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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



Desire to see the then unknown west and an innate love of adventure were the principal factors entering into the decision of Mr. Nethercott, then a youth of about eighteen years, to join an expedition bound for the Pacific coast. For only three years had he been a resident of the United States, and those years had been passed in St. Louis, Mo., where he earned his livelihood by day labor. He was fairly well educated for the period in which he attended school, and had received excellent advantages through the efforts of his parents, James and Rachael (James) Nethercott, of Oxfordshire, England. He was born at Shillingford, Oxfordshire, England, October 23, 1834, and was brought to America by his parents in 1850, crossing the Atlantic on the sailer "Hartley" to New Orleans, La., whence, after a voyage of eight weeks and three days, they proceeded up the Mississippi to St. Louis. Mr. Nethercott possessed a restless temperament that found no satisfaction in the midst of the conditions then existent in his locality, therefore he sought the freer opportunities of the new world, where Ms love of travel found abundant gratification in the expedition across the plains with ox-teams in 1853. The party to which he joined himself consisted of thirty-five men, five women and five children, with all of the necessary provisions and supplies. In addition, the men drove two hundred and fifty head of cattle and fifty head of horses. Good fortune attended the trip and only a few head of stock were lost.

Having been employed as a teamster in St. Louis, the young emigrant sought similar work in California and he soon found a job with excellent pay. From teaming he drifted into ranching as offering a more permanent and satisfactory source of livelihood. It soon became evident that Sacramento was short in its milk supply and that caused him to buy a herd of dairy cows, with winch he started in the dairy business in 1860. When the great flood of 1861 occurred he was forced to keep his stock on the hills all winter. The catastrophe considerably affected the growth of his dairy and temporarily changed his profits to losses, but when everything had resumed the even tenor of its way he again found dairying profitable, and he has continued in the business up to the present time.

From the time of his marriage in 1861 Mr. Nethercott received the energetic assistance of his wife, a woman of great industry as well as wise judgment, and her death in 1894, just as they were beginning to enjoy the results of their years of labor, proved a heavy blow to him. She was a native of Ireland and bore the maiden name of Anna 'Neil. During the year 1858 she became a resident of California, where she formed the acquaintance of Mr. Nethercott. Their union resulted in the birth of seven children, two of whom died in early childhood, Edward at the age of twenty-six years, and John Albert died January 27, 1912, at the age of thirty-six years. The two surviving sons, George H., Jr., and Arthur D., are interested with their father in the dairy business, and their energetic, intelligent co- operation has proved of the greatest value to the permanent prosperity of the industry. The only daughter, Catherine, is making her home with her father. In politics Mr. Nethercott gives his influence to the Republican party in national affairs. Movements for the benefit of Sacramento and the adjacent country receive his hearty support. As a citizen he exerts that solid influence known only to men who have made a success of what they started out to do. It has been his privilege to witness the development of the Sacramento valley from a barren country to a rich and productive tract. To this growth he has been a personal contributor, and now in the days of his prosperity he enjoys recounting experiences when settlers were few, improvements conspicuous by their absence and when that spirit of hearty hospitality prevailed which is so essentially a characteristic of every new country. 

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