Biography of William Vanderbilt
Marin County, CA Biographies





William Vanderbilt. The subject of this memoir, whose portrait appears in the body of this work, and who is one of the pioneers of Tom ales township, was born in Lyons, Wayne county, New York, May 25, 1831, and is the son of Abram H. and Julia A. Vanderbilt. He grew to manhood in the county of his birth, there receiving his early education at the Lyons Union School, while residing on a farm with his parents, near that town. Arriving in California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, early in the year 1850, Mr. Vanderbilt at once proceeded to the mines in Placer and El Dorado counties, where he sojourned until the month of January, 1857, when he came to Tomales and embarked in farming and dairying on the ranch now in the possession of A. Woodworth. Not long after this he took up some Government land which he commenced to cultivate, and has since principally followed that occupation. Mr. Vanderbilt was one of the leaders in the Settlers' League, which was formed for the purpose of resisting a Spanish claim to what is now known as the "Bolsa de Tomales" Grant; and after a hard struggle in various of the courts of the State, and in the United States Supreme Court, resulted in the defeat of the claimants to the grant, and the reverting of the disputed land to the Government. He was also one of the chief promoters in the Grange movement, he being one of the incorporators of the Grangers' Bank of California, and the Grangers' Business Association of California. In 1859 he was appointed Assessor for Margin county, at which time he served for one year. In 1871 he was reelected to that office for a term of four years, and again in 1879, was he called upon by his fellow citizens to fill the same office, the duties of which, under the working of the New Constitution, had been quadrupled. He has held, during his residence in Tamales township, a number of minor, offices such as Deputy Sheriff, Justice of the Peace and Constable, while in the year 1866 he was admitted to the practice of law in the Seventh Judicial District of California. From the foregoing it will be seen that the subject of our sketch is, besides being an old settler in the county, a man worthy of esteem. For twenty years and more he has been officially connected with Margin, either in his home township or in the more responsible duties of a County office conclusive evidence of his popularity with the people among whom he resides. Starting early out in life with naught but an abundance of energy and a fixed determination to surmount all difficulties that should bar his path, he is now, in the fullness of his prime, in a position to enjoy the comforts of a happy home, surrounded by an intelligent family and hosts of ardent friends loved by all, hated by none. Mr. Vanderbilt married in Tomales, Margin county, December 20, 1862, Mary Fitzgerald, by whom he has Minnie, born June 27, 1866; Frank H., born June 18, 1868; Charles B., born April 2, 1870; Nellie C., born February 26, 1872; and Newell, born June 4, 1874.

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


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