David N. Shanahan, one of the early settlers of California, and a prominent horticulturist of Shasta County, was born in Cass County, Michigan, December 27, 1883, the son of Peter and Sinia (O'Dell) Shanahan, the former a native of Maryland, and the latter of Virginia. The mother was a daughter of Gabriel O'Dell, Kentucky pioneer. They had a family of five children, of whom our subject is the only survivor. He was reared and educated on a farm in his native State, and there learned the carpenter's trade. He came to California in 1854, and worked in the mines near Georgetown and vicinity for more than a year, with reasonable success. He then purchased a squatter's claim, which he worked one year, and then sold out and removed to Colusa County, where he took up government land, which he worked two years, but by reason of a drought his crops failed both years. Next he removed to a ranch near Colusa, and for two years engaged in raising hogs; next he removed to Chico, Butte County, but being sick and not meeting with satisfactory success, he moved six miles east of Colusa, where he purchased a ranch and farmed three years. He then sold out and removed to Yolo County, where he purchased railroad land ,which he improved and farmed ten years; then leased a large ranch for two years, and finally came to his present ranch four and a half miles east of Anderson, Shasta County, where he now has 300 acres of choice fruit land. He has already planted 5,000 French prunes, and 500 other fruit trees of different varieties, and also 2,000 vines. He is still improving and planting. The trees that are bearing at four years old yield $100 per acre, and the prospects are most flattering for a grand success in the fruit business in this portion of the county.
Mr. Shanahan was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth V. Huff, December 27, 1857, who is a native of Georgia, and the daughter of Thomas Huff, a Virginian. They have five children, four sons and one daughter, all of whom have been spared to them. The children are as follows: Thaddeus W., born in Colusa County, is a lawyer of Anderson, and has just been elected on his third term to the State Assembly, and has just finished an exciting campaign, stumping his district for the Democratic party, and by his capable efforts overcame a Republican majority in his district; Eugene, born in Colusa County, has a farm near his father's; Chester, born in Butte county is interested with his father in the ranch; Ross, born in Sutter County , also with his father; the daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born in Yuba County, and is now the wife of Burt Chamberlain, and resides at Cottonwood. Mr. Shanahan has much of the vicissitudes of early life in California, and is still a hale and hearty man. He has affiliated with the Democratic party all his life. He is a worthy citizen, and taken an active interest in the educational matter of his district; is a School Trustee and Clerk of the Board. His enterprise in horticulture will be of value to his part of the county, as it shows what the soil will do, and enhances the value of the property, as one acre for fruit is worth ten for other purposes.
Transcribed by: Melody Landon Gregory August
Source: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California, Lewis Publishing co.1891 pages 766-767