Contra Costa County












JOSEPH FLETCHER CAREY. An honored pioneer of the state, Joseph Fletcher Carey occupies a position of prominence among the citizens of Byron, where he now discharges the duties of justice of the peace. He was born in Amsterdam, Montgomery county, N.Y., September 17, 1833, a son of Levi and Catharine (Wager) Carey, who removed to Walworth county, Wis., in 1843. The father engaged in farming in that state until 1860, but desirous of locating in a milder climate on account of the health of an invalid son, he took his family and set out for the south, but afterward decided to locate in California. The son improved on the journey, but when about thirty-six miles from Placerville, on the border of the state, the father was taken with a congestive chill and passed away at the age of sixty-six years. The widow continued the journey into the state, where she passed her last days, making her home in both Contra Costa and Solano county, and dying at the age of ninety-two years.


Joseph Fletcher Carey grew to manhood in the state of Wisconsin, where he accompanied his parents when only ten years old. In 1853 he decided to cast in his lot with the California pioneers, and accordingly crossed the plains to the western state and located in Eldorado county. Like many others who sought the west at that time he engaged in mining, remaining so occupied until the fall of 1862, when he went to Contra Costa county and bought a quarter section of government land. To Mr. Carey belongs the distinction of raising the first crop of wheat ever raised in this part of the state, one hundred and sixty acres now embodied in the ranch of S. M. Mills being that which he planted to this cereal. It yielded about sixteen sacks per acre. On that property he continued raising wheat and barley, making many improvements in the shape of a house, barns and other outbuildings, and the setting out of trees of all varieties. In 1871 he sold that property for $5,000, after which he rented a large tract of land in the foothills, where he raised grain and hay for four years. When Brentwood was first laid out he bought six lots there and built a blacksmith shop, which he conducted successfully for several years, when he sold out and bought one acre in Byron and built a cottage. This location has since remained his home, and here he engaged as a carpenter and painter until 1901. In that year he was elected justice of the peace through the influence of the Republican party, of whose principles he is a stanch[sic] advocate. He is also agent for a fire insurance company.


In Placerville, Mr. Carey married Mary Steel, a native of Maine, and she died twenty-two months later. His second wife was Laura Welch, of Contra Costa county, a daughter of L D. Welch, whose sketch is found in that of S. H. Welch, which appears elsewhere. To Mr. and Mrs. Carey were born the following children: Charles and Carrie Belle, twins, the latter of whom died at the age of three and a half years, while the former attained manhood, married Mary Quaint, and engaged in farming until his death at the age of twenty-six years; Clara married Z. T. Northcut, of Fruitvale, and they have one child, Raymond; Alice, deceased, was the wife of Lewis Weicht; Joseph F. married Etta Dahnken, of Antioch, and they have one child, Mabel; and Mabel, who died at the age of seventeen and a half years. Fraternally Mr. Carey belongs to the Masons of Brentwood, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, acting in the capacity of financier of the latter, and has also served as secretary.




[Inserted by D. Toole.]




1887 Aug 1, Oakland Tribune, P2, Oakland, California

Mrs. J. F. Carey and Miss Alice Carey of Brentwood are visiting Mrs. Abbie Hussey at 667 Thirty-fifth street, Oakland.


1910 May 28, The San Francisco Call, P8, San Francisco, California

Death Claims Pioneer and Justice of Peace

Joseph F. Carey Falls Beside Road Near Home

[Special Dispatch to The Call]

Byron, May 27 In the death of Justice of the Peace Joseph F. Carey, which occurred Monday, Byron and Contra Costa county and the state of California loses one of the earliest pioneers. The judge was returning from the Burdewich ranch, a few miles from town, and fell dead by the roadside near the Kellogg bridge. He came to California in 1853 and was the first person to raise a crop of wheat in eastern Contra Costa, the yield being 25 sacks. In 1902 he was elected justice of the peace and served nearly eight years. Besides a widow, there are two children Mrs. Clara Northcut of Berkeley and Joseph F. Carey of Byron. The couple had been married 44 years, the widow being the daughter of another early pioneer family that of Welch. The funeral was held under the auspices of the Masons, embers of that order being present from various sections of the state. The floral display was magnificent. Judge Carey was 76 years of age and was born in New York state.


1910 May 29, Oakland Tribune, P27, Oakland, California


The very sudden death of Judge Joseph F. Carey last Monday morning came as a great shock to everyone. Mr. Carey had been around attending to insurance business several miles out of town and was walking back to Byron, when he suddenly dropped dead on the road. The day was very warm and the supposition is that he was overcome by the heat in walking to town. MR. Carey was one of the old residents in this part of the county having settled on a ranch at Point of Timber about 1867. He had, however, resided in Byron for a number of years.


1910 May 29, San Francisco Chronicle, P36, San Francisco, California

Pioneer Dies Suddenly

Byron, May 28 The funeral of the late Judge Joseph F. Carey, who dropped dead Monday while walking into town from Brentwood, was held from the Methodist Church here Thursday. The services were conducted by the Masonic Lodge of Brentwood, of which he was a member. Judge Carey was one of the pioneer residents of this county. He had been busy during the day conducting insurance business about the countryside, and attempted to walk into town in the heat of the day. His body was found in the road by a passing rancher. He is survived by a widow, a married son and a married daughter.


1910 Aug 26, The San Francisco Call, P4, San Francisco, California

Carey Joseph Franklin, beloved husband of Etta Carey, and father of Mabel and Gwynne Carey, and son of the late Judge Carey and Mrs. Laura Carey, and brother of Mrs. Clara Northcut of Fruitvale, a native of Brentwood, Cal., aged 32 years 4 months and 4 days. Friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral services tomorrow (Saturday), August 27, 1910, at 1 p.m. at the Methodist Episcopal church at Byron, Cal. Interment Union cemetery. Remains at the residence of James Taylor, northeast corner of Fifteenth and Jefferson streets, Oakland, until Saturday morning.


1922 Jan 28, Oakland Tribune, P5, Oakland, California

Byron Brevities

Mrs. Z. T. Northcutt of Berkeley, daughter of Mrs. J. F. Carey, was here last week on a brief visit to her mother. She reports her son Raymond as doing finely on the vaudeville stage. He is on the Loew circuit, traveling throughout the Eastern States.


1925 Jan 18, Oakland Tribune, P39, Oakland, California

Mrs. J. F. Carey, Byron pioneer, has gone to Oakland to reside with her daughter, Mrs. Z. T. Northcutt. She will remain the rest of the winter.







Transcribed by Donna Toole.

Source: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Pages 1099-1100. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016 Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library