Contra Costa County












CAPT. WILLIAM REMFREE.  As an esteemed and highly respected citizen of Antioch, Contra Costa county, Capt. William Remfree is missed from the old associations with which he had been connected for so many years.  Up to the time of his death in March, 1898, he was one of the most progressive and public spirited men of the town, giving his best efforts toward its material upbuilding and the promotion of all worthy enterprises, identifying himself with all movements calculated to advance the general welfare and in every way proving himself a valuable citizen.


Born in Cornwall, England, February 2, 1842, Captain Remfree was a son of Samuel Remfree.  His boyhood years were spent in his native country, where he received his education and his early training.  He came to the United States in youth, spending a short time in the mining regions of Lake Superior, and in 1860 he came west to California.  He first located in Virginia City, where he took up the barber trade. Later he went to the Almaden mines, thence to San Francisco, in the later place conducting a barber shop about four years.  In 1887 he located in Antioch, where he opened a barber shop and saloon, a very brief residence serving to win for him the esteem and confidence of all who had business or social dealings with him.  He became a member of the various sporting clubs of the place, among them the Cosmopolitan and Black Jack Gun Clubs.  He was fond of amusement, and though a very busy man he kept in touch with it to the end of his life.  A careful and conservative business man he was exceedingly liberal and kind to all who stood in need of assistance.  He was always active in the upbuilding of Antioch, putting up three houses besides the handsome residence which his widow now occupies, and owning various others.  Fraternally he was associated with Antioch Lodge No. 151, I.O.O.F., and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.


In San Francisco, Captain Remfree married Annie Marie Stotz, a native of Germany, and she now survives him, making her home in Antioch.  She is a woman of rare qualities of heart and mind, and is esteemed by all who know her, her beautiful home being the center of many friends who appreciate her hospitality.  Of her five children, Frank, a barber of Stockton, died at the age of thirty-four years.  He was taken suddenly ill after being summoned home on the death of his father, and the two were buried on the same day.  Of the remaining children, William married Anna Simpson, and they have two children, namely: Helen and Aloa.  Fraternally he is a member of the Native Sons and the Foresters.  Nellie married Joseph Briedenback, and they have one child, Irene.  James married Marie Clifton.  He is associated fraternally with the Foresters.  Robert, at home, is fraternally associated with the Foresters.





[Inserted by D. Toole]


William Remfree


1893 Feb 27, The San Francisco Call, P3, San Francisco, California


Miss Nellie Remfree and Mr. J. Breidenbach were married on Sunday, February 1, at the residence of the bride’s parents in Antioch.  The affair caused quite a stir in the town, Miss Remfree being a general favorite among her many friends.  Mr. Breidenbach is a Stockton merchant in good standing.  The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Mr. Williams of Antioch, and at its conclusion the wedding party proceeded to the Dickerson Hotel to enjoy the wedding feast, after which the company adjourned to Pavilion Hall and made merry, singing and dancing until a very late hour.  The presents were numerous and handsome and consisted chiefly of household usefuls.  The bride was handsomely attired in a rich white silk dress and looked lovely.  The maid of honor was Miss Mary Durken, and G. Kroh was the page.  The bridesmaid was Miss N. Chase and Mr. William Remfree acted as best man.  Besides numerous relatives and friends of Antioch, a large contingent of the groom’s fellow townspeople were present at the wedding.


1898 Mar 21, San Francisco Chronicle, P8, San Francisco, California

Shot Pigeons at Ingleside

California Wing Club Starts the Season


Shooters on the grounds yesterday received with many expressions of regret an announcement of the death of William Remfree of Antioch.  Remfree was widely known among local shooters and has been a regular attendant at all the big tournaments given by the California Inanimate Target Association.  The death of Remfree occurred in this city last Saturday.


1898 Mar 22, The San Francisco Call, P9, San Francisco, California

Death of Two Noted Sportsmen

Last Friday William Remfree of Antioch died in his city of Bright’s disease of the kidneys, and yesterday his eldest son, W. J. Remfree, died in Antioch.  The father and son were well and favorably known to many of the local sportsmen, who will learn with regret of their untimely demise.


1913 Feb 9, Oakland Tribune, P44, Oakland, California

Antioch Woman Dies After Short Illness

Antioch, Feb. 8  Mrs. Mary Remfree, one of the best known and most highly respected women of Antioch, died at her home here after a serious illness of several weeks.  She was over 60 years of age and her death was not unexpected by the members of her family.  She was the widow of the late William Remfree, who died about fifteen years ago, and mother of James and Robert Remfree of Antioch and Mrs. Drydenbach[sic] of Stockton.  Mrs. Remfree was the owner of extensive property interests in Antioch and leaves an estate of considerable value.  She had lived in Antioch for many years.


1900 Nov 30, The San Francisco Call, P7, San Francisco, California

Trivial Quarrel Causes Murder

George Nason Fatally Shot by Dan Shine at Antioch

Assassin Was Angered on Being Ejected From a Hotel Because of Refusal to Pay for His Breakfast

Special Dispatch to The Call.

Antioch, Nov. 29 – George Nason, a porter in the Arlington Hotel, was shot and killed by Dan Shine at 6 o’clock this morning.  The murder was the result of a trivial dispute.  Shine entered the hotel and went into the dining-room and had breakfast.  After he had eaten he walked out into the barroom and sat down by the stove without offering pay for the breakfast.  Nason, who was on duty behind the bar at the time, walked over to him and asked him for the price of the meal.  G. A. Odell, who was a witness to the affair, says:  Nason took hold of Shine, who as considerably under the influence of liquor, shook him and asked him to pay up.  Shine in some way slipped to the floor, and Nason slapped him lightly on the face and then told him to get out of the house.  Shine got up and went out, but returned in a few minutes.  He got as far as the end of the bar, when he was met by Nason.  Nason said, ‘I want you to get out of here and stay out,’ and Shine replied, ‘All right, I will go.’  There was no scuffle and no loud language.  Nason escorted Shine to the front door of the office and then gave him a shove toward the door.  With this Shine turned with the words, ‘I’ll shoot you,’ and fired twice, hitting Nason in the abdomen.”  F. P. Reed and Frank Ellsworth were in the office at the time of the murder and both tell substantially the same story.  After being shot, Nason staggered through the doorway into the hall, where he fell and died within a few minutes.  William Remfree was on the street in front of the Arlington at the time of the shooting.  He says:  “I saw Dan come out of the hotel with a revolver in his hand, and as he passed me he remarked, ‘It did not take me long to do that job.’”  Shine then continued his walk down to a saloon on the wharf, where he got an overcoat that belonged to him.  He also reloaded his revolver.  On his way up town he was met by Constable C. A. Sweeney, who placed him under arrest.  Sweeney searched him and took away the revolver and a knife.  Shine has not a very savory reputation in the community, having already served a term in prison.  George Nason, the murdered man, came from San Francisco, where he was employed in the Golden West Hotel for over a year.  He had been in Antioch but six weeks.  An autopsy was held this afternoon on the remains of the murdered man, and it was found that he had been shot twice, once in the abdomen in front and once in the back, the bullet ranging upward and passing through his breast.


1898 Aug 6, The San Francisco Call, P8, San Francisco, California

W. J. Remfree, a popular young sportsman of Antioch, was married last Tuesday in this city by Judge Conlan to Miss Annie Simpson of San Diego.  The happy couple will enjoy pleasant days at Mr. Remfree’s home in Antioch.


1892 Jan 23, Placerville Mountain Democrat, P7, Placerville, California

Contra Costa County

James Remfree, who was under bonds for striking John Donlon with brass knuckles at Antioch on Thanksgiving day, shot him Jan. 11 inflicting but a slight wound.







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 1047-1048. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

© 2016  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library