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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



This prominent lawyer of Sacramento, if not the oldest, is one of the oldest native sons of California, of American born parents, having been born at Monterey, now within the borders of the state, more than two years before California was admitted to the Union. The day of his birth, January 26, 1848, was two days after the discovery of gold in Eldorado county, and he was one month old when the treaty of peace was concluded with Mexico. He was of the third generation removed from Yorkshire, England, where his grandfather, Matthias Aram, was born, destined to become tliŤ founder of the family in America, for he came to New York and during the war of 1812 was drillmaster of United States troops. Capt. Joseph Aram, father of Eugene, was born in the state of New York and came with a party of emigrants across the plains in 1846, while the Mexican war was in progress. In the mountain foothills they were met by soldiers sent by Fremont to protect them from the rapacity of roving bands of Spaniards. Camping at Sutter's Fort, they were escorted by soldiers to Santa Clara, where Fremont commissioned Joseph Aram a captain and gave him charge of the fort at Santa Clara Mission, where he remained until the end of the war, participating in the battle of Santa Clara and later building a fort at Monterey. Eventually he was elected a member of the first constitutional convention of California of 1849, and of the first state legislature. He was a pioneer nurseryman at San Jose and raised fruit there until his death, which occurred in June, 1898, when he was eighty-eight years old. His wife, Sarah M. (Wright) Aram, died in 1872. She was a pioneer in California and a descendant of early English settlers in this country. Her primitive American ancestor was one of three English brothers, one of whom was the ancestor of Governor Silas Wright of New York. She was born in Vermont, married in New York, and accompanied her husband in the historic overland journey which brought him to honor on the Pacific coast. She was the discoverer of gold on the south fork of the Yuba, October, 1846, but word came from Sutter's Fort to hurry through on account of the war, and they all rushed on to Fort Sut- ter. It was two years before Marshall made his discovery and great strike in 1848, and this same place on the south Yuba proved afterward to be very rich. Of their family of five children born to Mr. and Mrs. Aram two are living, Mrs. Sarah M. Cool, of Los Angeles, and Eugene Aram.

It was in the public schools of San Jose that Mr. Aram obtained his primary education. He was graduated from the University of the Pacific in 1870, with the A. B. degree, and soon afterward took up the study of law with Judge D. S. Payne, then county judge of Santa Clara county, and was admitted to the bar in 1873. For some years he practiced his profession at San Jose, but in the early '80s went to Arizona and in 1885 was elected a member of the territorial legislature. Returning to California he resumed his practice in the state at Woodland, Yolo county, and in 1894 was elected senator to represent the Sixth Senatorial District, comprising Yuba, Sutter and Yolo counties, and served during the sessions 1895-97. A little later he located in Sacramento, where he has since practiced his profession. He was a partner of the late Gen. A. L. Hart until the latter 's death. He gives his attention to. general practice and has numbered among his clients some of the most prominent men and concerns in the state. Politically he is a strong Republican and has been a delegate to various state and county conventions, and in Yolo county he was a member of the County Central Committee. During his senatorial term he had charge of the appropriation of $300,000 for the improvement of the Sacramento river, the first appropriation for that purpose.

In 1875 Mr. Aram married Miss Lizzie Jasper, of Yuba county, and she died in 1892. Fraternally he affiliates with the Elks. Something more should be said in this connection of Captain Joseph Aram, Senator Aram's father. He and members of his overland party of 1846 had known members of the Donner party before the latter had left for the West. The leaders of both parties had agreed to meet on Green river and make the rest of the journey in company. The Donner party made slow progress and, a meeting not being effected, came on by way of the Hastings cut-off. By advice of Kit Carson the Aram party came on by way of Fort Hall, and when it reached the Truckee river was told by Indians that the Donner party was a long way back and it would be useless to wait for them. Aram and his party crossed the mountains and arrived at Sutter Port early in October, 1846. The Donner party arrived at Donner Lake and was snowed in and lost. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011