Biography of Thomas B. Deffenbach
Marin County, CA Biographies





Thomas Boileau Deffenbach. The subject of this sketch was born in Georgetown, Pennsylvania, on the 25th day of July, 1822 His father's name was Lewis, and he was a pioneer printer of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He founded the Doylestown Democrat in 1816, and the paper still flourishes. Young Thomas spent his early years at Millford, New Jersey, on a farm. During the years he attended a country school, five miles away, over the mountains, for a few months during the Winter season. This constituted his school days. He went to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1837, and became apprenticed to the printer's trade with an uncle, Charles Kemle (better known as "Grey Eagle;" while in the Black Hawk War the Chief Black Hawk gave him that name), who was at that time publishing the St. Louis Reveille. His apprenticeship lasted for eight years. He then continued with his uncle as a journeyman printer till 1850, in January of which year he started for the then far fabled land of gold, California. He chose the Panama route, and after reaching New Orleans he took the steamer "Fashion" to the mouth of the Chagres river; thence up that river to the Pacific side of the Isthmus. From there to San Francisco he came on a British brig. This trip required eighty eight days. He arrived in Sail Francisco in March, 1850; went at once into the mines where he remained till the Spring of 1853. He then began the printing business in the old Whig office. In 1856, in connection with Thomas H. Agnew, as senior partner, he opened a general job and printing business. In 1866 he became the sole proprietor of the business, and continued in this business till 1869, when he disposed of it. In August, 1868, he came to old Juan Read homestead, and has since resided there with his family, following dairying chiefly. He was united in marriage with Donna Inez Read, daughter of Juan and Hilaria Read, February 17, 1864. Donna Inez was born on the Read homestead. They have had children as follows: Inez, born December 16, 1864, died December, 1868; Mary Matilda, born April 14, 1866; Caroline Hilaria, born November 26, 1867, died April 7, 1873; Thomas Boileau, born June 4, 1869, died December 9, 1876; Jessie Oliver, born December 9, 1876; Mary Halaria, born March 31, 1879.

From:
History of Marin County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880


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