Biography of Henry B. Hitchings
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





HENRY B. HITCHINGS. - The probation officer of Humboldt county, who is filling a most responsible position with the same intelligence, tact and fearlessness noticeable throughout the long period of his service as chief of police at Eureka, claims New Brunswick as his native province and his parents, Andrew and Tryphena (Little) Hitchings, likewise were natives of that same Canadian country. The family came to California during 1869, a year memorable in western history on account of the completion of the first trans continental railroad. At that time the eldest son, Henry B., whose birth had occurred in Charlotte county, March 9, 1859, was a lad of ten years, old enough to be greatly impressed by the importance of his first trip outside of the limits of his native province. Arrival in Humboldt county brought the family face to face with the privations and pioneer environment of this then sparsely populated timbered country lying between the mountains and the great sea. A millwright by trade and a skilled mechanic with considerable ability along every line of general work, the father found employment with George Vance and for some years also conducted a spar yard, where he made spars for vessels. He made the first truck wheels used on the old truck cars that hauled the logs in the lumber camps and did much other work of a similar nature. For two years he served as marshal of Eureka and for a similar period he was a member of the council.

The parental family included five children, namely: Henry B., Sidney, George, Hattie (Mrs. Conant) and Guy. Of these the first was old enough at the time of leaving New Brunswick to appreciate the diversity of scenery en route to California and to enjoy the voyage from San Francisco to Eureka on the famous old steamer Pelican. Immediately after coming to this place he became a pupil in the old Brown school on H street and for some years he continued in the grammar school during the winter months, while in the summers he worked in the woods or in the mill. Later he became an assistant in his father's spar yard. For five years he acted as janitor of the old court house, besides filling the position of deputy sheriff under Thomas M. Brown. At other times he earned a livelihood through carpentering. After about eighteen months as a member of the police force of Eureka he was promoted to be chief of police and continued to fill the office with efficiency for thirteen years. Under appointment from the state officers he served as deputy fish and game warden. For a time he was employed with the Western States Gas & Electric Light Company, and on the 1st of October, 1913, he accepted an appointment as probation officer of Humboldt county, since which time he has devoted his attention wholly to the duties of the position. Besides being an Exempt Fireman, he is fraternally connected with the Elks and the lodge and encampment of Odd Fellows. By his marriage to Miss Martha J. Brown, a daughter of the late Thomas M. Brown, he became allied with a lady favorably known in Eureka as a charter member of the First Christian Church and a welcomed accession to the most select social circles. Four children form their family, namely: Helen F., Thomas M., Andrew and Idelia.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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