Colusa County Biographies - I

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.

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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Ide, William B. (p. 343)
The name of William Brown Ide has become historic in the early annals of American immigration, as path-finder, explorer and adventurer to California, as well as inseparably connected with the first settlement and organization of Colusa County. He was born in Rutland, Worcester County, Massachusetts, March 28, 1796. Tradition has reliably traced his ancestry, on his father's side, back to the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth. William B. Ide worked at the carpenter's trade with his father till he came of age. His "schooling" privileges were limited to the common schools of the district, which were seldom kept open more than two months of the year. He married, April 17, 1820, Miss Susan G. Haskell, in Northborough, Massachusetts. He removed, in 1833, accompanied by his wife and six children, to Canton, Kentucky. Dissatisfied with the prospects there, he next tried Montgomery County, Ohio, settling at last, in 1839, in Jacksonville, Illinois. While residing in Ohio and Illinois, when his health permitted, he worked at his trade or at farming or taught in the district schools of his neighborhood a portion of the winter months. But his active spirit did not brook the meager rewards of a pedagogue and the slow process of farming then resorted to in the new middle West. He heard of a still more promising field of enterprise in the far-off extreme West, "where rolls the Oregon," or where flows the Sacramento. And thither he concluded to direct his steps. In the winter of 1844-45, Mr. Ide made ample preparation for his march to the Pacific solitudes by the purchase of a large herd of cattle, and a supply of provisions for a six months' journey with his wife and children and hired men, Oregon being then his objective point.

The party left their Illinois home on April 1, 1845, and proceeded to Independence, Missouri, and there organized a large company of immigrants, with one hundred wagons and the necessary teams and cattle. An experienced mountaineer, named Meek, was chosen pilot of the party. Arriving at Fort Hall, they met a company of trappers, en route for California, who spoke in glowing terms of that country, and of an easy route, with plenty of good grass on the way. By a vote of the company, it was decided to push on to California and relinquish their original purpose of reaching Oregon. After many vicissitudes, Ide and his party finally camped near Sutter's Fort. Here Ide met Peter Lassen, the pioneer for whom Lassen County has since been named, who owned a large tract of land a great distance up the Sacramento River, and who employed Ide to build a saw-mill. Ide had scarcely reached his new place of employment when Lassen came and very unceremoniously told Ide that he had since found a countryman of his (a Dane) to do the work, that he had no further use for Ide, and ended by ordering him to leave the house where he and his family were sheltered. This was in November, 1845. Ide then moved to Chard's cattle ranch, on the Sacramento, and built a log cabin, where he passed the winter. He made his journey next down the river to Josiah Belden's place, afterwards known as the Ide ranch, Belden giving Ide one-half of it for living on it and taking charge of Belden's cattle. Ide had here built the first cabin erected in Tehama County. He had not been here long when L. H. Ford came to Ide and informed him that the Mexican, General Castro, was on his way from Monterey to drive all the Americans from the country. He's patriotic spirit was aroused, and on May J, 1846, he set out, with a few other American settlers, for Fremont's camp. Fremont informed his countrymen that he would not assist in attacking the Mexicans, except in self-defense. The settlers then organized and chose Captain Merritt the commander. Ide was an enthusiastic member of this party, afterwards known and honored as the Bear Flag party, which proceeded to Sonoma, captured the garrison at day-break and made prisoners of General Vallejo and his brother officers, sending them under escort to Fremont, at Sutter's Fort, to be held as hostages until released in parole. Ide was of the little band of patriots that was left in possession of the barracks at Sonoma, and here they proceeded to organize an independent government by electing him governor and commander of the "Independent forces." A flag was deemed necessary, and one was quickly prepared. It was simply a piece of unbleached cotton cloth about a yard and a half long by one yard wide. The rude figure of a bear, standing on his hind legs, was sketched and painted by two volunteers, Todd and Storm, in the presence of a number of the Bear party. After the commencement of hostilities between the United States and Mexico and the arrival of Commodore Stockton on the Pacific Coast, Ide, joined by a few of the " Bear men," accompanied Colonel Fremont in his campaign down the coast to Southern California in which Castro was defeated and the Mexican troops dispersed. He went through this campaign most of the time on foot, while his comrades were mounted. His reason for submitting to this indignity was that he consented to sacrifice his personal comfort through patriotic motives, feeling that if he could be of use as a private soldier, it was his duty to serve in that capacity. Ide always claimed that Fremont, bent on garnering all the glory of having secured California to the Union, was jealous of the claims and distinction Ide had acquired in raising the Bear flag and overcoming the fortress of Sonoma, and was bent on humiliating him for so doing. When Ide was mustered out of service, he was over four hundred miles from home, without money, without credit and without decent clothing, while his family at home were suffering keen privations.

Ide returned from the war late in. November, 1846, and immediately returned to his ranch. He resided in Monroeville, then the county seat of Colusa County, and held many offices at the same time, particulars of which are given in this work in the chapter devoted to the "Organization of Colusa County:" During the middle of December, 1852, he was taken ill of the smallpox while attending to his official duties at Monroeville. His family resided some fifteen miles away, and they were not present at his bed-side during his brief illness, which terminated fatally, December 20. While he was on his bed of death, the key of the county safe, of which he was the lawful custodian, was taken from under his pillow by the man who nursed him and the contents of the safe abstracted. It was known at the time how much money there was in the safe belonging to the county. The thief was pursued and caught and the county money recovered, but no more. None of Ide's private funds, which were in the safe at the same time, and of which he had a large amount, was accounted for, the thief escaping the second time and never retaken, aided, doubtless, by some confederate in plunder. Ide was the father of nine children: James Madison, William Haskell, Mary Eliza, Sarah Elizabeth, Ellen Julia, Susan Catharine, Daniel Webster, Lemuel Henry Clay and John Truman Ide.
William Ide Military Biography
Photo of William Ide

William Brown Ide