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California Genealogy and History Archives

Biographies
of
San Bernardino County and Riverside County

 

DAVID H. WIXOM.—San Bernardino has in proportion to its population probably more of the real pioneers, the men of the early adventuresome, wild and picturesque days than any other city in the district, and few of them have been longer identified with the city than has David H. Wixom. He is an almost Californian, just missing being born here by three short years, but those three years do not count for much, as he has spent the remainder of his life here, was educated here and has made a success of his life in his home town.

Mr. Wixom has followed for a time several lines of business most successfully, has been elected and appointed to various public offices, and in all things he has been the peer of any man, filling the posts of honor and trust most acceptably, always sure of himself and giving an unswerving fidelity to every trust. He is never afraid to tackle the big things of life, and many times his mettle has been severely tested, but he came through every ordeal unflinchingly and there is no such word as compromise in his vocabulary. He is a man who has all his life made warm friends, whom he holds in ever growing attachment, and he is getting out of life just what he put into it, kindness, good will, loyalty to home and friends.

Mr. Wixom knows his California and many are the tales he could tell of the early days, of Indian fighting and of pioneer methods of handling things. He has seen a transformation so wonderful it must seem like a dream, the modern civilization which encompasses him, the beauty of groves, lawns and flowers replacing the sage brush and greasewood, the ease and luxury of life as compared to the hardships he underwent as a boy in common with all the intrepid souls making up that primitive village of the pioneer days of the fifties and sixties.

Mr. Wixom was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on February 7, 1848, the son of Nathan and Betsy E. (Hadlock) Wixom, both of whom were natives of New York. His father was a farmer and trader in the East for many years, and hearing the many tales of California, rife at that time, he decided to come here in 1851, and in December of that year he reached his destination, after the usual perilous journey by means of ox team, undergoing dangers and hardships, with his wife and family, safe and well. He located first in Monterey County, but shortly afterward came to San Bernardino and at once he and his wife knew they had found their home, and here he lived happily, farming and stock raising for too brief a period, for he died within fifteen years, but not before he had won the esteem and friendship of everyone. He not only farmed, but he took up a ranch on Lytle Creek, now known as the Glenn ranch, and he also ran a feed stable and he built property which he rented, and improved many things. His wife was his faithful partner in all things, the encouraging indomitable wife he needed. These qualities they surely transmitted to their son, the subject of this sketch. She died in 1885 in San Bernardino.

David H. Wixom was one of a family of twelve children, the tenth in order of birth, the others being: Reuben, deceased; Clarissa, wife of Charles Ferguson, deceased; Elizabeth, wife of Richard Matthews, both deceased ; Mary Ann, widow of Lucian D. Crandall, living in San Bernardino; Willard, Elmira and Jasper, deceased; Eliza, wife of a Mr. Muchman, deceased; Cynthia, wife of Joseph Paine, living in San Bernardino; Charles W., deceased; and Chauncey, deceased.

Mr. Wixom was educated for a short time in Monterey County public schools and then in the public schools of San Bernardino, also attending a private school and a night school. He then went into farming and teaming, following this for nine years outside of San Bernardino, and also teaming to Prescott, Arizona. He then had to move into San Bernardino, to take charge of his mother's business, caring for the property for four years.

In 1882 he was elected city marshal and served two terms, was deputy assessor for four years, and was appointed chief of the fire department and filled that office for about five years. He then decided to return to private life and bought a ranch at Highland, with three hundred colonies of bees, and stayed there four years, but the lure of the city became too strong and he moved back into San Bernardino. He was next elected a member of the city council and served two terms, being re-elected. In 1897 he went into the laundry business with Dr. Clarence Dickey, but sold out and retired from all active business for a time.

His next move was to take up a homestead on the mountains, and this he proved up on and made it a beautiful place, planting four hundred apple trees and building a fine house. One of its attractions is a large fish pond. He must often think of this beautiful environment of the days of old, and especially of the time in February, 1867, when he was one of the party who went out on the trail after the Indians who had murdered Bemis, Whitesides, Parish and other white men. They were out two weeks, and made "good Indians" of many and ran the rest out of the country, and this ended for all time the real Indian trouble, the killing of the whites.

In addition to his home, Mr. Wixom owns other city properties. In addition to his other public service he was school trustee for seven years of the Mt. Vernon School.

He married on December, 25, 1866, Mary Ann Stuchberry, a native of Australia, the daughter of John and Emma (Cadd) Stuchberry, both her parents being natives of London, England. Mr. Stuchberry moved to Australia when a young man. They crossed the ocean to America in 1858, making the voyage in a sail boat and arriving at San Pedro, Los Angeles County, State of California, in November, 1858, they continued their journey to and settled in San Bernardino, and remained until their deaths.

Mrs. Wixom is the oldest of the following children: John Franklin, deceased ; Thomas, living in Pomona ; Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Harris, of San Bernardino; William, deceased; Ellen, wife of Ben Southern, of San Bernardino; Joseph Henry, living in San Bernardino; James, in Los Angeles.

Mr. and Mrs. Wixom are the parents of the following children: Emma Louisa, wife of W. B. Reeves, of San Bernardino, who has the following children: Maud L; Blanche, married to William Amblen, of San Bernardino; Ellen, wife of Dr. Clarence Dickey, Jr., of San Bernardino; Frank Wixom Reeves, married and living in Texas; and Elizabeth. David William, of San Bernardino, married Elizabeth Smith and has three children: Mabel, married to Carl Barco of Colton ; Ennis, married to Olive Switzer, and Percy. Laura E. married Frank M. Meisner of San Bernardino. She has one child by a former marriage. Arthur H. married Norah May Harmon, and they have three children: Clifford, Frances and David. Nathan Chauncey died in 1875, at the age of two.

Mr. Wixom is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, of Woodmen of World and of the San Bernardino Society of California Pioneers. Mrs. Wixom is also a member of the Pythian Sisters, Women of Woodcraft and the Maccabees. In politics they are democrats.

 

Source:
History of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties 
By: John Brown, Jr., Editor for San Bernardino County 
And James Boyd, Editor for Riverside County 
With selected biography of actors and witnesses of the period 
of growth and achievement.
Volume III, the Western Historical Association, 1922, 
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, ILL

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011