El Dorado County









                Through forty-nine years John Wesley Croff has been a resident of California.  He was born in the far-off state of New York, his birth having there occurred in Genesee County, on the 13th of November, 1830.  He is of German and English lineage, his father, Nathan Croff, having been born in Germany, whence he came to the United States at the age of thirteen years, locating in New York City, where he learned the trade of shoemaking.  He married Miss Olive Marston, a native of New Hampshire, who, however, was reared in the Empire state.  After their marriage they removed to Wayne County, Michigan, and subsequently resided in the town of Eaton, that state.  They were industrious farming people and reared nine children, five of whom are now living.  The father attained the very advanced age of ninety-eight years, two months and two days, while his wife was seventy-four years of age at the time of her demise.

            Mr. Croff, their fifth child, was reared to manhood in Michigan, acquiring his education in Wayne County.  When the discovery of gold was made in California the hope of rapidly acquiring wealth drew him to the Pacific coast.  He crossed the plains in 1851, with a company of ninety-two men, and the journey was safely accomplished, he arriving in Sacramento on the 20th of August, 1851.  As did most of the other emigrants, he made his way to the mines, searching for the precious metal on the middle fork of the American River, on New York Bar.  He met with good success in the undertaking, taking out one thousand dollars, above expenses, before the time of high water, in November.  Subsequently he engaged in mining in Placerville, El Dorado County, where he was successfully engaged for two years.  On the expiration of that period he came to Fiddletown, now Oleta.  He had sent twenty-five hundred dollars to the east and had fifteen hundred dollars remaining.  He had also spent considerable money in prospecting.  In Amador County he made a claim of one hundred acres of government land on which he has since engaged in farming, in connection with placer mining, and during all these years has met with creditable success in his undertakings.  He also has a very pleasant home and five acres of land in Oleta.  He still continues placer mining, and with his own hands has taken out seventy-five thousand dollars.

            In 1866 occurred the marriage of Mr. Croff and Miss Mary McKee, the wedding being celebrated in Oleta.  The lady is a native of Ohio and came to California in 1863.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Croff were reared in the faith of the Methodist Church and are worthy and reliable citizens.  He has made the golden rule his practice through life and his integrity is above question.  In politics he has long been a supporter of the Republican Party; and, other than being deputy sheriff in El Dorado County for three years and deputy sheriff in Amador County for two years and constable for six years, he has never sought or desired political office, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business interests, in which he has met with most creditable success.  His life has been well spent, and he justly deserves mention among the honored California pioneers.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 600-601. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.



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