Colusa County Biographies - P

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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Papst, C. J. (p. 409)
Charles J. Papst, of St. John, was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1838, and was engaged in farming till 1857. He then went to Davenport, Iowa, and attended commercial college. He came to Chico, California, in 1859, remaining there one year. He next found employment working at St. John on Jones' ranch till 1862. He tried Idaho for twelve months but returned to St. John, working on a ranch for three years, when he leased for one year two hundred acres of land. In 1868 he purchased the store of A. C. St. John and has continued to carry on the business ever since. He is also the postmaster of St. John, having held that office since 1868. Besides conducting a mercantile business, Mr. Papst owns a large farm close by. Mr. Papst is a self-made man. His accumulations, which would afford him leisure and competence, were acquired by hard knocks and habits of industry. He was married, in 1867, to Miss Tinole Hatton, of Petaluma.
Peart, E. C. (p. 407)
Elias C. Peart, whose name as a business man is a household word in every home in the county, is a native of Guysboro, Nova Scotia, born November 9, 1849. His boyhood was spent in the labors of the farm and his early education was imparted in the public schools. He came to California In 1868, making the voyage by the Isthmus, and the day after his arrival in San Francisco he experienced the to him strange sensations produced by the big earthquake of that year. His entire financial capital on landing was carefully counted and proved to be $30, but his backing and resources in good habits, strengthened by industry, in business sense and the boldness that captured success by intelligent audacity, were more to him than the three gold eagles cooped up in his purse. He first found employment in November, 1868, with B. Rosberry in the general merchandise business at Knights Landing at a salary of $35 per month. Wishing to better himself, he came to Eddy's Landing, on Grand Island, in the spring of 1869, and entered the employ of J. H. Goodhue, where he had charge of the entire business after eight months. Mr. Peart's first venture on his own account was made at Bear Valley, near Leesville, in the fall of 1871, the firm name being Peart & Graham. His trade here was most satisfactory, but disaster overtook him nearly a year later, when his store and stock were destroyed by fire. Though the insurance on the stock was not sufficient to pay their San Francisco creditors, yet the firm paid one hundred cents on every dollar's worth of indebtedness. Mr. Peart and his partner, J. W. Graham, next bought a small stock of goods and opened up business in Colusa, but not having the means to meet the heavy competition of the times, he bought out Graham's interest, returned to Bear Valley, built a new, store and dwelling and opened up again for business. Trade flowed into this place, and Mr. Peart was again prospering. During all this time, however, his mind was fixed on the Grand Island country, and, a good opportunity offering, he sold out his Bear Valley business to Dr. J. H. Clark, of Yuba City, and took charge of the Grand Island Grange Co-operative Company's business. His health failing, he sought relief in 1875 by a sea voyage, visited Nova Scotia and returned the same year. He bought out the business interest of the Grand Island Grange Company at Grimes Landing, a few years later established a general store at Arbuckle and then opened the Great American Bargain House at Colusa. Selling out the business at Grimes Landing and at Arbuckle, he started a store at Maxwell, the firm name being W. H. Cross & Co., though devoting the greater part of his attention to the Colusa store, which drove an annual business of $120,000 exclusive of the stock and grain trade. In addition to merchandising, this house handles a large quantity of barley and wheat. The store building of Mr. Peart is an ornament to the town. It is a large brick one, filled with goods, tastefully arranged, and is one of the mercantile landmarks of the place. Besides conducting his extensive merchandise business, Mr. Peart owns one thousand six hundred and forty acres of land in the county, whose cultivation is under his own immediate direction.

Mr. Peart was married, December 11, 1872, to Miss Clara H. Graham, by whom he has three daughters, the eldest of whom, Miss Emma, is attending Snell Seminary at Oakland.
Peters, B. H. (p. 455)
Bernard H. Peters is a native of Schleswig, Germany, and born January 16, 1838. He emigrated from home and arrived in New York City in 1852, where he remained six years, learning the blacksmith trade and working at it after he had completed his apprenticeship. In 1859 he started for California, coming round the Horn in the Polynesia, a Boston clipper ship. Before coming to reside permanently in Colusa County in the spring of 1874, he had worked at his trade in San Francisco, Sacramento, Auburn, and other places, where his skill as a mechanic caused his work to be in much demand. On coming to Williams he was employed by Captain William Ashe on his ranch as a blacksmith. During this period he returned to visit the home and scenes of his childhood in Germany, and shortly after his return he opened up in the blacksmithing business for himself, at Williams, which he has ever since continued to conduct.

Mr. Peters was married to Miss Lina Kurtzstien, on September 18, 1878, by whom he has had five children, one of whom is dead.

Among the benevolent orders Mr. Peters is highly esteemed, and has several times been the recipient of their respect. He is a member of the Masonic Fraternity, also of the I. O. U. W. He is a Past Grand of the Odd Fellows and was a delegate to the Grand Lodge in 1875.
Peterson, P. S. (p. 418)
Peter Salen Peterson, an honored pioneer of the State and one of Colusa County's best citizens, was born in Bornholm, Denmark, on December 23, 1820. His father was a school-master and hence aided young Peterson in obtaining a practical education. At eighteen years of age he went out to the Danish West Indies and secured employment as overseer on a sugar plantation, remaining there and working this capacity eleven years, on the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. Hearing of the discovery of gold in California, he left St. Thomas in April, 1850, on the packet ship Shakespeare, arriving at San Francisco after a nine months' voyage. After working there a few months at any odd job that presented itself, he set out for the mines, working with success at Bartons Bar, on Yuba River, and subsequently at Long Bar and Parks Bar. In 1856 he bought an interest in the Blue Cement mine, on Suckers Flat, Yuba County, afterwards being associated in the same with Lot M. Rust, whose sister Mr. Peterson married later on. He disposed of his interest in this mine for a comfortable sum and then set about realizing the dream of his life, which was to be an independent farmer. In August, 1868, he purchased a livery stable in Colusa from John Culp, but ill health compelled him to sell out to Mr. Rust.

On July 13,1869, he bought the Salt Lake ranch in company with John Boggs and C. C. Crommer. This ranch is located on Funk Slough, in Antelope Valley, just in the foot-hills some eleven miles west of Maxwell. This ranch embraced nearly six thousand acres, and four thousand sheep and other stock were grazing on it. Mr. Peterson took immediate possession and has ever since made it his cozy, hospitable home. From time to time he added to his land acquisition, and on March 2, 1874, he purchased W. H. Fountain's ranch, containing. nine hundred and twenty acres, just north of the home place. On February .14, 1877, he purchased the interest of John Boggs in the original Salt Lake ranch, so that his landed possessions now embrace nine thousand one hundred and seventy acres.

Mr. Peterson was married, February 1, 1870, to Miss Lida M. Rust, of Palermo, Waldo County, Maine, by whom he has been blessed with four children.

Mr. Peterson is one of those energetic and progressive gentlemen whose residence in a community always leaves an impression and gives an impetus to its welfare. He was among the first to introduce Durham cattle in the county, of which he has now a large band. He was an early advocate of railroads in the county and is a large stockholder in the Colusa and Lake Road. In politics he is an ardent Republican.
Poirier, Richard (p. 425)
This gentlemen, who knows everyone in the county, and who is himself, perhaps, the best-known man in the Sacramento Valley, was born at Montreal, Canada, May 1, 1832. He lived on a farm till he was eight years of age, and in 1840 moved with his parents to St. Louis, Missouri, where he lived until the year 1856. He followed the calling of a clerk in various kinds of stores while residing in that city, and acquired a general idea of business, which served him in good stead in after life. The Golden West now wooed him and filled him with a longing to reach there and begin life for himself. For this purpose he started across the plains in 1856, by way of Salt Lake, reaching Sacramento City on September 14 of that year, where he soon opened a store on his own account. In 1860 he took charge of the commissary department of the steamer Sam Sole, and in 1863 he secured the eating department of this and other boats of the Sacramento. He continued in this business till 1884, and became so popular with the traveling public that it was but the natural result of his employment that he should engage in the hotel business. In 1882 he purchased the Colusa House, the oldest and leading hotel at the county seat. He then leased it until 1884, when he moved to Colusa and took charge of the hotel himself.

Mr. Poirier was married, in San Francisco, in 1873, to Miss Alphonsa Laport, of Troy, New York, and is the father of three boys and one girl. Success did not overtake Mr. Poirier; he rather compelled it to come within his grasp, by his industry, urbanity and thorough knowledge of his business. These, with his experience and the State-wide number of his friends, have made him the model landlord.
Photo of Richard Poirier

Richard Poirier

Pope, J. H. (p. 439)
John Henry Pope was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 5, 1835. At five years of age he was left an orphan, and was then taken by an aunt to her home near Washington City and cared for, being sent to school till he had reached his eighteenth year. In 1853 he went to Missouri and Kansas and obtained employment as a clerk at several points in these States. In 1858 he set out, driving a team, across the plains by way of Salt Lake, and after wintering in that city, he started early in the following spring for California. He reached Colusa County in 1859 and has ever since made his home there. On arriving here he clerked in stores at Princeton, Jacinto and Colusa. When W. N. Herd assumed the office of Assessor, Mr. Pope was appointed Chief Deputy, a position which he has ever since held, except during the two years when he served as Under-sheriff by appointment of Sheriff Arnold. Mr. Pope's much appreciated competency in county affairs is universally acknowledged, and this, coupled with a genuine spirit of accommodation in discharging his duties, has made him an invaluable public officer. He is also secretary of the Colusa Canning, Packing and Drying Company.

He was married, at Jacinto, in 1865, to Miss Elvira King, and has one son, Arthur by name. Mr. Pope has a nice home at the county seat and a twenty-acre or chard one mile west of the town, planted in apricots, Bartlett pears and French prunes.
Photo of John Pope

John Henry Pope

Purkitt, G. H. (p. 400)
George H. Purkitt, of Willows, who is well known all over Colusa County, came to California from Illinois in 1862, locating first for a time in Sacramento, and then engaged in hydraulic mining in Nevada. As an accomplished civil engineer, his services have been secured in various parts of the State. He was appointed County Surveyor in 1872, serving one term most acceptably in that office. He first came to Colusa County in 1868 and spent a portion of his time on his arrival in hunting in the mountains. Mr. Purkitt is a keen sportsman and tells with gusto how in June, 1870, he lassoed antelope one mile and a half east of where now stands the aspiring town of Willows. He first settled in the town of Colusa, remaining there till 1874, when he removed to Willows and engaged in farming. Ten miles west of Willows is his ranch of twelve thousand acres, chiefly devoted to the production of grain and stock. This ranch is a model one in its methods of cultivation, its beauty of location and home surroundings. Particularly favorable has it proved in the raising of fruit. The peaches, cherries, apricots, pears, apples, plums, and nectarines which ripen here are not only an object lesson in early endeavors in horticulture in this section, but likewise an accepted prophecy, following hard upon fulfillment, of what the future wealth of the land shall consist.

Mr. Purkitt was married, in Sacramento, on April 27, 1873, to Miss Theodora Tiffe, and has a family of six children. His ranch, of which mention has just been made, has been surveyed and platted into subdivisions of ten, twenty or more acres, to meet the requirements of colonists or home seekers.