Biography of James McCready
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





JAMES McCREADY. - Although a native of New Brunswick, James McCready has been for almost fifty years a resident of Humboldt county, and is one of the honored pioneers of the state and well known throughout his section thereof as a man of sterling worth and unwavering integrity. He has been engaged in various pursuits, but for the greater part has been engaged in farming or been connected with the lumbering industry. He is at present retired from active business life and lives quietly on his ranch near Blue Lake, where several of his children also reside, the ranch itself being run under the management of his sons.

Mr. McCready was born at Wawweig, St. Andrews Parish, Charlotte county, New Brunswick, February 26, 1843. Here he spent the early years of his life on the farm of his father, attending school in the winter and working on the farm during the summer months. When he was fifteen he gave up his school attendance and went to work regularly. At first he worked in the woods driving logs and received for this $16 a month. Later this was increased to $1.25 a day, which to the lad seemed a very large sum. He made his home with his parents on the farm up to the time he came to California, working with his father when the work in the woods was closed down. At the age of twenty three, on March 27, 1866, he was married to Margaret Simpson, a native of New Brunswick, born January 3, 1849.

It was in 1868 that Mr. McCready determined to come to California. This determination was arrived at through the receipt of letters from a brother, John McCready, who was then living in Humboldt county, stating that the wages paid on the coast were much higher than received in New Brunswick, and the climatic conditions also far superior. Accordingly Mr. McCready made the long journey with his family via the Isthmus of Panama, landing from the old Aspinwall in San Francisco, and came on to Eureka on the Hesperian, arriving with only $16 in May, 1868, having been nine days en route from San Francisco. He immediately went to work at Freshwater for his brother, John McCready, who had come to California in 1859 and was well established and acquainted with conditions and people in Humboldt county. Through him James McCready later secured employment with John Connick and George Carson, remaining in their employ for several months, and though he had hired to them for $50 a month they were so pleased that they paid him $60. Later John McCready and Dan Morrison secured his services to work in their logging camps and for seven years he was thus employed. In 1876 he went to Salmon creek and found work with Dave Evans and Harvey Marks in the woods, remaining with that company until the firm dissolved in 1878. In 1871 he had homesteaded one hundred sixty acres of land where Wrangletown now stands, and had also purchased thirty five acres of rich bottom land.

In 1872 trouble came upon Mr. McCready in the illness and death of his wife, who left two small children to be cared for. The expense of sickness and death had been very great and Mr. McCready was obliged to sell his property to clear off his debts; then placing the children, William John and Margaret Ella (now Mrs. Montgomery), in the care of a family in town he continued in the employ of his brother. In 1876, as above stated, he worked on Salmon creek until the firm failed, then he went to Arcata and worked for James Gannon for four years, after which he purchased forty acres of land at West End, where he built his home, meantime being employed by Isaac Minor in the woods on Warren creek. He prospered in his undertakings, and soon was able to again purchase land, this time choosing a forty acre tract along Mad river. The land was all unimproved and thickly covered with a heavy undergrowth which made travel across it impossible save in the beaten trails. There was no road up that side of the river and the only way to reach the homes located there was by fording the river or by boat. Mr. McCready moved onto this place March 24, 1883, and that same night heavy rains fell, rendering the river impassable until the first of June. It was several years before there was any other way of reaching Arcata, and as the Mad river was apt to be impassable much of the time during the winter the settlers in that section were often cut off from supplies for many months at a time, and so were obliged to lay in their winter supplies early.

For a few years after taking up his residence on this place Mr. McCready worked for Isaac Minor in the woods during the winter, and in the summer months cleared his land and brought it under cultivation. He purchased additional land from time to time and now owns two hundred forty four acres, eighty of which is bottom land. The first summer he bought a few cows and engaged in dairying on a small scale, farming what land was then cleared. In 1886 he made a handsome profit on the farm and in the fall of 1887 he gave up working in the woods and thereafter devoted himself to the care and development of his own property. At present he has a herd of forty milch cows and makes a specialty of the dairy business. A number of years ago he built a new home about a quarter of a mile from the old place, and located on a bluff overlooking the river. Of late years he has retired from active life, and his sons are operating the farm. He owns a residence in Arcata, but has never made it his home.

The second marriage of Mr. McCready took place in Humboldt county November 8, 1879, uniting him with Phinattie Eliza Connick, a native of New Brunswick, born in Bailey, Charlotte county, May 24, 1857. She came to California with her parents in April, 1876, and has since resided in Humboldt county. She has borne her husband nine children, three daughters and six sons. They are: James Melvin, David Clifton, Fred Herbert, Jennie May (Mrs. Baumgartner), George Connick, Ray Grant, Laura Gertrude, Leslie Paul and Lola Pauline, the last two being twins. All the children are living at this time and all are well and favorably known in Humboldt county, where they were born, and where they have received their education and grown to manhood and womanhood.

Mr. McCready is proud of the record that he has made in his many years of active service. He has never been discharged from any position, and could always return to a former employer and receive employment at any time. He is industrious and earnest in all matters that he undertakes and is a good neighbor and a true friend. He has never been active in public matters, having always been exceedingly busy with his personal affairs, but he is well informed and progressive in his ideas, and wide awake to anything that tends for the betterment of local conditions. He is a member of Humboldt Lodge No. 77, I. O. O. F., at Eureka, and has been a member of the order for more than forty years. He is also a Veteran Odd Fellow and a member of the Rebekahs. He declares that this is the only place in which he cares to live, and is certain there is no other place that can compare with it.

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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