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John McKinstry Smith

History of Butte County, California
In Two Volumes. 
Volume I 
History of California From 1513 to 1850.
By Frank T. Gilbert

The Greatest Fur Companies and their Trapping Expeditions to California.
Settlement of the Sacramento Valley.
The Discovery of Gold in California.
By  Harry L. Wells.
Volume II
History of Butte County,
From its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time.
By Harry L. Wells and W. L. Chambers
 Both Volumes illustrated with views and portraits.
Harry L. Wells,   517 Clary Street, San Francisco.

 Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin

John McKinstry Smith was born in Livingston, Columbia county, New York, June 30, 1816, and was the son of Eleazer and Elizabeth (Davis) Smith. Before coming to California, Mr. Smith followed merchandising at Kingston, Rondout, Catskill and East Durham, all in New York.  He came to California via the isthmus, and landed in San Francisco June 23, 1850.  He went at once to  Butte county, the thirtieth of June, his birthday, being his first day at mining.  He mined on the east branch of the middle fork of the Feather river for some time.  In 1852, he camped on the site he now occupies, and from that time to this it has been his residence.  Since 1841, Mr. Smith has been extensively engaged in quartz-mining, being one of  the first to locate and work the celebrated Banner ledge in Oregon gulch.  Mr. Smith’s life in Butte county has been one of assiduous industry and intense application to business.  He was married to his first wife before coming to California, and she died in 1852. In 1857, on the thirtieth of June, he was united in marriage to Minerva A. Jennings, of Greene county, New York. To them have been born four daughters-- Bessie, Mary, Julia J., and Gertrude.  Mrs. Smith’s house is situated on the back of Feather river, in full view of that noble stream.  He has six hundred and twenty acres of land, well improved. In his vineyard are six thousand vines, from which he yearly makes three thousand gallons of wine. 

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