Biography of Henry P. McCleave
Marin County, CA Biographies





Henry Paddock McCleave. Born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, January 15, 1830. In March, 1849, he emigrated to California via Cape Horn in the ship "Henry Astor," he being one of a company of ten taking passage as cabin passengers, and also bringing freight, consisting of provisions, small houses framed and shooked before shipping, also small five ton sail boats for use on the rivers. After a long and stormy passage of one hundred and eighty eight days, not landing at any port after sailing, he arrived in Yerba Buena Cove or San Francisco Bay, September 15th of that year. The company, the next day after arrival, took a job at ten dollars per day and board per man, the job lasting ten days. He then started with his company to the northern mines, stopping first at Colors, El Dorado county, at General Sutter's saw mills, the place where gold was first discovered, After stopping about one week they moved their camp into Kelsey's dry diggings, the new diggings being just discovered, and only about nine men there at the time, They built a large log cabin to winter in, and started to mine, but during the Winter they disbanded and went to San Francisco, everything in the shape of provisions being very high, Flour two hundred dollars per barrel, pork one dollar and a half per pound, potatoes one dollar and a half per pound, and miners' boots only six ounces of gold or ninety six dollars per pair. In the Spring of 1850 he went to Mud Springs, El Dorado county, and worked a month or two in the mines, making good wages, His acquaintances, having been out prospecting, discovered what is called Illinois Cannon, about three miles from Georgetown, El Dorado county. They all moved up to their new diggings and worked there with success until late in the Summer, when he started the first express running from San Francisco and Sacramento City into the northern mines. This occupation he continued for fourteen months, receiving for express charges one dollar for every single letter, two dollars for every double one clear of postage and fifty cents for every newspaper. He would make his trip of one hundred miles from Sacramento in one day, leaving Sacramento in the morning and eating dinner at Hangtown or Placerville, and finishing his trip through by supper time, He then sold out his express business, and commenced mining at Mississippi Bar, on the south fork of American river, building water wheels thirty six feet in diameter with buckets for raising the water thirty feet high in order to wash the dirt from the bank of the river nearly half a mile off. He then sold out and got a ranch nine milers from Stockton, and in January, 1853, sold out his interest near Stockton, and in the Spring of 1853 he took up the ranch or farm now occupied by S. H. Church. In 1854 he built a house and commenced to fence his land, and married Mary, second daughter of Joel Harvey, by whom he has two daughters living, Mary Eliza and Amelia P., having lost two sons and youngest daughter. In the Fall of 1857 he sold out and moved into Petaluma, and in 1860 located on his present estate, consisting of two hundred and twenty acres, where he farms a portion and dairies some

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


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