt's revolver; the ball, entering Mr. Weaver's left shoulder, passed through and fell to the floor. The Chinese then shot Mrs. Billiou, the ball entering her left breast and passing through the heart. She died instantly. He next shot at Annie, who opened another door and ran out on the porch. As she did so, Hong Di shot at her again, following her around the house and shooting at her as she entered the dining-room again. Little Maude jumped out the window and ran to St. John, a mile and a quarter distance, for assistance, and a few minutes after Annie looked out the door, when the Chinese shot at her once more, the ball lodging in the casing by the side of her head. Hong Di then left for the jungle along the banks of the Sacramento River. The murder created the wildest excitement, and hundreds of people joined in the search after the criminal. At the time of the murder, Mr. Billiou was absent in San Francisco. Mrs. Billiou came to America with the family of Richard J. Walsh, with whom she had lived up to the time of her marriage. She was an early resident of the county.
Billiou, Michael (p. 376)
Michael Billiou is a native of St. Louis County, Missouri, born September 7, 1832. His father had settled in this region previous to the cession of the country west of the Mississippi to the United States. Michael lived on his father's farm till he was twenty years of age and then set out for California. He arrived in Colusa County in the fall of 1852, without a dollar in his pocket, offering to work for his board, yet for a time failed to find employment. He was finally hired by Richard J. Walsh, to work on the Capay grant, where he was steadily occupied for ten years. With the sum of money accumulated in these years of diligent toil, Mr. Billiou purchased the property on which he now resides, consisting of seven hundred and fifty acres of land on Stony Creek. Here he farms, raises stock and grows fruits. He is much interested in fruit culture. Twenty-five orange trees which were at first planted as ornaments in his garden have grown thrifty and produce abundantly, while in his orchard is a variety of all kinds of fruits. His vineyard, likewise, shows what care and judgment can accomplish. His residence, which was built in 1878, is a large and handsome structure, and, standing on a chosen spot, surrounded by orange and other fruit-trees, it is as welcome to the eye of the traveler as the heart and habits of its owner are hospitable.

Mr. Billiou never married, but his domestic affairs are superintended by his mother and his sister Mary. His aged mother was, before marriage, Mary O'Connell, born February 12, 1813, in St. Louis County, Missouri, within twelve miles of the old court-house, an historic spot for thousands who pushed the line of settlement northward into the prairie States of the middle West. Mr. Billiou's early residence on his place was not without its adventures. He recalls the devastations among stock committed by bears over thirty years ago. In 1854 he caught a grizzly in a trap a few hundred yards from the Walsh residence. He shot it and it weighed nine hundred pounds. He caught the monster in a trap that weighed seventy-five pounds. Though the trap was fastened to a heavy oak log, his bear-ship dragged the log, trap and all, some distance till they got tangled in the brush.

Since making his home here, Mr. Billiou made one trip East, in 1876, to his former home, in St. Louis, and also visited the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia. Photo of Michael Billiou's Residence
Boggs, Hon. John (p. 371)

There are few men in this State who seem to have been so specially fitted into their surroundings and to have so justified their position therein as the Hon. John Boggs. Whether as pioneer or miner; as a stock-raiser, introducing new and blooded varieties of horses, cattle, and sheep; or as a farmer, on an extensive scale pursuing this branch of industry, with a system all his own; or in his public service to his county and State, his example, skill, prescience, and devotion to public duty, might well be termed special providences for Colusa County, for, apart from what they have already accomplished in the development of this region, they have served not a little to assist, stimulate and encourage his fellow-citizens, and will linger years hence both as incentives and an inspiration. The sympathetic and forceful impact of his career is a part of the history of this county's first steps in progress.

John Boggs is the son of Robert W. and Abbie Carr, and was born in July, 1829, at Potosi, Missouri. His father was one of the owners and incorporators of the Iron Mountain, near his native place, so justly celebrated for its extensive deposits of iron ore. At the age of ten years, young Boggs moved with- his parents to Howard County, Missouri, where he attended the public school for several years. Later on he followed a course of studies in Fayette College, in the town of Fayette. Here he might have continued till thoroughly equipped for graduation, had not the alluring news of the wonderful discoveries of gold in California aroused within him an insatiable desire to participate in the stirring adventures of the gold hunters and at the same time amass wealth. So, dropping his books and closing his desk, he bade farewell to collegiate honors not .very remote, if he had seen fit to wait for them.

On April 9, 1849, in company with some young men of his own age and of the same college, young Boggs set out for California. Among his companions were General John B. Clark, afterwards a member of Congress from Missouri, and Hon. John Morrison, subsequently a prominent man in the public affairs of the same State. This party' crossed the Missouri River at Fort Kearny, and while camped at this point united with another company hailing from Clay County, Missouri, and bound for the same destination. Among their new-found companions were men who, in after years, made their mark in the new State towards which their steps were tending. Some of these were: Hon. Laban Scearce, of Orland; Hon. J. Woodson James, of Paso Robles Springs; and James A. Douglas, formerly sheriff of Yolo County.

The route across the plains of these adventurers was the old Carson road by Sublett's cut-off. After several months of exposure and fatigue, which only served to impart added enjoyment to the daring young spirits, they arrived, on August 18, 1849, at Weber Creek, in Placer County, near old Hangtown, which name, as everybody is aware, has long since been trans­formed into something less somber, with less of picturesque depravity in it, by calling the place Placerville.

Boggs and Clark being very warm friends, they concluded, now that their journey was practically at an end, to stick together and go on ahead of the rest of the company. The world was now all before them. A wilderness of mountain range and broad, inhospitable plains stretched between them and home. Here was the first parley before the first battle of life. What to do in this strange country, so new that it was almost unblemished with civilization? What to do with only about five dollars as the joint capital stock of these two sturdy, raw young men? Why, do the first thing that turns up, and this is precisely what these sensible pilgrims immediately proceeded to do.

They started for Sacramento and arrived there with just “six bits” in their wallet. Tired and weary on the night of their coming, they lay down and rested under the dense foliage of trees where Fifth and K Streets are now designated. The next day they found employment in assisting in the surveying and laying out of the principal part of the city, in streets, blocks and lots. It was hard work measuring the land and driving corner stakes on what was to be great thoroughfares in the future capital city of this new El Dorado. The heat was intense. The land was a thick jungle and Mr. Boggs will always vividly recall August 25, when he was engaged in cutting brush between J and K Streets so as to take observations. The brush and vines grew so thickly that a breath of air could scarcely penetrate. The task became almost suffocating, but the pay was sixteen dollars per day, and young men, full of lusty vigor, and with a purpose in life, could afford to sweat for this.

The two friends worked here a month, and, having now earned a stake, they turned longingly to the mines. They worked in these at Coloma and on Weber Creek, with fair success, for a short time. Winter coming on, they built a cabin at Hangtown and mined in that vicinity till March, 185o, and then went to Sacramento again. Here the two companions parted, Clark going to the Redding diggings, now in Shasta County, while Boggs joined a party, consisting of J. L. Morrison, J. Criglar, and others, bent on mining. They procured a camping and mining outfit and provisions, and with two pack-mules to carry their stores, they set out for Deer Creek, where Nevada City now stands. Boggs was one of a party who gave the name to this prosperous mining town. Here he mined betimes but was chiefly occupied in packing provisions and supplies between Nevada City and a little camp on the South Fork of the Yuba.

The distance between those places was twenty miles, and one dollar per pound was the tribute paid to mule-power in those days. He continued in this lucrative employment till July i, 1850.

It was now, at this point in Mr. Boggs' career, that, with some capital to operate with, he first displayed that business foresight and judgment which have proved since to be among his most prominent characteristics. He had learned from experience how jaded and broken down are the animals that have made the long march from the Missouri River, though most of this stock was usually selected for both blood and endurance. He had heard that an army of immigrants was hastening pell-mell from the Atlantic States, and that consequently their stock would arrive in a sorry plight and almost exhausted condition. They would, of course, be sold for a trifle; nay, their owners would look upon any offer as a bargain, since they would abandon them altogether on arriving, rather than be encumbered with them on their hurried, tumultuous, and sometimes disorderly rush for the mines. These animals could be turned out and pastured on the rich wild grasses, rested and recruited and in a few months be restored to their wonted strength and usefulness. Herein Mr. Boggs saw the opportunity of his life, one which became the basis of his present comfortable fortune. What he sought now was a place on which to herd and feed these animals after they were purchased.

For this purpose he went, in July, 1850, to Cache Creek, just above where the town of Yolo has since sprung up. It was then a wilderness, uninhabited, save by two men, Wm. Gordon and Mat. Harbin, the latter then living near where is now located the town of Woodland. Here Boggs settled down, erected a cabin, and, after seeing to other preliminaries, he returned to Hangtown to intercept the immigrants now swarming in. He bought their poor, tired, distressed stock at very low figures. He drove them very .slowly, pasturing them as they moved along, to his place in Yolo County. He herded them all winter, saw them recover and even grow fat, and when spring came he had four hundred head of horses and mules, which he disposed of at Sacramento, at one thousand per cent profit. Mr. Boggs continued in the stock business till the summer of 1854, when he came to Colusa County and purchased six thousand acres of the Larkin's Children's Grant, his present home, than which there is no finer in the county.

From this period up to 1871 Mr. Boggs was largely engaged in the buying and selling and raising of stock, and as a breeder of Jersey cattle and trotting horses he has been foremost. He is regarded as one of the best judges of thoroughbred stock in the United States. In 1868 he began wool-growing on an extensive scale, importing the finest breeds at great expense to mix with his vast flocks. His attention, however, has been, since 1871, almost entirely devoted to grain-farming and the securing of large tracts of land to plant thereon. Believing, as he does, that horticulture is the coming industry or source of wealth in this county, he is preparing to occupy himself there­with, at the same time still continuing to conduct grain-farming and stock-raising. Mr. Boggs' home place, on the Sacramento River, ten miles north of Colusa, consists of one thousand acres of land, as fair and fertile as sun ever ripened.

It could hardly be expected that one who had achieved success so early in an active life, who had manifested so much good sense and sagacity in the conduct of his private affairs, and against whose good name no finger had ever reflected a shadow, should be permitted to hide his talents in the seclusion of a great wheat or stock ranch. Peculiarly necessary and profitable to the community would be the services of such a gentleman to Colusa County in her early immature and formative period. John Boggs has never been termed a selfish man; far from it; he is generous and obliging to a fault, and so whenever he has felt that he could spare time from his. own manifold affairs, his friends and neighbors and fellow-citizens generally have been found waiting and only too willing to employ his services in public positions.

Mr. Boggs' public career began in 1859, when he was elected Supervisor of Colusa County, being a member of the first Board of which there is any official record. He served in this capacity continuously till 1866. It was during these years that form and shape were given to this county's affairs, that its machinery was adjusted and put in motion, and in which the counsels, tact and patient intelligence of Mr. Boggs are matters of public appreciation as well as of record. It was during his term of service that the present court-house was built. Mr. Boggs retired from this position at his own instance only to be called higher a brief period later to serve his county and State in the State Senate. He was twice chosen to this office, first in 1870 and afterward in 1866. He has, besides, held other offices of great responsibility at the hands of various Chief Executives of the State. Governor Irwin appointed him one of the trustees of the Napa Insane Asylum, Governor Stoneman made him a member of the Board of State Prison Directors, of which commission he was president, and it is a matter of congratulation for the entire State that during Mr. Boggs' incumbency of this position there were no scandals attached to the proceedings of this Board. Mr. Boggs has been, for a number of years, an active member of the State Board of Agriculture, and is also a member of the State Board of Trade, representing Colusa County, and is a trustee of the Leland Stanford, Jr., University.

While he is a staunch friend of irrigation, and favors the progress and completion of the works of the Central Irrigation District he opposed being included in the Colusa District, because he possessed a system of irrigation of his own, and his neighbors similarly situated likewise made opposition, and for the same reason. In speaking of the irrigation system which at present obtains, Mr. Boggs said: “I deem the present Wright law very defective and the system an expensive one. To be successful the law must be amended, to be almost anew.”

In everything pertaining to the welfare of his locality, county and State, Mr. Boggs knows neither flinching nor fatigue. To each subject he brings his active sympathies, a strong will-power, courtesy and diplomatic tact, a combination almost invincible. At his home he was among the first and ablest advocates in hastening the extension of railroad facilities into his own county, and was also one of the incorporators, and a member of the first Board of Directors of the Colusa County Bank, a position which he yet occupies. He is likewise a large stockholder in the Bank of Willows. In politics he is a pronounced Democrat, fighting vigorously for his friends, giving and taking blows in that courteous, amicable, yet firm way which distinguishes the gentleman seeking the public good from the blatant political mercenary seeking self. After a political campaign there is nothing of rancor left over for John Boggs to brood over or satisfy. He is as forgiving to his personal opponents as he was earnest in antagonizing them.

In private life Mr. Boggs is generous and hospitable. He has a warm spot in his heart especially for the “old-timers,” which does not preclude, however, the later arrivals from sharing in its genial warmth, much less from receiving that judicious counsel and ever neighborly and material assistance he is willing at all times to extend the deserving.

Mr. Boggs was married, in Sacramento, in November, 1870, to Miss Louisa E. Shackleford, of Georgia, by whom he had three children: Frank S., aged eighteen, who was graduated from Trinity College, San Francisco, and who will complete a course at the State University; Alice J., aged sixteen, now in attendance at Mills Seminary; and Fred H., aged fourteen years.
Photo of John Boggs

Hon. John Boggs

Brasfield, W. E. (p. 419)

Wiley E. Brasfield, a son of Leonard Brasfield, was born in Clay County, Missouri, November 19, 1837. He was brought up to farming on the paternal acres and managed to secure such an education as the times offered. It, however, laid the basis for the acquirement of a practical kind of knowledge, which Mr. Brasfield has gained by assiduous reading. He followed farming till 1863, when he pushed across the plains with a mule-team by way of Salt Lake. He stopped over on his journey a few months in Nevada and arrived in Colusa County January 31, 1864. He located on Grand Island and resumed his former calling of a farmer, which he continued up to the year 1882, when he moved to College City in order to afford his children an opportunity to attend the college at that place. Mr. Brasfield was married, at Woodland, October 9, 1865, to Miss Fannie J. Barnett, daughter of Elder G. O. Barnett. His wife died December 5, 1889, leaving him five children.

In May, 1883, Mr. Brasfield was appointed County Surveyor for an unexpired term, and in 1884, 1886 and 1888 was re-elected to that office. As a public officer he has been accommodating and efficient, as is testified by his long occupancy of office.
Photo of Wiley Brasfield

Wiley E. Brasfield

Bridgford, Eugene A. (p. 395)
Hon. Eugene A. Bridgford was born in Monroe County, Missouri, on January 26, 1849. He was the son of Jeff Bridgford, a sturdy farmer of that county. Here Eugene received a common-school education, applying himself assiduously to his books. Aspiring for higher branches of study than the county school afforded, he was sent to Van Renassaler Academy, and completed its course. To properly round off and give a more practical equipment to his stock of learning, he received a thorough business education at Bryant & Stratton's College, at Quincy, Illinois. Thus prepared for the active duties of life, he, at the age of twenty years, went to Buffalo, New York, and engaged in the commission and live-stock business.

But he looked westward now for a heart, if not for a home, and, in the fall of 1870, came to California, where he was to meet and wed Miss Laura V. Withers, for whom he had formed an attachment in Missouri, and who had preceded him to California, accompanying her parents some two years previous. The union looked forward to by the young couple was consummated in Colusa County October 18, 1870. It had been Mr. Bridgford's original design to return to Buffalo with his bride, and continue in business there, but he soon found himself so unconsciously charmed by the climate and so attracted by the productiveness and rapid development of this part of California that he relinquished all desire to return East, and located permanently in Colusa County.

Having rented a place a short distance west of Willows, he engaged in farming. At the end of one year and a half his place changed owners, and, disposing of his lease to its new proprietor, he came to Colusa, where he engaged in the stock business. He also opened a market, bought and sold stock, and conducted the outside business, for two years and a half, when, disposing of it, the current of his life underwent a marked change.

His tastes and inclinations had always manifested a decided yearning for the study and practice of the law, but the opportunities to engage therein had kept aloof, and now the way opened to realize his ambition. For this purpose, in 1875, he took up the study of the law in the office of Ex-Attorney General A. L. Hart, who was then practicing at the bar in Colusa. Aided by a logical mind and by dint of laborious study, he had so mastered the fundamental principles of his chosen profession as to pass a highly creditable examination, and was admitted to practice in the spring of 1877. His application to study his almost intuitive grasping of intricate points, his patience and zeal, clearly evinced that his adaptability eminently fitted his new vocation. These qualities had early attracted the attention of his preceptor, General Hart, and the public were not slow to recognize both his ability as a lawyer and his integrity as a man, and five years later, in 1882, he was promoted, by a flattering call of his friends and neighbors, to the post of Judge of the Superior Court of Colusa County, for the unexpired term caused by the death of Judge Hatch. In 1884 Judge Bridgford was re-elected to the same position by a popular endorsement that was most gratifying. This term, now rapidly approaching completion, will make him again his own successor, for he was again nominated by the Democratic party in April, 1890, and was in August indorsed by the Republican convention, and was re-elected without an opposing vote in the entire county.

During his terms of office, Judge Bridgford has decided many important cases. In a number of these cases he has been called upon to adjudicate vital questions of law, some of them so novel in their procedure or in their legal aspects that no State precedent could be found for their application or elucidation, and which, consequently, left him no other light or reliance than his own reasoning powers, always accompanying a stern desire to do equal and exact justice as he saw it, yet out of the multitude of cases carried up from his court on appeal, the almost exceptional honor has been his to have had but three decisions in civil case, and one in a criminal case, reversed.

Besides his labors on the bench, Judge Bridgford takes the deepest interest in the improvement of live-stock and the pro­motion of the fruit industry. On the outskirts of the town of Colusa, he owns a farm of one hundred and thirty-one acres, twenty acres of which are in fruit in a careful state of cultivation. Besides this homestead, he is joint owner with J. C. Bedell in a large grain farm of two thousand acres. An enterprising, public-spirited citizen, he finds time and gives of his means to aid any meritorious enterprise for the advancement of his county, and for this reason he has been selected President of the Colusa County Horticultural Society and of the Colusa Canning, Drying and Packing Company.

At his home, Judge Bridgford is most hospitable and entertaining. Here, surrounded by his good wife and children, of whom he hath a “quiver full,” his hours of domestic comfort pass most pleasantly. His children are: Miss Neva, aged seventeen, and who will graduate from Mills Seminary this present year, Harry V., Leone, Zelia, Chester A. and Horace W.
Photo of Eugene Bridgford

Eugene A. Bridgford

Brim, J. W.(p. 399)
{John Wiley Brim} was born in Tennessee, in the year 1835. He left Missouri for California on April 21, 1856, arriving at Oroville August 24. He engaged in mining at White Rock and Oroville, on the Feather River, and was very successful in this work. He came to Colusa County in 1856 and has since been occupied in stock-raising and farming. His farm embraces four thousand acres, a part of which is on the plains at the foot of the hills, and the remainder in Bear Valley, three miles from Leesville. It is on the latter portion of land that Mr. Brim resides. His home is a large and elegant one. In 1868 he married Miss Emily A. Smith, a native of Utah, and four children are the result of this union. Mr. Brim is highly respected and his energy is of the perpetual-motion order. John Brim Military Biography
Brown, David (pp 322-404)
A life spent in successful private enterprise and faithful public service, with nothing to mar its efficiency or cloud its record, is an achievement worthy of mention in the biography of California pioneers. David Brown has been a resident of California since 1869. During the long period of his residence in the state, he has watched its development and helped in its advancement, with a keen perception of its resources and future possibilities. Born in Ontario, Canada, on June 24, 1850, he came to California when a youth of nineteen. Being entirely dependent upon his own efforts, and eager to do any work that would teach him the methods used in his new surroundings, he worked for some years as a farm hand on ranches in Yolo, Merced and Colusa Counties. It is from just such beginnings that many of our prominent pioneers have sprung, who have made a name and place for themselves in the annals of the state. After working for wages for several years, Mr. Brown settled in Orland, Glenn County, in 1877. In 1876, he and his brother had first come to this section: and at once seeing the possibilities it afforded for irrigation, they thought it the place to put a stake and build up with the country. Here Mr. Brown built a livery stable, which he conducted for twenty-five years and eleven months, continuously. For eight years his brother, Thomas Brown, was his partner: but after that time Mr. Brown was sole owner of the business. He has met with deserved success in his various undertakings, meanwhile finding time for the public positions he has held, and taking an active part in all projects for the advancement of his section of the state. He is now serving his fourth term as supervisor of Glenn County, making fourteen consecutive years in office, during which he served for one term as chairman of the board. He has proved himself a most able county official; and his record for unswerving loyalty to the county’s best interests has gained for him the firm friendship and support of his community. He has always been a great advocate of good roads: and the roads in his district are kept in the best of condition. He has a thorough knowledge of conditions throughout this entire section. Progress is his watchword; and he gladly does his share in support of all movements for the good of his county. He is a member of the Glenn County Farm Bureau and a director in the Orland Creamery; he served as a director in the Orland Unit Water Users' Association and in early days he was a director in the Lemon Home Ditch Company.

The marriage of David Brown united him with Alzora Harelson: and they are the parents of seven children: Mabel, wife of W. B. O’Hair; Arnold, connected with hospital work in Berkeley, Cal.: Lena, wife of J. W. Rucker; Zozie, wife of W. E. Carroll; and Opal, Ima, and David, Jr. The home ranch, two and one half miles northwest of Orland, consists of three hundred eighty acres, and is one of the most productive in the county. Mr. Brown has seeded eighty acres of it to alfalfa, and the balance is devoted to grain and pasture land. He maintains a dairy of forty blooded Jersey cows, and has one hundred twenty-five head of cattle besides. With all the varied interests that have occupied his attention since he made his residence here, Mr. Brown has found time to be an important factor in the development of his district; and he is today one of the best-known and best-liked men in the county. Fraternally, he is a Mason, a member of Orland Lodge, No. 285, F. & A. M.
Brownell, I. W. (p. 391)
Irving Woodbridge Brownell was born at New Bedford, Massachusetts, October To, 1826. In November, 1848, he went to Peoria, Illinois, where he wintered, making preparations to leave for California. In the following April he began his trip over the plains, driving an ox-team. On crossing the Missouri River from St. Jo, he fell in with a company whose outfit numbered twenty-two wagons, and with them he made the long journey. He arrived at Weaverville, California, on August 27, 1849. He spent a year endeavoring to woo fortune to his pan and shovel along Weaver Creek and the Yuba and American Rivers, but the uncertainties of this pursuit were not to Mr. Brownell's taste. He next went to Yolo County and located on some land between Knights Landing and Cacheville. Here he farmed and raised stock till August, 1859, when he purchased a bunch of sheep and eighty acres of land from. M. Sparks; on Stony Creek, and made a location on an adjoining tract.

Mr. Brownell returned to Massachusetts by the overland stage in 1861, and in September of that year he was united in marriage to Miss Lois R. Smith. Shortly after this event he returned, accompanied by his wife, to the coast and settled at Knights Landing till the autumn of 1862, when he moved to his ranch on Stony Creek, which he has ever since made his permanent abode. Three sons, with his amiable wife, compose Mr. Brownell's household. He has been prosperous and successful in his affairs. He is one of the solid men of the county and highly esteemed for his probity.
Photo of Irving Brownell

Irving Woodbridge Brownell

Burrows, R. G. (p. 385)
Rufus G. Burrows, an early pioneer of the State and county, was born in La Porte, Indiana, April 8, 1834. In his infancy his parents immigrated to Atchison County, Missouri, where he remained till the spring of 1848, when he set out with his parents to cross the plains to California. They came by the Truckee route and it was while resting in camp between Truckee and the sink of the Humboldt that they first heard from some Mormons returning to Salt Lake of the discovery of gold in California. This news was received with intense excitement by the emigrants. Mr. Burrows relates an incident that conveys some idea of the eagerness of the emigrants to stumble on a fortune. Three or four days after the news of the finding of gold had been imparted to the train, they came to a very steep hill *here it became necessary for several men to pilot each wagon to its base. At the foot of this hill was a clear running brook in which some women, who had gone ahead of the train, were busy picking up from its bed bright, shining particles which they pronounced to be gold. Word was soon carried the entire length of the train that gold had been found, in fact, was only A few yards ahead of them, when everyone went wild with excitement and a general stampede was made to get down the hill, resulting in the upsetting of several wagons and a fight among the teamsters. Arriving at the creek, breathless, panting and in an ecstasy of expectation, they soon filled several of their tin camp plates with sand, which glittered temptingly with anything but the precious metal, for it was soon pronounced to be mica, the “fool gold” of the placers, as pyrites of iron is the “fool gold” to the tyro in quartz mining. The train again wended on and in a few days came to the camp of the ill-fated Donner party, and here they had the mournful satisfaction of interring the remaining skeletons of those who had perished there.

The party next arrived at Sutter's Fort, on September 10, where Mr. Hitchcock, the step-father of Mr. Burrows, rented the old adobe building (which the society of California Pioneers is now seeking to preserve) and kept a hotel there till the spring of 1849, when they moved to Green Springs, El Dorado County. The step-father and mother of Mr. Burrows died at this place, in 1853. Mr. Burrows went to Oregon, and on May 24, 1854, was married to Miss Charlotte T. Hull, who was a native of Illinois. One son, Orlando A., was born during his parents' residence in Oregon. Mr. Burrows returned to California and settled down on his present place, known as Burrows Hollow, five miles southeast of Newville, in July, 1857. He owns here over two thousand acres of land and is engaged in mixed farming and stock-raising. He possesses a fine orchard of choice fruits. In this is a fig-tree, one of the largest in the State, being forty-five inches through at the butt.

Mr. Burrows is the father of nine children, of whom seven are living. They are: Orlando A.; Mary C., wife of Wm. Millsaps; Elo E., wife of J. W. Millsaps; Annie, wife of Wm. H. Markham; Ida, wife of James F. Ellis; and Ira A. and Aura C. Burrows.
Photo of rufus Burrows

Rufus G. Burrows

Burrows, Rufus G. (pp 322-404)
One of the earliest settlers in the Newville section of Glenn County, who became a large landowner there, controlling thousands of acres, and whose influence, always for the better things in life, is still perceptible in that favored region of our state, is the late Rufus G. Burrows, who was born at La Porte, Ind., April 8, 1834. His father was Arthur Burrows, a native of Pennsylvania, who became an early settler in Indiana, removed to Illinois, later went to Missouri, and still later located on the present town site of Sidney, in Fremont County, Iowa. In 1845, he crossed the plains to Oregon, and settled for a while in what is now Hillsboro, Washington County. Then he removed to the Umpqua Valley, where his death occurred. His wife, who was formerly Nancy Rice, a native of Ohio, married again, becoming the wife of Rufus Hitchcock.

In 1848, Rufus Burrows, with his stepfather and his mother, started across the plains for California. William Wambaugh was the captain of the train, which consisted of fifty wagons, two hundred emigrants, two hundred fifty head of oxen, two hundred fifty head of stock cattle, and fifty head of saddle horses. They arrived in Sacramento in August, of the same year, and reached Sutter’s Fort on September 10, 1848. There they leased the old Sutter residence, and utilized it for a hotel until the following spring, when they removed to Carson Creek, en route to the southern mines. On account of the death of a daughter, they returned to Sutter’s Fort, after which they went to Green Springs, El Dorado County, and there engaged in the hotel business. While in that vicinity, both Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock passed away. Rufus Burrows was the fifth in a family of six children, and was educated in the schools of the Middle West, coming to California, as has been stated, in 1848. Later, he was sent back East to Albany, N. Y., to attend school there; but the death of his stepfather led to his being called back to California. After the death of his mother he went to Oregon, where he remained until 1857, when he settled at Newville. There he resided up to the time of his death, which occurred on September 13, 1913. At that time, he had some three thousand acres well stocked with cattle, sheep and hogs, and devoted to the farming of grain. In the later years of his life his two youngest sons became partners with him on his ranch.

In Multnomah County, Ore., on May 24, 1854, Rufus Burrows was married to Charlotte T. Hull, a native of Pike County, ILL., who was born in 1841, and who is now living in Willows, the old home ranch at Newville being rented. Her father, Cyrus B. Hull, a native of New York, was a carpenter and millwright by trade, who crossed the plains to Oregon with her and her mother in 1852, and who met with a sad accident on the journey. He was shot by his own gun, and although every relief possible was offered him he never fully recovered from the wound. For a number of years he resided in Oregon, and in 1863 settled at Newville near his daughter, where he engaged in sheep-raising. Notwithstanding the accident referred to, he lived to be seventy-six years old. He was survived by the following children : Mrs. E. G. Burrows, of Willows: Mrs. Electa Murphy, deceased: Mrs. Mary Hooper, of Humboldt County; Telemachus Hull, also of Humboldt County; John J. Hull, farming in the Newville section; Daniel Hull, of Tehama County; Charles Hull, deceased; Mrs. Aurora Marilla Millsaps, of Corning; Mrs. Ellen Metoalf, of Los Angeles; Cyrus B. Hull; and Mrs. Emma Scribner, of Washington. The maiden name of Mrs. Burrows’ mother, who died many years ago, was Nancy Shinn.

Several children blessed the family life of Mr. and Mrs. Burrows. Orlando A., a merchant at Sites, is married and has a son and a daughter. Isaac F. and Sylvester are both deceased. Mary C. married William Millsaps of Glenn County, and has two sons. Elo E. is the wife of John W. Millsaps of Stonyford, and is the mother of two daughters and a son. Annie is the wife of William Markham; she has two daughters and a son, and resides in Willows. Ira Ancil, of Newville, has two daughters and one son; and Aura C, also of Newville, has three sons. Mrs. Burrows has fourteen great-grandchildren. Mr. Burrows was a Mason, and was Master of Newville Lodge, No. 205, F. & A. M., for thirteen successive years, after which he missed one year, and was then elected again and served until his resignation a few years before his death.

Mr. Burrrows had a personality that made him a very interesting companion, especially when he was induced to talk of the historic past and his own relation to it. Having himself experienced much, he was able to portray graphically those scenes which were typical of the early settler’s life, describing vividly the famous Sutter’s Fort, the lawlessness of the times, and the constant changes which impressed themselves upon his youthful mind. As a pioneer, he began in an undeveloped wilderness, and with the passing years added much, through his self-sacrificing efforts, to the upbuilding and growth of the county.

On May 24, 1905, Mr. and Mrs. Burrows celebrated, with their children, their golden wedding, and were the recipients of congratulations and best wishes from a large circle of friends who knew them more or less intimately. In April, 1916, Mrs. Burrows moved to Willows, where she lives surrounded by every comfort. She is the oldest woman settler of Glenn County now living.
Burton, B. H. (p. 447)
{Benjamin Howell} Burton is a native of Aurora, Indiana, born in 1857. When a year old he was brought to Illinois, residing there till 1874, when he came to Colusa, to begin life as a business man. His first employment in the county was found in M. Nickelsburger's general merchandise store, at Colusa, where he remained one year, when, in July, 1876, he entered the Colusa County Bank as assistant bookkeeper, steadily passing through the various grades of promotion until appointed assistant casher. He held this position till he was elected cashier of the Bank of Willows, which place he still retains, gracing it with his courtesy and strengthening it with his business sagacity. Mr. Burton was married, in April, 1889, to Miss Annie Tarleton, of Martinsville, Indiana, by whom he has one child.