California Genealogy and History Archives
radical change from the environment of his early life came to Mr. Luce
with his removal from Maine to California. As a boy at Farmington, Me.,
where he was born in 1836, he had become familiar with conditions
existent in the far northeast regions of our country. The impressions
made upon his plastic mind in youth were never forgotten, although they
were dimmed by later and more pleasurable experiences in the
agricultural activities of the west. The rigorous climate of Maine and
the unpromising soil, with the forests of pine trees and the multitude
of streams, imparted to the inhabitants in their isolation something of
like attributes, for the exhibited a dauntlessness of courage in trial,
a fixedness of purpose in adversity and a resolution of character in
business associations that brought them success notwithstanding the
discouraging conditions under which they often labored.
an environment more favorable for permanent residence and profitable
labor, Mr. Luce left Maine at the age of nineteen and made the long
voyage to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama. Immediately after
his arrival in the west he settled in Placer county and became
identified with the ranching interests of that region. In order to
secure a start he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of raw land.
This he brought under cultivation and improved with buildings. It was
his far-seeing judgment that an investment in land would prove
profitable eventually. Acting upon that theory he began to buy out
squatters' claims. For this purpose he incurred a heavy debt, but he
planned his enterprises in such a manner that he always was ready to
meet the interest when due. With the increase in valuation of the land
his financial standing became assured and he entered into the gratifying
reward of his early foresight. At his death, December 16, 1901, he left
to his family a splendid estate of fifteen hundred and twenty acres in
Placer county, on which he had raised profitably both stock and grain.
The widow, finding the care of so large a tract of great burden, finally
disposed of the ranch and in 1910 established a residence in Sacramento,
where at No. 1613 Eighteenth street she is now surrounded by all the
comforts of life.
It was not until a considerable period had elapsed subsequent to his location in California that Mr. Luce formed home ties, his marriage in 1867 uniting him with Miss Lottie Wheeler, a native of Maine, and the daughter of a minister who served in the Baptist denomination throughout the entire period of his useful and consecrated maturity. Eventually Mrs. Wheeler came to California and settled in Placer county, where she died at an advanced age. Three children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Luce, but they had the heaviest bereavement of their wedded life to endure when their only son was taken from the home by death. The older daughter, Effie, was educated in Placer county and is now the wife of G. A. Wessing, of Sutter county. The other daughter. Miss Ida, who resides with her mother, is a woman of culture, qualified by nature and by education to enjoy the advantages connected with a residence in the capital city. The welfare of his family was always close to the heart of Mr. Luce. For them he labored with patient industry and for them he accumulated his large acreage of land, in order that he might leave them beyond the reach of material want or financial struggle, and in his last days it afforded him gratification to realize that his efforts in their behalf had been crowned with such abundant success. As a citizen he was loyal to the interests of his county, a believer in Republican principles and a stanch supporter of the party, but not a politician in the usual sense of that word, his desire being to promote the com- mon good of the people and to avoid all partisan activities.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011