Placer County









            The business interests of Roseville are well represented by William Sawtell, a leading merchant of that place.  He is a native of Wisconsin, his birth having occurred in Shellsburg, Lafayette County, on the 19th of October, 1853.  His grandfather, Daniel Sawtell, was a pioneer of Ohio, from which state he removed to Wisconsin in an early day, conducting a hotel at White Oak Springs during the early period of the development of his section of the state.  He attained the age of seventy years, having survived his wife for some years.  His son, Edwin, Sawtell, the father of our subject, was born in Ohio and accompanied his parents on their removal to the Badger state, where he became an influential and successful farmer.  For thirty years he served as justice of the peace of his township and made a most competent official, his rulings being strictly fair and impartial.

            In 1852, when only sixteen years of age, he crossed the plains to California and engaged in mining with excellent success at Hangtown, now Placerville.  In 1852 he returned to his home and friends in the east, taking with him about five thousand dollars.  With this capital to serve as a nucleus for business enterprises he married Miss Mary Jane Nedvill, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of Captain Nedvill.  In 1887 they returned to California, locating in Roseville, where the father departed this life when sixty-seven years of age.  His estimable wife is still living, at the age of sixty-seven, and is respected by all who have the pleasure of her acquaintance.  Ten children were born unto them and six sons and three daughters are still living.

            William Sawtell is the eldest of this numerous and highly esteemed family.  Excellent educational privileges fitted him for life’s practical duties.  He pursued his studies in Platteville, Wisconsin, being graduated at the normal school at that place in 1877.  Subsequently he came to California, where he accepted a clerkship in the store of J. D. Pratt, filling that position for seven years.  He became the confidential clerk and was largely entrusted with the affairs of the house, for his ability and fidelity have been fully attested.

            After his marriage Mr. Sawtell turned his attention to farming and stock raising, which pursuit he followed for four years, when he embarked in merchandising on his own account in Roseville, in connection with P. V. Sigger.  After two years the latter sold his interest to W. H. Wearine and the connection between Mr. Sawtell and Mr. Wearine continued for two and a half years, when Mr. Wearine and his wife both died and Mr. Sawtell purchased the interest of the heirs in the business, which he has since conducted alone, under the firm name of Sawtell & Company, his wife being the silent partner.  They carry a large stock of general merchandise and by their liberal and honorable business methods have secured a very large trade.  In connection Mr. Sawtell also deals in hay and grain.

            He was married, on Christmas Day of 1885, to Miss Stella Shellhouse, who was born in Placer County, a daughter of the honored pioneer Martin Shellhouse, who had come to this state in 1849, locating near Roseville.  He was a man of influence in the early days and served as a justice of the peace.  He died in 1854, but his wife still survives him and is now in the sixty-fifth year of her age.  Unto our subject and his wife have been born two interesting children, Ernest Carlton and Gladys.  They attend and support to Methodist Church and Mr. Sawtell is liberal toward all enterprises designed to benefit the town. He votes the Republican ticket, but is not an office-seeker, preferring to give his time and attention to the business affairs whereby he is now annually augmenting his capital.



Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of Northern California”, Pages 699-700. Chicago Standard Genealogical  Publishing Co. 1901.

© 2010  Gerald Iaquinta.




Placer County Biographies

California Statewide

Golden Nugget Library