Search billions of records on


 Biographies Index  



California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



It has been the privilege of Mrs. Smith to witness remarkable changes in the appearance, condition and population of the west since the time when she first arrived in California sixty years ago. The excitement caused by the discovery of gold had not yet faded before the more important enterprises pertaining to the upbuilding of the great western empire. The entire trip from her native commonwealth of Ohio, where she was born near Columbus in 1835 and where she had been reared, made an indelible impression upon the mind of the young girl of seventeen, and she recalls the interesting fact that, after disembarking from the ship at the Isthmus of Panama, she was put on the back of a mule for transportation across to the Pacific ocean, whence she sailed uj) to San Francisco on the ship Blond in 1852. Arriving at Sacramento she found a small village of rude shacks and tents, crowded with a populace whose principal topic of conversation was that of mining and whose favorite vice was gambling. Prices of all commodities were high and the cost of living, an interesting theme of conversation in the present era of the world, offered a problem as serious to the poor of that period as to those of the twentieth century. Even the smallest articles brought a quarter instead of a nickel as they would in the present day, while no one seemed to recall that pennies were in existence. A church stood on K street at that time and there the young girl became the wife of John White, a native of England, and a pioneer of substantial traits of character. The following year, 1853, was made memorable to the couple, not only by reason of the birth of their first child, John A., at the family home on the corner of Third and streets, Sacramento, but also because of the disastrous flood and even more calamitous fire of that season.

When the eldest child was three years of age the family removed to Folsom and there remained for a considerable period. Besides the child mentioned four others were born to the couple, but only two of the entire number now survive, those being John A., of Sacramento, and Emma, Mrs. Lowrey, of San Francisco. Mr. White, who was an interested worker in the blue lodge of Masonry and a contributor to movements for the public welfare, was deeply mourned when he passed away in 1861, but he left to the community the example of disinterested service as a pioneer and a true champion of his adopted country. During 1890 his widow was united in mar- riage with Daniel Smith, a native of Scotland, who was a physician in Sacramento county. His death in 1902. left Mrs. Smith once again alone, but with the companionship of her surviving children to gladden her declining days. In her quiet home at No. 723 Seventh street, Sacramento, surrounded by the comforts made possible by years of energetic work and cheered by the friendship of other pioneer women of the city, she passes the twilight of her useful existence in tranquil contentment.

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